University of Alaska Fairbanks

1996-1997 catalog


Requirements, Page 1


To earn a UAF graduate degree, you must satisfy all requirements. General university requirements and degree requirements are described in this section of the catalog; major requirements are found in the Degrees and Programs section.

General University Requirements

To receive a graduate degree at UAF, you must apply and be admitted to a specific degree program and must later be advanced to candidacy for that degree and discipline major.

Catalog and Time Limit-You may elect to graduate under the degree requirements in effect in the first semester of your enrollment in your graduate degree program, or the catalog in effect when you graduate. If you don't meet the continuous registration requirements, you will use either the catalog in effect during the semester of your reentry or the catalog in effect when you graduate. If you don't meet continuous registration requirements, you waive the right to use the catalog in effect when you first entered your graduate program.

All non-academic policies and regulations listed in the current catalog apply, regardless of the catalog you are using for your degree requirements.

All course work listed on your advancement to candidacy form and all other degree requirements must be satisfactorily completed within seven years for a master's degree and 10 years for a Ph.D.

Grade Point Average and Grade Requirements-You must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 (B) for good standing and to graduate. You must earn an A or B grade (no P grades) in 300-400 level courses; a C will be accepted in 600-level courses provided you maintain a B average. For the purposes of graduate good standing and meeting degree requirements, all grades, including those generated from retaking a course, are included in the GPA.

Registration Requirement-As a graduate student, you must be registered for at least six graduate credits per year (fall, spring, summer) when actively working toward a degree. If you wish to temporarily suspend your studies, you should obtain an approved leave of absence. If you don't register or obtain a leave of absence, you will be dropped from graduate study and will have to be reinstated before resuming graduate studies.

You must be registered for at least three graduate credits in the semester in which you receive your degree and you must apply for graduation that semester.

Transfer Credit-You may apply credits earned at UAF while a non-degree student toward a graduate degree only with approval of your graduate advisory committee, to a maximum of one-half of all credits used to meet your degree requirements. Up to nine credits may be approved for transfer to UAF from another institution. Credits taken at the University of Alaska Anchorage and the University of Alaska Southeast are considered transfer credit.

Course Restrictions-You may not use correspondence courses, credit-by-examination, audited courses, 500-level courses or courses taken under the credit/no credit option to fulfill the basic course requirements of any degree program. No more than six credits of special topics courses (693 or 695) or individual study (697) may be used toward a graduate degree. Requests for exceptions to the limit must be approved by the Dean of the Graduate School.

Deficiencies-Your advisory committee may require that you correct certain deficiencies in your program. Your committee will determine early in the program how to remedy the deficiencies and the minimum level of performance required of you. Such courses may be taken under the credit/no-credit option, audit or through credit-by-examination.

English Proficiency-You must be proficient in written and oral English. If deficiencies are apparent, your advisory committee will determine requirements to remove the deficiencies. Such requirements may not be used to fulfill the language/research tool some departments require.

Cooperative Programs-In some cases, cooperative programs utilizing specific courses form other universities may be developed before you have been admitted to graduate study at UAF. Part of the application process must include an approved graduate study plan which includes the cooperative program. You must complete a minimum of 12 semester credits in residence at UAF, in addition to thesis and research.

Graduate Advisory Committee

A graduate advisory committee is normally appointed within the first semester of study to provide guidance to students in developing and completing their degree programs. Committee members for graduate degrees are approved by the appropriate dean, usually upon recommendation of the department head, and by the Dean of the Graduate School. Advisory committees for interdisciplinary students are appointed by the dean of the Graduate School. Each interdisciplinary student follows procedures through the department of his or her advisory committee chair. The committee chair's department will be the "home" of the interdisciplinary student for academic purposes.

The major responsibilities of the Graduate Advisory Committee are: to formulate a Graduate Study Plan, in consultation with the student, by the end of the student's second semester in the graduate program; to develop a tentative timetable for completion of all requirements for the degree program; to monitor the student's work, both in course work and research; to provide advice and feedback to the student on that progress; to file an Annual Report of Graduate Student Advisory Committee with the Office of the Graduate School; to approve, where appropriate, a research topic; to supervise the preparation of the research thesis or project when one is required; to uphold the standards of the college/school and the university; to inform the dean, in writing, if a student's performance is inadequate, and provide relevant advisory committee recommendations; and to formulate and conduct the comprehensive examination and other exams as required by the department. The student's adviser (major professor, advisory committee chair) acts as head of the graduate advisory committee and takes the lead in fulfilling these responsibilities.

Graduate Study Plan

You must file a Graduate Study Plan (GSP) with the Graduate School before the end of your second semester in a UAF graduate degree program. The GSP outlines the curriculum of study and a timetable to be followed by the graduate student in meeting graduate degree requirements. The GSP is prepared by the advisory committee in consultation with the student, and it serves as a working agreement of mutual expectations between the student and the faculty committee. The GSP not only contains the specific degree requirements, but indicates the mechanism for fulfilling these requirements (e.g., via course work, examinations, readings, internships, other supervised experience, etc.) and a projected timetable for completing the various requirements.

