Penn State Graduate School Penn State Penn State Graduate School

Degree Requirements - Research Master's

Research Master's (M.A., M.S.) Degree Requirements Policy GCAC-631

Purpose: to define the minimum requirements for obtaining a research master’s degree (M.A. or M.S.).

Academic Goal: to ensure that all research master’s degrees adhere to a minimum set of credit requirements along with an approved culminating experience.

Scope: all research master’s degree programs (M.A. or M.S.).

+-

 Background

The Graduate School recognizes a difference in purpose, which is reflected in the requirements, for two types of master’s degrees: academic and professional. Of the master’s degrees conferred, the Master of Arts and Master of Science are academic in nature. The Master of Arts and the Master of Science degrees have the same general requirements, and the major field of study determines which degree is conferred. Programs for both degrees are strongly oriented towards research and the creation of new knowledge.

A degree is not conferred for a mere collection of credits. A well-balanced, unified, and complete program of study is required, including the preparation and acceptance of a high-quality approved culminating experience. The overall program of the student frequently will exceed the minimum requirements specified here.

Policy Statement

  1. A research master’s degree requires at least 30 credits at the 400, 500, 600, or 800 level. In addition:
    1. At least 18 credits in the 500 and 600 series, combined.
      1. If a student is required to write a thesis, at least 6 credits in thesis research (600 or 610) must be included in the program.
      2. If no thesis is required, at least 18 credits must be in 500-level courses.
    2. A minimum of 12 credits in course work (400, 500, and 800 series) must be completed in the major program.
    3. At least 20 credits must be earned at the campus where the program is approved to be offered.
  2. Graduate programs can require additional credits for the degree as approved through the Graduate Council curricular review process.
  3. A culminating experience is required (see GCAC-642 Culminating Experience - Research Master's).

Revision History

Adapted from Graduate Bulletin: July 2018

Facebook Facebook LinkedIn LinkedIn Twitter Twitter