Policies Governing Graduate Study
- Master’s, EdS, Certificates Dual Degrees and Second Master's Degree Programs
- Doctoral Programs
Master’s, EdS, Certificates Dual Degrees and Second Master's Degree Programs
Plan of Study
At the time of admission to a degree and/or certificate program, an individual plan of study, also called a degree audit, will be sent to the student with their official letter of admission from the Dean for Graduate Studies. This individual plan of study will list all requirements for the completion of the degree program. These requirements may include deficiency courses and other provisions of admission, as well as specific courses to be completed to graduate and comprehensive examinations, if applicable.
Any deviations to this plan of study, including transfer credit must be approved by the student's advisor, graduate program committee chair, and Dean for Graduate Studies. Any changes must be submitted by the graduate program chair to the Office of Graduate Studies via a petition in DegreeWorks. Upon approval, the student will be able to see the changes on their degree audit through DegreeWorks in MavLINK.
Policies applicable to the Plan of Study
- Grade point average: Students must maintain an overall GPA of "B" (3.0) in all graduate coursework take as part of their degree/certificate course of study. Some departments/schools have higher grade requirements as noted in this catalog and DegreeWorks. Grades of "C-" or below result in dismissal from Graduate Studies and may not be used on a graduate plan of study. If a student re-registers for a course to improve his/her grade he/she must work with the Office of Records and Registration to note this on his/her transcript.
- Graduate course requirement: At least one-half of the graduate coursework required for the degree/certificate program must be restricted to graduate students only (8--0 or 9--0). No more than two 3--0/8--5 courses are allowed on a plan of study.
- Foundation courses may not be used on any plan of study.
- Provisions of admission are included in the plan of study report.
- Time Limit: The degree, certificate, or EdS program must be completed within ten consecutive calendar years. Coursework that is over ten years old (30 consecutive terms) at the completion of the degree program (as defined by the plan of study and including any necessary comprehensive exams) cannot be used for a Master's or EdS degree. The first day of class of the earliest course which appears on the student's plan of study is the beginning of the student's graduate education.
- If completing a thesis, thesis-equivalent project, or EdS field project: Refer to the Guidelines for Preparing Theses, Thesis-Equivalent Projects, EdS Field Projects below for information pertaining to approval of a supervisory committee, proposal approval, formatting, and deadlines.
Transfer of Graduate Credit
Approval of the transfer of graduate credit for course work taken at another regionally accredited university (including extension credit but not including correspondence courses) must be recommended by the appropriate advisor and graduate program chair, and submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies via petition through DegreeWorks for final approval by the Dean for Graduate Studies. Grades received in courses for transfer of credit must be the equivalent of "B" (3.0 on a scale of 4.0) or higher. Transfer of graduate credits from a course taken with a pass/fail option must be recommended by the relevant Graduate Program Committee, supported by a written evaluation from the instructor and approved by the Dean for Graduate Studies. All work accepted for transfer of credit must have been taken within the prescribed time limits for graduate degrees and is subject to restriction if previously used to satisfy requirements for another graduate degree.
The only course work from other institutions posted on the UNO transcript will be those recommended by the appropriate graduate program chair and approved by the Dean for Graduate Studies.
Transfer of Credits Taken Outside the University of Nebraska
Up to one-third of the coursework required for a graduate degree program may be accepted from an accredited institution other than a unit of the University of Nebraska when the transfer is supported by the student's adviser and the appropriate Graduate Program Committee. Final approval will be made by the UNO Dean of Graduate Studies. All other policies regarding graduate programs will apply. An official transcript must be forwarded to the Office of Graduate Studies documenting that the course(s) were taken for graduate credit.
Transfer of Credits Taken at the University of Nebraska
There are no a priori limits on the transfer and applicability of credits earned in one program of the University of Nebraska toward meeting degree requirements in another such program, except as they are used to earn distinct degrees. However, such credits must be individually evaluated and approved by the appropriate Graduate Program Committee and campus Dean for Graduate Studies before they can actually be transferred. UNO students who wish to take courses at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of Nebraska Medical Center, or the University of Nebraska at Kearney for transfer of credit should complete the intercampus application process available here.
Master’s Degree with a Double Major
Students accepted to a double major must meet, at least, the minimum requirements for each of the majors:
- Course work of no less than 18 credit hours is required in each of the two disciplines
- Courses cross-listed in both majors may only be counted once.
- The precise number of credits may vary depending on the total required hours for a particular major.
