Master of Science Degree Requirements
Plan A: A minimum of 30 credits is required, including at least 29 didactic course credits. Certain programs have slightly greater credit requirements because of specifically required courses. In addition to didactic course work, the student must prepare a Master's Literature Review, or special research report (one credit), which must be approved by an ad hoc three-person committee that includes the advisor and two other members of the Graduate Faculty. A qualified scientist from outside the institution may serve as one member of this three-member review committee, with the approval of the dean.
Plan B: A minimum of 30 credits is required, including at least 24 didactic course credits, up to five research credits and a Master's Thesis (one credit) that is based on the student's original research project. Certain programs have slightly greater credit requirements. Students may opt to earn more didactic credits and fewer than 5 research credits in a Plan B program. Conversely, students who wish to complete a Master's research project after having completed all other program requirements may need to register for additional Master's Research credits beyond the 5-credit maximum. (See the section on full-time status in the chapter on Academic Regulations.) These extra credits will be charged at the full tuition rate, but would not be counted toward the total credit requirement for the degree.
Students in Plan B must pass a Defense of Thesis Examination. The Thesis Committee consists of the student's advisor and at least two other members of the Graduate Faculty. A qualified scientist from outside the institution may serve as one member of the Thesis Committee, with the approval of the dean.
Ph.D. students do not receive a Master's degree "en route" to the Ph.D. Students who leave a Ph.D. program in good academic standing, however, may be eligible for an M.S. degree by meeting Plan "A" or Plan "B" requirements for the degree.
Students who begin a Master's program and subsequently are accepted into a Ph.D. program may also receive the M.S. degree if they have substantially fulfilled the M.S. degree requirements before beginning the Ph.D. program. The student would be required to complete all Master's degree requirements, including the Master's Literature Review or Master's Thesis. Courses applied to the Master's degree would not be eligible for tuition waivers. The student should petition the dean for this at the time of applying for the Ph.D. program. The dean makes the final determination as to whether the student can complete the Master's program.