Degree Requirements

Students are reminded that they are responsible for understanding and complying with the requirements for the academic and professional degrees described in this section as well as elsewhere in this catalog.

Students wishing to pursue more than one graduate degree must have a separate program of study for each. Courses may not be counted for credit for more than one degree.

Academic Programs

Academic degrees conferred by The Graduate School are the Master of Arts (M.A.), Master of Science (M.S.), Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). Following is general information pertaining to M.A., M.S., M.Phil., and Ph.D. degree programs. For information about additional requirements for degrees in particular disciplines, refer to the discipline in the Courses section and the corresponding college in the Colleges section of this catalog.

SUPERVISORY COMMITTEES

The supervisory committee is responsible for approving the student’s academic program, preparing and judging the qualifying examinations subject to departmental policy, approving the thesis or dissertation subject, reading and approving the thesis or dissertation, and administering and judging the final oral examination (thesis or dissertation defense). The chair of the supervisory committee directs the student’s research and writing of the thesis or dissertation. The final oral examination may be chaired by any member of the supervisory committee consistent with departmental policy. If a graduate student’s preliminary work is deficient, the supervisory committee may require supplementary undergraduate courses for which no graduate credit is granted. Decisions concerning program requirements, examinations, and the thesis or dissertation are made by majority vote of the supervisory committee.

All University of Utah faculty members including regular (tenured or tenure track) research, clinical, emeritus, visiting, auxiliary, and adjunct are eligible to serve as supervisory committee members. The faculty member must hold an academic or professional doctorate, the terminal degree in the relevant field, and/or must have demonstrated competence to do research and scholarly or artistic work in the student’s general field. Persons not from the University of Utah may also serve as committee members upon approval of the dean of The Graduate School (a vita for the proposed committee members should accompany the request). Committee chairs must be selected from regular faculty (tenured or tenure track). Immediate family members are not eligible to serve on a student’s supervisory committee.

The supervisory committee is usually formed in the first year of graduate work. It is the responsibility of the student to approach prospective committee members with a view to their willingness and availability to serve in such a capacity. Faculty have the right, however, for justifiable academic reasons, to refuse to serve on a student’s supervisory committee.

The department chair or director of graduate studies, depending on departmental policy, appoints the chair and committee members. The process of forming a supervisory committee is completed by filing a Request for Supervisory Committee form with the major department.

Master’s supervisory committees consist of three faculty members, the majority of whom must be regular (tenured or tenure track) faculty in the student’s major department.

Doctoral supervisory committees consist of five faculty members, the majority of whom must be regular (tenured or tenure track) faculty in the student’s major department. One member of the supervisory committee must be from another department.

Exceptions to these guidelines must be recommended and justified by the director of graduate studies of the department or the department chair, depending on departmental policies, and approved by the dean of The Graduate School.

Master’s Degrees

THE MASTER’S SUPERVISORY COMMITTEE

Unless otherwise approved by the dean of The Graduate School, a supervisory committee consisting of three faculty members, the majority of whom must be regular (tenured or tenure track) faculty in the student’s major department, is appointed no later than the second semester of graduate work. If a graduate student’s preliminary work is deficient, the supervisory committee may require supplementary undergraduate courses for which no graduate credit is granted.

PROGRAM OF STUDY

The Graduate School requires candidates for master’s degrees to devote a minimum of 30 credit hours to their graduate courses (i.e., courses numbered 5000 and above) and thesis. Some departments require more than 30 hours. A minimum of 20 hours must be in course work, with the balance in thesis hours or alternative to the thesis (when allowed by the department). For thesis-based Master’s degrees, a minimum of six credits of thesis research is required by The Graduate School. Nine to 12 credit hours are elected. All course work counted toward the degree must be approved by the student’s supervisory committee. See department for departmental requirements. Faculty Consultation, course number 6980, does not count toward thesis hours or fulfillment of degree requirements on the program of study.

The candidate is required to maintain a 3.0 or higher GPA in course work listed on the Program of Study for the master’s degree. A grade below C- is not accepted toward a graduate degree. Some departments further restrict C grades.

