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Completing the Master’s Degree

Master's Degree Thesis/Project

A thesis is the written product of a systematic study of a significant problem. It identifies the problem, states the major assumptions, explains the significance of the undertaking, sets forth the sources for and methods of gathering information, analyzes the data, and offers a conclusion or recommendation.  The finished product evidences originality, critical and independent thinking, appropriate organization and format, and thorough documentation.

A project is a significant undertaking appropriate to the fine and applied arts or to professional fields. It evidences originality and independent thinking, appropriate form and organization, and a rationale. It is described and summarized in a written abstract that includes the project's significance, objectives, methodology and a conclusion or recommendation. An oral defense of the project may be required.  A satisfactory project is one, which must be reported in the form of a paper. The purpose of the project is for the student to communicate ideas gained in research, experimentation and creative endeavors; therefore, students should not feel bound to traditional forms.

The thesis/project proposal must be approved by the student's thesis/project advisor and one other professor in the College of Education and submitted in an approved format. Students who elect to complete a project are not required to take a comprehensive examination.  See A Guide to Graduate Studies: Policies, Procedures, and Thesis/Project/Dissertation Format for details.

Comprehensive Examination

The Comprehensive Examination is of an integrative nature and is designed to test the student's knowledge of a specific field, rather than subject matter of courses taken. The examination is offered once each semester. The candidate may enroll in the examination no earlier than the last semester in which course work is taken. The candidate must complete a Graduation Requirement Check with the Registrar's Office before permission to take the examination can be granted. Candidates who do not receive a passing score may petition the College of Education to retake the examination or any part of it. Students who do not receive a passing score on the second attempt must petition the Dean of Graduate Studies to retake the examination. Approval to retake the examination may be, at any time, contingent upon completion of additional designated courses.