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4. Master's Degree Regulations

Degree Requirements

University-wide Requirements

In order to receive a master’s degree from UTSA, the following minimum requirements must be met:

  1. The student must be admitted as a graduate degree-seeking student for the degree sought.
  2. The student must remove all conditions of admission, if any were assigned at the time of admission.
  3. Subject to the six-year time limitation, the student must satisfactorily complete all coursework as specified in his or her discipline’s program of study, and, if Option I is selected, must satisfactorily complete the thesis as outlined in the Options for Master’s Degrees section of this chapter.
  4. The student must formally apply for the degree in the Office of the Registrar no later than the deadline for the semester in which he or she intends to graduate (for deadlines, see the online registration calendar).
  5. The student must satisfactorily complete the comprehensive examination, except as provided by the M.B.A. degree and Master of Accountancy.
  6. The student must meet the grade point average requirement of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale) in all work counted as part of the degree program.
  7. No courses in which grades of less than “C” (below 2.0 on a 4.0 scale) were earned may be applied to a graduate degree, nor may courses for which the grade of “CR” was earned by examination be applied to minimum degree requirements. Credit for selected internships and practica in which a grade of “CR” was earned may be applied to minimum degree requirements upon approval of the Graduate Program Committee.
  8. To graduate, all graduate students must have a grade point average of at least a 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) and be in good academic standing.
  9. The majority of graduate coursework for a master’s program must be completed at UTSA.

Detailed descriptions of each of the above requirements are included in this catalog.

Comprehensive Examination

A candidate for a thesis or nonthesis master’s degree must, in addition to other requirements, pass (according to department standards) the comprehensive examination, which may be oral, written, or both. Students must be registered during any semester or term in which they are taking required examinations. If registered for no other courses, students must be enrolled in 6961, Comprehensive Examination.

To satisfy the comprehensive examination requirement, candidates for the M.B.A. degree are required to complete MGT 5903 with a grade of “B” (3.0) or better, candidates for the M.B.A. degree in International Business are required to complete MGT 5903 with a grade of “B” (3.0) or better, candidates for the Master of Accountancy degree are required to complete ACC 6993 with a grade of “B” (3.0) or better, candidates for the Master of Science degree in Information Technology are required to complete IS 6813 with a grade of “B” (3.0) or better, and candidates for the Master of Social Work degree are required to complete SWK 5433 with a grade of “B” (3.0) or better.

Comprehensive examinations are given only to those students who have complied with the following requirements:

  1. Completion of all conditions of admission, if any were assigned at the time of admission.
  2. Completion of all special admission requirements for the degree program, if any.
  3. Be in good academic standing.
  4. Have an acceptable program of study in the discipline in which the degree is sought.
  5. If a thesis is to be written, selection of supervising professor and thesis committee and acceptance of thesis topic.
  6. Enrollment in 6961, Comprehensive Examination, in the semester the comprehensive examination is taken, if registered for no other courses that semester.

Supervising Committee

Each comprehensive examination is developed, administered, and scored under the guidance of a supervising committee with two or more members, one of whom is designated as chair. The chair must be a member of the Graduate Faculty in the major area of study.

In general, all committee members must be members of the Graduate Faculty in the major area of study. Occasionally, scholars who hold nontenured or tenure-track faculty appointments at the University, such as research professors or adjunct faculty members, or off-campus scholars, are appointed because their expertise would be valuable to the student. The composition of the committee is subject to approval by the Dean of the Graduate School.

The supervising committee is responsible for the quality, depth, and balance of the comprehensive examination.

Options for Master’s Degrees

Two options are available for most master’s degree programs. Refer to specific program requirements in Chapter 6, Graduate Program Requirements and Course Descriptions, to determine whether a program offers both options.

Thesis Option (Option I)

The candidate for a master’s degree under Option I must complete the required number of semester credit hours in coursework approved by the appropriate Graduate Program Committee, including 6 semester credit hours for a thesis. The thesis is subject to approval by the student’s program advisor, Thesis Committee, graduate advisor, and the Dean of the Graduate School.

No more than 6 semester credit hours of thesis can be applied toward a master’s degree.

Students receiving advice and assistance from a faculty member in the preparation of a thesis must enroll in the appropriate thesis course (if necessary, for multiple semesters) until final approval of the completed thesis has been given and three copies have been filed with the Dean of the Graduate School.

