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University of Nevada, Reno    
 
    
 
  Jul 21, 2017
 
University General Course Catalog 2012-2013 ARCHIVED CATALOG: LINKS AND CONTENT ARE OUT OF DATE. CHECK WITH YOUR ADVISOR.

Graduate School


Marsha Read, Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School
Student Service Building, Room 225
(775) 784-6869
gradschool@unr.edu
http://www.unr.edu/grad/

History of the Graduate School

Graduate-level training and research is a vital function of the University of Nevada, Reno. Post-baccalaureate study has been offered at the university since 1887, and the university awarded its first advanced degree in 1903. The activities of the graduate faculty and students in research and scholarship reinforce the mission of this land-grant university.

To fulfill the university’s missions in education, research and public service, the graduate faculty encourages students to develop the skills of intellectual inquiry and critical analysis. It trains them in both the disciplinary and interdisciplinary skills necessary for problem solving, and fosters a dedication to creative thought and the search for knowledge.

Today’s Graduate School

The campus now has over 3000 graduate students out of a total enrollment of 16,000 students. The university has emerged as a first-class doctoral granting university. It offers a wide range of graduate programs, including selected doctoral and professional studies, which emphasize those programs and activities that best serve the needs of the citizens of the state, region, and nation.

Advanced Degrees and Majors

Supported by a variety of research centers and institutes, research services and library holdings, the university offers graduate study leading to the advanced degrees of:

  • Master of Accountancy (M.Acc),
  • Master of Arts (M.A.),
  • Master of Arts for the Teaching of History (M.A.T.H.),
  • Master of Arts for the Teaching of Mathematics (M.A.T.M.),
  • Master of Business Administration (M.B.A),
  • Master of Education (M.Ed.),
  • Master of Fine Art (M.F.A.),
  • Master of Judicial Studies (M.J.S),
  • Master of Justice Management (M.J.M.),
  • Master of Music (M.M.),
  • Master of Public Administration (M.P.A),
  • Master of Public Health (M.P.H),
  • Master of Nursing/Public Health (N.P.H.),
  • Master of Science (M.S.),
  • Master of Social Work (M.S.W.), and
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.).

In addition, certain professional degrees are granted in engineering, medicine and mines.

Master’s degree programs require proficiency in the area of specialization as evidenced through advanced course work and scholarship endeavors via a thesis or a professional paper. The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree is conferred for work of distinction, in which the student displays original scholarship and achievement.

Fellowship Policies

A fellowship is analogous to a scholarship.  It is a financial award that is generally granted on either a merit or need basis.  National data suggest that students on fellowships may not receive the same level of “informal” advising that occurs when students are in contact with faculty outside of the class setting (such as the work setting associated with assistantships).  This in turn could affect the degree to which the student feels connected to and integrated into the department/program.  Likewise, the student who feels isolated from the program is less apt to complete the degree and/or if they do complete is apt to take longer to complete the degree.

It is in the best interests of the university to ensure that students on fellowships are integrated into the culture of their particular department/graduate program. Some best practices that might be implemented by departments/graduate programs to help ensure such integration are:

  • Require attendance at departmental seminars/colloquia.
  • Interact with students during seminars/colloquia.
  • Assist students in forming journal clubs.
  • Assign a preliminary advisor upon admission and schedule regular advisement meetings with students to discuss their progress towards their degrees.
  • Encourage collaboration with other students on projects and/or with faculty on research papers and presentations as co-authors/presenters.
  • If professional organizations allow student membership (most do) encourage participation in these activities.
  • Plan informal activities; provide a social setting for interaction between students and faculty.

These are only a few suggestions.  At a minimum, the Graduate School policy is that all students on fellowships be provided regular advisement (at least once every semester) to discuss their progress towards their degree.

Graduate Student Categories & Fees

Post-baccalaureate students can be eligible to take graduate courses as either:

(a) A graduate special student or (b) A regular graduate standing student

Graduate Special Students

The graduate special classification is for students who wish to take graduate courses but do not plan to pursue a program leading to an advanced degree, or for applicants who do not meet the requirements for admission to regular graduate standing. Admission to graduate special status does not constitute admission to graduate standing in the Graduate School.

With graduate special classification, a student may enroll for undergraduate or graduate unit and may satisfy the teacher licensure requirements. Departmental approval must be obtained for every course taken. Students must be able to demonstrate that they satisfy the prerequisites for each course in which they plan to enroll.

A student with graduate special classification may apply for regular graduate standing by first meeting the Graduate School requirements for admission (see below) and then the specific admission requirements of the particular program. A maximum of nine (9) graduate special/transfer semester units taken prior to admission to regular graduate standing may be applied to the program of study.

An international student who holds a student visa is not eligible for admission to the graduate special classification, and cannot register for courses as a graduate special.

Fees

Graduate students are required to pay the application fee, the per-unit registration and capital improvement fees, specialized instruction expenses, new graduate student orientation fee, and tuition (for out-of-state students). In addition, there are fees for the student health services, counseling services, the Graduate Student Association, operating costs for the student union, and for use of the recreation building. The summer session fees are detailed on the Cashier’s website: http://www.unr.edu/tuition-and-fees.

Grants-in-aid to cover the per-unit and capital improvement fees, as well as out-of-state tuition fees, may be awarded to graduate assistants, trainees, and fellows, provided such conditions are specified in their contracts.

McNair Scholars Program

The Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program is designed to help prepare undergraduate students from disadvantaged backgrounds for doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities. The goal of the McNair program is to increase the number of financially disadvantaged, first generation, and minority undergraduate students to pursue and complete a doctoral degree. The University supports these goals by waiving the application fee for qualified McNair Scholars who provide the required forms submitted with the Graduate School application. For more information, please call (775) 784-6044 or visit http://www.unr.edu/mcnair.

