Graduate Degrees Offered

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln offers 38 programs leading to doctoral degrees, 76 leading to masters degrees, and one leading to the educational specialist degree. Programs Offered lists current offerings.

Masters Degree Requirements

Options for the Masters Degree

The Graduate College, except in a few departments where such a choice is not feasible, offers the degrees of master of arts and master of science under three options. Limitations concerning options for the masters degree in the individual majors are shown in the beginning portion of each department’s requirements in the Courses of Instruction section of this bulletin. In choosing an option a student should be guided by the type of training desired.

A masters degree student may change his/her declared Option at any time during the program of study with written approval from the adviser, the Chair of the Graduate Committee in the student’s major and the Dean for Graduate Studies. The only exception to this policy is that students may not change from Option I to any other Option if certification of full time status has been utilized.

Major

The major for the masters degree under any option may be met with approved courses selected from those offered in any department which has been approved to offer a program leading to the masters degree, refer to graduate degrees offered.

Minor

A minor for the masters degree under any option must consist of at least 9 semester hours.  A minor may

  • be taken in any one department or interdepartmental area which has been approved to offer a major leading to a masters degree;
  • in certain departments, be completed in a subdivision of the administrative department.

Approved fields of study, which may be selected within each administrative department, must be approved by the Graduate Council for use as a minor and are indicated in this bulletin in the sections of the program for the respective departments. Approved fields of specialization are listed under those sections of this bulletin which pertain to the departments concerned.

A Masters Degree: Three Options

  Option I Option II Option III
Designed for

Students preparing for careers in research and scholarly work or in college or university teaching.

Students who don’t intend to pursue a graduate degree beyond the masters.

Students who plan to continue scholarly work in a chosen field past the masters level.

Credit Hour Requirement

A minimum of 30 semester hours of credit, consisting of 20 to 24 semester hours of regular course work

A minimum of 36 semester hours of credit in courses representing a major and either one or two minors

A minimum of 36 semester hours of credit

Thesis Required

Yes (equivalent to 6-10 semester hours). At least one-half of the required work, including thesis, must be taken in one major subject (at least 18 hours for the master of education degree).

No

No

Minor available?

Yes, at least 9 semester hours

Yes, at least 9 semester hours

No

Graduate-only Requirements

Eight hours credit, in addition to the thesis, must be earned in courses open exclusively to graduate students (900 level or 800 level without 400 or lower counterparts).

At least 12 of the 36 hours must be earned in courses open exclusively to graduate students (900 or 800 level without 400 or lower counterparts)

At least 18 of the 36 hours must be earned in courses open exclusively to graduate students (900 or 800 level without 400 or lower counterparts).

Students pursuing the master of professional accountancy degree must earn at least 20 semester hours of credit in courses open exclusively to graduate students; at least 15 semester hours of these graduate-only courses must be in Accounting.

Residency

Must complete 10-12 semester hours of the required credit in regularly scheduled campus courses, excluding credit in thesis research

Must complete at least 18 hours in regularly scheduled campus courses. At least one-half of the work for a masters degree must be in the department or area constituting the student’s major.

Must complete at least 18 hours in regularly scheduled campus courses. At least one-half of the work for a masters degree must be in the department or area constituting the student’s major.

Time Requirement

10 consecutive years.  Course work exceeding ten years will not apply toward the partial fulfillment of the degree requirements for masters degrees at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

10 consecutive years Course work exceeding ten years will not apply toward the partial fulfillment of the degree requirements for masters degrees at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

10 consecutive years.  Course work exceeding ten years will not apply toward the partial fulfillment of the degree requirements for masters degrees at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Special Notes

Not open for the master of professional accountancy degree.

Not open for master of professional accountancy degree.

Master of education is only available as an Option II.

Not open to students seeking the masters of science degree in either agronomy or horticulture.

Institutional Review Board (IRB) & Institutional Animal Care (IACUC)

Research activities involving human subjects or live vertebrate animals may not be conducted at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) unless the research activities have been reviewed and approved by the appropriate board or committee. The Institutional Review Board (IRB) reviews projects involving human subject research and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) reviews the use of animals in research. These reviews are in accordance with Federal regulations and UNL assurance documents to the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP). The IRB New Protocol Submission form must be completed online via NUGrant; the Application to Use Animals is available from the Office of Research Responsibility.

The IRB and IACUC will not review projects already in progress. Approval must be secured prior to the initiation of the research. Evidence of IRB/IACUC approval must be submitted at the time the final version of the thesis or dissertation is filed.

