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    University of California Merced
   
 
  Sep 25, 2017
 
 
    
2015-2016 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Requirements for Advanced Degrees


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Phone: 209-228-4723
Email: graddiv@ucmerced.edu
Web: graduatedivision.ucmerced.edu

Examinations

Master’s Degree Requirements

Doctor of Philosophy Requirements

 


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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. may be given only during an academic session for which the student has registered. However, with the approval of the graduate committee of the Graduate Group, 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. In such cases, written notification of intent must be submitted to the Graduate Dean at least two weeks in advance of the exam.

Examination Results

Examinations can result in either a pass, fail, or partial pass by unanimous consensus of the Examination Committee.

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, Comprehensive Examination for Master’s Degrees, the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination, the Ph.D. Candidacy Examination, and the Final Examination on the Ph.D. Dissertation. 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, is subject to academic disqualification. A third examination may be given only with the approval of the Graduate Group committee and the Graduate Dean.


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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.

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.

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, 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 two 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 as Oversight Member. See exceptions below for procedures to appoint an Oversight Member.

Role of Oversight Member: The Oversight Member shall participate on all student research advisory and/or thesis committees. An additional role of the Oversight Member is to be fully cognizant of the issues related to the possible conflict of interest and its potential impact on the student, and to be fully cognizant of the UCM resources available should a conflict of interest problem arise. 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 a request for an exception must be submitted in writing to the Graduate Dean.

C. Exceptions on Appointment

Oversight Member: In cases where an Oversight Member is needed, 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

Graduate 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.


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Doctor of Philosophy Requirements

Residency Requirement

A minimum of four semesters in academic residence is required prior to awarding the Ph.D.

Advancement to Candidacy

Graduate students are nominated for admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree in a particular field by the Graduate Group responsible for advanced degrees in that field. 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 this handbook, authority both to evaluate and to approve the committee may be delegated to the Graduate Group. However, 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 Chair of the Graduate Group 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 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.

Role of the Oversight Member: The Oversight Member shall participate on all student research advisory and/or thesis committees. An additional role of the Oversight Member is to be fully cognizant of the issues related to the possible conflict of interest and its potential impact on the student, and to be fully cognizant of the UCM resources available should a conflict of interest problem arise. 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: In cases where an Oversight Member is needed, 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 Graduate Group chair if the advisor is conflicted) will select the nominees. The Graduate Group representative 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.

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. Should these Senate policies not be followed the student will be required to retake the Qualifying Exam.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Role of the Oversight Member: The Oversight Member shall participate on all student research advisory and/or doctoral committees. An additional role of the Oversight Member is to be fully cognizant of the issues related to possible conflict of interest and its potential impact on the student, and to be fully cognizant of the UCM resources available should a conflict of interest problem arise. 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 remaining 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 (if required) and approval of the dissertation, the Doctoral Committee recommends, by submission of the Ph.D. Exam Form, the conferral of the Ph.D. subject to final submission of the approved dissertation for deposit in the University Archives. The Committee recommendation must be unanimous.

Dissertation

The submission of the dissertation is the last step in the program leading to the award of an advanced degree. All dissertations submitted in fulfillment of requirements for advanced degrees at UCM must conform to certain University regulations and specifications with regard to format and method of preparation. The UCM Thesis and Dissertation Manual for writing and submitting theses/dissertations is available at the Graduate Division. 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. The doctoral committee chair is responsible for the content and final presentation of the manuscript.