New Graduate Student Orientation (NGSO)

New Graduate Student Orientation is a program which assists graduate students in familiarizing themselves with the university and its support services. It is a required program for all new graduate students. Orientation sessions are held on campus just before classes begin each semester. For those graduate students who are unable to attend on campus orientation, there is a mandatory online orientation program which can be accessed from the Graduate School Website. The New Graduate Student Orientation fee is charged to your first semester fees. It is a mandatory non-refundable charge.

Undergraduate Students and Graduate Courses

An undergraduate student at the university who is within 30 units of completing the requirements for the bachelor’s degree may enroll in 500-700-level courses for graduate credit, provided that such credit is requested by the student and approved by the current undergraduate advisor, graduate program director, and Graduate Dean. The Undergraduate Approval for Graduate Studies Form is available online. Students who enroll in such courses must be scholastically eligible for admission to graduate standing. The student must complete all requirements for the undergraduate degree no more than one semester after the semester in which registration for the first graduate courses occurred; otherwise, the courses revert to undergraduate credit, provided there is an undergraduate equivalent to the course. If no such equivalency exists, no credit will be awarded. Only students who have been admitted to approved accelerated programs may use graduate level courses to meet undergraduate requirements. Undergraduates taking graduate courses may carry a combined unit load not to exceed the normal load for the department in which the student received the bachelor’s degree.

Admission to Graduate School

Admission to the graduate program involves more than meeting minimum academic requirements such as undergraduate grade point average and standardized test scores. Graduate programs must not only assess prospective students academic preparation for graduate work but also their maturity and commitment, as well as ensuring an appropriate fit between the student’s interests/needs and the faculty’s academic and research interests.

Application Information

Prospective applicants may access the Graduate School’s website for the most current information and for on-line or downloadable admissions applications. An applicant for admission to graduate-level study must file an application with the Graduate School and pay the appropriate application fee. Applications for graduate standing are subject to approval by the Graduate School and by the graduate program director of a degree granting program or department. Applicants must contact the department or program to which they intend to apply for specific application deadlines.

Except in the Master of Business Administration program, the minimum prerequisite for admission to graduate standing is 18 units in the undergraduate major or at least 18 units of undergraduate courses that are approved by the department in which the student will major. Each academic program reserves the right to specify additional requirements beyond those of the university. If a student’s undergraduate work is deficient, the program may require the student to complete additional work, either before admission to graduate standing or while the advanced degree is being pursued.

Standardized Test Scores

A number of university departments and programs use scores on standardized tests (i.e. the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), the Medical College Aptitude Test (MCAT), or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)) as part of their evaluation process. If required, all applicants must submit scores to that program. Submission of these scores may not be waived on an individual basis. Normally, test scores over five years old are not acceptable. All applicants must contact the individual departments or programs in which they are interested to determine admissions policy and to learn whether official test scores must be submitted.

Graduate School Admission Requirements

Master’s Degree Admission Criteria

The applicant must meet the following requirements: Please check with the specific program as some programs require a higher GPA:

  1. An undergraduate grade-point average of at least 2.75 on a scale of 4.0, or an average of at least 3.0 for courses taken during the last half of the undergraduate program;
  2. Have a completed baccalaureate degree from an appropriate accredited institution;

If the applicant does not meet the criteria described above, admission to graduate standing on a prescribed program can be considered. A prescribed program of study consists of the completion of one semester (fall, spring or summer) of full-time study in nine units or 12 units over two consecutive semesters, with a grade of “B” or better in all courses taken. The courses prescribed may be undergraduate or graduate courses. These courses may or may not apply to the graduate program of study.

The online Prescribed Program Request Form signed by the student and the director of graduate studies for the program must accompany the student’s graduate data admissions sheet when forwarded to the Graduate Dean for approval. A student enrolled in a prescribed program is ineligible for a teaching or research assistantship. International students are ineligible for admission via a prescribed program.

Doctoral Degree Admissions Criteria

  1. An overall grade-point average of at least 3.0 in both undergraduate and graduate courses. (Grade-point averages are computed separately for both undergraduate and graduate work.)
  2. Satisfactory completion of the necessary prerequisites of units in a chosen field of study.
  3. For those students with an overall grade-point average less than 3.0 on a scale of 4.0, students may qualify for admission to a doctoral program with sufficient justification and documentation by the program and approval by the Graduate Dean.

NOTE : Students who are considering applying for the doctor of education (Ed.D.), refer to the College of Education  section of the catalog for admissions requirements.

International Student Admission Requirements

In addition to the academic criteria required by all students for admission to an advanced degree program, international applicants must have one of the following to be admitted into an advanced degree program:

  1. A Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL score of at least 500 (paper version), 173 (computer version), or a 61 (internet-based version).
    1. Students who have achieved a TOEFL score of at least 600 (paper version), 250 (computer version), or 100 (internet-based version) are exempt from Intensive English Language Center evaluation.
    2. Students with a TOEFL score of 500 but less than 600 (paper version, 173 but less than 250 (computer version), or 61 but less than 100 (internet-based version) must report to the Intensive English Language Center for evaluation and appropriate placement in English language courses.
    3. A TOEFL score of at least 550 (paper version), 216 (computer version), or 79/80 (internet-based version) is required for students to hold a teaching assistantship.
  2. The International Language Testing System (IELTS) (must be the academic version) with an equivalency score of a 6 (equivalent to 500 TOEFL).
    1. The IELTS score of a 7 (equivalent to 550 TOEFL) is required for students to hold a teaching assistantship.
  3. International students who have received a baccalaureate or advanced degree from an accredited United States university or college are exempt from the requirement to produce a TOEFL score. All International applicants must also satisfy the medical examination and financial responsibility requirements prior to admission.

