Feb 20, 2024  
2023-2024 GRADUATE CATALOG 
    
2023-2024 GRADUATE CATALOG

Minimum Graduate Degree Requirements


The University of Memphis offers Master’s degrees, Education Specialist degree, Doctoral degrees and graduate certificates.

Graduate students are expected to be aware of and to comply with the minimum requirements for the degrees they are pursuing as outlined in the graduate catalog.  In addition to the minimum degree requirements, students are expected to conform to any additional requirements set by the student’s department, college, school, or academic unit.  The Graduate School sets minimum standards to which all the diverse graduate programs across the university must adhere. Individual colleges, schools, and graduate programs are encouraged to set more stringent requirements as necessary to meet their accreditation and student needs.

Please see Degree Programs  for individual program requirements.

Forms referenced in the minimum degree requirements page can be found here: https://www.memphis.edu/gradschool/resources/forms_index.php

Minimum Requirements for Master’s Degrees

A master’s degree program shall generally include 30-36 semester hours of course work, although some programs require more. Refer to the appropriate program description for specific requirements. The student’s program must be approved by the major academic unit. A student may be required to take courses beyond the minimum to ensure balance and depth in the discipline.

A minimum of 70% of the total required hours must be provided by 7000 or 8000 level courses. No more than 12 hours of workshop courses and independent study courses may be applied to a master’s degree. Individual academic departments may allow fewer workshop or independent study hours in their programs.

The maximum amount of combined hours of transfer credit, credit by examination, course validation and experiential learning that can be used to fulfill degree requirements is two-thirds of the number of hours required for the degree.

Comprehensive Examination

Before being recommended for graduation, every candidate for the master’s degree who does not write a thesis is required to pass a final comprehensive examination. Many programs also require a comprehensive examination for those students writing a thesis. The comprehensive exam may take different forms in different programs. For instance, some professional programs have a culminating experience that serves as the comprehensive examination.

Some programs give the comprehensive examination within a short time period during or near the last semester of coursework or after all coursework is completed. In some professional programs the comprehensive examination is given during the calendar year in which the student expects to graduate. Other programs give a series of exams over several semesters. In all cases, comprehensive exams should be completed late enough in the student’s program to ensure full coverage of content areas represented by required coursework. In programs that do not require comprehensive examination for thesis writers, the thesis defense will include broad questions covering the breadth of coursework as well as the thesis content and will be used to satisfy the comprehensive examination requirement.

Comprehensive examinations are administered only to students in good standing and may be oral, written, or both. The result of the exam (positive or negative) must be communicated to the Graduate School on the Comprehensive Results Form within the same semester the exam was taken.

Information regarding the content and form of the comprehensive exam, as well as information about protocols and procedures for administration of comprehensive examinations, can be obtained at the departmental level. It is the student’s responsibility to familiarize themselves with departmental comprehensive exam requirements.

A student who does not perform satisfactorily on the first comprehensive examination will be given an opportunity to take a second examination at the next regularly scheduled examination period. For serial examinations, given over several semesters, see the specific program repeat policies. The academic department may recommend appropriate coursework, which the student will take in preparation for retaking the exam. A second failure results in termination, which can be appealed. The retention appeals process is formalized and must be followed in all cases. See the section of this catalog on Academic Performance Termination and Appeals .

Admission to Candidacy

Before an applicant will be officially admitted to candidacy for a master’s degree, the student must have satisfied the following requirements:

  1. The student must pass a comprehensive exam if they are not writing a thesis or their department requires thesis students to also pass a comprehensive exam. A comprehensive exam results form must be on file with the graduate school if the student is required to take a comprehensive exam.
  2. The student must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 on all graduate work undertaken at The University of Memphis whether or not the courses are listed on the candidacy form. Grades of “D” or “F” are not accepted for any graduate degree credit, but these grades will be computed in the GPA. No more than seven (7) hours of “C+,” “C,” or “C-” will be counted toward degree requirements.
  3. The student must submit a Master’s Degree Candidacy Form

Expired course grades may be removed from the calculation of a given student’s cumulative GPA. Please see the Expired Course Grade Removal policy here: http://www.memphis.edu/gradschool/resources/forms_index.php

If a student wishes to substitute a course for a required course, the substitution must be approved by the student’s advisor or the program coordinator on the Course Substitution Form. The form must accompany the candidacy form.

Thesis Requirements

Most academic departments provide students both a thesis and a non-thesis option (see department descriptions). A thesis of 3 to 6 semester hours may be presented as partial completion of degree requirements. Students must enroll for thesis credit each academic semester until the thesis is completed, regardless of how many hours the program will accept.