Memorandum of Courses

The Memorandum of Courses must be

  • filed before the student has received grades (letter grades, no reports or incompletes) in more than one-half of the prescribed program; and

  • approved by the student’s adviser, the departmental or area Graduate Committee, a faculty member of the Graduate Committee in the student’s minor, and by the Dean of Graduate Studies.
A student may NOT file a Memorandum of Courses and graduate in the same semester or summer session. See Master's Degree Forms and Deadlines for further information.

Admission to Candidacy

A student is admitted to Candidacy for the masters degree when admission deficiencies have been removed and when the ability to perform satisfactorily in graduate studies has been demonstrated, by filing a Memorandum of Courses in the Office of Graduate Studies.

Examinations for the Masters Degree

Students are all required to take either a written comprehensive examination or an oral examination.

Within 24 months prior to the date of graduation, a comprehensive (written and/or oral) examination is (are) required to cover the student’s approved program of study, as specified by the appropriate departments. The comprehensive examination in the minor field(s) (written and/or oral) may be waived subject to the approval of the minor department(s) provided all grades in the minor department are at least a B or pass.

If an oral examination is required, the examining committee, approved by the Office of Graduate Studies on recommendation of the major department, will consist of at least three members representing the major department and the minor department (if applicable).


Examining Committee

If the degree is being earned under Option I without a final oral examination, the thesis must be approved in writing by a Graduate Faculty member in addition to the major adviser. Note: For an oral examination to be waived, the student must have completed a written examination within the 24 month time requirement. All professors on the examining committee must either be on the Graduate Faculty, or be non-Graduate Faculty approved to perform specified Graduate Faculty duties.

If a member of the examining committee other than the chair leaves the employ of the University, or retires, a replacement should be appointed. In certain circumstances where a special and needed continuing expertise is involved and the faculty member is willing to continue serving, the departing faculty member may continue as a member or co-chair of the committee, with approval of the department Graduate Committee and the UNL Dean of Graduate Studies.

In the event that members of an oral examining committee are not unanimous regarding passing a Candidate, the student is to be approved for the degree if only one examiner dissents. The dissenting member of the committee will be expected to file a letter of explanation in the Office of Graduate Studies.

If a student fails to pass the final oral or written examination for an advanced degree, the committee must file a report on the failure in the Office of Graduate Studies and indicate what the student must do before taking another examination. Another examination may not be held during the same semester or the same summer session in which the student failed.

Option I Thesis

The subject of the thesis should be chosen from the candidate’s field of major interest and must be approved by the departmental Graduate Committee. The thesis should reveal a capacity to carry on independent study or research and should demonstrate the student’s ability to use the techniques employed in her/his field of investigation.

Thesis Format

The thesis must conform in style and form to the guidelines set forth in the Guidelines for the Preparation and Submission of an Electronic Thesis found in our Masters Degree Forms and Deadlines.

A Candidate is not eligible for the oral examination until the thesis is completed and approved by the major adviser

Preliminary Approval by Adviser

The masters thesis and abstract in preliminary form must be approved by the adviser prior to applying for the final oral examination or for its waiver and should be presented to the committee at least two weeks prior to the oral examination.

Preliminary Review by Masters Specialist

At least two weeks before the date of the oral examination, submit an electronic copy of the thesis and abstract for preliminary review to the Masters Degree Specialist in the Office of Graduate Studies (note: for summer sessions, submit an electronic copy of the thesis and the abstract at least one week before the date for the oral examination).

Final Review (After Defense)

Following the successful completion of the oral examination, the student should submit an electronic copy to the Masters Degree Specialist for final approval.

Once the student receives notification of final approval, the thesis should be uploaded to Digital Commons. Upon a successful upload, the student will receive an email notification.  Follow these steps:

  1. Print this email notification.
  2. Bring the printed notification, one copy of the title page, two copies of the abstract and their signed Final Examination Report Form to the Masters Degree Specialist in the Office of Graduate Studies, 1100 Seaton Hall.
  3. The title page and one of the abstracts will be stamped for approval and returned to the student for depositing in 318 Love Library.
  4. The Final Examination Report Form will be signed by the personnel in the Library.
  5. Proceed to the Cashier in Canfield Administration Building and pay the archiving fee. The cashier will sign off on the Final Examination Report Form.
  6. Return to the Office of Graduate Studies with the signed Final Examination Report Form from the Cashier’s office.
  7. Consult with your major adviser about the number of additional copies of the thesis which should be prepared, and also about the binding of these copies. One copy must be filed in the departmental office of the major and, typically, one copy is furnished to the major adviser who directed the study.

