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    University of Southern Mississippi
   
 
  Sep 23, 2017
 
 
    
2016-2017 Graduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

General Degree Requirements



General Academic Information for all Graduate Students

Forms and deadlines discussed in this section can be found on the Graduate School website: http://www.usm.edu/graduate-school

  1. Plan of Study Form
    A plan of study is a list of courses a student must take to complete the coursework portion of the degree program. It is designed with advisement by the student's committee chair and graduate committee, following the curricular requirements of the degree program. Students must submit a Plan of Study form to The Graduate School by the end of the first semester of enrollment.
  2. Continuous Enrollment
    Students must be enrolled continuously (each fall and spring semester) after completing required coursework and passing the comprehensive examination through the completion of the degree program. Students must enroll as stipulated below:
        A. Students must enroll for a minimum of one (1) hour each fall and spring semester to maintain continuous enrollment.
        B. Students must enroll for one hour of thesis (698), project (699 or 798), or dissertation (898) during the semester they expect to take the comprehensive exam (Master's students) or defend and complete the 
            Master's thesis, doctoral nursing capstone project, or dissertation. The final version of the document, approved by both the graduate committee and Reviewer, must be deposited in The Graduate School no later
            than the specified deadline. If a student fails to meet the deadline for submission, he/she must register for one (1) hour of thesis (698), project (699), or dissertation (898) until graduation.
        C. Failure to enroll for at least one (1) hour during the fall and spring semesters will result in discontinuation from the university. A student who has been discontinued and seeks readmission must apply for
            readmission, pay an application fee, and remit payment for one hour of tuition, at the current tuition rate, for each fall and spring semester not enrolled.
  3. Integrity Assurance Program (IAP)
    All graduate students must complete integrity assurance training during the first semester of enrollment in graduate school at USM by completing online training modules available through the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) (www.usm.edu/research/research-and-scholarly-integrity-assurance-program).The student's advisor should be consulted to determine appropriate training modules for the discipline. IAP certification is valid for five (5) years. Following completion of the modules, the student should submit a copy of the certificate to their graduate degree auditor in The Graduate School.
  4. Minimum GPA and Course Grade Requirements
    A minimum 3.0 GPA in coursework is required for graduation.No grade below a "C" is allowable in any coursework attempted.No more than two (2) grades of "C+" or "C" across six (6) credit hours is allowable in any coursework attempted. Some departments require a higher GPA and further restrict the number of "C" grades for graduation.
  5. Course Retake Policy
    A graduate student may retake one (1) course to improve the GPA or a single course grade, but the grade earned during the original attempt will remain on the transcript. However, the original grade will not compute in the cumulative GPA once a retake has been recorded. If a student intends to retake a course to raise the GPA and/or be removed from probation, the course must be retaken as soon as possible (e.g., at the next opportunity).
  6. Transfer Credit Policy
    As many as six (6) semester hours or nine (9) quarter hours of graduate credit from other accredited institutions may be transferred to a student's program based on review and approval of the graduate committee chair and/or the graduate committee, department chair, and graduate dean. The coursework to be transferred must have been taken within the time period allowed for the particular graduate degree/certificate program. Such coursework must carry a letter or numeric grade of "B" or better and cannot be a pass/fail or satisfactory/unsatisfactory course. Incomplete "I" grades are not transferable. The coursework may not have counted toward another degree. Final evaluation and acceptance of transfer credit will not be made until the student has been in academic residence for one semester (doctoral only). Transfer grades will not calculate in the USM GPA. Transfer credit is not automatic and will be awarded only after evaluation of the content of the courses requested to be transferred. Students will supply syllabi, course descriptions, and other requested materials for review. A total sum of no more than twelve (12) credit hours of combined transfer coursework and non-degree coursework may be applied toward a graduate degree.
