The Graduate School• Professional Programs
REQUIREMENTS FOR ADVANCED DEGREES
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MASTER’S DEGREE
Programs in liberal arts and social sciences ordinarily lead to the MA degree. Programs in other fields usually lead to the MS degree or to specialized master’s degrees.
Satisfaction of the minimum requirements of the Graduate School as stipulated in this catalog does not relieve master’s students of the responsibility for satisfying any additional requirements deemed appropriate by the graduate faculty of the degree program in which they are enrolled.
The minimum requirement is 30 semester hours of graduate work, 24 hours of which must be in course work and six hours in thesis research. In programs not requiring a thesis, the minimum requirement is normally 36 semester hours. At least one-half of the minimum required credit in the student’s master’s program must be in courses at or above the 7000 level. Transfer work from other institutions may not be counted toward this requirement. Six hours of thesis credit will be counted as work above the 7000 level. For example, students pursuing a 36-hour nonthesis option will have to complete a minimum of 18 hours in courses numbered at or above the 7000 level. A student’s efforts will be concentrated in one major field, but a department may require a minor of six or more semester hours of credit in one or more related fields.
A maximum of 12 semester hours of transfer credit from other schools and/or credit taken while classified as an LSU extension or nonmatriculating student may, in some cases, be used in a master’s degree program if approved by the department chair and the dean of the Graduate School. See “Transfer of Credit” in the “General Graduate School Regulations” section of this catalog.
Application for Degree
Early in each semester or summer term there is a deadline for submitting the “Application for Degree” to the Graduate School. Master’s candidates are required to submit the “Application for Degree” cover sheet along with the “Master’s Application for Degree” forms. On these forms a student lists all course work taken that applies toward the degree.
Submission of the application carries with it the implication that the student intends to graduate that semester. If circumstances prevent graduation, an updated “Application for Degree” must be submitted to the Graduate School by the designated “Application for Degree” deadline for the next semester in which the student plans to graduate.
Programs for master’s degrees must be completed within five years from entrance into a degree program.
Credit for individual courses taken at LSU more than five years before the termination of a program may be revalidated by the student’s graduate committee through an examination. This examination may be oral, written, or both oral and written, depending on the requirements of the department concerned. The documentation of such an examination must be signed by members of the committee, the department’s graduate advisor, and reported to the Graduate School on the appropriate form before the request for the student’s final examination will be approved. No more than 50 percent of the courses in a student’s program may be revalidated and counted toward the degree requirements. However, some departments do not revalidate course work. Students should check with the department chair or graduate advisor to ensure revalidation is allowed.
For regulations regarding time limits and eligibility of transfer work, see Transfer of Credit in the “General Graduate School Regulations” in this chapter.
The Thesis and the Master’s Committee
In most departments, the preparation of a thesis is an important element in the program leading to the master’s degree. The master’s thesis should demonstrate capacity for research, originality of thought, and facility in organizing materials. The thesis must be acceptable in subject matter and exhibit creditable literary workmanship. At least six semester hours of thesis credit are required for the master’s degree with the thesis option. For additional information concerning thesis preparation, consult the pamphlet Guidelines for the Preparation of Theses and Dissertations, available at etd.lsu.edu.
Final acceptance of the master’s thesis rests with a committee of three or more members of the graduate faculty, nominated by the chair of the major department and appointed by the dean of the Graduate School. See the “Faculty” chapter of this catalog for definitions of full, associate, and affiliate members of the graduate faculty.
The major professor, who must be from the major department, is designated as chair or co-chair of this committee. If either is an adjunct or a non-tenure track faculty member is the major professor, a full-time tenured or tenure-track graduate faculty member must cochair the committee. Other committee members may be from the major department or from other pertinent departments. If there is an external minor, one committee member must represent the minor department. Both thesis and nonthesis committees must include at least one full member of the graduate faculty, and at least one-half of the graduate faculty members must be full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty members at LSU. Any additions to or changes in the make-up of this committee must be approved in advance by the dean of the Graduate School. The dean of the Graduate School may serve as a member of any committee or may appoint additional members.
