School of Graduate Studies
Dean of School of Graduate Studies: Byron R. Burnham
Location: Main 164
Phone: (435) 797-1189
FAX: (435) 797-1192
E-mail and Informational Links: http://www.usu.edu/graduateschool/contact/
Graduate programs at USU are supervised by the dean of the School of Graduate Studies, assisted by the Graduate Council. The council consists of the dean, a faculty representative from each of the seven colleges of the University, a representative from the Faculty Senate, the Vice President for Information Technology, and two graduate students. Policies and regulations for graduate work are established by the Graduate Council with the approval of the Faculty Senate.
USU has awarded Master of Science degrees since 1914 and doctoral degrees since 1950. The School of Graduate Studies was formally organized in 1945. Forty of the University’s 42 departments participate in graduate degree programs, including several interdepartmental programs. Included are 97 master’s programs, 38 doctoral programs, 6 educational specialist programs, and a civil engineer degree. Nationally and internationally known scholars and research units participate in and support graduate studies at USU.
The School of Graduate Studies holds memberships in the Council of Graduate Schools in the United States and the Western Association of Graduate Schools.
Degrees and Majors
Utah State University offers the following graduate degrees:
Master of Accounting (MAcc)
Master of Arts (MA)
Master of Business Administration (MBA)
Master of Computer Science (MCS)
Master of Dietetics Administration (MDA)
Master of Education (MEd)
Master of Engineering (ME)
Master of Family and Human Development (MFHD)
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
Master of Food Microbiology and Safety (MFMS)
Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)
Master of Marriage and Family Therapy (MMFT)
Master of Mathematics (MMath)
Master of Music (MM)
Master of Natural Resources (MNR)
Master of Professional Studies in Horticulture (MPSH)
Master of Rehabilitation Counseling (MRC)
Master of Science (MS)
Master of Second Language Teaching (MSLT)
Master of Social Sciences (MSS)
Master of Social Work (MSW)
Civil Engineer (CE)
Educational Specialist (EdS)
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Doctorate of Audiology (AuD)
Graduate Financial Assistance
Applications for assistantships, fellowships, and other financial aid should be made through departmental offices.
Along with most graduate schools in the United States, USU is a party to a resolution of the Council of Graduate Schools that establishes April 15 as the deadline for acceptance of offers of financial assistance. If a student accepts an offer before April 15 and then wishes to withdraw, a resignation of the appointment may be submitted in writing at any time through April 15. However, after April 15 a student is not to accept another offer without first obtaining a written release from the institution to which a commitment has been made.
Teaching, research, and other graduate assistantships are available in most of the departments of the University. A full-time assistantship is 20 hours per week. In the interest of timely degree completion, graduate students are generally employed by the University for no more than 20 hours per week. Employment for more than 20 hours per week must be approved by the student’s advisor, degree-program department head, and the graduate dean. Graduate assistants must be full-time (with the exception of summers), matriculated students. For students employed as graduate assistants, full-time status is based on the full-time equivalent or FTE. A 0.25 to 0.374 FTE requires a student to enroll for at least 9 graduate-level credits; a 0.375 to 0.50 FTE requires a student to enroll for at least 6 graduate-level credits (see also Student Classifications section). Graduate assistants must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher for those courses included on their Program of Study. However, if a Program of Study has not been submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, a cumulative GPA is computed using all of the student’s coursework at USU since the prior degree. The GPA is checked by the School of Graduate Studies at the end of each semester. If the student has not yet started the graduate program, the cumulative GPA on the last 60 semester credits will be used to determine eligibility as a graduate assistant. Graduate assistants may register for a maximum of 12 credits per semester. However, a research assistant whose assistantship involves his or her thesis or dissertation research may register for additional credits, as explained below.
Teaching Assistantships/Graduate Instructors
Graduate students may be teaching assistants or graduate instructors in departments. Teaching loads vary up to a maximum of 20 hours per week, and salaries vary depending on the department and the teaching load.
International students may be considered for teaching assistantships if they demonstrate adequate proficiency in English communication, as determined by Utah State University’s Intensive English Language Institute, and have participated in the required workshop.
All teaching assistants and graduate instructors are required to participate in a training workshop sponsored by the School of Graduate Studies prior to beginning their assistantships. The workshop helps students gain the techniques and skills to be effective instructors in the university environment. The workshop for international students also aids students in understanding the American university culture and in improving communication. When a teaching assistant workshop has been successfully completed, 1 credit will be added to the student’s transcript. However, this credit cannot be applied toward a graduate degree program.
Federal College Work-Study Assistantships
Graduate students may apply for work-study support by completing an online application at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/
Nonresident Tuition Awards
A nonresident student who holds at least a 0.25 FTE (10 hours per week) graduate assistantship and is receiving at least $400 per month may be awarded a waiver of the nonresident portion of tuition for courses in the student’s degree program. The nonresident tuition award for out-of-state, noninternational students will expire after 12 months. At this point, it is the student’s responsibility to obtain Utah residency or other funding, in order to evade the cost of nonresident tuition. For additional information regarding Utah residency requirements , see Undergraduate Admission in this catalog, or visit: http://www.usu.edu/admissions/information/residency.cfm Tuition awards cannot be used to audit classes. Tuition awards cannot be used for coursework below the 5000 level, unless the course is on the student’s Program of Study or required by the student’s supervisory committee, as indicated by a letter from the committee chair.
