General Requirements

A minimum of 30 credits, including 20-24 course credits and 6-10 research credits, and successful defend of an MS thesis are required for an MS degree. In general, undergraduate course credits cannot be used toward an MS degree, unless the undergraduate course is requested by the advisor and/or advisory committee. Use of undergraduate course credits for graduate degrees needs approval by the Program Director and Senior Associate Dean.


A written thesis is required for each MS degree. This is usually a paper describing research accomplished. In certain situations, it can be substituted with a critical review of a topic approved by the student's thesis committee. Thesis defense will be an oral examination, on the topic of the thesis, to be conducted by the thesis committee.

The thesis committee consists of at least three faculty members: two are to be members of the PIB program, and one is to be from another graduate program. The committee is to be chosen by the student in consultation with the advisor, and needs approval by the Program Director.

Unanimous approval of both the thesis and oral defense is required for award of the degree. The student may request a waiver of the oral thesis defense for good reason such as having moved to another geographic area that becomes too difficult for the student to return to defend. The student must request this waiver by writing a letter to the Program Director and the advisor; approval by both is needed for the waiver.