This is an archived copy of the 2012-13 Catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit http://catalog.wvu.edu.

Degree Requirements

Page Contents:

Graduate education at West Virginia University began in the late 1800s, with the awarding of the first master’s degree in 1899 and the first doctoral degrees in 1932. Over the years, graduate education has grown to become a significant enterprise at WVU, with the awarding of approximately 1,500 master’s degrees in 106 major fields and 190 doctorates in 43 major fields annually. These advanced degrees are awarded for specialized training in the full spectrum of academic programs across West Virginia University and reflect the mastery of knowledge, attainment of technical capabilities, and creation of new work needed for students to advance in their careers or practice in their chosen fields of study.

While enrolled in graduate study at WVU, graduate students have the opportunity to work in close collaboration with expert faculty and have access to state-of-the-art facilities needed to excel in the students’ desired field of study. At the same time, graduate students have opportunities for professional and personal growth provided by the greater community of scholars represented by the university. Thus, graduate study at WVU provides a foundation and catalyst for advanced training leading to careers in a broad range of disciplines.

Abbreviations Used in Course Listings

Abbreviation Description
Ia course given in the first (fall) semester
IIa course given in the second (spring) semester
I, IIa course given each semester
I and IIa course given throughout the year
Yra course continued through two semesters
Sa course given in the summer
HRcredit hours per course
Leclecture period
Recrecitation period
Lablaboratory period
GLABgraded lab
WEBWeb-based course
ConcMust register prior to or at the same time
PRprerequisite
Coreqcorequisite
Consentconsent of instructor required
CRcredit but no grade

Credit Hours

West Virginia University courses offered for credit are based on semester hours. Semesters are 15 weeks long plus one week for final exams. A single credit hour is equivalent to 50 minutes of guided instruction within the classroom. An hour of preparation, or related activity outside of the classroom, is equivalent to 60 minutes.

Face-to-Face Classroom Learning

One credit hour is equivalent to one hour of guided instruction (50 minute class) and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work each week for approximately 15 weeks for one semester or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time such as during the summer sessions, which may be variable. One credit hour in other academic activities, as established by the institution, including laboratory work, internships, practicums, studio work, study abroad, experiential learning opportunities, online learning and other academic work is defined at least by an equivalent amount of work as required in the preceding paragraph and outlined in more detail below.

Online Classroom Learning

One credit hour of online learning is equivalent to 15 hours of direct instruction via computer-assisted (modules), multi-media interaction, discussions, and/or engagement for exams/quizzes/assessments as documented in the course syllabus and approved to meet best practices in online learning, and 30 hours of student work (e.g. readings, supplemental home work) to complete the course requirements as set forth by the course instructor. Online courses developed from existing face-to-face instruction adhere to the defined learning outcomes and assessments of the original face-to-face format for the course. All WVU online programs are reviewed for nationally accepted standards for online learning.

Experiential Learning

In experiential learning, including opportunities representing laboratory/lecture courses, undergraduate research (with or without laboratory), professional development internships, and service learning, a total of three hours of classroom and preparation time per week over a period of fifteen weeks for one credit hour or the equivalent amount of work over a shorter period of time is required. Courses must incorporate adequate opportunities to document student progress and student completion of the stated learning objectives for each experience.

Study Abroad

One credit hour is equivalent to 15 hours of guided instruction and 30 hours of cultural, linguistic or other types of engagements as described by the syllabus and approved by the faculty, department Chair, Dean, and Associate Provost. Exceptions to this general rule would need to be justified and approved on an individual basis.

Studio/Ensemble Work

In studio courses representing the arts, design, and theatre, one credit hour is equivalent to 1.5 hours of guided instruction and three hours for studio class preparation each week for 15 weeks as defined by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). In accordance with the National Association of Schools of Music standards, one credit hour of ensemble work in the music field represents three hours of practice each week, on average, for a period of fifteen weeks plus the necessary individual instruction as defined by the major subject.

Variable Credit Offerings

Variable credit courses often represent student experiences that range in contact hours based on the focus and discipline of the experience. Practicums (teaching and research), field experience, undergraduate and graduate research and laboratory rotations and credit, and independent studies offer a range of contact. One credit hour is equivalent to 15 contact hours of guided instruction (e.g., student progress meetings, assessment) and 30 hours of student work to complete the requirements set forth by the advisor or course instructor (e.g., team meetings, review sessions, thesis/dissertation preparation)over a 15 week period. Instructors/Mentors and students should discuss the appropriate number of total credit hours for a given course based on the time needed to attain outcomes of the particular endeavor.