NOTE: Certain departments may require TOEFL scores in excess of the minimum 500 required by the Graduate School.

Candidates Ineligible for Admission to Graduate Standing

Administrative and Academic faculty of the University of Nevada, Reno are not permitted to apply to graduate standing without written permission of the Provost of the University of Nevada, Reno on the application to pursue a degree, available on-line at the Graduate School website.

Academic Requirements-Regular Graduate Standing

The following criteria must be met to remain in good graduate standing regardless of academic program.

Continuous Enrollment

Graduate students must register for a minimum of 3 graduate units each fall and spring semester until graduation or obtain online an Approved Leave of Absence Form signed by their program and the Graduate School. Approved leaves of absence do not abrogate the time limitations on course work (6 years for a master’s degree program and 8 years for a doctoral program). Exceptions to the time clock on course work accrued during a leave of absence may be granted for valid, compelling reasons by the Graduate School. For students on assistantships, the department/program will make efforts to continue the assistantship upon re-entry into the program, but because of the variations that occur with funding cycles and overall funding availability, it cannot be guaranteed. There are no minimum registration requirements during the summer.

Graduate Courses

Courses numbered 600 and above are for graduate units (see numbering explanation in the Course Offerings Section of the catalog). A dual-numbered (400-600) course completed at the 400 level for undergraduate units may not be retaken at the 600 level for graduate units. Courses numbered 500- 599 are post baccalaureate level and not applicable toward a graduate degree.

Academic Standards (Good Standing/Probation/Dismissal)

Good Standing: Each graduate course must be completed with a grade of “C” or better for the units to be acceptable toward an advanced degree. Some departments, at their discretion, do not accept any grade lower than “B” for the fulfillment of graduate program requirements.

In addition, students must maintain good standing with an overall cumulative graduate GPA of at least 3.0 on a scale of 4.0.

Probation: If the graduate grade-point total is one to six grade points below the requisite 3.0 GPA, the student is placed on probation. The student must then raise his/her cumulative graduate GPA to 3.0 by the end of the following semester or the student will be dismissed from graduate standing.

Dismissal: If the graduate grade-point total is seven or more grade points below the requisite 3.0 GPA, the student is dismissed from graduate standing, or if the graduate GPA remains below 3.0 for two (2) consecutive semesters, the student is dismissed from graduate standing.

Course grades will be included in the overall grade point average, even when the required time period to obtain a degree (6 years for a masters, and 8 years for a doctoral) has expired. Grades of “D” or “F” are included in the average. Probation/dismissal recommendations based on GPA will be determined by the Graduate School. The student will be notified, and, if appropriate, the Office of Admissions and Records will also be notified that the student is dismissed from graduate standing.

A student dismissed from graduate standing because of grade-point deficiencies may enroll only as a graduate special in undergraduate courses. To enroll in graduate-level courses, advance written approval must be obtained from the course instructor, the department concerned and the Graduate School.

Dismissal recommendations other than GPA (i.e. failure to progress) can be forwarded from the program to the Graduate School and if approved by the Graduate Dean, the student will be notified. The Office of Admissions and Records will also be notified that the student is dismissed from graduate standing.

If a student is dismissed from graduate standing for reasons other than grade-point deficiencies, they may register for either graduate or undergraduate courses as a graduate special.

A student may reapply for graduate standing after elimination of the existing grade-point deficiency and achieving an overall cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0. The student must re-file an application for admission to the Graduate School.

NOTE: Application materials are scanned and then are shredded.

Student Unit Loads

A full-time graduate student may not register for more than sixteen (16) graduate units in any semester, or more than six (6) graduate units in any six-week summer session. Graduate assistants may not register for more than twelve (12) graduate units per semester.

Students who register for nine (9) graduate units or more in a semester are considered full-time. For graduate assistants on a 20-hour (half-time) contract, six (6) graduate units or more constitute full-time. To be considered full-time for financial aid purposes, all graduate students, including those on assistantships, must be enrolled in nine (9) graduate units; to be considered part-time for financial aid reporting purposes, graduate students must be enrolled in five (5) graduate units. For those graduate students who are required to take Intensive English Language Center Bridge Courses, these courses can be considered part of full registration upon approval by the Dean of the Graduate School.

Grades and Units

Courses completed with a grade that is unacceptable to apply to a degree may be retaken. However, the subsequent grade does not replace the first grade; both are computed in the overall cumulative GPA. Course grades are included in the overall average even when the required time period for obtaining the degree has expired. Grades of “D” or “F” are also included in the overall average.

Transfer Units

Students may request to apply graduate units earned at another accredited institution toward an advanced degree at the University of Nevada, Reno by filing a Credit Transfer Evaluation Request Form, available online. The request must be approved by the student’s director of graduate studies and the graduate dean. The student will receive the evaluation results by mail.  The department may access the evaluation results through NOLIJ. The evaluation results are distributed to the student, advisor, and graduate school for reference in graduate program planning. Only courses with a grade of “C” or better may be transferred to a master’s program; only courses with a grade of “B” or better may be transferred to a doctoral program.

For master’s degree programs, transferred units must conform to the time limitation on master’s work requiring completion within six (6) calendar years immediately preceding the granting of the degree. Additionally, no more than nine (9) units completed either prior to admission to a graduate program or transferred from another institution may be applied to a master’s degree.

