Masters Degree Requirements
Requirements for the Masters Degree
Options for the Masters Degree
The Graduate College, except in a few departments where such a choice is not feasible, offers the degrees of master of arts and master of science under three options. Limitations concerning options for the masters degree in the individual majors are shown in the beginning portion of each department’s requirements in the Courses of Instruction section of this bulletin. In choosing an option a student should be guided by the type of training desired. A masters degree student may change his/her declared Option at any time during the program of study with written approval from the adviser, the Chair of the Graduate Committee in the student’s major and the Dean for Graduate Studies. The only exception to this policy is that students may not change from Option I to any other Option if certification of full time status has been utilized.
The major for the masters degree under any option may be met with approved courses selected from those offered in any department which has been approved to offer a program leading to the masters degree, refer to http://www.unl.edu/gradstudies/prospective/programs.
A minor for the masters degree under any option must consist of at least 9 semester hours and may be taken in any one department or interdepartmental area which has been approved to offer a major leading to a masters degree. In addition, the minor may, in certain departments, be completed in a subdivision of the administrative department. Approved fields of study, which may be selected within each administrative department, must be approved by the Graduate Council for use as a minor and are indicated in this bulletin in the sections of the program for the respective departments.
Approved fields of specialization are listed under those sections of this bulletin which pertain to the departments concerned.
The masters degree under Option I should be chosen by those who are preparing for careers in research and scholarly work or in college or university teaching. Under this option a student must earn a minimum of 30 semester hours of credit, consisting of 20 to 24 semester hours of regular course work, and present a thesis equivalent to 6 to 10 semester hours. At least one-half of the required work, including thesis, must be taken in one major subject (at least 18 hours for the master of education degree). The remaining work may be in supporting courses or in a minor consisting of at least 9 semester hours. Eight hours credit, in addition to the thesis, must be earned in courses open exclusively to graduate students (900 level or 800 level without 400 or lower counterparts).
The subject of the thesis should be chosen from the candidate’s field of major interest and must be approved by the departmental Graduate Committee. The thesis should reveal a capacity to carry on independent study or research and should demonstrate the student’s ability to use the techniques employed in her/his field of investigation. Research activities involving human subjects or live vertebrate animals may not be conducted at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) unless the research activities have been reviewed and approved by the appropriate board or committee. The Institutional Review Board (IRB) reviews projects involving human subject research and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) reviews the use of animals in research. These reviews are in accordance with Federal regulations and UNL assurance documents to the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP). The IRB New Protocol Submission form must be completed on-line at http://nugrant.unl.edu; the Application to Use Animals is available at http://research.unl.edu/orr/qa.shtml. Note that the IRB and IACUC will not review projects already in progress; approval must be secured prior to the initiation of the research. Evidence of IRB/IACUC approval must be submitted at the time the final version of the thesis or dissertation is filed.
The thesis must conform in style and form to the guidelines set forth in the Guidebook for the Preparation and Submission of an Electronic Thesis found on the Graduate Studies website at http://www.unl.edu/gradstudies/current/degrees#masters. An electronic copy of the thesis and abstract must be presented for preliminary review to the Masters Degree Specialist in the Office of Graduate Studies at least two weeks (one week in the summer sessions) before the date for the Candidate’s oral examination. A Candidate is not eligible for the oral examination until the thesis is completed and approved by the major adviser. After the thesis has been successfully defended, it needs to be electronically submitted to the Masters Degree Specialist for a final review prior to being uploaded to digital commons.
Option I is not open for the master of professional accountancy degree.
The masters degree under Option II is offered in certain departments upon the advice and the approval of the major adviser, the Graduate Committee, and the Dean of Graduate Studies. This option encourages a wider range of courses than is permissible under Option I. Students who have taken the masters degree under Option II and later elect to continue in graduate work for the degree of doctor of philosophy must give evidence of ability to carry on independent research.