Students electing to write a thesis should familiarize themselves with theThesis/Dissertation Preparation Guide before starting to write. https://www.memphis.edu/gradschool/current_students/td-guide.php. An approved Thesis/Dissertation Proposal Form must be filed with any necessary human or animal subject approvals before any research is undertaken. See the section on “Regulatory Issues ” for more information.

Thesis Committee

The student will select a thesis committee (minimum of three members) made up of graduate faculty approved by the head of the academic unit and/or the college director. The chair of the thesis committee must hold full or associate graduate faculty status. Only one external graduate faculty member may serve as a voting member of a thesis committee. “External” refers to graduate faculty status given to faculty who are not faculty of the University of Memphis https://www.memphis.edu/gradschool/resources/gradfac_guidelines.php

Defense of the Thesis

Students must be enrolled in the semester during which they defend the thesis. Upon completion of the thesis, the student must successfully complete an oral defense administered by the student’s advisory committee and the results reported to the Graduate School. All committee members must be present at the examination and the results are determined by a unanimous vote of the committee. 

If the oral exam encompasses both the comprehensive exam and the defense, the results should be reported separately to the graduate school. In this case, the thesis defense will include broad questions covering the extent of coursework as well as the thesis content.

The final draft of the thesis must be approved by all members of the student’s committee. After the successful defense, a copy of the defended and corrected thesis must be submitted to the Graduate School along with the committee approval form. This copy must contain all corrections which may have been given to the student during the final defense.

After the Graduate School has reviewed the final draft, the student must make all additional corrections. At such time, the student will convert the final corrected document into a PDF version and upload to the Electronic Thesis/Dissertation (ETD) archival system. See the Graduate School Thesis/Dissertation Preparation Guide for instructions on how to upload to the ETD system. https://www.memphis.edu/gradschool/current_students/td-guide.php

Students who unsuccessfully defend their thesis will be assigned a “U” (unsatisfactory). The department will then initiate the termination process. See the section of this catalog on Academic Performance Termination and Appeals .  

Thesis Credit

Credit will be posted upon completion and acceptance of the thesis. No more than six (6) hours will be allowed for a master’s thesis, even though the student may have been required to register for additional hours in order to maintain continuous enrollment. If a student elects not to complete the thesis, a retroactive drop (or withdrawal) must be processed for the last term of enrollment in thesis credit to reflect the change of program on the student’s transcript.

Enrollment Requirements

Students must be enrolled during the semester in which they defend the thesis. Colleges, schools, and departments may require enrollment during the semester in which comprehensive exams are taken; check with your program for details.

Continuous Enrollment Policy

The continuous enrollment policy applies to theses, capstone projects, and all other culminating experiences. Most programs require at least one culminating experience course; see specific program requirements for details. A student must be enrolled for at least 1 hour each fall and spring semester until the thesis or project is complete. A student must be enrolled in the summer semester if the thesis will be completed then. The only exception to this policy is if the student’s major professor is on leave or otherwise unavailable. In such cases the approval of the appropriate college director and the Dean of the Graduate School is required.

In case of serious medical or other personal circumstances, students may request a leave of absence, subject to the approval of the program graduate coordinator, the college director of graduate studies, and the Dean of the Graduate School.

For information on leave of absence see: Leave of Absence .

Requests for leave of absence will not be granted without appropriate documentation. If a leave of absence is granted, the dates of leave do not count toward program time limitations.

Time Limitation

All requirements for Master’s degrees requiring up to 36 hrs must be completed in eight years.  All requirements for Master’s degrees that require more than 36 hrs must be completed in ten years. Grades earned in courses that are older than program time limits will be shown on the transcript and will be calculated in the cumulative GPA unless a request for expired course grade removal has been granted, but will not be accepted for graduation purposes unless validation has occurred or been waived as described in the Academic Regulations section of the Graduate Catalog. See Course Validation 

Graduation

In order to graduate the student must:

  1. “Apply to Graduate” by the appropriate deadline (see Registrar’s website for deadlines).
  2. Pass comprehensive exams, if required. The comprehensive exam result form must be on file with the Graduate School.
  3. Submit all thesis documents to the graduate school if a thesis is required, including:a thesis committee form, a thesis proposal defense form, and a thesis defense form. Theses must be submitted electronically.
  4. There must be a Masters Degree Candidacy form on file with the graduate school
  5. have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 on all graduate work undertaken at The University of Memphis whether or not the courses are listed on the candidacy form. Grades of “D” or “F” are not accepted for any graduate degree credit, but these grades will be computed in the GPA. No more than seven (7) hours of “C+,” “C,” or “C-” will be counted toward degree requirements.

All requirements of the Graduate School, the student’s college, and the academic department must be met.

Please notify the Graduate School Graduation Analyst of any changes in name or address. Students who are graduating will receive notification from the Commencement Office explaining graduation ceremony requirements periodically throughout the semester.