In-State Tuition Awards for Doctoral Students
A student who is matriculated in a doctoral degree program and is a graduate assistant working at least 0.5 FTE (20 hours per week) or a graduate fellow receiving at least $675 per month may be awarded a resident (in-state) tuition award. Full-time registration is required (see Student Classifications). If credits other than those required for the doctoral degree are needed to meet the full-time registration requirement, registration must be for Dept. 7990 (Continuing Graduate Advisement). A doctoral in-state tuition award cannot be used to audit classes or for coursework below the 5000 level. Tuition awards cannot be used for coursework below the 5000 level, unless the course is on the student’s Program of Study or required by the student’s supervisory committee, as indicated by a letter from the committee chair.
Tuition Award Application Process
The designated departmental staff must submit an award request to the graduate dean for approval according to the deadlines outlined in the Tuition Awards Policy. The award must be used before the last day for registering or adding classes in the semester for which it was awarded (15th day of classes). The awards are available for a maximum of 12 credits per semester, with the number of eligible credits indicated on the Program of Study, which must be submitted by the end of the second semester for a master’s student and the end of the third semester for a doctoral student. Audited courses do not qualify for the award. Students may receive the employee/spouse/dependent waiver as an employment benefit in conjunction with a tuition award. However, tuition awards will not combine with the employment benefit to surpass 100 percent of tuition charges for a given semester. For more information, refer to the Graduate Student Tuition Awards Policy on the School of Graduate Studies website: http://www.usu.edu/graduateschool/finances/tuition_awards.cfm
Western Regional Graduate Programs (WRGP)
Residents of participating states may enroll in graduate programs approved as Western Regional Graduate Programs (WRGP) by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) without paying nonresident tuition. USU’s WRGP degrees are the MS and PhD in Biometeorology, Toxicology, and Watershed Science; the MS in Applied Environmental Geoscience, Horticulture (Water Efficient Landscaping), and Human Resources; and the MS in Physics, with a specialization in Upper Atmospheric Physics. Information is available in the School of Graduate Studies or at: http://wrgp.wiche.edu/
Fellowships and Scholarships
Fellowship and scholarship awardees must be full-time, matriculated students enrolled in approved graduate-level coursework. Application for these, as well as for departmental fellowships and awards, is made through the departments, except for the Martin Luther King Fellowship and the Dinesh and Kalpana Patel Fellowship (see below).
Presidential Fellowships include a $12,000 stipend for the academic year, a waiver of the nonresident portion of tuition, subsidized health insurance, and for doctoral students, the resident tuition award. Criteria include a 3.50 GPA and quantitative and verbal GRE scores at the 70th percentile or above.
Vice President for Research Fellowships include a $15,000 stipend for the academic year, a waiver of the nonresident portion of tuition, subsidized health insurance, and for doctoral students, the resident tuition award. Criteria are the same as for the Presidential Fellowships. In addition, the student must be in a research degree program that includes a master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation.
Martin Luther King Fellowships are available to African-American students. The fellowship includes a waiver of the nonresident portion of tuition. The department usually awards an assistantship or other support, the amount of which varies. Application for this fellowship is made through the School of Graduate Studies.
Dinesh and Kalpana Patel Fellowships are available to doctoral students who are international students or students from an underrepresented group. The fellowship is typically for $5,000 and
includes a waiver of the nonresident portion of tuition and a doctoral tuition award. Recipients are required to maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0. Students may not receive this award more than once. Preference will be given to students in the latter stages of their program. Application for this fellowship is made through the School of Graduate Studies.
Resident Tuition Awards covering the resident portion of tuition are available each semester on a competitive basis through the departments. Awardees must be full-time matriculated students and must maintain a 3.0 or higher GPA.
Seely-Hinckley Scholarships are awarded each year to qualified graduate students with superior academic records. College deans nominate, for the following school year, outstanding scholars who would not be able to attend or would be delayed in attending USU without financial assistance.
Other Financial Assistance
Many students who do not receive assistantships or fellowships receive financial assistance by working for departments or other campus units. Graduate students are generally not employed by the University for more than 20 hours per week. Employment beyond 20 hours per week must be approved by the student’s advisor, degree program department head, and the graduate dean.
Graduate students may apply for Federal Stafford Loans, Federal Perkins Loans, Federal Supplemental Loans for Students (SLS), Emergency Loans, and Federal College Work-Study through the Financial Aid Office. More information can be found in the Financial Aid and Scholarship Information section of this catalog, or by contacting: Financial Aid Office, Taggart Student Center 106, Utah State University, 1800 Old Main Hill, Logan UT 84322-1800, tel. (435) 797-0173. Also visit the following website: http://www.usu.edu/finaid/
For information about GI Bill Benefits, contact: Office of Veterans Services, Taggart Student Center 246, Utah State University, 1600 Old Main Hill, Logan UT 84322-1600, tel. (435) 797-1102.
For information concerning admission requirements and application procedures for students desiring to pursue a graduate degree at Utah State University, see the Graduate Admission section of this catalog.
Graduate General Regulations
Each graduate student is responsible to know the policies, regulations, and procedures of the School of Graduate Studies and of his or her department or program, and to see that they are followed and that the timelines are met. The policies and regulations stated in this catalog and in departmental handbooks may be changed between publication dates, and students are responsible to obtain up-to-date information.
A master’s degree must be completed within six years of matriculation. A doctorate must be completed within eight years of matriculation.
Coursework that is more than eight years old may not be used for a graduate degree. If permitted by the departmental or interdepartmental degree program policy, a supervisory committee may allow revalidation through testing, following a plan developed by the supervisory committee and approved by the dean of the School of Graduate Studies. The results must be verified in writing to the graduate dean by the student’s major professor or other person(s) responsible for the testing. Work experience cannot be substituted for out-of-date coursework or used for revalidation.
Graduate credits from another institution that exceed the eight-year limit at the time of degree completion may be transferred to a USU graduate degree only if the student’s supervisory committee provides a justification acceptable to the graduate dean. Then, the revalidation procedures described above apply.
