The Master's of Science degree (Plan A) is a research-oriented degree designed to prepare the candidate for further graduate study in a specialized area within the discipline. It requires a strong relationship with a major professor who will serve as an advisor and supervisor of the master’s thesis. The thesis will consist of a major research project under the supervision of the major professor who will act as chair of a three-person faculty committee responsible to provide formal supervision and approval for the thesis.
The degree requires 36 credits of coursework including 15 credits of core courses, 3 credits of thesis, and 18 credits of supporting coursework. This may coincide with the pursuit of a USBE Endorsement.How to Apply
The following restrictions should be understood by all students who are taking master’s level courses who have not been admitted to a master’s degree program. Admitted students are also required to be aware of these credit restrictions.
- Students may transfer up to 12 credit hours of 5000 or 6000-level graduate coursework from another institution into a USU Master's program. Such courses can include courses required for specialization.
- USU will accept transfer courses at either the 5000 or 6000-levels provided they appear on a graduate transcript, and meet one of the following criteria:
- Approved endorsement courses that meet USBE Endorsement requirements and carry equivalent content and similar title, or
- Other classes that, following faculty review of the class syllabus, align to required research courses or graduate level electives.
- Workshop courses from other universities at the 5000 level (or lower) may not be transferred to USU/TEAL graduate programs.
- P/F grades will be accepted only for seminars, special problems, interdisciplinary workshops, thesis research & continuing graduate advisement.
- Coursework taken more than 8 years prior to the semester of graduation cannot be applied toward the master's degree.
- Any approved transfer courses can be used for no more than 50% of the required courses for a USU specialization
The School of Graduate Studies requires certain academic forms to be completed as a student progrsses through a Master's Plan A degree (see the Timeline for Master's Plan A Forms). Prior to submitting forms, students should check in with Heather Ericson (firstname.lastname@example.org) and their master's degree advisor to ensure that these forms are completed correctly and in a timely manner.
Degree Completion and Commencement
Notify Heather Ericson (email@example.com) at the beginning of the semester you plan to complete your degree. She will complete and submit a Completion of Requirements form to the School of Graduate Studies, which is required at the beginning of the semester that you plan to complete.
Each MS student is required to pass an oral defense of the thesis at the end of his/her program. If a student fails the oral defense, he/she may retake the exam once.
Students should have a 3.0 GPA for the last 30 credits of coursework taken prior to the application for admission, and provide three letters of recommendation from people able to comment on his/her ability to perform successfully in a rigorous graduate program. A statement of purpose outlining the candidates background and desire to pursue advanced study is also required.
The candidate should make contact in advance of the application, with potential faculty mentors to clarify research goals and identify possible members of the supervisory committee.
Graduation deadlines published by the Utah State University School of Graduate Studies are strictly enforced. Students should be certain to obtain a copy of these deadlines from the Graduate School for the year in which they intend to complete their degree, and plan their programs, projects, and oral examination accordingly.
Master's Program Director
Graduate Program Coordinator