Minimum Requirements for Doctoral Degrees

Doctoral degrees require at least 72 credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree; however, many programs require additional hours. Specific requirements for the doctoral degree vary by academic department. A student may be required to take courses beyond the minimum to ensure balance and depth in the discipline.

No more than 15 post-baccalaureate hours of 6000 level courses may be applied to a doctoral degree.The last 30 hours of credit must be earned at the University of Memphis.Of the final 30 hours, no more than the maximum allowed by the program may be dissertation hours. A minimum of 6 hours of dissertation credit is required.

The maximum amount of combined hours of transfer credit, credit-by-examination, course validation and experiential learning that can be used to fulfill degree requirements is two-thirds of the number of hours required for the degree.

Comprehensive Examination

Before being recommended for candidacy, every candidate for the doctorate is required to pass a comprehensive examination.

The comprehensive exam may take different forms in different programs. For instance, some programs give the comprehensive examination within a short time period during or near the last semester of coursework or after all coursework is completed. In some professional programs the comprehensive examination is given during the calendar year in which the student expects to graduate. Other programs give a series of exams over several semesters. In all cases, comprehensive exams should be completed late enough in the student’s program to ensure full coverage of content areas represented by required coursework. Comprehensive examinations are administered only to students in good standing and may be oral, written, or both.

The comprehensive examination will normally contain both written and oral components, covering the major and collateral fields of study. Decision on the examination component(s) will be made by the program faculty members to preserve subject area competency, and any waiver for an individual student of written or oral component will be documented and included in the record. The result of the exam (positive or negative) must be communicated to the Graduate School on the Comprehensive Results Form within the same semester the exam was taken.

Information regarding the content and form of the comprehensive exam, as well as information about protocols and procedures for administration of comprehensive examinations, can be obtained at the departmental level. It is the student’s responsibility to familiarize themselves with departmental comprehensive exam requirements.

If a student fails the comprehensive exam, the student may take it a second time. A second failure results in termination, which can be appealed. The retention appeals process is formalized and must be followed in all cases. See the section of this catalog on Academic Performance Termination and Appeals 

Admission to Candidacy

Before an applicant will be officially admitted to candidacy for a doctoral degree, the student must have satisfied the following requirements:

  1. The student must pass a comprehensive exam and a comprehensive results form must be on file with the graduate school.
  2. The student must submit a Doctoral Degree Candidacy form.
  3. The student must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 on all graduate work undertaken at The University of Memphis whether or not the courses are listed on the candidacy form. Grades of “D” or “F” are not accepted for any graduate degree credit but these grades will be computed in the GPA. No more than 7 hours of “C+,” “C,” or “C-” will be counted toward degree requirements.

Forms can be found here: https://www.memphis.edu/gradschool/resources/forms_index.php

Expired course grades may be removed from the calculation of a given student’s cumulative GPA. Please see the Expired Course Grade Removal policy here: https://catalog.memphis.edu/content.php?catoid=27&navoid=1564#expired-course-grade-removal-

Expired courses will, however, still appear on the student’s transcript. A student deemed eligible for expired course grade removal by their academic department must have a written plan for degree completion, developed with their academic advisor, in place before the student grade record can be updated. (Grades for these expired courses will have an “X” assigned with the letter grade.) Advisors can fill out a grade expiration form found here: http://www.memphis.edu/gradschool/resources/forms_index.php.

Doctoral students who have completed comprehensive exams (or other program-based milestones similar to comprehensive exams) will be considered Late Stage Doctoral once the Graduate School is notified of this completion by the academic department.

All doctoral students at this late stage will be considered enrolled as full-time regardless of number of hours registered for the term.

Dissertation

An acceptable dissertation is a requirement for all doctoral degrees. The dissertation must represent a significant scholarly effort that culminates in an original contribution to the field of inquiry. It should reflect the candidate’s ability to conduct independent research and interpret in a logical manner the facts and phenomena revealed by the research. The dissertation must meet the specific regulations of the academic department in which the student is majoring and those of the Graduate School. Consult the academic department for acceptable formats. Students should also familiarize themselves with the Thesis/Dissertation Preparation Guide before starting to write. https://www.memphis.edu/gradschool/current_students/td-guide.php

Dissertation Committee

The student will select a dissertation committee (minimum of four members) made up of graduate faculty approved by the head of the academic unit and/or the college director. The chair of the dissertation committee must hold full graduate faculty status. Only one external graduate faculty member may serve as a voting member of a dissertation committee. “External” refers to graduate faculty status given to faculty who are not faculty of the University of Memphis https://www.memphis.edu/gradschool/resources/gradfac_guidelines.php 

Students should consult with their department if they wish to have University of Memphis faculty outside of their department serve on their dissertation committee. A dissertation committee form must be filed with the graduate school and updated when changes are made to the committee.

