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 Policies Governing Master's Degree Programs

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General Requirements

All master’s degree programs require a minimum of 45 graduate credits including thesis (6 to 12 credits) or research-in-lieu-of-thesis (3 to 6 credits). Exceptions to this capstone requirement are specified under the degree descriptions that follow these universal master’s degree requirements. Effective fall 2005, all graduate student programs of study submitted to the Graduate School must consist of, at a minimum, 50 percent graduate stand-alone courses. The remaining credits may be the 500 component of 400/500 slash courses. General regulations for all master’s programs are cited here, with certain exceptions provided for master’s degrees in the professional areas listed on the following pages.

All master’s students must:

  1. Conduct research or produce some other form of creative work, and
  2. Demonstrate mastery of subject material, and
  3. Be able to conduct scholarly or professional activities in an ethical manner

The assessment of these outcomes and the specification of learning objectives related to these outcomes are to be carried out at the program level.


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Residence Requirements

The residence requirement for the master’s degree is 30 graduate Oregon State University credits after admission as a degree-seeking graduate student. These 30 graduate credits must appear on the master’s degree program. (This does not include credits reserved as an undergraduate or postbaccalaureate student, credits taken as a postbaccalaureate or graduate nondegree-seeking student, nor transfer courses.) Deviation from the residence requirement requires a petition to the Graduate School.

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Language Requirements

For the master of arts degree, the student must show foreign language proficiency (including American Sign Language) equivalent to that attained at the end of a second-year university course in that language with a grade of "C" (2.00) or better. English is not considered a foreign language for purposes of this requirement. There is no language requirement for the Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies degree. For other master’s degrees, there is no foreign language requirement unless a language is required in the individual student’s program. The foreign language requirement for the MA degree must be completed before the student takes the final oral examination for the degree.

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Graduate Study Program

A regular master’s degree student must complete a plan of study in consultation with an advisor/advisory committee before completing 18 graduate credits. This includes credits reserved as an undergraduate or postbaccalaureate student and credits earned as a postbaccalaureate, graduate nondegree-seeking student, or graduate student.

Students who wish to transfer credit must submit a Transfer Credit Request form before the end of their first year of study.

The final plan of study must be submitted to the Graduate School at least 15 weeks prior to the date of the student’s final examination.

Effective fall 2005, all graduate student programs of study submitted to the Graduate School must consist of, at a minimum, 50 percent graduate stand-alone courses. The remaining credits may be the 500 component of 400/500 slash courses.

If a minor is declared, approximately two-thirds of the work (30 graduate credits) should be listed in the major field and one-third (15 graduate credits) in the minor field. In such cases, the student’s advisory committee must include a member from the minor department.

The program is developed under the guidance of the major professor, and minor professor when a minor is included, and signed by those professors and the chair of the academic unit before filing in the Graduate School. Each candidate’s program should include substantial work with at least three faculty members offering graduate instruction. Changes in the program may be made by submitting a Petition for Change in Program form, available in the Graduate School.


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Time Limit

All work toward a master’s degree, including transferred credits, course work, thesis (if required), and all examinations, must be completed within seven years.


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Thesis

When scheduling their final oral examinations, thesis option master’s students are required to submit the pretext pages of their thesis to the Graduate School at least two weeks prior to the final oral examination. Pretext pages include the abstract, copyright, title page, approval page, acknowledgment page, contribution of authors, table of contents, list of figures, tables, appendices, dedication (optional), and preface (optional). It is expected that students will distribute examination copies to all their committee members, including the Graduate Council representative, sufficiently early to permit thorough review of the thesis prior to the student’s final oral examination.

Within six weeks after the final oral examination or before the first day of the following term, whichever comes first, upload one PDF copy of your thesis, without signatures, electronically to ScholarsArchive and submit the signed ETD submission approval form with a copy of the title page to the Graduate School. If final submission requirements are after the initial six-week period, the student may be subject to re-examination. Please refer to the Graduate School's website for complete details (http://gradschool.oregonstate.edu/success/thesis-guide).

