School of Graduate Studies

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Master's Degree Plan B


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 with conclusions drawn after conceptualizing an area of inquiry, planning a systematic search, and analyzing and critiquing the acquired information. 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 Office of Research and Graduate Studies.

Master's Degree Plan B Forms

Supervisory Committee Approval form

Click here to download the form.
Due: By the end of the second semester
Signatures needed: Department head, initials from all committee members

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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 B master's students. When completing the Supervisory Committee Approval 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) must be sent 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.




Appointment for Examination form

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Due: At least 2 weeks or 10 working days prior to 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 project. 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 project 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 Plan B project are completed. At least 4 weeks prior to the defense, the student should give a copy of the Plan B project 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 exam.




Master's Degree Plan B Checklist

Click here to download a printable checklist

  • Supervisory Committee 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.
  • 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
  • Graduate Report/Creative Project Approval form is signed. This form is also included with the forms given at your final defense and must be taken to the library with your report/project.

  • Incomplete grades for research credits changed.
  • Letter of Completion from the department head submitted. This letter must verify that all requirements for the degree program have been completed.
  • Plan B binding receipt from the library returned to the Office of Research and Graduate Studies.

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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