 

Procedure Summary for the Masters Degree

This outline of procedure should be studied carefully in connection with the deadlines published in the UNL Graduate Studies calendar. See Masters Degree Forms and Deadlines.

  1. Admission to UNL Graduate Studies.
  2. Register with consultation of the chair of the Graduate Committee and the major adviser and with the approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies.
  3. Remove admission deficiencies.
  4. File Memorandum of Courses, required for Candidacy, before grades (letter grades, no reports or incompletes) have been received in more than one half of the program and on recommendation of the major and minor departments and approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies.
  5. Apply for advanced degree at the Graduation Services Office at the outset of the semester or session in which graduation is planned.
  6. Submit the Final Examination Report for the masters degree to the Office of Graduate Studies at least four weeks (three weeks in summer) before the final examination, if required, but in no case later than four weeks before the final date for oral examinations. The report will be accepted after all course work on the Memorandum of Courses has been completed, or is in progress, and any outstanding incompletes have been removed.
  7. Present a preliminary copy of the thesis and abstract to the Graduate Studies Office, two weeks (one week in summer) prior to the oral examination, if required. If the oral examination is waived, the preliminary copy of the thesis and abstract must be presented to the Office of Graduate Studies no later than two weeks before the final date for oral examinations for any given session.
  8. Pass written examinations, if required, in major and minor fields at least one week prior to the time the oral examination is to be taken.
  9. Pass oral examination, if required, administered by the examining committee.
  10. Confirm upload of thesis including the abstract to Digital Commons, one copy of the title page, two copies of the abstract and the signed Final Examination Report Form to Graduate Studies to be stamped. Title page and one abstract will be delivered to the Dean of University Libraries, and archiving fee is paid to the Cashier’s Office. Upon receiving the signatures of the Library and the cashier on the Final Examination Report Form, it is returned to the Office of Graduate Studies.


Masters Degree with Double Major

Students accepted into a double major must meet, at least, the minimum requirements for each of the majors. This includes graduate work of no less than 18 to 24 credit hours in each of the two disciplines, but never fewer than 18 credits, excluding cross-listed courses in the second major. The precise number of credits may vary depending on the total required hours for a particular major. For each of the two majors, students must take at least 8 credits in courses open only to graduate students (900 level or *800 level), excluding thesis hours.

The student is required to successfully satisfy the comprehensive examination schedule (written and/or oral examination(s)) administered for each major. The examination committee for students electing for the double major masters shall consist of two graduate faculty members from each of the major departments/areas. The committee shall be co-chaired by a faculty member from each of the major departments. All professors on the examining committee must either be on the graduate faculty or be non-graduate faculty approved to perform specified graduate faculty duties. At least one of the two members from each department must be on the graduate faculty.

For admission criteria, see Admission to a Double Major.

Second Masters Degree

Students who have earned a previous graduate degree such as a masters degree at any institution including the University of Nebraska may seek additional masters degrees. The subsequent masters degree(s) may be in the same discipline as the previously earned degree(s), or in a different discipline. However, no graduate credits will be accepted as transfer credit toward a subsequent masters program if the course work has been applied toward a previously completed graduate degree at any accredited institution, including UNL. Graduate course work not previously applied toward a degree may be considered for transfer to a subsequent masters if the graduate credits were earned within 10 years of completing the masters degree at UNL.

Doctoral Degrees

Doctor of Education

The Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree emphasizes the application of theory to the improvement of educational practice. The test of knowledge is the ability to demonstrate applicability to a variety of educational situations. Emphasis is upon the development of decision-oriented inquiry skills in which the educator applies theory and knowledge to the solution of educational problems. The person holding the doctor of education degree is a practitioner of education, but one whose practice is drawn from a highly developed, scholarly study of educational theory coupled with skills of analysis which permit direct application of that theory.

To qualify for the Ed.D. degree, the student must meet the following requirements:

  1. Complete 96 semester credit hours including 6 hours of research tools and normally a minimum of 12 hours and a maximum of 55 hours of dissertation research.
  2. Pass a written comprehensive examination, in the major and minor fields of study.
  3. Prepare and submit an approved dissertation to the University.
  4. Pass a final examination, which typically involves the defense of the dissertation.
  5. Complete all work for the doctoral degree within eight years from the date of filing the student’s Program of Studies in the Office of Graduate Studies.