Degree Programs Offered by WVU

College of Business and Economics

Program Bachelor's Master's Doctoral/Professional
AccountingB.S.B.Ad.
Business AdministrationM.B.APh.D.
Business ManagementB.S.B.Ad.
EconomicsB.S.M.A.Ph.D.
FinanceB.S.B.AdM.S.
Industrial RelationsM.S.
Management Information SystemsB.S.B.Ad.
MarketingB.S.B.Ad.
Professional AccountancyM.P.A.

College of Creative Arts

Program Bachelor's Master's Doctoral/Professional
ArtM.A.
Art HistoryB.A.
Art and DesignB.F.AM.F.A
MusicB.A, B.M.M.M.D.M.A, Ph.D.
Multidisciplinary StudiesB.M.D.S.
TheatreB.A., B.F.AM.F.A.

Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources

Program Bachelor's Master's Doctoral/Professional
Aerospace EngineeringB.S.A.EM.S.A.E.
Biometric SystemsB.S.B.S.
Chemical EngineeringB.S.Ch.E.M.S.Ch.E.
Civil EngineeringB.S.C.E.M.S.C.E.
Computer EngineeringB.S.Cp.E.
Computer ScienceB.S.M.S.C.SPh.D.
Electrical EngineeringB.S.E.E.M.S.E.E.
EngineeringM.S.E.Ph.D.
Industrial EngineeringB.S.I.EM.S.I.E
Industrial HygieneM.S.
Mechanical EngineeringB.S.M.E.M.S.M.E.
Mining EngineeringB.S.Min.E.M.S.Min.E.
Petroleum & Natural Gas EngineeringB.S.PNGE.M.S.PNGE.
Safety ManagementM.S.
Software EngineeringM.S.S.E

College of Human Resources and Education

Program Bachelor's Master's Doctoral/Professional
AudiologyAu.D.
Child Development and Family StudiesB.S.
Communication Sciences and DisordersPh.D.
CounselingM.A.
Counseling PsychologyPh.D.
EducationEd.D., Ph.D.
Educational LeadershipM.A.
Educational PsychologyM.A.
Elementary EducationB.A.M.A.
Instructional Design and TechnologyM.A.Ed.D.
Multidisciplinary StudiesB.M.D.S.
ReadingM.A.
Rehabilitation CounselingM.S.
Secondary EducationM.A.
Special EducationM.A.
Speech Pathology and AudiologyB.S.
Speech PathologyM.S.

College of Law

Program Bachelor's Master's Doctoral/Professional
LawJ.D.

College of Physical Activity and Sports Science

Program Bachelor's Master's Doctoral/Professional
KinesiologyPh.D.
Physical EducationB.S.M.S.Ed.D.
Sport StudiesB.S.

Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Consumer Sciences

Program Bachelor's Master's Doctoral/Professional
Agricultural and Resource EconomicsM.S.
Agricultural and Extension EducationB.S. Agr.M.S.
Agricultural SciencesPh.D.
Agriculture, Forestry, and Consumer SciencesM.Agr.
Animal and Nutritional SciencesB.S., B.S. Agr.M.S.
Design and MerchandisingB.S.M.S.
Forest Resources ManagementB.S.F.
Forest Resource SciencePh.D.
ForestryM.S.F.
Genetics and Developmental BiologyM.S.Ph.D.
Landscape ArchitectureB.S.L.A.M.L.A.
Multidisciplinary StudiesB.M.D.S.
Plant and Soil SciencesB.S., B.S.Agr.M.S.
Recreation, Parks, and Tourism ResourcesB.S.R.M.S.
Reproductive PhysiologyM.S.Ph.D.
Resource ManagementB.S., B.S. Agr.
Resource Management and Sustainable DevelopmentPh.D.
Wildlife and Fisheries ResourcesB.S.M.S.
Wood Science and TechnologyB.S.

