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    University of Southern Mississippi
   
 
  Sep 23, 2017
 
 
    
2014-2015 Graduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

General Degree Requirements



Master's Degree Requirements

Master's degree provide advanced broad-based knowledge, training, and an understanding of research, and/or creative or problem-solving activities in a discipline that will enable the recipients to contribute to their disciplines and professions.

  1. Credit Hours
    A minimum of thirty (30) semester hours credit is required for any master's degree. Many departments require more than the minimum. Consult specific departmental requirements for additional information. A 3.0 GPA in the master's program and no grade below a "C" is allowed for graduation. Some departments require a higher GPA and restrict the number of "C" grades for graduation.
  2. Plan Of Study Form
    Students must submit a "plan of study" form to The Graduate School by their first semester of enrollment. See www.usm.edu/graduate-school.
  3. Time Limitation
    The student must complete the master's degree within five calendar years from the date of initial enrollment in a graduate program. Five years is the maximum age allowed for graduate credits toward a master's degree. The dean of the Graduate School, under extenuating circumstances, and special petition, may approve revalidation of some over-age credit hours if the original credit was earned at The University of Southern Mississippi and if the department chair approves the revalidation. The revalidation is secured by the student's successfully passing a special examination on the course. However, any student who fails to complete the master's degree program within the five-year time period becomes subject to any changes in degree requirements made at any date five years prior to graduation. The fee charged for the special revalidation examination is to be paid before the revalidation examination is taken. Over-age extension and transfer courses cannot be revalidated. Revalidation forms are available in The Graduate School.
  4. Credit Hours Limitations
    1. A minimum of eighteen (18) semester hours must be in courses numbered 600 or above.
    2. A total of no more than twelve (12) semester hours of work earned as a non-degree student may be applied toward a master's degree. Please note D below.
    3. As many as six (6) semester hours of graduate credit from other accredited institutions may be transferred to the student's program with the approval of the appropriate department chair and dean of the Graduate School provided that the course work transferred falls within the five-year period allowed for the degree. Such course work must carry a letter or numeric grade of "B" or better and not counted toward another graduate degree and cannot be a pass/fail course. The transfer grade is not calculated in the USM GPA.
    4. A total sum of no more than twelve (12) semester hours of transfer work and non-degree work may be applied toward a master's degree.
  5. The Master's Committee
    The student's work toward the master's degree is either supervised by a departmental committee comprised of a chair and at least two members recommended by the department chair and appointed by the dean of the Graduate School or by an experienced faculty adviser. The committee appointment form should be sent to The Graduate School. The form is located on the Web at www.usm.edu/graduate-school.
  6. The Minor Field
    If a minor field is required in the master's program, it shall consist of nine (9) semester hours of graduate course work 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.
  7. Continuous Enrollment
    Students are expected to enroll continuously after they have taken required course work until they complete their degree. They may enroll as stipulated below.
    1. Students must enroll for one (1) hour if they are using university services, e.g., clinic, library and/or technology services, consulting their thesis/project advisor.
    2. Students must register for three (3) hours of 698 or project hours during the semester/term they expect to defend and complete the thesis or project. All required course work must be completed before the semester in which the student defends the thesis. The thesis must be deposited in The Graduate School or the final project given to the major professor. Students must register for 1 hour the semester they take the comprehensive exam. See www.usm.edu/graduate-school for deadlines.
    3. Students must register for one (1) hour of 697 or project hour the next semester/term if they have not deposited the thesis in The Graduate School or submitted final project to their department. Students must enroll for at least 1 hour the semester they graduate.
      Failure to enroll for the appropriate hours will result in the student's being discontinued from Southern Miss and will require that the student reapply for admission to the program.
    4. Leave of Absence
      Under special circumstances such as illness, family hardship, or military service, a student may request a leave of absence. Leaves of absence will be granted for one semester or longer as circumstances warrant. Requests for a leave of absence should be submitted in writing to the department chair or director. The chair will then forward his or her recommendation to the dean of the Graduate School. The dean of the Graduate School will notify the student and chair or director of the decision. Normally, requests should be submitted at least one semester before the leave of absence.
  8. Research and Scholarly Aaurance Program
    All graduate students must complete the training modules required by the Graduate School and their departments the first semester they are enrolled in graduate school. The policy and training information are found on the Graduate School web page – www.usm.edu/graduate-school. Contact the Dean of the Graduate School if you have any questions regarding the policy of training information. The completion certificate is good for 5 years. When completed, the certificate should be sent to the degree auditor in the Graduate School.