The residency and time requirements and the regulations pertaining to appointment of Supervisory Committees and submission of Programs of Studies for the Doctor of Education are the same as those for the Doctor of Philosophy degree. Please refer to the Doctoral Degree Requirements.

Qualifying Procedure

An applicant for a doctoral degree in education must:

  1. Have earned a bachelors degree from a regionally accredited institution with the same general requirements as those indicated for masters degree candidates.
  2. Show evidence of the scholastic ability necessary for the successful pursuit of advanced work.
  3. Provide evidence of at least two years of successful professional experience or of a program of professional experience approved by the adviser.

Doctor of Musical Arts

To qualify for the Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) degree, it is the student’s responsibility to meet the following requirements:

  1. Complete 90 semester credit hours, including a minimum of 3 hours doctoral document research.
  2. Pass a written comprehensive examination, in the major and minor fields of study.
  3. Prepare and submit an approved doctoral document to the University.
  4. Pass a final examination, which typically involves the defense of the doctoral document.
  5. Complete all work for the doctoral degree within eight years from the date of filing the student’s Program of Studies in the Office of Graduate Studies.

The residency and time requirements and the regulations pertaining to appointment of Supervisory Committees and submission of Programs of Studies for the Doctor of Musical Arts are the same as those for the Doctor of Philosophy degree with the exception of the dissertation hours required. Please refer to Doctoral Degree Requirements.

Establishing the Supervisory Committee will depend upon the student’s demonstrated ability in the fundamental subject matter of his or her field and on professional promise.

After admission requirements have been fulfilled, conferral of the DMA degree is contingent on a high level of attainment in the candidate’s major area. In composition, this will include performances of compositions composed after acceptance into the doctoral program. Work submitted for approval must include one work for chamber ensemble and one work for orchestra or its equivalent. In performance and jazz studies, this will include four full recitals and one lecture recital. The literature performed at these recitals must be representative of all major schools and styles within the performer’s chosen discipline. In conducting, three full recitals are required.

In addition, proficiency in music scholarship must be demonstrated by the completion of a doctoral document or, as determined by the composition faculty, other options for composition students, and completion of academic studies in music.

When a student has successfully completed the required coursework (excluding the final recital, applied music, ensemble and/or document), the student may petition for comprehensive examinations, which will be both written and oral. When these are successfully completed, the student is admitted to Candidacy for the degree. For further information, see “Comprehensive Examination and Admission to Candidacy” section. The presentation of the final recital or composition will take place after admission to Candidacy. The completion of the abstract and the doctoral document and its defense will complete requirements for the degree.

 

Doctor of Philosophy

Doctor of Philosophy

To qualify for the doctoral degree, it is the student’s responsibility to meet the following requirements: 

  1. Complete a program of study and research that includes at least 90 semester credit hours. The Program of Studies should be filed in the Office of Graduate Studies with at least half of the program of courses remaining to be taken for the student’s doctoral program and must be approved by the student’s Supervisory Committee.
  2. Pass a written comprehensive examination, in the major and minor fields of study.
  3. Prepare and submit an approved dissertation to the University.
  4. Pass a Final Examination, which typically involves the defense of the dissertation.
  5. Complete all work for the doctoral degree within eight years from the date of filing the Program of Studies in the Office of Graduate Studies.

    Refer to Doctoral Degree Requirements.

Doctoral Degree Requirements

Academic Residency

All doctoral students need to establish academic residency to ensure their doctoral program is reasonably compact, continuous, and cohesive, and that a substantial portion is in fact done at and under close supervision by the University.

  • No additional hours over and above those for the required program of studies will be needed to fulfill academic residency.
  • For a student beginning a doctoral program in the University of Nebraska system with a bachelors degree, the academic residency requirement is 27 hours of graduate work within a consecutive 18-month period or less, with the further provision that 15 of these 27 hours must be taken after receiving the masters at UNL.
  • For a student beginning a doctoral program in the University of Nebraska system with a masters degree from another educational institution, the academic residency requirement is 27 hours of graduate course work within a consecutive 18-month period or less.
  • For a member of the University staff who is engaged at least half time in instruction or research in their major area, or a person employed in their major field, the residency requirement is 24 credit hours of graduate work within a consecutive two-year period with the further provision that they take at least 12 of these after receiving the masters degree at UNL. For important registration restrictions, refer to University Staff Exemption.
  • In exceptional circumstances, where it is clear that the purpose of residency will be fulfilled although the above formal conditions are not met, the student’s Supervisory Committee may, with the approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies, designate an alternative procedure for satisfying the residency requirements.