Eberly College of Arts and Sciences

Program Bachelor's Master's Doctoral/Professional
BiologyB.A., B.S.M.S.Ph.D.
ChemistryB.A., B.S.M.S.Ph.D.
Communication StudiesB.A.M.A.Ph.D.
Computer ScienceB.S.
Creative WritingM.F.A
EconomicsB.A.
EnglishB.A.M.A.Ph.D.
Forensic and Investigative ScienceB.S.M.S.
GeographyB.A.M.A.Ph.D.
GeologyB.A., B.S.M.S.Ph.D.
HistoryB.A.M.A.Ph.D.
Interdepartmental StudiesB.A., B.S.
Legal StudiesM.L.S.
Liberal StudiesM.A.L.S.
MathematicsB.A., B.S.M.S.Ph.D.
Multidisciplinary StudiesB.M.D.S., B.A.
PhilosophyB.A.
PhysicsB.A., B.S.M.S.Ph.D.
Political ScienceB.A.M.A.Ph.D.
Professional Writing and EditingM.A.
PsychologyB.A., B.S.M.A., M.S.Ph.D.
Public AdministrationM.P.A.
Regents Bachelor of ArtsR.B.A.
Social WorkB.S.W.M.S.W.
SociologyM.A.
Sociology and AnthropologyB.A.
StatisticsM.S.
World Languages, Literature, and LinguisticsB.A.M.A.

Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism

Program Bachelor's Master's Doctoral/Professional
Integrated Marketing CommunicationsM.S.
JournalismB.S.J.M.S.J.

School of Dentistry

Program Bachelor's Master's Doctoral/Professional
Dental HygieneB.S.M.S.
Dental SpecialtiesM.S.
DentistryD.D.S.

School of Medicine

Program Bachelor's Master's Doctoral/Professional
Biochemistry and Molecular BiologyPh.D.
Biomedical SciencesM.S.
Cancer Cell BiologyPh.D.
Cellular and Integrative PhysiologyPh.D.
Clinical and Transitional ScienceM.S.
Exercise PhysiologyB.S.M.S.Ph.D.
Immunology and Microbial PathogenesisPh.D.
Pathologist's Assistant (Master's in Health Sciences)M.H.S.
Medical Laboratory ScienceB.S.
MedicineM.D.
NeurosciencePh.D.
Occupational TherapyM.O.T.
Physical TherapyD.P.T.

School of Nursing

Program Bachelor's Master's Doctoral/Professional
NursingB.S.N.M.S.N.D.N.P., Ph.D.

School of Pharmacy

Program Bachelor's Master's Doctoral/Professional
Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological SciencesPh.D.
PharmacyPharm.D.

(Emerging) SCHOOL OF Public health

Program Bachelor's Master's Doctoral/Professional
Community Health PromotionM.S.
Public HealthM.P.H.
Public Health SciencesPh.D.

Organization of Graduate Education

West Virginia University is both the comprehensive and the land-grant university in the West Virginia system of higher education. The graduate programs are administered by the Office of Graduate Education and Life, the University Graduate Council, and the 14 schools and colleges of the University. West Virginia University has been designated “Research Activity High” in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

Office of Graduate Education and Life

The associate provost for Graduate Academic Affairs oversees the policies governing graduate education, monitors the quality of graduate programs, and sets goals for enhancing graduate education at West Virginia University. The associate provost reports to the provost and oversees program evaluation and policy and procedure issues related to graduate education. Additional information on graduate education governance may be obtained by going to http://graduateeducation.wvu.edu/ or calling (304) 293-7173.

Graduate Council

The University Graduate Council consists of 16 elected faculty representatives from the schools and colleges offering graduate programs and five ex-officio non-voting members representing the provost, the associate provost for Graduate Academic Affairs, the vice president for Health Sciences, and the Senate Executive Committee. The council derives its authority from the faculty and from the provost and vice president for Academic Affairs and Research. This body formulates, reviews, and recommends University-wide graduate education policies. The council reviews proposals for new graduate programs, evaluates major revisions in graduate curricula, coordinates periodic program reviews, establishes the University criteria for graduate faculty membership, and considers such other matters affecting graduate education as are brought to the council by an administrative officer of the University, a graduate faculty member, or a graduate student. The duties of the University Graduate Council include oversight of graduate programs both on and off campus.

Schools and Colleges

Schools, colleges, and their departments manage most of the day-to-day operation of graduate education. They determine the level of participation by individual faculty members, specify requirements for programs under their jurisdiction, and certify students for graduation. Graduate program coordinators in each unit are responsible for graduate assistantship appointments, tracking student progress, academic code issues, and maintaining graduate student academic and personnel files.

Health Sciences Center

The Admissions Office at the WVU Health Sciences Center is responsible for admission to the dentistry, medicine, nursing, and pharmacy schools. The WVU Health Sciences Center Catalog contains complete information about these programs. Answers to additional questions may be sought from: Admissions, 1170 Health Sciences Center North, P.O. Box 9815, Morgantown, WV 26506-9815; (304) 293-3521.

