Timeline for Graduate Study

• After taking at least 6 credits a student is considered for candidacy. All students accepted into the graduate program are accepted as “conditional candidates.” During the semester when you complete at least 6 credits of coursework, you will be asked to submit a candidacy file (which consist of your coursework papers, exams, etc.) for review by the graduate committee. If that work is considered acceptable, you will be granted “candidacy” into the graduate program. If your work shows promise but is not acceptable for candidacy, you will be given “conditional candidacy” and will be required to resubmit your candidacy application the following semester. Those students having unacceptable graduate level work are given “special’ status, which means that the student is eligible to take graduate courses but is discontinued from the program and thus is no longer eligible to complete the M.A. degree. An appeal from special status may be made to the graduate program committee through the graduate director.

• After taking approximately 6-9 credits you should meet with the graduate director to establish a tentative plan of study. A plan of study outlines which courses you plan to take in the future and establishes a thesis/project/exam committee. While the official plan of study is not completed until you form your graduate committee, it is important to discuss your plans with the graduate director to ensure that you are making adequate progress toward completing the degree.
• After taking approximately 18 credits you should complete your formal plan of study. This includes the selection of a graduate committee to direct your thesis/project. The plan of study form can be obtained from the graduate director (this is not formally filed but is available to help you make sure you are doing everything you need to do to complete the degree). Your graduate committee consists of a chairperson and two readers. All voting committee members must have graduate faculty status at UWSP. The most important person on this committee, the chairperson, is someone you personally choose because you want to work with him or her in completing your thesis/project. You also choose the other committee members.
•Students must complete several steps in the process of finishing the thesis/project (a more detailed description of the thesis/project options can be obtained from the graduate director). Please note: While the thesis/project can be similar in their format and topic, a thesis is typically a longer and more theoretically-driven study while a project is a somewhat shorter and more applied research project. Below is a brief outline of the process you will follow to complete a project/thesis:
  1. Working directly with the chair of your committee, you write a prospectus--a proposal that outlines the thesis/project topic you will be studying and the methods you will use to conduct the study. Once this prospectus is deemed “defendable” by the chair of your committee, you give the other members of your committee copies to read and set up a time with your committee to defend your prospectus. You need to plan for a minimum of one week for your committee members to read your work. You then orally defend the prospectus to the committee in a one-hour meeting.
  2. After approval of the prospectus, you conduct your study. Working closely with the chair of your committee, you take the “results” of your study and complete the thesis/project. Once you and your chair feel the thesis/project is ready, you set a “defense date” with your committee. You should plan on a minimum of 1-2 weeks for your committee to read/review your completed thesis/project. You then defend the thesis/project to your committee in a one-hour meeting.
  3. Upon successful completion of the thesis/project, you must make any final revisions that are required by the committee. You then must arrange with the library to have hardbound copies made. You are required to present a hardbound copy of your work to your committee chair, to the library, and to the Division of Communication. Including a copy for yourself, this means most people have at least four hardbound copies of their work made. Once you give the library the final version of your work, they present you with a form indicating the work is completed which you take to the registrar.
• Once you have successfully completed the thesis or project, you work with the graduate director to gain final approval of your degree. The form you get from the library indicating you have handed in the final copy of your thesis/project should be given to the graduate director. The registrar and graduate director will review the following items before approving a student for graduation: total number of credits taken, GPA, completion of colloquium credit, no more than 6 credits transferred in from other institutions, no more than 3 credits of independent study counted toward the degree, no more than 6 thesis credits or 3 project credits counted toward the degree and successful completion of the culminating experience.
If you have any questions relating to our program, please e-mail Chris Sadler csadler@uwsp.edu or call 715.346.3898.

Graduate Program

Nature of the Program
Graduate Assistantship Information for U.S. Students
Emphasis Areas and Career Options
Important Information for Foreign Students
Timeline for Graduate Study
Required Coursework
Admission Packet for U.S. Students
Admissions Pack for Foreign Students