Signatures on the ETD submission approval form can be electronic, signed, scanned and emailed or faxed. The thesis will not be accepted for graduate requirements until it has received approval by the graduate dean, which the thesis editor will get.

Full information concerning the prescribed style for theses is given in the booklet, Thesis Guide: Preparing a Thesis or Dissertation at OSU, available on the Web at http://gradschool.oregonstate.edu/success/thesis-guide.

The results from studies conducted using human subjects without obtaining Institutional Review Board approval shall not be used to satisfy master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation requirements.  For more information, please send an email to irb@oregonstate.edu or visit the IRB website at http://oregonstate.edu/research/irb/.

The credit allowed for the thesis, including research and preparation of the manuscript, varies from 6 to 12 credits. In certain departments and programs, the MS or MA thesis is optional, to be determined in each case by the department/school/program and the major professor. See departmental descriptions.


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Final Examination

Successful completion of a final oral examination is required for all master's degrees with the exception of students who complete the nonthesis option under the EdM degree. In those cases, nonthesis EdM students must take a final written examination. Some departments also require the student to pass a written exam prior to the oral exam.

The final oral examination for master's candidates may, at the discretion of the graduate program, consist of a public thesis defense followed by a closed session of the examining committee with the candidate. Under normal circumstances, the final oral examination should be scheduled for two hours.

For master's candidates whose programs require a thesis, not more than half of the examination period should be devoted to the presentation and defense of the thesis; the remaining time can be spent on questions relating to the student's knowledge of the major field, and minor field if a minor is included in the program of study. Graduate faculty serving on thesis-oriented master's degree programs may contribute to the direction of the student's thesis, will assess the student's thesis and his or her defense of it in the final oral examination, will vote to pass or fail the student, and may sign the thesis when it is in acceptable final form. The examining committee consists of at least four members of the graduate faculty—two in the major field, one in the minor field if a minor is included, and a Graduate Council representative. When a minor is not included, the fourth member may be from the graduate faculty at large. All members of the student's graduate committee must approve the scheduling of the final examination.

Students writing a thesis must have a Graduate Council representative on their committee. It is the student's responsibility to obtain his or her own Graduate Council representative from a list provided by the Graduate School. This must be done prior to scheduling the final exam.

When no thesis is involved, not more than half of the examination period should be devoted to the presentation of the research project; the remaining time can be spent on questions relating to the student's knowledge of the major field, and minor field if one is included in the program. For nonthesis master's degree programs, the major professor is responsible for directing and assigning a final grade for the research or culminating project. Other members of the nonthesis committee will assess the student's defense of the project in the final oral examination, as well as the student's knowledge of his or her field, and vote to pass or fail the student. The examining committee consists of three members of the graduate faculty—two in the major field and one in the minor field if a minor is included. When a minor is not included, the third member may be from the graduate faculty at large.


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Master of Agriculture

The Master of Agriculture (MAg) degree requires a student to attain advanced knowledge and achievement integrated across three fields of study. Two of the three fields must be chosen from the approved graduate majors or minors offered within the College of Agricultural Sciences or closely related areas. Any graduate major or minor may serve as the third field for this degree. With appropriate justification, each of these three fields may contain integrated components.

A minimum of 45 credits is required for the degree with a minimum of 24 credits outside of the major. The program of study will include a major field and two minor fields. The major field must be in the College of Agricultural Sciences and contain a minimum of 12 credits (excluding research or thesis credit). Students have the option of a research paper (3–6 credits) or thesis (6 credits). Each minor field must contain a minimum of 9 credits. No more than 9 blanket-numbered credits are to be contained in the program, excluding research paper or thesis.