  7. Foreign Language
    Some Master's and doctoral degree programs include a foreign language requirement. Students should refer to the section of the Graduate Bulletin describing individual departments and schools to determine whether a program of interest has a foreign language requirement. A student may demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language by any one of the several options; the particular option followed by the student must have the approval of the student's advisory committee and department chair. The options are as follows:
       A. Students may complete six (6) graduate credit hours with grades of "C" or better in one of the following language sequences: FRE 501-FRE 502, SPA 501-SPA 502, or GER 501-GER 502. These courses are
           specifically designed to meet The University of Southern Mississippi foreign language requirements.
       B. Students may complete nine (9) semester hours (undergraduate or graduate) with grades of "C" or better in an approved foreign language. The courses listed above in option A may not be included as part of these
           nine (9) hours.  Coursework completed at an accredited U.S. institution prior to admission into the current degree program may fulfill this requirement (with approval by the department chair), provided that the most
           advanced of the courses was taken within the last five (5) calendar years for Master's degree programs; six (6) calendar years for specialist programs; or eight (8) calendar years for doctoral programs. After
           admission courses are taken to satisfy the foreign language requirement by this option must be taken at The University of Southern Mississippi or at another accredited institution with written approval from the student's
           advisory committee, the chair of the Department of Foreign language and Literatures, and the Dean of the Graduate School.
       C. Students may achieve an acceptable minimum score on the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) test in French (43), Spanish (48), or German (39).
       D. Students whose first language is not English have already met the foreign language requirement by earning scores acceptable for admission on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International
           English Language Testing System (IELTS), or Pearson Test of English (PTE) examination.
       E. Students may fulfill the proficiency requirement for one language if they have completed an undergraduate major or a Master's degree in a foreign language at any time.
       F. Other methods for demonstrating proficiencies must be recommended and approved by the student's advisory committee and the Dean of the Graduate School
  8. Application for Degree and Degree Audit
    Students should submit a signed, completed Application for Graduate Degree (cover sheet, updated plan of study, and payment receipt) to the Graduate School degree auditor by the specified deadline the semester before expected graduation term. A late fee will be assessed if the deadline is missed. The Graduate School degree auditor will check the application and notify the student and his/her advisor if any problems are evident. See the Graduate School website for specific forms, directions, and deadlines. A student who applies for degree but finds that he/she cannot finish as anticipated must submit a graduation deferment form to the Graduate School degree auditor. There is no fee associated with the first deferment. Any subsequent deferments must be accompanied by a fee payment. Those students whose plan of study includes a thesis, dissertation, or doctoral nursing capstone project should notify the Reviewer of a deferment.
  9. Course Revalidation
    A student who successfully petitioned for an extension of the time limit for graduation due to extraordinary circumstances that slowed degree progress must revalidate all graduate courses taken at The University of Southern Mississippi outside the time limit for the degree (see Master's, Specialist, Doctoral sections) before the student can graduate. The revalidation plan must be developed by the major professor/committee chair and approved by the department chair and Dean of the Graduate School.  A $50 fee for each course to be revalidated must be paid before the revalidation is attempted, up to a maximum of $400 in revalidation fees. Over-age extension and transfer courses cannot be revalidated. Revalidation forms are available on the Graduate School website.
  10. Forms and Documents
    Forms and documents are required to document the student's progress to degree. (See "Timeline for Submission of Graduate School Paperwork") located on the Graduate School website. The student's degree auditor will also provide information on required documents and should be consulted.