- For each of the two majors, students must take at least nine credits in courses open only to graduate students (8000- or 9000-level), excluding thesis hours.
- The student is required to successfully satisfy the thesis/comprehensive examination or equivalent requirements for each major. In the event that both programs have a thesis requirement, either:
- Two theses may be written or
- The content of the thesis may reflect the content of both majors.
- If a joint thesis is elected, the thesis committee shall then consist of two graduate faculty members from each of the major departments/schools and shall be co-chaired by a faculty member from each of the major departments/schools.
- If a student is already pursuing a major in a degree program, then decides he or she would like to obtain a second major, a new application and admission fee is required. The new application must be approved by the original graduate committee prior to review by the second graduate committee. However, once the master’s degree is conferred, a second major cannot be attained. Students would then be required to apply for admission to a second master’s degree program, and upon acceptance, complete all requirements of a full, independent program.
A student is not required by the graduate faculty to have a minor. However, a student may elect to complete a minor with the permission of both the major department/school and the minor department/school.
The minor must consist of no fewer than nine (9) graduate hours. The courses must be included in the DegreeWorks petition and the minor department must provide approval. The minor will be reflected on the student's transcript at the time of graduation.
Students who elect to complete a minor may be required to take a comprehensive examination over the minor field. This requirement will be at the discretion of the minor advisor. If such an examination is given, it should be given at a date arranged at the convenience of both the student and the minor advisor, but falling within the limits established for all comprehensive examinations.
A department/school may offer specialized areas of concentration of at least nine (9) hours to graduate students pursuing degrees in that department/school. The area of concentration must appear on the approved plan of study. The Registrar will identify this area of concentration on the student's transcript.
Second Master's Degree
Use of graduate credit earned for the first degree will be treated in the same manner as transfer credit from another institution if applied to the requirements for the second degree. Up to one-third of the course work required for the second master's degree may consist of courses from a previous graduate degree. All other policies regarding graduate programs apply.
Thesis, Thesis-Equivalent Project and EdS Field Project
A Master’s Thesis, Thesis-Equivalent Project, or EdS Field Project provides the opportunity for students to acquire first-hand experience in research or creative activities with the supervision of experienced faculty. A thesis or thesis-equivalent project is equivalent to six semester hours of credit. The Specialist in Education (EdS) field project is equivalent to three semester hours of credit. Required course hours must be indicated on each student’s plan of study.
Grades for a thesis, thesis-equivalent project, or EdS field project are recorded on the permanent record after completion and approval by the department/school and the Office of Graduate Studies. For a thesis or thesis-equivalent project, grades will be either “S” for “Satisfactory” or “U” for “Unsatisfactory”. A letter grade will be recorded for the EdS field project.
The thesis, thesis-equivalent project, or EdS field project is not considered to be a publication; thus, it may be published, in whole or in part, and either quoted or paraphrased by giving appropriate credit to the relevant department/school, the Graduate College, and the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
Students must file a Proposed Supervisory Committee form and a Thesis Proposal Approval form with the Office of Graduate Studies before initiating the thesis, thesis-equivalent project, or EdS field project, at least one semester prior to the student’s anticipated graduation date.
Thesis, Thesis-Equivalent Project, and EdS Field Project (ETD) Submission Procedures
The Supervisory Committee guides the student in the conduct and development of the thesis, thesis-equivalent project, or EdS field project and approves the final product. Typically, final recommendations from the supervisory committee or the Supervisory Committee Chair are provided to the student at the time of the final oral examination, although details vary among departments/schools and individual faculty. Final approval of the ETD, in PDF format, is contingent upon approval by the supervisory committee and the Office of Graduate Studies.
When the final PDF version of the thesis/project has been approved by the supervisory committee, the student must submit the following to the Office of Graduate Studies for the final administrative step in the approval process:
- One paper copy of the Title Page
- One paper copy of the Abstract
- Report on Completion of Degree form, signed by the supervisory committee.
NOTE: If the thesis/project is to be held pending patent issuances, etc., the student must specify this at the time the PDF file is submitted to ProQuest (UMI).
An electronic version of the thesis, thesis-equivalent project, or EdS field project (collectively referred to as ETDs) is required. An ETD is a document expressed in a format simultaneously suitable for machine archives and worldwide retrieval. Preparation of the ETD may be done using most word processor or document preparation systems that incorporate relevant multimedia objects.