Format

The Office of Graduate Education and Life and the University Libraries have combined their efforts to create The West Virginia University Guide to the Preparation of Master’s Theses and Doctoral Dissertations (http://www.libraries.wvu.edu/theses/index.htm ). The guide describes the regulations under which master’s theses and doctoral dissertations are to be submitted to WVU. It gives the general requirements applicable to all fields of study and provides guidance on the arrangement and format of the student’s manuscript. Since practices vary greatly in different disciplines, students should learn the styles of their respective field and are advised to follow the recommendations of their advisor and committee members on all matters not covered in the guide. A master’s thesis and a doctoral dissertation checklist is provided in the guide to aid students in properly depositing material in the university libraries.

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Since West Virginia University is a charter member of the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations, it has been agreed that all dissertations written in partial fulfillment of the requirements for any doctorate degree conferred by the University as well as all theses written in partial fulfillment of the requirements of an master’s degree must be filed electronically with the WVU Library system according to its procedures for such filing. Candidates are to follow the WVU Guide to the Preparation of Master’s Theses and Doctoral Dissertations as well as general electronic thesis and dissertation (ETD) policy guidelines regarding format and organization of the thesis or dissertation. Complete program policy and collection access information is available online at http://www.libraries.wvu.edu/theses/index.htm . Exceptions to filing electronically must be approved by the Office of Graduate Education and Life. Copyright to electronic theses and dissertations is subject to the appropriate provisions of the WVU Copyright Policy (http://www.wvu.edu/~osp/policies.htm ).

WVU electronic theses and dissertations are made available online and through the University Libraries. Various Web access levels are available to accommodate students’ needs. Comprehensive technical assistance for the development and conversion of electronic documents is available from the Office of Information Technology Customer Support. All theses and dissertations will be microfilmed and their abstracts published through Pro-Quest of Ann Arbor, Michigan. This requirement will not be satisfied by any other publication, but does not preclude publication elsewhere, which is both permitted and encouraged.

ETD Submission

The following must be completed by the student no later than one week before the close of the period in which the degree is expected to be completed (one week before the end of the summer term, by the last day of the final examination period at the end of the first semester, or one week before commencement day at the end of the second semester).

  1. Submit the thesis or dissertation electronically using the appropriate checklist at http://www.libraries.wvu.edu/theses/submit-checklist.htm . One electronic copy in approved computer-generated form must be submitted online to the WVU ETD archive.
  2. Deliver a completed ETD submission packet with original signatures and required fee(s) in person or by mail to the Charles C. Wise Jr. Library (downtown campus), Acquisitions Department, P.O. Box 6069. Download, print, and complete the ETD submission packet, available online at the above-mentioned checklist. Print copies are available from the University Libraries or your college graduate coordinator. The completed packet includes:
  • Completed and signed ETD submission signature form.
  • Submission fees: dissertations $80.00; theses $70.00. Cash, check, or money order payable to West Virginia University Libraries.
  • Completed and signed ProQuest master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation agreement form.
  • Printed copy of title page.
  • Printed copy of abstract (dissertations: 350-word limit, theses: 150-word limit).
  • Copyright fee: $45.00 check or money order payable to West Virginia University Libraries (copyright is optional, but recommended).
  • Completed and signed Survey of Earned Doctorates (doctoral students only).
  • Problem reports may be submitted for a $15.00 fee (ProQuest submission is optional, fees apply as indicated above).
  • Fees may be subject to change.

ETD Contact Information

WVU Libraries, Acquisitions Department, P.O. Box 6069, 1549 University Avenue, Morgantown, WV 26506-6069, (304) 293-4040 x4025, or by e-mail at John.Hagen@mail.wvu.edu.

  ETD Approval

Upon submission, the University Libraries will review the ETD. Committee chairs are included in all e-mail communications with the student and have the opportunity to review the document online as well. If the ETD is acceptable and the ETD submission packet is complete, the University Libraries will approve the submission electronically, indicating that all obligations regarding submission of the dissertation to the University Libraries have been fulfilled. An official e-mail notification will be sent to the student, the committee chair, and to the appropriate office in the college, school, or department granting the degree. The ETD will be cataloged and distributed on the World Wide Web according to the distribution option the student and committee have chosen.

Request for Degree

At the time of registration for the enrollment period in which all degree requirements are expected to be met, or at the latest within two weeks after such registration, each candidate is to submit an Application for Graduation obtainable from the school or college dean’s office. Doctoral candidates must apply for graduation online via MIX. The candidate must complete all requirements at least one week before the end of that enrollment period. If the degree is not actually earned during that term, the student must submit a new Application for Graduation when registering for the term in which completion is again anticipated.