  9. The Master's Thesis
    1. The master of arts degree may entail the writing of a thesis (698. Thesis, 3-6 hrs. required). For the degrees of master of science and master of education, some programs offer a non-thesis option. Students intending to pursue a degree higher than the master's are encouraged to write a thesis.
    2. Thesis committee comprised of three graduate faculty members is recommended by the department chair and appointed by the dean of the Graduate School. The Committee Appointment form should be sent to The Graduate School. The thesis prospectus approval form should be sent to the graduate degree auditor when the student's thesis prospectus is approved.
    3. As appropriate, the Institutional Review Board and/or the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee must approve the thesis methodology before the thesis is begun. The signed approval forms and approval letter must be included in an appendix. (See The Institutional Review Board  in Bulletin.) www.usm.edu/graduate-school.
    4. Guidelines for the preparation of theses is available on the Web at www.usm.edu/graduate-school.
    5. Oral Defense of Thesis. After the thesis has been accepted and after all required course work has been completed, a final oral examination on the thesis will be conducted by the student's thesis committee and any other faculty members designated by the dean of the Graduate School. The examination will be open to any member of the graduate faculty. The thesis committee chair should submit the results of the oral defense of the thesis form to The Graduate School immediately following the defense. A copy of the thesis title page should also be submitted to the graduate reader.
    6. Students are responsible for meeting the thesis deadlines that are listed on the thesis-dissertation deadline schedule at www.usm.edu/graduate-school. If a student fails to deposit the thesis in The Graduate School in accordance with the published schedule, the degree will be awarded in the next semester, and the student must enroll for 1 hour of 698 (thesis).
  10. Foreign Language
    Some master's degree programs include a foreign language requirement. Students should refer to the section of the Bulletin describing individual departments and schools to determine whether specific requirements have been established for a program of interest. A student may demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language by any of several options; the particular option followed by the student must have the approval of the student's advisory committee and the dean of the Graduate School. The options are as follows:
    1. Completion of six (6) graduate semester 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.
    2. Completion of 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 hours. The student may transfer these hours from an accredited institution upon admission, provided that the most advanced of the courses was taken within the last six (6) calendar years. After admission, courses taken to satisfy the foreign language requirement by this option must be taken at The University of Southern Mississippi or at another accredited institution if written approval to take the specific courses at the institution is obtained from the student's advisory committee, the chair of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, and the dean of the Graduate School.
    3. Students may successfully complete the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) test in French, Spanish, or German. The CLEP can be taken at many sites. Students must obtain a minimum score on the total test in one of the languages as follows: French 43; German 39; Spanish 48.
    4. Students whose first language is not English may use English to fulfill the proficiency requirement for one language by scoring in the 65th percentile (scaled score = 560 or higher) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language.
    5. Students 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.
    6. Use of another method for demonstrating proficiencies must be recommended and approved by the student's advisory committee and the dean of the Graduate School.
  11. Comprehensive Exam
    In addition to regular examinations, final comprehensive examinations are required for all master's degrees. The major department will determine whether the comprehensive examination will be written or oral or both. The written comprehensive, if required, will be prepared by the student's committee and will cover the area of the major field. If an oral examination is required, the chair of the student's committee will send written notices of the time and place of the examination. Comprehensive examinations, whether written or oral, will be administered no later than the last academic week of the semester in which the student expects to receive the degree and the comprehensive exam results form must be submitted by the department chair to The Graduate School no later than the last day of exam week. The examination may be administered earlier in the semester/term if the department so desires. A student who fails the comprehensive examination may not retake the examination until its next regular administration and may repeat the examination only once. Students must register for 1 hour the semester they take the comprehensive exam.
  12. Application for Degree and Audit
    Students should submit to the graduate degree auditor a signed, completed application for degree (cover sheet, signed plan of study, payment receipt) by the specified deadline the semester before they wish to graduate. The graduate degree auditor will check the application and notify the student and his or her adviser of any problems. (See www.usm.edu/graduate-school for specific directions and deadlines). Students who do not graduate the semester for which they applied must contact the graduate degree auditor, submit a deferrment form, and pay a deferrment fee.