Requirements for a Graduate Certificate Program

  1. Coursework

    A.  A minimum of twelve semester hour credits of prescribed coursework is required for a graduate certificate. Many certificate programs require more than 12 hours of coursework.  To determine specific program requirements, the department should be consulted.
    B.  A student enrolled in a degree program may earn a certificate while pursuing the degree, and all certificate coursework credit earned as a degree-seeking student may apply to the degree if approved by the graduate committee. A certificate-seeking student who is already enrolled in a degree program is required to apply for admission to a certificate program and pay the application fee.
    C. Up to 12 hours from a certificate program, earned while the student is a certificate-seeking, non-degree student, may be applied to a degree program if approved by the graduate committee whether the certificate is awarded or not.
    D. Courses used to complete a degree cannot be used toward a certificate after the degree is awarded.

  2. Time Limitation
    The student must complete the graduate certificate within five (5) calendar years from the date of initial enrollment in a graduate certificate program. Five years is the maximum age allowed for graduate coursework used toward a graduate certificate.

Requirements for a Master's Degree

  1. Credit Hours
    A minimum of thirty (30) graduate credit hours are required for any Master's degree.  Many departments require more than thirty (30) hours.  A minimum of 18 credit hours must be taken in courses numbered 600 or above.  No more than three to six (3-6) of the total hours can be thesis (698).  Specific departmental requirements should be consulted for additional information. 
  2. Time Limitation
    A Master's degree must be completed within five (5) academic years from the semester of initial enrollment in a Master's program. Five years is the maximum age allowed for graduate coursework toward a Master's degree.  A student must meet the requirements and adhere to the policies described in the Graduate Bulletin that is current the first semester of enrollment through the fifth (5th) year in the program. If a student's degree progress is slowed due to an extreme hardship, he/she may petition the department for a limited extension which will be reviewed by the Dean of the Graduate School. If an extension is granted, the student will become subject to the Graduate Bulletin that is current the semester the extension is granted and will be responsible for meeting any new requirements of the degree and/or departmental or university policies. Course revalidation will be required.
  3. The Master's Committee
    The student's work toward the Master's degree is supervised by a departmental committee comprised of the major professor/committee chair and two to three (2-3) additional graduate faculty members for thesis or project programs. For some non-thesis or non-project programs, an experienced faculty advisor may supervise the student's work. Qualified individuals from outside the department may serve on a graduate committee if the individual has specialized knowledge that enhances the committee make up and is approved by the Graduate Council and the Dean of the Graduate School. A Graduate Committee Request Form must be submitted to the Graduate School early in the student's degree program, prior to defense of proposal or the comprehensive exam, whichever comes first.  When voting on a student's performance on the qualifying exam, comprehensive exam, thesis proposal, or defense of theses/projects, a simple majority of the committee determines a pass.
  4. The Minor Field
    If a minor field is required in the Master's program, it shall consist of nine (9) semester hours of graduate coursework and may consist of courses from a number of related areas. Some disciplines define their own minor and may require more than nine (9) semester hours to complete the minor. The minor department must be consulted to determine specific requirements.
  5. Examinations
    1. The Comprehensive Examination
