General Requirements for Graduation With a Master’s Degree

Graduate degree candidates must obtain clearance and complete a Degree Candidacy form at the Office of Academic Affairs.  Clearance to graduate follows recommendation by the official graduate advisor(s) to the Office of Graduate Studies.  Students may apply for candidacy with the Office of Graduate Studies six months in advance of the day of graduation by presenting a signed, final degree plan.

Final Degree Plan

Once a final degree plan has been submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies for candidacy completion, the final degree plan cannot be changed during the semester of candidacy without the review and written permission from the Office of Graduate Studies.

Shortened-format Classes

Shortened-format classes are limited to a maximum of six semester hours of graduate credit that a student may use on a degree plan.

Comprehensive Examination(s)

Each graduate student must demonstrate proficiency in the major subject (and supporting field area if it includes nine semester hours or more) by passing comprehensive examinations approved by the appropriate graduate coordinator(s) and administered by the student's program committee. 

The comprehensive examination(s) and thesis defense should be completed no later than the first week of April (for May candidates), July (for August candidates), and November (for December graduates).

Comprehensive Exam deadlines, instructions and information are provided on the University website, Office of Research and Graduate Studies.

Required Component of all Graduate Curricula

Each program recognized by the Graduate Studies Office must design the graduate curriculum so that it requires its students to analyze, explore, question, reconsider, and synthesize old and new knowledge and skills.  The curriculum must be composed of discrete courses to provide the graduate student an education above and beyond that offered to undergraduate students.  In this manner, the graduate curriculum will afford the depth of education, the specialized skills and the sense of creative independence that will allow the graduate student to practice in and contribute to a profession or field of scholarship.

Stacked Courses

There must be a substantial difference between undergraduate and graduate instruction, and graduate studies must be at a level of complexity and generalization that extends the knowledge and intellectual maturity of graduate students.  A limited number of 4000-level and 5000-level courses may be approved to be taught as stacked courses.  The syllabus for the graduate course must indicate a higher level of complexity and have different student learning outcomes.  (The latter requirement holds true for graduate students taking approved 4000-level courses for graduate credit.)

Residency Requirements

The graduate student will comply with the residency policy established by the individual graduate program.  Students may consult with the Vice Provst for Research and Graduate Studies. 

Graduate Assistantships and Fellowships

A Graduate Assistant must be enrolled as a graduate student (at least 6 credit hours during the long term and 6 credit hours during the summer session).  If the graduate student drops below the course load requirements, the assistantship may be terminated.  

Graduate Fellowships/Scholarships require that the graduate student be enrolled for a minimum of three semester graduate credit hours during the long terms and each summer session.

Course Longevity (Master’s Degrees)

A master’s degree student must complete all requirements for each specific graduate degree within five years of initial registration for that degree.  Graduate credits older than those stipulated are not applicable toward a graduate degree without written approval from the Office of Graduate Studies.

Graduation Under a Particular Catalog

Students receive a graduate degree when they satisfy the requirements of the first or any subsequent catalog under which they earned credit for the degree, as long as that catalog is not more than five years old.

Application for Degree

Graduate degrees are conferred at the close of each regular semester and second summer session.  Candidates for advanced degrees who expect to complete their work must first seek approval from their graduate advisor/coordinator.  To apply for graduation, students must complete a Graduation application online via JagWire.  It is the student’s responsibility to be informed and meet graduation deadlines which are published in the Academic Calendar in an earlier section of this Catalog and in the Class Schedule each semester.  A student cannot graduate with an “I” or “F” notation on their academic record in the last semester prior to graduation.

Use of Official Name on Diploma

Students applying for graduation must use their official name as listed on their permanent record in the Office of the Registrar.  No nicknames or any other informal name will be allowed.  All printed information, including diplomas, will list a student's official name.  Students requesting a name other than their official name on their diploma must change their name on their permanent record.

Graduation in Absentia

Graduation in absentia will be permitted only under special conditions stated in writing and approved by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Authorship and Copyright

Students shall own the copyright on their thesis.  Primary authorship on manuscripts derived from a thesis or research project must be agreed upon in writing by the mentor and the student prior to submission for publication.  Data collected in the process of research shall be the mutual property of all collaborators unless otherwise stated in writing.  It is the responsibility of the mentor to be proactive in this particular case and file any letter or agreement on a timely basis with the Office of Graduate Studies. 

Topic Courses

Selected topics courses are organized courses which are taught in a regular classroom environment and which meet regularly according to Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved contact hours per semester hour of credit.  The primary modes of instruction of an organized class are lecture, laboratory, seminar or group television.

Master’s Degree Plans

A master's degree may be earned by completing one of the plans described below.   Other master's degrees include the Master of Business Administration, Master of Public Accountancy, and the Master of Education (described under Education).

Any research that involves human subjects must be approved by the Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects at A&M-San Antonio prior to any data collection.  Specific forms, instructions, and additional information are provided online: http://www.tamusa.edu/graduatestudiesandresearch/irb/irbforms.html.     