Specialist's Degree Requirements

Specialist degrees provide more advanced knowledge, problem-solving skills, and training needed to contribute to a discipline with greater emphasis on skill development and integration of applied research.

  1. Credit Hours
    A minimum of thirty-three (33) semester hours credit beyond the master's degree is required for any specialist's degree. Some departments may require more hours. Students must also meet all degree requirements relating to the master's degree. A 3.0 GPA in the specialist program and no grade below a "C" are required for graduation. Some departments require a higher GPA and restrict the number of "C" grades for graduation. No grade below a "C" is allowable for graduation.
  2. Plan Of Study Form
    Students must submit a "plan of study" form to The Graduate School by their first semester of enrollment.
  3. Time Limitation
    The student must complete the specialist's degree within six calendar years from the date of initial enrollment in a graduate program. Six years is the maximum age allowed for graduate credits toward a specialist's degree. The dean of the Graduate School, under extenuating circumstances, and special petition, may approve revalidation of some over-age credit hours if the original credit was earned at The University of Southern Mississippi and if the department chair approves the revalidation. The revalidation is secured by the student's successfully passing a special examination on the course. However, any student who fails to complete the specialist's degree program within the six-year time period becomes subject to any changes in degree requirements made at any date six years prior to graduation. The fee charged for the special revalidation examination is to be paid before the revalidation examination is taken. Over-age extension courses cannot be revalidated. Revalidation forms are available in The Graduate School.
  4. Credit Hours Limitations
    1. A total of no more than twelve (12) semester hours of work earned as a non-degree student may be applied toward a specialist's degree. Please note C below.
    2. As many as six (6) semester hours of graduate credit from other accredited institutions may be transferred to the student's program with the approval of the appropriate department chair and the dean provided that the course work transferred falls within the six-year period allowed for the degree. This course work must carry a letter or numeric grade of "B" or better and not count toward a another graduate degree and cannot be a pass/fail course. The transfer grade is not calculated in the USM GPA.
    3. A total sum of no more than twelve (12) semester hours of transfer work and non-degree work may be applied toward a specialist's degree.
  5. The Specialist's Committee
    The student's work toward the specialist's degree is supervised either by a departmental committee composed of a chair and at least two members recommended by the department chair and appointed by the dean of the Graduate School or by an experienced faculty adviser. Committee appointment forms should be sent to The Graduate School.
  6. The Minor Field
    If a minor field is required in the specialist's program, it shall consist of nine (9) semester hours of graduate course work 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 mustbe consulted to determine specific requirements.
  7. Continuous Enrollment
    Students are expected to enroll continuously after they have taken required course work until they complete their degree. They may enroll as stipulated below.
    1. Students must enroll for one (1) hour in the summer term if they are using university services, e.g., clinic, library and/or technology services, or consulting their thesis/project advisor. Students must register for 1 hour the semester they take the comprehensive exam.
    2. Students must register for three (3) hours of 798 or project hours during the semester/term they expect to defend and complete the thesis or project. All required course work must be completed before the semester in which the student defends the thesis. The thesis must be deposited in The Graduate School or the final project given to the major professor. Students must register for 1 hour the semester they take the comprehensive exam.
    3. Students must register for one (1) hour of 797 or project hour the next semester/term if they have not deposited the thesis in The Graduate School or submitted the final project to their department. Students must register for 1 hour the semester they graduate.
      Failure to enroll for the appropriate hours will result in the student's being discontinued from Southern Miss and will require that the student reapply for admission to the program.
    4. Leave of Absence
      Under special circumstances such as illness, family hardship, or military service a student may request a leave of absence. Leaves of absence will be granted for one semester or longer as circumstances warrant. Requests for a leave of absence should be submitted in writing to the department chair or director. The chair or director will then forward his or her recommendation to The Graduate School for consideration. The dean of the Graduate School will notify the student and chair or director of the decision. Normally, requests should be submitted at least one semester before the leave of absence.
  8. Research and Scholarly Assurance Program
    All graduate students must complete the training modules required by the Graduate School and their departments the first semester they are enrolled in graduate school. The policy and training information are found on the Graduate School web page – www.usm.edu/graduate-school. Contact the Dean of the Graduate School if you have any questions regarding the policy of training information. The completion certificate is good for 5 years. When completed, the certificate should be sent to the degree auditor in the Graduate School.
  9. The Specialist's Thesis or Project
    1. The specialist's degree entails the writing of a thesis (798. Thesis, 6 hrs. required) or completion of a field-based project.
    2. Thesis committee comprised of three graduate faculty members is recommended by the department chair and appointed by the dean of the Graduate School. The Committee Appointment form should be sent to The Graduate School. The thesis prospectus approval form should be sent to the graduate degree auditor when the student's prospectus is approved.
    3. As appropriate, the Institutional Review Board and/or the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee must approve the thesis method before the thesis is begun. The signed approval forms and approval letter must be included in an appendix. (See The Institutional Review Board  section of Research Policies  in Bulletin.)
    4. A separate bulletin outlining university requirements concerning the preparation of theses is available in The Graduate School or on the Web at www.usm.edu/graduate-school.
    5. Oral Defense of Thesis. After the thesis has been accepted and after all required course work has been completed, a final oral examination on the thesis and related fields will be conducted by the student's thesis committee and any other faculty members designated by the dean. The examination will be open to any member of the graduate faculty. The committee chair should submit the results of the oral defense of thesis form to The Graduate School immediately following the defense. A copy of the thesis title page should be submitted by the deadline.
    6. Students are responsible for meeting the thesis deadlines that are listed on the thesis-dissertation deadline on the web: www.usm.edu/graduate-school. If a student fails to meet the final deposit deadline, his/her degree will be awarded the next semester and the student must register for 1 hour of 798. The three copies of the thesis must be deposited in The Graduate School.
  10. Comprehensive Exam
    In addition to regular examinations, final comprehensive examinations are required for specialist's degrees. The major department will determine whether the comprehensive examination will be written or oral or both. The written comprehensive, if required, will be prepared by the student's committee and will cover the area of the major field. If an oral examination is required, the chair of the student's committee will send written notices of the time and place of the examination. Comprehensive examinations, whether written or oral, will be administered no later than the last academic week of the semester/term in which the student expects to receive the degree and the results form submitted by the department chair to the dean of the Graduate School no later than the last day of exam week. The examination may be administered earlier in the semester/term if the department so desires. A student who fails the comprehensive examination may not retake the examination until its next regular administration and may repeat the examination only once. Students must register for 3 hours the semester they take the comprehensive exam.
  11. Application for Degree and Audit.
    Students should submit to the graduate degree auditor a signed, completed application for degree by the specified deadline the semester before they wish to graduate. The graduate degree auditor will check the application and notify the student and his/her adviser of any problems. See www.usm.edu/graduate-school for specific directions. Students who do not graduate the semester they applied for must contact the graduate degree auditor, submit a deferrment form, and pay a deferrment fee.