Some departments offer optional nonthesis programs for the master’s degree. Departmental announcements and the Graduate Bulletin indicate whether this option is available.
Comprehensive Final Examination
Candidates for master’s degrees in most programs are required to pass a comprehensive final examination. This examination may be oral, written, or both oral and written, depending on the requirements of the department concerned. In nonthesis programs, greater weight is ordinarily given to this examination, and it will probably be broader in scope than the examination given to a student who completes a thesis.
At least three weeks prior to the time this examination is to be given (and by the current semester deadline, if the student is a degree candidate), the student’s department should submit to the Graduate School a request for appointment of the examining committee.
Normally, a candidate for the master’s degree will take the final examination during the semester in which he or she plans to graduate. If a student wishes to take the final examination at an earlier date, the student’s committee must furnish the graduate dean with a sound academic reason for doing so. To be eligible to take the final exam, the student must have a 3.00 cumulative gpa. Examinations may not be scheduled between semesters.
This committee, nominated by the chair of the student’s major department and appointed by the dean of the Graduate School, is ordinarily composed of those faculty members who served as the student’s thesis committee. For the nonthesis option the committee must consist of three or more members of the graduate faculty nominated by the chair of the major department and appointed by the dean of the Graduate School. At least one member of the examining committee must be a full member of the graduate faculty. The major professor serves as chair of the examining committee. Representatives of the graduate faculty may be added by the dean.
In order for the student to pass this examination, there may not be more than one dissenting vote. (Dissenting votes, along with assenting votes, must be recorded on the examination cards and the thesis approval sheets submitted to the Graduate School.)
Timely Submission of Approved Theses
Approved theses, including Graduate School corrections, must be submitted to the Graduate School no later than the deadline for submission of approved theses in the regular semester following the final examination. A final examination may be voided by the dean of the Graduate School for failure to submit the approved thesis in a timely manner as described.
Second Master’s Degree
Students who wish to obtain a second master’s degree from this University must meet all academic and residence requirements set by the Graduate School and the department concerned. A maximum of six hours from the first degree may be applied toward the second. These hours should be listed on the “Application for Degree” for the second master’s degree under the section “Transfer or Petitioned Credits.”
Accelerated Master’s Degree Program
Admission • The accelerated master’s degree program is open to superior undergraduate students who have completed at least 60 semester hours of credit (including advanced placement credit) with a gpa of at least 3.50 for all work taken at LSU. (To be eligible, transfer students must have a 3.50 average on all undergraduate work taken prior to attending LSU and must complete at least one semester at LSU with a 3.50 gpa.)
Acceptance into the accelerated program requires approval from the following:
- the chair of the undergraduate department in which the student is enrolled;
- the dean of the college in which the student is enrolled;
- the chair of the department or the coordinator of the interdisciplinary program in which the student proposes to work toward the master’s degree; and
- the dean of the Graduate School. The requested approvals will be given as signatures on a form designed specifically for this program.
It is the responsibility of the chair or coordinator of the graduate program to appoint the student’s graduate faculty advisory committee.
Other admission requirements for graduate study, such as the GRE and the GMAT, will be waived until the student receives the baccalaureate degree and is ready to enter formally into Graduate School. Until that time, admission into the accelerated program will constitute provisional admission into the graduate program. Students will register as graduate students only after receiving the baccalaureate degree and satisfying departmental and Graduate School admission requirements.
Continuing eligibility for the accelerated master’s program will require maintenance of a 3.50 average in all courses that apply to the undergraduate degree and a 3.00 average in all graduate course work.
Degree and Curriculum Requirements • Students who wish to obtain a master’s degree under this program must meet all academic and residence requirements set by the Graduate School and the department concerned. Requirements for the baccalaureate degree will not be affected.
Students may take a maximum of half of the required hours for the master’s degree while enrolled as undergraduates. These hours may be applied toward the master’s degree provided a gpa of 3.00 is maintained in graduate course work and provided none of these hours apply toward the baccalaureate degree.