The ETD has many benefits, including:
- More access to research, both on campus and worldwide
- Lower expense to authors as there are no paper costs
- Can provide a better presentation of the research than available in a traditional paper format
Students who wish to order bound copies may do so through ProQuest, or they may make other arrangements.
As part of the ETD submission, students’ abstracts are published in UMI’s Master’s Theses or Dissertations Abstracts publications. Upon submission, the student authorizes ProQuest to produce copies of his or her work on demand for a fee. However, the student may request that UMI not distribute (or embargo) his or her ETD until further notice (up to two years). Some reasons for this include if there is a patent pending, the student’s employer requires a review of the work, or a publishing agreement requires initial publication. The ETD will also be included in the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Database (PQDT), which includes more than 2.3 million citations, of which 870,000 are available in PDF. Each submission includes an abstract, citation, a preview, and a PDF if available. About 3000 libraries subscribe to the PQDT.
After the documents are submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies, the student must upload the thesis/project to ProQuest. Instructions for the upload can be found at http://www.etdadmin.com/cgi-bin/school?siteId=81.
Be certain that the electronic version, in PDF format, is exactly as was approved by the supervisory committee. ETDs are to be checked for formatting, pagination, spelling, grammar, and typos by the student and the student’s supervisory committee.
For help with conversion of files from word processing to PDF, see the Library staff. Since errors may occur when converting from a word processor file to a PDF file, it is essential that the student review the final version of the PDF.
NOTE: There maybe a fee to submit the ETD through ProQuest. The amount is noted on the website.
After successfully uploading the thesis/project, the Office of Graduate Studies will be notified electronically by ProQuest of the submission and asked to provide final approval. Final approval of the thesis/project will not be granted if the paper copy and the Report on Completion of Degree form are not already completed and on file in the Office of Graduate Studies.
NOTE: These steps must be completed prior to the end of the day of the Graduate deadline, 12 working days prior to the commencement ceremony at the end of each semester.
In order to assure that students are under careful advisement and mentoring throughout their careers, a Supervisory Committee must be established before a doctoral student begins the last 45 credit hours of their program of study. The supervisory committee is appointed by the Dean for Graduate Studies, based upon the recommendation of the Graduate Program Committee in the student’s major prior to the approval of the program of study. The establishment of a supervisory committee is based on the student’s demonstrated ability in the fundamental subject matter of his/her major field and professional promise.
The supervisory committee consists of at least four Graduate Faculty members, one of whom must be from outside the student’s academic department/school or area in which the doctorate is to be granted. The chair of the supervisory committee must be a member of the Graduate Faculty. In addition to the minimum requirement of four Graduate Faculty members, other eligible persons may be recommended by the Graduate Program Committee for appointment by the Dean to the supervisory committee, provided at least two-thirds of the membership of each committee is Graduate Faculty.
Changes to the Supervisory Committee
Any changes to the supervisory committee after initial approval must be submitted via a new Supervisory Committee form and submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies for approval by the Dean for Graduate Studies.
If the chair of a supervisory committee leaves the employ of the University, or retires, the Office of Graduate Studies must be notified immediately and a change in the supervisory committee must be made as follows:
- If the student has already achieved Candidacy, the former chair who has left the employ of the University may be permitted to continue as co-chair of the supervisory committee, with the agreement of the departmental/school Graduate Program Committee and the Dean for Graduate Studies. A second co-chair must be appointed who is a resident Graduate Faculty member.
- If the student has not yet achieved Candidacy, a new chair of the supervisory committee who is a resident Graduate Faculty member must be appointed immediately, with the agreement of the departmental/school Graduate Program Committee and the Dean for Graduate Studies.
- If a member of the supervisory committee other than the chair leaves the employ of the University, or retires, a replacement should normally be appointed who is a resident Graduate Faculty member. In certain circumstances where a special and needed continuing expertise is involved and the staff member is willing to continue serving, he/she may continue as a member of the supervisory committee, with the approval of the departmental/school Graduate Program Committee and the Dean for Graduate Studies.
Plan of Study
Within the same semester of its appointment, the supervisory committee will meet to designate and subsequently file in the Office of Graduate Studies a complete plan of study, including any language or research tool requirements (if applicable), and the reading committee. The reading committee consists of two members from the supervisory committee, excluding the chair of the committee.
Generally, courses taken before admission to the doctoral program cannot be included in the Doctoral Requirements section of the program of study form. At least 45 hours of the student’s doctoral course work is to be completed after the approval of the program of study by the Dean for Graduate Studies. Any subsequent change in the program must be approved by the supervisory committee and the Dean for Graduate Studies.