The program is administered by the academic department of the major field and requires the department head’s signature. The student’s committee will consist of a representative from the major and each minor field. A Graduate Council representative will serve on thesis programs. The committee will meet prior to the end of the student’s second quarter in the program to approve the student’s program of study and proposal. The proposal will include the student’s academic/professional background, intended occupational/educational destination, and rationale for the course combinations. A final oral examination is required and may include questions from both the course work and the research paper or thesis.


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Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies

The Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (MAIS) degree is granted for attainment of broad, advanced knowledge and achievement integrated from three fields of study. Most graduate majors or minors may serve as a field for this degree. The current list of approved majors is at http://catalog.oregonstate.edu/MajorDetail.aspx?id=333. Two of the three fields may be from one department if the areas of concentration within these two fields are different. A minimum of 9 credits in each of the three fields of study is required. The degree requires a minimum of 49 credits, including 4 credits of course work on interdisciplinary research methods.

 

No more than 21 credits (excluding thesis or research paper credit) may be taken in any field unless the total program exceeds 49 credits. There is no foreign language requirement. No more than 3 credits of blanket-numbered courses in each field of study may be used in the program; thesis credits (Option A) or research paper credits (Option B) are exempt from this limitation. The student’s committee consists of four members of the graduate faculty—one from each of the three fields—and a Graduate Council representative. A formal program meeting must be held prior to the completion of 18 graduate credits. A final oral examination is required.

Two options under the program:

Option A: Thesis option. The thesis must coordinate work in the three fields. The requirement is 6 to 9 credits of Thesis 503. The thesis advisor must be a member of the graduate faculty authorized to direct theses.

Option B: Research paper option. The research paper must integrate work from at least two of the three fields. The requirement is 4 to 7 credits, registered as Research 501, Reading and Conference 505, or Projects 506.


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Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)

The Master of Arts in Teaching is an intensive professional degree program intended to prepare teachers for careers in public school education. Students who successfully complete the MAT can be recommended for the Oregon basic teaching license upon the positive evaluations of the university and public school supervisors.

The professional program in teacher education is full-time and one calendar year in length. Students will enroll with their subject area cohort group and complete the program in one year. Teacher licensure is offered in the following areas:

  • Advanced Mathematics Education
  • Agricultural Education
  • Biology Education
  • Chemistry Education
  • Elementary Education
  • Family and Consumer Sciences Education
  • Integrated Science Education
  • Language Arts Education (English) — Cascades Campus only
  • Music Education
  • Physics Education
  • Spanish Education

The professional teacher education program begins with a 15-credit professional education core that is foundational to and a prerequisite for the 48-credit Master of Arts in Teaching degree. The 48-credit MAT includes a professional education concentration (3 credits), professional course work in the teaching specialty (18 to 21 credits), a public school professional internship (15 to 18 credits), and a minimum of 9 graduate credits in the subject matter specialization (mathematics, physics, literature, etc.). Because the professional teacher education program is a two-part program, including the professional core and the MAT, future students may plan their programs as either five-year (with a nine-month MAT) or as fifth year programs (with 12 months of graduate study including both the professional core and the MAT).

The MAT degree requires successful completion of a final oral examination.

 


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Master of Business Administration

The MBA program represents a broad, yet responsive general management education with an entrepreneurial focus that crosses the functional disciplines of business. Its advanced management emphasis and entrepreneurial focus creates practical value-added content for all students, both business and nonbusiness undergraduates, enabling them to solve complex business problems and successfully compete in the business marketplace.

The MBA program is concentrated in length—three academic terms for full-time students with a BA/BS in business or who have completed the foundation courses. Full-time students with no previous business or business-related course work can complete the program in as few as six terms. The MBA degree requires no thesis. A final oral examination is required.


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Master of Business Administration and Accountancy

The Master of Business Administration and Accountancy is a one-year master’s program for students with an undergraduate degree in accounting. It allows accounting students to receive an undergraduate degree and a master’s degree during their five years of university study required to become a CPA. As an integrated program, the MBAA is designed to allow students the opportunity to plan early enough in their accounting education program to enable them to receive both an undergraduate degree and a graduate degree. The MBAA is also designed to accommodate postbaccalaureate students wishing to prepare for accounting careers.