A matriculated graduate student has been accepted by a department, with the concurrence of the dean of the School of Graduate Studies, to an approved graduate degree program and has enrolled at the University. A student may be accepted on a provisional matriculation basis when (1) information, such as GRE scores, is yet to be received by the School of Graduate Studies, or (2) when a missing prerequisite or academic deficiency must be remedied. The conditions and time limit for remedying these deficiencies must be specified to the student in writing at the time of admission. If the conditions are not met as specified, the student’s participation in the degree program will be terminated. International students cannot be admitted on provisional status.
A full-time matriculated graduate student must be one of the following:
- Registered for 9 or more graduate credits; or
- Registered for 6 or more graduate credits if employed as a graduate assistant for 15 hours per week or more; or
- Registered for 3 graduate credits with all required credits completed (the student’s Program of Study must have been submitted to the School of Graduate Studies); or
- Registered for at least 3 graduate credits during the semester of the final thesis/dissertation defense or, in a nonthesis degree program, the last semester of coursework required on the student’s Program of Study.
Note: To defer a loan or to receive student loans, graduate students must be registered for at least 6 credits.
A matriculated-probationary graduate student has been placed on warned status because of inadequate progress in his or her degree program. The conditions to be met and the time limit for meeting them must be specified to the student in writing at the time he or she is placed on probation. If the conditions are not met as specified, the student’s participation in the degree program will be terminated.
Graduate assistants and fellowship recipients must be full-time matriculated students with a GPA of 3.0 or above, and must be registered each semester of the assistantship or fellowship, except
A nonmatriculated postbaccalaureate student holds a bachelor’s degree, is enrolled for USU coursework, but has not been accepted to a graduate degree program. If an application for graduate studies has been submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, a student may apply through the School of Graduate Studies to enroll as a nonmatriculated student. A letter must be submitted from the graduate department head or graduate program coordinator giving permission for the student to be entered on the computer as a nonmatriculated student. If the student does not intend to pursue a graduate degree, the student should apply to the undergraduate Admissions Office to enroll as a nonmatriculated student. A maximum of 12 semester credits earned as a nonmatriculated, postbaccalaureate student may be used in a graduate degree program, but only if approved by the student’s supervisory committee.
An international student must be admitted to a degree program and hold a valid F-1 or J-1 visa before enrolling in classes at Utah State University. A student on an F-1 or J-1 visa must maintain full-time student status throughout the degree program. For other information about the University, he or she can contact the International Students and Scholars Office, Utah State University, 0140 Old Main Hill, Logan UT 84322-0140, tel. (435) 797-1124.
Split Form Policy
An undergraduate student doing well in his or her studies and planning a graduate degree at USU may file a Split Form to request that some coursework be reserved (split out) from the undergraduate degree. The instructor’s permission is required for an undergraduate student to register for graduate courses. For a Split Form to be approved, the student must be within 30 semester credits of completing bachelor’s degree requirements, have filed an Application for Graduation in the Graduation Office (a copy of which must be attached to the split request), be currently taking at least one required undergraduate class, have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher at the beginning of the semester listed on the Split Form, and have applied for admission to the School of Graduate Studies. In accordance with School of Graduate Studies admission policy , a transitional student will not be matriculated in the School of Graduate Studies until his or her bachelor’s degree has been completed. A maximum of 9 semester credits may be split out during a bachelor’s program.
A Split Form, which must include one or more required undergraduate courses from the student’s Application for Graduation, should be filed in the School of Graduate Studies, along with a copy of the Application for Graduation, before grades are posted for the semester requested to be split. A Split Form cannot be processed after the bachelor’s degree has been closed out and posted on the transcript. The form must be signed by the undergraduate advisor and the graduate department head or departmental graduate program chair/coordinator before it is submitted to the School of Graduate Studies. If approved by the dean of the School of Graduate Studies, the form will be processed and forwarded to the Graduation Office. Approval of a Split Form does not guarantee acceptance to the School of Graduate Studies.
By default, courses numbered 0010 through 4990 will be posted to an undergraduate transcript; and courses numbered 6000 through 7990 will be posted to a graduate transcript. Courses numbered 5000 through 5990 are generally posted to either an undergraduate or graduate transcript, based on the primary program level of the student. Therefore, undergraduate students who qualify (under the regulations shown above) to have some of their undergraduate coursework “split out” for a graduate degree will need to submit a form to the Registrar’s Office stating which undergraduate courses they desire to have “split out.” Students should contact their undergraduate advisor for help with filing the appropriate form. In cases where a graduate student has taken one or more undergraduate-level courses as part of the approved program of study, a form will need to be submitted to the Registrar’s Office, requesting that the course(s) be posted to the graduate transcript. Students should contact their graduate advisor for help with filing the appropriate form.
Course-Level Numbering and Acceptability
7000-7990 are doctorate-level courses. With supervisory committee and instructor approval, they may be used in a master’s program.
6000-6990 are master’s-level courses. With supervisory committee approval, they may be used in a doctoral program.
5000-5990 are advanced, upper-division courses and may be used in a graduate program if approved by the supervisory committee (see below).
3000-4990 are junior/senior, upper-division undergraduate courses. Up to 3 semester credits of coursework at this level may be used (see below).
No more than 15 semester credits of 3000-5990 level coursework may be used for a graduate degree, except for a doctorate without a master’s degree, for which a total of 21 semester credits of 3000-5990 level coursework may be used. Up to 3 semester credits of coursework at the 3000-4990 level may be included within the 15 or 21 semester credit limit, upon recommendation by the student’s supervisory committee and approval by the graduate dean. To be approved, such courses must be outside the student’s graduate-degree field. Courses that students entering the graduate program are expected to have taken as undergraduates and prerequisites for graduate courses are not acceptable.
