Jun 21, 2018  
2018-2019 General Catalog 
  
2018-2019 General Catalog

School of Graduate Studies


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Vice President for Research and Dean of School of Graduate Studies: Mark R. McLellan
Location: Main 164
Phone: (435) 797-1189
FAX: (435) 797-1192
WWW: http://www.usu.edu/graduateschool/
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 eight colleges of the University, a representative from the Faculty Senate, the Dean of Libraries, 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 98 master's programs, 37 doctoral programs, 5 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. 

A. Graduate Degrees and Majors

1. Academic/Research Degrees


Master of Arts (MA)
Master of Science (MS)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

2. Professional Degrees


Master of Accounting (MAcc)
Master of Applied Economics (MAE)
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 Fitness Promotion (MFP)
Master of Food Safety and Quality (MFSQ)
Master of Human Resources (MHR)
Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)
Master of Learning Technologies and Instructional Design (MLTID)
Master of Management Information Systems (MMIS)
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 Public Health: Health Education Promotion - MPH
Master of Rehabilitation Counseling (MRC)
Master of Second Language Teaching (MSLT)
Master of Social Sciences (MSS)
Master of Social Work (MSW)
Master of Technical Communication (MTC)
Doctor of Audiology (AuD)
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Civil Engineer (CE)
Educational Specialist (EdS)
Electrical Engineer (EE)

B. Graduate Admission Requirements

Admission to the Utah State University School of Graduate Studies requires:

  • A bachelor's degree (or, for many doctoral programs, a master's degree) that will be completed before the student matriculates in the degree program.  Three-year bachelor's degrees from accredited or similarly recognized institutions are accepted if endorsed by the department or degree program.
  • A 3.0 or higher grade point average for terms that include the student's last 60 semester or 90 quarter credits.
  • A score or scores at or above the 40th percentile on all parts of the appropriate admissions test.  A few graduate programs accept a portfolio in place of scores on an admissions test.  See individual department web sites or contact the department to learn if this is an option for the program to which you want to apply.
  • International applicants are required to submit proof of proficiency in English.  See International Admissions.
  • Satisfactory letters of recommendation.

Requirements in addition to those listed above may apply, as determined by individual departments or programs.

1. Applying

Applications are processed online at applynow.usu.edu.  Students can follow a list of procedures at http://rgs.usu.edu/graduateschool/admissions/apply for assistance.  All requirements are handled online through the online application process.

(a) Application Procedures

The following items must be received by the School of Graduate Studies before a student's application will be considered complete:

  • A completed online application accompanied by the nonrefundable $55 application fee (required for both international and domestic students).
  • An official transcript from each previously attended college and/or university (except Utah State University), which must be sent directly from each institution to the School of Graduate Studies. Transcripts must be submitted for all coursework above the high-school level and all prior degrees.  If you were awarded a degree from one institution and your transcript from that institution includes courses taken at a second college or university, and if the transcript includes the course title(s), credits, grade(s), and dates, then you do not have to submit a separate transcript from the second college or university. Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a notarized translation. Transcripts will not be copied for or returned to the applicant.
  • Score(s) on the appropriate admissions test(s) sent directly to the School of Graduate Studies by the testing agency.  If the program to which you apply allows submission of a portfolio in place of an admissions test, the electronic application will indicate how and what to submit.
  • Three letters of recommendation, each of which must address the applicant's potential for success in the proposed graduate degree program. If the applicant has been enrolled in school during the last five years, at least two of the letters must come from persons who are familiar with and can make an authoritative assessment of, the applicant's recent academic performance.  Recommender names and e-mail addresses are required on the online application. Once a prospective student has completed the online application and paid the application fee, the School of Graduate Studies will request that the applicant's recommenders send their letters directly to the Graduate School.

(b) Admissions Tests

Most applicants must take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test.  The school of Graduate Studies does not require the Analytical Writing Score, however, the Analytical Writing Score may be required by some departments or programs.  Some departments will accept the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) for master's degree applications.  Applicants to the Master of Business Administration, the Master of Management Information Systems, and Master of Accounting programs are required to take the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).  Applicants should request that their test report be sent directly to the School of Graduate Studies.

