School of Graduate Studies

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Master's Degree Plan A


The Plan A option for a master's degree requires preparation of a thesis. Between 6 and 15 thesis credits are required.

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

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 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.


Master's Degree Plan A Forms


Supervisory Committee Approval form

Click here to download the form.
Due: By the end of the secoond semester
Signatures needed: Major professor, committee members, department head

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A Supervisory Committee Approval form confirms and formalizes the names of authorized individuals who will serve on a student's committee.

The Supervisory Committee Approval form must be filed by the end of the second semester for Plan A master's students. When completing the form, please follow instructions 1-5 in the lower left corner of the form.

No changes can be made on a Supervisory Committee Approval form within the 6 weeks prior to a student's final defense.

Note: A master's degree supervisory committee must include at least 3 faculty members who are approved by the department head and the dean of graduate studies. At least 1 member must represent the student's area of specialization, and at least 1 must be from outside the specialization area. Adjunct faculty can be members with the approval of the dean of graduate studies. Upon recommendation of the department head, emeritus faculty may serve on supervisory committees, but may not chair new committees.

For information about the guidelines for supervisory committee appointments, click here.




Program of Study form

Click here to download the form.
Due: By the end of the second semester
Signatures needed: Major professor, committee members, department head, student

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The Program of Study form constitutes a contract between the student, the committee, and the Office of Research and Graduate Studies regarding what courses a student will take in completion of his or her program requirements.

The original Program of Study form with signatures in ink should be submitted to the Office of Research and Graduate Studies by the student by the end of the second semester following matriculation. Amendments to the Program of Study form can be made with an e-mail from the major professor to Laura Holley (Laura.Holley@usu.edu) and carbon copies (CCs) to all committee members. No changes can be made to the Program of Study form within the 2 months prior to the defense.

Hint: Graduate students using university facilities or faculty time must be registered for a minimum of 3 graduate credits every semester until completion of all degree requirements.

A graduate student who is not using university facilities or faculty time may meet the continuous registration requirement by paying the Continuous Registration Fee of $100 per semester (not necessary for summer semester). This alternative requires a written request from the department head, including verification that the student is not using university facilities and/or faculty time. International students usually do not qualify to pay the Continuous Registration Fee because of immigration regulations.

See General Catalog for more information.




Proposal Cover Sheet

Click here to see a sample.
Due: Following the proposal defense
Signatures needed: Major professor, committee members

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A thesis proposal cover sheet, signed by all members of the committee, must be submitted to the Office of Research and Graduate Studies following the proposal defense. A filed proposal cover sheet formalizes an agreement between the student and committee members regarding the topic and content of the student's thesis.

Hint: Have questions about getting the proposal into final thesis format? Attend a thesis/dissertation workshop hosted by the Office of Research and Graduate Studies.




Appointment for Examination form

Click here to download the form.
Due: At least 2 weeks or 10 working days before the defense
Signatures needed: Major professor, committee members

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The Appointment for Examination form formally notifies the Office of Research and Graduate Studies that the student will be defending his or her thesis. This allows the Office of Research and Graduate Studies to confirm that all required paperwork has been submitted by the student and ensures the student that committee members have read the thesis ahead of time and agree that it is ready to be defended.

The final defense should be scheduled by the student after all courses and the thesis are completed. At least 4 weeks prior to the defense, the student should give a copy of the thesis to each member of the supervisory committee for approval or corrections.

An Appointment for Examination form must be completed by the student and committee indicating approval of the proposed time and place for the examination and defense and submitted by the student to the Office of Research and Graduate Studies a minimum of 2 weeks or 10 working days prior to the defense.

Hint: You will save yourself time later if you will ask all committee members to sign your dissertation title page at the conclusion of your defense. They can hold it until corrections have been made.




Data and Copyright form and Plans for Publication form

*These forms are not available online.
Due: Following the final defense
Signatures needed: Major professor, committee members, student

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The Data and Copyright form and the Plans for Publication form formalize an agreement between the student and major professor about copyrighting the thesis, publishing the student's thesis, and the ownership of the data. Filing these forms makes these agreements clear should future misunderstandings or disputes occur.