Colleges and schools are responsible for seeing that master’s and doctoral students meet the minimum requirements of the University as well as any additional college or school requirements. Deans’ offices are responsible for maintaining all student records necessary to certify students for graduation. Attendance at the spring commencement is voluntary. Anyone not planning to attend should leave a complete mailing address with the Office of the University Registrar so that the diploma can be mailed.

Summary of Master’s Degree Requirements

  1. Shortly after admission to the program (usually within the first nine to 12 semester hours of coursework), an advisory committee is formed, and the committee and the student produce a plan of study.
  2. The student completes requisite coursework and other program requirements.
  3. The student confers with the advisor and, if applicable, the chairperson of the thesis committee to see if all requirements can be met by the end of the semester in which he or she plans to graduate. This should be done no later than the beginning of the final semester.
  4. The student registers for at least one credit hour. No one may graduate who is not registered as a student during the term of graduation.
  5. The student checks with the University to insure that there is concordance between departmental and University records and that there are no remaining deficiencies.
  6. The student completes an Application for Graduation. This should be done no later than two weeks after registration.
  7. The student presents a printed draft of the thesis to each committee member (if applicable).
  8. The student should remind the committee chairperson to request clearance from the school or college dean’s office at least two weeks before the date of the final examination (or thesis defense).
  9. Results of the final examination (or thesis defense) must be reported to the dean’s office by the graduate advisor or the committee chairperson not later than one week before the end of the semester or summer session in which the degree is expected to be granted.
  10. If the requirements for the master’s degree include a thesis, the printed copies of the thesis must bear the original signatures of at least all but one of the committee members. If more than one member of the committee, whatever the size of the committee, dissents from approving the thesis, the degree cannot be recommended. If a substitute faculty member attends the final examination, the substitute signs the shuttle sheet; however, the original committee member signs printed copies of the thesis.
  11. One electronic copy of the thesis in approved computer-generated form must be submit- ted online to the WVU ETD archive and a completed ETD submission packet with original signatures and required fee(s) must be delivered to the Charles C. Wise Jr. Library no later than one week before the close of the period in which the degree is expected to be completed.

Summary of Doctoral Degree Requirements

  1. Shortly after admission to the program (usually within the first nine to 12 semester hours of coursework), an advisory committee is formed and the committee and the student produce a plan of study.
  2. The student completes requisite coursework and other program requirements, satisfying also the stipulated residency requirement.
  3. The student takes the language examination (if applicable).
  4. The student takes the written and/or oral comprehensive (qualifying) examination for admission to candidacy. The results are communicated to the appropriate office by the student’s graduate program advisor.
  5. The student undertakes a doctoral dissertation under the guidance of a dissertation committee. The dissertation phase begins with approval of a dissertation prospectus by the dissertation committee, the department chairperson, and the school or college dean.
  6. A copy of the preliminary draft of the dissertation is given to each committee member at least one month prior to the final oral examination.
  7. The dissertation advisor (committee chairperson) requests a clearance for the final examination from the school or college dean’s office no later than three weeks before the scheduled examination date.
  8. The time and place of the examination is announced.
  9. The student completes an Application for Graduation. This should be done no later than two weeks after registration.
  10. The student defends the dissertation in an oral defense.
  11. One electronic copy of the thesis in approved computer-generated form must be submit- ted online to the WVU ETD archive and a completed ETD submission packet with original signatures and required fee(s) must be delivered to the Charles C. Wise Jr. Library no later than one week before the close of the period in which the degree is expected to be completed.

 

Graduate Committee

General requirements for all graduate committees — The majority of the members of any graduate committee must be members of the graduate faculty, including the chair of the committee. No more than one person may be a nonmember of the graduate faculty. No family member may serve on the graduate committee of his or her relative. All graduate committees are subject to the approval of the chairperson or designee of the department/division and the dean or designee of the college/school. Once a graduate committee has been officially established, it will not be necessary to alter it if the graduate faculty status of member(s) of the committee is downgraded.

Master’s committees consist of no fewer than three members. It is recommended that at least one member of the committee be from outside the student’s department. Master’s committees of students choosing a thesis option must be chaired by a regular graduate faculty member and the majority of the committee must have regular graduate faculty status. Master’s committees of programs not requiring a thesis generally consist of no fewer than three members, one of whom must be a regular graduate faculty member. No more than one person may be a non-member, and the non-member cannot chair or advise.

