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Summary of Procedures for Master's Degrees

The following outline summarizes the Portland State University procedural requirements for master's degrees. Additional information can be found in the Office of Graduate Studies (OGS) section of the Bulletin, on the OGS website, and on the applicable forms.  Additional requirements may be imposed by specific programs.

  1. Prior to first term of registration, meet with faculty adviser assigned by program director and plan a preliminary program of study, as well as become familiar with general regulations and procedures for the master's degree as described in the Bulletin.

  2. If graduate courses taken while an undergraduate at PSU and not used in the bachelor's degree are to be considered for use in the graduate program, the department must submit a request to OGS to apply the courses to the program of study. This request should be made soon after admission to the graduate program.  Reserved credit requests are made through the online Graduate DARS Exception Request form.  (Applicable only for courses completed at PSU, limited to 12 credits maximum.)  Reserved credits are also subject to all pre-admission limits and requirements.

  3. If pre-admission credits taken at PSU are to be included in the program of study, the department must submit a request to OGS to apply the courses to the program of study. This request should be made soon after admission to the graduate program. PSU pre-admission credit requests are made through the online Graduate DARS Exception Request form. No more than one-third of the student's degree program can be pre-admission credits. If transfer courses (courses taken at any time from another regionally accredited institution) are to be included in the program of study, the Proposed Transfer Credit form (GO-21M) must be filed in OGS for approval. It is strongly suggested that this form be submitted early in the student's program. No more than one-third of the student's degree program can be transfer credits.

  4. If admitted with University Conditional and/or Department Conditional status, meet all conditions.  Departments must submit a request through the online Graduate DARS Exception Request form to remove Department Conditional status. University Conditional status will automatically be removed after completion of the first 9 letter-graded graduate credits after admission with a 3.00 GPA or higher. University and Department Conditional status are converted to Regular status independent of each other, and usually not at the same time. Students must be in Regular status in order to graduate.

  5. For an MA or MAT degree, meet the second language requirement.  This requirement must be met before any final exam is taken or before the Final Oral Examination Committee form (GO-16M) or any final graduation paperwork can be approved. (For detailed information about "Options for Meeting the Graduate Second Language Requirement for MA and MAT students," see page 69.)

  6. Submit the Application for Awarding of Master's Degree, Doctoral Degree, or Graduate Certificate in OGS no later than the first week of the term of graduation. Deadlines are available here.

  7. After submitting the Application for Awarding of Master's Degree, Doctoral Degree, or Graduate Certificate, consult with adviser and/or department about DARS report and plans for completing final degree requirements.

  8. The university requires that graduate students who are involved in activities requiring faculty time or the use of University facilities register for a minimum of one graduate credit every term, including those working on any aspects of research or project.

    A minimum enrollment of one graduate credit is required during the term in which oral or written exams are taken. A thesis student must be registered for at least one credit in every term in which the student is working on any phase of thesis, including data development or collection, writing, revision, defense, and finalization through acceptance by OGS.

  9. If thesis is to be submitted:

    1. Adviser submits the Appointment of Final Oral Examination Committee form (GO-16M) approximately two weeks before the end of the term preceding the term of the defense; see here for specific dates. The chair of the thesis committee must be regular, full-time PSU instructional faculty, tenured or tenure-track, assistant professor or higher in rank; the other committee members may include adjunct and fixed-term faculty. Two of the committee members (the chair and one other member) must be from the student’s department; the third member may be from the student’s department or may be PSU faculty from another department or OHSU faculty. If it is necessary to go off campus for one additional committee member with specific expertise not available among PSU faculty, a CV for that proposed member must be presented with the GO-16M form; that member must be in addition to the required three PSU faculty members. All committee members must have master’s degrees. No defense shall be valid without a thesis committee approved by OGS.

    2. The thesis defense must take place at least five weeks prior to the end of the term of anticipated graduation and all members must receive a complete copy of the thesis at least two weeks prior to the defense date. For summer term graduation, deadlines apply to the regular eight-week Summer Session.

    3. Student must check with the faculty adviser and thesis committee chair to assure completion of requirements prior to final defense.

    4. The final thesis must be submitted to OGS no later than three weeks prior to the close of the term of application for graduation. For details about thesis formatting, submission, and specific deadlines, see the Thesis and Dissertation section of the OGS website. Required formatting revisions must be made before graduation.

  10. In the case of non-thesis final oral examinations, including final project presentations, the committee shall consist of at least two members of the student's department, including the student's adviser. At the discretion of the department, a faculty member from another department may be added; that member would be selected by the adviser, the department chair, or the departmental graduate committee chair, according to department policy. For MAT and MST students, one member of the committee is required to be added from the Graduate School of Education or a faculty member with pedagogical expertise in the student’s discipline. The oral examination must be scheduled no less than two weeks before the end of the term.

  11. Schedule and pass final master's examinations, if required, at least two weeks before the end of the term.

  12. An Incomplete or In-Progress grade in any course applied toward degree requirements, excluding thesis (see #14 below), must be removed before graduation.

  13. All M (Missing) grades in PSU graduate courses that could potentially be letter graded must be removed before graduation.

  14. All coursework applied to a master's degree must be completed within seven years prior to the awarding of the degree (e.g., a course taken in fall term 2006 will be beyond the seven-year limitation at the close of fall 2013).

  15. Adviser is responsible for the completion of the Recommendation for the Degree form (GO-17M), which is due in OGS after end-of-term grades are posted. IP (In-Progress) grades for required thesis credits are changed on the GO-17M form, eliminating the need for Supplemental Grade Reports for these courses. Outstanding grades for all other required courses must be submitted by the instructor directly to the Office of Admissions, Registration, and Records.

  16. The Dean of Graduate Studies certifies that all requirements for the degree have been met and recommends the awarding of the degree.

  17. The degree is awarded in the Student Information System, which causes a diploma to be produced. Diplomas are available in the Office of Degree Requirements (104 Neuberger Hall) approximately one full term after the degree is awarded. (Please note that commencement is not the same as graduation.)