All regulations are subject to change without notice by action of various administrative officers, the University of Wyoming Board of Trustees, and the appropriate departments and divisions. Published regulations are the minimum requirements for any advanced degree.
School of Graduate Education
James Ahern, Vice Provost and Dean
Kam Ng, Chair, Graduate Council
Saman Aryana, Chair-Elect, Graduate Council
Michele Peck, Executive Business Manager
Phone: (307) 766-6478
Location: Knight Hall room 250
Founded in 2022, the School of Graduate Education elevates the visibility of the University of Wyoming’s advanced degree education mission and supports its broad portfolio of graduate programs and the university’s research mission. The School of Graduate Education continues the essential functions performed by the previous Office of Graduate Education (2018-2022), including strategic leadership for and oversight of all UW graduate programs, allocation of graduate teaching assistantship funding, implementation and enforcement of graduate education policies and procedures, graduate student marketing and recruitment, and advocacy and support for graduate students. The school builds upon these by raising the visibility and presence of graduate education to both internal and external stakeholders and serves as the conduit through which significant improvements to UW’s graduate education functioning will be made, including the re-establishment of the Graduate Faculty, the creation of a Graduate Student Council, and a clarification and elevation of the role of UW’s Graduate Council. Given the broad impact of the School of Graduate Education, the school’s Dean also serves as a Vice Provost in the Division of Academic Affairs.
Please see Graduate Admissions section Admission to the University
Coursework Applied to Graduate Degree
Rule of 12
The Rule of 12 regulates the number of credits a student may use as non-degree and transfer credits. With committee and college approval, a student may submit up to a total of 12 pre-admission hours that may be an accumulation of non-degree, reserved, and/or transfer hours. The maximum number of hours allowed from each category is as follows: 12 non-degree graduate, 6 reserved and 9 transfer hours. A student may elect to use a combination of the three different areas to total the 12 credits allowed (e.g. 6 non-degree hours, 3 reserved hours, and 3 transfer hours). Please review the individual sections of the catalog that cover the specific policies for non-degree hours, reserving coursework for graduate credit, and transfer credit.
Transfer Credit Available to Graduate Students
To transfer graduate hours earned at another institution to a graduate program at UW, the student must provide an official transcript from the institution where the credits were earned. This official transcript must be part of the student’s permanent file. The student must also provide evidence that the course was approved for graduate credit at the institution where the course was taken.
No more than 9 semester hours that have been transferred from another accredited institution may be used for meeting the credit hour requirements of a master’s student’s program. Transferred hours must carry a B (3.000) or better (A=4.000) grade and will not reduce the residence requirements. Transfer hours taken for satisfactory/unsatisfactory (or pass/ fail) grades are not acceptable on a program of study.
Coursework hours approved for transfer from another college or university are considered as part of the 12-credit-hour pre-admission course limitation for master’s students.
Hours transferred from other institutions for a doctoral program must carry a letter grade of B (3.000) or better (A=4.000). Ed.D. and Ph.D. candidates may transfer up to 48 credit hours of such coursework, only four of which can be thesis or dissertation research. Transfer hours for doctoral students are not considered as part of the 12-hour pre-admission course limitation.
A student may request that up to 12 hours of graduate-level coursework, taken during the student’s graduate, non-degree status, be used toward a program of study should the student choose to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Wyoming. This would be subject to the approval of the student’s graduate committee and the college dean. These hours can be affected by other pre-admission (reserved and transfer) hours.
Once a student obtains 12 non-degree hours, they must gain admission to a graduate degree program to ensure that subsequent coursework beyond the 12 non-degree hours can apply to a graduate degree.
No student can remain in graduate status beyond 18 hours of graduate course work without admission to a degree program. Students who wish to take more than 18 hours of coursework but do not wish to pursue a graduate degree should consider declaring a second baccalaureate degree. If a non-degree graduate student anticipates attaining a graduate degree at any time in the future, they should declare and be accepted into a graduate program. Not more than 12 non-degree hours will be accepted toward a graduate degree. It is not in the interest of the student to take more than 12 hours as a non-degree student. Declaring a graduate program provides the student with the advising and support needed to make reasonable progress toward a degree.
Reserving Coursework for Graduate Credit
Approved graduate level courses taken prior to completing the baccalaureate degree, but not part of that degree’s requirements, may be applied to the master’s or doctoral program with the approval of the student’s committee. Approval for reserving the coursework is rendered jointly by the adviser and college dean, and applies only to courses previously reserved for graduate credit.
If a course is dual listed at the 4000/5000 level, the course must be taken at the 5000 level to receive graduate credit. Each 4000-level or 5000-level course must be reserved for graduate credit by completing the Request to Reserve Coursework for Graduate Credit form. The form must be completed and submitted to the Office of the Registrar by midterm of the semester in which the coursework is taken.
These courses will appear on the undergraduate transcript with a notation that they have been reserved for graduate credit.
Students will only be allowed to transfer six hours of coursework that has been reserved for graduate credit into their degree program.
Correspondence Courses and Credit by Examination
Correspondence courses and credit by examination courses are not acceptable on graduate programs of study.
Second Baccalaureate Degrees
A student working toward a second baccalaureate degree is subject to all regulations concerning undergraduates and is not considered a graduate student. Students requesting to reserve coursework for graduate credit must be able to complete their undergraduate degree within 12 months of the request. Only six hours of undergraduate coursework reserved for graduate credit will be allowed for consideration in a graduate degree program.
Second Graduate Degrees
All requirements for a second degree are considered separate from the first degree. Hours from the first master’s degree may not be used for completing the hours toward the second master’s. Hours from the first doctoral degree may not be used for completing the hours toward the second doctorate. Hours from an earned doctorate may not be used in a subsequent master’s degree. (Some credits may be shared between approved joint degree programs.)
