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Your Master's Degree

Academic Process for
Master’s Students

Choose an Advisor

 

The student selects a consenting advisor from faculty members of the academic program in which the major work is planned.

Before registering for each semester or session, the student consults the advisor concerning a program of courses.


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Enroll
Full-Time Enrollment

Full-time enrollment for graduate students is defined as enrollment in nine credit hours per semester in the fall and spring semesters and/or four hours in the summer session. Without special permission of the Associate Vice Chancellor for Graduate Studies, the maximum number of credit hours in which a graduate student may enroll is 16 credit hours per semester in the fall and spring and/or nine in the summer.

International Student Enrollment

View the enrollment guidelines on the International Center website.

 

Submit a Plan of Study
After performing satisfactorily for a minimum of one semester, the student completes the Plan of Study for the Master’s Degree (M1) form with the advisor’s assistance.

Note: students enrolled in a dual master’s degree program should fill out the Plan of Study for the Dual Master’s Degree form (DM1).

The plan of study form must be filed with the Office of Graduate Studies by the end of the student’s second semester of enrollment.

 

Changes to the Plan of Study

If the student changes the approved plan of study, then they must submit the Plan of Study Courses Substitution form to the director of graduate studies in the academic department.

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Form a Thesis Committee
When a thesis is required for a master’s degree, the student must submit a Request for Thesis Committee form (M2) for approval by the program’s director of graduate studies and the Office of Graduate Studies by the end of the student’s second semester.

A thesis committee is composed of three members of the MU faculty: a major advisor from the academic program; a second reader from the academic program; and an outside reader who is a member of the graduate faculty from a different MU graduate program.

Committee Formation

For lists of graduate faculty in each degree program, refer to the appropriate department/program in the MU Catalog.

Committee Chair or Advisor

Faculty members may serve as advisor or committee chair when their primary appointment is in the graduate student’s home academic program. When the graduate student’s home academic program is the involved academic program for a jointly appointed faculty member, this person may serve as chair or advisor with the approval of the director of graduate studies from the student’s home academic program.

Committee Member

A faculty member can only serve as an internal member when their primary appointment is in the graduate student’s home academic program. When a graduate student’s academic program is not the home academic program for a jointly appointed faculty member, they may serve as either an internal or external member of the committee.

Adjunct Faculty Membership

Adjunct faculty may serve as a committee chair or member only in academic programs in which they are appointed and approved for graduate or doctoral faculty membership as appropriate for the student’s degree.

Service on graduate committees outside the academic program in which they are appointed requires a recommendation by the director of graduate studies from the student’s home academic program and approval by the associate vice chancellor of graduate studies.

Approval of a Non-MU Faculty Member

Upon approval of the academic program’s director of graduate studies, the student may petition the Office of Graduate Studies to allow a person who is not a member of the MU graduate faculty to serve as the third reader.

The petition should include a written justification for such a request and a copy of the person’s curriculum vitae. The Office of Graduate Studies maintains copies of curriculum vitae previously received and approved, and if such a request is anticipated, the student should contact the Office of Graduate Studies to see if the curriculum vitae of a particular person is already on file.

Jointly Appointed Faculty Membership

Chapter 320 of the Collected Rules and Regulations for the University of Missouri requires that all jointly appointed faculty members have a designated primary appointment and primary department as well as affiliation with one or more involved academic programs. These affiliations affect membership status of jointly appointed faculty on graduate student committees.

Approval of a Non-MU Faculty Member

Upon approval of the academic program’s director of graduate studies, the student may petition the Office of Graduate Studies to allow a person who is not a member of the MU graduate faculty to serve as the third reader.

The petition should include a written justification for such a request and a copy of the person’s curriculum vitae. The Office of Graduate Studies maintains copies of curriculum vitae previously received and approved, and if such a request is anticipated, the student should contact the Office of Graduate Studies to see if the curriculum vitae of a particular person is already on file.

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Pass Graduate Examination
Each candidate must pass a final examination to demonstrate mastery of the fundamental principles of the work included in the course of study offered for the degree.

The final examination may be a thesis defense or some other capstone experience. Refer to the student’s academic program for specific details about the nature of the final examination.

Minor

If the program includes a minor, the minor advisor will be a member of the final examination committee and will examine the candidate over course work taken in the minor.

Thesis Option

Where a thesis is presented in partial fulfillment of graduation requirements, students must form a thesis committee (see step 3 above). After the successful defense of the thesis, the members of the student’s committee must sign the Report of the Master’s Examining Committee form (M3), which is then forwarded through the academic program’s director of graduate studies to the Office of Graduate Studies.