For doctoral programs, a maximum of twenty-four (24) units from a previously completed master’s program or other post-baccalaureate degree program may be applied. Doctoral students who have completed a master’s degree in an appropriate discipline from an accredited institution may, with the approval of their graduate director, transfer up to twenty-four (24) units toward a Ph.D. degree. Students must list each course for which they wish to receive transfer units on the Credit Transfer Evaluation Request Form. All units used to satisfy degree requirements for the master’s degree, except thesis units, may be acceptable for transfer.  Units from a completed master’s degree are exempt from the eight (8) year time limit on course work for a doctoral degree.

Comprehensive Examination

Comprehensive examination (XXX 795) is a variable, one (1) to three (3) unit course for which students may register when completing final oral or written examinations or pre-dissertation qualifying examinations. If the student does not complete the examination, the professor will enter an incomplete “I” on the student’s record. If the examination is completed within the next regular semester, the professor will complete a “Grade Report for Incomplete” form for processing in the Office of Admissions and Records to post the grade. However, if a final grade is not submitted by the end of the following semester, a grade of unsatisfactory “U” will be filed, and the student must register again for the comprehensive examination to receive unit for the exam.

Master’s Degree

Advisory and Examining Committee

Upon admission to graduate standing, students are assigned a temporary Advisor by the graduate program. At the completion of twelve (12) graduate units, the student selects a permanent advisor who shall chair the student’s advisory/examining committee. The student and the permanent advisor arrange the appointment of the remaining members of the student’s advisory/examining committee. This committee, along with the graduate director of the program, supervises the student’s course of study and examinations.

Committee Composition

Advisory/examining committees consist of at least three (3) members of the Graduate Faculty. Two (2) faculty members, not necessarily from the student’s department, represent the student’s area of specialization and one (1) faculty member is selected to serve as the Graduate School Representative. Students may request the appointment of a committee member from the faculty of another university or from a relevant discipline or profession, provided the prospective member has achieved a record of distinction. Formal approval of the student’s advisory/examining committee is made by the Graduate Dean.

The Role of the Advisory/Examining Committee Members

All advisory/examining committee members are involved in the approval of the student’s program of study and in the topic design of the thesis/dissertation and in the conduct of all examinations.

The Role of Graduate School Representative Committee Members

All graduate school representative committee members are to represent the Graduate School, assure compliance with Graduate School regulations and procedures, and report any deviations from prescribed standards to the Graduate School.

The Master of Business Administration and the Master of Accountancy programs do not use the usual committee structure. For details refer to the graduate programs  information in the College of Business section of the catalog.

  1. Program of Study

Advanced degrees are conferred by the university upon the recommendation of the graduate faculty and the Graduate Dean, following the completion of an approved Program of Study Form. The approved program of study describes the student’s specific plan of courses, research, and related activities. The graduate student’s advisor, the graduate director of the program, and the advisory/examining committee determine the program of study for each degree candidate. This includes the thesis/professional paper and the acceptable courses for completion of the degree. The Graduate Dean has final approval of the program of study. Only graduate courses are applicable toward the graduate degree. Graduate courses are those numbered 600-799.

Changes

Subsequent changes may be made at any time via the online Change in Program of Study Form or Change of Advisory Committee Form, but only with the approval of the major advisor, graduate director of the program, and the Graduate Dean.

It is the responsibility of the student and the advisory/examining committee to ensure that the graduate courses in the proposed program of study are consistent with the requirements of the Graduate School and the department.

Additional Courses

The student’s advisory/examining committee may require the student to take additional courses if, in its opinion, additional training is needed to achieve the expected level of proficiency. Students should consult individual departments to find out the specific requirements for completing the master’s degree through either a thesis or non-thesis program.

Program of Study Course Limitations

A maximum of nine (9) graduate semester units completed prior to admission to graduate standing may be applied to a master’s degree program of study. These units are subject to the approval of the advisory committee and the Graduate Dean. Units completed during the semester in which the student is approved for admission (as indicated by appropriate recommendation by the Graduate Program Director on the NOLIJ Admission Data Sheet - the date of admissions being the date the admissions letter is signed by the Graduate Dean) are exempt from the nine (9) unit graduate special limitations.

S/U Grades: A maximum of three (3) graduate satisfactory/unsatisfactory (S/U) units may apply towards a master’s degree, excluding the S/U units allowed for the comprehensive examination, but including transfer units. For graduate courses, a grade of “S” indicates achievement equivalent to a “B” or above. The grade of “U” represents performance equivalent to a “B-” or below.

A maximum of six (6) graduate units of S/U grades, excluding the S/U units for the comprehensive examination, may apply to the master degrees offered by the College of Education.

Thesis units: A maximum of six (6) thesis units may be applied to a master’s degree. Final units for thesis are not officially recorded until the candidate is approved by the faculty for the graduate degree via the online Master’s notice of completion form.

Extension Courses: Graduate units earned through extension courses are not accepted for transfer unit.

Correspondence Study: No graduate units are awarded for correspondence study completed at another university.

Professional Courses: Generally course work from a professional degree (i.e. Medicine, Law) is not considered graduate level and is not accepted for graduate units.

Degree Description and Requirements

Thesis Programs

In a thesis program, at least 24 units of acceptable graduate courses must be completed in addition to six (6) thesis units for a total of 30 units. At least 21 of those units must be earned in on-campus courses at the university. Any transfer units from another institution must be requested via the online Credit Transfer Evaluation Form and approved by the student’s advisory committee, the Graduate Program Director, and the Dean of the Graduate School. At least 18 units (including six (6) thesis units) in the program must be at the 700-level.