2990 and below are lower-division courses and are not acceptable for graduate degree programs of study.
6990 and 7990 (continuing graduate advisement) credits, INST 7920 , and IELI 7920 cannot be used in a degree program.
Audited courses may not be used for a degree program or toward status as a full-time student. Credits in the following areas are not acceptable in a degree program: foreign languages, continuing graduate advisement, individual home study, military science, and courses numbered below 3000. No more than 12 workshop credits may be applied to a master’s degree.
Minimum Grades and Credit Acceptability
Graduate students are required to maintain at least a 3.0 GPA for degree-program courses. Grades of C- or lower will not be accepted for a graduate degree. Some departments do not accept C grades.
P (Pass) will be accepted only for seminars, special problems, interdisciplinary workshops, thesis or dissertation research, and continuing graduate advisement.
Correspondence Course Credits
Distance Education correspondence (independent home study) courses are not accepted for graduate degrees.
Credit by Special Examination
Credit earned by special examination cannot be used to satisfy the course requirements for a graduate degree or to meet the residency requirement.
Rights in Inventions
It is the student’s responsibility to be aware of University policy in regard to rights in inventions. (Information is available in the Office of the Vice President for Research.)
All University research involving human subjects, animal subjects, radiation materials, recombinant DNA, or biohazardous materials must be reviewed and approved by the appropriate University committee(s) before the research is started. Graduate students are, with the assistance of their advisors, responsible for obtaining the necessary approval for their research. Verification of approval must be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies before the student’s master’s Program of Study or doctoral Application for Candidacy can be approved. For further information, contact the School of Graduate Studies or the Office of the Vice President for Research.
Continuous Graduate Registration
Graduate students using University facilities or faculty time must be registered for a minimum of 3 graduate credits every semester until completion of all degree requirements, except, in some cases, the semester of final thesis or dissertation approval (see below). Students employed as graduate assistants or graduate instructors during all semesters, except for summer semester, must be registered as full-time matriculated students. More than 3 credits of continuous registration may be required by a department. An off-campus student in a planned Regional Campuses and Distance Education program who is enrolled in a 1- or 2-credit course that is the only course offered locally that semester may be approved by the graduate dean for continuous registration upon written recommendation of the department head. Continuous registration may be met with courses, seminars, independent study, research credit, or 6990 or 7990 (Continuing Graduate Advisement). The continuous registration requirement goes into effect the semester a student matriculates in the School of Graduate Studies.
A graduate student who is not using University facilities or faculty time may meet the continuous registration requirement by paying the Continuous Registration Fee of $100 per semester (not necessary for summer semester). This alternative requires a written request from the department head, including verification that the student is not using University facilities and/or faculty time. International students usually do not qualify to pay the Continuous Registration Fee because of immigration regulations.
The semester a student defends (or redefends) a thesis, Plan B paper, or dissertation or takes final oral examinations, he or she must be registered for at least 3 credits. Doctoral and master’s Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C students will be given until the last day of the next semester (known as a “grace” semester) following the defense to finish degree requirements, and Plan C students will be given until the last day of the next semester after coursework completion to finish degree requirements. If a student has not completed all degree requirements by the end of the grace semester, the student must pay a $100 Late Completion Fee for each semester following the grace semester. If working with faculty involves more than routine submission of the thesis or dissertation to the assistant dean, registration for 3 or more credits is required. After one year, redefense may be required.
Because of SEVIS regulations, a student holding an F-1 or J-1 visa is not eligible to pay the $100 fee to complete the degree, but must be registered as a full-time student through the semester of completion.
Leave of Absence
A leave of absence, during which neither continuous registration nor a $100 payment is required, may be granted under the following conditions:
- Illness, required military service, and other extenuating circumstances acceptable to the department head and the graduate dean.
- Lack of availability of courses in a planned Regional Campuses and Distance Education program.
- Participation in a planned program based primarily on summer semester courses.
For either 2 or 3, the student must have an approved Program of Study on file in the School of Graduate Studies before a leave will be granted.
A leave of absence must be approved by the graduate dean, upon written recommendation of the department head. A leave of absence may be the basis for extending the time limit to complete a degree, but not to extend the time limit for course validity.
Students whose semester grade point average (GPA) is below 3.0 for any semester will be notified by letter that their academic performance is unsatisfactory. Students whose cumulative GPA falls below 3.0 will be placed on probationary status. If a student remains on probationary status for two consecutive semesters, the School of Graduate Studies will ask the student’s department to explain why the student’s graduate program should not be terminated. If the department cannot provide compelling reasons explaining why the student should continue graduate study, the student’s graduate program will be terminated. In the case of termination, reapplication is required to regain matriculation.
If a student holding a University appointment as a teaching or research assistant or fellow is changed to probationary status, the assistantship or fellowship will be terminated, unless the department formally presents compelling reasons to the graduate dean why the teaching/ research assistantship or fellowship should continue.
GPA will be computed using all coursework completed at USU since the prior degree. Upon formal request from the student and department, and once a Program of Study is approved by the student’s supervisory committee, department head, and approved by and filed in the School of Graduate Studies, the courses listed on the Program of Study will be used to compute the student’s GPA.
Monitoring of Progress
The student’s department and the School of Graduate Studies monitor the progress of graduate students. For continued participation in a graduate program, a student must complete requirements in a timely manner. In reviewing a student’s progress, several factors will be considered, including demonstrated ability to develop a thesis proposal, independence in the conduct of research, performance on comprehensive examinations, GPA, and special program requirements. Satisfactory progress also involves maintaining the standards of professional ethics and integrity expected in the student’s discipline.
