Requirements For Specific Graduate Degrees
The master’s degree will be conferred upon the holder of an approved baccalaureate degree who has fulfilled within the
designated time limit all requirements as set forth below. Language requirements are included in the section on Ph.D.
requirements. Successful candidates in those departments (science and mathematics) which offer both the M.A. and M.S. may upon
recommendation of their departmental faculty elect the M.S. degree.
Program of Studies Not less than 24 credits of graduate courses must be successfully completed while regularly enrolled as a
graduate student in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The program should be arranged in consultation with the professors
concerned, approved by a faculty advisor of the major subject or department, and then be approved by the dean in a formal degree
application submitted not later than October 1 if the degree is to be conferred in January, February 1 if the degree is to be conferred
in May, or July 1 if the degree is to be conferred in August. The courses may all be in one subject or department, but the candidate may,
with the approval of his or her advisor, elect a limited number of appropriate courses offered in other departments. Only graduate
courses (courses taught by members of one of the graduate faculties of the University) may be counted toward a graduate degree, and no
extension, correspondence, home-study, or transfer courses will be counted toward the degrees of Master of Arts and Master of Science.
Courses applied for a Master's degree from one department may not be used to fulfill requirements for a Master's degree in a second
department of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
Following the course descriptions for each department will be found statements of any special requirements in that department for the M.A. or M.S. degree.
Thesis Departments may include a master’s thesis as one of the degree requirements. Detailed instructions on the subject and
method of the thesis are available in departments. The physical standards for the thesis and the deadlines for submission are the same
as those for the Ph.D. dissertation.
Final Examination A candidate must receive a satisfactory standing in a final examination, oral or written or both, conducted
by two or more faculty members designated by the department in which the candidate is working. The result of the examination, with the
names of the examiners, must be reported by the chair of the examining committee to the Graduate School no later than two weeks before
Time Limitation All work for the master’s degree must be completed within five years from the time of admission if the work is
done primarily during the regular academic session and within seven years if the work is done primarily in summer sessions. In special
cases, upon approval of the Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, out-of-date work may be revalidated by examination.
Master's Degrees in Summer Session
Any one of the master’s degrees described in the preceding pages may be obtained by properly qualified persons in four full
summer sessions of residence, the equivalent in time of the regular session. Except by special permission of the dean and the
committee concerned, not more than two graduate courses may be taken in each summer session and credited toward the 24 credits
of graduate courses required for the master’s degree.
Admission and Registration In order to receive graduate credit for any courses taken in the summer session, all graduate
students must conform to the same formalities for admission and registration as stated above for the regular session. After these
formalities have been completed, the student must also register promptly at the summer session office.
Graduate students must register in person, but applications for admission, accompanied by official transcripts, should be mailed in
advance to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
Application for a Degree The requirements stated above for regular session students apply also to students in the summer
session, with the exception that all students must submit their applications for the master’s degree to the Dean of the Graduate School
of Arts and Sciences not later than July 1.
Requirements The requirements stated above for regular session students also apply to students in the summer session. The
candidate for the M.A. or M.S. degree must submit the thesis by August 1 to the Graduate School Office, in accord with the regulations
stated in the section entitled Thesis.
All requirements must be met for graduate degrees in the summer session and a final report made to the Graduate School from the
department at least a week prior to the date for the awarding of degrees. Graduate students in the summer session must complete all
requirements for their master’s degrees within seven summers, or seven calendar years when a part of the work is taken in the regular
The regulations concerning grades and acceptance of degrees are the same as for recipients of the master’s degree in the regular
Under the course listings of the departments will be found statements of any special requirements for the degree of Master of Arts or
Master of Science.
Master of Fine Arts
The Master of Fine Arts program is offered by the Departments of Drama and English. Specific requirements are listed
following the course descriptions for these two departments.
Doctor of Philosophy
The degree of Doctor of Philosophy will be conferred upon the holder of an approved baccalaureate degree who has fulfilled
within the designated time limit all requirements as set forth below under the headings: Language Requirements, Program of
Studies, Dissertation, and Final Examination.
Requirement Examinations in Foreign Languages for M.A./Ph.D. Candidates Students wishing to take foreign languages
examinations to meet departmental or School graduate requirements should contact their departmental chair. Examinations are offered in
Spanish, German, Italian, French, and Russian, and special arrangements may be made for ancient and other languages. Once the student
has notified the department, a representative of that department will then contact the requested language department. At least two weeks’
notice should be given to the language department in order that arrangements be made for test administration.
Two types of tests are available: “proficiency” and “mastery.” Students should carefully review their departmental requirements
before they indicate which level test they wish to take.
Proficiency Examinations The proficiency examination for the M.A. and/or Ph.D. requirements is designed to test the student's
proficiency in the language.
The examination consists of a prose passage in the language to be translated in 90 minutes into adequate, if not literary, English.
The length will be between 250-750 words. The texts are chosen out of recent books, journals, or news magazines, and an attempt is made
whenever possible to select them as relating to the major discipline of the student being tested. The student has to demonstrate a clear
understanding of syntactical structures and some basic knowledge of cultural references. Verb wheels and dictionaries are allowed.
The results of the examinations are sent to the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, with the graded
examination booklets. The booklets are the property of the University of Virginia. A copy of the results is sent to the graduate advisor
and the secretary of the student’s department.
The grading fee has been set by the Graduate School, and students will be informed by their department that they must clear
administrative matters with the Graduate School before receiving credit for the examination.
Mastery Examination The mastery examination differs from the proficiency examination in that it lasts two hours and is made up
of three parts:
- A short critical prose passage (not necessarily contemporary) relating to the student’s major to be translated in 40 minutes.
- Analysis of a short text relating to the student’s major. Forty minutes are allowed to answer six to eight questions about the form
and meaning of the proposed text.
