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.