Plan of Study

Shortly after entrance into a degree program and usually before nine to 12 hours of graduate coursework have been completed, the student, the advisor, and the committee (if appointed) draw up a plan of study (or prospectus). Depending on the degree sought and the field of study, the plan may also contain an outline of the research problem to be undertaken. In some graduate programs, the student and committee meet at a later date to delineate the research project more formally. The plan of study is subject to approval and becomes a formal agreement between student and program faculty regarding the conditions to be met to complete the degree. Any subsequent changes in the plan of study or prospectus can be made only through mutual agreement because of the binding nature of these documents. Should a disagreement arise at any time, the responsibility for arbitration rests with the dean of the school or college.

Master’s Degree Coursework Requirements

Students in a master’s program must complete a minimum of 24 hours of coursework other than thesis credit. A minimum of 30 total hours is also considered standard.

Master’s Degree Time Limit

Graduate work planned with the student’s advisory committee (e.g., plan of study) must be satisfactorily completed within a period of eight years immediately preceding the conferring of the degree. A course taken more than eight years previously must be revalidated if it is to be used towards meeting degree requirements. Revalidation can be accomplished by submitting the following information for approval to the Office of Graduate Education and Life:

  • A letter from the course instructor listing the criteria used to revalidate the course material;
  • A copy of the student’s performance on the student’s revalidation examination; and
  • A letter from the college/school graduate coordinator and/or dean supporting the revalidation.

Thesis Research

Many master’s degrees require the completion of a research project under the direction of the faculty of the University on some topic in the field of the major subject. The thesis must present the results of the master’s degrees candidate’s investigation.

Thesis Defense

In cases where a thesis is a component of the master’s student’s plan of study, the student must present the thesis to the committee for evaluation. After the committee has tentatively approved the student’s written thesis, the final presentation and defense of the thesis can be scheduled. This presentation is not given until the term in which all other requirements for the degree are to be met. The student’s committee chairperson must indicate in advance the time, place, and committee members and receive clearance from the office of the school or college dean before the thesis is presented. Such notifications of thesis presentations must be received at least three weeks before the defense date.

The student cannot be considered as having satisfactorily passed their master’s program if there is more than one unfavorable vote among members of the thesis committee. Results of each defense must be reported to the school or college dean within 24 hours. Re-examination may not be scheduled without approval of the request by the school or college dean. All committee members are to be present for the thesis defense. One committee member (but not the chair) may attend by audio or videoconference, but should be available electronically during the entire time of the defense. If an examination cannot be scheduled at a time convenient to all committee members, the dean or designee may permit another faculty member to substitute for the original committee member, provided that the original committee member was not the chair. There can be no substitute for the chair. Only one substitute is allowed, and the request for a substitute must be made in writing prior to the examination. The request for a substitute should be signed by the committee chair, the student, and both the original faculty member and the substitute faculty member. A substitute faculty member must have the same or higher graduate faculty status as the original faculty member and represent the same academic discipline or specialization.

Thesis Submission

The requirements for a master’s degree include acceptance of the thesis defense and submission of the electronic thesis (as noted below). If there is a substitute faculty member scheduled for the defense, the substitute signs the shuttle sheet; however, the original committee member is to sign printed copies of the thesis if generated. The electronic thesis must be presented to the University not later than the last day of classes of the semester or summer session in which the degree is expected to be granted.

Additional Master’s Degrees

University policy permits students to obtain more than one master’s degree. In these cases, a separate application is required for each program. Each application must be accompanied by payment of a nonrefundable application fee.

A student desiring to obtain more than one master’s degree must successfully complete sufficient additional credit hours to constitute 75 percent of the credit hours required by each additional master’s degree program as well as any specific program requirements. Individual graduate units may require higher percentages to be earned under their direction.

Concurrent Master’s Degree Programs

West Virginia University offers several concurrent or dual master’s degree programs. Concurrent degree programs are programs in which courses between collaborating units are accepted for credit by each unit. Total coursework credit requirements for the concurrent degrees must be at least 75 percent of the summation of the separate degree programs. Students in such programs must also successfully complete any specific program requirements. Individual graduate units may require higher percentages of credit to be earned under their direction. Students should inquire of the individual units regarding admission and academic requirements and regulations for these concurrent degree programs.

Combined Undergraduate and Master’s Degree Programs —
Accelerated Master’s Degree Programs (4+1, 3+2 Programs)

The purpose of the Accelerated Master’s Degree (AMD) program is to allow academically talented students the opportunity to obtain both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from West Virginia University. In many cases, this option might be selected early in a student’s academic career as an opportunity to gain an advanced degree through a guiding curriculum designed to accelerate degree completion. Students may apply to departments/academic programs offering AMD programs for admission after having completed a minimum of two semesters as a full-time student at WVU, with a minimum of 24 credit hours, provided they have a minimum 3.0 GPA. Individual units may establish more stringent requirements.