A student may wish to apply some graduate course work toward his or her undergraduate degree. In such instances, the graduate committee can alter the distribution of course work and independent study required for the master’s degree. No course credit can be applied toward more than one degree.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY DEGREE
The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is the highest earned degree offered by universities. It is conferred only for work of distinction in which the student displays decided powers of original scholarship and only in recognition of marked ability and achievement. Nothing in the following summary of minimum standards should be construed to imply that the degree will be granted merely in recognition of faithful performance of prescribed work. Satisfaction of the minimum requirements of the Graduate School as stipulated in this catalog in no way relieves doctoral students of responsibility for satisfying any additional requirements deemed appropriate by the graduate faculty of the degree programs in which they are enrolled.
The basic requirements are:
- A student must exhibit unmistakable evidence of mastery of a broad major field. Such evidence is ordinarily provided by passing a general examination;
- A student must prove ability to complete a significant program of original research by preparing a dissertation embodying creative scholarship and by passing a rigorous final examination. The dissertation must add to the sum of existing knowledge and give evidence of considerable literary skill.
While the degree of Doctor of Philosophy cannot be earned solely by passing courses, the program of work prescribed by departments ordinarily provides for a substantial amount of course work, equivalent to three years of fulltime study beyond the requirements for the baccalaureate degree. Some departments require considerably more course work.
Although course work requirements are concentrated in the student’s major field, a certain amount of work may be required in one or two minor fields. If there is minor course work, the Graduate Council recommends that the minor field requirement include at least one 7000-level course. The course work and the number of hours needed to satisfy the minor field requirement are determined by the graduate faculty in the minor department. All doctoral programs require approval of the dean of the Graduate School and the Graduate Council.
Program of Study
The Graduate School does not require a formal qualifying examination or procedure for doctoral students, although departments may, if they wish, administer such examinations or procedures. A student is eligible to work toward a doctoral degree beginning with the semester in which he or she is formally admitted into a doctoral program.
After meeting with the student, the advisory committee will be required to submit to the Graduate School for approval a planned “Program of Study” during the first or second semester after the student has been formally admitted. If the student already has a master’s degree, the “Program of Study” should be formulated during the first semester; if the student is bypassing the master’s degree, formulation may be delayed until the second semester. The advisory committee, which should include at least one representative from the minor field (if appropriate), is not necessarily identical to the student’s committee for the general examination.
The suggested general examination committee will be approved at the time the request for the general examination is submitted to the Graduate School.
The student’s program of study is subject to Graduate School policy and departmental requirements. Graduate course work taken at another institution with grades of “A,” “B,” “P,” “S,” or the equivalent is not subject to the policy on transfer of credit for the master’s degree and may be included in the program of study, if accepted by the department and the student’s advisory committee.
During the entire period of work toward the doctorate, the student’s program is directed by a special advisory committee. This advisory committee consists initially of three members of the graduate faculty. After the outlines of the program have assumed more definite form and the direction of research has been clearly established, this special committee is enlarged to four or more members. This enlargement must take place prior to the general examination.
The full advisory committee must comprise at least four members of the graduate faculty, including the major professor, who acts as chair and who must be from the major department. If either an adjunct or a non-tenure track faculty member is the major professor, a full-time tenured or tenure-track graduate faculty member must co-chair the committee.
At least one-half of the graduate faculty on doctoral committees must be full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty at LSU. A minimum of two of those faculty members must be from the major department at LSU and at least one of whom must be a full member of the LSU graduate faculty. The remaining members may be from the major department or may be from outside the department if pertinent to the student’s area of concentration, with the members must be a full member of the graduate faculty.
Any declared outside minors require representation, either from among the first four members of the committee or by additional appointments. The dean of the Graduate School may serve as an ex officio member. Members of the special advisory committee are nominated by the chair of the major department and appointed by the dean of the Graduate School, who may make changes deemed desirable.
In addition, the dean of the Graduate School appoints a member or members of the graduate faculty to serve on doctoral general and final examination committees. These individuals represent the dean and the entire graduate faculty. They are full voting members of the committee, with all the rights and responsibilities of the other committee members. In the case of final examinations, it is the responsibility of the department chair to ensure that the dean’s representatives receive copies of dissertations as soon as possible, and no later than two weeks before the date of the examination.
