Graduate Degree Requirements

Main Content

The following section describes Graduate School requirements and admission policies for the master’s and the doctoral degrees. For Graduate School procedures and regulations applicable to all graduate students, regardless of degree program, the student should consult the tab titled “General Regulations and Procedures”. For information about specific degree programs, the student should consult the degree program description.

Master's Degree Program

Admission

In order to be admitted to a degree program, an applicant must meet Graduate School admission requirements and be approved by the department or degree program concerned.

The Graduate School requires an applicant hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution or have completed all undergraduate degree requirements prior to the beginning of classes for the term for which admission is sought and have completed all undergraduate degree requirements.. The applicant must have earned a grade point average (GPA) of 2.70 or better (A = 4.00) on approximately the last 60 semester hours of undergraduate coursework. Applicants to master’s degree level study may be considered for admission with a transcript missing the last semester of bachelor’s work.

An applicant who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and whose GPA is below 2.70 may be admitted as a nondeclared student and may later apply to a degree program when 9 or more graduate semester hours of graded graduate work at SIU have been completed. A minimum GPA of 3.00 is required in courses for which grades of A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, F have been assigned. Please note that some U.S. citizens and permanent residents may be required to meet the Graduate School’s English language requirement.

Any applicant who has completed 9 or more semester hours of graded graduate work at an accredited U.S. educational institution, and who has a GPA of 3.00 or better on all graduate work, may be exempted from the 2.7 undergraduate grade point average requirement.

Any student with fewer than 9 hours of graduate work may be admitted to the Graduate School on the basis of undergraduate GPA only.

General Requirements

Graduate credit earned in graduate courses for which the student has received grades of A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, or S, and only such credit, is acceptable for master’s degree programs. At least 21 semester hours of graduate credit with grades of A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+ C, or C- must be earned in courses graded A through F. For accelerated master’s programs, these 21 hours can include the 9 hours of undergraduate course work that are being counted toward the Master’s degree. An overall grade point average of at least 3.00 in all graduate work is required before the degree can be awarded.

All graduate applications are required to have a decision made by the 10th day of the semester for which application was made. If a decision is not made by the 10th day of the semester for which application was made, applications will be withdrawn. The Graduate School requires a minimum of 30 semester hours of acceptable graduate credit for the master’s degree. Since certain degree programs require more than 30 hours, the student should consult the description of the appropriate program for specific requirements. No more than half of the credit applied toward fulfillment of the master’s degree requirements may be earned at other universities and transferred to SIU.

At least nine hours of credit must be earned after admission to the degree program.

In addition, at least 50% of degree hours must be earned in courses numbered 500 or above, and completed at SIU.

Students are not allowed admission into and cannot take courses in two different academic levels at the same time, unless admitted into an approved concurrent degree program.

Candidates for a master’s degree are required to pass a comprehensive examination covering all of their graduate work, including the thesis. This examination may be written or oral, or both, as determined by the student’s advisory committee.

Time Limits

A student has six calendar years to complete the degree. This time is calculated from initial enrollment to completion of all degree requirements including any document that must be approved by the Graduate School. This time limit includes courses taken either at SIU or elsewhere. All students must remain registered until completion of their degrees.  Additional information is available here.

Thesis

Each candidate for a master’s degree shall write a thesis except where a graduate program has been approved to provide some other arrangement, such as a research paper. The thesis shall be supervised by a committee of at least three members of the graduate faculty and may be counted for not more than six nor less than three semester hours of credit. Only members of the committee may vote or make recommendations concerning acceptance of the thesis and final examination. A student will be recommended for the degree only if the members of the committee, with at most one exception not to include the committee chair, judge both the thesis and the performance at the final oral examination to be satisfactory. In cases where a committee of more than three has been approved, the requirement of not more than one negative vote will still apply.

All students admitted in a graduate program must continuously enroll except for summer. The enrollment can be in classes or in Continuing Enrollment 601.

An electronic pdf version of the approved thesis must be presented to the Graduate School by the stated deadline date. There is a library fee, and if copyright is desired, an additional fee is required.

For non-thesis programs, a research paper should show evidence of the student’s knowledge of research techniques and should be based on a special project or specific courses as may be recommended by the advisory committee. An electronic copy of the research paper must be filed in the Graduate School by submission at Open SIU by the stated deadline date. Departments with a non-paper option for a master’s degree will have other requirements.