The minimum amount of graduate credit for the PhD is 90 semester hours, including a dissertation. Some programs require more dissertation hours. Please refer to the degree requirements for your individual degree.
A residency requirement has been established for the purpose of ensuring that the doctoral program be reasonably compact, continuous, and coherent; and that a substantial portion be done at and under the close supervision of the university. The residency requirement is part of the student’s approved program.
In exceptional circumstances, where it is clear that the purpose of residency is being fulfilled but the formal conditions are not met, the student’s supervisory committee may, with the approval of the Dean for Graduate Studies, designate an alternative procedure for satisfying the residency requirement.
Requirements for PhD in Biomedical Informatics, PhD in Criminology and Criminal Justice, PhD in Exercise Science, PhD in Gerontology, PhD in Information Technology, and PhD in Psychology
- For a student beginning a doctoral program in the University of Nebraska system with a bachelor’s degree, the residency requirement for the PhD is 27 hours of graduate work within a consecutive 18-month period or less, with the further provision that 15 of these hours must be taken after receiving the master’s degree or equivalent.
- For a student who transfers to the University of Nebraska system with a master’s degree from another institution, or who takes a break in his/her graduate work between the time the master’s degree is awarded and the time he/she starts work on a doctoral program, the residency requirement for the PhD is 27 hours of graduate work in a consecutive 18-month period or less.
- For a member of the University staff who is engaged at least half-time in instruction or research in his/her major area, or a person employed in his/her major field, the residency requirement is 24 hours of graduate work within a consecutive two-year period with the further provision he/she take at least 12 of these hours after receiving the master’s degree or its equivalent.
- Not more than one-third of the work for residency, or nine credit hours, may be taken during the summer sessions.
Requirements for the PhD in Public Administration and EdD degree
- The residency requirement for doctoral students in Educational Administration and Public Administration is 24 hours in 24 consecutive months. The supervisory committee may determine how many of the required residency hours may be taken during the summer sessions.
Time Limit for Completion of Degree
A minimum of three full years of graduate study is normally required to complete a program for the degrees Doctor of Philosophy and Doctor of Education. The time limit on granting the PhD or EdD degree is ten years from the beginning of the doctoral course work. Individual programs may have other deadlines for completion. Neither the courses taken nor the time spent in study determines the granting of the degree. It is given primarily for high attainment in some special field of scholarship and for demonstrated power of independent research in a subdivision of this field.
When a student has substantially completed studies in the program, he/she must pass a written comprehensive examination. The written comprehensive examination is not a repetition of course examinations; rather, it is an investigation of the student’s breadth of understanding of the field of knowledge of which his/her special subject is a part. The student will also be required to pass an oral comprehensive examination.
The supervisory committee arranges for written or oral examinations. As soon as possible after passing those examinations, the committee convenes and reports to the Office of Graduate Studies the results of those examinations and the specific area of research for the dissertation and progress to date by submitting the Application for Candidacy. Should the student fail the comprehensive examination or a part thereof, he or she may be allowed to re-take it during the following academic term upon specific recommendation by the supervisory committee.
When the applicant’s program of coursework is substantially completed, comprehensive examinations that cover the appropriate field of study and related subjects will be administered. These examinations will thoroughly test for an understanding of the field of knowledge designated by the student. If an applicant fails the comprehensive examination, another attempt to pass such examination may not be made in the same academic term.
Admission to Candidacy
When the doctoral student has passed the comprehensive examination, the supervisory committee will recommend to the Office of Graduate Studies his/her admission to Candidacy for the doctoral degree, noting in that recommendation the dates upon which the comprehensive examination was completed. This report must be filed at least seven months prior to the final oral examination. If the term of Candidacy is extended beyond three years (excluding summer terms), the Candidate must pass another comprehensive examination. Following admission to Candidacy, the student must register during each academic year semester until he/she receives the PhD or EdD degree. Students not in residence may register for a minimum of one semester credit in dissertation. Failure to register during each academic year semester will result in termination of Candidacy.
The final examination is oral. It is given by the supervisory committee after the Candidate’s studies have been completed and the dissertation has been accepted for examination. The committee also determines its character and length. The examination may be devoted to the special field of the dissertation or to the Candidate’s general knowledge, or it may be designed to test judgment and critical powers.