The student and all committee members are required to sign a Data and Copyright form and a Plans for Publication form. The forms are given to the student at his or her final defense of the thesis. The form must be submitted to the Office of Research and Graduate Studies following the final defense.




Thesis/Dissertation Format and Style form

Click here to download the form.
Due: With the thesis when it is submitted to the Office of Research and Graduate Studies
Signatures needed: Major professor, departmental format/style reviewer (check with your department to identify your format/style reviewer)

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The student is responsible for proofreading the thesis and having it read and approved by the department before submitting a final, committee-approved and signed copy— with the Thesis/Dissertation Format and Style form attached — to the assistant dean in the Office of Research and Graduate Studies. The Thesis/Dissertation Format and Style form communicates which thesis format has been chosen by the student and major professor and who will be responsible for communications about thesis revisions. The assistant dean will review the thesis for proper format and conformity to departmental and Office of Research and Graduate Studies standards. The assistant dean will attach a check sheet of formatting, stylistic, and mechanical problems and will mark examples of needed changes on the thesis.

Format corrections and required rewriting must be completed before the assistant dean will submit the thesis to the dean of graduate studies for approval. The dean of graduate studies examines each thesis before approving and signing it. Any thesis may be selected for further review by members of the faculty not on the student's supervisory committee or by expert reviewers at other institutions before being accepted by the dean.





Master's Degree Plan A Checklist

Click here to download a printable checklist

  • Supervisory Committee form approved and up-to-date (end of the second semester).
  • Program of Study form approved (end of the second semester). All courses listed on the form have been taken and grades submitted. If there is to be any change on the Program of Study form, an e-mail from your major professor, sent to Laura Holley (Laura.Holley@usu.edu), is needed authorizing the change.
  • Thesis proposal submitted, signed by committee members.
  • No coursework (excluding transfer credit) on the Program of Study form is out-of-date (older than eight years). If so, has the major professor been notified? If revalidation is allowed by the department, the major professor must send a letter to the dean of graduate studies outlining how the courses will be revalidated.
  • Appointment for Examination form submitted to the Office of Research and Graduate Studies at least 2 weeks or 10 working days before the final examination.
  • Registered for at least three credit hours the semester of defense.
  • Record of Exam Completion form signed and submitted by the committee to the Office of Research and Graduate Studies.
  • Graduation forms completed, fees paid (see Diploma Fee Payment form), and forms returned to the Office of Research and Graduate Studies. These forms are listed below and are given at your final defense; they must all be submitted together:
    • Commencement data card
    • Diploma Fee Payment Form ($15)
    • Alumni file card
    • Student survey
  • Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD) Approval form is signed. This form is also included with the forms given at your final defense and taken to the library with your thesis.
  • Thesis/Dissertation Format and Style form is signed (this form is also included with the forms given at your final defense).
  • Incomplete grades for research credits changed.
  • Thesis completed and signed by all committee members. When this step is completed, the thesis must be submitted to the assistant dean for review. After the assistant dean is satisfied that it meets the requirements, the thesis will be submitted to the dean of graduate studies for a signature. When the dean has signed the thesis, it must be picked up from the Office of Research and Graduate Studies, then copies are made and taken to the second floor of the Merrill-Cazier Library for hard binding. Binding fees will be paid to the Merrill-Cazier Library at that time. Please note that the university requires one copy of the thesis, which remains in the library.
  • After the dean has signed the thesis, the student's file will be reviewed for completion and processed for graduation.
  • Binding Clearance form returned to the Office of Research and Graduate Studies. This is the final document signaling completion of degree.

All requirements and graduation forms must be completed by the last day of the semester you plan to complete your program. Deadlines for spring commencement participation vary.

Diplomas are mailed out 8 to 10 weeks after the end of the semester. The diploma will be mailed to the address provided on the Diploma Fee Payment form.

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