- A short essay in the language with a general question relating to the student’s major.
Dictionaries are permitted. Administrative details for the mastery examination are the same as those for the proficiency examination.
Program of Studies Constituting not less than three complete sessions of full-time graduate work or the equivalent, the
program of studies must be successfully completed under satisfactory conditions of registration. The student may elect courses in more
than one department or subject if they contribute appropriately to his or her program, but the entire program must be directed and
approved by one department. (See Table of Major Requirements for specific requirements.)
A formal degree application must be submitted and must be approved by the dean not later than October 1 if the degree is to be
conferred in January, February 1 if the degree is to be conferred in May, or July 1 if the degree is to be conferred in August.
With the approval of the supervising department and the dean, up to one session of the required three sessions of graduate work may
be completed at another graduate school or may be taken at this University on a part-time basis; also with the approval of the
supervising department and the dean, up to one session or the equivalent may be spent in dissertation research elsewhere. However, no
candidacy will be approved unless the applicant has spent at least two consecutive semesters during the academic year beyond the M.A. or
equivalent level in full-time residential study at this University.
Exceptional students who complete all other degree requirements within two calendar years of entering this Graduate School may
petition the dean to waive the third year of graduate work.
Following the course listings of the departments will be found statements of any special requirements for the degree of Doctor of
Dissertation The preparation of a dissertation exhibiting independent research in the candidate’s major subject is required.
The advisory professor will periodically evaluate the student’s progress on the dissertation. If the student’s progress is judged to be
unsatisfactory, the advisory professor may recommend a new topic or may recommend to the department that the student not be allowed to
continue his or her graduate work.
The title of the dissertation is to be approved by the advisory professor and submitted to the dean on the degree application. The
dissertation must be submitted in completed form to the department for approval by the advisory professor and by the special examining
committee (see below, under “Final Examination”). The original and one copy, or two electrostatic copies of the dissertation on
acceptable paper, must be brought to the Graduate School Office for inspection not later than December 1 if the degree is to be
conferred in January, or May 1 if the degree is to be conferred in May, or August 1 if the degree is to be conferred in August.
The dissertation must be double-spaced, upon 20 pound weight bond paper of good quality (either Crane’s Thesis Paper, Standard
Permalife, Xerox Archival Bond Paper, Capitol Bond Paper, Swan Linen Bond Paper, Millers Falls Old Deerfield Bond Paper, or Southworth
Four Star Bond Paper), 8 1/2 x 11 inches, with a left-hand margin one and one-half inches in width. The remaining margins are to be one
inch wide. Paper for the second copy must be of the same quality as the original, whatever process of reproduction is used, though it
may be of 16 pound weight. Erasable paper is not acceptable. Pages should be numbered throughout, consecutively. Dissertations must be
in manila envelopes with the following information noted thereon: Name of Author, Abbreviated Title of Dissertation (36 spaces or less),
Degree, and Date to be Conferred.
After two copies of the dissertation have been inspected and approved at the Graduate School Office, the student will deliver these
copies to the Photography Division of Printing Services, Alderman Library, and pay for the cost of permanent binding. A receipt showing
that these two copies of the dissertation have been delivered to the Photography Division of Printing Services must be returned to the
Graduate School Office. Personal copies will also be handled by the Photography Division of Printing Services. Theses/Dissertations can
be submitted electronically instead of submitting hard copies. Please visit the Printing Services webpage at
for complete details to ensure your files meet all guidelines.
More detailed instructions for preparing a dissertation are available in the Enrolled Student Office (438 Cabell Hall, 924-7183) or
at http://www.virginia.edu/artsandsciences/grad/thesis.html. The student should consult the advisory professor in reference to any
special departmental requirements relating to the dissertation.
All dissertations will be published by having a master microfilm negative made from each original dissertation. These negatives will
be stored and serviced by University Microfilms of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Positive microfilms, or enlarged prints, will be produced to
order at the standard rate for other scholars who desire access to any dissertation.
Each dissertation, when submitted, must be accompanied by three copies of an abstract of 350 words or fewer. The abstract, or
summary, will be published in Microfilms Abstracts for national distribution. No dissertation will be accepted without this abstract.
A fee of $75 for the above service must be paid to the Photography Division of Printing Services by the candidate for the Ph.D. degree
before it is conferred.
Final Examination A candidate must receive a satisfactory standing in a final examination, oral, written, or both. Upon
acceptance of the dissertation by the advisory professor and the department concerned, the dean will appoint, upon nomination of the
department, a special committee to examine the candidate upon such phases of the major subject and of allied subjects as the committee
shall prescribe. The examining committee, under the chairmanship of the advisor professor, will consist of not fewer than four members
from the graduate faculty, one of whom must be from another department and serves as a representative of the graduate faculty. Through
its chair, the examining committee may invite other members of the departmental faculty to take part in the examination; indeed, it is
recommended that the doctoral examination be given before the entire professional staff of the department concerned. The result of the
examination, with the names of the examiners and their departmental affiliation, must be reported by the chair of the examining
committee to the Graduate School no later than two weeks before final exercises.
The candidate shall not be admitted to the final examination before satisfying the foreign language requirement, if such is required
by the candidate’s department. No candidate may be admitted to the final examination until the dissertation has been accepted.
Preliminary examinations may, in addition, be required by individual departments.
Time Limitation All requirements for the Ph.D. must be completed within seven years from the date of admittance into the Ph.D.
Program. In special cases, upon approval of the Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, work out-of-date may be revalidated by
examination. In case of interruption of work by military service, time spent in service will be excluded from the computation of this
Certificate of Candidacy A Certificate of Candidacy may be awarded by certain departments to students who have completed all
requirements for the Ph.D. degree except for the dissertation.