Master's and Educational Specialist Degrees
All requirements for a master's degree or educational specialist degree must be completed within eight years preceding the student's graduation. An extension of time may be obtained for good cause with the approval of the Graduate Council (file petition through the Office of Graduate Studies and Research).
The doctorate is a research or performance degree and signifies that the holder has the competence to function independently at the highest level of endeavor in the chosen profession. Hence, the number of years involved in attaining or retaining competency cannot be readily specified. Rather, it is important that the doctoral student's competency be assessed and verified in a reasonable period of time prior to conferral of the degree.
The comprehensive examination is the method of assessing whether the student has attained sufficient knowledge of the discipline and supporting fields in order to undertake the independent research or practice. It is expected that the examination will occur after all course work has been completed and language or other requirements satisfied, and it consists of a series of examinations covering all areas specified in the plan of study.
Because the comprehensive examination attests to the academic competence of the student who is about to become an independent researcher or practitioner, the examination should not precede the degree by too long a period of time. Consequently, doctoral candidates are allowed no more than five years in which to complete remaining degree requirements. In the event a student fails to complete the doctorate within five years after passing the comprehensive examination, an extension of time can be obtained only by: a) The student getting a specified set of requirements from the student's committee which states in writing what must be done to make the candidate up-to-date in the discipline. These new requirements for obtaining an extension may include the necessity to repeat parts or all of the comprehensive examination; b) The student must then submit a petition to the Graduate Council for the extension and provide the written documents showing the additional requirements established by the student's committee justifying the requested extension.
All credits applied to a master's degree or to an educational specialist degree must have been taken within eight years immediately prior to granting of the degree unless it can be shown that the course work taken more than eight years earlier covers material which has not changed substantially during the intervening time or that the student has been able to remain current in the topics covered in the course. Evidence that the older course work is still appropriate must be approved by the department chairman. A petition requesting an exception to the eight-year limitation must be submitted by the student to the Graduate Council for approval. The letter of approval from the department chairman should identify the reasons why the older course work is still appropriate and be submitted with the petition to the Graduate Council.