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South Dakota State University    
 
    
 
  Sep 20, 2017
 
2006-2008 Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Master's Degree Requirements


Click on a link to be taken to the entry below.


Admission Requirements

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Applicants for the Master of Arts, Master of Education, and Master of Science degrees must have an approved Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution except in approved accredited accelerated programs.

Advisory Committee

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As a minimum, the Advisory Committee will be composed of at least four faculty members:

  1. Major Advisor- acts as chairperson of the committee, must have Graduate Faculty status.
  2. Major Department Representative- an additional member of the major department.
  3. Minor/Supporting Area, if applicable to the program - must have Graduate Faculty status. If the program does not require a minor/supporting area, an additional member of the Graduate Faculty representing the major area or a related area is required.
  4. Graduate Faculty Representative - The Graduate Dean will select this member from a department not closely related to the major/minor/supporting areas. This member ensures that rules and regulations are followed and acts as the student’s advocate, if necessary.
  5. Thesis Advisor- if different from major advisor.

The major advisor should be chosen or assigned by the head of the major department. Following selection by the student and recommendation of the major advisor, the Advisory Committee should be appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School as soon as practical after starting work on the graduate program and prior to submission of a thesis or arranging for an examination. To pre-assign a Graduate Faculty representative, a memo or email needs to be sent to the Graduate School from the student’s major advisor listing all other Committee Members. After a Representative is assigned, those involved will be contacted.

The Advisory Committee is responsible for assisting the student in developing a suitable graduate program, providing continuing guidance and counsel, and certifying the completion of the degree requirements to the Dean of the Graduate School. The Advisory Committee approves the Plan of Study and any revisions of it, approves the thesis proposal (if applicable), conducts the examinations appropriate to each option, supervises the validation of courses, and ensures that professional standards have been met in completing the degree requirements.

Plan of Study Information

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Guidelines - During the first semester of graduate work and no later than the end of the first year, the Plan of Study should be prepared on the appropriate form and approved by the major advisor. The Plan of Study will then be submitted to the Dean of the Graduate School for approval. Courses for the major must be taken in the major department or in related fields. At least 50% of the credits on a Plan of Study must be in courses open only to graduate students (600-series or above). Failure to submit a Plan of Study may result in disapproval of courses taken prior to approval. After approval, changes in the Plan of Study must be requested on a form furnished by the Graduate School and approved by the major advisor and the Dean of the Graduate School. While devising a plan of study, refer to the “Academic Information” section in this catalog, beginning on page 9, in addition to the following information.

Options:

A
B
C

Thesis
Research Paper/Design Paper
Coursework

Minor/Supporting Area Requirement - Most Masters’ programs do not require a minor or supporting area of coursework. If required, it is indicated in the listing of degrees and in the department/program section of this catalog. Whether required or not, consideration should be given to both depth and breadth of courses on the Plan of Study.

Language Requirement - There is no general language requirement for the Master’s degree. However, individual departments may require a speaking or reading knowledge of a modern foreign language.

Examinations

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Comprehensive - In those majors and specializations requiring a comprehensive written examination, the examination will be given by the Advisory Committee at least two weeks prior to the final oral examination, filed in the major department for review, and be present at the final oral examination. A comprehensive written examination is required of all students on non-thesis, Option C, programs. This comprehensive written examination may take different formats such as a portfolio.

Final - An oral examination will be administered by the Advisory Committee covering the student’s Plan of Study. This examination should be comprehensive, testing the student’s ability to analyze, integrate, and apply knowledge from the discipline. This examination should occur at least ten working days before Commencement.

Research Paper/Design Paper

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Students following Option B must complete at least two credits for a Research Problem (or Design Paper in Engineering) in the major field and present a written report. The content, style, and format of the report must meet the requirements of the major department. The Research Report/Design Paper must be approved by the Advisory Committee and filed in the major department. A copy of the written report should be provided to each committee member, including the Graduate Faculty Representative, and be available at the final oral examination.

Grading - See grading policies for Research Paper and Design Paper.

Thesis

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A thesis must meet the requirements of the major department and the Graduate School and must be submitted by each student completing a Master’s degree in Option A. The thesis must represent a scholarly contribution to research knowledge in the major field.

Credits - A research area for the thesis topic should be chosen after consultation with the major advisor as early in the student’s program as possible. The thesis accounts for 5 to 10 semester hours in the major.

Guidelines - The thesis may be prepared with a view to publication and conform to the style of one of the journals in the major field as required by the major department. It must be prepared in the format required by the Graduate School as shown in “Instructions for Thesis” available from the Graduate School. The thesis should be a single document rather than a compilation of individual manuscripts.

Grading - See grading policies for Thesis.

Review - A copy of the thesis must be filed with the Graduate School for review at least ten working days before the oral examination. Failure to do so may cause a delay in completing the degree. It is the responsibility of the student to schedule the oral examination and distribute a copy to each member of the graduate committee including the graduate representative ten working days in advance of the oral examination.

