Nov 14, 2018  
2018-2019 Catalog 
    
2018-2019 Catalog

Requirements for Advanced Degrees


Graduate Division

Student Services Building 310
Phone: 209-228-4723
Email: gradservices@ucmerced.edu
Web: graduatedivision.ucmerced.edu
Mail: Graduate Division
       5200 N. Lake Road
       Merced, CA 95343

Examinations

Master’s Degree Requirements

Doctor of Philosophy Requirements

 

Examinations

Scheduling of Examinations

Ordinarily, examinations that are required for an advanced degree, including language and comprehensive examinations and qualifying or final examinations for the Ph.D. are given only during an academic session for which the student has registered. However, with the approval of the student’s examination committee, such examinations may be given between the end of any academic session for which the student was registered and the beginning of the next regular academic session

Examination Results

Examinations can result in either a pass, fail, or partial pass by unanimous consensus of the Examination Committee. The categories are described below.

a) A student has passed when the examination committee unanimously votes that the student passed the entire examination with scholarship that is at least acceptable. If agreed unanimously by the committee, the student may be allowed to make minor modifications of written portions prior to submitting the results of the examination.

b) A student has failed when the examination committee votes unanimously that the student failed the entire examination. The student then has the option of taking a second examination as detailed in Section VI.D.3 of the Graduate Policies and Procedures Handbook.

c) A student has partially passed when the examination committee votes unanimously that the student passed some components but failed others. In this instance, the student has the option of taking a second examination on the components failed as detailed in Section VI.D.3 of the Graduate Policies and Procedures Handbook.

d) Within 30 days of the examination date, the chair of the committee must submit to the Graduate Group Chair or his/her designee and the school’s graduate support staff the Examination Report conveying information about the student’s performance (pass, fail, or partial pass) on each of the components covered during the examination.The graduate support staff will then submit the Examination Report to the Graduate Division.

Repeat of Critical Examinations

In accordance with Academic Senate policy, a graduate student shall have the option of taking a second examination in the event of unsatisfactory performance on a critical examination. Included are the Comprehensive Examination, Qualifying Examination, and the Final Examination on the Ph.D. Dissertation. In keeping with specific Graduate Group Policies and Procedures, the second examination may have a format different from the first, but the substance should remain the same. A student whose performance on the second attempt is also unsatisfactory, or who does not undertake a second examination within a reasonable period of time as established by the examination committee or specified in the Graduate Group Policies and Procedures, is subject to academic disqualification. A third examination may be given only if allowed under Graduate Group Policies and Procedures and with the approval of the examination  committee, Grauate Group Chair, and the Graduate Dean.


Master’s Degree Requirements

Residency Requirements

A minimum of two semesters in academic residence is required prior to the award of most master’s degrees. A minimum period of study of one semester in-residence must intervene between formal advancement to candidacy and the conferring of the Master’s degree (AR 686).

Master’s Degree Requirements

The master’s degree is attained by: Plan I, the Thesis option, or Plan II, the Comprehensive Examination option. A program may offer the option of one or both plans with the approval of the Graduate Council. Each of these plans has minimal coursework requirements, but programs may impose additional requirements.

Plan I (Thesis) In addition to the thesis, a minimum of 24 semester units in approved courses is also required, at least 20 of which must be earned in 200 series graduate-level courses exclusive of credit given for thesis research and preparation. A general examination is also required.

Plan II (Comprehensive Examination) In addition to the comprehensive examination, a minimum of 30 semester units in approved courses, at least 24 of which must be from graduate-level courses in the 200 series.

Thesis (Plan I)

Under Plan I a thesis is required. A committee of three faculty members recommended by the Graduate Group Chair and appointed by the Graduate Dean shall approve the subject, pass on the content of the thesis, and administer the general examination. Usually one of the committee members directs the work.

A. Membership

The thesis committee is comprised of a minimum of three voting members of the University of California Academic Senate – not necessarily the Merced Division – or the equivalent. A majority of the committee, but not necessarily all, shall be affiliated with the program. The Thesis Committee shall approve the subject of the thesis, pass on the content and administer the general examination. Usually, the Chair of the committee directs the work. Two copies of the approved thesis must be filed with the Thesis and Dissertation Manuscript Advisor.

Chair: The Chair of the committee shall always be a member of the Merced Division and of the Graduate Group supervising the master’s program; no exceptions will be granted for this position.

General Members: Non-faculty members (i.e. Professional Researchers) will be considered for general membership on the committee on an exception-only basis. The Graduate Dean, on behalf of the Graduate Council, retains sole authority to grant exceptions. All such requests must be submitted in writing by the Graduate Group Chair to the Graduate Dean two weeks prior to the examination to allow a reasonable time for review.