A faculty member is not to participate in admission or graduate assistant employment decisions, serve as major professor, or serve on the supervisory committee of a relative, including a person with whom he or she has or has had an amorous relationship. Graduate students may enroll in classes taught by a relative only under special conditions. For information, contact the department head or the School of Graduate Studies.
Matriculation of Faculty
It is the policy of USU not to grant advanced degrees to its own faculty, except under unusual circumstances (see Faculty Policy 404.1.4).
Academic Honesty and Research Misconduct
Maintaining the highest standards of academic honesty and research ethics is especially important at the graduate level, where students are expected to do original, scholarly work in preparation for future professional and academic roles. Academic dishonesty is defined in The Code of Policies and Procedures for Students at Utah State University (revised September 2009) Article VI, Section 1 to include cheating, falsification of information, and plagiarism.
Violations of the above policy will subject the offender to the University disciplinary procedures as outlined in Article VI, Section 3 of the student Code, with the penalties or disciplinary measures to include one or more of the following:
- Probation: continued participation in an academic program predicated upon the student satisfying certain requirements as specified in a written notice of probation. Probation is for a designated period of time and includes the probability of more severe disciplinary penalties if the student does not comply with the specified requirements or is found to be committing academic integrity violations during the probationary period. The student must request termination of the probation in writing.
- Performance of community service.
- Suspension: temporary dismissal from an academic program or from the University for a specified time, after which the student is eligible to continue the program or return to the University. Conditions for continuance or readmission may be specified.
- Expulsion: permanent dismissal either from an academic program or from the University.
- Assigning a designation with a course grade indicating an academic integrity violation involving academic integrity. Conditions for removal may be specified, but the designation remains on the student’s transcript for a minimum of one year; provided however, that once the student’s degree is posted to the transcript, the designation may not be removed thereafter.
- Denial or revocation of degrees.
Research is a vital part of the education of most graduate students, and appropriate scientific and research conduct is expected. An allegation of scientific misconduct involving funded research is handled through the Office of the Vice President for Research. If the research is nonfunded, the allegation is handled following The Code of Policies and Procedures for Students at Utah State University.
Research misconduct may be determined during a student’s program or after the program is completed. If a student is found guilty of research fraud, the penalty may include, in addition to any listed above, correction and reanalysis of data and/or rewriting of the thesis or dissertation, with resubmission and redefense of the thesis or dissertation, and/or loss of financial assistance.
Graduate students with grievances relating to academic matters may appeal to the dean of the School of Graduate Studies following the steps and procedures in The Code of Policies and Procedures for Students at Utah State University.
Graduate Degree Requirements
Each graduate student must be aware of degree requirements and must work with his or her major professor, supervisory committee, and department head to meet the requirements and specific deadlines.
When a student is accepted to a master’s degree program, the department head appoints a temporary advisor. In most master’s degree programs, a supervisory committee will be established for each student. During the first semester following matriculation, the student should meet with the department head to discuss the appointment of a supervisory committee. A completed Supervisory Committee form should be submitted by the department head to the dean of the School of Graduate Studies for final approval by the end of the student’s first semester. Committee changes are not to be made during the six weeks prior to the final defense.
A master’s degree supervisory committee must include at least three faculty members who are approved by the department head and the dean of the School of Graduate Studies. At least one member must represent the student’s area of specialization, and at least one must be from outside the specialization area. Adjunct faculty can be members with the approval of the dean of the School of Graduate Studies. Upon recommendation of the department head, emeritus faculty may serve on supervisory committees, but may not chair new committees.
Within School of Graduate Studies and departmental requirements, the supervisory committee determines the courses for the student’s Program of Study; conducts departmental qualifying examinations (if required); supervises the student’s thesis research, Plan B paper, or project; and conducts the defense or final examination. The defense or final examination must be scheduled through the School of Graduate Studies. The major professor, who serves as the chairperson of the committee, usually directs the thesis, paper, or other degree project.
The original Program of Study form with signature in ink should be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies by the student before the end of the second semester following matriculation. Amendments to the Program of Study form can be made with an e-mail from the major professor to Laura Holley (email@example.com) with copies (in the cc: field) to all committee members. Submission of a new Program of Study is not necessary.
The Plan A option for a master’s degree requires preparation of a thesis. From 6-15 semester credits of thesis research are required. The semesters during which a student registers for thesis credit should correspond as closely as possible to the semesters in which the thesis work is done and faculty supervision is provided.
The thesis for a Plan A master’s degree is to be a contribution to the field of knowledge, based on the student’s own research or a treatment and presentation of known subject matter from a new point of view. The student and major professor should decide upon a problem or subject for the thesis study by the end of the student’s first semester of graduate study.
A Thesis Proposal cover page, signed by the entire committee, should be submitted by the student to the School of Graduate Studies prior to the final defense.
The student and all committee members are required to sign a Data and Copyright form and a Plans for Publication form. The forms are given to the student at his or her final defense and must be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies prior to degree completion.
The Plan B option requires the production of a paper or a creative work of art. At least 2 credits of thesis research are required, but no more than 3 credits of thesis credit can be included on the Program of Study.
The Plan B paper is usually a review of literature, with conclusions drawn after conceptualizing an area of inquiry, planning a systematic search, and analyzing and critiquing the acquired information. The summary and conclusions developed should enhance knowledge in the discipline.
Plan B papers and reports should follow the same format specifications as theses and dissertations and are expected to reflect equivalent scholarship standards, even though they may be less intensive and not demand the originality of a Plan A thesis. Plan B papers are defended, but are not reviewed by the School of Graduate Studies assistant dean or signed by the graduate dean. Plan B papers must be submitted to the Merrill-Cazier Library, and the binding receipt must be returned to the School of Graduate Studies.
