Master of Science Program Requirements
Master of Science programs at SDSM&T may offer 2 options by which a student may complete the requirements for a degree. They are the thesis option and the non-thesis option. See individual program descriptions for details.
M.S. candidates already holding graduate credits from another institution may apply to transfer them to SDSM&T under terms of the policy described in “Transferring Credits from Outside Institutions”. Note that additional information regarding limitations on coursework that may be applied toward the degree can be found in other sections of the catalog. Note that additional information regarding limitations on coursework that may be applied toward the degree can be found in other sections of the catalog.
Research credit may be applied toward the fulfillment of credit-hour requirements used toward the advanced degree. Research credits are defined as either doctoral dissertation credits (898), doctoral non-dissertation research credits (888), master’s thesis credits (798), or master’s non-thesis research credits (788). All other credits are course credits. Elective credits are “course credits”.
Thesis Option Requirements
The M.S. degree minimum requirements for the thesis option are:
- a program of at least 30 combined credit hours of coursework and research,
- at least 15 credit hours of graduate coursework approved by the program (500 level courses and above),
- at least 6 credit hours of thesis research and no more than 12 credit hours of thesis research, (However, the student may register for additional research credits for continuing registration purposes.)
- a thesis that conforms to standard American English style and usage,
- successfully defending the thesis,
- meeting or exceeding academic standards prescribed elsewhere in this catalog, including maintaining at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA.
Thesis Submission Requirements
The thesis should represent an effort of such quality and construction that it can be displayed in the school library with similar scholarly works, as well as providing material for publication(s) in an appropriate professional journal(s). In lieu of the conventional thesis format, the thesis can consist of a compilation of published and/or submitted journal manuscripts that are derived from the student’s research and are either authored or co-authored by the student. Theses submitted in this form must have an introduction and conclusion to tie the journal papers into a cohesive research paper. The final thesis must be accompanied by an abstract of 250 to 300 words and vitae of the student. Detailed instructions on the format, requirements and completion of a thesis or dissertation can be found on the website of the Office of Graduate Education.
The thesis is written under the direction of the major professor, but the student should seek guidance from all members of the graduate student advisory committee. Before starting to write the thesis, the student is urged to review the document titled “Instructions for the Preparation of Theses and Dissertations” on the graduate education website and to consult style manuals online or in the SDSM&T Devereaux Library. In general, the thesis may follow the style of captions, footnotes, and bibliographical references used by the leading technical journal in the student’s field.
A final draft of the thesis, which must include all components, including title page, abstract, vita, references, etc., should be submitted by the student to each member of the graduate student advisory committee a minimum of 2 full weeks before the time and date of the student’s scheduled defense. Final drafts must be complete, including all required components or the defense cannot be held. Earlier submission deadlines may be required by the graduate student advisory committee.
The graduate student’s committee-approved draft of the thesis must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Education by the published deadline (approximately 2 weeks before graduation) to allow adequate time for grammatical review, corrections and revisions. This draft of the thesis, after all revisions recommended by the committee have been made, must be signed by the author and approved, signed, and dated by all committee members, the department head/program coordinator of the student’s major department/program, and the dean of graduate education before any copies are made for final reproduction.
The institution requires one electronic copy and 2 paper copies (the original unbound manuscript and one bound copy) of the thesis to be kept in the Devereaux Library. Additional copies may be required by the student’s program or department.
The dissemination of a thesis may be temporarily restricted due to legal or proprietary issues (ITAR, EAR, FAC, proprietary, or otherwise restricted information). A restricted thesis requires approval by the dean of graduate education and the graduate student advisory committee prior to the defense. Attendance at the defense will also be restricted. The hard copies and digital version(s) of the restricted document will not be released until the end of the specified period, which may not exceed 3 calendar years.
Thesis Defense Requirements
A student pursuing the thesis option must defend the thesis in an oral examination. The defense is open to the public except in the case of a restricted thesis (see the Thesis Submission Requirements section above). The thesis defense will be scheduled at any time after the student has completed the required coursework and after the graduate student advisory committee is satisfied that the draft thesis is an acceptable manuscript, in terms of technical quality, completeness, and proper expression and usage in American Standard English. The thesis defense may not be scheduled during the period of university final examinations. Under no circumstances should a defense go forward if the draft thesis is incomplete. The final coursework examination and thesis research defense may be combined (see the Final Examination section below).
The student shall obtain and complete the appropriate form to schedule the final examination and/or thesis defense and, in conjunction with the major professor, shall seek the approval of all committee members and file the form with the Office of Graduate Education no less than 5 working days before the exam. The Office of Graduate Education will announce this information to the campus community.
The student’s committee constitutes the examining board for the thesis defense. The major professor will head the session. The major professor is responsible for ensuring that a majority of the committee is present. The graduate representative must be physically present for the defense to go forward. The defense will not be held if these conditions cannot be met. A negative vote by any 2 or more members of the student’s committee will signify failure of the defense, pending review by the graduate student advisory committee and the dean of graduate education.
Results of all written or oral examinations will be attested to by all committee members on a form furnished to the graduate representative by the Office of Graduate Education. Results must be returned to the Office of Graduation immediately following the exam by the graduate representative or other committee member to ensure chain of custody. If the student fails to satisfy the examiners on either coursework or thesis, written or oral examinations, the committee may schedule a re-examination over general background, thesis, or both. The re-examination will be scheduled at the discretion of the graduate student advisory committee, normally 8 to 12 weeks after the date of the first examination. The student may petition his or her committee for re-examination prior to the 8 week limit.
