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Master's Program

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General Requirements

The degree requirements set forth here are in addition to those stated in the “Enrollment” section of the Graduate School catalog text.

Prerequisites. Admission to a master’s degree program is dependent upon the applicant’s undergraduate record; scores on the Aptitude Test of the Graduate Record Examination or, for business applicants, the Graduate Management Admissions Test (except in programs in which either test has been waived); other relevant information; and the recommendation of the proposed major department.

A substantial body of undergraduate work in the major subject and considerable breadth of background are essential for graduate study. Therefore, students whose undergraduate programs are considered deficient in breadth or depth may be required to complete additional preparatory work without degree credit. Such undergraduate “leveling” courses must be completed with a grade of C or better. Some programs may require a grade better than a C.

Major Subject. Every program for a master’s degree not granted special exception must embody a major comprising at least 18 semester hours of graduate work (which may include a thesis) in a 30- to 36-hour program.

Minor. Programs for a master’s degree may include two or three courses outside the major area. Departments offering master’s programs may permit students to take all of their work for the degree within the department. A minor may be completed in a single department or in several departments, but the courses comprising the minor are subject to the following limitations: They must (1) carry graduate credit, (2) be acceptable to the student’s major department, and (3) be approved for the student by the department offering the course. This approval is indicated in the degree plan by the signature of the department chairperson (or graduate advisor). The purpose of this process is to make sure that a student is properly prepared for a course prior to enrollment.


Basic Plans for the Master’s Degree

There are two basic plans for master’s degree work:

  • A minimum of 24 hours of graduate coursework plus 6 hours of thesis (6000). The courses for the master’s degree with a thesis should be approved by the research advisor and not the graduate advisor.
  • A minimum of 36 hours of graduate coursework without a thesis. (Some degrees have a greater minimum hour requirement. An example is the Master of Fine Arts degree program, which requires 60 hours of graduate coursework and a thesis or an exhibition.)

The option to offer thesis or nonthesis programs is a departmental decision. In addition, no more than 6 hours of individual study courses (aside from the thesis) ordinarily will be permitted in the master’s program.

Filing the Official Degree Program. During the first semester of enrollment, the student should submit to the dean of the Graduate School a “Program for the Master’s Degree and Application for Admission to Candidacy” as prepared by an official representative of the proposed major department and of other departments as indicated under “Minor” in the preceding section. Delay in submission of a degree program may result in postponement of admission to candidacy and graduation. Forms for the “Program for the Master’s Degree and Application for Admission to Candidacy” are available at the Graduate Office or

When student receive an approved copy of the “Program” from the Graduate Office, they are expected to follow it as the basis of all subsequent enrollments. Substitution of courses can be made only on the written recommendation of the department or departments concerned and approval of the graduate dean.

Approval of a “Program for the Master’s Degree” does not, however, constitute admission to candidacy for a master’s degree. It merely signifies that the proposed program will be acceptable if the student satisfies all Graduate School regulations and all of requirements connected with the degree program.

Annual Review.The Graduate School strongly encourages faculty of master’s programs to conduct a formal review of the progress of their students at least once a year. Any student not making satisfactory progress toward the degree may be placed on probation and given conditions to stay in the program. Continued unsatisfactory progress in any area of graduate work will be cause for dismissal.

Minimum Residence. The minimum residence for any master’s degree is ordinarily a full academic year or its equivalent of graduate work carrying residence credit. Part-time enrollment is evaluated on an individual basis.

Transferred Work. There is no automatic transfer of credit toward a master’s degree, but, in general, work completed in residence at another accredited graduate school may, on the recommendation of the departments concerned, be accepted for as much as 6 semester hours toward a master’s degree. Exceptions to this rule are granted in the case of the Master of Engineering degree and in certain other instances upon agreement between the college or department concerned and the Graduate School. Work completed at another graduate school with a grade less than B will not be accepted. Transfer credit will not alter a student’s grade point average at Texas Tech.

Grade Requirement for Graduation. For the master’s degree, the minimum requirement for graduation is an average of 3.0 in the major subject and an overall average of 3.0 on all courses, exclusive of the thesis, comprising the official program for the degree. Individual departments or colleges may have higher standards.

Admission to Candidacy. Every applicant for a master’s degree is required to make formal application for admission to candidacy for the master’s degree as soon as 9 to 12 semester hours of the master’s degree work, excluding leveling courses, have been completed. This application is submitted to the dean of the Graduate School on the form entitled “Program for the Master’s Degree and Application for Admission to Candidacy.”