(c) International Admissions

English Proficiency

All international applicants whose native language is not English must prove university-level English proficiency. The School of Graduate Studies English language requirement may be satisfied in a variety of ways:

  • TOEFL score of at least 79 (Internet-based), 213 (computer-based), or 550 (paper-based)
  • IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score of at least 6.0 overall
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) overall score of at least 53
  • Completion of a degree from a university in an English-speaking country
  • USU's Intensive English Language Institute (IELI) placement exam score of at least 146 (IELI's placement exam may be taken upon arrival at USU)

English proficiency test scores are valid for two years.

If you are not sure if you qualify for an exemption as a native English speaker, please contact the School of Graduate Studies to request a review of your circumstances.

USU reserves the right to require proof of English proficiency from any applicant if deemed necessary by a university official.

An applicant who is admitted with an English language proficiency score below the required minimum, and who has not obtained a degree in an English-speaking country, must take the English Language Placement Test given by IELI at USU. The test must be taken before a student will be allowed to register. The results of the exam are used to place students into one of three categories:

  1. Full-time study of English in the Intensive English Language Institute.
  2. A combination of English-language study and academic study, if approved by the IELI director, the student's advisor, and the graduate dean.
  3. Full-time academic studies.

Students placed in the Intensive English Program must remain in the program until the required English proficiency is attained. Those in category 1 are not allowed to register for non-IELI classes.

Students will be eligible to enroll in their chosen academic program at USU after they have passed level 4 (advanced level) of the Intensive English program at USU or achieved a score of at least 146 on the IELI's placement exam. Qualified students in level 4 (advanced level) of Intensive English may take one or more academic courses concurrent with their English courses if approved by the IELI faculty, their academic advisor, and the graduate dean. Audited courses are not recognized by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) toward the requirement of carrying a full course of study.

Failure to carry a full course of study, failure to make satisfactory progress toward the receipt of a graduate degree, or failure to comply with any other immigration requirements for students attending USU will be grounds for suspension or dismissal in accordance with existing University policy.

I-20 Applications

International students must also submit an I-20 application form and a financial guarantee. Because of immigration regulations, international students cannot be admitted to provisional matriculation.

(d) Application Deadlines and Processing

Application deadlines are department or program specific.  The time it takes to process an application is primarily dependent on the speed with which the School of Graduate Studies receives letters of recommendation, transcripts, and test scores.  This process may take six to eight weeks.  Applicants should be aware of department or program application deadlines and plan accordingly.  As soon as an application is complete, a recommendation is made by the appropriate department to the graduate dean, who must approve all admissions.  No notification of acceptance or rejection other than that from the graduate dean is official.

2. Other Admissions Considerations

(a) 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 for their graduate 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 (a) be within 30 semester credits of completing bachelor's degree requirements, (b) have filed an Application for Graduation in the Graduation Office, (c) be currently taking at least one required undergraduate class, (d) have an institution undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher at the beginning of the semester listed on the Split Form, and (e) 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 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 Registrar's 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 School of Graduate Studies stating which undergraduate courses they desire to have 'split out.' Students should contact their undergraduate advisor for help with filing the appropriate form.

(b) Summer Semester Admission

The summer semester consists of two 1-week presessions for workshops and short special programs, an 8-week semester of regular coursework, and a postsession of 1 week for workshops and seminars. Nonresident students pay only resident tuition for summer semester credits. All summer semester students are eligible to register the following fall semester. For information regarding deadlines, students should contact the department to which they plan to apply.

(c) Concurrent Graduate Degrees

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 first be submitted for the first degree program. If admission is granted, the student may then apply for a second degree program by submitting a Concurrent Degrees form to the School of Graduate Studies. To be considered as concurrent degrees, admission to the second degree program must be finalized before the end of the second semester in the first degree program.

Concurrent Master's Degree Programs

In special cases, a student may complete concurrently the requirements for two master's degrees, in the same or 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 the second program by the end of the second semester of the student's first 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 department head(s), 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.
Concurrent Doctoral-Master's Degree Programs

In special cases, a student may complete concurrently all requirements for a doctoral degree and a master's degree 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 second semester of the student's first 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 by 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.