Grade Point Average
A UW cumulative grade point average of at least 3.000 is required for graduation and good standing. Hours for which a C was earned may be balanced by a corresponding number of hours for which an A was earned. Departments and divisions have the option of indicating subject areas in which they will not accept grades of C for credit regardless of accumulated grade point average. No credit will be allowed toward an advanced degree for coursework in which a grade lower than C is earned.
A graduate student enrolled at the university shall be placed on academic probation at the end of a semester or summer session when his or her graduate cumulative UW grade point average in 4000-level or higher courses is below 3.000 or if they have earned Unsatisfactory (U) grades or a grade in six or more graduate credit hours. Students will be suspended if they earn less than a cumulative 2.00 average at any time, or if they are on probation and earn less than a 3.00 in the next enrollment period and are full-time students, or if they earn less than a 3.00 in the next 12 attempted credits and are part-time, or if they have earned Unsatisfactory (U) grades or grade in six or more credit hours while on probation. No student in their semester of probation will be employed as a graduate assistant on the UW campus.
The 3.000 cumulative GPA requirement is considered to be a minimum requirement. Individual departments or programs may establish criteria higher than these minimum performance standards and establish department- or program-specific criteria for satisfactory academic progress. A graduate student may be dismissed from a degree program for lack of satisfactory academic progress, as determined by the department or program offering the degree. Students dismissed for lack of progress can appeal, but will necessarily direct their appeal to the department within which the degree resides. Dismissals of graduate students from degree programs are at the discretion of the department.
Please see the Guidelines for Satisfactory Academic Progress section, below.
All courses taken at the graduate level included in the GPA as listed on the academic record if the courses are numbered 4000 or above, and are used in determining probation/suspension.
All courses taken to fulfill the requirements for the degree program must be taken for letter grade (A through F) except those courses given for S/U only.
The grade of S (satisfactory) is interpreted to include grades A through C and the grade of U (unsatisfactory) to include grades C- through F on the conventional grade scale for courses numbered less than 5000 (for courses 5000 or above, the grade of S is interpreted to included grades A and B). Credit hours of S/U courses are counted as hours attempted toward graduation. However, neither the S nor U grade carries grade points nor will be included in the calculation of the cumulative grade point average.
The faculties of the various colleges shall determine the number of credit hours of S that may be used to satisfy degree requirements in their programs. They may also place restrictions upon the use of S credits to satisfy college or major requirements. In addition, they may designate particular courses in their colleges as courses to be offered for S/U only.
The grade of S in thesis and dissertation research is a judgment that the student is adequately engaged in the required research objective. It in no way implies that the final thesis or the thesis defense will be judged of sufficient quality for the award of the appropriate degree.
The incomplete grade (I) is a temporary grade used under circumstances where awarding a grade would be unjust or not reflective of the student’s actual performance in a course. The assignment of an I is intended for use in unexpected circumstances; the Incomplete cannot be assigned simply to allow additional time to complete a course in the absence of unusual or unanticipated events. Graduate students who are unable to complete a course in normal class time period, and are not dealing with unusual or unexpected circumstances, should not receive an Incomplete grade. In the event of unusual circumstances, when an Incomplete grade is a reasonable alternative, the time allowed for completing course requirements will normally not exceed 120 calendar days beyond the end of the semester in which the I was given. The dean of a college may designate certain research courses where the 120-day limit may be extended by the instructor.
The I will revert to an F if the final grade for the course is not received in the Office of the Registrar by the date indicated on the authorization. Students receiving an incomplete in any course(s) listed in their program of study must have the incomplete removed by the end of the semester in which they turn in their intent to graduate. If the incomplete is not removed, the student will not graduate that semester.
Academic dishonesty and scholarly misconduct will not be tolerated. Academic dishonesty is an act attempted or performed that misrepresents one’s involvement in an academic task in any way, or permits another student to misrepresent the latter’s involvement in an academic task by assisting in the misrepresentation (www.uwyo.edu/regs-policies/index.html).
If academic dishonesty has been established, the offending student shall receive a failing grade for the course in question. If two such acts have been recorded at different times or in different courses, the student shall be suspended from the university in accordance with UW Regulations. These actions shall not preclude the imposition of other sanctions by university officers including the loss of benefits from programs, scholarships, and other opportunities normally afforded students.
The University of Wyoming is a state higher education institution whose Trustees are legislatively empowered to confer degrees on students who have earned them, upon the recommendation of the faculty. The Board of Trustees recognizes that there may be instances where a degree is awarded to an individual who, upon review, has not properly completed all requirements for the degree. In such instances, the Board of Trustees may revoke the degree. UW Regulation 2-120 establishes the process for such revocation.
Grounds for revoking a degree include convincing evidence that the degree recipient failed to complete the requirements for the degree that were in effect at the time of the degree conferral. Included in this category is evidence that the candidate engaged in academic misconduct serious enough to negate bona fide completion of one or more substantive degree requirements. Additional information can be found at (www.uwyo.edu/regs-policies/index.html).
Course Numbering for Graduate Credit
Courses offered for graduate credit are distinguished by number as follows:
4000-4999 are primarily for junior and senior students, but also may be used as part of some graduate programs of study. Not more than 12 hours of 4000-level coursework will be permitted on the graduate program of study.
5000-5999 are primarily for graduate students
Courses numbered 5000 or above may be taken by undergraduate students having the necessary prerequisites. If a course is filled, graduate students will have preference and undergraduates may be asked to relinquish their place in the course. Graduate students may enroll in courses numbered 1000-3999 to remove undergraduate deficiencies, but only those numbered 4000 and above will be computed into the graduate GPA and are allowed for graduate credit.
Dual Listed Courses
If a course is dual listed at the 4000/5000 level, the course must be taken at the 5000 level to receive graduate credit regardless of whether the course is in the student’s primary program area.