Requirements for Thesis. The following steps for completing a thesis as part of a master’s degree are the responsibility of each degree candidate selecting Option I:

  1. Secure the approval of the supervising professor, who is also Chair of the Thesis Committee. The Thesis Committee consists of the Thesis Chair and two additional members of the Graduate Faculty appointed by the College Dean. The student is expected to work closely with the Thesis Chair in selecting the thesis topic and in completing other details of their study.
  2. Submit a preliminary draft for approval by the Thesis Chair no later than 45 calendar days before final examinations of the semester in which the degree is to be awarded. The first draft should demonstrate the student’s understanding of the preparation guidelines; it is understood the text is still being modified.
  3. Secure approval of the draft by the Thesis Committee. This step is intended to ensure that the thesis meets the required standards for content, expression, format, spelling, and accuracy. Candidates are responsible for meeting the standards of those reading and approving the thesis.
  4. Submit the final copy of the thesis to the supervising professor and Thesis Committee no later than 20 calendar days before final examinations of the semester in which the degree is to be awarded. This copy of the thesis must be the original and, if acceptable, must be signed by the Thesis Chair and members of the Thesis Committee.
  5. The format of the thesis must follow University regulations. The detailed requirements of thesis formatting guidelines and deadlines are available on the Graduate School’s Web site at http://graduateschool.utsa.edu. The original copy must conform to the most current format prescribed in the Guide for the Preparation of a Master’s Thesis at the time of submission to the Graduate School.
  6. Submit two original, unbound copies of the approved thesis to the Graduate School by the published deadline. The two unbound copies are for the library. Arrangements and expenses for personal binding of copies are the responsibility of the student. Copyright is optional and may be arranged by the student and will be at their expense. Students are responsible for uploading their complete thesis to UMI for publishing with the option of ordering personal copies for binding.
  7. Copies of theses and dissertations are available to the general public through the UTSA Library.
  8. Acceptance of the thesis requires final approval from the Dean of the Graduate School.

Thesis for Linguistics Students

Theses are normally written in English. Petitions to write in another language pertinent to the research must be submitted to the Graduate Program Committee when the student enrolls in a thesis course. See Graduate Advisor before registering for thesis hours. Petition must be approved by the Graduate Program Committee, academic Dean and Dean of the Graduate School.

Nonthesis Option (Option II)

For a master’s degree under Option II, a student can meet requirements without writing a thesis. Instead, the student is required to complete a program of coursework, as indicated by specific program requirements in Chapter 6, Graduate Program Requirements and Course Descriptions, approved by the Graduate Program Committee.

Thesis credits may not be applied to the program of coursework for a master’s degree under Option II.

At the beginning of the student’s master’s degree program, they should, in consultation with their program advisor, select the option most suitable to their needs. Should a student elect to change options, they should consult with the program advisor.

Limitation on Repeating Courses for Credit

Many independent study, thesis, special problems, special topics, directed research, seminar, dissertation, and other similar courses may be repeated for credit; however, limitations exist on the number of semester credit hours that may be applied toward a degree. Refer to the individual course descriptions for specific details on these limitations and consult the appropriate graduate advisor.

Catalog of Graduation

Graduate students have six years from the semester of original registration as degree-seeking to complete a graduate degree program under the catalog in effect at the time of initial registration at UTSA, provided they are continuously enrolled at UTSA. If a student drops out for one or more long semester (Spring or Fall), they have the option of reenrolling under a subsequent catalog. These students will have six years to complete degree requirements under the new catalog. In the event that certain required courses are discontinued, substitutions may be authorized or required by the appropriate Graduate Program Committee.

Additional Master’s Degrees

A student who holds a master’s or higher degree may pursue an additional master’s degree at UTSA only under the following conditions:

  1. The additional master’s degree opens up an additional area, field, or concentration.
  2. The proposed second master’s degree is approved by the appropriate Graduate Program Committee, academic Dean and the Dean of the Graduate School.