Advancement to Candidacy

Advancement to Candidacy formally establishes your specific degree requirements and should be done as soon as possible after qualifying. At the latest, you should submit your application for advancement to candidacy one semester before you are awarded your degree. If you are completing your programs primarily during the summer sessions, your application for advancement to candidacy should be submitted the summer session before you are awarded your degree.

The finalized Graduate Study Plan should be used as a basis for completing this form. Please refer to the sections on "Requirements for Good Standing" and "Minimal Acceptable grades" when selecting courses to be included on the Advancement to Candidacy application.

Admission to graduate study does not imply "advancement to candidacy" for a degree. Your graduate advisory committee has the option of refusing to recommend you to candidacy.

Master's Degree - You may apply for advancement to candidacy for a specific master's degree if you are in good standing and have satisfied the following requirements:

  1. satisfactorily completed at least nine semester credits of graduate study in residence at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (i.e., study after admission to a specific degree program)
  2. received approval of a provisional thesis or project topic
  3. received approval of the finalized Graduate Study Plan including specific course work to be completed and any other requirements

Doctor of Philosophy - You may apply for advancement to candidacy for the Doctor of Philosophy degree if you are in good standing and have accomplished the following:

  1. completed the full-time equivalent of two academic years of graduate study
  2. completed at least one semester in residence at the University of Alaska Fairbanks
  3. received approval of the finalized Graduate Study Plan
  4. obtained approval of the advisory committee for the title and synopsis of the thesis
  5. passed a written comprehensive examination


Examinations are given in both written and oral form, depending upon the policy of the program unit, the decision of the advisory committee, and the specific examination being taken.

Placement Examinations - Some programs have a formalized placement evaluation procedure designed to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses in the student's background as an aid in developing the student's Graduate Study Plan. This evaluation is carried out during your first semester at the university, preferably in the first month, and may be written, oral, or both.

Qualifying Examinations - A few master's degree programs require the successful completion of a written and/or oral qualifying examination before you may be advanced to candidacy. This examination is an interim evaluation of your academic progress, and you may pass unconditionally or conditionally. A conditional pass indicates specific weaknesses in your background that must be remedied before degree requirements are completed. The Graduate Study Plan and, later, the Advancement to Candidacy form, should include mechanisms for remedying these weaknesses.

Comprehensive (final) Examination - The primary purpose of the comprehensive examination is to determine whether you have integrated knowledge and understanding of the principles and concepts underlying your major and related fields.

For master's and educational specialist degrees, students usually take this examination during their final year; it may be either oral or written, or a combination of both.

For the Ph.D. degree, students normally take a written comprehensive examination within two academic years of entering the program, but no later than two academic years before the expected completion of the degree (whichever is earliest). At the discretion of the Ph.D. student's advisory committee, an oral examination may supplement the written comprehensive examination. Each student must pass the comprehensive examination prior to advancement to candidacy.

Defense of Thesis Examination -If you are required to complete a thesis in partial fulfillment of degree requirements, you must pass an oral defense of thesis examination. The defense will consist of a presentation followed by questions on the research, analysis and written presentation. Your thesis will not be accepted for final submission by the Graduate School until your have successfully defended it. All committee members must be present for the defense of thesis.

Examination Committee - In most cases, examinations are prepared and administered by the student's graduate advisory committee under guidelines formulated by the faculty of the program unit in which the degree is being taken. In a few programs, examinations are replaced or supplemented by departmental or school examinations and administered by an established examining committee and the chair of the student's advisory committee.

Outside Examiner - An "outside examiner" representing and appointed by the dean of the Graduate School is required at all Ph.D. oral examinations (except the Placement Examination). The examiner must be from a different department than the candidate and chair of the advisory committee. The function of the outside examiner is to determine that a stringent, unbiased examination is given and that it is fairly administered and evaluated.

Language/Research Tool Requirement- Proficiency in a second language or a research tool may be required in some programs. This is not a university requirement, but it may be required by the department or program offering the degree, or specified by your advisory committee if its requirements exceed those of the program.

The specific language or research tool is determined by your advisory committee, guided by policies of the administrative unit in which the degree. Generally, competency in a second language is required; however, computer languages, statistics, mathematics, etc., or study in areas as history of philosophy of science, business, administration or law, economics, etc., may be substituted by the committee upon the approval of the department or program head. In all instances, topics selected must be supportive of the student's degree program.

At the discretion of the advisory committee and the approval of the department head, proficiency in written and oral English may be used to satisfy this requirement for foreign students whose primary language is not English.