Each master’s program requires a distinct, complete set of course work. Course work used to meet the requirements of one master’s program may not be used to meet the requirements of another. Courses taken through alternative delivery methods, e.g., via EDNET or the Internet, are approved on a programmatic basis through the Graduate Council.

RESIDENCY ENROLLMENT REQUIREMENT*

At least 24 credit hours must be in resident study at the University of Utah. The Graduate Council may approve departmental or programmatic exceptions to the minimum residency requirements and proposals for new programs or academic offerings using distance learning technologies and/or off-campus sites, as provided by Graduate School policy.

*does not refer to or fulfill State Residency Requirements

APPROVAL OF PROGRAM OF STUDY

One semester prior to graduation, a complete program of study should be entered into the Graduate Records Tracking System by the department graduate coordinator and then approved by the student’s supervisory committee and the director of graduate studies. Once the student is admitted to candidacy for the master’s degree, this program of study is reviewed by The Graduate School.

EXAMINATIONS: THESIS OPTION

Final Thesis Defense: The required final examination for the M.S. or M.A. thesis option is an oral defense of the thesis. The defense date is set by the supervisory committee and is open to the public. At least three weeks before this final oral examination, the student should submit an acceptable thesis draft to the committee chair; committee members should receive copies at least two weeks before the examination date. After the oral presentation, a question and answer period must be allowed. At the conclusion of the public participation, the committee may excuse the public and conduct further questioning on the thesis and related topics. The outcome of the thesis defense is reported on the Report of the Final Oral Exam and Thesis for the Master’s Degree form.

Comprehensive Examination: In addition to the required thesis defense, departments may or may not require a comprehensive examination of M.S. and M.A. candidates in the thesis option. Each department establishes its own policy on the structure of the examination (i.e., written, oral, or both; conducted by supervisory committee or uniform departmental exam). The exam may be taken early in the program as a comprehensive qualifying exam, or late in the program as a final comprehensive exam separate from the thesis defense.

EXAMINATIONS: NONTHESIS OPTION

Alternatives to the thesis are permitted by some departments. These alternatives may consist of course work only or involve an independent project. In either case, a final exam that covers breadth and integration of material in the field is required. The examination may be written, oral, or both, and is conducted by the supervisory committee or the department. For project-oriented master’s degrees, a public oral defense of the project may serve as the final examination. At its discretion, the supervisory committee may elect to excuse the public from the defense in order to pursue additional questions related to the student’s project and field of study. The supervisory committee of the student completing a nonthesis master’s degree must sign and submit the Report of the Final Project for the Master’s Degree or the Report of the Final Examination or Certification of Completion for the nonthesis Master’s Degree form to their department, to be entered into the student’s online file:  Graduate Student Summary in the Campus Information Service. This form is due by the last day of the semester in which the student expects to graduate.

Exceptions to these rules must be approved by The Graduate School. All departmental examination policies for the M.A. and M.S. degrees must be on file with The Graduate School.

REGISTRATION

Thesis candidates must register for a minimum of six credit hours of Thesis Research (course number 6970) and at least one course per semester from the time of formal admission to a graduate program until all requirements for the degree, including the final oral examination (thesis defense), are completed.

Nonthesis candidates must be registered for at least one course per semester from the time of formal admission to a graduate degree program until all requirements for the degree, including the defense of the final project, paper, or final examination, are completed. Thesis and nonthesis candidates must meet this registration requirement unless they have an official leave of absence. See Minimum Continuous Registration and Leaves of Absence elsewhere in this section of the catalog.

LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS

Candidates for the M.A. degree must be certified by the Department of Languages and Literature as having demonstrated “standard proficiency” in at least one foreign language. However, departments may establish additional language requirements for the M.A. degree. There is no University-wide foreign-language requirement for the M.S. degree, but departments may establish their own language requirement. The major department determines the foreign language in which each candidate is required to demonstrate competence. The Language Verification form for certification is available in the Department of Languages and Literature. For additional information, see also Language Proficiency Requirements elsewhere in this section of the catalog.

