FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Master's Degree: Completion FAQ
- What if the student needs to change committee members after an initial committee is submitted and approved?
Changes in committee membership may be made after an initial committee is submitted and approved; such changes require program and collegiate approval and must be recorded by the collegiate in the system of record.
- Is there a time limit on the length of oral examinations?
The expected length of an oral examination may differ by program. However, examinations typically range from 1.5 to 3 hours.
- Do the student and the committee members have to be physically present on campus for the final oral examination?
No, neither the student nor the committee members are required to be physically present on campus for the final oral examination as long as all of the conditions required for remote participation in the exam are met.
- Why does my final oral examination committee have to include an outside committee member? Who qualifies as an outside member?
An outside committee member is required to both ensure fairness and due process for the student in the examination and to ensure that the student is examined across the breadth of knowledge represented by his or her field of study. An outside member is typically from a different graduate program than the student’s major field; however see the question below.
- Can a faculty member representing a formal track within a graduate program that is different from the student’s track satisfy the requirement that one committee member represent a field outside of the student’s major field?
Yes, if approved by the program and collegiate unit.
- Can a committee member abstain from voting in the master’s final examination?
No, all committee members are required to vote in the master’s final examination.
- An emergency situation has arisen with one of my committee members. Am I allowed to identify a substitute?
Yes. Substitutions for an oral examination that are necessitated by emergency situations should be approved in advance, if possible. In such cases, the advisor should consult with the appropriate collegiate unit staff before the start of the examination.
- I am retaking my final oral examination and need to replace one of my committee members due to an emergency situation. Is this allowed?
Yes. As with other committee substitutions that are necessitated by emergency situations, the substitution should be approved in advance and the advisor should consult with the appropriate collegiate unit staff before the start of the examination.
- Can a collegiate unit delegate responsibility for approving changes in committee membership to the program level?
No. It is the responsibility of the collegiate unit and the program to ensure that all initial and replacement members are eligible to serve on the master’s final examination committee.
- Is there a requirement that a minimum amount of time elapse between a first attempt at the master’s final examination and an approved retake?
There is no University requirement that a minimum amount of time elapse between the first and second attempts at the master’s final examination. However, collegiate units and/or programs may set a minimum time requirement.
- Who is responsible for communicating with a student who has failed the first attempt at the master’s final examination and what information should be communicated?
The committee chair must communicate with the student in writing to inform him or her of the reasons the first attempt at the examination was graded “fail” and what the student will be expected to do in order to pass a retake.
- I was asked to make revisions to my thesis as a condition of passing the final oral examination. How does my advisor/s certify that the revisions have been completed so that the degree can be awarded?
The signature of your advisor (and co-advisor if applicable) on the signature page you are required to submit with your thesis certifies that the advisor/s have seen and approved the final version of the thesis.
- When should students apply for degree clearance?
Students should apply via MyU by the first day of the intended month of degree clearance.
- What does it mean to “file a digital copy of the thesis with the University in accordance with University standards”?
University standards require that students who complete a Plan A master’s degree submit a digital copy of their thesis to the University Digital Conservancy (UDC) for archiving. See the appendix: Thesis Formatting and Submission Guidelines for additional information. Students may request an embargo on publication of the dissertation for a limited period of time (see question #14).
- When should students request an embargo on the publication of the thesis?
The request for an embargo (hold) must be made prior to the conferral of the degree. Once the final approved copy of the thesis is submitted, students cannot make changes to the thesis or remove the thesis from the University Digital Conservancy (UDC).