Non-Thesis Option

Where no thesis is presented by the candidate, a three-member final examination committee is designated by the academic program’s director of graduate studies with the approval of the Office of Graduate Studies. The Report of the Master’s Examining Committee form (M3) signed by the director of graduate studies, is forwarded to the Office of Graduate Studies. All candidates for the MA or MS degrees must complete either a thesis or a substantial independent project that cannot be coauthored.

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Credit Requirements

Minimum Degree Requirements

The following is a list of campus-wide minimum degree requirements. Your academic program may have additional requirements.
  • A student’s program must include a minimum of 30 hours of graduate credit beyond the bachelor’s degree (or its equivalent).
  • 15 hours of the 30-hour minimum must be selected from courses at the 8000 or 9000 level.
  • No more than 40 percent of the 30-hour credit requirement can be satisfied by a combination of special investigations, research, readings and/or problems courses.
  • The student’s GPA must be 3.0 or greater.

Time Limit for Degree Completion

The program for the master’s degree must be completed within eight years from the first semester in which the student is enrolled in a degree program. Individual academic programs may stipulate a shorter time period.

Time spent in the armed services will not count toward the eight-year limit. Consult Mizzou’s Active Duty Policy.

Time Limit Extension

For any extension of this time limit, the student must petition the Office of Graduate Studies by submitting a request to the advisor, who must submit a written recommendation to the Office of Graduate Studies that is endorsed by the academic program’s director of graduate studies. The Office of Graduate Studies will notify the advisor in writing of the final decision.

Please contact the Office of Graduate Studies for additional required information.

Credit Transfer

A maximum of 20 percent of the number of credit hours required for a student’s degree may be graduate credits transferred from another regionally accredited institution, including another campus of the University of Missouri system. Credit transfer must be recommended by the student’s advisor and approved by the academic program’s director of graduate studies and the Office of Graduate Studies.

The Office of Graduate Studies must make the final review of the transfer request to determine if the credit meets the minimum guidelines. If so, the Office of Graduate Studies will process the request so that the transferred courses appear on the student’s transcript.

How to Proceed

  • The request for transfer credit must first be approved by the student’s advisor and director of graduate studies.
  • The student must submit his/her plan of study or course substitution form to add the transferred courses to the plan of study, along with an unopened, official transfer transcript if one is not currently on file with the Office of Graduate Studies.
  • The Office of Graduate Studies will review the request to determine whether minimum requirements have been met. If approved, the Office of Graduate Studies will process the request so that the transferred courses appear on the MU student record.

Minimum Requirements for Transfer

  • Transfer course work must still be less than eight years old by the time the master’s degree is conferred.
  • The transfer course work must have been taken for graduate credit and be clearly marked as such on the transfer transcript, complete with credit hours and a grade.
  • The transfer course work must be limited to no more than 20 percent of the total course work on the student’s plan of study form.
  • The transfer course work must be from a regionally accredited institution in the U.S. or an overseas institution that is recognized by its country’s Ministry of Education as a graduate-degree-granting institution.

 

Use of Professional Credit

With program approval, up to 6 hours of credit for which professional credit was earned may be applied to the total minimum number of hours required for a masters degree.

Master’s Plan of Study


After performing satisfactorily for a minimum of one semester, the student completes the Plan of Study for the Master’s Degree (M1) form (or the Plan of Study for the Dual Master’s Degree (DM1) form if the student is enrolled in a dual master’s degree program) with the advisor’s assistance. The form is forwarded through the program’s director of graduate studies to the Office of Graduate Studies for approval.

The plan of study form must be filed with the Office of Graduate Studies by the end of the student’s second semester of enrollment. Upon approval of the program by the Office of Graduate Studies, the student is a candidate for the degree.

Changes to the Plan of Study

Changes to the plan of study should be submitted on the Plan of Study Course Substitution form.

Master’s Program Committee


When a thesis is required for a master’s degree, the student must submit a Request for Thesis Committee form (M2) for approval by the program’s director of graduate studies and the Office of Graduate Studies by the end of the student’s second semester.

A thesis committee is composed of three members of the MU faculty: a major advisor from the academic program; a second reader from the academic program; and an outside reader who is a member of the graduate faculty from a different MU graduate program.

Approval of a Non-MU Faculty Member

Upon approval of the academic program’s director of graduate studies, the student may petition the Office of Graduate Studies to allow a person who is not a member of the MU graduate faculty to serve as the third reader.

The petition should include a written justification for such a request and a copy of the person’s curriculum vitae. The Office of Graduate Studies maintains copies of curricula vitae previously received and approved, and if such a request is anticipated, the student should contact the Office of Graduate Studies to see if the curriculum vitae of a particular person is already on file.