Non-Thesis Programs

The program of study requires the satisfactory completion of at least 32 units of acceptable graduate courses which include a culminating experience such as a professional paper, professional project or equivalent which could include, when required by the program, a comprehensive examination. At least 23 units must be earned in on-campus courses at the university. At least 15 of the 32 total units must be earned at the 700-level.

Professional Paper Grading

Professional papers (XXX-796), being a culminating event of a graduate program akin to a thesis or dissertation, is not graded until the student completes the graduate program and a satisfactory grade is recorded on the Notice of Completion Form. If a student registers for professional paper units and does not complete the paper by the end of that semester, an “X” is recorded on the transcript. The student is not required to enroll in additional professional paper units once he/she has enrolled in the requisite number of units for the degree. When the student completes the paper and a notice of completion is filed, Admissions and Records will replace the “X” with an “S” grade. Students may not receive more units of XXX-796 than are required for the degree.

Time Limitation

Master’s Degree: All work toward a master’s degree (transfer units, units completed at UNR prior to admission (i.e. grad special units), course work units, thesis units, if applicable, and all examinations) must be completed within six (6) calendar years immediately preceding the granting of the degree. The Graduate School will entertain an extension, normally not to exceed one (1) year or one-third of the course units required for the degree. Requests for extensions must come from the major advisor with the concurrence of the Director of Graduate Studies for the program and be based on an academic or humanitarian rationale for the delay in degree completion.

Program Options for Master’s Degrees

Major Programs: A minor is not required. In a thesis program at least 18 of the 24 units must be in the major field of study. Units may be selected in any department with the approval of the advisory committee.

Major-Minor Programs: In a thesis program, at least 12 of the  24 graduate units must be in a major field of study, with at least six (6) units in a minor field. The minor may be in a different department, or it may be in a second division of the major department. The minor department has the responsibility of approving the candidate’s minor program. Any units not required for the major or minor may be selected in any department with the approval of the advisory committee. Generally such units are chosen to support the candidate’s thesis. In a non-thesis program, at least 15 of the 32 graduate units must be in a major field of study, with at least eight (8) units in a minor field.

Area Programs: The advisory committee, with the approval of the Graduate Dean, may designate an area program that includes the subject matter of several departments. The student must, however, be admitted to an existing degree-granting program.

Foreign Language Requirement: The Graduate School does not  have a language requirement for master’s degrees, but various departments may require foreign language competency.

Second Master’s Degree: Students may pursue two-master’s programs simultaneously. To do so, the student must be formally admitted to graduate standing in both programs. Two (2) separate advisory committees with different chairs are required with no more than one (1) graduate faculty member belonging to both committees. A maximum of nine (9) graduate units earned in one master’s program may be applied toward a second master’s degree.

Thesis Regulations

Each student must have an outline of the thesis approved by the advisory/examining committee. Following this approval, the student is expected to complete the thesis in a manner satisfactory to the committee. The curriculum requires that upon completion, all theses will be made publicly available through the university library to further the university’s mission of research and scholarship.

Registration for Thesis

A master’s degree candidate who is on a thesis program must complete a minimum of six (6) units of thesis. Students should plan to take the required thesis units during the entire academic year, as many benefits (i.e., G.I. Bill, student loans, housing and visas) require a student to be registered for a specific number of units. Departments may require that a student conducting resident research must register for a minimum of three thesis units each semester.

Thesis courses are not graded. At the close of each semester of registration for unit, an “X” is indicated instead of a letter grade on the student’s permanent record. These courses are not counted in grade-point average computations. After the thesis is completed, defended and accepted by the student’s committee and by the graduate dean, units are posted to the student’s academic record.

Dates for Submission of Thesis

The final date for submission of the thesis in final form is one week before the close of the semester. No extension of this deadline is permitted. The Graduate Dean makes final approval of theses.

Format and Copies for Archival

Electronic and Paper Thesis/Dissertation formatting and submission Guidelines are available online.

Publication and Abstract

The Graduate School staff will arrange for the microfilming of each thesis by University Microfilms. The master’s degree candidate must submit an abstract, not exceeding 150 words in length. The abstract is published in full in Master’s Abstracts, with international circulation. Publication on microfilm does not preclude other forms of publication.

Examinations

Comprehensive examinations are designed to ensure that the student has attained a reasonable proficiency level in the chosen field of study. At the master’s degree level, examinations, when required by the program, are administered by the department after most of the course work is completed. In consultation with the major department advisor, the student registers for a comprehensive examination course on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. All committee members of the advisory/examining committee may review the examination, which must be completed satisfactorily before the student files for degree candidacy. If a student receives a “U”, in order to receive units for the comprehensive exam, at the discretion of their advisory committee, the student must re-enroll for the comprehensive exam in a subsequent semester. If no grade is submitted for the student, the student has the subsequent semester (excluding summer) to complete the requirement. If the student fails to complete it within this time frame, they must re-enroll in the comprehensive exam course.

Final Oral Examination

Many departments require master’s degree candidates to pass an oral examination. Students should consult with their individual department for details. Departments have specific regulations that apply when a student’s performance is not satisfactory on the final oral examination. An advisory/examining committee may allow the student to retake the examination, it may recommend that the student be placed on probation, or it may recommend that the student be dropped from graduate standing. These recommendations are made to the Graduate Dean.

NOTE : For additional information on specialized master’s degree programs, refer to the college and school sections of this catalog.

Graduation

The Application for Graduation must be purchased and completed online. This application includes the intended date of graduation, degree, title of dissertation, and the advisory committee chair’s name and email address for notification of intent to graduate. Graduation application deadlines are:

  • March 1 for May Graduation,
  • June 1 for August Graduation, and
  • October 1 for December Graduation (late applications will not be accepted)

Consult the Graduate School web site for Important Dates to submit additional required graduation materials to the Graduate School. An applicant, who does not complete all degree requirements by the specified deadline for the semester for which they applied, must purchase and complete a new graduation application online.