The syllabus for a dual listed course must specifically differentiate expectations, outcomes and assessment between the 4000 and 5000-level components, clearly describing the additional effort needed for graduate level credit. Students enrolled in the 5000-level course will be expected to demonstrate greater sophistication in content expertise, inquiry, creativity, communication, problem solving, analytic reasoning and/or collaborative learning compared with those enrolled in the 4000 course. Examples include (but are not limited to) intellectual skills, discipline-specific competencies and challenging learning outcomes. Students enrolled in the 5000-level course may be required to lead discussion sessions, submit a portfolio, write a paper or may be involved in a service learning component, internship or collaborative assignment designed to provide experience in applying course information in different contexts.
Courses Not Applicable Toward Advanced Degrees
Only courses at the 4000 or 5000 level may be counted for graduate credit. However, some 4000- and 5000-level courses may not be applicable toward undergraduate or graduate degrees. These courses are listed below:
**** 5959. Enrichment Studies in ___. (Any course numbered 5959 is not applicable toward UW degrees.)
EDUC 4740. Field Studies in ___. (Any course in the College of Education numbered 4740 is not applicable toward UW degrees.)
KIN/HLED 4074. Field Studies in ____.
**** 5920 Continuous Registration: On Campus
**** 5940 Continuous Registration: Off Campus
Distance Education Courses
Distance Education to carry graduate credit, must satisfy achievement criteria acceptable to Academic Affairs and must be taken under the auspices of UW. Distance Education delivery of existing graduate on-campus graduate courses (hybrid courses) are acceptable examples.
In-Residence Coursework (Residency)
In-residence coursework includes courses and/or research work on the UW Laramie or Casper campuses (including distance/online), at an approved UW off-campus course site, and/or research work done for credit in the field under the direction of a UW faculty member.
The minimum number of semester credit hours that must be earned on a UW campus or at an approved UW setting for a particular degree program shall be determined by the individual colleges. In no case shall these minimum numbers of credit hours be less than 21 hours beyond the bachelor’s degree for the master’s degree, 21 hours beyond the master’s degree for the doctoral degree, or 24 hours beyond the bachelor’s degree for the doctoral degree.
In computing the in-residence requirements for the Plan A thesis and doctoral degrees, credit earned working on the thesis or dissertation shall apply.
Repetition of Courses
No more than two courses (total of six credit hours) available for graduate credit may be repeated by students at the graduate level. This regulation does not apply to those courses carrying variable credit (e.g., research or independent study). Variable credit courses are considered repeated only when so certified in writing by the instructor and the registrar.
Once admitted, all degree seeking graduate students must maintain continuous enrollment. Unless a formal leave of absence is approved, all students must maintain at least one hour of continuous enrollment, including in the semester or session they expect to receive the degree. Students should maintain enrollment for two of the three academic semesters. Readmission will be required if the student has not enrolled in classes within the previous 12 months. Readmitted students should contact their department to learn more about their status. The department will contact the Office of the Registrar to initiate reactivation. Students who have been inactive for a long span of time should also investigate the status of their committees, programs of study, and time to degree status. International students’ enrollment status is monitored by the Office of International Students and Scholars and the office should be contacted for more information. Only students not supported on a Graduate Assistantship are eligible to enroll in Continuous Registration.
Time Allowance and Limitations
Master’s students have six calendar years to complete their degrees from the beginning of the first course taken and listed on the program of study, including any transfer courses. Doctoral candidates have four calendar years after the successful completion of their preliminary examination to complete their degree and they must complete their degree within eight years of the first course taken and listed on their program of study, including any transfer courses.
Guidelines for Satisfactory Academic Progress
Graduate students should undergo annual reviews within their academic unit to document and verify their progress and faculty expectations for them in attaining their degree. Students that do not meet the following guidelines for Satisfactory Academic Progress may be subject to dismissal by the academic degree-granting unit, contingent upon a joint review by the Department Head and Committee Chair. Dismissal of a student for lack of satisfactory academic progress requires that the student’s deficiencies are clearly documented and the potential dismissal documentation must be provided to the student for response. Once presented with the potential dismissal, the student must be allowed one academic semester to rectify inadequate progress. At the conclusion of that semester, the Committee Chair and Department Head must jointly concur that the student progress is either satisfactory for retention or that the student should be dismissed from the degree program. For the purposes of determining satisfactory progress, the student must demonstrate successful performance of their duties and completion rates under a specific timeline (specified in the proposed dismissal document). If the student cannot meet the maximum timeframe and completion rates below, they may receive a maximum of one 1-year extension of time to completion (specified in a document of retention), and only if the student holds academic standing to continue enrollment. Final decisions for dismissal or retention require agreement of both the Committee Chair and Department Head. Retention in the program requires that the Chair and Department Head document for the student all requirements for retention that clearly defines the path to successful degree completion within a specific time period. Retention requires that the student cannot drop or withdraw from any subsequent courses or enroll in coursework that is not identified in their Program of Study.
Students must graduate before attempting more than 150% of the hours required for their degree program (e.g. 45 hours for a 30-hour Master’s degree program or 108 hours for a 72-hour Doctoral program.) Repeated courses (up to 6 hours) will accrue hours only once for the purposes of this calculation. Courses dropped in the drop/add period will not be included in attempted hours or the maximum credit calculations. Hours accumulated in one graduate program will count toward the maximum timeframe should the student initiate a new graduate degree program without completing their initial graduate degree.
Students must have an academic standing that allows for continued enrollment (i.e. 3.000 GPA in their graduate coursework and any other specific requirements of the degree program).
Research or project outcomes
Students must demonstrate delivery of research or creative products in disciplines for which they are required to attain the graduate degree. Research activity in itself should not be confused with products and outcomes. For example, an approved research proposal, a thesis, a dissertation, peer-reviewed publications, external project reports, performances or professional presentations are outcomes whereas writing, conducting a literature review, attending meetings etc., although important, are research activity but are not outcomes.