      A comprehensive examination is required of all Master's students to assess knowledge of the major field of study, and thus, must be taken after all coursework has been completed. The major field of study, and thus, must be taken after all coursework has been completed. The major department will determine whether the comprehensive exam will be written, oral, or both.  It is prepared, administered, and assessed by the student's graduate committee. If an oral examination is required, the chair of the student's committee will notify the Graduate School of the time and place of the examination. A student who fails the comprehensive examination may retake it no sooner than three (3) months after the first attempt.  A student being examined as a part of a cohort or group may repeat the comprehensive examination at the next scheduled administration if at least three (3) months have passed since the first attempt.  A student may repeat the comprehensive examination only once; failure to complete the comprehensive examination successfully on the second attempt will result in dismissal from the program.  Students must register for a minimum of one (1) credit hour the semester the comprehensive exam is taken. The Results of the Comprehensive Exam form must be submitted by the major professor/committee chair to the Graduate School immediately after completion of the exam.
    2. Oral Defense of Thesis
      A defense of the thesis cannot occur until after the student successfully completes the comprehensive examination.  The thesis must have been submitted by the student to the graduate committee with ample time for their review.  The oral defense will be conducted by the graduate committee and any other faculty member(s) designated by the Dean of the Graduate School.  A final seminar, if required by the department as a part of the defense, will be open to the public. The examination part of the defense will be closed to the public, but open to any member of the graduate faculty.  Members of the graduate committee only will vote on the results of the examination.  A simple majority will designate a pass.  The major professor/committee chair must submit the Results of the Oral Defense form to the Graduate School immediately following the defense. If the student fails the defense on the first attempt, he/she has one additional attempt to defend the thesis successfully.  Failure to defend the document successfully on the second attempt will result in dismissal from the program.  Following a successful defense any required revisions should be completed in a timely manner and the finalized thesis submitted to the Graduate School.
  6. The Master's Thesis
    1. A student in a thesis-option Master's program must submit a thesis in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree. 
    2. The thesis committee must be assembled before the thesis proposal/prospectus can be defended. Any change to the membership of this committee at any time must result in a new Graduate Committee Request Form being submitted to the Graduate School.
    3. A thesis proposal/prospectus should describe an original project that contributes new information to the field of study.  It should be defended early in the degree program and no later than one semester before the thesis defense.  The Dissertation, Nursing Capstone, & Thesis Proposal Approval form must be submitted by the major professor/committee chair immediately after the proposal defense.
    4. As appropriate, the Institutional Review Board (IRB) or the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) must approve the thesis methodology before any research begins.
    5. Guidelines and templates for the preparation of the thesis must be followed.  These documents are accessible via the Reviewer section of the Graduate School website.
    6. Two signed originals of the Reviewer-approved title page should be submitted to the Reviewer of Dissertations, Nursing Capstone Projects, and Theses before the published deadline.
    7. The Reviewer ensures that theses meet the university requirements, including formatting and originality. Students should allow ample time for revisions to be done as required by the Reviewer.
    8. Students are responsible for meeting the thesis deadlines listed on the thesis/dissertation deadline schedule on the Graduate School website. If a student fails to submit the thesis in accordance with the published deadlines, the degree will be awarded the following semester, and the student must submit a deferment form and enroll in one (1) hour of 698 during the final semester. Deferment of graduation requires submission of a Graduation Deferment Form.  The first deferment is free.  Subsequent deferment requires a deferment fee.
    9. The committee chair must verify that the thesis was checked to ensure originality prior to the student's submission of the thesis to the Reviewer.
    10. Students must enroll in a thesis course (698) during the degree program.  No more than 3-6 hours of credit for this course may be included in the program of study, although additional hours may be taken.  Students should be enrolled in at least one (1) semester hour of 698 the semester they defend and must have met all credit hour requirements. Individual programs may develop more stringent policies.
    11. Deferment of graduation requires submission of a Graduation Deferment Form.  The first deferment is free.  Subsequent deferment requires a deferment fee.