Doctoral Degree

Doctoral degrees are conferred for work of distinction, in which the student displays original scholarship and achievement.  The student must prove their ability to design and complete a program of original research by preparing a dissertation that adds to existing knowledge.

NOTES:

  • Additional information about the combined M.D./ Ph.D. and professional degrees can be found in the relevant college school section of the catalog.
  • Due to the consummate commitment required to complete a terminal degree at the doctoral level, students are not permitted to pursue more than one doctoral program at a time.
Advisory and Examining Committee

Upon admission to graduate standing, students are assigned a temporary advisor by the graduate program. At the completion of twelve (12) graduate units, the student selects a permanent advisor who shall chair the student’s advisory/examining committee. The student and the permanent advisor arrange the appointment of the advisory/examining committee, which along with the advisor and the graduate director of the program, supervise the student’s course of study and examinations.

Committee Composition

Advisory/examining committees consist of at least five (5) members of the Graduate Faculty: the committee chair/ permanent advisory, at least two (2) faculty members from the student’s major department, at least one (1) faculty member from a department in a field related to the student’s major, and at least one (1) Graduate School representative. (For doctoral students, the research advisor may be a different faculty member than the permanent chair.) Students may request the appointment of a committee member from the faculty of another university or from a relevant discipline or profession, provided the prospective member has achieved a record of distinction. Formal approval of the student’s advisory/examining committee is made by the Graduate Dean.

For students going directly from the bachelor’s degree to the Ph.D., the advisory/examining committee should be formed prior to the completion of 24 units in graduate courses. Students entering a Ph.D. program with a master’s degree should form the advisory/examining committee during their first semester of enrollment.

The Role of the Advisory/Examining Committee Members

All advisory/examining committee members are involved in the approval of the student’s program of study and in the topic design of the thesis/dissertation and in the conduct of all examinations.

The Role of Graduate School Representative Committee Members

All graduate school representative committee members are to represent the Graduate School, assure compliance with Graduate School regulations and procedures, and report any deviations from prescribed standards to the Graduate School.

Program of Study

Advanced degrees are conferred by the university upon recommendation by graduate faculty and the Graduate Dean, following the completion of an approved Program of Study Form. The approved program of study describes the student’s specific plan of courses, research, and related activities. The graduate student’s advisor, the graduate director of the program, and the advisory/examining committee determine the program of study for each degree candidate. This includes the dissertation and the acceptable courses for completion of the degree. The Graduate Dean has final approval of the program of study. Only graduate courses are applicable toward the graduate degree. Graduate courses are those numbered 600-799.

Changes

Subsequent changes may be made at any time via the online Change in Program of Study Form or Change of Advisory Committee Form, but only with the approval of the major professor, graduate director of the program, and the Graduate Dean. It is the responsibility of the student and the advisory/examining committee to ensure that the graduate courses in the proposed program of study are consistent with the requirements of the Graduate School and the department.

Additional Courses

The student’s advisory/examining committee may require the student to take additional courses if, in its opinion, additional training is needed to achieve the expected level of proficiency. Students should consult individual departments to find out the specific requirements for completing the degree.

Program of Study Course Limitations

A maximum of 24 units of course work from a completed master’s degree program or previous post-baccalaureate graduate studies program (with grades of “B” or better) may be allocated toward the doctoral degree. These units are subject to the approval of the advisory committee and the Graduate Dean. Units completed as a Graduate Special or from a completed master’s degree may not exceed twenty four (24) total units when applying to a Ph.D. program.

S/U Grades

A maximum of nine (9) graduate satisfactory/unsatisfactory (S/U) units may apply toward a doctoral degree, excluding the S/U units for the comprehensive examination, but including transfer units. For graduate courses, a grade of “S” indicates achievement equivalent to a “B” or above. The grade of “U” represents performance equivalent to a “B-” or below.

A maximum of six (6) graduate units of S/U grades, excluding the S/U units for the comprehensive examination, may apply to the Doctor of Education degrees offered by the College of Education

Dissertation units

A maximum of 24 dissertation units may be applied to a Doctoral degree (unless otherwise specified by a particular graduate program’s requirements, no fewer and no more than 24 dissertation units may be applied to a doctoral degree).

Extension Courses

Graduate units earned through extension courses are not accepted for transfer units.

Correspondence Study

No graduate units are awarded for correspondence study completed at another university.

Professional Courses

Generally course work from a professional degree (i.e. Medicine, Law) is not considered graduate level and is not accepted for graduate units.

Qualifying Examinations

The qualifying exam helps assess the student’s current knowledge and defines the departmental requirements yet to be completed. Each department will provide explicit guidelines about qualifying examinations to its students.

For the student entering the doctoral program without a master’s degree, qualifying examinations should be completed before the student earns 24 graduate units. For students entering the program with the master’s degree, qualifying exams should be completed during the first semester of graduate study.

Programs use either the XXX 795–Comprehensive Examination, e.g., ENG 795 - Comprehensive Examination , registration to enroll students in qualifying exams or develop separate course titles for the qualifying exam.

Comprehensive Examination/ Admission to Candidacy

Admission to candidacy confirms that a student has successfully completed the departmental course requirements and university residency requirements (two (2) consecutive semesters excluding summer sessions, nine (9) units each). In order to gain admission to candidacy, a student must meet all the following requirements.

  1. Hold at least a “B” average in all graduate work;
  2. Gain the advisory/examining committees formal approval for the program of study, including dissertation development; and
  3. A university department may, at its discretion, impose additional requirements for admission to candidacy.