The Master’s Thesis 

Thesis 5306 is used solely by Plan I students.  The thesis requires 6 semester credit hours of grades, the first 3 semester credit hours consisting of a proposal and the last 3 semester credit hours consisting of a thesis.  The student should be enrolled in 5306 during semesters or summer terms when the student is receiving supervision from the research advisor, thesis committee or is receiving a research stipend.

The student must be registered for the thesis course during the semester of graduation.  A thesis proposal signed by the student and the thesis committee constitutes the minimum requirement for the student to receive a letter grade on the first three hours of thesis.

The final form of each research thesis must be approved by the graduate director for style, format and scholarly merit.  Instructions concerning the form to be used and details to be followed in preparing the thesis may be obtained from the Office of Graduate Studies. A complete PDF of the approved thesis must be filed with the Office of Graduate Studies (graduate.studies@tamusa.edu) at least three weeks before commencement. One copy of the approved thesis will be placed in the student's file in the program department, a second copy will be submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies, and the third copy will be cataloged in the University Library.  

Plan I-A (with thesis, major and supporting field):

  1. Thirty semester hours of approved graduate courses, with 18 to 24 semester hours (including 6 hours of Thesis 5306 research) in a major subject area and 6 to 12 semester hours in a supporting field subject area are required.  The supporting field may be divided between two subject areas, with 6 semester hours in each.
  2. At least 24 of the 30 semester hours must be in graduate-level courses.  No more than 3 semester hours of credit for special problems courses (other than the thesis courses) may be accepted.  No credit extension or correspondence courses will be accepted.
  3. A research thesis must be prepared under the direction of the professor in the major subject area who is also the student's thesis committee chair.  A thesis proposal approved by the thesis committee chair must be completed for a grade to be assigned in the first 3 hours of Thesis 5306.  The thesis must be accepted by a committee consisting of the committee chair, at least one other professor from the major area and one professor from the supporting field area (or one from each of the supporting field areas).
  4. The student will make an oral defense of the thesis before the committee no later than five weeks before commencement.

Plan I-B (with thesis and major):

Thirty semester hours of approved graduate courses, with at least 24 semester hours (including 6 hours of Thesis 5306 research) in a major subject area are required.
At least 24 of the 30 semester hours must be in 5000-level courses.  No more than 3 semester hours of credit for special problems courses (other than the thesis courses) may be accepted.  No credit for extension or correspondence courses will be accepted.
A research thesis must be prepared under the direction of the professor in the major subject area who is the student's thesis committee chair.  A thesis proposal approved by the program chair must be completed for a grade to be assigned in the first 3 hours of Thesis 5306.  The thesis must be accepted by a committee consisting of the program chair and at least two other professors from the major area.
The student will make an oral defense of the thesis before the committee no later than five weeks before commencement.

Graduate Research Projects

The course number 5305 may be used for the selection, planning, and conduct of a research project to fulfill research requirements under Plan II and Plan III programs.  The graduate research project requires a grade in 3 semester credit hours of 5305 or other courses identified by the degree plan. The student should be enrolled in 5305 during semesters or summer terms when the student is receiving supervision from the research advisor, graduate research committee or is receiving a research stipend.

For Plan II, the graduate research project must be approved and signed by a committee consisting of the program chair, and at least one other professor from the major area.  For Plan III, the graduate research project must be approved and signed by the program chair.  In both Plan II and Plan III, the graduate research projects must have the signature of the department chair.  One copy of the approved research project will be placed in the student's file in the program department. 

In Progress (IP) grades are assigned in 5305 when appropriate until a letter grade is assigned. IP grades remain indefinitely on a student's transcript and cannot be changed with a change-of-grade card.  Students must be actively enrolled in 5305 to receive the letter grade.  This also applies to EDED 5329 Educational Research, EDCG 5333 Research in Counseling,EDSE 5301 Research in Spec Educationand MGMT 5335 Advanced Business Policy.

Plan II (with major and supporting field):

  1. Thirty-six semester hours of approved graduate courses, with 21 to 24 semester hours in a major subject area and 12 to 15 semester hours in a supporting field subject area are required.  The supporting field may be divided between two subject areas, with at least 6 semester hours in each.
  2. At least 21 semester hours in the major subject area and at least 9 semester hours in the supporting field subject area must be in 5000-level courses.  Without special permission from all members of the student's committee and the graduate director, no more than 6 semester hours of credit for special problems courses may be accepted.  No more than 6 semester hours of credit for extension courses of this University may be accepted.
  3. A research project, produced as a major assignment in a 3 hour 5000-level, research-titled course (which may be a special problems course) or Research Project 5305 in a major subject area, is required.

Plan III (with major and resource areas):

  1. Thirty-six semester hours of approved graduate courses, with at least 24 hours in a major subject area. (This plan requires resource areas rather than supporting field subject areas.  A resource area consists of no more than 6 semester hours of graduate credit in a concentrated area.)
  2. At least 27 of the 36 semester hours must be 5000-level courses.  Without special permission from the appropriate graduate coordinator and the graduate division, no more than 6 semester hours of credit for special problems courses may be accepted.  No more than 6 semester hours of credit for extension courses offered by A&M-San Antonio may be accepted.
  3. A research project, produced as a major assignment in a 3 hour 5000-level, research-titled course (which may be a special problems course) or Research Project 5305 in the major subject area, is required.