Academic Catalog

Academic Regulations for the College of Fine, Performing, and Communication Arts

For complete information regarding the academic rules and regulations of the University, students should consult the Graduate School. The following additions and amendments pertain to the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts.


Admission to these program in the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts is contingent upon admission to the Graduate School.

In the selective admission of graduate students, preference is given to those students who have achieved superior undergraduate scholastic records and who evidence superior artistic abilities. If a student’s undergraduate preparation is considered deficient for advanced work in his/her major field, additional work may be required at the undergraduate level. All prerequisite credits must be earned prior to or concurrent with the first graduate credits. Certain degrees have additional requirements as stated in the following pages.

‘AGRADE’ (Accelerated Graduate Enrollment Program)

Accelerated Graduate Enrollment: Some departments of the College permit academically strong majors to apply for admission into the College's ‘AGRADE’ program. ‘AGRADE' procedures enable qualified seniors in the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts to enroll simultaneously in the undergraduate and graduate programs of the College and apply up to a maximum of sixteen credits towards both a bachelor's and master's degree in the major field. Some programs permit less than the maximum number of credits to be applied so check with the major department.

Qualified students may apply for the AGRADE program no earlier than the semester in which ninety credits are completed. Applicants must have an overall grade point average of 3.5 and not less than a 3.6 grade point average in the major courses already completed.

For more details about the ‘AGRADE’ program, contact the Graduate Director of the major department.

Graduate Scholarship

Graduate degrees are conferred not merely upon the completion of a prescribed number of courses nor necessarily after a given period of residence, but rather in recognition of each candidate’s outstanding ability and high attainments as evidenced in all course work, research, scholarly writing, examinations, personal fitness for a chosen profession, and promise of professional competence. 

Graduate Degree Requirements

The Graduate School sets the general requirements for graduate degrees. In addition to these and to the information below, other requirements are specified by the individual graduate departments. Students should consult the program and requirements of the departments in which they plan to major.

Candidacy is an advanced status that is recommended by the student’s advisor and authorized by the Graduate School upon evidence of the applicant’s superior scholarship, appropriate personal qualities and promise of professional competence. Admission as an applicant does not assure acceptance as candidate for a degree. Also, candidacy is a necessary but not sufficient requirement for graduation.

To be eligible for candidacy, the student must file an official, approved Plan of Work. The Plan of Work should provide for effective concentration in a major field, with proper supporting courses in related fields. All master’s applicants should file the Plan of Work with their respective department's Graduate Officer. In preparing a Plan, students should evaluate with care their personal and professional objectives as well as all degree and departmental requirements. Normally, students enrolled in master’s degree programs are expected to file a Plan of Work by the time the equivalent of eight to twelve graduate credits have been earned. In the Master of Fine Arts program, however, the Plan of Work should be filed by the time the equivalent of fourteen to eighteen credits have been earned. Candidacy must be authorized by the time twelve to eighteen graduate credits have been earned (dependent upon the applicant’s degree program) or subsequent registration may be denied. Plans are filed with the department’s Graduate Officer. Once the Plan of Work has been approved, the form to change the student’s classification from ‘applicant’ to ‘candidate’ will be processed by the department Graduate Officer.

Ph.D. applicants should file the Plan of Work with the Graduate School, when approximately forty credits beyond the baccalaureate degree have been earned. In addition to filing the Plan, the student must have  passed the Final Qualifying Examination (written and oral), and must have submitted and received the Graduate Dean’s approval on the Dissertation Outline before the doctoral committee will recommend candidacy.

Commencement: Students are required to file an Application for Graduation online through Academica no later than the end of the fourth week of classes in the intended term of graduation. Information concerning commencement announcements, caps and gowns, invitations, tickets, time and place, assembling and other relevant items will be sent via email to graduates prior to the event. Candidates for advanced degrees are requested and expected to attend the commencement at which the University confers upon them the honor of the degree earned.

Master’s Degree Requirements

The  Master of Arts and Master of Music programs range from 30 to 32 credits under one of the following plans:

Plan A: In addition to coursework, a thesis is required with registration in the department's Thesis Direction course.

Plan B: In addition to coursework, a three-credit essay is required with registration in the department's Essay course..

Plan C: Coursework only. The essay or thesis is not required for this plan; however, a department may require a final comprehensive examination. Students should consult an advisor for details.