Doctoral Degree Requirements

Doctoral degrees are research degrees that provide (a) specialized, advanced knowledge of a discipline, (b) an ability to integrate a specialized field of study into the larger areas of knowledge, and (c) the critical, analytical, and/or problem-solving tools needed to produce original, independent scholarly research or creative work in a discipline, thus contributing to the discipline's body of knowledge.

  1. Credit Hours
    All doctoral degrees entail a minimum of fifty-four (54) semester hours of course work beyond the bachelor's degree or master's degree. Individual departments may have additional requirements. A 3.0 GPA and no grade below a "C" are required for graduation. Some departments require a higher GPA and restrict the number of "C" grades for graduation.
  2. Plan Of Study Form
    Students must submit a "plan of study" form to The Graduate School by their second semester of enrollment.
  3. Time Limitations
    The student must complete the doctoral degree within eight (8) calendar years from the date of initial enrollment in a doctoral program. Six years is the maximum age allowed for course work and the comprehensive exam, other than dissertation and research hours toward a graduate degree. The dean of the Graduate School, under extenuating circumstances and special petition, may approve revalidation of some over-age credit hours if the original credit was earned at The University of Southern Mississippi and if the department chair approves the revalidation. The revalidation is secured by the student's successfully passing a special examination on the course. However, any student who fails to complete the doctoral degree program within the eight-year time period becomes subject to any changes in degree requirements made at any date eight years prior to graduation. The fee charged for the special revalidation examination is to be paid before the revalidation examination is taken. Over-age extension courses cannot be revalidated. Revalidation forms are available in The Graduate School.
  4. Credit Hour Limitations
    1. Transfer of credit for graduate work done at other institutions must be approved by the department chair, dean, and the dean of the Graduate School. Final evaluation of and acceptance of transfer credit will not be made until the student has been in residence for one semester. Coursework accepted for transfer must carry with it a letter or numeric grade (B or better) and cannot have been graded pass/fail and may not have counted toward another graduate degree. Transfer of credit for doctoral degree programs is limited to not more than six (6) semester hours or nine (9) quarter hours beyond the master's degree. Exceptions to this restriction may be made only with the approval of the department chair and the dean of the Graduate School.
    2. Credit earned as a non-degree graduate student cannot be applied toward a doctoral degree.
  5. Residency
    The purposes of academic residency are 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 course work. It is structured as a full-time experience. The following are options for satisfying the residency requirement: (a) two consecutive terms of 12 hours each, (b) two consecutive summer terms of 12 hours each with continuous enrollment during intervening terms, or (c) three consecutive terms of 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 is not residency for tuition purposes.
  6. The Doctoral Committee
    The student's work toward the doctoral degree is supervised by a departmental committee composed of a chair and at least four members recommended by the department chair and appointed by the dean of the Graduate School. Some departments allow 4 person committees. Qualified individuals from outside the department may serve if they have specialized knowledge needed by the student and are approved by the Graduate Council and Graduate Dean. The Committee Appointment form should be sent to The Graduate School by the student's second semester. The form is located on the Web at www.usm.edu/graduate-school.
  7. The Minor Field
    If a minor field is required in the doctoral program, it shall consist of twelve (12) semester hours of graduate course work 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.
  8. Research and Scholarly Assurance Program
    All graduate students must complete the training modules required by the Graduate School and their departments the first semester they are enrolled in graduate school. The policy and training information are found on the Graduate School web page – www.usm.edu/graduate-school. Contact the Dean of the Graduate School if you have any questions regarding the policy of training information. The completion certificate is good for 5 years. When completed, the certificate should be sent to the degree auditor in the Graduate School.
  9. Qualifying Exam
    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 details of the qualifying examination, including the time, date, and place of administration, will be determined by the particular department and are discussed in the department's graduate handbook. The results of the qualifying examination form should be submitted to The Graduate School.