(d) Guidelines for Concurrent Interdepartmental Master's Degree Programs1

In special cases, a student may complete concurrently the requirements for two master's degrees 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 the second program by the end of the second semester of the student's first 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.

(e) Guidelines for Concurrent Interdepartmental Doctoral-Master's Degree Programs1

In special cases, a student may complete concurrently all requirements for a doctorate and a master's degree 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 second semester of the student's first 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 by 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.

1Intradepartmental concurrent degrees would follow the same guidelines.

(f) Bachelor's Degree Requirement

A bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. college or university or a similarly recognized international university is required for admission to a graduate program. Three-year bachelor's degrees from accredited or similarly recognized institutions are accepted with the endorsement of the academic department in which the student wishes to study.

(g) International Applicants

Students who have completed two years of college in one of the countries listed below where the instruction in the college was in English are considered to be proficient in the English language and will not be required to provide additional evidence of English language proficiency.

  • Australia
  • Canada (except Quebec Province)
  • New Zealand
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

The English language requirement may be satisfied by submitting official scores in several ways. Students must ask their testing agency to send their official exam scores to Utah State University (USU).

  • TOEFL internet-based (iBT) exam score of 79 or paper-based exam score of 550. The institution school code for USU is 4857.*
  • IELTS score of 6.0 overall band score with a minimum score of 5.0 on each subscale*
  • USU's Intensive English Language Institute (IELI) placement exam score of 145 or above on the IELI General Placement Exam and a passing score of 31 or above on the IELI Writing Exam.**

*Departments may require a higher score, and scores that are more than 2 years old are not accepted.

**The IELI placement exam may be taken upon arrival at USU.

Intensive English Language Institute

An applicant who does not provide proof of English language proficiency through one of the options above must take the English Language Placement Exam, given by USU's Intensive English Language Institute (IELI). The exam will determine if the student meets USU's English language proficiency requirement or the student's place in one of four class levels of English language instruction. Students are required to complete any required intensive English language courses before beginning other academic course work.

C. Financial Assistance

Applications for assistantships, fellowships, and other financial aid should be made through departmental offices.  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. 

Students who are awarded fellowships or scholarships must be full-time students enrolled in approved graduate-level coursework.

1. Graduate Tuition Awards

Graduate students may be eligible to receive graduate tuition awards for the resident and/or nonresident portion of tuition. These awards are coordinated through the admitting college, department, and program.  Domestic students have a responsibility to obtain Utah residency in order to minimize the cost of nonresident tuition. Additional information regarding Utah residency requirements can be found here.

Two nonresident tuition waivers were established  in 2014.

Research Nonresident Tuition Waiver:  The nonresident portion of tuition will be waived for any graduate student who is in a PhD program or a MS Plan A program, and who is supported by a 0.5 FTE assistantship for the entire semester.  This is a true waiver of nonresident tuition, there is no limit on the number of waivers that may be awarded, and a student may receive this waiver for more than one year.

Nonresident Tuition Waiver for Excellence:  The nonresident portion of tuition will be waived, for one year, for any incoming graduate student who has an admission GPA and test scores above the averages for their college.  College averages for admission GPA and test scores will be computed each October, based on students who are enrolled for the fall semester.  This waiver for nonresident tuition is available to students in any graduate degree program.  There is no limit on the number of waivers that may be awarded, however an individual student may only receive this waiver for one year.

2. Graduate Assistantships

Teaching, research, and other graduate assistantships are available in most of the departments. A full-time assistantship requires 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 by 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

Graduate assistants must maintain an institution grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher. Once a Program of Study has been approved, the department head may request that the institution GPA be based only on courses listed on the Program of Study. GPAs are checked by the School of Graduate Studies at the end of each semester. If the student has not yet started the graduate program, the overall GPA for terms that include the last 60 semester, or 90 quarter, credits will be used to determine eligibility as a graduate assistant.

Graduate assistants may register for a maximum of 12 credits per semester.

3. Teaching Assistantships/Graduate Instructors

Graduate students may be teaching assistants or graduate instructors. Teaching loads vary up to a maximum of 20 hours per week, and salaries vary with department and teaching load.

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.

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, which aids international 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.