Oversight Member: If the Chair, Research/Thesis advisor or other member of the committee has a financial interest in an outside entity that carries the possibility of a conflict of interest that is potentially harmful to the graduate student, an Oversight Member must be appointed in addition to the three general members. It is understood that the Oversight Member shall not bear a possible conflict of interest potentially harmful to the graduate student in the discharge of his or her role. See Section VII.E (Conflict of Interest) of the Graduate Policies and Procedures Handbook. If there do not appear to be any harmful results from the conflict of interest, the Oversight Member shall sign a statement to that effect after each committee meeting and the statement shall be placed in the student’s file and a copy forwarded to the Graduate Dean. If the Oversight Member perceives that there is a problem arising from conflict of interest issues, then he/she shall not sign off on the committee deliberation, but shall instead inform the Graduate Dean in writing.

B. Appointment Procedures

The qualifications of all committee members must be evaluated and approved by the Graduate Group Chair or designee. When the membership of the proposed committee conforms to Senate policy as defined in this regulation, the Graduate Dean, on behalf of the Graduate Council, may delegate to the Graduate Group the authority to appoint, evaluate, and approve the committee. When the proposed membership deviates from this policy, as in the case of non-faculty members (i.e. Professional Reserachers) or faculty members from other universities, or if the case of appointment of Oversight Member, a request for an exception must be submitted in writing to the Graduate Dean.

C. Exceptions on Appointment

Oversight Member: The Graduate Dean shall select the Oversight Member from a list of three nominees agreed upon by the student, the faculty research advisor, and the Graduate Group Chair. The Graduate Group Chair shall submit a written request to appoint an Oversight Member to the Graduate Dean no less than two weeks prior to the date of the exam to allow a reasonable time for review. This request should include background information describing the circumstances of the possible conflict. The Graduate Dean will retain sole authority to appoint the Oversight Member. No exceptions to this requirement will be considered.

General Member: Non-faculty members (i.e. Professional Researchers) and faculty members holding professorial titles from other universities will be considered for general membership on the committee on an exception-only basis with approval of the Graduate Dean.

D. Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of the Graduate Group Chair, the Chair of the Candidacy Committee, and the Graduate Division to: (1) to inform the student regarding the policy on Thesis Committees – including full disclosure of issues pertaining to possible conflict of interest that is potentially harmful to graduate students; (2) to provide graduate students with a policy statement on such possible conflict of interest prior to the student designating a research topic, forming a graduate committee, or being employed as a research or teaching assistant, whichever comes first; and (3) to ensure that these Academic Senate policies are followed.

Comprehensive Examination (Plan II)

A final comprehensive examination, the nature of which is to be determined by the Graduate Group and approved by the Graduate Council, is required of candidates following Plan II. The content of the exam represents a capstone requirement that integrates the intellectual substance of the program.

Advancement to Candidacy

In accordance with University of California Senate Regulation 682, students must be advanced to candidacy for their degree prior to the beginning of the final semester of enrollment. An Application for Advancement to Candidacy initiated by the student and approved by the Graduate Group should be submitted to the Graduate Dean 30 days before the opening of the semester in which the degree is expected. The application must be accompanied by petitions for any course credits that have not already been approved by the Graduate Dean.


Doctor of Philosophy Requirements

Residency Requirement

In accordance with University of California policy, a minimum of four semesters in academic residence is required prior to awarding the Ph.D. Typically, a longer period of study, four to six years, is required for completion of all degree requirements. It is the responsibility of the Graduate Group to inform the student upon admission to the program of the expected degree time. If a student does not meet the Graduate Group expected degree time, not including the first two Educational Leave Program (ELP) semesters, a letter is sent to the student and to the Faculty Advisor strongly encouraging the student to contact her/his Graduate Group Chair and set a completion date.

Advancement to Candidacy

Graduate students are nominated for admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree by their Graduate Group. Students are admitted to candidacy if they pass by unanimous vote a candidacy examination administered by a Candidacy Committee and meet any other conditions (such as specific course requirements) set by the Graduate Group. The Graduate Dean may delegate to the Graduate Groups the role of appointing Candidacy Committees. When the membership of the proposed Candidacy Committee conforms to the guidelines set forth in the Policies and Procedures Handbook, the Graduate Dean may delegate to the Graduate Group the authority both to evaluate and to approve the committee. The Graduate Dean retains sole authority to grant any exceptions to this policy, and to appoint a nominee as Oversight Member in those cases where the possibility of a conflict of interest that is potentially harmful to the graduate student exists. It is understood that the Oversight Member shall not bear a possible conflict of interest potentially harmful to the graduate student in the discharge of his or her role. Requests for approval of exceptions must be submitted in writing by the Graduate Group Chair to the Graduate Dean at least two weeks prior to the scheduled exam to allow a reasonable time for review.