  10. 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 tools requirement occurs on the plan of study form.
  11. Comprehensive Exam
    At the completion of specified required course work and other examinations, the doctoral student is required to take a written and/or oral comprehensive examination in his or her major and minor field. A student who does unsatisfactory work on the comprehensive examination may be granted a second examination at the next regularly scheduled time or later. The student's doctoral committee will recommend the conditions to be met before the examination may be repeated. The comprehensive examinations may be retaken only once. The comprehensive examination should be successfully completed either before the first formal prospectus meeting or before substantial research is completed for the dissertation and within six years from initial enrollment. Students may enroll for no more that 6 hours of 898 before their comprehensive exam. The student's committee chair should submit the comprehensive exam results form to The Graduate School. Students must register for 3 hours the semester they take their comprehensive exam.
  12. Continuous Enrollment
    1. Students must register for three (3) hours of coursework during the semester in which they take their comprehensive examinations, and/or have a prospectus approval meeting.
    2. After a doctoral student completes his or her comprehensive examination, continuous enrollment in at least one (1) semester hour must be maintained during each fall and spring semester until the student successfully defends the dissertation.
    3. A student may petition the dean of the Graduate School for an exemption from the continuous enrollment policy, provided that the student has the written endorsement of his or her advisory committee and the chair of the department. Students may petition the office only if they are in absentia from the University and not utilizing resources of the University. Exemptions will be granted if the student is absent from the University in order to conduct fieldwork, including work in archives and libraries, or who are absent to assume pre-doctoral fellowships; exemptions will not be granted to students who discontinue their enrollment to assume or to continue positions in business, industry, or education. Students who fail to enroll continuously must reapply for admission and must pay the required fees.
    4. Students must register for three (3) hours of 898 during the semester they defend the dissertation. All required coursework must be completed before the semester in which the dissertation is defended.
    5. If a student does not submit copies of his or her dissertation in a form acceptable to the graduate reader prior to the deadlines established in a given semester, or if the student's degree will not be awarded until the next term, then the student must register for one (1) hour of 898 (dissertation) during the semester or term in which the degree will be awarded.
    6. Leave of Absence
      Under special circumstances such as illness, family hardship, or military service a student may request a leave of absence. Leaves of absence will be granted for one semester or longer as circumstances warrant. Requests for a leave of absence should be submitted in writing to the department chair or director. The chair or director will then forward his or her recommendation to the dean of the Graduate School for consideration. The dean of the Graduate School will notify the student and chair or director of the decision. Normally, requests should be submitted at least one semester before the leave of absence.
  13. Application for Degree and Audit
    Students should submit to the graduate degree auditors a signed, completed application for degree by the specified deadline the semester before they wish to graduate. The graduate degree auditors will check the application and notify the student and his or her adviser of any problems. See www.usm.edu/graduate-school for specific directions. Students who do not graduate the semester for which they applied must contact the graduate degree auditor, submit a deferrment form, and pay a deferrment fee.
  14. The Dissertation
    1. The dissertation topic must be approved by the student's major professor and doctoral committee and must be an original and significant contribution to knowledge in the chosen field. The dissertation approval form must be submitted at least one semester before the student graduates. As appropriate, the Institutional Review Board and/or the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee must approve the method before the study is begun. The signed approval forms and the approval letter must be included in an appendix of the dissertation. (See The Institutional Review Board  section of Research Policies  in Bulletin and at www.usm.edu/graduate-school.)
    2. The guidelines for the preparation of dissertations are available on the Web at www.usm.edu/graduate-school.
    3. The student must complete a total of nine (9) to fifteen (15) hours of 898 - Dissertation and must register for three (3) dissertation hours the semester he/she defends the dissertation. Students must register for 1 hour of dissertation if they graduate the semester after they defend their dissertation.