A master’s degree option with no thesis or Plan B paper is available in some programs. A departmentally approved program that includes a culminating creative or integrative experience must be filed in the School of Graduate Studies. Generally, a course or seminar on research methods is required, but thesis credits are not accepted. Plan C students should contact their department early in their final semester to be certain that all degree requirements, including completion of graduation forms, will be met, and that all appropriate paperwork has been sent to the School of Graduate Studies.
Master of Arts
Many departments have foreign language requirements for the Master of Arts degree. Candidates for the Master of Arts degree should ascertain from their major department what, if any, the foreign language requirements are for the degree they seek, and how the requirements may be satisfied. Department heads send verification, if any, to the School of Graduate Studies.
The minimum requirement for a master’s degree is 30 semester credits, except for a Plan C degree for which the minimum is 33 semester credits. For the MEd degree, the minimum number of semester credits is 36. The Master of Fine Arts is regarded as a terminal degree and requires a minimum of 60 semester credits.
At least 24 semester credits for a master’s degree must be from a committee-approved and an SGS-approved Program of Study from Utah State University. Furthermore, any allowed transfer credits cannot replace required residency credit.
Transfer and Nonmatriculated Credits
Provided USU residency requirements (see specific credit requirements under each degree) will be met, a student’s supervisory committee may recommend transfer of graduate credits earned at another accredited institution, including credits with earned P grades. The credits must not have been used for another degree. Only 12 semester credits may be transferred into a graduate program at USU. Credits with P grades may be transferred only with committee approval. Transfer credits cannot replace required residency credits. Transfer credits are subject to approval of the supervisory committee and the dean of the School of Graduate Studies. Credits more than eight years old may not be acceptable (see Time Limit section). Transfer credits will be shown on official USU transcripts upon completion of the degree. These stipulations apply to nonmatriculated credits.
No more than 12 credits taken at USU or another institution prior to matriculation at USU may be used in a program of study.
Post-Master’s Professional Degrees
Three degrees—the Civil Engineer (CE), the Master of Computer Science (MCS), and the Educational Specialist (EdS)—are designed for students who seek to improve their professional skills and knowledge beyond the master’s degree. The minimum requirement for each of these degrees is 30 semester credits beyond the master’s degree (60 credits beyond a bachelor’s degree). Each degree requires a project report that is prepared to the same format specifications as a thesis, but is not reviewed by the School of Graduate Studies assistant dean or signed by the graduate dean.
When a doctoral student is admitted, the department head appoints a temporary advisor to work with the student until a supervisory committee is established. A Supervisory Committee form must be submitted to the dean of the School of Graduate Studies for approval by the end of the student’s second semester following matriculation. Committee changes are not to be made during the six weeks prior to the final defense.
A doctoral supervisory committee must include at least five faculty members with doctoral degrees who are approved by the department head and the dean of the School of Graduate Studies. Three members must be from within and at least one must be from outside the department or interdepartmental degree-granting program in which the student is matriculated. Adjunct faculty can serve on doctoral committees with the approval of the dean of the School of Graduate Studies. Upon recommendation of the department head, emeritus faculty may serve on supervisory committees, but may not chair new committees.
The supervisory committee specifies the student’s Program of Study; supervises the student’s qualifying examination (if there is one) and comprehensive examination, unless some other departmental or program procedure is in place; approves the dissertation proposal and supervises the student’s research and preparation of the dissertation; and conducts the final oral examination. The major professor is the chairperson of the committee and usually directs the student’s research. Continuation in a doctoral program is contingent upon the availability of a major professor.
By the end of the third semester, the student should have submitted a Program of Study to the School of Graduate Studies. Amendments to the Program of Study form can be made with an e-mail from the major professor to Laura Holley (firstname.lastname@example.org) with copies (in the cc: field) to all committee members. Submission of a new Program of Study is not necessary.
The student and all committee members are required to sign a Data and Copyright form and a Plans for Publication form. The forms are given to the student at his or her final defense and must be submitted by the student to the School of Graduate Studies prior to degree completion.
Some departments or interdepartmental programs administer qualifying examinations. Each department or program has the responsibility of administering comprehensive examinations.
Following completion of all or most courses, successful completion of comprehensive examinations, and approval of a proposal for dissertation research, and at least three months before the final defense, the student must submit an Application for Candidacy form to the School of Graduate Studies, along with a copy of the dissertation proposal cover page, signed by all members of the
supervisory committee. Submission of the candidacy form is a major step in the student’s program, because the committee and department head thereby attest that the student is ready to conduct independent dissertation research, although successful completion of that requirement is not guaranteed.
The minimum requirement for a doctoral degree is 60 approved semester credits in addition to a master’s degree, or 90 approved graduate semester credits with no master’s degree. Coursework cannot be used for more than one degree.
A minimum of 12 dissertation credits is required for a post-master’s doctorate and a minimum of 18 for a no-master’s doctorate. The semesters during which a student registers for dissertation credit should correspond as closely as possible to the semesters in which the dissertation work is done and faculty supervision is provided.
Doctoral Residency Requirement
The purpose of the residency requirement is to ensure that the doctoral student experience includes at least one period of concentrated attention to study, research, and interaction with faculty. This period of immersion in the culture of students’ departments is an important part of their preparation for future work in academic communities. The residency requirement for doctoral studies (PhD, EdD, and professional doctoral degrees) consists of the following:
Credits for residency. At least 33 USU semester credits from an approved Program of Study are required for doctoral students. The balance of credits may be from USU or from other institutions, subject to transfer credit limits and the approval of the student’s supervisory committee.