Petitions and Appeals
The University of Wyoming, as a fully-accredited public institution of higher education, must comply with general laws, regulations, and principles of fairness, uniformity, and accountability. Exceptions to uniform application of general regulations are justified only in extraordinary circumstances. Exceptions to regulations may be petitioned by submitting the appropriate form to the Vice Provost of Graduation Education. Regardless of the signer’s recommendations, the Registrar may deny the exception. If the petition is denied by the Registrar, the student may elect to pursue the petition with the Provost.
The Graduate Student Appeals Board (GSAB) was established to provide an appellate body to review appeals of graduate students concerning retention in graduate programs, employment as graduate assistants, and charges of academic dishonesty or scientific misconduct. The GSAB members are faculty and graduate students from the Graduate Council and represent campus-wide disciplines. The GSAB will not hear appeals of course grades or charges of academic dishonesty associated with a course (these appeals will be handled by the procedures of the college in which the course is offered). Appeals emanating from Plan B, thesis, or dissertation research will be heard by the GSAB. The GSAB will hear appeals of course grades or charges of academic dishonesty associated with a research course (i.e. thesis, non-thesis, or dissertation research). Policies and procedures for graduate student appeals may be found on the U.W. Graduate Education website (http:// www.uwyo.edu/uwgrad/).
Steps Required for Degree Completion
Once a student enters a graduate program, it is critical to initiate a committee to guide course selection and the graduate program. Clear guidance from the department and the graduate committee, especially the committee chair, facilitate steady progress toward a graduate degree. A student’s graduate committee requires approval by the Department Head/Interdisciplinary Program Director, the College Dean (or VP for Graduate Education in the case of interdisciplinary programs), and the Vice Provost for Graduate Education. The committee functions to guide the student in coursework selection, the degree project construction, and in fulfilling the requirements to complete the degree.
It is the responsibility of the graduate student, in consultation with their major advisor (usually the Committee Chair) to form a viable committee within the first two semesters of their graduate program. The graduate committee must be on file with the Registrar before a Program of Study will be approved.
The committee will serve in an advisory capacity for development of the student’s coursework and research programs and must approve the official program of study form filed with the Office of the Registrar. The committee will also determine pass or fail on the preliminary examination, approve or disapprove the project, thesis, or dissertation documents, and will conduct the final examination.
Changes in committee membership or faculty assignments can be requested at any time by the student, in consultation with the Committee members and the department/division head. Committee changes require the written acknowledgement of faculty who are either added or removed from the committee, accomplished with the Change of Committee form.
Every committee must be designed to best support the student project or research, facilitate a timely and effective graduate program, and to document fulfillment of all requirements of the graduate degree sought; committees should be formed by the end of the student’s second semester. Committees are formed to guide the student and the research or project to ensure a rigorous and fair process. Students must weigh the expertise of the committee membership against the number of members they select, to insure good mentorship and to facilitate meeting function and effectiveness. More detailed information on committee formation is available on the Office of Graduate Education Policies page (www.uwo.edu/uwgrad/policies/).
The graduate committee consists of at least three members for master’s and Ed.D. and five members for doctoral degrees: the chair of the committee (the major professor) from the degree-granting department or division, an outside faculty member of a department or division other than the one awarding the degree, and additional required members. Committees that include a co-chair may indicate the co-chair as the third member.
Membership Roles on Graduate Committees-Required members:
All committees must include a majority of members from UW faculty. All members of a committee hold equivalent voting rights except when a tie vote occurs. In the case of tied votes the Chair, with the concurrence with the outside member will determine the outcome.
Chair- All committees will have at least one member from the degree-awarding department/division as chairperson. The chair should closely direct the student’s project or research and guide the student to form their graduate committee. In most cases, annually appointed academic faculty (temporary, visiting research professor and clinical professor) should not generally be chairs of graduate committees. The Chair guides timely progression of the student throughout their program and assessment of that progress.
Outside member- A critical committee member usually is a tenured faculty from outside the major department/division who serves as the Outside member. The outside member is defined as a tenured or tenure-track UW faculty member holding an appointment in a division or college other than the one from which the candidate will receive the degree. It is the role of the Outside member to assist the student, in consultation with the Chair to work to resolve any issues that may arise during the student’s graduate program. Their role lies in protection of fairness. The outside member also reviews the student and their graduate program to ensure academic rigor. The Outside member provides assessment of the graduate student’s learning and of the program rigor and fairness. Untenured tenure-track faculty members may serve as the Outside member if they have demonstrated experience mentoring graduate students and if the Committee Chair has no role in evaluation of the untenured faculty member.
Additional Required Members- a third faculty committee member (Masters and Ed.D.) and third and fourth required members (Ph.D.) can be selected from the student’s home department, program, or division, although discipline requirements differ. If there is a committee co-chair, they may be considered the third member on a master’s committee. The fifth member of doctoral committees may be an external member.
Added members- (members in addition to the required members on any committee). Additional members may be placed on a committee either from within or outside the department or program. Members of the UW faculty who are extended term with appropriate academic roles can serve. Additional faculty including annually appointed academic faculty, can be added to any committee for their expertise as desired. Students should be conservative in the total number of members on their committee.
Optional committee members:
Co-Chair- in some cases, two faculty may be closely directing the project and graduate student. In such cases, one may serve as a co-chair. A co-chair can be considered the third member on master’s committees.
External member- An individual with an off-campus affiliation may serve as an external member. The external member of the committee is a faculty member at a peer institution or an individual holding professional expertise that will contribute to the committee. Such an appointment assumes that the external member participates fully in the essential components of the degree-granting process and holds full voting privileges. Often, external Adjunct faculty serve as external members. The external member cannot replace the outside member.
Other members- Faculty members leaving UW more than a semester prior to the students intended date of completion must be replaced with a UW faculty member on the graduate committee to ensure effective mentoring. The departing faculty may remain on the committee as an external member
Program of Study
Following formation of the committee, each student must submit a program of study to the Office of the Registrar for approval. The Program of Study form details the minimum coursework and credits that will apply in fulfillment of the graduate degree. The program of study form is available online at, http://www.uwyo.edu/registrar/graduate_students/Graduate_Student_Forms.html.