4. 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 Doctoral Research Fellowships

Download Application - Deadline: April 16

Award: Ten fellowships of a minimum of $20,000/year for a maximum duration of 4 years, plus a tuition award for either in-state or nonresident students for up to 9 credits for 4 years.

Criteria: A 3.5 or above instituion GPA and GRE scores at the 70th percentile or higher; students must be accepted to a graduate program as a matriculated doctoral student, with matching departmental financial support (amount will vary); students must be nominated by their academic college.

For additional information about the Presidential Doctoral Research Fellowships, please see: http://research.usu.edu/htm/news/articleID=16028.

         Martin Luther King Fellowships

Download Application - Deadline: April 2

Award: Two fellowships of $7,000 for the academic year and a tuition award for either in-state or nonresident students for up to 9 credits.

Criteria: A 3.0 overall GPA and GRE scores at the 40th percentile or higher; students must be accepted to a graduate program as a matriculated student, with matching departmental financial support (minimum $1,000); students must not have exceeded the 70-credit tuition award limit to be eligible for the tuition award that accompanies this fellowship.

Intended for deserving African American students; priority given to new students.

         School of Graduate Studies Dissertation Fellowships

 

Download Application - Deadline: April 2

Award: Ten non-renewable fellowships of $5,000 for the academic year with a tuition award for in-state and nonresident students for up to 9 credits.

Criteria: Submission of curriculum vita as well as a letter from the department head or the department's director of graduate studies that endorses the student's application and that describes the department's commitment to relieve the student of some portion of the student's responsibilities as a graduate assistant (the letter should be addressed to the Dissertation Fellowship Selection Committee); students who have exceeded the 70-credit tuition award limit will not be eligible for the tuition award that accompanies this fellowship.

Intended to provide outstanding doctoral students with additional time to draft and revise dissertations; it should be used to relieve students from some part of their teaching or research obligations in order to pursue more actively the actual writing of the dissertation.

Seely-Hinckley Scholarship 

Download Application - Deadline: April 16

Note: This application is for college/faculty/staff use only

Award: Eight scholarships which award in-state tuition for up to 9 credits, and cover student fees for two semesters. If the recipient is a nonresident student, the School of Graduate Studies will also provide a nonresident tuition award for up to 9 credits for two semesters.

Criteria: Students must not have exceeded the 70-credit tuition award limit to be eligible for this scholarship.

Intended for outstanding graduate students who face serious financial difficulties. Each college nominates two students per year, and from this pool eight are selected to receive the scholarship. 

5. Research Assistantships

Stipends and workloads for research assistants vary, with a maximum workload of 20 hours per week. Students conducting research that will be used for their thesis or dissertation may register for 4 research or thesis credits above the 12-credit limit.

6. Federal College Work-Study Assistantships

Graduate students may apply for work-study support by completing an online FAFSA application.

7. Probationary Status, Eligibility for Assistantship

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.

8. 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 American Studies - folklore specialization (MA, MS), Applied Environmental Geoscience (MS), Audiology (AUD), Climate Science (MS, PhD), Deaf Education (MEd), Electrical Engineering - Space Studies (MS, PhD), Food Safety and Quality (MFSQ), Horticulture/Water Efficient Landscaping (MS), Management Information Systems (MMIS), Master of Human Resources (MHR), Second Language Teaching (MSLT), Speech-Language Pathology (MS, MA), Toxicology (MS, PhD), Upper Atmosphere Physics (MS, PhD), and Watershed Science (MS, PhD).  Information is available at: http://wrgp.wiche.edu/ 

9. 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.  

For information about GI Bill Benefits, contact: Office of Veterans Services, Taggart Student Center 313, Utah State University, 0185 Old Main Hill, Logan UT 84322-0185, tel. (435) 797-9187.

 

D. Student Classifications

1. Matriculated Graduate Students

A matriculated graduate student has been accepted by a department, with the concurrence of the dean of the School of Graduate Studies, into an approved graduate degree program and has enrolled at the University. A student may be accepted on a conditional 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. 

A full-time matriculated graduate student must be one of the following:

  • Registered for 9 or more graduate credits.
     
  • Registered for 6 or more graduate credits if employed as a graduate assistant for 15 hours per week or more*.
     