Supervisory Committee

In order to assure that students are under careful advisement and mentoring throughout their careers, a Supervisory Committee is established before a doctoral student has accumulated 45 credit hours including any transfer hours but excluding research or language tools.

The Supervisory Committee is appointed by the Dean of Graduate Studies based upon a recommendation of the departmental or program Graduate Committee in the student’s major prior to the approval of the program of study. 

The Supervisory Committee consists of at least four resident Graduate Faculty members.

  • All professors on the Supervisory Committee must either be on the graduate faculty or be non-graduate faculty approved to perform specified Graduate Faculty duties.
  • The Supervisory Committee must include at least one Graduate Faculty member external to the academic department or program in which the doctorate is to be granted but within the University of Nebraska system. If the student is pursuing a minor, the Graduate Faculty member from the minor department may serve as the outside representative.

Once the committee has been formed, an Appointment of Supervisory Committee form, signed by the Graduate Committee Chair, should be filed with the Office of Graduate Studies.

Changes to the Supervisory Committee

Changes to the Supervisory Committee may be made if the Supervisory Committee chair leaves the employ of the University, or retires or is otherwise unable to serve on the Committee. The Office of Graduate Studies must be notified immediately and a change in the Supervisory Committee made as follows:

  • If the student has achieved Candidacy, the former chair who has left the employ of the University may continue to serve as co-chair of the Supervisory Committee, with the approval of the departmental Graduate Committee and the UNL Dean of Graduate Studies. A second co-chair must be appointed who is a resident Graduate Faculty member.
  • If the student has not yet achieved Candidacy, a new chair of the Supervisory Committee who is a resident Graduate Faculty member must be appointed immediately, with the agreement of the departmental/school Graduate Program Committee and the UNL Dean of Graduate Studies.
  • If a member of the Supervisory Committee other than the chair leaves the employ of the University, or retires, a replacement should be appointed who is a resident graduate faculty member. In certain circumstances where special and needed continuing expertise is involved and the faculty member is willing to continue serving, he/she may continue as a member of the Supervisory Committee, with the approval of the Supervisory Committee Chair and the concurrence of the UNL Dean of Graduate Studies.

Graduate faculty who have retired and been appointed to emeritus status may co-chair the supervisory committees of doctoral students with a resident graduate faculty member. Emeritus faculty may continue to serve as members of committees.

Changes may be made to a Supervisory Committee any time prior to the submission of the Application for Final Oral Exam using the Change of Committee form.

Courtesy Members

The UNL Graduate Faculty welcomes associations with faculty members from other institutions who might contribute unique expertise to our doctoral programs. These external experts are given courtesy membership on a doctoral student’s committee. Courtesy members

  • must hold a doctoral degree appropriate to the discipline and have academic accomplishments comparable to the criteria for UNL Graduate Faculty;
  • are appointed as voting members of the Supervisory Committee;
  • must be willing to participate in the student’s doctoral program in a manner consistent with this role;
  • may serve as one of the two appointed readers; but may not serve as committee chair, co-chair, or outside representative;
  • are not granted blanket status and must be approved separately for each supervisory committee upon which the individual is nominated to serve;
  • only one courtesy member may serve on each supervisory committee, and the committee must also include a minimum of four members of the University of Nebraska Graduate Faculty.

Appointment of a courtesy member is accomplished by the submission of the Courtesy Committee Member form signed by the Supervisory Committee chair and Graduate Committee chair. A current CV from the courtesy member should be submitted with this form (the CV may be e-mailed to graduate@unl.edu-use "Courtesy Member CV" in the subject line).

Program of Studies

The Program of Studies should be filed in the Office of Graduate Studies with at least half of the program of courses remaining to be taken for the student’s doctoral program.

The Program of Studies should

  • be filed in the Office of Graduate Studies within the same semester as the appointment of the Supervisory Committee;
  • contain at least 90 semester credit hours including a minimum of 12 or a maximum of 55 hours of dissertation research;
  • include any departmental language or research tool requirements, and the general area of research for the dissertation;
  • reflect a major from the list of approved doctoral programs. At least half of the graduate work, including the dissertation, will be done in this field.