Requirements for a Specialist's Degree

  1. Credit Hours
    A minimum of thirty-three (33) graduate semester credit hours are required for any specialist degree. Many departments require more than the minimum. Consult specific department requirements for additional information.
  2. Time Limitation
    A specialist degree must be completed within six (6) calendar years from the date of initial enrollment in a specialist program. Six years is the maximum age allowed for graduate credits toward a specialist degree.  A student must meet the requirements and adhere to the policies described in the Graduate Bulletin that is current the first semester of enrollment through the sixth (6th) year in the program. If a student's degree progress is slowed due to an extreme hardship, he/she may petition the department for a short extension which will be reviewed by the Dean of the Graduate School. If an extension is granted, the student will become subject to the Graduate Bulletin that is current the semester the extension is granted and will be responsible for meeting any new requirements of the degree and/or departmental or university policies. Course revalidation will be required.
  3. The Specialist's Committee
    The student's work toward the specialist degree is supervised by a departmental committee comprised of the major professor/committee chair and two to three (2-3) additional graduate faculty members. For some non-thesis or non-project programs, an experienced faculty advisor may supervise the student's work. Qualified individuals from outside the department may serve on a graduate committee if the individual has specialized knowledge that enhances the committee make up and is approved by the Graduate Council and the Dean of the Graduate School. A Graduate Committee Request Form must be submitted to the Graduate School early in the student's degree program, prior to the qualifying or comprehensive exam.  When voting on a student's performance on the qualifying exam, comprehensive exam, or projects, a simple majority of the committee determines a pass.
  4. The Minor Field
    If a minor field is required in the specialist program, it shall consist of nine (9) semester hours of graduate coursework and may consist of courses from a number of related areas. Some disciplines define their own minor and may require more than nine (9) semester hours to complete the minor. The minor department must be consulted to determine specific requirements.
  5. Examinations
    1. The Comprehensive Examination
      A comprehensive examination is required of all specialist students to assess knowledge of the major field of study, and thus, must be taken after all coursework has been completed. The major field of study, and thus, must be taken after all coursework has been completed. The major department will determine whether the comprehensive exam will be written, oral, or both.  It is prepared, administered, and assessed by the student's graduate committee. If an oral examination is required, the chair of the student's committee will notify the Graduate School of the time and place of the examination. A student who fails the comprehensive examination may retake it no sooner than three (3) months after the first attempt.  A student being examined as a part of a cohort or group may repeat the comprehensive examination at the next scheduled administration if at least three (3) months have passed since the first attempt.  A student may repeat the comprehensive examination only once; failure to complete the comprehensive examination successfully on the second attempt will result in dismissal from the program.  Students must register for a minimum of one (1) credit hour the semester the comprehensive exam is taken. The Results of the Comprehensive Exam form must be submitted by the major professor/committee chair to the Graduate School immediately after completion of the exam
    2. Oral Defense of Thesis
      A defense of the thesis cannot occur until after the student successfully completes the comprehensive examination.  The thesis must have been submitted by the student to the graduate committee with ample time for their review.  The oral defense will be conducted by the graduate committee and any other faculty member(s) designated by the Dean of the Graduate School.  A final seminar, if required by the department as a part of the defense, will be open to the public. The examination part of the defense will be closed to the public, but open to any member of the graduate faculty.  Members of the graduate committee only will vote on the results of the examination.  A simple majority will designate a pass.  The major professor/committee chair must submit the Results of the Oral Defense form to the Graduate School immediately following the defense. If the student fails the defense on the first attempt, he/she has one additional attempt to defend the thesis successfully.  Failure to defend the document successfully on the second attempt will result in dismissal from the program.  Following a successful defense any required revisions should be completed in a timely manner and the finalized thesis submitted to the Graduate School.
  6. The Specialist Thesis
    1. The specialist degree entails the writing of a thesis (798, Thesis, six (6) hours required) or completion of a field-based project.
    2. The graduate committee must be assembled before the proposal can be defended. Any change to the membership of the committee at any point requires the submission of a new Graduate Committee Request Form to the Graduate School. 
    3. Students must enroll in a thesis course (798) during the degree program.  Six (6) hours of credit for this course must be included in the program of study, although additional hours may be taken. Students should be enrolled in at least one (1) semester hour of 798 the semester they defend and must have met all credit hour requirements. Individual programs may develop more stringent policies.
    4. As appropriate, the Institutional Review Board or the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee must approve the thesis methodology before any research begins.
    5. Guidelines and templates for the preparation of theses are available via the Reviewer section of the Graduate School website. These guidelines and templates were developed for use by Master's and doctoral candidates, but specialists may use them and may contact the Reviewer if instruction or support is needed.
    6. Students are responsible for meeting the thesis deadlines that are listed on the thesis/dissertation deadline schedule on the Graduate School website. If a student fails to submit the thesis in accordance with the published deadlines, the degree will be awarded the following semester, and the student must submit a deferment form and enroll in one (1) hour of 798 during that semester. Deferment of graduation requires submission of a Graduation Deferment Form.  The first deferment is free.  Subsequent deferment requires a deferment fee.