  • Registered for 3 graduate credits with all required coursework completed and only the research component of the degree remaining (the student's Program of Study must have been submitted to the School of Graduate Studies).
     
  • 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.

*In the case of a domestic student who is on a fellowship where (1) The documented expected requirement for conducting research is 15 hours per week or more, and (2) the student is making a minimum of $10,000 per academic year, a department head can petition the School of Graduate Studies for the student to be recognized as a full-time with 6 rather than 9 graduate 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.

2. Nonmatriculated Post baccalaureate Students

A nonmatriculated post baccalaureate 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, post baccalaureate 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.

E. 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 time lines 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. 

1. Grades and Credits

(a). 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.

No more than 12 semester credits taken at USU or another institution prior to matriculation at USU may be used in a program of study for 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, and are subject to the same time limit as USU course credits. Transfer credits will be shown on official USU transcripts upon completion of the degree.

(b). Course-Level Numbering and Acceptability

7000-7989 are doctorate-level courses. With supervisory committee and instructor approval they may be used in a master's program.

6000-6989 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.

The Program of Study for a Master's degree, or for a doctoral degree if the student has a Master's degree, must include at least 15 semester credits at the level of 6000 or above.  For a doctoral degree, if the student does not have a Master's degree, the Program of Study must include at least 30 credits at the level of 6000 or above.  Coursework that is below the 5000 level should typically be in areas outside the student's graduate degree field, and must be approved by the student's supervisory committee as appropriate for the student's individual degree program.  Courses that students entering the graduate program are expected to have taken as undergraduates and prerequisites for graduate courses may not be included on a Program 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.

(c). Auditing Classes

Admitted students may register to audit a class, dependent on space, resource availability, and instructor approval. No credit or grade points will be granted. The regular tuition and course fees will be assessed. At no future time may students request or receive credit for the audited course by any other means than by officially registering for the course and doing the required work. Audit requests, approved by the instructor, must be submitted to the Registrar's Office and tuition and fees must be paid before class attendance is permitted. Students are not permitted to register as auditors prior to the first day of classes for any given semester. The instructor's authorization must be submitted within three business days of being signed.

Students who are registered for a class and would like to change to an audit registration may do so only up through the Adding Classes deadline, which also coincides with the Last Day to Drop without Notation on Transcript. Students who drop after this period must receive a W (withdrawal) grade and may not register as an auditor.

(d). Semester Credit Limit

Students must have authorization from their academic major advisor to enroll in more than 18 credits a semester.

(e). 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-Grade Policy
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. 

2. 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.

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 completion of the Application for leave of Absence or Continuous Registration form, which includes 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.

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.

3. Off-Campus Students

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.

4. Grace Semester

The semester a student defends (or redefends) a thesis, Plan B paper, or dissertation, or takes final oral examinations, the student 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 (spring, summer, or fall, known as a grace semester) following the defense 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. If all degree requirements are not complete within two years of a successful defense then the major professor must submit to the graduate dean a letter, signed by all members of the supervisory committee, justifying why the student should not be required to re-defend the thesis, Plan B paper, or dissertation.

5. Grace Semester for International Students

USU 7777 is a new course that will allow international students to have a semester similar to the "grace semester" available to domestic students (certain stipulations apply—see department or School of Graduate Studies for complete course details; registration is done at the School of Graduate Studies).  The purpose of the course is to maintain the "in-status" classification with ICE without paying tuition.  Therefore, because the course is not associated with any credits, students who enroll are ineligible for graduate assistantships or subsidized health insurance.

If international students need to use University facilities during the "grace semester" course, they can pay the fees associated with the 5-credit tuition amount at the Registrar's Office.  If more time is required after the grace semester, then the student will need to enroll for 3 credit hours and pay the full tuition amount. 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.

6. 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 the second or third condition to apply, the student must have an approved Program of Study on file in the School of Graduate Studies.

To request a leave of absence, an Application for Leave of Absence or Continuous Registration form must be signed by the department head and submitted to the School of Graduate Studies. 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.