The Supervisory Committee will determine what course work taken prior to filing of a Program of Studies, including hours earned toward the masters degree(s), will be accepted as part of the 90-hour program.

  • The Supervisory Committee is not obligated to reduce the doctoral Program of Studies by applying course work completed prior to its appointment.
  • Prior course work should be assessed in relation to its contribution to framing a research foundation for the doctorate. Each course accepted must be determined to be current and relevant in relation to the desired degree.
  • No graduate credit will be accepted from a previously awarded doctoral degree at any institution, including UNL.
  • The time limit on granting the doctoral degree is eight years from the time of filing the student’s Program of Studies in the Office of Graduate Studies.

Any subsequent change in the program is approved by the Supervisory Committee and the action reported to the Office of Graduate Studies in writing.

Minor Within the Doctoral Program

A student may include a minor within their Program of Studies.  A minor

  • may be taken in any department that has been approved to offer a major leading to a UNL masters degree;
  • is included in the total hours for the doctoral program established by the committee;
  • must include at least 15 semester hours with 6 hours in courses open exclusively to graduate students (900 level or 800 level without 400 level or lower counterparts); and
  • must include course work outside the major program but within the program in which the minor is being sought. In addition, the minor for the PhD may, in certain departments, be completed in a subdivision of the administrative department.

 A graduate faculty member from the minor program must be a member of the student’s Supervisory Committee. 

Language and Tools

There is no uniform language or research tool requirement for UNL Graduate Studies. However, certain departments have specific research tool and/or language requirements. Students should contact their Graduate Chair for specific requirements related to research and/or language tools.

All required language or research tools requirements for the student's program should be listed on the Program of Studies by the Supervisory Committee and be satisfied prior to filing the Application for Admission to Candidacy, which is due at least seven months before the scheduled final oral examination.

Interdisciplinary Program of Studies

A student may select a field of study that integrates material offered in two or more departments without meeting the specific major requirements of one program. To establish such a program of study the student must

  • choose an approved interdepartmental program or programs; and
  • establish a special Interdisciplinary Graduate Committee, appointed by the Dean of Graduate Studies, representing each of the departments concerned.  One graduate program must be designated as the student’s home department. The graduate committee must include a graduate faculty member from outside of the major programs to serve as the outside representative;

The remaining work, subject to the approval of the Supervisory Committee, may include either a) supporting courses in the same or in related departments; or b) a minor field of study outside of the major department(s).

Comprehensive Examination and Admission to Candidacy

When a student has substantially completed studies in the doctoral program (PhD, EdD, DMA), he/she must pass a written comprehensive examination, in the major and minor fields of study.

  1. The Supervisory Committee arranges for written or oral examinations at least seven months prior to the final oral examination (dissertation defense).
  2. The written comprehensive examination is not a repetition of course examinations but is an investigation of the student’s breadth of understanding of the field of knowledge of which his/her special subject is a part.
  3. At the discretion of the Supervisory Committee, an oral comprehensive examination may be required. The oral examination may include the minor or related fields in addition to the major field of study.  If an oral exam is required, this is considered a part of the comprehensive exam requirements to be met before candidacy can be achieved.

When the student has passed the comprehensive examination, satisfied language and research tool requirements of her/his approved program, and removed any provisional admission requirements, the committee will recommend to the Office of Graduate Studies the doctoral student’s admission to Candidacy by filing the Application for Admission to Candidacy for the doctoral degree, noting the dates of completing the comprehensive examination(s).

The Application for Candidacy must be filed at least seven months prior to the final oral examination (dissertation defense).

Following admission to Candidacy the student must register for at least one credit hour during each fall and spring semester until he/she receives the doctoral degree, even if the student has already met the total dissertation hours on their approved program of study. Failure to register during each academic-year semester will result in termination of the program of study.

Should the Supervisory Committee determine the student has failed the comprehensive examination, a letter must be submitted by the chair of the Supervisory Committee to the Dean of Graduate Studies stating the conditions under which the student may attempt another examination, or part thereof. Additional attempts may not be earlier than the following academic term or summer. Typically, but upon the discretion of the Supervisory Committee, only two attempts to pass the comprehensive examination will be permitted.

Dissertation

The dissertation is of no fixed length. It should treat a subject from the Candidate’s special field, approved by the Supervisory Committee. It should show the technical mastery of the field and advance or modify former knowledge, i.e., it should treat new material, or find new results, or draw new conclusions, or it should interpret old material in a new light. Each candidate for the degree shall submit with the dissertation an abstract of the same, not exceeding 350 words in length including the title.