Requirements for a Doctoral Degree

  1. Credit Hours
    A minimum of fifty-four (54) graduate semester credit hours are required for any doctoral degree. Many departments require more than the minimum. Students must enroll in a dissertation course (898) during the degree program. No more than nine to twelve (9-12) hours of this course may be included in the program of study, according to requirements of the degree program, although additional hours may be taken.  Consult specific department requirements for additional information.
  2. Time Limitations
    A doctorate must be completed within eight (8) calendar years from the date of initial enrollment in a doctoral program. Eight (8) years is the maximum age allowed for graduate credits toward a doctoral degree.  A student must meet the requirements and adhere to the policies described in the Graduate Bulletin that is current the first semester of enrollment through the eighth (8th) year in the program. If a student's degree progress is slowed due to an extreme hardship, he/she may petition the department for a short extension which will be reviewed by the Dean of the Graduate School.  If an extension is granted, the student becomes subject to the Graduate Bulletin that is current the semester the extension is granted, including responsibility for any changes in the requirements of the degree and/or departmental or university policies. Course revalidation will be required.
  3. Residency
    The purpose of academic residency is to provide doctoral students with significant time for extensive involvement with faculty, professional colleagues, and peers and to provide a period of time for concentrated study and coursework. It is structured as a full-time experience. The following are options for satisfying the residency requirements: (a) two consecutive terms of twelve (12) hours each, (b) two consecutive summer terms of twelve (12) hours each with continuous enrollment during intervening terms, or (c) three consecutive terms of nine (9) hours each. Students must consult with individual departments regarding which of these options are approved and whether online or off-campus courses can be used to establish residency. This policy differs from Mississippi residency for in-state tuition purposes.
  4. Research Tools
    Each doctoral degree program has a research tool requirement that is determined by the department. Consult the department for the specific requirements. Verification of the research tool requirement occurs on the Plan of Study form.
  5. The Minor Field
    If a minor field is required in the doctoral program, it shall consist of twelve (12) semester hours of graduate coursework and may consist of courses from a number of related areas. Some disciplines define their own minor and may require more than twelve (12) semester hours to complete the minor. The minor department must be consulted to determine specific requirements.
  6. The Doctoral Committee
    The student's work toward the doctoral degree is supervised by a departmental committee comprised of the major professor/committee chair and three to four (3-4) additional graduate faculty members.  Qualified individuals from outside the department may serve on a graduate committee if the individual has specialized knowledge that enhances the committee make up and is approved by the Graduate Council and the Dean of the Graduate School. A Graduate Committee Request Form must be submitted to the Graduate School early in the student's degree program, prior to defense of proposal or the comprehensive exam, whichever comes first.  When voting on a student's performance on the qualifying exam, comprehensive exam, proposal/prospectus defense, and defense of dissertation a simple majority of the committee determines a pass.
  7. Examinations
    1. The Qualifying Examination
      At or near the beginning of the student's work, the department or school may require a preliminary examination to determine the student's qualification to pursue a doctoral degree and to assist the student's advisory committee in planning the degree program. The expectations for the qualifying examination are determined by the department or school, and information should be obtained from those units. The Results of the Comprehensive and/or Qualifying Exams Form should be submitted to The Graduate School immediately after the exam.
    2. The Comprehensive Examination
      A comprehensive examination is required of all doctoral students to assess knowledge of the major field of study, and thus, must be taken after all coursework has been completed. The major department will determine whether the comprehensive exam will be written, oral, or both.It is prepared, administered, and assessed by the student's graduate committee. If an oral examination is required, the chair of the student's committee will notify the Graduate School of the time and place of the examination. A student who fails the comprehensive examination may retake the examination no sooner than three (3) months after the first attempt and may repeat the examination only once. A student being examined as a part of a cohort or group may repeat the comprehensive examination at the next scheduled administration if at least three (3) months have passed since the first attempt.Failure to complete the comprehensive examination successfully on the second attempt will result in dismissal from the program.The Results of the Comprehensive Exam form must be submitted by the major professor/committee chair to the Graduate School immediately after completion of the exam. Students must register for a minimum of one (1) credit hour the semester the comprehensive exam is taken.Doctoral candidates should complete the comprehensive examination at least one (1) semester prior to the defense of the dissertation or capstone project.
