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Project-based Master's Degree
Requirements for a Project-based Master's Degree
The Difference between Master's Degree with Thesis (Plan A) and Master's Degree with Project (Plan B)
The requirements for this plan follow those for Master's Degree with Thesis (Plan A) in matters of admission and language requirements. Unless otherwise specified by the program, a Master's Degree with Project (Plan B) student must pass either a final written examination or a final oral examination, or both, at the discretion of the graduate faculty in the major field. Plan B differs from Plan A in substituting for the thesis a heavier course requirement and special projects. For professional purposes, the project-based Master's degree program is less focused on research interests and more adapted to individuals who will profit from a broader range of knowledge in their fields. Whether taken for professional or personal purposes, the requirements for Plan B are meant to test interests and intellectual abilities at the same level as that of Plan A, but for a different purpose.
Admission to the Graduate School requires the specification of a major field. A Change of Status must be requested from The Graduate School for a subsequent change in major.
Official Degree Plan
Under Plan B, students must complete an approved program of coursework consisting of at least 30 graduate-level course credits, including Plan B Project credits as defined by each college. Normally, a majority of the program credits are in the major field. These are minimum credit requirements; some major fields require additional work. After completing 10 credits and ordinarily not later than the second semester of registration (the second year for longer programs), students must file an official Graduate Degree Plan with the Graduate School. Students list all coursework, completed and proposed, that will be used to fulfill degree requirements, including transfer work. If a foreign language is required, it is specified. The members of a student's final examining committee may be appointed only after the student's official degree plan is approved. A degree program approved by the Graduate School must be on file before graduation forms can be released to the student. Students who wish to complete a designated minor that will be certified on the transcript (a related-fields minor will not be certified on the transcript) must complete 6 or more semester credits in a single field. A designated minor must be approved by the director of graduate studies in the minor field.
If Plan B projects are required, these should take a combined minimum of 120 hours of effort on the part of the student. This requirement may be satisfied through papers written in conjunction with regular courses, papers written in specially designed courses, presentation of a studio show (art), or other appropriate methods. Students should consult their advisor or program director concerning the project's requirement. If one Plan B project is required, it must be in the major; additional projects may be in related field(s).
In cases where the student takes coursework beyond the minimum requirements, both the advisor and The Graduate School may demand comparable standards of performance for all work taken and, in evaluating and approving the minimum graduate degree plan submitted, may reject the minimum plan (and may terminate candidacy) if the GPA for the total number of courses taken falls below 2.800.
Changes in the Degree Plan
Once approved, the degree plan must be followed to meet graduation requirements. Alterations in the plan must be requested in advance by means of a Graduate School Petition. Committee member changes must be requested using the Assign/Update Examining Committee online process.
Candidates for the Master's Degree without Thesis must pass a final oral examination. A final written examination may also be required at the discretion of the graduate faculty in the major field.
The final examination covers the major and minor or related fields and may include other related work. This examination is coordinated by the chair of the student's examining committee. A majority vote of the committee, all members present and voting, is required for a pass. Results are reported to The Graduate School on a Final Examination Report, which is issued as part of the Graduation Packet. In case of failure, unanimous consent of the examining committee is required to retake the examination, providing the reexamination is conducted by the original committee.
Forms are provided for signed reports concerning the final written and/or oral examinations. All forms must be filed in the UMD Graduate School office by the last business day of the month in which the candidate intends to graduate.