General Procedures for the Master's Program
Master's students generally advance according to the following steps:
- Check with the NDSU Graduate School to make sure you have been formally accepted into the graduate program.
- After you have competed 9-12 credits (generally spring semester of your first year if you are a full-time student): Select an advisor or have one appointed to you by the director of the master's program. Faculty members are not required to honor a request to serve as a student's advisor. Note: at the graduate level, those enrolled in six to nine credits are considered to be full-time students.
- With your advisor: select your committee members. Work with your advisor to select faculty best able to offer you help in your interest area. The committee comprises your advisor, two communication faculty holding Ph.D. degrees, and a graduate faculty member from outside the communication department. The outside member is appointed by the graduate school, but you may request a specific individual from another department. Your advisor will send a memorandum with your request to the graduate school.
- Submit your completed plan of study form to the director of the master's program. Generally this is completed during your third semester of full-time study. The plan of study includes a list of all courses you have completed and intend to complete for your master's degree. Students who elect to take primarily or solely online courses should indicate this by writing "Online Program" in the program option blank. This form must be signed by you, your advisor, all committee members except the outside member, the chair of the communication department, the dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the dean of the graduate school. The director of the master's program will obtain signatures from the chair and deans. Your outside committee member cannot sign the program of study form until he or she is appointed by the dean of the graduate school. This happens only after your program of study is approved. Until then, the graduate appointee section is left blank.
- Write your prospectus, and submit it to your advisor for approval. Schedule a prospectus meeting with your committee. Meet with your committee and present your prospectus. The graduate school requires you to complete your prospectus meeting at least one semester before defending your thesis/disquisition.
- Write your disquisition under the close supervision of your advisor. Generally this is completed during your last semester of full-time study. Note that you cannot defend your disquisition until you have your advisor's approval. The department recommends that you do not rush through your project for extrinsic reasons such as job interviews or promotions.
- Your advisor may wish to have you meet with a proofreader approved by the graduate school before or after the defense of your disquisition.
- Schedule your disquisition defense with the graduate school. To do so, you will need to obtain a "Request to Schedule Examination" form from the graduate school web site. Typically, the defense must be scheduled at least two weeks before commencement if you wish to participate in graduate ceremonies. You cannot officially schedule your defense unless you are given approval from the Graduate School and the Registrar based on submitting this form.
- When your final defense is officially scheduled, you will receive two forms from the graduate school. The first is entitled "Report of Final Examination." The second is the official title page of your thesis. It includes spaces for the signatures of your committee members and your department chair.
- Defend your disquisition.
- When your committee passes your disquisition, they will sign the "Report of Final Examination" form. Take this form to the graduate school immediately following your defense. If you have been asked to make changes in the disquisition, committee members will sometimes wait to sign the official title page until they can review the changes. It is also possible that the committee will instead ask the advisor to see that all changes are made. If so, they may sign the official title page at the defense.
- Work with your advisor to make all changes recommended by your committee. Once your advisor has approved your disquisition and the committee has signed the official title page, the communication department chair must approve your disquisition, signing a line on the official title page.
- Take one copy of your disquisition with all signatures on the official title page to the graduate school. This copy should be free of any format or grammatical problems. You may wish to have a proofreader who has been approved the graduate school review your disquisition before you deliver a copy to the graduate school. You must go to a proofreader is your advisor insists. You are responsible for the proofreading cost.
- The graduate school will review your disquisition. If reviewers find any problems, they will return the manuscript to you and/or your advisor with a note explaining the problems. A copy of the note may also be sent to the communication department chair and to the college dean. You or your advisor may also be asked to discuss the problems with the dean of the graduate school.
- Once the graduate school approves your disquisition, you will be asked to make the required number of final copies on an approved paper stock. You will also be charged a binding fee by the library. Specific physical requirements are described in the university's Guidelines for Disquisitions handbook. After the graduate school approves these copies, you may officially obtain your degree. Note: you must be enrolled for at least one graduate credit during the semester in which your disquisition receives final approval.