Binding- Two copies, one on at least 50 percent rag content paper (cotton bond), corrected in accordance with suggestions by the Advisory Committee and the Graduate School, must be returned to the Graduate School with a receipt from the Library showing the fee paid for the binding of four copies at least five working days prior to Commencement.

Electronic Thesis Submission - All masters candidates are required to submit their thesis in the appropriate format for electronic publication. Students should contact the Graduate School for appropriate guidelines.

Multiple Master’s Degrees or Majors

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Graduate students may pursue a second or additional master’s degree in areas other than their first master’s degree, providing the degree designation is different. If approved by the Advisory Committee and the Dean of the Graduate School, up to ten credits may be transferred to a second degree program.

Time Limitation

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Obsolete Program - If the requirements for the Master’s degree are not completed within six years from the time of admission to work toward the degree, a reconsideration of the student’s program will be required and the rules of the Graduate School in effect at the beginning of the seventh year will apply.

Obsolete Coursework - Courses completed more than six years prior to completion of the requirements of the Master’s degree and not part of a previous degree are regarded as obsolete coursework. Such courses may be used in the Master’s degree program if validated. Validation is allowed at the discretion of the department with approval of the Graduate School. Validation of obsolete coursework cannot exceed fifty percent of the total coursework listed on the Plan of Study and must be certified by the department on a form prescribed by the Graduate School.

Master’s Degrees and Options

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Major

Degree

Options

Animal Science 1 M.S. A    
Biological Sciences M.S. A B (Biology emphasis only)
Chemistry M.S. A    
Communication Studies and Journalism M.S. A    
Counseling and Human Resource Development M.S. A B C
Curriculum and Instruction M.Ed.   B C
Economics M.S. A B  
J.D./M.S.   A B  
Educational Administration M.Ed.   B C
Engineering 2 M.S. A B C
( Option C not available for Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering,
Electrical Engineering, and Computer Science)
English M.A. A   C
Family and Consumer Sciences 3 M.S. A B C
Geography M.S. A B  
Health, Physical Education and Recreation M.S. A B  
Industrial Management M.S. A B C
Mathematics M.S. A B C
Nursing M.S. A B C
Pharmaceutical Sciences 4 M.S. A    
Plant Science M.S. A B  
Rural Sociology M.S. A B C
Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences M.S. A    

1 Department requires a minor/supporting area.

2 M.S. in Engineering is available with coursework in:

-Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering
-Civil Engineering
-Computer Science
-Electrical Engineering
-Mechanical Engineering
-Physics

3 M.S. in Family and Consumer Sciences is available with study in:

-Family Financial Planning
-Human Development, Consumer and Family Sciences
-Nutrition and Food Scienc
e

4 As of July 1, 1996, the M.S. in Pharmaceutical Sciences has been put on hold. No applications will be processed.

The major fields shown (with the exception of Nursing) may be selected as minor fields, in addition to:

-Agricultural Systems -Technology
-Botany
-Geographic -Information Systems
-Gerontology
-History
-Music
-Planning
-Political Science
-Zoology

Master’s Degree Checklist

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Requirements
 
When Due
1. Application for Admission to Graduate School   One month before initial registration
2. Designation of Major Advisor   Prior to registration for first semester, or as soon as practical after beginning program
3. Designation of Advisory Committee   During first semester or as soon as practical after beginning program
4. Approval of Plan of Study by Major Advisor submitted to Graduate School   During first semester
5. Comprehensive Written Examination   During the last semester of course work, at least two weeks before final oral examination
6. Filing of Graduation Application   By Graduate School deadline in the semester, student anticipates completing all work and taking oral examination
7. Thesis/Research-Design Paper submitted to Advisory Committee   During last semester of course work, at least two weeks before final oral examination
8. Thesis submitted to Graduate School   During last semester of course work, at least two weeks before final oral examination
9. Request for Scheduling Oral Examination   At least ten working days before final oral examination
10. Final Oral Examination   At least ten working days before commencement date
11. Corrected copies of Thesis submitted to Graduate School, both paper copy and electronic copy, and Library OR Research Paper filed in major department   At least ten working days before commencement date

Minimum Credit Hour Requirements for Master’s Degrees, Per Option

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Options
 
A
B
C
Minimum Total
30
32
35
Minimum major
19
19
19
including thesis or research problem
(if minor or supporting area required)*
 
 
 
Thesis
5-10
0
0
Research Problem
0
2-3
0

Minimum minor or supporting courses
(from two or more disciplines, if
minor or supporting area required)**

8
8
8

* Consult major department for requirements.

** Courses in the major department may be used as supporting courses, providing they are considered sufficiently diverse by the major department.

NOTE: Some degree programs require additional credits; see program listings.