Graduate Catalog: 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, research, clinical, emeritus, visiting, 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 (i.e., 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 and sending a copy of the completed form with signatures to the Graduate Records Office for approval by the dean of The Graduate School.

Master’s supervisory committees consist of three faculty members, the majority of whom must be regular faculty in the student’s major department.

Doctoral supervisory committees consist of five faculty members, the majority of whom must be regular 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 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

A candidate’s program of study must consist of not less than 12 credit hours of course work, excluding thesis, in the selected field of study. In addition, 9 to 12 hours of course work are elected. All course work counted toward the degree must be approved by the student’s supervisory committee. Faculty Consultation, course number 6980, does not count toward thesis hours or fulfillment of degree requirements.

Candidates for master’s degrees must devote a minimum of 30 credit hours to their graduate courses (i.e., courses numbered 5000 and above) and thesis. 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).The candidate is required to maintain a 3.0 or higher GPA in course work listed on the Application for Admission to Candidacy 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

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.

Application for Candidacy

During the second semester of graduate work, the student should file the Application for Admission to Candidacy for the Master’s Degree with the chair of the supervisory committee and department chair. No sooner than one year before graduation, the supervisory committee should review and approve a formal Application for Admission to Candidacy for the Master’s Degree for the student and should then forward that form to the dean of The Graduate School for approval. The application is due in The Graduate School one semester before graduation and no earlier than one year before graduation.

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 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 the Graduate Records Office. 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 department 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 three credit hours 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 three credit hours 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 format for the thesis or dissertation is in A Handbook for Theses and Dissertations, available in the Thesis Office, published by The Graduate School and available for $4.50 in the Thesis Office, 201 S. Presidents Circle, Room 302.

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 in meritorious cases.

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.

Students awarded the M.Phil. degree who wish to pursue a doctorate in the same department must have their M.Phil. rescinded by formal action of the Graduate Council. This action must be initiated by a written recommendation from the department and a written request from the student.

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

Committees consist of five faculty members, the majority of whom must be regular faculty in the student’s major department. One member of the committee must be appointed from another department. 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 5000 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 The Graduate Records Office. This form, which lists course work and research hours, is due one semester before graduation. Courses taken through alternative delivery methods (e.g., via EDNET or the Internet) are approved on a programmatic basis through the Graduate Council.

Residency

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) also is 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.

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 also must be regularly enrolled at the University for three or more credit hours 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. The dissertation is approved by the student’s supervisory committee. 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 for $4.50 in the Thesis Office, 201 S. Presidents Circle, Room 302.

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 the Ph.D. degree is determined by individual departments with the approval of the Graduate Council. Requests to exceed established time limits must be recommended by a candidate’s supervisory committee and approved by both the departmental director of graduate studies and the dean of The Graduate School. Students whose studies have been interrupted for long periods and who have been granted an extension to complete their degrees may be required to complete additional courses, pass examinations, or otherwise demonstrate that they are current in their field.

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

Accounting (M.Acc.)

M.Acc. offered by the School of Accounting and Information Systems.

Architecture (M.Arch.)

M.Arch. offered by the College of Architecture + Planning.

Business Administration (M.B.A.)

M.B.A.offered by the David Eccles School of Business.

The M.B.A. may be earned in conjunction with degrees in the following areas: College of Law (M.B.A.-J.D.) and the College of Architecture + Planning (M.B.A.-M.Arch).

Education (M.Ed.)

M.Ed. offered by the Departments of Education, Culture and Society; Educational Leadership and Policy; Education Psychology; Special Education; and Teaching and Learning.

Engineering (M.E.)

M.E. offered by the Departments of Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, School of Computing, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Geology and Geophysics, Materials Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Metallurgical Engineering, and Mining Engineering.

Fine Arts (M.F.A.)

M.F.A. offered by the Departments of Art and Art History, Ballet, English (creative writing), Modern Dance, Theatre, and the Division of Film Studies.

Healthcare Administration (M.H.A.)

M.H.A. (an interdisciplinary degree) co-offered by the David Eccles School of Business, the School of Medicine, the College of Social and Behavioral Science, and the Governor Scott M. Matheson Center for Health Care Studies.

The M.H.A. may be earned in conjunction with degrees in the following areas: David Eccles School of Business (M.B.A.-M.H.A.), Public Administration offered by Political Science (M.P.A.-M.H.A.), Public Health offered by Family and Preventive Medicine (M.P.H.-M.H.A.), and the College of Nursing (M.H.A.-D.N.P.).

Law (LL.M.)

LL.M. offered by the College of Law.

Music (M.Mus.)

M.Mus. offered by the Department of Music.

Occupational Therapy (M.O.T.)

M.O.T. offered by the Department of Occupational Therapy.

Physical Therapy (M.P.T.)

M.P.T. offered by the Division of Physical Therapy.

Physician Assistant (M.P.A.S.)

M.P.A.S. offered by the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine.