The Graduate Group must also inform students regarding the policy on candidacy committees including policy related to possible conflict of interest (personal or financial) that is potentially harmful to graduate students. It is the responsibility of the Chair of Graduate Group and the Chair of the Candidacy Committee to ensure that these Academic Senate policies are followed. Should these Senate policies not be followed, the student, at the discretion of the Graduate Dean, will be required to retake the Advancement Exam.

Candidacy Committee

The Candidacy Committee is comprised of a minimum of three faculty who are voting members of the University of California Academic Senate. Non-faculty members (i.e., Professional Researchers) or faculty holding professorial titles at other Universities will be considered on an exception-only basis with approval of the Graduate Dean. Candidacy Committee members need not necessarily be from the Merced Division, but a majority must be members of the student’s Graduate Group.

A. Membership

The Chair: The Chair of the Candidacy Committee must be a member of the student’s Graduate Group and must be a voting member of the UC Academic Senate. No exceptions to these requirements will be considered.

General Membership: At least one member in addition to the Chair must be a member of the student’s Graduate Group. No exceptions to the requirement that a majority of voting members hold appointments in the student’s Graduate Group will be considered. Non-faculty members (i.e. Professional Researchers) or faculty holding professorial titles at other universities will be considered on an exception-only basis with approval of the Graduate Dean.

The Oversight Member: If the Chair, Research/Thesis advisor or other member of the committee has a financial interest in an outside entity that carries a possibility of a conflict of interest potentially harmful to the graduate student, an Oversight Member must be appointed in addition to the three general members. It is understood that the Oversight Member shall not bear a possible conflict of interest potentially harmful to the graduate student in the discharge of his or her role. If there does not appear to be any harmful results from the conflict of interest, the Oversight Member shall sign a statement to that effect after each committee meeting and the statement shall be placed in the student’s file as well as forwarded to the Graduate Dean. If the Oversight Member perceives that there is a problem arising from conflict of interest issues, then he/she shall not sign off on the committee deliberation, but shall instead inform the Graduate Dean in writing.

B. Appointment Procedures

The qualifications of all committee members must be evaluated and approved by the Graduate Group Chair or designee. When the membership of the proposed committee conforms to Senate policy as defined in this regulation, the Graduate Dean, on behalf of the Graduate Council, may delegate to the Graduate Group Chair the authority to appoint, evaluate and approve the committee. When the proposed membership deviates from this policy, as in the case of nonfaculty members (i.e. Professional Researcher) or faculty members from other universities, or when appointment of an Oversight Member is perceived to be necessary, a request for an exception or nomination must be submitted in writing to the Graduate Dean (see below).

Non-faculty members (i.e. Professional Researchers) or faculty holding professorial titles at other Universities will be considered on an exception-only basis. The Graduate Dean retains sole authority to grant these exceptions, which must be submitted in writing by the Chair of the Graduate Group at least two weeks prior to the scheduled exam, and must be accompanied by a curriculum vitae of the individual for whom the exception is being requested.

Oversight Member: If the Chair, Research/Thesis advisor or other member of the committee has a financial interest in an outside entity that carries a possibility of a conflict of interest potentially harmful to the graduate student, an Oversight Member must be appointed in addition to the three general members. It is understood that the Oversight Member shall not bear a possible conflict of interest potentially harmful to the graduate student in the discharge of his or her role. See further Section VII. D. (Conflict of Interest). If there do not appear to be any harmful results from the conflict of interest, the Oversight Member shall sign a statement to that effect after each committee meeting and the statement shall be placed in the student’s file and a copy forwarded to the Graduate Dean. If the Oversight Member perceives that there is a problem arising from conflict of interest issues, then he/she shall not sign off on the committee deliberation, but shall instead inform the Graduate Dean in writing.

It is the responsibility of the Graduate Group Chair, the Chair of the Candidacy Committee, and the Graduate Division to: (1) to inform the student regarding the policy on Dissertation Committees – including full disclosure of issues pertaining to possible conflict of interest that is potentially harmful to graduate students; (2) to provide graduate students with a policy statement on such possible conflict of interest prior to the student designating a research topic, forming a graduate committee, or being employed as a research or teaching assistant, whichever comes first; and (3) to ensure that these Academic Senate policies are followed.