    4. The Reviewer ensures that dissertations meet the university requirements. Students should check the graduate studies web page for important deadlines and should make appointments with the Reviewer. They should allow ample time for revisions.
    5. Students are responsible for meeting the dissertation deadlines that are listed on the thesis-dissertation deadline schedule on the Web at www.usm.edu/graduate-school. If a student fails to meet the final deposit deadline, his or her degree will be awarded the next semester. The student must enroll for one (1) hour of 898 that semester. The three copies of the dissertation must be deposited in The Graduate School.
    6. The Dissertation Oral Defense. After the dissertation has been accepted and at least six weeks before the candidate is scheduled to receive the degree, a final oral examination of the dissertation and related fields will be conducted by the student's doctoral committee and any other faculty members designated by the dean of the Graduate School. The examination will be open to any member of the graduate faculty. The results of the oral defense form should be submitted to The Graduate School immediately following the defense. After the doctoral committee members have been adequately consulted about the results of the student's research as well as the form and condition of the dissertation, the committee chair will schedule the defense with The Graduate School and other appropriate offices at least ten (10) working days in advance of the defense. The meeting will be open to any member of the faculty and, at the discretion of the chair, may be opened to the public. The committee chair, with advice from the committee, has complete authority for the conduct of the defense. The chair may recognize those wishing to ask questions about the candidate's research. Questions and resulting discussion should be appropriate. The committee chair may end the open part of the defense by restricting the meeting to the committee after an appropriate time. Discussion of the results of the defense must be limited to the committee members. A majority vote will determine the result of the defense and shall be reported to The Graduate School at the close of the meeting by the chair of the doctoral committee.
  15. Documents
    The doctoral student must have the documents listed below on file with The Graduate School. Students are advised to check their files in The Graduate School for completeness of documentation. See www.usm.edu/graduate-school for list of forms and online versions of forms.
    1. Plan Of Study Form. Students must submit a "plan of study" form to The Graduate School by their second semester of enrollment. See www.usm.edu/graduate-school for specific directions.
    2. Research and Scholarly Assurance Program. Students must submit the RSIE completion certificate by the end of the 2nd month of the first semester they are enrolled. (November, March, July)
    3. Qualifying Exam Results Form. The department chair should submit the form to the graduate degree auditor indicating that the student has completed the qualifying exam if it is required.
    4. Doctoral Committee Appointment Form. The department chair should submit the form to The Graduate School indicating who will serve on the student's committee. A letter of appointment will be sent to the committee members and adviser by the dean of the Graduate School.
    5. Comprehensive Exam Results Form. The doctoral committee chair should submit the results of the comprehensive exam form to the graduate degree auditor.
    6. Application for Degree. The student should present two copies of the Application for Degree form (cover sheet, plan of study, payment receipt), and pay fees during the semester preceding that of graduation. See www.usm.edu/graduate-school for details. Students can pay fees online. Students not graduating in the semester for which they applied must contact the graduate degree auditor and submit a deferrment form.
    7. Dissertation Prospectus Approval and Application for Candidacy Form. After completing all the requirements for the doctoral degree other than the dissertation and after the dissertation prospectus has been approved at least one semester prior to graduation, the student must file one copy of the form with the graduate degree auditor and one copy with the adviser, before or at the time the application for degree is filed. Students are reminded to secure approval of the Human Subjects Review Committee or the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee if necessary. Approval letters must be in an appendix. Students should consult the chair of these committees as to the need for Human Subjects (IRB) and IACUC approval.
    8. Dissertation Defense Results Form. The doctoral committee chair should submit the results of the oral defense of the dissertation form to the graduate reader immediately following the defense. A copy of the dissertation title page should also be submitted. Final copies of the dissertation must be deposited in The Graduate School. (See deadlines: www.usm.edu/graduate-school.)