    3. Oral Defense of Dissertation or Nursing Capstone Project
      A defense of the dissertation/nursing capstone project cannot occur until after the student successfully completes the comprehensive examination.  The dissertation/nursing capstone project must have been submitted by the student to the graduate committee with ample time for their review.  The oral defense will be conducted by the graduate committee and any other faculty members designated by the Dean of the Graduate School.  A final seminar, if required by the department as a part of the defense, will be open to the public. The examination part of the defense will be closed to the public, but open to any member of the graduate faculty.  Members of the graduate committee only will vote on the results of the examination.  A simple majority will designate a pass.  The major professor/committee chair must submit the Results of the Oral Defense form to the Graduate School immediately following the defense. If the student fails the defense on the first attempt, he/she has one additional attempt to defend the document successfully. Failure to defend the document successfully on the second attempt will result in dismissal from the program. Following a successful defense any required revisions should be completed in a timely manner and the finalized document submitted to the Graduate School.
  8. The Doctoral Dissertation or Nursing Capstone Project
    1. The dissertation/nursing capstone project committee must be assembled before the proposal can be defended. Any change to the membership of the committee at any point requires the submission of a new Graduate Committee Request Form to the Graduate School. 
    2. A dissertation/nursing capstone project proposal/prospectus should describe an original project that contributes new information to the field of study.  It should be defended early in the degree program and no later than one semester before the defense.  The Dissertation, Nursing Capstone, and Thesis Proposal Approval form must be submitted by the major professor/committee chair immediately after the proposal defense.
    3. As appropriate, the Institutional Review Board (IRB) or the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) must approve the project methodology before any research begins.
    4. Guidelines and templates for the preparation of the dissertation/nursing capstone project must be followed.  These documents are accessible via the Reviewer section of the Graduate School website.
    5. The Reviewer ensures that dissertations/nursing capstone projects meet the university requirements, including formatting and originality. Students should allow ample time for required revisions to be done as required by the Reviewer.
    6. Two signed originals of the Reviewer-approved title page should be submitted to the Reviewer of Dissertations, Nursing Capstone Projects, and Theses no later than the published deadline.
    7. Students are responsible for meeting all published deadlines found on the Graduate School website. If a student fails to submit the document prior to the published deadlines, the degree will be awarded the following semester, and the student must submit a deferment form and enroll in one (1) hour of 898 during that semester.
    8. The committee chair must verify that the dissertation/nursing capstone project was checked to ensure originality prior to the student's submission of the document to the Reviewer.
    9. The student must be registered for at least 1 hour of 898 the semester in which the document is defended and for subsequent semesters until the defended document is submitted to the Reviewer, finalized, and the student graduates. 
    10. Deferment of graduation requires submission of a Graduation Deferment Form.  The first deferment is free.  Subsequent deferment requires a deferment fee.

Dissertation, Nursing Capstone Project and Thesis Deadline Schedule

The Graduate School maintains a schedule of deadlines for students writing theses, nursing capstone projects, and dissertations. The schedule is available at www.usm.edu/graduate-school and in The Graduate School. Generally, students should be aware that applications for degree must be submitted one semester in advance of the semester or term in which they plan to graduate. The proposal must be defended at least one semester before the thesis/nursing capstone/dissertation defense. See the deadlines for more detail.

Leave of Absence for Graduate Students

Under exceptional circumstances (chronic illness, family crisis, extreme hardship, military deployment, etc.) a student may request a leave of absence from his/her graduate program. A leave of absence will be granted for one semester; the student may petition for one additional semester as circumstances warrant. The maximum leave allowable is one academic year. Requests for a leave of absence should be submitted using the Leave of Absence Request Form to the department chair or director (https://www.usm.edu/graduate-school/leave-absence). The chair/director should forward the Leave of Absence Form to the Graduate School indicating the department's recommendation regarding leave. Upon final review by the Dean of the Graduate School, the student and chair/director will be notified of the final decision. A student wishing to return from leave must apply for readmission, but the application fee will be waived.