Accelerated Master’s Degree students are permitted to take graduate courses leading to the master’s degree when prerequisites for such courses have been fulfilled. Up to 12 credit hours of graduate coursework may be applied towards the requirements for the bachelor’s degree. The bachelor’s degree is awarded at the end of the normal senior year (determined by program specific credit hours). During the remaining period of study, accelerated degree students complete the remaining courses and any other degree requirements needed to complete the master’s degree and must maintain satisfactory academic standing at the graduate level determined by the individual academic units.

 

 

The program of doctoral study is planned with the student’s graduate advisor and committee to combine any or all of the following: graduate courses of instruction, special seminars, independent study, supervised research, and supervised training designed to promote a broad and systematic knowledge of the major field and to prepare the student for the comprehensive qualifying and final examinations and writing of the dissertation.

Graduate Committee

General requirements for all graduate committees — The majority of the members of any graduate committee must be members of the graduate faculty, including the chair of the committee. No more than one person may be a nonmember of the graduate faculty. No family member may serve on the graduate committee of his or her relative. All graduate committees are subject to the approval of the chairperson or designee of the department/division and the dean or designee of the college/school. Once a graduate committee has been officially established, it will not be necessary to alter it if the graduate faculty status of member(s) of the committee is downgraded.

Doctoral dissertation committees consist of no fewer than five members, the majority of whom must be regular graduate faculty, including the chairperson. At least one member of the committee must be from a department other than the one in which the student is seeking a degree.

Plan of Study

Shortly after entrance into a degree program and usually before nine to 12 hours of graduate coursework have been completed, the student, the advisor, and the committee (if appointed) draw up a plan of study (or prospectus). Depending on the degree sought and the field of study, the plan may also contain an outline of the research problem to be undertaken. In some graduate programs, the student and committee meet at a later date to delineate the research project more formally. The plan of study is subject to approval and becomes a formal agreement between student and program faculty regarding the conditions to be met to complete the degree. Any subsequent changes in the plan of study or prospectus can be made only through mutual agreement because of the binding nature of these documents. The responsibility for arbitration rests with the dean of the school or college should a disagreement arise at any time.

Doctoral Degree Coursework Requirements

The doctorate is a research or performance degree and does not depend on the accumulation of credit hours. The three requirements of the degree are admission to candidacy, residency, and completion and defense of a dissertation. The degree signifies that the holder has the competence to function independently at the highest level of endeavor in the chosen profession. Hence, the number of years involved in attaining or retaining competency cannot be readily specified. Rather, it is important that the doctoral student’s competency be assessed and verified in a reasonable period of time prior to conferral of the degree, generally five years from the admission to candidacy.

Graduate education, especially at the doctoral level, involves many learning experiences that take place outside the formal classroom setting. These involve observing and participating in activities conducted by the graduate faculty, using departmental and University libraries, attending lectures presented by visiting scholars, informally debating other students, and similar activities. To insure that graduate students experience these kinds of informal learning, doctoral programs at WVU generally require one year in residence in full-time graduate study. However, because of the contractual nature of graduate study, an individual student or graduate committee may propose an alternative plan by which the student can gain equivalent educational experience. For example, the plan of study may require the student to spend time in residence at a national or foreign laboratory, institute, archive, or research center as partial fulfillment of the residency requirement.

Regulations described in the preceding sections governing admission, registration, scholarship, etc., must be followed. In addition, the student must satisfy requirements specified by the faculty responsible for the major field. Students applying for admission to a doctoral program, after having received a master’s degree at WVU, must file a new application for graduate work with the Office of Admissions.

Competence in one or more foreign languages may be a requirement in some graduate degree programs. The faculty in the program specifies the language or languages and the level of competence to be demonstrated. Language examinations are arranged by the Department of Foreign Languages. Students should contact the graduate program coordinator or chair in that department for more information.

When only reading competence is required, the foreign language examiner may waive the examination in those cases where the student’s transcript shows, at a date that falls no earlier than seven years before promotion to doctoral candidacy, either completion of 12 semester hours or equivalent coursework in an approved foreign language with a grade of B or better in the last three hours or completion of one course at the 300-level with a grade of B or better at WVU.