Public Administration (M.P.A.)

M.P.A. offered by the Department of Political Science, administered by the Center for Public Policy and Administration.

The M.P.A. may be earned in conjunction with degrees in the following areas: Educational, Leadership and Policy (M.P.A.-Ed.D., M.P.A.-Ph.D.), Healthcare Administration co-offered by the David Eccles School of Business, the School of Medicine, the College of Social and Behavioral Science, and the Governor Scott M. Matheson Center for Health Care Studies (M.P.A.-M.H.A.), the College of Law (M.P.A.-J.D.), the College of Social Work (M.P.A.-M.S.W. and M.P.A.-Ph.D.) and Middle East Studies (M.A.-M.P.A.). An emphasis is available in Health Services Administration offered by the Governor Scott M. Matheson Center for Health Care Studies (M.P.A./H.S.A.).

Public Health (M.P.H.)

M.P.H. offered by the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine.

Public Policy (M.P.P.)

M.P.P. offered by the College of Social and Behavioral Science and administered by the Center for Public Policy and Administration.

Science and Technology (M.S.T.)

M.S.T. co-offered by The Graduate School, College of Science and Department of Geology and Geophysics.

Social Work (M.S.W.)

M.S.W. offered by the College of Social Work.

Statistics (M.Stat.)

M.Stat. (an interdepartmental degree) co-offered by the Departments of Economics, Educational Psychology, Family and Preventive Medicine, Management, Mathematics, Psychology, and Sociology, and administered by the University Statistics Committee.

Teaching (M.A.T.)

M.A.T. offered by the department of Teaching and Learning.

Urban Planning (M.U.P.)

M.U.P. offered by the College of Architecture + Planning.

Doctoral-Level Degrees

Audiology (Au.D.)

Au..D. offered by the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

Education (Ed.D.)

Ed.D. offered by the Departments of Educational Leadership and Policy, Health Promotion and Education, and Parks Recreation and Tourism.  The Ed.D. offered by the department of Educational Leadership and Policy may be earned in conjunction with a degree in Public Administration offered by Political Science (M.P.A.-Ed.D.).

Electrical Engineer (E.E.)

E.E. offered by the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Law (J.D.)

J.D. offered by the College of Law.  The J.D. may be earned in conjunction with degrees in the following areas: Business offered by the David Eccles School of Business (M.B.A.-J.D.), Public Administration offered by Political Science, and administered by the Center for Public Policy and Administration (M.P.A.-J.D.), and Public Policy offered by the College of Social and Behavioral Science and administered by the Center for Public Policy and Administration (M.P.P.-J.D.).

Medicine (M.D.)

M.D. offered by the School of Medicine.  The M.D. may be earned in conjunction with degrees in the following areas: Neuroscience offered by the Neuroscience Program (M.D.-Ph.D.) and Pharmacology offered by the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology (M.D.-Ph.D.).

Musical Arts (D.M.A.)

D.M.A. offered by the Department of Music.

Nursing Practice (D.N.P.)

D.N.P. offered by the College of Nursing.  The D.N.P. may be earned in conjunction with degrees in the following areas: Healthcare Administration co-offered by the David Eccles School of Business, the School of Medicine, the College of Social and Behavioral Science, and the Governor Scott M. Matheson Center for Health Care Studies (M.H.A.-D.N.P.)

and Public Health offered by Family and Preventive Medicine (M.P.H.-D.N.P.).

Pharmacy (Pharm.D.)

Pharm.D. offered by the College of Pharmacy.

Physical Therapy (D.P.T.)

D.P.T. offered by the Division of Physical Therapy.

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 for M.B.A. with emphasis in International Business and Foreign Language Qualification (David Eccles School of Business)

Certificate in Adaptive Management of Environmental Systems (AMES) (Interdisciplinary)

Certificate in Biomedical Informatics (Biomedical Informatics)

Certificate in Business Studies (David Eccles School of Business)

Certificate in Computational Bioimaging (Interdisciplinary/SCI Institute)

Certificate in Computational Engineering and Science (Computer Science and Mathematics)

Certificate in Demography (Interdisciplinary)

Certificate in Disability Studies (Interdisciplinary)

Certificate in Dispute Resolution (Communication)

Certificate in Environmental and Natural Resources Law (College of Law)

Certificate in Environmental Engineering (Interdisciplinary)

Certificate in Ethics and Public Affairs (Philosophy and Political Science)

Certificate in Genome Science (Interdisciplinary)

Certificate in Geographic Information Science (Geography)

Certificate in Gerontology (Gerontology)

Certificate in Information Systems (School of Accounting and Information Systems)

Certificate in Management of Technology (Interdisciplinary)

Certificate in Marketing Communication (Communication)

Certificate in Mechatronics (Mechanical Engineering)

Certificate in Revitalization of Endangered Languages and Cultures (Linguistics)

Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (Linguistics)

Certificate in Urban Planning (College of Architecture and Planning)