Full-time Residence Requirement
One full academic year of continuous residence (two consecutive semesters: fall and spring or spring and fall) as a full-time graduate student must be earned at LSU after the “Program of Study” is received by the Graduate School. If the “Program of Study” is received in a semester (on or before the date specified in the “Academic Calendar”) and the student is enrolled full-time, that semester may be counted as the first of the two consecutive semesters of full-time residence required.
Students who are in residence for the purpose of this requirement are devoting essentially all of their energies to graduate study under the direct supervision of a major professor and an advisory committee.
It is in the best interest of students that those with high probability of continuing successfully toward a doctoral degree be identified as soon as possible. Doctoral students are therefore required to pass a rigorous qualifying examination or the general examination within three calendar years (36 months) of their classification as doctoral students, or a period deemed equivalent for part-time students. Exception may be made to this if a department so petitions the Graduate School.
Whether a qualifying or a general examination is used to meet the above requirement, the procedure should be sufficiently rigorous so as to provide reasonable confidence that the student who passes it may proceed successfully to a doctoral degree.
A student becomes eligible to take the general examination after demonstrating to the advisory committee adequate academic and professional aptitudes. Examinations may not be scheduled between semesters. Students on probation will not be allowed to take the general examination. Students must be registered for a minimum of one to three hours of credit during the semester in which they are taking the general examination.
There is no Graduate School requirement that doctoral students pass a pre-general examination before becoming eligible to take the general examination. However, since pregeneral examination requirements may be retained by individual departments, students should check with the appropriate departmental office concerning this requirement.
A request for the general examination must be submitted to the Graduate School by the student’s department chair at least three weeks prior to the proposed examination date. This request must state the time and place proposed and the names of faculty members nominated to serve as the examining committee. Under ordinary circumstances, these will be the members of the enlarged advisory committee; one or more representatives of the graduate faculty will be appointed by the dean of the Graduate School. Any additions to or changes in the makeup of this committee must be approved in advance by the dean of the Graduate School. At this time, if there are any changes in the “Program of Study,” a “Request for Change in the Program of Study for the Doctoral Degree” form should be completed and submitted to the Graduate School.
The general examination is ordinarily the most rigorous test in the entire doctoral program. In order for the student to pass this examination, there may not be more than one dissenting vote. (Dissenting votes, along with assenting votes, must be recorded on the examination cards submitted to the Graduate School.)
The examination may be oral, written, or oral and written according to the rules of the major department. However, the minor department (if an outside minor has been declared) retains the right, to decide the form of its part of the examination. The examination must be comprehensive enough to demonstrate expert competence over broad segments of the major field and a high degree of familiarity with the content of and current progress in one or more minor fields (if appropriate). The general examination should be regarded as the culmination of a student’s program in course work. In most cases, the remaining time spent in obtaining the degree is to be devoted to concentrated work on the dissertation and preparation for the final examination. When the general examination is passed, report cards should be completed in duplicate and forwarded to the Graduate School.
Continuous Registration Requirement
Doctoral candidates must maintain continuous registration for a minimum of three semester hours of credit each regular semester (excluding summers) from the completion of the general examination to the end of the semester in which an approved dissertation is submitted to the Graduate School.
The dean of the Graduate School may exempt a student from the continuous registration requirement upon departmental certification that the student is in absentia from the University and is not drawing directly upon University resources. Exemptions are intended to accommodate students whose dissertation research requires extended periods of absence for field work in distant archives and laboratories; exemptions are not intended for students who have accepted positions as employees in business, industry, or education.
Students who have passed the general examination normally direct most of their energies toward preparation of the dissertation, which must be a contribution to knowledge in the major field of study. The dissertation must demonstrate a mastery of research techniques, ability to do original and independent research, and skill in formulating conclusions that in some way enlarge upon or modify accepted ideas.
The form of the dissertation must be in accordance with the instructions in the pamphlet “Guidelines for the Preparation of Theses and Dissertations,” available online at www.gradschool.lsu.edu.