Non-thesis Option Requirements
Students enrolled in a non-thesis program may have the option of completing a non-thesis research project or taking additional course credits in place of the research project credits. The latter option is often referred to as a coursework only option and is common in professional degree programs. Students electing a non-thesis program should check with their program or department to determine which non-thesis options are available to them.
The minimum requirements for the non-thesis M.S. degree option are:
- a program of at least 30 credit hours of coursework (refer to specific program requirements for exact number of minimum coursework credit hours),
- at least 20 credit hours of graduate level coursework approved by the program (500 and above),
- a maximum of 6 credits of non-thesis research project,
- meeting or exceeding academic standards prescribed elsewhere in this catalog, including maintaining at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA.
Accelerated M.S. Option Requirements
The accelerated master’s program enables a student to complete both the B.S. and M.S. degrees in as little as 5 years. Up to 12 credits applied toward the B.S. program may be used to satisfy graduate credit requirements. See individual programs for the number of credits allowed by the program. Additional requirements apply; please see the section titled Accelerated Master’s Programs for further information.
A master of science student may be required by his or her program to take a final examination covering course material as a requirement for the degree. The examination may be written, oral, or both. All graduate student committee members must be given the opportunity for input to, and evaluation of, a final examination.
A student pursuing the thesis option must also defend the thesis in an oral examination. The final examination and thesis defense may be combined. Oral examinations, including a thesis defense, are open to all interested faculty members, except in the case of a restricted thesis (see the Thesis Submission Requirements section above). Departmental or program policy shall determine whether non-faculty persons may attend an oral non-thesis or coursework examination.
The process for scheduling a final examination and the policies governing the examination process are described in the Thesis Defense Requirements section above.
M.S. Participation in Commencement
A student must apply to graduate by completing the application for graduation form on the graduate education website and must meet the program requirements before the degree is awarded. The application for graduation form also serves as a request to participate in the commencement ceremonies. In general, for each degree earned, a student is allowed and encouraged to participate in commencement once and have his or her name in the commencement program once. Note that participation in the commencement ceremony does not equate to the conferring of a degree. The degree is conferred when all requirements are met and the release of diploma process is completed.
The names of all students who have completed the requirements for graduation by the designated spring semester deadline will be included in the spring commencement program, and students who have completed the requirements by the designated fall semester deadline will be included in the fall commencement program. M.S. students who will complete their degree requirements in the summer term will be listed in the fall commencement program and are eligible to participate in the fall commencement ceremony. The student’s name will appear in the program in the semester of completion whether the student is participating in the ceremony or not.
M.S. students who have substantially completed the degree requirements but will not meet the related spring or fall semester deadlines may petition the dean of graduate education to participate in commencement. Summer graduates who meet the below requirements may petition the dean of graduate education to participate in the spring commencement. The appropriate form is available on the website. An approved petition does not grant a waiver of registration requirements; students with an approved petition will be required to register during the semester of graduation (see section titled Minimum Academic Load ).
Requests for M.S. students to participate in commencement prior to degree completion are typically only granted if:
- For the thesis option, the student has completed all of the research for the thesis topic, and has substantially completed the writing of major portions of the thesis,
- For the non-thesis option, the student has completed all research associated with their project, if any, and has substantially completed the writing for that project (if any).
- For the Spring commencement, the student has an agreed upon tentative defense date that is approved by the student’s major professor and committee and that is at least three weeks prior to the end of the summer semester..
- For the Fall commencement, the student has an agreed upon tentative defense date that is approved by the student’s major professor and the committee and that is within approximately 30 days of the commencement ceremony.
- The student has completed all of the courses necessary for the degree.
A student who wishes to participate in a commencement ceremony later than the semester in which the degree is completed must notify the Office of Graduate Education of his or her intent prior to the end of the semester in which the degree requirements are met. In general, a student is allowed to participate in a commencement ceremony within one year of completing the requirements for the degree.
Time Limitation for M.S. Degree
A master of science degree program must be completed within 5 calendar years dating from the student’s formal entrance into a degree seeking program. In exceptional circumstances, students may petition the dean of graduate education for an extension to the 5 year time limit. Courses taken by the student at any institution that may be credited to the degree program and that were taken more than 5 years prior to the date of anticipated graduation must be reviewed by the student’s major department/program and the dean of graduate education for possible acceptance. Following this review, the student’s major department/program and the dean of graduate education will determine whether a reduction in credits applicable toward the degree, a re-examination, or both, is required for the student to complete his or her degree program. The applicable forms are available at the graduate education website.
A student who is granted a leave of absence (see section titled Leave of Absence ) will not be subject to continuing registration, and the leave of absence will not count toward the time limits to complete his or her program of study.
Master of Engineering, M.Eng.
The Master of Engineering program at SDSM&T is a course-based professional master’s degree program. The Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) program builds upon the undergraduate engineering degree as a ‘capstone’ sequence composed of advanced engineering discipline courses and applied management and leadership courses. The M. Eng. degree is a coursework-only professional program with a substantive management component for engineers employed in or preparing to enter technical management roles in business and industry.
Degree requirements: The program requires 30 credits for graduation, of which15-24 credits of engineering content must be selected from one of three available technical emphasis areas in either Civil & Environmental Engineering (CEE), Electrical Engineering (EE), and Materials Engineering & Science (MES). The remaining 6-15 credits must be management courses that complement the student’s professional goals. All courses must be approved in advance by the program coordinator of the student’s emphasis area. A thesis or final examination is not required. A project report is optional.
Technical Emphasis area courses 15 credits
Management courses 6 credits
Technical or Management courses 9 credits
Total course credits 30 credits