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Master of Science Degree Timeline


Working backward from when you expect to graduate should provide you with the information you need to determine when you will need to begin working on your research to complete your degree. If your are working on your degree part-time, taking 6 credits per semester, you could complete your degree in five semesters, however, most students finish their degree in six semesters to allow for more research time during the fourth semester. Please see recommended schedule for a fall semester start.

All of the forms can be found on the School of Graduate Studies website, click on the Master's Plan A tab, unless you are in the TEE Plan B option. The following timeline is built on a five semester timeline/checklist and a fall start, adjust as necessary. This is the order of items that must be completed to earn your degree.

Checklist Timeline Activity
  During your second semester Review the Student and Advisor Expectations Form with your Temporary Advisor (this persons name was in your acceptance letter).
  By the end of your second semester    Select a major professor with advice from your temporary advisor. Complete your Supervisory Committee Approval Form.
  Third semester Meet with your major professor to discuss a possible research topic. Complete your Program of Study in Degree Works with the assistance of your major professor and committee if necessary.
  Third semester It is preferred that you take ASTE 6100 (summers only) to write your proposal in a course setting. Alternatively, you should at the very least register for 3 credits of ASTE 6970 - Research and Thesis, to begin your proposal. Work with your major professor to determine what will work best in your time frame and for your area of research. Review the Thesis/Dissertation Requirements (Publication Guide and Word Template).
  Third semester Submit your research proposal manuscript to your major professor, discuss a proposal presentation date.
  By the end of your third semester Submit your final draft proposal to your major professor and make the necessary changes before setting up a date to defend your proposal. Set a date with your entire committee to defend your proposal.
  Beginning of fourth semester Defend your proposal (be sure to send your written proposal to your committee two weeks prior to your proposal defense). Be sure to get your Thesis/Project Proposal Approval Form signed. This will be required by the IRB.
  Fourth Semester Immediately after approval of your proposal, submit your proposal to the IRB for appropriate approvals.
  Fourth Semester Conduct your research & begin writing your thesis. Review the Thesis/Dissertation Requirements (Publication Guide and Word Template). Check the semester deadlines for degree completion.
  Fifth/Sixth Semester

Write and defend your thesis. You must be registered for three credits the semester you plan to defend your thesis. Check the commencement deadlines if you plan to participate in commencement, and work backwards from these dates.

Complete Appointment for Examination Form at least 2 weeks or 10 working days before the defense.
   Fifth/Sixth Semester For your final defense, download and fill in the requested information in the Record of Examination form, bring this form with you to the defense for signatures. Defend. If you pass, make the final edits to your thesis/dissertation as recommended by your committee and then submit this semifinal document to your major professor/committee to do a final review of the changes. After your major professor/committee approve of the final changes, contact Mary Ellen  Heiner (our department reviewer) to do the final editorial read and fix any errors related to APA formatting. There will be an additional charge for this service, but it will ensure a close to perfect publication. You will need to pay her before she will release to you and the School of Graduate Studies the final thesis document.

Mary Ellen Heiner | Research and Evaluation Division
Phone: 435-797-0088| E-mail:

Complete the final Graduate School Forms

Attend Commencement!