The Doctoral Committee

A. Dissertation

The Doctoral Committee shall supervise the preparation and completion of the dissertation and the final examination.

B. Membership

The Doctoral Committee is nominated by the Candidacy Committee with the concurrence of the candidate, the doctoral committee Chair, and the Graduate Group Chair or designee, on the PhD Form. The Doctoral Committee is comprised of three voting members of the University of California Academic Senate – not necessarily the Merced Division. A majority of the committee shall be affiliated with the program.

a) Chair: The Chair of the Committee shall always be a member of the Merced Division in the Graduate Group supervising the doctoral program; no exceptions will be granted for this position. The Chair of the Doctoral Committee is responsible for providing primary guidance of the student’s dissertation.

b)Oversight Member: If the Chair, Research/Dissertation advisor, or other member of the committee, has a financial interest in an outside entity that carries a possibility of a conflict of interest potentially harmful to the graduate student, an oversight member must be appointed in addition to the two general members. It is understood that the Oversight Member will not bear a possible conflict of interest potentially harmful to the graduate student in the discharge of his or her role. If there do not appear to be any harmful results from the conflict of interest, the Oversight Member shall sign a statement to that effect after each committee meeting and the statement shall be placed in the student’s file as well as forwarded to the Graduate Dean. If the Oversight Member perceives that there is a problem arising from conflict of interest issues, then he/she should not sign off on the committee deliberation, but should instead inform the Graduate Dean in writing.

C. Appointment Procedures

The qualifications of all committee members must be evaluated and approved by the Graduate Group Chair or designee. When the membership of the proposed committee conforms to Senate policy as defined in this regulation, the Graduate Dean, on behalf of the Graduate Council, may delegate to the Graduate Group the authority to appoint, evaluate and approve the members of the Doctoral Committee.

D. Exceptions
  1. Oversight Member: In those cases where a possible conflict of interest exists as described above, the Graduate Dean shall select the Oversight Member from a list of three nominees agreed upon by the student, the faculty research advisor and the Graduate Group representative. If these individuals cannot agree on three nominees, the Graduate Group representative (either the graduate advisor or the chair if the advisor is conflicted) shall select the nominees. The Graduate Group representative shall submit the request to appoint an Oversight Member in writing to the Graduate Dean no less than two weeks prior to the date of the exam to allow a reasonable time for review. This request should include background information describing the circumstances of the possible conflict. The Graduate Dean will retain sole authority to appoint the Oversight Member. No exceptions to this requirement will be considered.
  2. General Members: Non-faculty members (i.e. Professional Researchers) and faculty holding professional titles at institutions other than the University of California will be considered for general membership on the committee on an exception-only basis. The Graduate Dean, on behalf of the Graduate Council, retains sole authority to grant exceptions. All such requests must be submitted in writing by the Chair of the Graduate Group to the Graduate Dean at least two weeks prior to the date of the exam to allow a reasonable time for review.
E. Duties and Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of the Graduate Group Chair and the Chair of the Doctoral Committee to: 1) inform the student regarding the policy on Doctoral Committees, including full disclosure of issues pertaining to the possibility of conflict of interest potentially harmful to the student; 2) provide graduate students with a policy statement on conflict of interest prior to the student designating a research topic, forming a graduate committee, or being employed as a research or teaching assistant, whichever comes first; and 3) ensure that the Academic Senate policies are adhered to.

Final Examination

If a final examination is required by the graduate program, the Doctoral Committee supervises that examination, the focus of which is the content of the doctoral dissertation. Ordinarily, the final examination will be given just prior to the completion of the dissertation and while the student is in residence during a regular academic session. Administration of the final examination is subject to the policies of the Graduate Council governing critical examinations. Upon completion of the final examination and approval of the dissertation, the Doctoral Committee recommends the conferral of the Ph.D. by submitting the Report on Final Examination to the Graduate division. The Committee recommendation must be unanimous. If the vote of the Doctoral Committee is favorable pending changes or unfavorable, an explanation to the student is required and the Graduate Division must be notified.

Dissertation

Submitting the dissertation is the last step of the program leading to the award of an advanced degree. All dissertations submitted in fulfillment of requirements for advanced degrees at UC Merced must conform to certain University regulations and specifications with regard to format and method of preparation. See the UC Merced Thesis and Dissertation Manual for formatting requirements and filing instructions. The Doctoral Committee certifies that the completed dissertation is satisfactory through the signatures of all Committee members on the signature page of the completed dissertation.