Dissertation proposal

The dissertation proposal (or prospectus) is developed under the guidance of the dissertation committee. All members of the dissertation committee must approve the proposal (prospectus) and the Dissertation Proposal Defense form must be filed with the Graduate School.

If human or animal subjects are involved, the appropriate approval forms must accompany the approved Thesis/Dissertation Proposal form. Approval from the institutional review board must be secured before undertaking any research. See the section on “Regulatory Issues ”  

Defense of Dissertation

After the completion of the dissertation and all other prescribed work for the degree, candidates will be given a final oral examination on the dissertation and its relation to the candidate’s major field of study. The student’s dissertation committee will conduct this exam. All members must be present (physically or virtually) at the examination. If the student’s performance on this examination is satisfactory as judged unanimously by the committee, all requirements for the degree will have been completed.

Students must be enrolled in the semester during which they defend the dissertation.

Students who unsuccessfully defend their dissertation will be assigned a “U” (unsatisfactory), at which time the termination process will be initiated. See the section of this catalog on Academic Performance Termination and Appeals .

Submission of the Dissertation

The final draft of the dissertation must be approved by all members of the dissertation committee. After the successful defense, a copy of the defended and corrected dissertation must be converted into a PDF and submitted to ProQuest and the committee approval form submitted to the Graduate School. After the Graduate School has reviewed the final draft in ProQuest, the student must make all additional corrections. See the Graduate School Thesis/Dissertation Preparation Guide for instructions on how to upload the final document. https://www.memphis.edu/gradschool/current_students/td-prep.php

After the dissertation has been approved by the Graduation Analyst, the dissertation will be delivered to ProQuest electronically. The student will then complete the Survey of Earned Doctorates and send confirmation to the Graduation Analyst that the survey has been completed. The abstract will be published by ProQuest.

Dissertation Credit

Credit will be posted upon the completion and acceptance of the dissertation. A minimum of 6 hours of dissertation credit is required. No more than the maximum number of semester hours for dissertation accepted by the academic department will be counted towards the degree, even though the student may have registered for additional hours in order to maintain continuous enrollment.

Continuous Enrollment

Doctoral candidates must register for dissertation credit each academic semester (fall and spring) until the dissertation is completed. Students must enroll in the summer semester if they plan to complete and defend their dissertation then. The only exception to this policy is if the student’s major professor is on leave or otherwise unavailable. In such cases the approval of the appropriate college director and the Dean of the Graduate School is required.

In case of serious medical or other personal circumstances, students may request a leave of absence, subject to the approval of the program graduate coordinator, the college director of graduate studies, and the Dean of the Graduate School. See the section of this catalog on Leave of Absence  

Requests for leave of absence will not be granted without appropriate documentation. If the leave of absence is approved, the dates of absence will not count toward program limits. 

Time Limitations

Doctoral degrees must be earned within 12 consecutive years. All course work must be completed within 10 years of the student’s original admission to a doctoral program. The student may take a further two years of dissertation credit. Grades earned in courses that are older than program time limits will be shown on the transcript and will be calculated in the cumulative GPA unless a request for expired course grade removal has been granted, but will not be accepted for graduation purposes unless validation has occurred or been waived as described in the Academic Regulations section of the Graduate Catalog. See the section of this catalog on Course Validation .

Graduation

To be certified for graduation, the student’s entire program, including the dissertation, must be acceptable to the dissertation committee, department chair and/or director of graduate studies in the student’s college, and the Dean of the Graduate School.

The student must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 on all graduate work undertaken at The University of Memphis whether or not the courses are listed on the candidacy form. Grades of “D” or “F” are not accepted for any graduate degree credit but these grades will be computed in the GPA.

No more than 7 hours of “C+,” “C,” or “C-” will be counted toward degree requirements.

In order to graduate the following forms must be filed with the Graduate School:

  1. Comprehensive Exam Form—Filed in the semester in which the comprehensive exam is completed.
  2. Dissertation Committee Form—Filed at the time of constitution and updated with any changes.
  3. Dissertation Proposal Defense Form—Filed during the semester in which the proposal defense is completed.
  4. The Dissertation Defense Results form—Filed immediately after the defense.
  5. The Doctoral Degree Candidacy Form—Filed at the time of candidacy
  6. Students must “Apply to Graduate” by the deadline available on-line for the term the dissertation will be complete.

Forms can be found here: https://www.memphis.edu/gradschool/resources/forms_index.php

Please notify the Graduate School Graduation Analyst of any changes in name or address. Students who are graduating will receive notification from the Commencement Office explaining graduation ceremony requirements periodically throughout the semester.