Under this option a student must earn a minimum of 36 semester hours of credit in courses representing a major and either one or two minors. A thesis is not required. A program consisting of a major and one minor must include not fewer than 18 hours in the major and 9 hours in the minor. If two minors are elected, the major must total at least 15 hours and the minors at least 9 hours each. Although most departments stipulate that all course work towards the minor must be taken within the department or interdepartmental area, at the discretion of the minor department up to one-third of the courses required for a minor may be transferred from other institutions. In either case, at least 12 of the 36 hours must be earned in courses open exclusively to graduate students (900 or 800 level without 400 or lower counterparts).
In work for the master of education degree, at least 6 semester hours selected from education courses outside the major must be included and supporting work may be substituted for the minor(s).
Option II is not open for the master of professional accountancy degree.
The masters degree under Option III is designed especially for the student who plans to continue scholarly work in a chosen field past the masters level. It permits the substitution of more intensive work in advanced courses for the thesis or minor. Under this option, the student must earn a minimum of 36 semester hours of credit, at least 18 of which must be earned in courses open exclusively to graduate students (900 or 800 level without 400 or lower counterparts). The program must include not fewer than 18 hours in the major.
Option III is not open for the master of education degree or to students seeking the masters of science degree in either agronomy or horticulture.
Students pursuing the master of professional accountancy degree must earn at least 20 semester hours of credit in courses open exclusively to graduate students. At least 15 semester hours of these graduate-only courses must be in Accounting.
Residency and Time Requirements
A candidate for an Option I masters degree must complete 10-12 semester hours of the required credit in regularly scheduled campus courses, excluding credit in thesis research; candidates for Option II or III masters degrees must complete at least 18 hours in regularly scheduled campus courses. At least one-half of the work for a masters degree must be in the department or area constituting the student’s major.
The work required for a masters degree must be completed within ten consecutive years. Course work exceeding ten years will not apply toward the partial fulfillment of the degree requirements for masters degrees at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Memorandum of Courses
The Memorandum of Courses must be filed before the student has received grades (letter grades, no reports or incompletes) in more than one-half of the prescribed program. It must also be approved by the student’s adviser, the departmental or area Graduate Committee, the Graduate Committee in the student’s minor, and by the Dean of Graduate Studies. A student may NOT file a Memorandum of Courses and graduate in the same semester or summer session. See Master's Degree Forms and Deadlines on the Graduate Studies website http://www.unl.edu/gradstudies/current/degrees#masters.
Admission to Candidacy
A student is admitted to Candidacy for the masters degree when admission deficiencies have been removed and when the ability to perform satisfactorily in graduate studies has been demonstrated, by filing a Memorandum of Courses in the Office of Graduate Studies.
The masters thesis and abstract in preliminary form must be approved by the adviser prior to applying for the final oral examination or for its waiver (at least four weeks prior to the examination). An electronic copy of the thesis and abstract in preliminary form must be submitted to Masters Degree Specialist in the Office of Graduate Studies for approval at least two weeks (one week in summer) prior to the final oral examination. This copy will be reviewed by the masters degree specialist and the student notified of any changes to be made. Please refer to The Guidebook for the Preparation and Submission of an Electronic Thesis on the Graduate Studies website for the exact format to be followed http://www.unl.edu/gradstudies/current/degrees#masters
Following the successful completion of the oral examination, the student should submit another electronic copy to the Masters Degree Specialist for final approval. Once the student receives notification of final approval, the thesis should be uploaded to Digital Commons. Upon a successful upload, the student will receive an email notification which will need to be printed out. The student will then bring the printed notification, one copy of the title page, two copies of the abstract and their signed Final Examination Report Form to the Masters Degree Specialist in the Office of Graduate Studies. 1100 Seaton Hall. The title page and one of the abstracts will be stamped for approval and returned to the student for depositing in 318 Love Library. The Final Examination Report Form will be signed by the personnel in the Library and the student will proceed to the Cashier in Canfield Administration Building to pay the archiving fee. The cashier will sign off on the Final Examination Report Form and the student will then bring the form back to the Office of Graduate Studies.