For specific formatting guidelines required by the Office of Graduate Studies, the Guidelines for Preparation of an Electronic Dissertation should be consulted.  Style guidelines are determined by the student’s specific discipline.

Institutional Research Board

Research activities involving human subjects or live vertebrate animals may not be conducted at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) unless the research activities have been reviewed and approved by the appropriate board or committee. The Institutional Review Board (IRB) reviews projects involving human subject research and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) reviews the use of animals in research. These reviews are in accordance with Federal regulations and UNL assurance documents to the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP). The IRB New Protocol Submission form must be completed online via NUgrant; the Application to Use Animals is available from the Office of Research Responsibility.

The IRB and IACUC will not review projects already in progress. Approval must be secured prior to the initiation of the research. Evidence of IRB/IACUC approval must be submitted at the time the final version of the thesis or dissertation is filed.

Reading Committee

Following approval by the major adviser, the dissertation and abstract should be presented to the Reading Committee in time for its review, and recommendation of its members at least five weeks prior to the oral examination. The Reading Committee consists of two members from the Supervisory Committee, excluding the Chair or Co-chair.

The Chair or Co-Chairs of the Supervisory Committee must file in the Office of Graduate at least three weeks prior to the oral examination either:

  1. A recommendation (the Application for Final Oral Examination) signed by each member of the Reading Committee indicating general approval to defend the dissertation and abstract with the names of those to be in attendance at defense listed; or
  2. A statement signed by a majority of the Supervisory Committee indicating that the Committee rejected an adverse report by one member of the Reading Committee and recommends that the candidate be permitted to proceed to an oral examination defense of the dissertation and abstract.

Final Oral Examination

Once the candidate’s studies have been completed and the dissertation accepted by the Reading Committee, a final oral examination may be scheduled and given by the Supervisory Committee

  • the supervisor of the dissertation must review and approve the completed dissertation before the examination will be scheduled;
  • the final oral examination for the PhD may not be scheduled unless a majority of the Supervisory Committee, including the Chair, are available for the examination. Exceptions may be made only by permission of the Dean of Graduate Studies.

An Application for Final Oral Exam should be filed with the Office of Graduate Studies no less than three weeks prior to the scheduled defense.  The submission of the application form indicates that the committee chair and the readers (see Reading Committee) have read the dissertation, find it suitable for a defense and grant permission for the defense to be held. 

The final examination for the doctoral degree is oral and open to members of both the University community and the public.

  • The Supervisory Committee determines the defense’s character and length. The examination may be devoted to the special field of the dissertation or to the Candidate’s general knowledge, or it may be designed to test judgment and critical powers.
  • During the dissertation presentation and general questioning all persons may be present.
  • At the end of the public hearing there will be a closed questioning portion of the examination where all persons except the Candidate, Supervisory Committee, and invited faculty must be excused.
  • The final oral examination over the dissertation may be waived only with the consent of the Graduate Dean.

The Supervisory Committee reports the results of the final oral examination to the Office of Graduate Studies.

  • If the student has passed the oral exam, a Report of Completion is signed by all committee members present for the defense. This is included in the documents submitted by the student for depositing the dissertation.
  • In the event that members of an oral examining committee are not unanimous regarding passing a Candidate, the student is to be approved for the degree if only one examiner dissents. However, in each case, the dissenting member of the committee will be expected to file a letter of explanation in the Office of Graduate Studies.
  • If a student fails to pass the final oral examination for an advanced degree, his/her committee must file a report on the failure in the Office of Graduate Studies and indicate what the student must do before taking another examination. Another examination may not be held during the same semester or the same summer session in which the student failed.

Depositing the Dissertation

Following the successful completion of the oral examination, the student should consult the instructions received at the time of filing the Application for Final Oral Exam before submitting the required items in the Office of Graduate Studies, 1100 Seaton Hall.

Only abstracts/dissertations that meet all published requirements can be approved and stamped for depositing.

Before the degree is granted, each Candidate pays a processing fee, and if desired, an additional fee to cover the cost of registering a copyright.

 

Educational Specialist

The Educational Specialist degree prepares educational practitioners for specialized positions in public and private schools. It is especially appropriate for those individuals who wish preparation beyond the masters degree level, but who are not interested in doctoral work with its emphasis on research. The Ed.S. degree is a terminal degree and should not be viewed as a substitute for the doctorate nor as work completed toward it. See Educational Specialist Degree Forms and Deadlines. 