Transfer Credit Policy

Master's Degree. As many as six (6) semester hours or 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 appropriate department chair, and the dean of the Graduate School provided that the course work transferred falls within the five year period allowed for the degree. Such course work must carry a letter or numeric grade of "B" or better and cannot be a pass/fail course. The course work may not have counted toward another graduate degree. The transfer grade will not calculate in the USM GPA. Students must submit all materials required for course evaluation.

Specialist Degree. As many as six (6) semester hours or 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 appropriate department chair, and the dean of the Graduate School provided that the course work transferred falls within the six year period allowed for the degree. Such course work must carry a letter or numeric grade and cannot be a pass/fail course. The course work may not have counted toward another graduate degree. The transfer grade will not calculate in the USM GPA. Students must submit all materials required for review.

Doctoral Degree. 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 appropriate department chair, and the dean of the Graduate School provided that the course work transferred falls within the eight year period allowed for the degree. Such course work must carry a letter or numeric grade and cannot be a pass/fail course. The course work may not have counted toward another graduate degree. Final evaluation of and acceptance of transfer credit will not be made until the student has been in academic residence for one semester. The transfer grade will not calculate in the USM GPA.

Exceptions to these transfer credit policies made be made only with the approval of the department chair and the dean of the Graduate School. Transfer credit approval forms are available in departments and The Graduate School. The approval form and an original transcript from the university at which the courses were taken should be submitted at least one semester before the student plans to graduate.

Dissertation and Thesis Deadline Schedule

The Graduate School maintains a schedule of deadlines for students writing theses 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.

Family Leave for Graduate Assistants

Provided financial resources are available, department chairs may submit a request to the dean of the Graduate School for a one-month paid leave period for graduate assistants following the birth of their child. Under this provision, leave may only be approved if the birth occurs during assistantship appointment dates. Requests must be submitted 6 months prior to projected due date. In thise cases where both parents are employed by USM as graduate assistants, the leave period for the parents may not be taken concurrently.