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The master's program is designed to be completed in two years. The degree is awarded upon successful completion of required coursework and a passing grade on the master's qualifying examination. A thesis is not required, but independent research is strongly encouraged, especially for students who intend to pursue the doctorate. There are both general University requirements and department-specific requirements. While general information is available on this page, students should consult the graduate handbook for complete departmental requirements.
It is your responsibility as a graduate student to maintain your program in accordance with Departmental and University policies and to meet relevant deadlines. All questions regarding departmental guidelines can be addressed first with your supervisory chair, or with the Administrative Officer/Graduate Academic Coordinator, Kyla Welch; or the Director of Graduate Studies, Dr. Jack Broughton.

University requirements

The Graduate School has requirements concerning hours of coursework, GPA, continuous registration, and language proficiency. These requirements include the following: (a) minimum of 30 credit hours in graduate courses (5000 or above), (b) 3.0 or higher GPA, and (c) continuous registration (3 credit hours minimum) fall and spring until graduation. Please consult the Graduate School website for a complete description of these requirements.

There is a University (not departmental) language requirement for the MA (not MS) degree. The student's committee must approve the choice of language, and standard proficiency must be certified by the Department of Languages and Literature. There is no language requirement for the MS degree. 

Supervisory Committees

A critical aspect of timely completion of your graduate degree is selecting a Supervisory Committee Chair and forming a committee as soon as possible. The supervisory committee is responsible for approving the student's academic program, preparing and judging the qualifying examinations subject to departmental policy, approving the thesis or dissertation subject, reading and approving the thesis or dissertation, and administering and judging the final oral examination (thesis or dissertation defense).  The Chair of the supervisory committee directs the student's research and writing of the thesis or dissertation

Unless otherwise approved by the dean of The Graduate School, a supervisory committee consisting of three faculty members is appointed no later than the second semester of graduate work. The committee chair and the majority of the committee must be tenure-line faculty in the student’s department. If a graduate student’s preliminary work is deficient, the supervisory committee may require supplementary undergraduate courses for which no graduate credit is granted.

Students are encouraged to form supervisory committees by the end of the first year for Masters. Requirements for supervisory committees can be found in the departmental Graduate Student Handbook or Graduate School Website.

Qualifying Examination

All students are required to complete a qualifying exercise by the end of their fourth FTE (full-time effort) semester in this department. Detailed information regarding this exercise can be found in the graduate handbook.  A passing grade on this examination is a requirement for continuation in the PhD program. Students are also required to pass an oral examination focusing on the project or written examination, which should take place within 10 days of completion of the written portion of the exercise.

After the qualifying exercise is completed, the student is responsible for providing written notification to your Graduate Coordinator. The documentation must include the date of completion and a signature from the chair of your supervisory committee.



All graduate students must provide written notice to the Graduate Coordinator at least one semester in advance of their desired graduation term. At that time, your Program of Study is entered into your Graduate Record File. Your Graduate Student Committee must approve this Program of Study no later than one semester before graduation.

Deadlines for all requirements are clearly stated on The Graduate School website, and it is the student’s responsibility to observe all deadlines and to check with the Department if anything on the Requirements Audit Tab is incomplete. If any requirement is not met, the student must reapply for graduation in the following semester.

Deadlines to apply for graduation

On-Time Applications:

To apply on or before the due date simply click on the “Graduation” tile on your Student Homepage in Campus Information Services (CIS) and follow the instructions.

Late Application/Reapplication:

A Late/Reapplication for Graduate Degree may be submitted as an attachment in an email from your Umail account to

Continuation from M.S. program to PhD program

If you are a current Master’s student in the department and have been approved to continue directly from your M.S. into the PhD program you must fill out the student section of the Recommendation for Change of Graduate Classification and send to no later than two weeks before the end of your graduation semester.

Last Updated: 1/3/20