Earning Your Degree

Students at Utah State have 3 plan types available for master’s degrees, and 1 option for doctoral degrees. All master’s degree options are not necessarily available for every degree.

The following links will take you to additional information about the Master of Science Plan A, Master of Science Plan B, Professional Master’s, and Doctoral programs.

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Graduate Degrees
The Plan A option for a master’s degree requires preparation of a thesis. From 6 to 15 thesis credits are required. The semester(s) during which a student registers for thesis credit should correspond as closely as possible to the semester(s) in which the thesis work is done and faculty supervision is provided.

The thesis for a Plan A master’s degree is to be a contribution to the field of knowledge based on the student’s own research, or a treatment and presentation of known subject matter from a new perspective. The student and major professor should decide upon a problem or subject for the thesis study by the end of the student’s second semester of graduate study.

The semester during which a student registers for thesis credit should correspond as closely as possible to the semesters in which the thesis work is done and faculty supervision is provided.

The Publication Guide for Graduate Students is required in preparing your thesis.

The Plan B master’s option requires the production of a paper or creative work of art. At least 2 credits of thesis research are required, but no more than 3 credits of thesis credit can be included on the Program of Study form.

The Plan B paper is usually a review of literature based on inquiry, systematic research, and analytic critique of the findings. The summary and conclusions developed should enhance knowledge in the discipline.

Plan B papers and reports should follow the same format specifications as theses and dissertations and are expected to reflect equivalent scholarship standards, even though they may be less intensive and not demand the originality of a Plan A thesis. Plan B papers are defended but are not reviewed by the assistant dean or signed by the dean of graduate studies. Plan B papers must be submitted to the Merrill-Cazier Library, and the binding receipt must be returned to the School of Graduate Studies.

A master’s degree option with no thesis or Plan B paper is available in some programs.

Those seeking professional degrees, should contact their departments early in the final semester to be certain that all degree requirements will be met and that all appropriate paperwork has been sent to the School of Graduate Studies.

Doctoral degree credit requirements vary by degree programs. A dissertation represents a culmination of original research in a specified discipline. A minimum of 12 research credits are required for both the PhD and EdD degrees.

The Publication Guide for Graduate Students is required in preparing your dissertation.

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