Students pursuing doctoral degrees should file for candidacy no later than eight calendar months prior to graduation. The Admission to Candidacy Form is available online. The student’s advisory committee, graduate director of the program and the Graduate Dean must approve the form. The examinations should be taken after completion of any language and all course requirements. The exam may be taken after a minimum of 75 percent of the student’s required course work, beyond the bachelor’s degree, is completed. This examination must be both oral and written, and test the student’s mastery of a broad field of knowledge, and not merely the formal course work that has been completed. The written examination is designed and administered by the student’s major department and the oral examination is conducted and evaluated by the advisory/examining committee. The student fails the exam if more than one (1) negative committee vote is cast. The examination may be retaken once, if additional study is approved, by the examining board. The advisory/examining committee determines the period of additional study.

Residence

Doctoral Degrees have a residency requirement that consists of either two consecutive semesters (excluding summer sessions) of enrollment in nine (9) graduate units each or two consecutive semesters on a 20-hour assistantship with enrollment is six (6) graduate units.

Degree Description and Requirements

Foreign Language Requirements

Individual departments, programs, schools, or college may require competency in one or more foreign languages as part of the degree requirements for a doctorate. Students should consult individual departments for details.

Time Limitation

Doctoral Degree: All work towards a doctoral degree (transfer units, units completed at UNR prior to admission (i.e. grad special credits), course work units and all examinations) must be completed within eight (8) calendar years immediately preceding the granting of the degree. For those students who have completed a master’s degree en route, the program will determine how many units (up to a maximum of 24) may apply to a doctoral degree. Those units so identified by the program will be exempt from the eight (8) year limit. The Graduate School will entertain an extension, not to exceed one (1) year or one-third of the course units required for the degree. Requests for extensions must come from the major advisor with the concurrence of the Director of Graduate Studies for that program and be based on an academic or humanitarian rationale for the delay in degree completion.

Units

A minimum of 72 graduate units is required, including at least 48 units in course work. (For doctoral degrees in the College of Education refer to specific program descriptions.) A maximum of 24 units of course work (with grades of “B” or better) from a completed master’s degree program may be allocated toward the doctoral degree. A Credit Transfer Evaluation Request Form available online must be approved by the student’s advisory committee, the Graduate Program Director, and the Dean of the Graduate School. At least 30 units of 700-level courses beyond the bachelor’s degree, exclusive of dissertation units, are required for the doctoral degree. As many as 18 units may be used from a master’s degree program.

Program Options

The following Ph.D. programs maybe arranged with advance approval of the advisory committee:

Major Programs: Major degree programs may be completed without a minor. In some cases, elective courses may be taken outside the major.

Major-Minor Programs: At least two-thirds of the required units, including dissertation research, must be earned in the major field. A minor field must be approved by the department offering the minor.

Area Programs: An advisory committee consisting of members of several departments, with the approval of the Graduate Dean may designate an area program that includes the related subject matter of several departments. However, the student must be admitted to an established degree-granting program with the understanding that the degree received will be that of an established degree.

Dissertation Regulations

Each student must have an outline of the dissertation approved by the advisory/examining committee. Following this approval, the student is expected to complete the dissertation in a manner satisfactory to the committee. The curriculum requires that upon completion, all dissertations will be made publicly available through the university library to further the university’s mission of research and scholarship. The candidate should develop the dissertation while in residence, as close and constant supervision by the director is required.

Registration for Dissertation

A Ph.D. degree candidate must complete a minimum of 24 units of dissertation. Students should plan to take the required dissertation units during the entire academic year, as many benefits (i.e., G.I. Bill, student loans, housing and visas) require a student to be registered for a specific number of units. Departments may require that a student conducting resident research must register for a minimum of three dissertation units each semester. Dissertation courses are not graded. At the close of each semester of registration for dissertation units, an “X” is indicated instead of a letter grade on the student’s permanent record. These courses are not counted in grade-point average computations. After the dissertation is completed, defended and accepted by the student’s committee and by the graduate dean, units are posted to the student’s academic record.

Dissertation Defense

All candidates must conduct a successful oral defense of their dissertation in the presence of their entire advisory committee. The defense is unsuccessful if more than one (1) negative committee vote is cast. At the discretion of the advisory committee, the candidate may be permitted one additional attempt to conduct a successful defense.

Dates for Submission of Dissertation

The final date for submission of the dissertation in final form is one week before the close of the semester. No extension of this deadline is permitted. The Graduate Dean makes final approval of dissertation.

Format and Copies for Archival

Electronic and Paper Thesis/Dissertation formatting and submission Guidelines are available online at www.unr.edu/grad .

Publication and Abstract

The Graduate School staff will arrange for the microfilming of each dissertation by University Microfilms. The Ph.D. degree candidate must submit an abstract, not exceeding 350 words in length. The abstract is published in full in Dissertation Abstracts, with international circulation. Publication on microfilm does not preclude other forms of publication.

Graduation

The Application for Graduation must be purchased and completed online. This application includes the intended date of graduation, degree, title of dissertation, and the advisory committee chair’s name and email address for notification of intent to graduate. Graduation application deadlines are:

  • March 1 for May Graduation,
  • June 1 for August Graduation, and
  • October 1 for December Graduation (late applications will not be accepted)

Consult the Graduate School web site for Important Dates to submit additional required graduation materials to the Graduate School. An applicant, who does not complete all degree requirements by the specified deadline for the semester for which they applied, must purchase and complete a new graduation application online.