Double Major for a Master’s Degree

A student may earn a double major for a master’s degree if such a program of graduate study is commensurate with the student’s vocational and professional goals.

A student interested in pursuing a double major for a master’s degree must submit to the graduate dean the program of study endorsed by the chairperson of both of the cooperating units. The forms for submitting a double major program of study are available in the Graduate School Admissions Office, 1263 Lincoln Drive, Room 310 or online at gradschool.siu.edu/_ common/documents/DoubleMajor.pdf.

Requirements for a Double Major for a Master's Degree:

  1. The student must have been admitted to one master’s degree program.
  2. Each unit in which the student wishes to earn a major must have an approved master’s degree program.
  3. The chair of each unit must endorse the proposed program.
  4. The proposed program must specify the title of the degree which is to be awarded.
  5. The proposed program must be approved by the graduate dean.
  6. At least 18 semester hours must be earned for each major, and one-half of the required coursework for each major must be in courses numbered 500 or above.
  7. The minimum number of hours required for the double major must total 60 percent of the sum of the total required for the two majors individually.
  8. The thesis may be counted for not more than a combined total of six nor less than three semester hours of credit.

Second Master’s Degree

A student may earn a second master’s degree if the second degree is offered by an academic unit different from that of the first master’s degree. None of the hours used towards any previous degree will be allowed to count as a part of the total number of hours toward a second master’s, and all regulations shall apply to the second master’s degree exactly as they would if this were a first master’s degree.

Concurrent Master’s Degrees Program

A concurrent master’s degrees program permits students to be enrolled at the same time in two academic departments, which have an approved concurrent degrees arrangement with each other, and earn two master’s degrees.

Academic departments, upon approval of the Graduate Council, may establish a concurrent degrees program. Concurrent master’s degrees programs will only be approved if they can be shown to enhance graduate students’ educational experiences and professional opportunities. Furthermore, concurrent degrees programs must meet the following requirements:

  1. Students must obtain admission to both academic departments and must be formally admitted to the concurrent degrees program prior to completion of the master’s degree requirements for either of the participating academic departments.
  2. Students are required to complete all core requirements of each master’s program.
  3. Students are required to earn no less than 80 percent of the total number of semester hours required in the master’s degree programs of each of the participating academic units. A total of nine hours may be shared.

Concurrent Master’s Degrees Programs

  • Agribusiness Economics and Business Administration (M.S./M.B.A.)
  • Mass Communication and Media Arts and Business Administration (M.A./M.B.A.)
  • Health Education (MPH/PhD)

Concurrent Master’s and Law Degrees Programs

  • Accountancy and Law (J.D./M.Acc.)
  • Business Administration and Law (J.D./M.B.A.)
  • Educational Administration and Law (J.D./M.S.Ed.)
  • Electrical & Computer Engineering and Law (J.D./M.S.)
  • Higher Education and Law (J.D./M.S.Ed.)
  • Public Administration and Law (J.D./M.P.A.)
  • Social Work and Law (J.D./M.S.W.)

Concurrent Master’s and Medical Degree Program

  • Master’s of Public Health and Medical Degree (M.P.H./M.D.)

Summary of Master’s Degree Requirements

  • At least 30 hours of graduate credit, or the minimum number of hours required by the specific degree program.
  • Grade point average of at least 3.00.
  • At least 50% of degree hours must be earned in courses numbered 500 or above, which must be completed at SIU.
  • At least nine hours after admission to the degree program.
  • At least 21 hours of graduate coursework graded A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, or C-.
  • At least one-half of the required number of hours earned at SIU.
  • Courses to be applied to the degree taken within six years of conferring the degree.
  • Transfer credit taken at another institution or as a nondeclared student approved by the dean of the Graduate School.
  • Electronic submission of an approved thesis (pdf version) or an approved research paper (pdf version) (not applicable for M.B.A., M.Acc., or M.S.W. programs, and non-thesis options).
  • Comprehensive or oral examination.
  • Submission of program clearance form.
  • Registration in 601 Continuing Enrollment, as required.