Hours of Credit

A minimum of 66 semester hours beyond the baccalaureate degree is required for the Ed.S.degree. While specific requirements are determined by departmental units, in general 40 to 50 hours will be in core courses within the unit or closely related units, 3 hours or more will be research, 6 hours or more will be practicum, and 6 or more hours will be electives.

Qualifying Procedure

Applicants for the Ed.S. program should

  • have earned a bachelors degree from a regionally accredited institution; and
  • take qualifying examinations as required by the field of specialization.

Applications will be reviewed by faculty in the field of specialization and admission decisions made by the departmental Graduate Committee on the basis of academic and professional promise.

Supervisory Committee

With approval by the Graduate Committee Chair of the department, a Supervisory Committee consisting of three graduate faculty is appointed.   An Appointment of Supervisory Committee form should be filed before half of the hours are completed on the Program of Studies for the Ed.S.

Program of Studies

The Program of Studies for the Ed.S. consists of core courses, research, practica, and electives. The student must complete at least 24 hours subsequent to approval of the program of studies.

The time limit on granting the Ed.S. degree is six years from the time of filing the student’s plan of studies in the Office of Graduate Studies.

Comprehensive Examinations

A written comprehensive examination, developed by the Supervisory Committee, will be administered when the program is substantially complete. The committee determines the nature and duration of the examinations.  The results will be reported to the Office of Graduate Studies on the Final Report Form.

Once the student has met all the requirements for the Ed.S. degree, a Final Report Form will be signed by all the committee members and submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies.  This should be done prior to the deadline.

Certificate of Specialization in Educational Administration and Supervision

The Department of Educational Administration offers a graduate-level administrator preparation program leading to a Certificate of Specialization in Educational Administration and Supervision. The minimum requirement is 66 semester credit hours, in a Program of Studies specified by the Department.

All students seeking the Certificate of Specialization must:

  1. Apply to Graduate Studies and be admitted to the Educational Administration & Supervision (EDAS-SXCT) program in the Department of Educational Administration. Information concerning application procedures and admission requirements are located on the Educational Administration program summary
  2. The certificate must be completed within six consecutive calendar years from the time of the student’s acceptance into the program by the Department. At the time of completion, none of the semester credit hours approved may be more than ten years old, except for credit hours earned in a previous degree program.
  3. Once all requirements are complete, the department will notify Graduate Studies so the student may receive their certificate through Graduation Services. 
  4. The student must submit an Application for Graduation to receive the UNL certificate.

 

Certificate Program Requirements

Graduate certificates

Our Programs Offered page lists available Graduate Certificates with application instructions and course requirements.

A graduate certificate program is a sequence of courses providing participants with specialized knowledge and skills for personal enrichment, professional advancement, and/or career change, providing a basic introduction to an established field of study, an interdisciplinary approach linking several fields, and/or a concentrated focus on a sub-field. A graduate certificate program is designed to enhance the marketability of graduate students or to provide a service to a segment of the community through short-term graduate education.

Students earn a certificate after completing a prescribed amount of coursework.  Graduate certificate programs may function independently of degree programs, and lead to a certificate rather than a degree. (However, hours earned in certificate programs may be applied to a degree program.) Graduate certificate programs are typically designed for post-baccalaureate, graduate or post-graduate students. A completed graduate certificate will be noted on the official UNL graduate transcript.

Teacher certification

Teacher certifications are granted by the State of Nebraska's Department of Education rather than by UNL. The UNL transcript will indicate completion of certificate requirements and eligibility for the state certificate. The following are among the academic objective options on the Application for Admission to Graduate Study.

  • Certificate in Educational Administration and Supervision offered by the Department of Educational Administration
  • State certifications offered by the Nebraska Department of Education
    • Teaching Certificate - Initial
    • Teaching Certificate - Renewal
    • Administrative Certificate - Initial
    • Administrative Certificate - Renewal
    • Endorsements

UNL certification officer: Dr. Tom Wandzilak, College of Education and Human Sciences.

See also:  Academic Credit/Academic Progress Policies.

Graduate Areas of Specialization

Areas of specialization are available in some departments. An area of specialization is a subdivision of a major in which strong graduate-level curriculum is available. Once they are approved by the Graduate Council, these areas of specialization are indicated after the major on official records and transcripts.