Doctoral Hooding Ceremony During Fall or Spring Commencement

Graduating doctoral students are accorded special recognition during commencement exercises by participating in a Hooding Ceremony. They receive their doctoral hoods from their faculty mentor and the Dean of the Graduating School. To participate in this ceremony, students must have:

  1. Filed an application for graduation for the appropriate semester (fall or spring) and;
  2. Successfully defended their dissertation and filed the completed Notice of Completion with the Graduate School at least two weeks prior to the commencement exercises. Students who complete their degree during the summer session are eligible to attend either the fall or spring commencement exercises.
Graduate Assistantships

These positions are offered through various departments and are paid by grants or state funds. Students interested in these positions must contact the department for specific requirements. Students who register for 9 graduate units or more in a semester are considered full-time. For graduate assistants on any contract, 6 graduate units or more constitute full-time. To be considered full time for financial aid purposes, all graduate students, including those on assistantships, must be enrolled in 9 graduate units.  To be considered part-time for financial aid reporting purposes graduate students must be enrolled in 5 graduate units. For those graduate students who are required to take Intensive English Language Center Bridge Courses, these courses can be considered part of full registration upon approval by the Dean of the Graduate School, but these courses will not count for Federal Financial Aid purposes.

While the Graduate School cannot monitor outside or additional employment for students on assistantships, such additional work is discouraged as it may impede academic success and timely progress towards degree completion. In some departments, acceptance of an assistantship is contingent upon agreeing to limited additional employment. The Graduate School is responsible for approval of graduate assistantships after a department has requested the initiation of a contract. All positions are contingent upon available funding.

Any Graduate Assistantship (TA/RA) must provide:

  • at least the minimum monthly salary approved by the University of Nevada, Reno
  • the approved fringe rate to cover the cost of providing insurance
  • a Grant-in-Aid/Fee Waiver to cover tuition/per unit fee costs**
    **an exception to the grant-in-aid/fee waiver is allowed for those graduate assistantships associated with grants where tuition costs are disallowed. In those cases, the terms of employment must clearly indicate by the checked box: This contract does not include a grant-in-aid to cover tuition/fees
  • the Grant-in-Aid/Fee Waiver covers graduate level courses only; however, in instances where a legitimate case can be made for a graduate student to take undergraduate courses (e.g., for a second language), a letter of exception can be addressed to the Graduate Dean for his/her consideration.
  • faculty and students need to be aware that federal financial aid can be affected when a student enrolls in both undergraduate and graduate level units. Federal financial aid is based on FULL TIME enrollment (9 credits) of graduate level courses (600-700 level).
  • an enrollment of less that 9 units of graduate level courses (600-700 level) will proportionately reduce federal financial aid.
  • information about Health Insurance: https://wfis.wellsfargo.com/UofNReno/ .

Graduate assistants perform a variety of duties from teaching undergraduate classes to grading papers, to conducting research in laboratories. Teaching assistants receive special teaching-skills training through the Graduate School. All graduate students holding an assistantship (teaching TA or research RA) are considered Nevada residents for tuition purposes. Non-resident tuition is only waived for the duration of the assistantship.

To be eligible for an assistantship, students must be admitted to a degree-granting program and be in good academic standing. The students must have an overall GPA of at least 3.0 and must be continuously enrolled in at least 6 graduate level units (600-799) throughout the duration of the assistantship (Upon approval of the Graduate Dean, English Bridge Course units may be used to help satisfy the enrollment requirements.). A student enrolled in a prescribed program is ineligible for a teaching or research assistantship.

State-funded assistantships (TA/RA) may be held for a maximum of:

  • Three (3) years for master’s degree students;
  • Five (5) years for doctoral degree students.

International students serving as Teaching Assistants must meet a minimum Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of 550 (paper version), 213 (computer version) and pass the SPEAK test with a score of 50. (To make an appointment to take the SPEAK test, please contact IELC at (775) 784-6075. The cost of the test is $60.) If you have taken the iBT (internet-based version) of the TOEFL you must score 79/80 total and have a score of 24 on the speaking section of the test. The International Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 7 can substitute for the TOEFL. (A score of 50 on the Test of Spoken English (TSE) can be substituted for the Speak Test.)

Special Services and Programs

Assistance in Grants/Proposals

The Office of Sponsored Projects can enroll students in the data base “The Community of Science” which provides funding alerts and information. Through the learning laboratory at the university’s Knowledge Center, the Graduate School makes available “Winning Grants,” a series of 10 audio-visual lectures dealing with all aspects of developing proposals and contracts to potential sponsors.

GRAD 701

The Graduate School provides special teaching-skills training for teaching assistants through the course GRAD 701: College Teaching, a zero (0) unit course offered in the fall and spring semesters.

Graduate Student Association

Graduate student participation in university affairs is encouraged through the University of Nevada, Reno Graduate Student Association (GSA). Students have representation from each academic unit offering advanced degree programming. The GSA has voting representation on the Graduate Council and cooperates with the Associated Students of the University of Nevada (ASUN). The GSA president attends Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Board of Regents meetings. While social activities are provided by the GSA, the organization is structured to help improve academic and service programs for graduate students. The GSA sponsors invited speakers who discuss a wide variety of topics, helps fund graduate students who present papers at professional meetings and promotes graduate student participation in campus and community affairs as well as regional and national scholarly meetings.

Graduate Teaching Fellow Award

Nominations for the university’s outstanding graduate teaching fellow are made by individual departments, colleagues and students at the beginning of spring semester. Nominees must be serving in their second year as a graduate teaching fellow at the university and must have completed at least 18 units of graduate work. The finalists’ student teaching evaluations are carefully reviewed and classroom observations are made before an award is presented. Monetary awards are given to the winners.



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