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Requirements for the Master's Degree

In addition to the requirements described below, individual programs may have their own specific requirements. Students must read and familiarize themselves with their program's requirements. Some of them are detailed in this catalog under individual program listings and other requirements are available from the director or chair of each program.


Master's degrees require a minimum of thirty credits; some programs require more. A minimum of fifteen graded credits used in compilation of the graduate GPA must be taken in residence at UVM following matriculation into the master's program. Consult individual program descriptions for specific credit requirements. In programs that require a thesis, the number of credits earned in thesis research may vary by program between six (minimum) and fifteen (maximum). Thesis credit is included as part of the 30-hour minimum. With the prior approval of their program and the Graduate College, students may apply one 100-level, or 200-level (and not listed in the Graduate Catalog as approved for graduate credit) course toward their graduate program. The student's advisor must petition the Graduate College for approval before the student enrolls in the course. Consult individual programs for further limitations. Under no circumstances will a course numbered below 100 be applicable to a master's program.

Minimum Residence Requirements

Candidates for the master's degree must satisfactorily complete twenty-one credits in residence. The residency requirement is completed by courses that

  1. are taken for graduate credit through the University of Vermont, and
  2. are taken after the student has been admitted to the Graduate College.

Some programs may require more than the above minimum hours in residence. Consult with the individual program.

Comprehensive Examination

All master's degree students are required to pass a written and/or oral comprehensive examination in their field of specialization. If both formats are used, satisfactory completion of the written examination is prerequisite to standing for the oral examination. All comprehensive examinations are taken on the University of Vermont campus in Burlington. One re-examination only is permitted for any failed comprehensive examination. The comprehensive examination is not the same as the oral thesis defense, and must be passed satisfactorily before defending the thesis. Consult individual program descriptions for specific information.

There is no fee for the Master's Comprehensive Examination. The student's program director or advisor must notify the Graduate College of the outcome of the examination. The result and date of the examination is recorded as a notation on the academic transcript.

Research and Thesis

If a thesis is required, the candidate for the master's degree undertakes a problem of original research under the supervision of a faculty member in the department of specialization. At the conclusion of the research, the student must present and defend successfully a thesis which embodies the results of the work and demonstrates the capability for independent research.

Thesis Defense Forms

Defense Committee Membership and Defense Notice forms must be submitted to the Graduate College by the designated deadlines. A Public Notice of the defense is required in order to defend. The Intent to Graduate form must be submitted to the candidate's department before the List of Potential Graduates is due.

Thesis Format

Students are required by the Graduate College to use a computer software program appropriate to the discipline to create the Table of Contents and the Lists of Tables and Figures from the thesis text headings.

The thesis must be prepared and submitted in compliance with the "Guidelines for Writing a Thesis or Dissertation" available from the Graduate College office. A formatted copy of the thesis must be submitted to the Graduate College for a Format/Record Check at least three weeks prior to the scheduled defense. Students must also provide defendable copies of the thesis to members of their thesis defense examination committee at least two weeks before the scheduled examination. Individual departments may require earlier deadlines.

Students must notify the Graduate College of the thesis defense prior to defending their thesis.

The oral defense of a thesis may be scheduled only after successful completion of the comprehensive examination and the submission of an original copy of the thesis to the Graduate College for a Format/Record Check.

Thesis Defense Examination Committee

The thesis defense examination committee consists of at least three University of Vermont faculty members, at least two of whom must be regular members of the graduate faculty. Ordinarily, two committee members will be from the candidate's program, including the thesis advisor. The third member, who acts as chair of the committee, must be a member of the graduate faculty, must be from a different program and department (including any secondary or adjunct appointments) than the candidate, and must be approved by the Graduate College dean upon nomination by the thesis advisor. For University-wide interdisciplinary programs, the chair must be outside the department of the candidate's advisor.  The thesis defense examination committee and the graduate studies committee do not have to be the same.

The chair of the thesis defense examination committee has the responsibility for ensuring proper conduct of the examination, appropriate documentation of the results, and that the signatures of endorsement are added to the acceptance page of the thesis following a successful defense.

The acceptability of the thesis is determined by the thesis defense examination committee. A grade of "S" or "U" is awarded. If a student's defense examination performance is not satisfactory, then only one re-examination is permitted.

After a successful thesis defense, candidates must electronically upload the corrected thesis to  for approval by the Graduate College within the time period specified by the thesis defense examination committee, and/or the Graduate College.

Additional Requirements for the Master of Arts in Teaching

The M.A.T. degree in Curriculum and Instruction is designed for students seeking initial licensure for middle school or high school teaching. For those seeking licensure in secondary education, the program requires at least thirty credits of education course work and at least thirty credits in the field of specialization for each subject that you are seeking licensure. For those seeking licensure in middle level education, the program requires at least thirty credits in education coursework and at least eighteen credits in two content fields or concentrations for middle level endorsement.  The middle level or secondary program coordinator must approve the individual program of study for each M.A.T. student.

Additional Requirement for the Master of Science for Teachers

Applicants for the Master of Science for Teachers must be licensed teachers. Students in a Master of Science for Teachers program may apply more than one three-credit, 100-level course toward their degree. Consult specific department listings for additional requirements and policies related to this degree program.