THESIS REGULATIONS

The thesis must represent from 6 to 10 credit hours of the work completed for the degree. The master’s thesis is expected to be available to other scholars and to the general public. It is the responsibility of all master’s candidates to arrange for the publication of their theses. The University accepts two alternatives for complying with the publication requirements:

  1. The entire thesis is submitted to UMI Dissertation Publishing, ProQuest Information and Learning.
  2. The abstract only is published if the entire thesis has been previously published and distributed, exclusive of vanity publishing. The thesis candidate may elect to submit the entire previously published work for publication with UMI Dissertation Publishing, ProQuest Information and Learning.

Regardless of the option used for meeting the publication requirement, an abstract of each thesis is published in UMI Dissertation Publishing, ProQuest Information and Learning, Dissertation Abstracts International.

The format for the thesis or dissertation is in A Handbook for Theses and Dissertations, available on The Graduate School website at http://gradschool.utah.edu/thesis/?page_id=145.

THESIS ALTERNATIVES

Alternatives to the thesis are permitted in some departments. The supervisory committee of the student completing a nonthesis master’s degree must sign and submit the Report of the Final Project for the Master’s Degree or the Report of the Final Examination or Certification of Completion for the nonthesis Master’s Degree form to the Graduate Records Office. This form is due by the last day of the semester in which the student expects to graduate.

TIME LIMIT

All work for the master’s degree must be completed within four consecutive calendar years. On recommendation of the student’s supervisory committee, the dean of The Graduate School can modify or waive this requirement. If the student exceeds the time limit and is not granted a modification or waiver, the department has the option to discontinue the student. Students whose studies have been interrupted for long periods of time and who have been granted extended time to complete their degrees may be required to complete additional courses, to pass examinations, or otherwise to demonstrate that they are current in their field.

M.Phil. Degree

The Master of Philosophy degree requires the same qualifications for admission and scholarly achievement as the Ph.D. degree but does not require a doctoral dissertation. There is no separate program for this degree. All regulations covering the Ph.D. degree with respect to supervisory committees, language requirements, major and allied fields, and qualifying examinations also apply to the M.Phil. degree. Like the Ph.D., the M.Phil. is a terminal degree. A student is not considered a candidate for both degrees in the same department. An M.Phil degree cannot be rescinded.

EXCEPTIONS

Individual student exceptions to the general requirements for the master’s degree stated above must be approved by the dean of The Graduate School upon recommendation of the student’s supervisory committee and the director of graduate studies or department chair.

APPEALS

Please refer to Section II of the University of Utah Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities.

Doctoral Degrees

PH.D. DEGREE

The Doctor of Philosophy degree is awarded for high achievement in an advanced specialized field of study. It requires competence in independent research and an understanding of related subjects. The degree is not awarded simply for the fulfillment of residence requirements and the accumulation of credits.

PH.D. SUPERVISORY COMMITTEE

Each supervisory committee consists of five faculty members. The committee chair and the majority of the committee must be regular (tenured or tenure track) faculty in the student’s department. One member of the committee must be appointed from outside the student’s major department. The outside member is normally from another University of Utah department. However, the dean of The Graduate School may approve requests to appoint a committee member from another university where appropriate justification and supporting documentation is provided. The supervisory committee is responsible for approving the student’s academic program, preparing and judging the qualifying examinations, approving the dissertation subject and final dissertation, and administering and judging the final oral examination (dissertation defense).

PROGRAM OF STUDY

Candidates for the Ph.D. degree ordinarily must complete no fewer than three full years (six semesters) of approved graduate work (i.e., courses numbered 6000 and above) and a dissertation. More time may be required. In truly exceptional cases, a shorter period of time in graduate work may be approved by the dean of The Graduate School.  If a supervisory committee finds a graduate student’s preliminary work deficient, the student may be required to register for and complete supplementary courses that do not carry graduate credit. Ph.D. candidates must file the Program of Study form with their departments. This form, which lists course work and research hours, is due one semester before graduation in order for the graduate coordinator to enter that information online in a timely manner. Courses taken through alternative delivery methods (e.g., via EDNET or the Internet) are approved on a programmatic basis through the Graduate Council.

