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Program Requirements

Comprehensive Examinations

Master's Thesis in Lieu of Comps

Whether the master's thesis is to be completed as an additional program requirement or as a project in lieu of the written comprehensive examination, a thesis committee of at least two graduate faculty members is required. If the thesis is in lieu of the written comprehensive examination, school procedures for determining comprehensive examination eligibility are to be used prior to conducting the thesis research and at least two signatures from graduate faculty members must be obtained to indicate the successful completion of the thesis.

If the master's thesis is required in addition to the comprehensive examination, the student needs only to submit the thesis signed by two graduate faculty members to the Graduate School upon completion. The Graduate Dean will be the final approval signature on the thesis.

If the student plans to complete a thesis, whether in lieu of the comprehensive examination or in addition, the student must register for a minimum of six (6) semester hours of 699-Thesis. No more than six hours of thesis may be applied to the minimum credit requirements of a student's program.

Written Comprehensive Examinations

Each master's degree and specialist degree student must pass a written comprehensive examination or otherwise show competency in the discipline by successfully completing a specified equivalent that has been approved by the Graduate Council (thesis or project in lieu of comprehensive examinations). Defense of a project or thesis in lieu of comprehensive examinations is equivalent to administering the comprehensive examination.

The major school is responsible for determining the student's eligibility for taking the examination as well as scheduling the time, date, and place of the examination. This examination or its approved equivalent may not be taken until the student has:

Application. The student will apply in the academic school office for the written comprehensive examination or to defend the thesis before the thesis committee. The comprehensive examination permit is valid only for the semester that it is issued. The program advisor must be consulted for information regarding examination format, procedures, time, date, and place.

Students should not wait until they have been notified of comprehensive examination results before applying for graduation. If the student plans to graduate at the end of the semester in which he/she takes the comprehensive examination or completes the approved equivalent, the student must apply for graduation within the published deadlines.

Once the comprehensive examination session begins, it is considered a take of the examination. If the student leaves the examination session and does not return, the examination will be considered taken and the exam will be evaluated accordingly and reported to the Graduate School.

Results. Once the examination has been evaluated or the project/thesis has been defended (project for Specialist students), the program advisor must return the signed report form to the Graduate School indicating a pass or failure of the examination. If the student plans to graduate, this must be done on or before the published deadline to submit the results of the written comprehensive examination for that semester.

A retake may not be scheduled during the same semester that the original examination was completed. Failure of the retake of the examination or its equivalent will result in the termination of the student's degree program.

Filing the Thesis (Master's). One original and three copies of the thesis plus an additional copy of the abstract (150 words) must be submitted to the Graduate School along with a non-plagiarism affirmation form. These items must be submitted to the Graduate School at least four weeks (28 calendar days) before the student's anticipated graduation date. Upon filing a thesis, the Graduate School will require each student to complete specific forms related to the thesis and will be billed the current fees for binding, mailing, publishing, and microfilming, as applicable.

All four copies of the thesis will be bound. After binding, the original and one copy will be filed in the university library, one copy will be forwarded to the student's research advisor, and one copy will be sent to the student.

Graduation Application

All master's and specialist students must apply for graduation no later than the end of the semester preceding the semester that a student plans to graduate. A late fee will be assessed for late applications. The student has the responsibility for determining that the application has been filed with the Graduate School. The Graduate School will not process a graduation application that is not signed by the student and program advisor.

If the student does not complete all requirements for the degree and, therefore, does not graduate at the end of the proposed semester, the application will be placed in the deferred file. The student must give written notice to the Graduate School when he/she wishes to appear again on the tentative list of graduates.

Plan of Study

The program listed in the university Catalog will serve as the plan of study for master's programs.

Written requests for changes or substitutions in the plan of study must be signed by the program advisor and submitted to the Graduate School. Students should take the responsibility to make sure any deviations from the Catalog are documented in their Graduate School file. Schools are also encouraged to identify any deficiency courses a student must complete at the time of screening for admission.

Research Requirements

Master's and Specialist research policy. Student's must complete at least one course in research methodology designated as appropriate to the discipline and approved by the Graduate Council. Courses numbered XXX 622 (Directed Studies) shall not be used as a substitute for the research course.

The Graduate School will not waive this requirement but can approve an appropriate substitute research methodology course. The program advisor must provide a written request to substitute an alternative course, a syllabus for the course, and rationale for the requested substitute to the Graduate Dean. If the student earned a graduate degree from an accredited institution within the last five years in which an equivalent research course was taken, the program advisor must provide a written request to waive the UNC research requirement based on the previous course work completed.

Time Limit

The maximum time allowed for the completion of the master's degree is five calendar years beginning with the first semester of enrollment after admission has been granted. However, program time limits are adjusted to reflect approval of transfer credit or unclassified hours. Student must complete the degree within five calendar years beginning with the earliest work counted in the program (which would include transfer credit and unclassified hours).

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