Participation in the academic community. Meeting the residency requirement also means that doctoral students must take part in the academic community of their program. Participation could include collaborative scholarship with faculty or peers, working as a research assistant or graduate instructor, attending professional meetings, being involved with student or professional organizations, and participating in colloquia, orientation programs, etc. This participation may or may not coincide with the period of concentrated study. Departments have the responsibility to determine appropriate ways for their doctoral students to participate in the academic life of their field and to provide opportunities for this participation.
Certification of residency. Residency is certified by the graduate supervisory committee. The required credits and the student’s participation in the academic and intellectual life of the program are noted as acceptable by signatures on the application for candidacy form.
Each degree program may set more intense requirements for residency. Students should review college, departmental, and program requirements.
The following are suggested criteria for determining when a student has met the residency requirement. They should be checked and dated as completed and noted in the Degree Candidacy form.
- Has been directly engaged in research or creative endeavors with the major professor;
- Has had access to the required equipment and resources needed for the research or creative efforts;
- Has been immersed in the culture or atmosphere of graduate education;
- Has been engaged in the professional activities of the discipline; and
- Has had the time to concentrate and complete the research or creative activity in a reasonable period.
- Has been engaged in additional departmental residential requirements (please list).
- Additional departmental requirements.
Transfer and Nonmatriculated Credits
Provided USU residency requirements (see specific credit requirements under each degree) will be met, a student’s supervisory committee may recommend transfer of graduate credits earned at another accredited institution, including credits with earned P grades. The credits must not have been used for another degree. Only 12 semester credits may be transferred into a doctoral program at USU prior to matriculation. Credits with P grades may be transferred only with committee approval. Transfer credits cannot replace required residency credits. Transfer credits are subject to approval of the supervisory committee and the dean of the School of Graduate Studies. Credits more than eight years old may not be acceptable (see Time Limit section). Transfer credits will be shown on official USU transcripts upon completion of the degree. These stipulations apply to nonmatriculated credits.
Preparation and Approval of Theses, Plan B Papers, and Dissertations
Before beginning work on a thesis, Plan B paper, or dissertation, a student should obtain the Publication Guide for Graduate Students, available online or from the USU Bookstore, and the style manual or journal approved by the supervisory committee and/or department. These documents will guide the student in the proper preparation of his or her manuscript. Theses and dissertations may be prepared in either traditional or multiple-paper format. One article or article-manuscript may not be submitted as a thesis or dissertation.
Preparation of a thesis, Plan B paper, or dissertation is the culminating learning experience for a graduate student. The quality of the product, which should represent the student’s own best work, is the responsibility of the student. Monitoring the quality of the thesis, Plan B paper, or dissertation and mentoring the student in writing are responsibilities of the major professor, with the assistance of the supervisory committee. Editing by anyone other than the major professor and the supervisory committee should be limited to mechanics, such as spelling and grammar.
Drafts of sections should be submitted periodically to the major professor for critique. Committee members should be consulted, especially on sections that involve their special expertise. Upon request, the School of Graduate Studies assistant dean (in Main 164) will review an early draft for format and style. Students may also attend a thesis workshop. For more information about these workshops, see: http://www.usu.edu/graduateschool/training/workshops.cfm
Oral Examination and Defense
The final defense should be scheduled by the student after all courses and the thesis, Plan B paper, or dissertation are completed. Changes in the membership of a supervisory committee cannot be made during the six weeks prior to the defense without a written request from the department head and approval of the graduate dean.
At least four weeks prior to the defense, the student shall give a copy of the thesis, Plan B paper, or dissertation to each member of the supervisory committee for approval or corrections. An Appointment for Examination form must be completed by the student and committee, indicating approval of the proposed time and place for the examination and defense, and submitted by the student to the School of Graduate Studies a minimum of ten working days prior to the exam.
The deadline for completing degree requirements is the last day of the semester. When the defense is scheduled during a semester break, the student must enroll for at least 3 credits the following semester.
No committee member should agree to proceed with a defense until he or she has carefully read and approved the thesis, Plan B paper, or dissertation. If any member of a committee believes that the document is not ready to be defended, he or she should notify the student and major professor and not sign the Appointment for Examination form. The defense should then be rescheduled.
The oral examination of the thesis, Plan B paper, or dissertation is a defense of a final document. Only minor changes, usually editorial, should be required following the defense. If major changes are required, a defense of the revised document should be held.
The chairperson of the examination is appointed by the graduate dean. At the examination, the student defends his or her thesis, Plan B paper, or dissertation and answers questions about the area of specialization. The results of the defense and any additional requirements are recorded on the Record of Examination Completion form, which is submitted to the School of Graduate Studies.
All members of the supervisory committee must approve and sign the thesis, Plan B paper, or dissertation. In the event of lack of unanimity, the matter is taken to the dean of the School of Graduate Studies.
Any final examination held without following the proper procedures is invalid. Graduate students failing to complete all degree requirements within one year of a successful defense will be required to redefend. Students must register for at least 3 credits the semester of redefense.
The student is responsible for proofreading the thesis/dissertation and having it read and approved by the department before submitting a final committee-approved and signed copy to the assistant dean in the School of Graduate Studies. The assistant dean will review the paper for proper format and conformity to departmental and School of Graduate Studies standards. The assistant dean will attach a check sheet of format, stylistic, and mechanical problems and will mark examples of needed changes on the paper.
Format corrections and required rewriting must be completed before the assistant dean will submit the thesis or dissertation to the graduate dean for approval. The graduate dean examines each thesis and dissertation before approving and signing it. Any thesis or dissertation may be selected for further review by members of the faculty not on the student’s supervisory committee or by expert reviewers at other institutions before being accepted by the dean.