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Master of Education

The Master of Education (EdM) is a professional degree requiring a minimum of 45 credits in graduate courses (including a maximum of blanket-numbered courses); additional credits may be required in some areas of concentration. A minimum of 9 additional credits in graduate courses is required for the master’s degree in College Student Services Administration (CSSA).

The EdM degree requires successful completion of a final written examination.

A candidate for the EdM degree qualifies for the degree under one of these options:

  1. The student submits a thesis that meets all standards for a master’s thesis on some applied or professional aspect of education. For the thesis the student receives 6 credits. He or she must complete a major of 24 credits (which may include the 6 thesis credits) and 21 elective credits determined under the direction of an advisor.
  2. For adult education, the student completes 30 credits in the major and at least 15 credits in the minor. The minor may be completed either inside education or from approved minors outside education and serves students focusing on training and development and developmental education.
  3. The student completes 45 credits with 24 credits in specific courses for the major. No minor is identified. The remaining 21 credits are elective under the direction of an advisor. No thesis or field studies are required. This option is designed primarily for in-service teachers working on standard licensure.
  4. The student majors in College Student Services Administration and completes at least 39 credits in the major and 15 credits in a minor for a minimum of 54 credits.

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Master of Engineering

The Master of Engineering (MEng) degree is designed to provide students the opportunity to pursue advanced-level study in a field of engineering. The degree is concerned with application of specialized, graduate-level engineering and managerial knowledge to specific engineering disciplines. The degree is a course work-only degree, with the option of substituting research or internship credits for a few courses. No thesis or project is required.

The MEng program requires a minimum of 45 credits. The examining committee consists of a minimum of three members of the graduate faculty in the engineering specialization. A final oral examination is required.


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Master of Fine Arts

The Master of Fine Arts is an appropriate terminal degree for those who wish to teach in creative, performing, and studio arts in higher education. The MFA in Creative Writing is a program that helps students define and advance their literary ambitions and develop their skills as artists and teachers. Students will be introduced to three broad areas of knowledge within the field of creative writing that they need in order to become successful writers, editors, or teachers. These areas involve writing, reading, and marketing skills within contemporary literary fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. The degree requires a minimum of 60 credits comprised of 24 credits in creative writing workshops, 24 credits in literature and/or composition and rhetoric and one course emphasizing literary roots, and 12 credits in thesis and/or writing and conference. All MFA candidates are required to complete a thesis, which is to be a sustained piece of imaginative writing of literary merit. A final oral examination is required.


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Master of Forestry

The professional Master of Forestry degree is intended for potential administrators and professional forestry specialists in public and private organizations where persons of broad ability are demanded and a broad technical education is needed. The degree requires a minimum of 45 credits. At least 21 credits are to be selected from a series of designated courses within the College of Forestry. As many as 24 credits may be elected from other courses offered by the college or university according to guidelines set forth in the program descriptions prepared by each department. The electives must contribute to a unified program that will meet the objectives of the student. A thesis is not required, but a technical report on an approved topic, correlated with courses in the major field, must be submitted. A final oral examination is required.

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Master of Health Physics

The Master of Health Physics degree is designed to be a professional, advanced graduate degree that emphasizes fundamental learning and professional development for those wishing the master's credential, but not requiring a research focus for their planned profession. The degree directs students toward professional licensing as a certified health physicist in the field of radiation protection. The program will consist of a minimum of 45 graduate credits, with 30 graduate credits in the major, and 15 elective graduate credits. A final oral examination is required.

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Master of Medical Physics

The Master of Medical Physics (MMP) degree prepares the graduate for a professional career in applied medical physics, focused on practical hands-on experience. The MMP program is designed as a clinical specialization for individuals with an undergraduate degree in science or engineering, offering areas of concentration in therapeutic radiologic physics or medical health physics. The degree requires a minimum of 45 graduate credits, including 30 graduate credits within the major and 15 elective graduate credits. The program does not require a thesis, however, candidates are required to pass a final oral examination.