The student should consult her/his major adviser about the number of additional copies of the thesis which should be prepared, and also about the binding of these copies. One copy must be filed in the departmental office of the major and ordinarily one copy is furnished to the major adviser who directed the study.
Within 24 months prior to the date of graduation, a comprehensive (written and/or oral) examination is (are) required to cover the student’s approved program of study, as specified by the appropriate departments. The comprehensive examination in the minor field(s) (written and/or oral) may be waived subject to the approval of the minor department(s) provided all grades in the minor department are at least a B or pass.
If an oral examination is required, the examining committee, approved by the Office of Graduate Studies on recommendation of the major department, will consist of at least three members representing the major department and the minor department (if applicable). If the degree is being earned under Option I without a final oral examination, the thesis must be approved in writing by a Graduate Faculty member in addition to the major adviser. All professors on the examining committee must either be on the Graduate Faculty, or be non-Graduate Faculty approved to perform specified Graduate Faculty duties. If a member of the examining committee other than the chair leaves the employ of the University, or retires, a replacement should be appointed. In certain circumstances where a special and needed continuing expertise is involved and the faculty member is willing to continue serving, the departing faculty member may continue as a member or co-chair of the committee, with approval of the department Graduate Committee and the UNL Dean of Graduate Studies.
In the event that members of an oral examining committee are not unanimous regarding passing a Candidate, the student is to be approved for the degree if only one examiner dissents. However, in each case, the dissenting member of the committee will be expected to file a letter of explanation in the Office of Graduate Studies.
If a student fails to pass the final oral or written examination for an advanced degree, their committee must file a report on the failure in the Office of Graduate Studies and indicate what the student must do before taking another examination. Another examination may not be held during the same semester or the same summer session in which the student failed.
Procedure Summary for the Masters Degree
This outline of procedure should be studied carefully in connection with the deadlines published in the UNL Graduate Studies calendar. See Master's Degree Forms and Deadlines on the Graduate Studies website http://www.unl.edu/gradstudies/current/degrees#masters.
1. Admission to UNL Graduate Studies.
2. Registration by consultation with the chair of the Graduate Committee and the major adviser and with the approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies.
3. Removal of admission deficiencies.
4. Memorandum of Courses, required for Candidacy, must be filed before grades (letter grades, no reports or incompletes) have been received in more than one-half of the program and on recommendation of the major and minor departments and approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies.
5. Application for advanced degree at the Graduation Services Office, 109 Canfield Administration Building, at the outset of the semester or session in which graduation is planned.
6. The Final Examination Report for the masters degree must be received in the Office of Graduate Studies at least four weeks (three weeks in summer) before the final examination, if required, but in no case later than four weeks before the final date for oral examinations. The report will be accepted after all course work on the program of studies has been completed, or is in progress, and any outstanding incompletes have been removed.
7. The presentation of a preliminary copy of the thesis and abstract to the Graduate Studies Office, two weeks (one week in summer) prior to the oral examination, if required. If the oral examination is waived, the preliminary copy of the thesis and abstract must be presented to the Office of Graduate Studies no later than two weeks before the final date for oral examinations for any given session.
8. Passing of written examinations, if required, in major and minor fields at least one week prior to the time the oral examination is to be taken.
9. Passing of an oral examination, if required, administered by the examining committee.
10. Confirmation of upload of thesis including the abstract to Digital Commons, one copy of the title page, two copies of the abstract and the signed Final Examination Report Form to Graduate Studies to be stamped. Title page and one abstract will be delivered to the Dean of University Libraries, and archiving fee is paid to the Cashier’s Office. Upon receiving the signatures of the Library and the cashier on the Final Examination Report Form, it is returned to the Office of Graduate Studies.