7. Complete Withdrawal from the University

Matriculated graduate students who wish to completely withdraw must present their case to the School of Graduate Studies Office by email (sent to gradforms@usu.edu); this email must include the student's A#. The date of the official withdrawal is the date the withdrawal form or letter is received. A student who withdraws must be accepted for readmission before he or she may enroll again.

Once final examinations have begun for the semester, students may no longer apply for a complete withdrawal from the University. Students will receive the grades earned in the courses and those grades will be included on the transcript.

8. Time Limit 

A master's degree must be completed within six years of entering the degree program. A doctorate must be completed within eight years of entering the degree program.

Coursework that is more than eight years old may not be used for a graduate degree unless it is revalidated. If permitted by the departmental or interdepartmental degree program policy, a supervisory committee may allow revalidation, following a plan developed by the supervisory committee and approved by the associate dean of the School of Graduate Studies. The results must be verified in writing to the associate dean by the student's major professor or other person(s) responsible for the revalidation. Work experience cannot be substituted for out-of-date coursework or used for revalidation, except where that work experience can be documented to have involved the use of current knowledge and application of material currently covered in the course.

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. The revalidation procedures described above will apply.

9. Academic Nepotism

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. 

10. Low-Scholarship Notification for Graduate Students

The dean of the School of Graduate Studies will notify students whose GPA is below 3.0 any semester. If a student's institution GPA remains below 3.0 for two consecutive semesters, the student may be placed on probationary status and his or her graduate program may be terminated.

11. 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).

12. 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.

F. Research and Intellectual Property

1. Research Approval

All University research involving human subjects, animal subjects, radiation materials, recombinant DNA, biohazardous materials, or certain highly toxic chemicals 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 Proposal Approval Form or doctoral Application for Candidacy can be approved. For further information, contact the School of Graduate Studies or the Office of Research and Graduate Studies.

(a). Research Involving Human Participants

The Institutional Review Board (IRB) is the campus organization responsible for protecting the rights and welfare of human participants recruited to participate in studies conducted by researchers affiliated with Utah State University. This office (located in the Science, Engineering, and Research (SER) Building, room 140) administers the review of human subjects research proposals to ensure compliance with federal regulations and ethical principles, so that scientific funding and activities can continue at USU.

Whenever faculty members or students wish to conduct research involving human participants, they must submit their research proposal for review and approval by the IRB before the research can be started. Some research is considered exempt from full-board IRB review and can be approved more quickly. Only the IRB can make this determination; however, this type of research must still be submitted to the IRB for prior review.

For more information about the IRB application and approval process, visit the IRB web site.

(b). Use of Vertebrate Animals in Research, Teaching, or Training

All faculty, staff, students and cooperators conducting research, teaching, or training with vertebrate animals are required to adhere to all federal, state, and institution regulations and policies, including the federal Animal Welfare Act and the PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) is the campus organization responsible for ensuring compliance with these standards so that scientific funding and activities can continue at USU.

Prior approval by the IACUC is required before faculty members or students begin research involving live vertebrate animals. All use of animals in research, teaching, or training must be overseen by a faculty member who may submit proposals for review by the IACUC. More information about the IACUC application and approval process is available from the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

(c). Research Involving Radioactive Materials, Recombinant DNA, or Biohazardous Materials

Research involving radioactive materials, recombinant DNA, biohazardous materials, or certain highly toxic chemicals is also subject to state and federal regulations. USU has separate safety committees, the Radiation Safety Committee, Institutional Biosafety/Recombinant DNA Committee, Biohazards Committee, and Chemical Hygiene Committee, which help ensure institutional compliance with regulatory standards. All faculty, staff, and students that wish to conduct research with radioactive materials, recombinant DNA, biohazardous materials, or highly toxic chemicals must submit their research proposal to the respective committee for review and approval before the research can be started. For more information about the application and approval processes for these types of research projects, contact the USU Environmental Health and Safety Office.

(d). Responsible Conduct of Research

As of fall 2013, all students entering a doctoral degree program must complete the Research Scholars Certification Program offered by the Office of Research and Graduate Studies. This is also required of any student who is supported by funds from the National Science Foundation and trainees supported by some categories of grants from NIH, including training grants, development grants, and dissertation grants. USU 6900  (Conduct of Responsible Research) will be listed on the transcript of any graduate student who completes all parts of the Research Scholars Certification Program.