RESIDENCY ENROLLMENT REQUIREMENT*

At least one year (i.e., two consecutive semesters) of the doctoral program must be spent in full-time academic work at the University of Utah. When a student proceeds directly from a master’s degree to a Ph.D. degree with no break in the program of study (except for authorized leaves of absence), the residency requirement may be fulfilled at any time during the course of study. A full load is nine credit hours. Three hours of Thesis Research: Ph.D. (course number 7970) is also considered a full load after the residency requirement is fulfilled. The Graduate Council may approve departmental or programmatic exceptions to the minimum residency requirements and proposals for new programs or academic offerings using distance-learning technologies and/or off-campus sites, as provided by Graduate School policy.

*Does not refer to or fulfill State Residency Requirements

QUALIFYING EXAMINATION

Written and oral qualifying (preliminary) examinations are required of each student. The nature and format of these examinations are established by individual departments subject to approval by the Graduate Council. An examination or parts of an examination may be repeated only once and only at the discretion of the student’s supervisory committee.

Qualifying examinations generally are prepared, administered, and evaluated by a student’s supervisory committee. However, a department has the option of appointing a departmental examination committee that administers the qualifying examinations and ensures that examinations are properly prepared and evaluated.

REGISTRATION

The candidate must complete at least 14 hours of Thesis Research (course number 7970, Thesis Research: Ph.D.). The candidate must also be regularly enrolled at the University and registered for at least one course during the semester in which the final oral examination (dissertation defense) is taken. For details, see Minimum Continuous Registration elsewhere in this section as well as departmental and program requirements.

LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS

The degree of proficiency in foreign language(s) required of candidates is determined by the policy of the academic departments. Proficiency is verified by the Department of Languages and Literature on the basis of examinations or academic courses completed in the language(s). In some instances, language proficiency may be verified by individual departments if appropriate procedures have been approved in advance by the dean of The Graduate School. In most cases, however, fulfillment of the language requirements must be verified by the Department of Languages and Literature. See requirements of the academic departments and Language Proficiency Requirements elsewhere in this section.

DISSERTATION

The candidate must submit a dissertation embodying the results of scientific or scholarly research or artistic creativity. The dissertation must provide evidence of originality and the ability to do independent investigation and it must contribute to knowledge or the creative arts. The dissertation must show a mastery of the relevant literature and be presented in an acceptable style. The style and format are determined by departmental policy and registered with the thesis and dissertation editor, who approves individual dissertations in accordance with departmental and Graduate School policy. At least three weeks before the final oral examination (dissertation defense), the student should submit an acceptable draft of the dissertation to the chair of the supervisory committee; committee members should receive copies at least two weeks before the examination date.

The doctoral dissertation is expected to be available to other scholars and to the general public. It is the responsibility of all doctoral candidates to arrange for the publication of their dissertations. The University accepts two alternatives for complying with the publication requirements:

  1. The entire dissertation is submitted to UMI Dissertation Publishing, ProQuest Information and Learning, and copies are made available for public sale.
  2. The abstract only is published if the entire dissertation has been previously published and distributed, exclusive of vanity publishing. The doctoral candidate may elect to microfilm the entire previously published work.

Regardless of the option used for meeting the publication requirement, an abstract of each dissertation is published in UMI Dissertation Publishing, ProQuest Information and Learning, Dissertation Abstracts International.

Detailed policies and procedures concerning publication requirements, use of restricted data, and other matters pertaining to the preparation and acceptance of the dissertation are contained in A Handbook for Theses and Dissertations, published by The Graduate School and available on The Graduate School website at http://www.gradschool.utah.edu/thesis/handbook.pdf.

FINAL EXAMINATION

The student must pass a final oral examination before graduation. The examination must follow the receipt of the dissertation by the supervisory committee. The committee schedules and announces a public oral examination at which the candidate must defend the dissertation. This final oral examination may be chaired by any member of the supervisory committee consistent with departmental policy.