The student may reserve a processing date for the thesis/dissertation by completing the appropriate form after the thesis/dissertation defense. The final committee-approved and signed thesis/dissertation should be submitted to the assistant dean by at least the day before the reserved processing date. If a processing date has not been reserved but the student would like to finish by the end of a semester, he or she must submit the final committee-approved and signed thesis/ dissertation to the assistant dean at least seven weeks before the last day of the semester. At other times, the signed thesis/dissertation must be submitted at least four weeks prior to anticipated program completion.
The following forms must be completed and submitted to the School of Graduate Studies before degree requirements are considered completed.
- Graduation Fee Payment Form requires $15 diploma payment at the Registrar’s Office.
- Commencement Data Card
- Alumni Card
- Survey of Earned Doctorates, if a doctoral student
In addition, two copies of the thesis or dissertation must be submitted to Current Periodicals in the Merrill-Cazier Library. The following fees must be paid at this time:
|Binding fee for required copy
|Binding and processing fee for personal copies*
||$15 per copy
|Processing and handling fee
*The student is responsible for verifying that the personal copies are complete and have been copied and/or printed without errors.
An electronic filing fee (paid online to ProQuest) is paid by the student.
The Current Periodicals personnel will provide a paper receipt, which must be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies before the degree is considered completed.
The final committee-approved Plan B paper must be taken to Special Collections in the Merrill-Cazier Library to be microfiched. Special Collections personnel will provide a paper receipt that must be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies before the degree is considered completed. (A processing and handling fee of $7.50 is required.)
Also, incomplete grades must be removed from the student’s record by the major professor using forms provided by the Registrar’s Office. For Plan B and C programs, the School of Graduate Studies must receive a letter of completion from the department head or interdepartmental program director. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that these final steps are taken.
Delay of Publication Policy
A thesis or dissertation must not contain material that cannot be disclosed publicly. However, occasionally it is in the University’s best interest to delay disclosure of the contents of a thesis or dissertation while patenting and/or commercial development possibilities are investigated or for a period of report review by a funding agency. In such cases, publication of a thesis or dissertation through submission to the Merrill-Cazier Library and to ProQuest (UMI) may be delayed without delaying award of the student’s degree. A copy of the publication delay policy, including the procedures for requesting a delay in library submission, may be obtained from the School of Graduate Studies.
Diplomas and Commencement
Diplomas are prepared by the Registrar’s Office at the end of each semester. Degrees are posted to transcripts throughout the year as students complete degree requirements. The actual date of completion is usually the date the thesis/dissertation is taken to the library for binding. The Plan C completion date is the last day of the semester.
During fall and spring semesters, only students completing degrees by the published Commencement deadline dates for a given semester will be included in the official Commencement program, although other students who complete requirements by a later date during the semester, established by the graduate dean, may participate in the graduate Commencement/Hooding ceremony. Their names will be printed in the next Commencement program.
Graduate Interdepartmental Curricula
Students may pursue concurrent master’s degrees or concurrent master’s and doctoral degrees with the approval of the cooperating departments and the graduate dean.
An application should be submitted for the first degree program. If admission is granted, the student may then apply for a second degree program after submitting a letter from the head of the department to which the student has been admitted. The letter should indicate that the department has no objection to the student applying for the second degree program. To be considered as concurrent degrees, admission to the second degree program must be finalized before the end of the first semester in the first degree.
Guidelines for Concurrent Master’s Degree Programs
In special cases, a student may complete concurrently the requirements for two master’s degrees in different departments but with fewer than the total credits required by both programs, provided that the following conditions are met:
- The student must formally apply and be accepted into both programs by the end of the first semester of the student’s graduate program.
- The chairperson of the student’s supervisory committee in each department must also be a member of the other committee.
- The supervisory committee, the two department heads, and the graduate dean must approve the Program of Study for each degree.
- There can be a maximum of 9 credits of overlap in courses between the two degree programs, and the overlap must be in the elective or broadening courses. With the allowance of overlapping, a student could thus complete the requirements for both degrees with up to 9 fewer semester credits than the usual minimum total for two degrees.
Guidelines for Concurrent Doctoral-Master’s Degree Programs
In special cases, a student may complete concurrently all requirements for a doctorate and a master’s degree in different departments with fewer than the total credits required by both programs, provided that the following conditions are met:
- The student must formally apply and be accepted into both programs by the end of the first semester of the student’s graduate program.
- The student’s doctoral supervisory committee must consist of four members from the doctoral department and two members from the master’s department if the student is on a thesis plan. The master’s committee must consist of two master’s departmental members and the chair of the doctoral committee.
- The student’s supervisory committee, the two department heads, and the graduate dean must approve each Program of Study.
- There can be a maximum of 15 semester credits of overlap in courses between the two degree programs, and the overlap must be in the elective or broadening courses. With the allowance of overlapping, a student could thus complete the requirements for both degrees with a minimum of 75 semester credits, rather than the usual 90-credit minimum.
Interdepartmental Degrees and Certificates
Several interdepartmental graduate degrees are offered at Utah State University. These include: the Interdepartmental Program in Ecology (MS, PhD), the Master of Business Administration (MBA), the Master of Science in Bioregional Planning, the Interdepartmental Program in Social Sciences (MSS), the Interdepartmental Program in Toxicology (MS, PhD), and the Master of Natural Resources (MNR). Also offered are the following two interdisciplinary certificates: (1) National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and (2) Natural Resources and Environmental Education (NREE).
Descriptions of the interdepartmental graduate programs are included alphabetically within the Academic Programs section of this catalog.