2. Research Misconduct

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 not externally sponsored, 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 misconduct, the penalty may include 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. If the misconduct is found to have been knowingly or deliberately committed, the penalty may include dismissal from a program or withdrawal of an awarded degree.

 

3. 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.) 

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.

5. Appeals Procedure

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.

G. Graduate Degree Requirements

A list of graduate degrees that are offered at Utah State University can be found here.

1. Master's Degrees

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 Approval form should be submitted by the department head to the School of Graduate Studies for final approval by the end of the student's second 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 should be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies before the end of the second semester in the program. Changes to the Program of Study can be made by submitting a Program of Study Revision form to the School of Graduate Studies.

(1a) Credit Requirement

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. Departments may have higher credit requirements for some Master's degrees.

(a) Master's Degree Plans

(1) Plan A

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 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 Master's Proposal Approval Form, signed by the entire committee, should be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies after the committee approves the research proposal. This form is also used to document that the student has obtained the necessary regulatory approvals and safety training, so it should be submitted before the student conducts the majority of the thesis research.

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.

(2) Plan B

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. If a Plan B option includes research beyond a review of literature, the student should submit a Master's Proposal Approval Form after the committee approves the research plan. This form is also used to document that the student has obtained the necessary regulatory approvals and safety training, so it should be submitted before the student conducts the majority of the thesis research.

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.

(3) Plan C

A master's degree option with no thesis or Plan B paper is available in a few programs in the College of Engineering. 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.

(b) Professional Master's Degrees

USU's  professional degree programs are offered through a particular college, school, or department. Contact the sponsoring entity for program details. See also the Graduate Degrees and Majors listing at the beginning of this section of the catalog.

(c) Specific Master's Requirements

(1) 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.

(2) Credit Requirement

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.

(3) Residency Requirement

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.

(4) 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.

Up to 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.

2. Professional Master's Degrees

USU's professional degree programs are offered through a particular college, school, or department. Contact the sponsoring entity for program details.

3. Post-Master's Professional Degrees

Two degrees, 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. If the report is submitted as a thesis it is reviewed by the School of Graduate Studies assistant dean and signed by the graduate dean.

4. Doctoral Degrees

When a doctoral student is admitted, the department head may appoint a temporary advisor to work with the student until a supervisory committee is established. A Supervisory Committee Approval form must be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies for approval by the end of the student's third semester in the program. 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 enrolled. 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; 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 form to the School of Graduate Studies. Amendments to the Program of Study form can be made by submitting to the School of Graduate Studies a completed Program of Study Revision form. 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, 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.

(a) Credit Requirement 

Doctoral degrees generally require a course of study of 30-60 credits beyond a master's degree or 60-90 credits beyond a bachelor's degree. Check with individual departments for specific credit-hour requirements.

A minimum of 12 dissertation credits is required if the student has a master's degree and a minimum of 18 dissertation credits is required if the student does not have a master's degree. 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.

(b) Residency Requirement

Doctoral Residency Requirements

The purpose of the doctoral residency requirement is to ensure that the student experiences 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 the preparation for future work in an academic community.

At least 33 semester credits for a PhD or AUD degree must be taken from USU and must be part of an approved Program of Study. At least three semesters, two of which must be consecutive, of full-time registration in residence at USU are required.

For the EdD, at least 39 semester credits must be taken from USU and must be part of an approved program of study. At least three semesters must be full-time registration in residence at USU; none of the semesters need to be consecutive, but two full-time semesters must be taken on campus prior to registering for dissertation credits.

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. Note that some degree programs (PhD, EdD, and professional doctoral degrees) may set more intense requirements for residency.

The candidate:

  • 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.
  • 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).
  • Is aware of additional departmental requirements.

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.

Master's Residency Requirement

At least 24 semester credits for a master's degree must be taken from USU and must be part of an approved Program of Study.

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.

(c) 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.

5. Graduate 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 Master of Science (MS) in Bioregional Planning, the MS in Economics and Statistics, 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).

H. Degree Completion

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.

