Jul 15, 2024  
2021-2022 Course Catalog 
2021-2022 Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Graduate Degree Requirements

Comprehensive evaluation

All master’s degree students must satisfactorily pass a comprehensive evaluation after having completed the planned program. The purpose of the graduate comprehensive evaluation is to review the candidate’s ability to integrate the content and application of the field of study as a culminating experience. It is not designed to assess the totality of a student’s knowledge. The comprehensive examinations require the student to demonstrate an ability to synthesize and apply the content of the area of study. Each department will determine the method of evaluation.

Here are possible methods of evaluation:

1. Comprehensive Examination-written only, oral only, or both written and oral

2. One Comprehensive Examination question and a Research Project/Thesis

3. Research Project/Thesis only

4. An Integrating Seminar of an additional three credits with a project and/or major paper or integrating essay

5. Paper and presentation of final research project

6. EdTpa within student teaching requirements when earning a Master’s in Teaching degree

Please contact the appropriate program director for information regarding content and format. It is the responsibility of all graduate degree candidates to file an application for the comprehensive examination at the appropriate time in their program. Applications are available on the Student, and School of Education tabs of MyUSJ.

Comprehensive exams are administered twice a year for on-campus programs. Application deadlines vary by department and students will be notified via USJ email and postings on MyUSJ as to the deadlines. Information regarding late applications and fees is listed on the comprehensive exam application.

On-line students will work with the Graduate Academic Services office and their department to have their comprehensive examination remotely proctored in a secure environment. Online nutrition students will present their final project at the end of the fall and spring semesters either by video Skype or in person.

A graduate student who has failed a comprehensive exam twice can submit an appeal to the student’s department for consideration.


Students in master’s degree programs may undertake a thesis, with the approval of the program director. Normally, a thesis is a year-long research project. During the first semester, the student develops a detailed research proposal and conducts an extensive review of the literature. Data is then collected during the end of the first semester or the beginning of the second semester and the data is analyzed. The results and conclusions are written and defended during the second semester. Thesis format varies by department.

Thesis committees normally consist of three faculty members, the thesis director and two readers, one of whom is typically from outside the student’s major department.

Three copies of the final thesis, approved and signed by the thesis director and at least one of the two readers, must be submitted to the Graduate Office no later than April 15 of the year in which the student plans to graduate. The student is also responsible for making arrangements with and providing payment where applicable to the Graduate Office for binding the thesis.

Until the thesis is completed and successfully defended, the thesis is not graded and credit for the thesis is not awarded.

For additional information and a copy of Thesis Guidelines, students should consult  the chairperson of the department in which they are matriculated.

GPA to graduate

Graduate students must have a cumulative GPA of 2.67 to graduate.


A student must complete the requirements for a certificate program of study with a minimum Grade Point Average of 2.67 and file an application for certificate completion through the Office of the Registrar by the deadline dates posted on MyUSJ.

Application for a degree

A graduate student must complete a degree application and pay the graduate fee for the University to assess eligibility for graduation. Degree applications and audits can be found on the Student tab of MyUSJ.

Time to degree

Requirements for the degree should be completed within six years from the date of matriculation. The appropriate department chair may grant an extension for completion of the degree.


Degrees are granted three times in the academic year: December, May, and August. One Commencement ceremony occurs in May, allowing all degree and certificate recipients to participate.

•  With the exception of the School of Pharmacy, a graduate student who will, according to the Degree Audit Process, complete degree requirements by the end of a summer session in August (including credit hour, comprehensive exam, thesis, dissertation, internship, portfolio or other scholarly requirements), may apply for August graduation and participate in the preceding May Commencement ceremony.  The student’s name will be listed in the Commencement program alphabetically by academic program and called in normal rotation at Commencement.