Doctoral Degree Program

Admission

Admission to a doctoral program in the Graduate School normally requires a master’s degree or its equivalent, a grade point average in graduate work of at least 3.00, and acceptance by the academic unit offering the doctoral program. Faculty of a degree program-unit may add its own grade point average requirements (above the Graduate School minima) for admission to that particular program. Applicants to doctoral level study may be considered for admission with a transcript missing the last semester of master’s work. Current SIU Master’s students must be cleared for graduation before Matriculation into a doctoral program will be allowed.

Direct Entry into a Doctoral Program

Direct entry is possible into previously approved doctoral programs upon recommendation of the department and acceptance by the Graduate School. Applicants with exceptional research potential or outstanding academic preparation may have the option to enter a doctoral program after completion of a bachelor’s degree only. No previous course work at the graduate level is allowed. Students admitted via direct entry will not receive a master’s degree. The program must be approved for direct entry and the student must have at least a 3.00 GPA on approximately the last two years of undergraduate course work.

Accelerated Entry into a Doctoral Program – for SIU Graduate Students

Students currently enrolled in a master’s program at SIU may be considered for accelerated entry into previously approved doctoral programs, upon the recommendation of the department and acceptance by the Graduate School. At least one semester of course work must have been completed in a master’s program at SIU, and a minimum grade point average of at least 3.00 must have been earned in all graduate course work (this includes graduate course work completed at other institutions). Once approved for accelerated entry, students will not receive a master’s degree. Course work completed in a master’s degree program cannot be counted toward residency requirements for a doctoral program. All requests for accelerated entry must be processed by the Graduate School by the 10th day of the semester for which the student wishes to be accelerated.

Accelerated Entry into a Doctoral Program – for Non-SIU Graduate Students

Students enrolled in a master’s program at a U.S. educational institution other than SIU may also be considered for accelerated entry into previously approved doctoral programs, upon the recommendation of the department and acceptance by the Graduate School. At least one semester of course work must have been completed in a master’s program at another institution, and a minimum grade point average of at least 3.00 must have been earned in all graduate course work. Once approved for accelerated entry, students will not receive a master’s degree.

All requests for accelerated entry must be processed by the Graduate School by the 10th day of the semester for which the student wishes to be accelerated.


SIUC Programs with Direct Entry and Accelerated Entry
 

Program Direct Entry Accelerated Entry
Agricultural Sciences Yes Yes
Anthropology Yes Yes
Applied Physics Yes Yes
Business Administration Yes Yes
Chemistry Yes Yes
Communication Studies Yes No
Computer Science Yes Yes
Economics No Yes
Educational Administration & Higher Education Yes Yes
Electrical & Computer Engineering Yes Yes
Engineering Science No Yes
English No Yes
History Yes Yes
Math Yes Yes
Mass Communication & Media Arts No Yes
Mechanical Engineering No Yes
Molecular Biology, Microbiology, and Biochemistry Yes Yes
Molecular, Cellular and Systemic Physiology Yes Yes
Pharmacology & Neuroscience Yes Yes
Philosophy Yes Yes
Plant Biology Yes Yes
Political Science Yes Yes
Psychology No Yes
Rehabilitation Yes Yes
Sociology Yes Yes
Zoology Yes Yes

General Requirements

The doctoral degree is awarded for high accomplishment in a particular discipline or a recognized interdisciplinary area, as measured by the student’s ability to pass the preliminary examination for admission to candidacy, meet the research tool requirement of the program, perform a piece of original research, present the results in proper form in a dissertation, and defend the dissertation before a faculty committee. Except for the hours required to meet residency and required 24 hours of dissertation, there is no Graduate School requirement that a certain number of semester hours be taken for the doctorate although some degree programs do require a certain number of semester hours. Graduate work completed at another institution may be eligible for transfer to the student’s doctoral program, subject to Graduate School regulations regarding transfer of credit and acceptance by the student’s major department. Transfer credit cannot be applied toward residency.

No doctoral level residence-credit program may be established off campus, although coursework involved in a doctoral program may be taken at an off-campus residence center provided that the full, normal requirement of residence on campus at SIU is met under the usual Graduate School standards for doctoral programs. However, established cooperative programs with SIU Carbondale and SIU Edwardsville permit students to be enrolled in courses and earn credits either at SIU Carbondale or SIU Edwardsville.

