graduation requirements

Graduation Requirements


Graduate students admitted unconditionally must apply for candidacy to the selected degree program upon completion of twelve (12) graduate credit hours. Students admitted conditionally cannot apply for candidacy until all conditions assigned at the time of admission to graduate study have been removed.

Upon the completion of twelve (12) graduate hours, a hold will be placed on the students’ record until a candidacy form has been approved by the Graduate Dean. Failure to apply for candidacy will result in the hold remaining on the students’ record, and an inability to register for subsequent coursework. 

Students who have filed a candidacy form but do not enroll or receive graduate credit for one (1) academic year must submit a new candidacy form upon being readmitted into the same graduate program.  If admitted into a different academic program, students are not required to submit a new candidacy form until twelve (12) graduate credits have been accumulated within the new program.

Application for Graduation

In addition to satisfying all degree requirements, a candidate for a degree must file an Application for Graduation online or at the Registrar's Office.  Students must apply for graduation upon completion of twelve (12) graduate credit hours.

Financial Obligation

Before any transcript or diploma is issued, the student must have paid any debt owed the University.


Students must complete all degree requirements prior to participating in the December, May, or August commencement ceremonies. Students completing all degree requirements in the fall semester will participate in the December commencement ceremony; spring semester will participate in the May commencement ceremony; and summer terms will participate in the commencement ceremony held in August. Students will not participate in the commencement ceremony if all degree requirements are not completed prior to the ceremony. Students not completing all requirements will participate in the next scheduled commencement ceremony providing all degree requirements are met. Students taking courses at other institutions must have official transcripts submitted to the Registrar's Office and have completed all degree requirements prior to the commencement ceremony to be allowed to participate.

The candidate is expected to be present at commencement for the conferral of the degree unless written authorization in absentia is granted by the Vice President of Academic Affairs.

Academic regalia shall be worn by the student during the graduation ceremony. No decorations, writings, necklaces, braids, pins, cords, medallions, or other items shall be worn or placed on the gown. Decoration on caps is permitted.

Diplomas may be available at the time of commencement or will be mailed to graduates following commencement.

Absentia Graduation

Requests to graduate in absentia must be in writing and should be forwarded to the Vice President for Academic Affairs at least two (2) weeks prior to the scheduled graduation date. Graduate students who have been approved to graduate in absentia will receive their diplomas by mail after the actual conferral of the degrees.

Master's Thesis

Candidates who prepare a thesis in partial fulfillment of the requirement for a master's degree must exhibit the capabilities of gathering, organizing, evaluating, and reporting data which are pertinent to the topic of investigation.

All thesis must be written in accordance with the guidelines set forth in the thesis writing guide "Thesis Preparation Guide." This guide may be obtained at the Graduate College website under Student Resources.

The candidate's thesis committee will be appointed by the program director in consultation with the student's department head. Once the general area of research is determined through conference with the advisor(s), the student begins the process necessary for preparation of the thesis. Under the direction of the committee, the student prepares and submits a Topic Approval Request for approval by the Dean of Graduate College via the program director. The Topic Approval Request form is found under Student Resources at Thesis Topic Approval Form.

The thesis may be completed at any time after the student has been admitted to candidacy for the degree. However, the thesis committee must receive the thesis by October 1, if graduating in the fall term, and by March 1 if graduating in the spring term. The final copies of the thesis and abstract, in acceptable form, along with a report of the oral examination, must be filed with the Dean of Graduate College no later than two (2) weeks prior to the date of graduation; if revisions are required graduation may be deferred to the following semester.

Student's working on thesis and other master's projects beyond the term in which coursework for the degree has been completed, will be required to enroll in at least one (1) hour of coursework each ensuing semester until all requirements for the degree have been met. Students who fail to continuously enroll will be dropped from the master's program.

The grade for the course will generally be CR (Credit) or NC (No Credit), with the understanding the person(s) supervising the thesis or project can assign a letter grade to explicitly indicate a student is making good (A or B) or unsatisfactory (C or lower) progress toward graduation.

A student who has been dropped for failure to continuously enroll as stipulated by this policy (excluding summer, unless the student is planning to graduate in the summer) may be readmitted to a master's program by reapplying to Graduate College with written approval of the person(s) supervising the thesis or project and the Program Director. Readmitted students will be required to reapply for graduation and enroll in a number of hours of coursework equal to the number of semesters that have lapsed since the last time they were enrolled, up to a maximum of three (3) hours.

Two (2) copies of the thesis are required. The first copy is for the library and the second copy is for the major department. Additional copies may be submitted for personal retention by the student. The cost of thesis binding will be borne by the student. Authentic signatures (not photocopies) by each member of the student's advisory committee are required on each approval sheet submitted with the thesis.

An oral defense of the thesis is required. It will be conducted by the thesis committee. The Dean of Graduate College will be notified by the committee, in writing, when the student has passed the oral defense. The oral defense of the thesis must be passed at least three (3) weeks before the degree is conferred.


Candidates for the Master of Education in Educational Leadership, School Counseling and Leadership, and Teaching, Learning and Leadership, and candidates for the Educational Specialist in Educational Leadership are required to submit a portfolio for completion of requirements of the degree demonstrating evidence of the candidate's competencies required by the specific program standards. A satisfactory portfolio is a requirement for completion of the program.

The candidate must enroll in two (2) hours of portfolio study after completion of 28 hours of course work. The portfolio is to be completed at the end of course work during the last semester of enrollment.

Three (3) copies of the portfolio are required. One copy is for the Center for Leadership and Learning, and the other copies are for the portfolio committee members. An oral review of the portfolio is required. The oral review will be in compliance with Arkansas licensure requirements.

Degree Completion Requirements

  1. Obtain from the University an official statement of admittance to graduate study.
  2. Develop a planned program of studies (including determined prerequisites) under supervision of designated faculty advisor, with any subsequent modifications approved by advisor and program director.
  3. Apply for admission to candidacy after completion of twelve (12) hours.
  4. Complete course work for the degree.
  5. Successfully complete a thesis, portfolio, comprehensive exam, internship, or research project as set forth in this catalog.
  6. Submit an Application for Graduation form. This must be done during the first week of the semester or term in which the degree work is to be completed.
  7. Complete the degree within six (6) years from the time unconditional or conditional admission to the program was granted.
  8. See specific degree programs for special requirements.