Admission to candidacy will be granted at such time as all of the following requirements have been met:

  • All conditions relating to admission to the program have been met.
  • At least 9 semester hours of the graduate work required for the master’s degree have been completed (exclusive of transfer and extension courses).
  • All required leveling work has been completed with C or better grades.
  • An average grade of 3.0 or better has been maintained in all courses comprising the official program exclusive of leveling work.
  • Proficiency in a foreign language or tool subject required for the particular degree has been acceptably demonstrated.
  • The general field of the thesis has been stated and approved.
  • Work to date is acceptable to the departments concerned, as attested by their approval of the application for admission to candidacy.
  • The entire program conforms with the general requirements of the Graduate School and the requirements of the particular degree.

Time Limit. With the exception of certain specially approved programs, work credited toward a master’s degree must be completed within six years. Students whose graduate study at Texas Tech is interrupted by military service will be granted an extension of time for the period of their military duty, not exceeding five years.

Language, Tool Subject Requirements

Language Requirement.Many departments require a reading knowledge of one or more foreign languages, although it is not a school-wide requirement. When this requirement exists, see the appropriate departmental section in this catalog for further information. The essential purpose for a language requirement is to assure that the student gains access to scholarly literature of his or her field in more than one language. Foreign students may use their native language (if it is not English) to meet this requirement if this essential purpose is served thereby and their major department approves. Foreign students must provide official documentation of acceptable grades in languages taken abroad or be tested as described below.

To qualify for Admission to Candidacy in a program that requires knowledge of a foreign language, the applicant must demonstrate proficiency in one of the following ways (as specified by the department) not more than seven years prior to submission of an official program of study: (1) passing with a C- or better the second course of the sophomore sequence of the required language; (2) passing with a B- or better the second half of one of the special 6-hour programs for graduate students offered in French, German, and Spanish; (3) passing a standardized examination in French, German, Spanish, or Latin given in the Department of Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures or one of the examinations in French, German, or Spanish furnished by the Educational Testing Service and administered by the university’s Testing Center. Arrangements for these examinations should be made in the applicable unit. The Department of Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures will administer the examinations in any other foreign language in which instruction is offered by the department. Arrangements for testing for other foreign languages will be approved by the graduate dean.

Students majoring or minoring in foreign languages in the Department of Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures are subject to higher performance levels in satisfying the master’s requirement. Students should consult the graduate advisor of the appropriate language for guidelines.

Tool Subject Requirement. Some departments require a tool subject in lieu of or in addition to the language requirement. When this requirement exists, further information can be found in the appropriate departmental section within this catalog. When this provision can be satisfied by a formal course(s), a grade of B or better is required either in a single course or in the last of a sequence of such courses.

Master's Thesis

The master’s thesis should represent independent work by the student, be conducted under the supervision of an advisory committee, and be written clearly and concisely in standard English (or another language when appropriate). As soon as the student’s area for thesis research has been determined, the graduate dean will appoint an advisory committee upon recommendation of the major department. The committee must consist of at least two members of the graduate faculty, including one from the department granting the degree. All members of the committee must sign the Thesis/Dissertation Approval Form printed by the student from the thesis/dissertation web page. The student must earn a grade of B or better on thesis work to qualify for graduation.

A manual entitled Texas Tech University Graduate School Formatting Guidelines (Revised October, 2009) is available at All manuscripts must conform to published policies. The final copy of the thesis must be submitted electronically in PDF file format as an Electronic Thesis/Dissertation (ETD) to the University Library’s server. Deadlines and more information on this process are available through the Graduate School website. The Graduate Council mandates that students must provide their committee chairperson with a bound paper copy of the thesis unless a waiver form is submitted by the student and signed by the chairperson. The waiver form is available on the Graduate School website. Paper copies may be required by the academic unit in which the student pursues the degree.

During the semester of graduation, the candidate will pay Student Business Services a Thesis/Dissertation Fee to cover the cost of electronically storing the official copy (ETD) of the thesis. This fee is paid only once. The Thesis/Dissertation Fee is posted to students’ accounts by the Graduate School after Intent to Graduate forms have been processed for the graduating semester. Payment due dates are listed under the current semester’s deadlines on the website


Final Comprehensive Evaluation

The Graduate School requires a final comprehensive evaluation for all students in each program. The comprehensive evaluation is most often administered in the semester of intended graduation. This should be in a format most appropriate to the major field. At departmental discretion, the evaluation format may differ for thesis and nonthesis or professional and predoctoral students. The final evaluation should require a synthesis and application of knowledge acquired during the course of study and research leading to the master’s degree; no student should expect the evaluation to be based solely on performance in the classroom.

A student is eligible to undergo evaluation only after having been admitted to candidacy by the graduate dean. As soon as possible after the evaluation, a written report of the outcome should be sent to the graduate dean. A student who does not receive a satisfactory evaluation may be assessed once again after an interval of at least four months. At the discretion of the program concerned, a student who receives a satisfactory evaluation but who does not graduate within 12 months may be required to repeat the assessment.Back to Top