TIME LIMIT

The time limit for completing a Ph.D. degree is determined by individual departmental policy approved by the Graduate Council. Requests to exceed established time limits must be recommended by a candidate’s supervisory committee and approved by the departmental director of graduate studies and the dean of the Graduate School. Students whose studies have been interrupted for long periods of time and who have been granted extended time to complete their degrees may be required to complete additional courses, to pass examinations, or otherwise to demonstrate that they are current in their field. (PPM 6-203 III.B). Most departments require a seven year time limit for their PhD students.

EXCEPTIONS

Individual student exceptions to these general requirements for the Ph.D. must be approved by the dean of The Graduate School upon the recommendation of the student’s supervisory committee and director of graduate studies or department chair. Each program requires a distinct, complete set of courses. Course work used to meet the requirements of one program may not be used to meet the requirements of another.

Professional Programs

Students in or wishing to consider professional degree programs should contact the college or school administering the programs for greater detail. See also Graduate Degrees and Certificates elsewhere in this section of the catalog. As noted, students wishing to pursue more than one graduate degree must have a separate program of study for each. Courses may not be counted for credit for more than one degree.

Master’s-level Degrees

Executive Master of Business Administration (Ex.M.B.A.)
Executive Master of Public Administration (Ex.M.P.A.)
Master of Accounting (M.Acc.)
Master of Architecture (M.Arch.)
Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.)
Master of City and Metropolitan Planning (M.C.M.P.)
Master of Education (M.Ed.)
Master of Engineering (M.E.)
Master of Entertainment Arts and Engineering (M.E.A.E.)
Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
Master of Health Administration (M.H.A.)
Master of Laws (LL.M.)
Master of Music (M.Mus.)
Master of Occupational Health (M.O.H.)
Master of Occupational Therapy (M.O.T.)
Master of Physician Assistant Studies (M.P.A.S.)
Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.)
Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)
Master of Public Policy (M.P.P.)
Master of Real Estate Development (M.R.E.D.)
Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)
Master of Statistics (M.Stat.)
Professional Master of Business Administration (P.M.B.A.)
Professional Master of Science and Technology (P.M.S.T.)

Doctoral-Level Degrees

Audiological Doctorate (Au.D.)
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
Doctor of Medicine (M.D.)
Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.)
Doctor of Nurse Practice (D.N.P.)
Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.)
Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.)
Electrical Engineer (E.E.)
Juris Doctor (J.D.)
Occupational Therapy Doctorate (O.T.D.)

CERTIFICATES

The following University-conferred certificates are recorded on a student’s official transcript. The college, department, or program administering the certificate follows in parentheses.

GRADUATE LEVEL

Certificate in Adaptive Management of Environmental Systems (AMES) (Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute)
Certificate in Biomedical Informatics (School of Medicine)
Certificate in Business Studies (David Eccles School of Business)
Certificate in Computational Bioimaging (Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute)
Certificate in Computational Engineering and Science (Computational Engineering and Science)
Certificate in Demography (Demography Certificate)
Certificate in Disability Studies (Disability Studies)
Certificate in Dispute Resolution (Communication)
Certificate in Environmental Engineering (Civil & Environmental Engineering)
Certificate in Ethics and Public Affairs (Philosophy)
Certificate in Genome Science (Genome Sciences)
Certificate in Geographic Information Science (Geography)
Certificate in Health Communication (Communication)
Certificate in Historic Preservation (School of Architecture)
Certificate in Information Systems (Operations and Information Systems)
Certificate in International Business and Foreign Language Qualification (International Studies)
Certificate in Management of Technology (Undergraduate Studies)
Certificate in Marketing Communication (Marketing)
Certificate in Mechatronics (Mechanical Engineering)
Certificate in Nanotechnology (Nano Institute)
Certificate in Personalized Health Care (Center for Clinical and Translational Science)
Certificate in Personalized Health Care (Center for Clinical & Translational Science)
Certificate in Real Estate Development (Real Estate Development)
Certificate in Revitalization of Endangered Languages and Cultures (Linguistics)
Certificate in Screen Dance (Film & Media Studies)
Certificate in Systems Engineering (Mechanical Engineering)
Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) (Linguistics)
Certificate in Urban Design (City & Metropolitan Planning)
Certificate in Urban Planning (City & Metropolitan Planning)
Certificate in Women’s Health (Social Work)