LSU Alumni Association Distinguished Dissertation Award
The Distinguished Dissertation Award, consisting of $1,000 and a certificate, is presented annually to two doctoral students whose research and writing epitomize superior scholarship. One award is designated for a student in the arts, humanities, or social sciences and one for a student in science, engineering, or technology. The awards are made each spring in conjunction with the Distinguished Research Master Award.
A request for the final examination must be submitted to the Graduate School by the student’s department chair at least three weeks prior to the proposed examination date, and by the current semester deadline, if the student is a candidate for a degree (see the “Academic Calendar” for all pertinent dates). This request must specify the major and minor fields (if appropriate), dissertation title, time and place proposed for the examination, and nominations for the examining committee. The examining committee, including the dean’s representative, must have copies of the dissertation at least two weeks prior to the final examination. To be eligible to take the final exam, the student must have a 3.00 cumulative gpa. Examinations may not be scheduled between semesters.
Permission to hold the final examination will be granted by the dean of the Graduate School only after all the foregoing conditions are satisfied and one academic year has elapsed since the student passed the general examination. “One academic year” in this case is the interval between a general examination held early in one term and a final examination held toward the close of the following term.
The dean of the Graduate School will approve the final examination committee. In most cases it will consist of the student’s special advisory committee or a similarly constituted group, to which one or more additions have been made as representatives of the dean and the graduate faculty. Any additions to or changes in the make-up of this committee must be approved in advance of the examination.
Although the final examination is traditionally conducted as an oral test primarily concerned with the dissertation and related problems, the committee determines procedure and content, which may extend into subject matter related to major and minor fields (if appropriate), even though well removed from topics suggested by the dissertation. In order for the student to pass this examination, there may not be more than one dissenting vote. (Dissenting votes, along with assenting votes, must be recorded on the examination cards and the approval sheets submitted to the Graduate School.)
Timely Submission of Approved Dissertations
Approved dissertations, including Graduate School corrections, must be submitted to the Graduate School no later than the deadline for submission of approved dissertations in the regular semester following the final examination. A final examination may be voided by the dean of the Graduate School for failure to submit the approved dissertation in a timely manner as described.
Application for Degree
Early in each semester or summer term, there is a deadline for submitting the “Application for Degree” to the Graduate School. Doctoral candidates are required to submit the “Application for Degree” form. Submission of the application carries with it the implication that the student intends to graduate that semester. If circumstances prevent graduation, an updated “Application for Degree” must be submitted to the Graduate School by the designated deadline for the semester in which the student plans to graduate.
Certification of Completion of Requirements
Upon timely submission of the “Application for Degree,” upon passing the final examination, with not more than one member of the committee dissenting, and upon submitting a dissertation in acceptable form to the Graduate School, the student will be certified to the LSU Board of Supervisors by the dean of the Graduate School as having fulfilled all requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. This certification takes place at the next commencement, at which time the degree is conferred.
The program for the doctoral degree must be completed within seven years from the time a student is classified as a doctoral student. This time limit may not be exceeded except by special permission of the dean of the Graduate School. No less than one academic year (see “Academic Calender”) may elapse between the passing of the general examination and the completion of all requirements for the doctoral degree.
Requirements for the Doctor of Musical Arts Degree
The Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) is a professional degree in music. The course work, residence requirements, and examination sequences are similar to those for the PhD degree. Major differences in the two programs are in the dissertation and minor field requirements (if appropriate). For the special admission and course requirements for this degree, consult the School of Music.
FULFILLING DOCTORAL DEGREE REQUIREMENTS
|Submit Program of Study||During the first semester after the master's degree is awarded or during the first full year of full-time graduate study for a student not taking the master's degree.|
|Satisfy Full-Time Residence Requirement||After submission of "Program of Study." One full academic year of continuous full-time enrollment.|
|Request General Examination||After completing most course work. Request for the general examination must be submitted to the Graduate School by the student's department chair at least three weeks prior to the proposed examination date.|
|Request Final Examination||At least one academic year after passing the general examination. Request for the final examination must be submitted to the Graduate School by the student's department chair at least three weeks prior to the proposed examination date and by the current semester deadline, if student is a candidate for degree.|