1. Thesis, Dissertation, Committees

Supervisory Committees

Members of supervisory committees must have a record of active scholarship or special expertise related to the student's program and hold the accepted final degree in their field, unless an exception is approved by the graduate dean based on other evidence of accomplishment. A committee member should hold a degree equivalent to or higher than the one the graduate student is seeking and have completed a dissertation or thesis requirement similar to that which the graduate student is completing.

A member must have a faculty appointment at the assistant professor level or higher (including clinical, library, and research ranks), except as noted below.

Adjunct faculty members without a full-time USU appointment may serve on supervisory committees upon recommendation by the department and approval by the graduate dean, but a majority of the members of each supervisory committee must be core faculty members who have full-time USU appointments.

Clinical instructors and lecturers may serve on master's committees (usually for nonthesis degrees) upon recommendation of the department and approval by the graduate dean.

Upon recommendation of the department head, emeritus faculty may serve on supervisory committees, but may not chair new committees.

To serve as chairperson/major professor of a thesis or dissertation committee, the faculty member must have a record of current (last five years), active research and/or scholarship. A faculty member other than core faculty may serve as the chairperson/major professor only under exceptional conditions of research supervision approved by the graduate dean.

A faculty member should not be appointed to a supervisory committee if, for any reason, he or she will not be available for committee meetings. Ideally, all members should be present for the final defense, and the defense should be scheduled accordingly. Technology-assisted participation in the defense is acceptable if an absence is unavoidable. No more than one committee member for a master's defense and no more than two committee members for a doctoral defense may participate via technology.

2. Preparation and Approval of Thesis, 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, 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 by itself as an entire thesis or dissertation.

The content of a thesis or disseration must be approved by the student's supervisory committee.  Publications or manuscripts of which the student is a coauthor may be included if the committee determines that the student made a substantial intellectual contribution to the work.  Permission to include a publication or manuscript in a thesis or dissertation does not depend on the order of authorship.  Any included publication or manuscript must be a logical component of the overarching theme or themes addressed by the entire thesis or dissertation, which, as a whole, must represent the student's individual and orginal effort.  The student is responsible for obtaining reprint permission from the copyright holder for any published works included as part of the 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 (Old Main 164) will review an early draft for format and style. Students are encouraged to attend a thesis workshop prior to writing the thesis.

3. Examination/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.

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.

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. If all degree requirements are not completed within two years of a successful defense then the major professor must submit to the graduate dean a letter, signed by all members of the supervisory committee, justifying why the student should not be required to re-defend the thesis, Plan B paper, or dissertation. Students must register for at least 3 credits the semester of redefense.

4. Oral Examination/Defense

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.

5. Submitting Approved Thesis or Dissertation

Following the successful defense of the thesis or dissertation, the student is responsible for proofreading the thesis/dissertation and having it read and approved by the department before submitting the document electronically to the School of Graduate Studies for review. Once the document has been approved by the School of Graduate Studies, a final copy, including a cover page that has been signed by all committee members, must be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies for the dean's signature.

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 signed by the dean.

I. Final Steps

A graduate student must complete a Graduation Information Checklist before a graduate degree will be awarded. Master's students who do not prepare a thesis will receive instructions for completing the checklist during their final semester in their degree program. Students who are required to pass an oral defense of a dissertation, thesis, or report will receive instructions for completing the checklist after passing the defense.

One copy of the thesis or dissertation must be submitted to the Current Periodicals section of the Merrill-Cazier Library. The document must be accompanied by a processing and handling fee of $15, plus a binding and processing fee of $15 for each personal copy of the document.

An electronic filing fee (paid online to ProQuest) is paid by the student.

Students who are required to pass an oral defense of a dissertation or thesis will receive a paper receipt form the School of Graduate Studies when their document has been signed by the dean of the School of Graduate Studies. This receipt should accompany the dissertation or thesis when it is taken to the Current Periodicals desk in the library. Once library personnel complete the receipt, it must be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies before the degree is considered complete.

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.)

Incomplete grades must be removed from the student's record by the major professor using forms provided by the Registrar's Office. For Plan C and professional 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.

1. 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.

2. Graduate Diplomas and Commencement

Diplomas are prepared by the Registrar's Office at the end of each semester. Degrees are posted 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.

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.

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