The Master's Degree

The requirements set forth in this section are in addition to those listed under the heading of "Policies and Regulations."

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 Examinations (or Graduate Management Admissions Test, for business applicants), other relevant information, and 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.

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 subject which has been approved for major work and for which the student has, or completes without degree credit, the necessary prerequisites for a graduate major as explained in an earlier section of this catalog.

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: (1) they must carry graduate credit; (2) they must be acceptable to the student's major department; and (3) each course must be approved for the student by the department offering it. This approval is indicated in the degree plan by the signature of the department chairperson (or graduate advisor) concerned. Its purpose is to make sure that a student does not enroll for a course for which he or she is not prepared.

Basic Plans for the Master's Degree. There are two basic plans for master's degree work: (1) a minimum of 24 hours of graduate course work plus 6 hours of thesis research; (2) a minimum of 36 hours of graduate course work 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 course work including a thesis or an exhibition.) The option to offer thesis or nonthesis programs is a departmental decision.

Ordinarily, no more than 6 hours of individual study courses (aside from the thesis) 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" 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. The forms for the "Program" are available at the Graduate Office.

When the student receives an approved copy of the "Program" from the Graduate Office, he or she is 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 the 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 of the regulations of the Graduate School and all of the requirements connected with the degree program.

Annual Review. The Graduate School strongly encourages faculty of master's programs to conduct a formal review of their students' progress 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 a student's work will be cause for dismissal.

Minimum Residence. Ordinarily, the minimum residence for any master's degree is a full academic year or its equivalent of graduate work carrying residence credit. Part-time enrollment is evaluated on a fractional 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.

Extension. A maximum of 6 semester hours of extension work completed through the Division of Extended Learning of Texas Tech may be credited on the course work for a master's degree (or a maximum of 9 hours on a 36-hour program) if the student had been officially admitted to the Graduate School prior to enrolling for the extension work. Graduate credit is not granted for courses taken by extension at another university.

Not more than 9 semester hours (or 12 hours on a 36-hour program) of any combination of extension courses and courses completed elsewhere may ordinarily be credited toward a master's degree.

Graduate credit is not granted for courses taken by correspondence.

Language Requirement. Although it is not a school-wide requirement, many departments require a reading knowledge of one or more foreign languages. (For information on this requirement, where it exists, see the appropriate departmental section in this catalog.) The essential purpose 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 which 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 the submission of an official program of study: (1) by passing, with a C- or better, the second course of the sophomore sequence of the required language; (2) by 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) by 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, which are administered by the University 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. (For information on this requirement, where it exists, see appropriate departmental section of this catalog.) Where this provision is satisfied by 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.

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 work listed in the "Program for the Master's Degree," other than 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.

(1) All conditions relating to admission to the program have been met.

(2) At least 9 semester hours of the graduate work required for the master's degree have been completed (exclusive of transfer and extension courses).

(3) All required leveling work has been completed with C or better grades.

(4) An average grade of 3.0 or better has been maintained in all courses comprising the official program exclusive of leveling work.

(5) Proficiency in a foreign language or tool subject required for the particular degree has been acceptably demonstrated.

(6) The general field of the thesis has been stated and approved.

(7) Work to date is acceptable to the departments concerned, as attested by their approval of the application for admission to candidacy.

(8) The entire program conforms with the general requirements of the Graduate School and with the requirements of the particular degree.

Thesis. The master's thesis is expected to represent independent work by the student, conducted under the supervision of the committee, and to be written clearly and concisely in good English (or whatever other language may be appropriate). As soon as the student's area for thesis research has been determined, an advisory committee will be appointed by the Graduate Dean upon the recommendation of the major department. The committee must consist of at least two members of the Graduate Faculty. All members of the committee must approve and sign the thesis. The student must earn a grade of B or better on thesis work to qualify for graduation.

Available at CopyTech in West Hall is a manual entitled Instructions for Preparing and Submitting Theses and Dissertations. All manuscripts must conform to the published policies. Three copies of the thesis are required by the University. Additional copies may be required by the academic unit in which the student pursues the degree.

Thesis Fee. Early in the semester of graduation, the candidate will pay Student Business Services a thesis fee to cover the cost of binding and processing the official copies of the thesis. This fee is paid only once. A receipt for this fee should be brought to the Graduate School. Health Sciences Center students' fees are slightly higher because four copies of the thesis are required. Students may have additional copies bound at the prevailing rate if they wish.

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 here is interrupted by military service will be granted an extension of time for the period of their military duty, not exceeding five years.

Final Comprehensive Evaluation. The Graduate School strongly encourages each program to require of each master's student a final comprehensive evaluation in the semester of intended graduation, 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 four months or more. 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.

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