The final oral examination will not be scheduled unless the chair of the supervisory committee and at least two other members of the committee are available for the examination. Exceptions may be made only by permission of the Dean for Graduate Studies. In any event, the supervisor and readers of the dissertation must have seen and approved the completed dissertation before the final oral examination will be scheduled.
The final oral examination over the dissertation may be waived only with the unanimous consent of the supervisory committee and only in extremely unusual circumstances. The committee reports the results of the final oral examination or the reason for its waiver to the Office of Graduate Studies by using the Report on Completion of Degree form.
In the event that members of an oral examining committee are not unanimous regarding the passing of a Candidate, the student is to be approved for the degree only if one examiner dissents. However, in each case, the dissenting member of the committee will be expected to file a letter of explanation to the Office of Graduate Studies.
The Doctoral Dissertation should make a creative contribution to knowledge in your field while also demonstrating mastery of relevant resources and methods. It is expected the dissertation will have a single topic, however broadly defined, and all parts of the dissertation will be interrelated. This, however, does not prevent sections of the dissertations from being discrete units.
The dissertation also should demonstrate your potential to make future, original contributions to knowledge, understanding, or methodologies in your discipline. For example, the originality of a dissertation may involve the discovery of significant new information or principles of organization, the achievement of a new synthesis, the development of new methods or theories, or the application of established methods to new materials or procedures.
Given the diverse nature of the fields in which dissertations are written and the wide variety of topics that are explored, it is impossible to designate an ideal length for the dissertation. A long dissertation is not necessarily better than a shorter one since the value and scale of the dissertation topic ultimately depends on the quality of its thought and the clarity of its exposition. Your dissertation supervisory committee will determine the appropriateness of these and other issues.
Grades for a doctoral dissertation are recorded on the permanent record after completion and approval by the department/school and the Office of Graduate Studies. Grades will be either "S" for satisfactory or "U" for unsatisfactory.
The dissertation is not considered to be a publication thus it may be published, in whole or in part, and either quoted or paraphrased, by giving appropriate credit to the relevant Department/School, the Graduate College, and the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
NOTE: The doctoral supervisory committee guides your progress toward the completion of the dissertation, but it is your responsibility to follow instructions on the preparation of the document and to observe filing deadlines.
Dissertation Submission Procedures
The Doctoral Supervisory Committee guides the student in the conduct and development of the dissertation and approves the final product. Typically, final recommendations from the supervisory committee, or Supervisory Committee Chair, are provided to the student at the time of the final oral examination, although details vary among department/schools and individual faculty. Final approval of the dissertation is contingent upon approval by the supervisory committee and the Office of Graduate Studies.
At least three weeks prior to the last published date for holding oral exams, bring the following to the Office of Graduate Studies:
- Application for Final Oral Examination or Waiver
- One copy of each of the Abstract and the Title Page of the dissertation. If the Final Oral Examination is waived, these documents must be presented to the Office of Graduate Studies at least three weeks prior to the last published date for holding oral examinations.
When the final dissertation has been approved by the supervisory committee, the student must submit hardcopies of the following to the Office of Graduate Studies for the final, administrative step in the approval process:
- One paper copy of the final Abstract and Title Page
- Report on Completion of Degree form, signed by supervisory committee
- Completed Survey of Earned Doctorates form.
- NOTE:- Mac users should open the form in Adobe Acrobat and use the “save via email” link at the bottom.
NOTE: If the dissertation is to be held pending patent issuance, etc., the student must specify this at the time the PDF file is submitted to ProQuest.
After the documents are submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies, the student must upload their dissertation to ProQuest. Instructions for the upload at http://dissertations2.umi.com/unomaha/.
Be certain the electronic version, in PDF format is exactly as was approved by the Supervisory Committee. ETDs are to be checked for formatting, pagination, spelling, grammar, and typos by the student and the student's Supervisory Committee.
For help with conversion of files from word processing to PDF, see the Library staff. Since errors may occur when converting from a word processor file to a PDF file, it is essential the student review the final version of the PDF file.
PLEASE NOTE: There maybe a fee to submit the dissertation through ProQuest. The amounts are noted on their website.
After successfully uploading the dissertation, The Office of Graduate Studies will be notified electronically by ProQuest of the submission and asked to provide final approval. Final approval of the dissertation will not be granted if steps 1-4 above are not completed.
Note: these steps must be completed prior to the end of the day of the Graduate Studies deadline which is 12 working days prior to the commencement ceremony.