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 catalogue under individual program listings and other requirements are available from the director or chair of each program.


Master's degrees require a minimum of 30 credits, at least 6 credits of which must be comprised of 6000-level coursework; some programs require more. A minimum grade point average of 3.00 must be achieved. 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 6 (minimum) and 15 (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 3000- or 4000-level 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 3000 be applicable to a master's program.

Minimum Residence Requirements

Candidates for the master's degree must satisfactorily complete 21 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. 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/program and the Graduate College by the published deadline for the graduation cycle.

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 website. A formatted copy of the thesis must be submitted to the Graduate College for a Format/Record Check at least 3 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 2 weeks before the scheduled examination. Individual departments may require earlier deadlines.

Students must notify the Graduate College of the thesis defense at least 3 weeks 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 3 University of Vermont faculty members, at least 2 of whom must be regular members of the graduate faculty. If a student has co-advisors, they count  as 1 committee member. Ordinarily, 2 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 advisor, and must be approved by the Graduate College. For University-wide interdisciplinary programs, and/or programs that incorporate faculty from multiple departments, 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 Defense Examination Record following a successful defense.

The acceptability of the thesis is determined by the thesis defense examination committee. The result and date of the examination is recorded as a notation on the academic transcript. 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. Students enrolled in the M.A.T. in Secondary Education are required to complete a 31-credit program in education course work and an internship that will prepare them to teach in grades 7-12. In addition, some students may be required to complete additional content related course work to fulfill content requirements for State of Vermont licensure. Students enrolled in the M.A.T. in Middle Level Teacher Education are required to complete a 30-credit program in education course work with an additional subject methods course to prepare them to teach math, English/Language Arts, Social Studies or Science in grades 5-9. Students seeking more than one content area endorsement will be required to complete additional methods courses.

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 3-credit, undergraduate level course toward their degree. Consult specific department listings for additional requirements and policies related to this degree program.