Preliminary Examination

The student will generally prepare for this examination through independent study and coursework, as advised by the faculty of the doctoral program. The examination is given to determine the breadth and depth of the student’s knowledge within the discipline. The particular form and content of the examination are determined by the faculty of each of the doctoral programs. The student will be permitted to take the preliminary examination at the discretion of the department, after having completed two years of full-time study or its equivalent beyond the baccalaureate.

Research Tool Requirement

The doctorate at SIU is a research-oriented degree. The research tool requirement is intended to be an integral part of the student’s program. Since research materials, problems, and techniques vary from discipline to discipline, the details of the research tool requirement are determined by the faculty of each of the doctoral programs.

Residency

The residency requirement for the doctorate must be fulfilled after admission to the doctoral program and before formal admission to doctoral candidacy. The residency requirement is satisfied by completion of 24 semester hours of graduate credit on campus as a doctoral student within a period not to exceed four calendar years. No more than six hours of deferred dissertation credit may be applied toward fulfillment of the 24 semester hours residency requirement. No doctoral student should be permitted to sign up for more than six hours of dissertation until candidacy has been achieved. Any dissertation hours registered for above the six permitted prior to candidacy will not be counted toward completion of the doctoral degree. Credit earned in concentrated courses or workshops may apply toward fulfillment of the residency requirements if the student is concurrently registered for a course spanning the full term. No more than six semester hours of short course or workshop credit may be applied to the 24 semester hours residency requirement.

Admission to Candidacy

Admission to candidacy is granted by the dean of the Graduate School upon recommendation of the faculty responsible for the student’s program, after the student has fulfilled the residency requirement for the doctoral degree, passed the preliminary examination, and met the research tool requirement of the program. The doctoral degree may not be conferred less than six months after admission to candidacy, except upon approval of the dean of the Graduate School. The candidate must fulfill all requirements for the degree within a five-year period after admission to candidacy. If completion of requirements is delayed beyond five years, a student may be required to take another preliminary examination and be admitted to candidacy a second time. All candidates must remain registered until completion of their degree. See section “Continuing Enrollment Requirement”.

Dissertation

After being admitted to candidacy, the student must complete a dissertation showing that the student is capable of independent research or other creative effort. A successful dissertation usually represents the most extensive and intensive scholarly work the student has performed to date. Completing the dissertation will lead the student up to the cutting edge of research (however defined by the discipline) conducted at that time in his or her field of research. A dissertation must address a significant question and demonstrate that its author can interpret findings and formulate conclusions that are the result of independent thinking and sustained evaluation of source materials. These findings must be expressed in clear and grammatical language that is well organized into cogent and coherent argument. A dissertation that contains the student’s published or in press manuscripts, or excerpts from these manuscripts, shall, in the preface, describe these materials and their contribution to the dissertation. In the case of multi-authored manuscripts, the student’s contribution to each such manuscript must be clearly delineated in the preface and attested in a separate statement by the chair of the dissertation committee addressed to the Graduate School. The dissertation shall be supervised by a faculty committee which has been approved by the dean of the Graduate School. This committee shall consist of five or more graduate faculty members, at least one of whom shall be from a graduate program outside the student’s academic unit. The student’s academic unit shall be understood to mean the department (or equivalent units) and any member outside the department is eligible to serve as the outside member providing that the department and the graduate dean agree.

While working on the dissertation, the student must register for the course numbered 600. The student is to devote at least one academic year of full-time work to complete the dissertation and will register for 24 semester hours of dissertation credit, for example, 12 hours for each of two terms.

Students who have registered for 24 semester hours of dissertation credit and have not completed the doctoral dissertation are subject to the continuing enrollment requirement described within the tab titled “General Regulations and Procedures”.

Publication of the doctoral dissertation to insure its availability to the scholarly community is considered an integral part of the process of doctoral education. Students must submit their dissertations electronically (pdf) to ProQuest for publishing. An abstract of the dissertation will be published in Dissertation Abstracts International.

The student must submit electronically a pdf version of the dissertation acceptable to the Graduate School, along with an abstract. There is a library fee for binding. If copyright is desired, an additional fee will be required. The Survey of Earned Doctorates is completed and submitted online.

The abstract will be published in the current Dissertation Abstracts International and the dissertation will be cited in American Doctoral Dissertations and Comprehensive Dissertation Index. A copy of the dissertation will be placed in the Library of Congress archives. This service assures the student that the dissertation will be available to other researchers at no further personal expense to the student. 