It should be further understood that:

  1. The same courses cannot be applied toward two different degrees.
  2. Credit applied to a previous degree at another institution which duplicates a portion of the program required under the second degree being sought at UTSA does not reduce the number of semester credit hours required for that second degree. (The only exception is the M.F.A. degree. See Courses Counted for Another Degree under Course Types and Acceptability in the Transfer of Credit section of this chapter.) Courses already taken would not be required. Rather, additional coursework would be substituted for previously completed courses.

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Transfer of Credit

Limitations

Quantity

Students are expected to complete the majority of all coursework at UTSA. Transfer credit of usually not more than 6 semester credit hours may be allowed for graduate coursework completed at another regionally accredited institution or with proof of equivalent accreditation from a foreign institution. Exceptions require approval of the appropriate Graduate Program Committee, academic College, and the Graduate School, and must meet conditions for transfer of credit. Work counted toward a degree at another institution cannot be transferred.

Conditions for transfer of credit:

  1. Students must complete the form “Transfer of Graduate Credit towards Master’s Degree.”
  2. Student must be in a current master’s degree program.
  3. Student must be in good academic standing.
  4. The courses must have been completed with a grade of “B” (3.0) or better.
  5. Coursework must be from an accredited university and have not been used in another degree program.
  6. An official transcript from the institution where the coursework was completed must be submitted.
  7. All coursework must have been completed no more than six years before the degree was awarded.
  8. Coursework is subject to approval of the appropriate Graduate Program Committee and academic College in which the program is administered.
  9. Courses must be defined as graduate-level work at the institution where the credit was earned.
  10. International transcripts must be evaluated by a UTSA approved foreign credential evaluation service agency.

Time Limitation

All requirements for a master’s degree must be completed within one six-year period. Work over six years old may be reinstated only with the permission of the Dean of the Graduate School, upon recommendation of the Graduate Program Committee.

Evaluation of Courses

The student’s Graduate Advisor of Record and the College evaluate transcripts and designate which graduate courses are acceptable under the above provisions for transfer toward a master’s degree at UTSA. Whether or not a course is transferable as graduate coursework is determined by the course number assigned by the institution awarding the credit. To be transferable to UTSA, courses must be defined as graduate courses at the institution where credit was earned. Courses that are defined as undergraduate upper-division by their course numbers, but that can be applied to a graduate degree at the institution awarding the credit, are not accepted for transfer toward a master’s degree at UTSA. All work submitted for transfer credit must have been completed with grades of “A” or “B” (3.0) and must have been completed no more than six years before the degree was awarded. Competency based coursework or credit only courses will not be accepted.

Transfers within The University of Texas System

It is the policy of The University of Texas System that all academic institutions within the System may accept graduate credit from each other, and the regular requirements for residency are adjusted accordingly. The applicability of specific courses from other University of Texas institutions to a student’s graduate degree program at UTSA, however, must be approved by the appropriate Graduate Program Committee.

Course Types and Acceptability

Accepted on a Limited Basis

UTSA Undergraduate Courses. With the approval of the appropriate Graduate Program Committee, the Department Chair, and the Dean of the college in which the student expects to earn his or her degree, a candidate for the master’s degree may apply a maximum of 6 semester credit hours of unduplicated credit for undergraduate upper-division (junior- or senior-level) courses completed at UTSA with the grades of  “A” or “B” to a master’s degree; no course below the upper-division level or with other grades may be applied to the degree. Undergraduate courses accepted for graduate-level credit are not applied toward core or required courses.

Not Accepted

Audited Courses. No UTSA credit is granted for courses that are audited; no official record is made of enrollment in classes on an audit basis.

Correspondence and Extension Courses. Courses completed by correspondence or extension may not be applied to a graduate degree program.

Courses Counted for Another Degree. No courses counted toward another degree may be applied to a graduate degree, either directly or by substitution. The only exception is that candidates holding a Master of Arts degree in Art from another institution seeking admission to the Master of Fine Arts degree program may have up to 24 semester credit hours applied toward the M.F.A. degree exclusive of the thesis and/or degree project, upon recommendation of the department Graduate Program Committee and approval of the Dean of the Graduate School.

Credit by Examination. Credit by examination at UTSA is intended to enable undergraduate students to receive credit for courses leading to a bachelor’s degree in which they may already have achieved the objectives. Credit cannot be earned by CEEB examination or by UT Challenge Examination for any courses used to meet minimum requirements for a graduate degree or graduate teacher certification program.

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