The completed form should be returned with all required attachments to the Office of the Registrar. Degree Analysts will transcribe the program into a degree evaluation, which constitutes an agreement between the student, the student’s committee, and the university wherein the minimum coursework requirements for that student’s degree are listed. The program should be filed no later than the beginning of the student’s third semester (or second Summer Session if enrolling only in summers). No master’s student will be a candidate for a degree until his/her program is approved by the appropriate Department Head/Interdisciplinary Program Director and College Dean/Vice Provost. Master’s degree candidacy coincides with the approval of the program of study.
The program of study must include the minimum number of appropriate semester hours of graduate credit required by the degree granting unit. Some degree programs require more than the minimum hours of credit required by the university. Students must consult with their advisers and all departmental guidance documents including this catalog. It is the responsibility of the student to insure that their program of study complies with degree fulfillment requirements. Changes to an approved program must be submitted to the Registrar, using the Request for Change in Graduate Program form.
Language or Other Tool Requirements for Doctoral Candidates
The prospective Ph.D. student should refer to the specific department in which he/she desires to major to ascertain what languages or research tools are required. Certification of a language or tool, if required, will be made by the appropriate agency or department of the university to the Office of the Registrar when proficiency requirements have been met to fulfill the tool requirements. Students may demonstrate proficiency on a standardized language examination prepared by the Educational Testing Service, or by receiving at least a grade of B in a course (or courses) specified by a department on this campus or on a reading test administered by the department. It will be each student’s responsibility to see that certification of proficiency for tool requirements is made. Coursework certification may be made from transcripts filed by the student with the Office of the Registrar.
Examinations may be required of any graduate student or advanced-degree candidate at such time or of such nature as the department or the student’s graduate committee may require. It is standard procedure for doctoral students (Ph.D. and Ed.D. students) to be given a preliminary examination, and for final examinations to be conducted for both masters and doctoral students. It is common for the nature of these exams to differ from one academic unit to another.
Candidacy in the doctorate occurs upon certification of successful completion of the preliminary examination. The preliminary examination will be held at least 15 weeks prior to the final examination. The preliminary examination may not be given before: (a) the research tool requirements, if any, have been met and certification approved; (b) at least 30 hours of coursework have been completed; and (c) the doctoral program of study has been approved. The format and conduct of this examination shall be the responsibility of the student’s committee, in accordance with any departmental policies (see specific departmental guidelines).
Following the completion of the departmental preliminary examination, the Report on Preliminary Examination must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar, regardless of whether the student passed or failed. The favorable vote of the majority of the student’s graduate committee members, including the Chair and Outside member, will be accepted as passing. In case of failure, the student may repeat the examination once only, after 120 days have passed but not more than four semesters have elapsed. When the preliminary examination has been successfully completed, and the report of the committee is filed in the Office of the Registrar, the doctoral student is admitted to candidacy for the degree. At this time, the doctoral candidate has four years from the semester of the preliminary exam to complete the degree process.
Admission to Candidacy
Time spent in graduate study or accumulation of credit hours will not necessarily allow a student to become a candidate for an advanced degree. Admission to candidacy is an expression of the judgment of those who have observed the work and reviewed the credentials of the student, and deem the student worthy of the opportunity to complete the work for an advanced degree. Admission to candidacy for an advanced degree requires a specified procedure for specific degrees.
The final examination may not be held until after the beginning of the semester or session in which coursework is completed. The date, time, and place of the examination must be announced to the public a minimum of two weeks before the final examination is held. The committee may require the candidate to take a written examination as well as an oral examination. The thesis or dissertation document must be submitted to the candidate’s committee at least three weeks prior to the final exam. The thesis or dissertation must be available for inspection by any other member of the faculty who may wish to examine it.
The oral and/or written examination should be held by the student’s graduate committee at least 10 calendar days before the end of the term of graduation (last day of finals). A student failing his/her final examination may retake the examination once only in the following minimum of one and not more than three semesters to allow the student to address any deficiencies identified by the committee during the initial testing.
Following the student’s defense, the student will submit a signed Report on Final Examination form to the Office of the Registrar. The written vote of each member of a candidate’s committee must be on record in the Office of the Registrar on the Report of Final Examination form. Committee signatures must indicate that the majority of the committee approve recommendation of the student to receive the advanced degree. Any majority of committee member signatures on this form that includes both the Chair and the Outside member will be received by the Registrar as indication that the degree should be awarded. The form also provides documentation from the student’s committee that the student has passed the Final Examination/Defense and that the committee has approved the final version of the thesis or dissertation that will be publicly available. The Registrar requires the student to make the document publicly available via ProQuest. All students whose programs require a Thesis/Dissertation must submit the document to ProQuest before the last day of classes in the semester they plan to graduate. Once the final examination is passed and reported, a Degree Analyst will review the degree evaluation to verify that any discrepancies have been corrected, confirm that final grades on any remaining coursework have been posted, and that all required forms and documents have been submitted. Once all requirements have been met, the degree will be awarded.
Declaring a Graduation Date
An Anticipated Graduation Date form must be submitted for the semester in which graduation is planned. This form puts the student on the list for graduation. If graduation does not occur during the projected semester, the student must contact the Office of the Registrar to change their anticipated graduation date. Students who are entering their semester of graduation should:
- Log into WyoRecords to declare their Anticipated Graduation Date. Instructions are available on the Office of the Registrar’s page (http://www.uwyo.edu/registrar/graduate_students/Graduate_Student_Forms.html).
- Pay their associated graduation fee, which will appear as a charge on their account within a few days following submission in WyoRecords.
If discrepancies are found during the degree check, the Degree Analyst in the Office of the Registrar will contact the student/chair with instructions for resolution.
Final Steps in Completion of Degree Requirements
Thesis or Dissertation Documents
The candidate shall submit an electronic thesis or dissertation demonstrating the candidate’s ability to communicate the outcomes of their graduate program.