These requirements vary slightly depending on the department and major curriculum; students should see the degree programs outlined in the following pages for specific information.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS: At least twenty-four credits must be taken in residence. At least six credits in the major field, in addition to the essay or thesis, must be in courses open only to graduate students (7000 and above).

Master of Fine Arts Degree Requirements

In the Master of Fine Arts degree programs, the minimum requirement is sixty graduate credits under Plans A or C as follows:

Plan A (Studio Art): In addition to coursework, a thesis is required.

Plan C (Theatre and Dance): Coursework only.

For specific requirements, students should consult the Art and Art History or Theatre departmental sections of this bulletin.

All M.F.A. degree requirements must be completed within three years.

Doctoral Degree Requirements

Candidates for the doctoral degree must complete ninety credits beyond the baccalaureate degree including thirty credits of dissertation direction. The thirty credit dissertation registration requirement is fulfilled through registration in the courses 9991, 9992, 9993, and 9994 (Doctoral Dissertation Research and Direction I, II, III, and IV, respectively), in consecutive academic year semesters.

Examinations (Ph.D.)

Preliminary Qualifying Examinations: Responsibility for the requirement of a preliminary qualifying examination is vested in the graduate faculty of each department and specifically its committee on doctoral study. Accordingly, each committee may require this examination of all of its candidates or of any candidate at any time it may determine prior to the final qualifying examination.

Final Qualifying Examination: The final qualifying examination is required of each applicant. The applicant may request his/her doctoral committee to authorize the final qualifying examination after an approved Plan of Work has been filed with the Graduate School, AND after the Dean of the Graduate School has approved the Dissertation Outline. The examination will be in part written and in part oral. When this examination has been passed, the applicant will be advanced to the status of ‘doctoral candidate’.

The Written Qualifying Examination will cover the applicant’s major and minor areas and may include such other related matters as the doctoral examining committee may prescribe. Within thirty days after the written examination has been passed, the oral qualifying examination will be conducted by the doctoral examining committee, in the presence of the chairperson of the departmental committee on doctoral study or his/her designee. This examination will relate to the subject matter of the written examination, the applicant’s major and minor areas and other pertinent matters.

If an examining committee does not certify that the applicant has been passed in either the written or oral examination, it must make specific recommendations with reference to admitting the applicant to a second examination and specify any additional work that should be completed prior to such an examination. If a second examination is held, it must be scheduled within one calendar year and shall be considered final.

The student’s doctoral committee is selected at the time the doctoral Plan of Work is prepared. At this time, and upon consultation with the chairperson of the student’s doctoral committee, a member outside of the student’s major department is appointed to the committee and is expected to meet as a member of the student’s committee while the research and preparation of the dissertation are in process. He/ she, along with all members of the committee, will also be present at the final oral presentation. The chairperson of the student’s committee files a brief report to the Graduate School detailing the conduct of the oral presentation.

Essays, Theses, and Dissertations

There is no prescribed form for the essay. Title page format as given in the Graduate School’s Guide for Preparing Theses and Dissertations may be used for essays. Standard style manuals may be consulted for form, as desired by the student or department.

One copy of the essay should be approved and signed by the advisor. This copy will reside with the department.

The thesis or dissertation must be an original work, either in or definitely related to the student’s major area of specialization. If proper standards or quality, objectivity, originality, and independence are maintained, the candidate may use data, which he/she has derived from his/her University research. Neither the results of the research nor the publication of findings can be restricted by any non-university agency nor can they be published prior to acceptance by the Graduate School, unless prior approval of such publication has been secured from both the advisor and the Graduate School. Advisors have primary responsibility for approval of the essay or thesis, but every member of a doctoral committee must read, approve and sign the dissertation.

A thesis student may not begin work on a manuscript until he/she has submitted an approved Plan of Work and outline form. He/she may then register for the thesis or dissertation and pay regular fees in the same manner as for all other course work.

Master’s degree candidates under the essay plan register for the course numbered 7999, Master’s Essay Direction, in the department of their major..

Master’s candidates under the thesis plan register for the course numbered 8999 in the department of their major. This course is entitled Master’s Thesis Research and Direction and must be elected. Ph.D. candidates register for thirty credits in their major field in the courses numbered 9991-9994, as outlined above, under ‘Doctoral Degree Requirements.’ All credit used toward meeting dissertation requirements must be earned in this course.

The publication and dissemination of research findings will not be restricted by the University after the manuscript has been received and accepted by the Graduate School.

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