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Master of Natural Resources

The Master of Natural Resources (MNR) degree is designed to engage university scientists and world-wide natural resource professionals in a process that integrates diverse perspectives to address natural resource challenges at the state, regional, national, and international levels. The program is intended for individuals with at least two years of experience in natural resource disciplines who seek an advanced degree in natural resource management. The MNR curriculum, consisting of 45 credits, is organized into three sections: core (18 credits), area of emphasis (18 credits), and capstone project (9 credits). It is taught as a distance, online curriculum, although it may be possible for some students to work toward the MNR degree while in residence at Oregon State University. The MNR degree is offered as a non-thesis option only. A final oral examination is required.

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Master of Public Health

The Master of Public Health (MPH) degree program combines broad training in public health with specific training in one of the specialty tracks offered by the three participating universities: Oregon Health and Science University, Oregon State University, and Portland State University.

The MPH program is designed for persons who already have a bachelor’s degree and who wish to obtain further formal education in the field of public health. Persons with experience in the health field or who have training in a specialized area of health may increase their knowledge regarding population-based health to prepare them for expanded administrative and service careers. Persons who do not have prior experience in health fields may prepare themselves for a broad variety of careers depending upon their choice of specialty track.

The Master of Public Health degree is offered by Oregon State University with concentrations in biostatistics; environment, safety and health; epidemiology; health management and policy; health promotion; health promotion and health behavior; international health.

Students who are admitted to a track are able to take core courses at any one of the participating universities through joint campus registration and have them count as resident courses.

The MPH program consists of 16 credits of core courses, plus additional units of required and elective courses, an internship, and a thesis or nonthesis project depending upon the specific track. Programs are approximately 60 credits in length. All students will be required to take a final oral examination as determined by their specific track.


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Master of Public Policy

The Master of Public Policy is a professional degree intended to prepare students for careers in the public, nonprofit, and international sectors and offer training for in-service students desiring professional growth and advancement. The degree is designed to be a generalist program, with an emphasis on analytic skills and policy knowledge. The degree requires a minimum of 62 graduate credits, 44 of which are in the required core. The core curriculum provides an important foundation in statistics, research methods, computer applications, public policy analysis, public administration and ethics, and economics. The remaining 18 credits support the student’s preferred area of concentration, consisting of environmental policy, international policy, rural policy, science policy, or social policy. Students with little work experience in public service, the nonprofit sector, or the international context will be required to engage in a supervised internship that will allow them to work closely with experienced mentors who will help them integrate theory with practice and introduce them to a professional network. Students with relevant work experience will substitute course work for internship credits. A final oral examination is required.

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Professional Science Master's Degree (PSM)

The Professional Science Master’s (PSM) allows students to pursue advanced training in science while simultaneously developing workplace skills highly valued by employers. PSM programs consist of two years of academic training in an emerging or interdisciplinary area in science, along with a professional component that includes internships and "cross-training" in workplace skills, such as business, communications, and regulatory affairs. All have been developed in concert with employers and are designed to dovetail into present and future professional career opportunities.

The Professional Science Master’s Degree (PSM) is offered with five graduate majors:

  1. Applied Biotechnology
  2. Applied Physics
  3. Applied Systematics in Botany
  4. Environmental Sciences
  5. Fisheries and Wildlife Administration

For further information, contact Barbara Taylor, PhD, Director, Molecular and Cellular Biology, 3021 Agricultural and Life Sciences Building, 541-737-3799, taylorb@science.oregonstate.edu and millimag@cgrb.oregonstate.edu and Kirstin Carroll, PhD, 3029 Cordley Hall, 541-737-5259, kirstin.carroll@oregonstate.edu, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331.


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