Promotion to Candidacy

Admission to graduate study and enrollment in graduate courses do not in themselves imply acceptance of the student as a candidate for a doctoral degree. This is accomplished only by satisfactorily passing a comprehensive or qualifying examination (either oral, written, or both) and by meeting specified language and/or other requirements.

A student will be given a comprehensive examination to demonstrate knowledge of the important issues in the field of study, their relation to other fields, and the ability to employ the instruments of research. The examination is intended to determine whether the student has the academic competence to undertake independent research in the discipline and to insure that the student possesses a thorough grasp of the fields outlined in the plan of study. The exam is generally taken as soon as a student has completed the major portion of the course requirement. Successful passage of this examination is the University-wide minimal determination of acceptance to candidacy: it is at this point that the five-year to completion rule begins. Individual degree programs may require additional requirements such as the acceptance of a prospectus, a grant exercise, or other form of student evaluation.

It must be the consensus of the doctoral committee that the student has passed the examination, although the committee may permit one dissenting vote. A single portion of the examination may be repeated at the discretion of the committee, but, if two or more members are dissatisfied, the entire qualifying examination must be repeated. The student must petition through the doctoral committee in order to be permitted to repeat a qualifying examination. Academic tradition does not allow a qualifying examination to be administered more than three times; many units limit administration to two times.

Doctoral Degree Time Limit

Because the qualifying examination attests to the academic competence of the student who will become an independent researcher or practitioner, the examination cannot precede the conferring of the degree by an extended period. Consequently, doctoral candidates are allowed no more than five years in which to complete remaining degree requirements. In the event a student fails to complete the doctorate within five years after admission to candidacy, an extension that may be obtained only by repeating the qualifying examination and meeting any other requirements specified by the student’s committee, including the setting of deadlines by which all degree requirements must be completed. A request for an extension of time in order to complete degree requirements should include the following:

  • A statement documenting the circumstances that justify the request;
  • A statement of the impact the proposed extension would have on the validity of the student’s coursework and program; and
  • Evidence of endorsement of the request from the student’s advisory committee and the office of the dean. Extension requests are made to the Associate Provost for Graduate Academic Affairs, 249 Mountainlair, P.O. Box 6897.

Dissertation Research

The candidate must submit a dissertation pursued under the direction of the faculty of the University on some topic in the field of the major subject. The dissertation must present the results of the candidate’s individual investigation and must embody a definite contribution to knowledge. While conducting research or writing a dissertation, the student must register at the beginning of each term or summer during which credit is being earned. No residence credit will be allowed for special field assignments or other work taken off the University campus without prior approval by the associate provost for Graduate Academic Affairs.

Final Examination/Dissertation Defense

The final examination/dissertation defense is not given until the term in which all other requirements for the degree are to be met. After the candidate’s dissertation has been tentatively approved, the final oral defense of the dissertation may be scheduled. At the option of the faculty responsible for the degree program, a comprehensive final written examination also may be required. The student’s committee chairperson must indicate in advance the time, place, and recommended examining committee members, and receive clearance from the office of the school or college dean before the examination can be given. Such notifications of doctoral examinations/defenses must be received at least three weeks before the examination date. All doctoral final examinations and dissertation defenses are to the public and the university community.

The student cannot be considered as having satisfactorily passed the final examination/dissertation defense if there is more than one unfavorable vote among members of the examining committee. Results of each examination/defense must be reported to the school or college dean within 24 hours. Re-examination may not be scheduled without approval of the request by the school or college dean. All committee members are to be present for the final examination/dissertation defense. One committee member (but not the chair) may attend by audio or videoconference, but should be available electronically during the entire time of the defense. If an examination cannot be scheduled at a time convenient to all committee members, the dean or designee may permit another faculty member to substitute for the original committee member, provided that the original committee member was not the chair. There can be no substitute for the chair. Only one substitute is allowed, and the request for a substitute must be made in writing prior to the examination/defense. The request for a substitute should be signed by the committee chair, the student, and both the original faculty member and the substitute faculty member. A substitute faculty member must have the same or higher graduate faculty status as the original faculty member and represent the same academic discipline or specialization.

Dissertation Submission

The requirements for a doctorate include acceptance of the dissertation and submission of the electronic dissertation. If there is a substitute faculty member scheduled for the final examination, the final examination, the substitute signs the shuttle sheet; however, the original committee member is to sign printed copies of the dissertation. The dissertation must be presented to the University not later than the last day of classes of the semester or summer session in which the degree is expected to be granted.

The candidate is required to maintain close contact with the supervisor or chairperson of the graduate committee on these matters in developing a dissertation so as to incorporate the special requirements of the subject discipline.