2021-2022 Graduate Catalog

Final Thesis or Creative Project Defense

Candidates for master’s degrees may be required or may choose to write a thesis or a six-credit creative project. The Graduate School does not require an oral defense for theses or six-credit creative projects. Departments and academic units that do have this requirement solely determine the format that is most appropriate for their disciplines, but they must adhere to the following general guidelines:

The defense will cover the thesis or six-credit creative project in its final form and will be administered by the student’s committee. The time and place of the defense should be scheduled at least 10 days in advance. All committee members must be supplied a copy of the thesis or creative project well in advance of the scheduled defense to allow adequate time to review the final project. No defense will be given without all committee members present, unless prior consent is granted by the graduate dean in consultation with the chairperson of the committee and the absent committee member (see Distance Conferencing Guidelines for videoconferencing policy).
If, in the opinion of the committee chairperson or upon a motion duly passed by a majority of the committee, it is deemed desirable to discontinue the oral defense, the chairperson may recess the oral defense until a time mutually agreeable to the student and the committee.
After the conclusion of the defense and when the committee has determined the success or failure of the student, all the committee members must sign the Final Examination Form. The department chairperson or designate also signs the form and forwards it to the Graduate School.
If the candidate has failed the defense, the committee must prepare a report including reasons for failure and requirements to be met. The committee chairperson must file this report with the dean of the Graduate School within seven days from the date of the defense. Permission to defend for a second time must be obtained from the chairperson of the student’s committee and the dean of the Graduate School. Failure to pass the second defense will result in termination of master’s degree study for said degree program. 
Upon passing the final thesis or creative project defense, the candidate can be formally recommended to receive the degree when all course work is completed satisfactorily.

A student who has failed the defense may request the department to be allowed to complete a master’s degree without the thesis or six-credit creative project in academic areas in which the thesis or creative project is not required. The student must, however, complete all degree requirements for said degree program, including the appropriate research course or courses, as would any student who did not choose the thesis or creative project option.