The master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation are integral components of graduate education. For many disciplines, publication of student research in peer- reviewed journals is a hallmark of successful graduate education that validates the scholarly results. The university encourages the use of published papers in the final document, subject to some guidelines.
Publications included within a thesis or dissertation must be must have been submitted for publication in scholarly peer-reviewed journals. The citation for any published papers must appear within the introductory chapter. The publications must be written by the student. Editorial oversight by the mentor and committee is desirable; however, the mentor and committee have the responsibility to ensure that the student is the main author of the thesis or dissertation. For multi-authored journal articles included in the thesis or dissertation, the contribution of each author must be clearly stated in the preface or introduction to the thesis or dissertation and in a footnote on the first page of the article. If more than one publication is included, the articles must be joined into a coherent whole, having a clear focus of inquiry. In addition to the journal papers, a thesis or dissertation must include comprehensive introduction and discussion chapters that unite the document and provide context for the journal papers. A thesis or dissertation is not evaluated relative to accumulated credit hours. The thesis or dissertation document and all appendices must be provided in an electronic format for upload into ProQuest following the format of standards established by the University Libraries, ProQuest Information and Learning.
Digitizing and ProQuest Upload Requirement
All graduate students accept as a condition of enrollment that completed theses and dissertations will be published through ProQuest Information and Learning. This involves a special fee. The appropriate form for submitting the thesis/dissertation is available when submitting the project electronically through ProQuest Information and Learning.
Survey of Earned Doctorates
The university requires the Survey of Earned Doctorates and the Report on Final Examination form be submitted on or before the last day of classes in the semester the student plans to graduate. The survey is available on the Office of the Registrar’s Graduate Student Forms page (http://www.uwyo.edu/registrar/graduate_students/Graduate_Student_Forms.html). All Ph.D. students must complete this survey.
Patenting or Copyright by UW
In some cases, where significant university funds or resources have been used in dissertation research, the university may claim an interest in patenting or copyrighting the results. When this seems likely, the student (or the student’s major professor) should consult with the college dean or the vice president for research.
Classified or Proprietary Research
The process of research in graduate education is one of free and open inquiry involving the student and faculty. Final examinations for graduate degrees are open to all faculty, and theses and dissertations are accessible to the public upon acceptance by the university unless embargoed as approved in advance.
For the purposes of this policy, classified research is defined as re- search that has a security classification established by a federal agency. Classified research projects also require approval of the trustees before being initiated. Classified research cannot be used for a thesis or dissertation.
Proprietary research is defined as research for which the sponsor requires a delay in publication. Given these clarifications, the following policies are used for theses and dissertations. Proprietary research may be used for theses and dissertations. However, any delay caused by the proprietary nature of the research must be alleviated before the thesis or dissertation is submitted to the Office of the Registrar. Such delays cannot exceed six months without the approval of the college dean. Delays greater than 12 months in length will be approved only in unusual circumstances unless embargoed as approved in advance by the college dean. Sponsors of proprietary research should be aware that theses and dissertations are accessible to the public upon acceptance.
An embargo on a thesis/dissertation is an intentional delay in the publication of its results. Because the university places high value on the open dissemination of knowledge and the professional advancement of its graduates, such embargos are strongly discouraged. Any embargo request must include compelling written justification and a proposed embargo period not to exceed one year. All embargo requests are subject to approval by U.W. Graduate Education. In cases where justification involves intellectual property or prior contractual agreement, embargo requests also require approval by the Office of Research and Economic Development.
Overview of Graduate Degrees Awarded
In all cases, graduate students should confirm the departmental guidelines for the degree they seek. The information presented here is intended to provide only a general overview of the graduate degrees. Individual colleges and departments may apply more rigorous requirements for their graduate degrees than the minimal requirements described here.
The standard master’s degrees are the Master of Arts (M.A.) and the Master of Science (M.S.). Generally, Master of Arts degrees are more common in the arts, humanities and social sciences, while Master of Science degrees are more common in the health, natural and physical sciences, business and engineering. The program of study includes a declaration that the student will pursue a particular project plan: either a Plan A thesis or a Plan B non-thesis. Once the program of study has been approved for a master’s student, the student advances to candidacy. The master’s program of study, whether a declared thesis or non-thesis project plan, must include a minimum of 30 hours of graduate credit.
A culminating defense is required for the Plan A and the Plan B master’s programs. The final defense is an essential component of all graduate degree programs.
The defense structure and format is flexible but it should allow opportunity for the student to demonstrate content comprehension and application, critical and quantitative analysis, creative thinking, problem solving, synthesis, and evaluation.
Following the defense, regardless of the outcome, the student will submit a Report of Final Examination form to the Office of the Registrar. This form is available at http://www.uwyo.edu/registrar/ students/graduate_student_forms.html.
Plan A Master’s
This program type must reflect a minimum of 26 hours of acceptable graduate coursework and four hours of Thesis Research credit (course number 5960; course number 5980 may also count). The Plan A thesis option accommodates original research, although the degree of originality and the definition thereof is sometimes program-specific. The planning, development, and production of the thesis is guided by the committee chair and the graduate committee.
The thesis is the final, written product of the project. General required guidelines for preparing a thesis are available in the “Thesis and Dissertation Format Guide.” The thesis must be submitted to the student’s committee at least three weeks before the intended date of final examination.
The electronic copy must meet the standards established by the faculty and those of the University Libraries. Each student normally submits at least three copies of his/her thesis: one for the thesis director, one for the department, and one to retain for personal use.
Plan B Master’s
The Plan B non-thesis program differs from the thesis program in that it includes additional hours of coursework instead of thesis hours. It permits a wider distribution of courses and permits a wider array of possible final products than the Plan A thesis program. The non-thesis project may take the form of a business plan or a professional portfolio. Each academic unit that engages in Plan B non-thesis activities often has its own set of principles that guide students in degree requirements. It is the responsibility of the student to consult with their committee chair to clarify specific guidelines for the Plan B Master’s degree in their discipline.