If the student elects to use the copyright service, copyright will be obtained in the student’s name. Publication rights, other than for reproduction in microform or from microform, are the student’s to assign to any publisher at any time. In addition, arrangements can sometimes be made for University Microfilms to publish a small edition of the dissertation.

Final Examination/Oral Defense

There will be a final oral examination administered by the student’s doctoral dissertation committee. The examination will cover the subject of the dissertation and other matters related to the discipline. Any member of the graduate faculty may attend the final oral examination and may participate in questioning and discussion, subject to reasonable limitations imposed by the chairperson of the committee, but only members of the committee may vote or make recommendations concerning acceptance of the dissertation and final examination. A student will be recommended for the degree only if the members of the committee, with at most one exception, judge both the dissertation and the performance at the final oral examination to be satisfactory. In cases where a committee of more than five members has been approved, the requirement of not more than one negative vote will still apply.

Interdisciplinary Doctor of Philosophy Programs

These guidelines provide for interdisciplinary doctoral programs for a limited number of students whose educational requirements can be met by existing resources, but not exclusively by any one of the University’s constituent units. Interdisciplinary doctoral programs will be instituted in response to the particular academic interest of individual students, not as programs of a permanent nature. The procedures and criteria given below govern the authorization and control of interdisciplinary doctoral programs:

  1. After admission to an established doctoral program at SIU and upon the recommendation of the chairperson or adviser of that program, a student may apply for an interdisciplinary doctoral program to the dean of the Graduate School.
  2. The dean of the Graduate School will apply the following criteria in deciding whether a program committee should be established to consider the proposed interdisciplinary doctoral program.
    a. The requisite staff must be available.
    b. The library holdings must be adequate without unreasonable additions.
    c. The program must lie within the recognized disciplines or fields of study, at least one of which offers the doctoral program.
  3. If the dean of the Graduate School is satisfied that the proposed program satisfies these criteria, the dean shall form a special program committee of five members, at least three of whom shall be from units offering the doctorate.
  4. If the committee approves the proposed program, a plan of study shall be developed that includes the following elements:
    a. Fields or areas of study
    b. Required courses
    c. Languages or other research tool requirements
    d. Dissertation subject
    e. Preliminary examination
  5. The program as approved by the committee and accepted for principal sponsorship by a unit with an approved doctoral program shall be submitted to the dean of the Graduate School. Upon final approval the student’s program shall have the same binding effect upon the Graduate School as programs printed in the graduate catalog. The degree earned shall carry the title of the doctoral unit that has assumed principal sponsorship. The commencement program shall give specific indication that the degree is interdisciplinary and include a listing of those units that are substantively involved in addition to the principal sponsoring unit, as determined by the graduate dean.
  6. When the committee has certified all the required performances, including the results of examinations, the committee shall be dissolved.

Concurrent Doctoral and Law Degrees Programs

Political Science and Law (J.D./Ph.D.)

Cooperative Doctoral Degree Programs between SIU Carbondale and SIU Edwardsville

A cooperative doctoral program between SIU Carbondale and SIU Edwardsville permits classified graduate students to be enrolled in certain designated courses at either SIU Carbondale or SIU Edwardsville and earn credit in partial fulfillment of the doctoral degree requirements at SIU Carbondale. The following SIU Carbondale doctoral programs have approved cooperative agreements with SIU Edwardsville:

  • Educational Administration Ph.D.
  • Engineering Science Ph.D.
  • Historical Studies Ph.D.
  • Computer Science Ph.D.
  • Environmental Resources and Policy Ph.D

Summary of Doctoral Degree Requirements

  • Achievement of a grade point average of at least 3.00.
  • Completion of any specific courses required by the doctoral program.
  • Fulfillment of the residency requirement.
  • Completion of the research tool required by the doctoral program.
  • Passing of the preliminary examination.
  • Admission to candidacy
  • Completion of an approved dissertation with 24 hours of dissertation credit.
  • Oral defense of dissertation.
  • Electronic submission of dissertation (pdf version) to the Graduate School.
  • Completion of Survey of Earned Doctorates.
  • Degree conferred not less than six months nor more than five years after admission to candidacy.
  • Submission of program clearance form.
  • Registration in 601 Continuing Enrollment, as required.