Most, but by no means all, of the academic units that have students pursuing master’s degrees in the Plan B non-thesis category have the students prepare a paper, or sometimes two papers, as their final project. In the selection of a subject and preparation of the paper(s), the student shall be guided by the committee, or adviser or, in some academic units, by the instructor(s) in charge of the course(s) connected to the paper(s). The paper(s) should present the results of study at a level of scholastic quality commensurate with a Plan A thesis project. The student and his or her adviser often, but not always, decide if a project will be Plan A or Plan B. Academic units have principles that guide students in this selection. Many units have rules that precisely dictate the type of program and project a student can conduct.
The format for the Plan B non-thesis paper should follow that of the Plan A thesis. However, Plan B non-thesis paper titles do not appear on the student’s transcript, whereas, Plan A thesis titles do. Plan B non-thesis papers are not filed in the University Libraries and they are not submitted to ProQuest. They are filed with the major academic unit.
Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) and Master of Science in Teaching (M.S.T.)
Candidates for the M.A.T. or the M.S.T. should have completed the requirements for teacher certification prior to application for admission to graduate study. The M.A.T./M.S.T. program is completely separate from State certification requirements. Hours used to meet certification requirements cannot be applied toward the M.A.T./M.S.T. degrees.
The M.A.T./M.S.T. degrees are only modifications of the Plan B non-thesis option and are subject to the requirements of the admitting department and the general requirements of the faculty.
At least 24 of the 30 semester hours required must be in a particular teaching area (e.g., chemistry, history), with at least 12 hours in one department. A student working jointly in two departments must take at least 12 hours from each department.
The M.S.T. is designed for one teaching area and must include 18 hours in, or the total required by, that area. A program designed for two teaching areas must include 12 hours in, or required by, each of the specified two areas. Courses offered by the Science and Mathematics Teaching Center do not constitute a separate area in themselves but may be applied to an appropriate area. A program designed for two teaching areas must be approved by the heads of both departments, and the graduate committee for this program must include one member from each department. The M.S.T. is intended for individuals teaching at the secondary level. The program should represent the student’s needs.
Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.)
The Master of Business Administration degree is offered to qualified students who wish to pursue a professional and highly applied degree program. Offerings include full-time, on-campus programs of study and part-time, online programs of study.
The U.W. M.B.A. program delivers professional management education that connects principles, concepts, and intense case analysis with real-world experience as tools for making business decisions. Students will develop leadership and managerial skills and will possess the education and training needed to compete in today’s rapidly changing global business environment. The total program experience, inside and outside the classroom, is designed to provide experiential learning along with access to powerful networks. Satisfactory completion of at least 47 semester hours and participation in all MBA activities are required. Please see the Master of Business Administration section for specific requirements (http://www.uwyo.edu/mba/).
Master of Music in Performance (M.M.)
The Master of Music in Performance (M.M.) is intended for the student who wishes to pursue a career as a performer, to prepare for doctoral study, or to improve his or her performance ability. Students must pass an entrance audition for admission to the program. The entrance audition should be performed the semester prior to admission. Graduate Placement Examinations in history and theory will be administered the week prior to the commencement of classes and will determine if a student may advance to graduate level coursework. Failure of one or more sections will require a refresher course in the fall (Graduate Fundamentals). Major area studies consist of courses appropriate to the student’s area of concentration. A minimum of 50% of courses taken must be deemed “graduate level only” (5000-level). Satisfactory completion of at least 30 semester hours and a Plan B paper or lecture-recital are required. Please see the Department of Music section for specific requirements (http://www.uwyo.edu/music/graduate_students/index.html).
Master of Music Education (M.M.E.)
The Master of Music Education is intended for those students who wish to improve their teaching abilities for the public school environment or to enable them to teach at the college and/or university level. Graduate Placement Examinations in history and theory will be administered the week prior to the commencement of classes and will determine if a student may advance to graduate level coursework. Satisfactory completion of at least 30 semester hours is required. Either Plan A (thesis) or Plan B (non-thesis) options are available. Please see the Department of Music section for specific requirements (http:// www.uwyo.edu/music/graduate_students/index.html).
Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.)
The M.P.A. degree is designed for both pre-career and mid-career students who seek leadership positions in public service. The program is designed to meet the needs of place-based working professionals through distance education technology, while full-time traditional graduate students can pursue their coursework in-person, on campus. At least three years of successful professional experience is required to be classified as “mid-career.” For traditional graduate applicants, an internship is required at some phase of their studies on campus. Satisfactory completion of at least 39 semester hours is required. Please see the Political Science section for specific requirements (http://www.uwyo.edu/mpa/index.html).
Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)
The Master of Social Work is designed to prepare graduate students for advanced level social work practice and leadership positions in human service organizations with an emphasis on social justice and anti-oppressive perspectives. The M.S.W. program is focused on an advanced generalist curriculum and rural social work that relies on the problem-solving method and is based on the values, knowledge, and skills of the profession. The M.S.W. is a full time, campus-based program that utilizes different course delivery methods to accommodate its widespread student population. Satisfactory completion of at least 69 credit hours for the standard two-year program and 38 credit hours for the advanced standing M.S.W. program is required. Either Plan A (thesis) or Plan B (non-thesis) options are available. Please see the Division of Social Work section for specific requirements (http:// www.uwyo.edu/socialwork/prospective-students/msw-admissions/).
Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.)
The Doctor of Nursing Practice degree is the terminal academic preparation for nursing practice. UW’s DNP program prepares family nurse practitioners (FNPs) and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNPs) to engage in evidence-based practice to optimize health outcomes and engage in leadership activities to promote excellence in rural health care. Both the FNP and PMHNP programs of study require 3 years of full-time study, which includes 84 credit hours and a minimum of 1140 clock hours of clinical practica experiences. During their final year in the program, students conduct a capstone quality improvement project in conjunction with a clinical agency. Please see the School of Nursing section for specific requirements (http://www.uwyo.edu/nursing/programs/DNP/index.html).
Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.)
The University of Wyoming School of Pharmacy offers a four-year program of study leading to the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree as the only entry-level professional degree in pharmacy. Students are admitted to the professional program following a preprofessional program of not less than two years in length with a total of at least 67 semester credit hours. The Doctor of Pharmacy degree requires satisfactory completion of 146 hours of coursework taken over a four-year period. Please see the School of Pharmacy section for specific requirements (http://www.uwyo.edu/pharmacy/doctor-of-pharmacy-program/index.html).
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
The degree of doctor of education (Ed.D.) is offered to competent students who wish to pursue a program of study and to participate in appropriate activities in preparation for professional service in teaching, administrative, and supervisory positions in education. The program is designed to meet the needs of those for whom intensive research is not a practical prerequisite to vocational goals. Doctoral students are expected to participate not only in organized coursework but also in informal types of activities that will insure breadth of outlook and technical competence.
Each student admitted into the Ed.D. program must furnish satisfactory evidence of having had three years of successful professional experience. This experience may be in teaching or administration or both. The student’s graduate committee will determine what experience shall be required and when this requirement has been satisfied.
At least 36 semester hours must be earned in the major field. The degree requires a minimum of 72 graduate hours (beyond the bachelor’s degree) to complete all requirements. In addition to the program of studies in organized coursework, the doctoral student will be required to complete and publicly defend an approved applied project report or dissertation within the major field of professional specialization. The project or dissertation can be a collaborative work conducted among multiple (typically two or three) graduate students in the same program area.
A student who has taken a major part of his/her undergraduate and graduate training at UW may be required by his/her graduate committee to do a specified portion of graduate work at some other institution. Please see the College of Education entry for specific requirements (http://www.uwyo.edu/education/current-students/graduate-education/index.html).
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
The doctor of philosophy degree does not represent a specified amount of work over a definite period of time but rather the attainment of independent and comprehensive scholarship in a particular field. Such scholarship will be manifest in a thorough acquaintance with present knowledge and a demonstrated capacity for research. The fulfilling of the following requirements suggests, therefore, only the minimum task one must undertake to earn the doctor of philosophy degree. No amount of time spent in graduate study or accumulation of credit hours entitles the student to become a candidate for this degree.
The program of study must include a minimum of 72 semester hours of credit at the 4000 level or above from UW or equivalent levels from another approved university. This 72-hour requirement may include graduate credits earned while working toward the master’s degree in the same area, but at least 42 hours (of the 72) must be earned in formal coursework. Additional credits toward the 72-hour requirement may include additional formal course credits, Dissertation Research credits (5980 course number; course number 5960 credits may also be applied), or Internship credits (5990 course numbers). The program of study must be on file in the Office of the Registrar before the preliminary examination can be scheduled.
QuickStart programs allow a qualified student to complete bachelor’s and master’s degrees in as little as five years. In addition to applying up to six hours of reserved graduate credit, approved QuickStart programs allow students to double-count up to six hours of 4000/5000-level coursework toward the bachelor’s and master’s degrees. QuickStart students only become classified as graduate students once they have completed all requirements of the bachelor’s degree, usually in year five.
When a student is not registered at UW for one or more years, without an approved leave of absence, the student is automatically reclassified as inactive and must reapply for admission.
Students wishing to pursue direct entry into a doctoral program following their bachelor’s degree
The requirements for entry into a doctoral program are determined by the departmental faculty. In some cases, students may enter a doctoral program without having attained a master’s degree. These decisions are made on an individual basis. Such students must fulfill all the requirements of a doctoral degree but may be limited in the number of graduate hours they hold in application to the 72 hour minimum. Careful planning with the graduate program and committee is needed to assure that the student makes clear progress to the degree. One consideration of the student is whether they will obtain a master’s degree on the way to the doctorate. If so, the student should be considered a master’s degree student until that degree is accomplished, or until the preliminary exam is passed. Once the preliminary exam is passed, the student may be considered a candidate for the doctoral degree, just as other students would. Students who do not hold a master’s degree cannot be considered a candidate for the doctoral degree until they have passed their preliminary exam.
New Parent Accommodation Policy
The University of Wyoming is dedicated to ensuring optimal success for all graduate students. However, new parents are frequently forced to interrupt their education cycle, sometimes in a transient manner but often permanently.
The New Parent Accommodation policy is designed to allow new parents to maintain full-time, registered student status and facilitate their return to full participation in graduate activities in a seamless manner without penalty. The policy applies to full-time students enrolled in a graduate program. If both members of the new parent partnership are UW graduate students, one but not both will be eligible for the full accommodation. However, the university encourages accommodation of schedules for exams, assignments and programs of study for the graduate student partner. This accommodation does not apply to part-time students.
A student anticipating becoming a new parent is eligible for accommodation consideration for a period of up to one semester. The exact accommodation period will begin on the date specified on the New Parent Accommodation petition approved by the college dean. This petition must be filed and approved prior to the actual date of childbirth or adoption. Additional information can be found at http://www.uwyo.edu/uwgrad/policies/.
Time spent in the armed services is not computed in the total time allowed to complete the requirements for an advanced degree; however, students who are eligible and wish to use this time exclusion must file the leave of absence petition.
Upon arriving at the University of Wyoming, international students are required to visit the International Students and Scholars (ISS) office. This office:
- Provides support and counsel for UW’s international students and scholars population regarding aspects of immigration regulations and procedures;
- orients this population to the policies and expectations of the university, the educational system, and the U.S. culture;
- hosts a mandatory orientation program for all new international students before the beginning of each semester.
Please see the ISS website for detailed information (https://www.uwyo.edu/iss/).
International graduate assistants with teaching responsibilities must demonstrate sufficient English Oral Proficiency (https://www.uwyo.edu/study-iep-esl/grad-ta-support/more_opi_information.html/).