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Requirements to Graduate (Graduate)


To be considered “in good standing,” a 3.0 average or better in all graduate and required undergraduate work undertaken at Kent State University should be maintained by graduate students. In order to qualify for graduation, the student must have a 3.0 average in all graduate courses attempted.The grade point average of a student who enlists in the military service after work is begun toward a graduate degree may, at the student’s request upon return from military service, exclude the grades earned in the last semester in which that student is in residence prior to induction. GO TO TOP


Only work of high quality is approved for graduate credit. Graduate students are expected to maintain a 3.0 average in all work attempted at Kent State. A student who fails to maintain a 3.0 average is subject to dismissal. In addition, in order to qualify for graduation, a 3.0 average must be maintained for all graduate coursework. Grades below C (2.0) are not counted toward completion of requirements for any advanced degree, but are counted in evaluating a student’s grade point average. Only graduate course credits count toward a graduate degree.

A graduate student who receives a combination of more than 8 credit hours of B- (2.7) or lower grades, or more than 4 credit hours of grades lower than C (2.0) is subject to dismissal. Dismissal may be recommended by the chair (or director) of the student’s department to the college dean, or the college dean may request the action of the department chair, or action may be recommended by the college dean’s designee.

When a department has determined that the number of in-progress (IP) or incomplete (IN) grades on a student’s record indicates poor progress toward completion of a degree, it may recommend to the college dean dismissal of the student. In certain programs in which professional success depends upon factors other than those measured by normal evaluations in coursework, a department has the right to separate from the program a student who, in the opinion of a duly constituted departmental committee, is not likely to succeed professionally despite earning acceptable grades. Such programs, along with the factors involved, are listed with the college dean. Administrators of these programs will inform the student upon admission of the nature of the assessment and the process by which it is made. A student separated from such a program has the right to appeal the decision. Information on the process of appeal is available in the office of the college dean, appropriate academic offices and student services offices upon request.

In determining a graduate student’s grade point average, all graduate courses required regularly by the program or specially by the student’s advisor and attempted by the student while in a Kent State University graduate program are included in the computation. A change by a graduate student from one department or program to another does not eliminate the grades received under the first enrollment, which are computed in the student’s grade point average. Graduate (but not undergraduate) courses taken by the student over and above those required for the student’s program are included in the grade point average. GO TO TOP


All master's students must satisfactorily complete a minimum 30 semester credit hours applicable toward a master’s degree in order to graduate. Some master's degree programs require more hours.

While the well-prepared doctoral candidate may expect to meet formal course requirements (exclusive of dissertation) for the doctoral program by completing a minimum of two years of full-time work beyond the baccalaureate, departments may require more extensive preparation where needed. In order to qualify for a doctoral degree, students must present a minimum of 90 semester hours beyond the bachelor’s degree, or 60 hours beyond the master’s degree. These hours may include registration for coursework, individual investigation or research courses and dissertation. Only work of high quality is approved for doctoral credit. GO TO TOP


A graduate student who has been dismissed from a graduate program normally may not be reinstated for work in the student’s former program, or readmitted in any other program or coursework. However, after one year as a dismissed student, application for reinstatement or readmission may be made based upon evidence that former academic weaknesses have been appropriately addressed. If the pertinent department and the college dean agree that another opportunity should be provided, conditional admission will be granted. GO TO TOP


All students must demonstrate proficiency in both oral and written English, which is the language of graduate study at Kent State. Judgment of such competence rests with the appropriate major department. Deficiency in English is cause for dismissal from any graduate program.

There is no universal foreign language or research tool requirement. Individual departments or discipline areas may have specific requirements. Students should consult their individual departments. The appropriate languages are determined by the student’s major department. Language requirements (if any) must be completed before doctoral students are admitted to candidacy. Special arrangements for examinations in other languages must be made by the student’s major department in consultation with the chair of the Department of Modern and Classical Language Studies. Where required, the language examination used to establish a student’s language proficiency is determined by the student’s department. The examination may be a departmentally designed and administered test. Dates for departmentally administered tests are set by the department.

A series of courses has been instituted in French and German to develop “reading” proficiency in these languages. “Reading” proficiency in a foreign language is demonstrated when the student completes one of the following sequences with a minimum B (3.0) grade in each course of the sequence. Credit hours earned in this language sequence are not applicable toward the completion of the hour requirement in a student’s graduate program and do not count toward the minimum 8-credit-hour semester load required.

  • FR 63201Reading French for Graduate Students and FR 63202 Reading French for Graduate Students (Humanities/Social Sciences)
  • GER 61901 Reading German for Graduate Students and GER 61902 Reading German for Graduate Students


All new graduate students holding graduate appointments will be required to attend and participate in an orientation program prior to the beginning of fall semester classes. Departments may also require attendance at departmental orientation meetings. GO TO TOP


Graduate students must register for courses at Kent State University within two years after the students’ admission date to retain active status. Failing to do so, students must reapply, and all requirements in effect at the time of reapplication must be met. If students are unable to begin formal coursework during the term for which admission was originally granted, they must maintain current demographic information and academic transcripts at the admitting office at Kent State University and indicate the term in which they will register.

Master's degree students will normally complete work within six calendar years after the students' first graduate registration at Kent State University. Any credit being transferred for meeting degree requirements should also have been earned within the six-year period. Departments with time limits that vary from these norms will notify their students in writing.

It is expected that the doctoral degree students entering Kent State with a baccalaureate will complete the degree in no more than 10 years. Normally, doctoral degree students entering with a master’s degree will complete the degree in no more than nine years. Students proceeding from the baccalaureate will normally pass the candidacy examination within five years, and students already possessing a master’s degree will pass the candidacy examination within four calendar years of the first graduate registration at Kent State University. A doctoral candidate is expected to satisfactorily complete the dissertation and pass the final oral examination within five calendar years after having passed the candidacy examination. Individual disciplines may have shorter time limits, and specific program descriptions should be consulted.

When an extension of any of these time limits seems to be necessary and proper, the student and advisor will petition the student’s department for an extension. The extension may be denied, in which case the student will be dismissed, or it may be granted with qualification. The student, advisor and college dean must be informed of the decision in writing. If the extension exceeds one year, the approval of the college dean is required. Requests for time extensions exceeding one year must be submitted to the college dean with evidence that the degree candidate is current in his/her field of study.

Upon receiving their graduate degree, students are inactivated and are no longer eligible to register for courses at Kent State University. If students wish to continue their studies at Kent State, they will need to reapply to the appropriate academic unit and be accepted for another graduate degree program or as a special non-degree student. GO TO TOP


A student may work simultaneously or sequentially on any of the following if the departments involved believe there is good reason for so doing and will admit the student to both programs:

  • Master's degrees of two designations in one discipline
  • Master's degrees of one or two designations in two disciplines
  • A master's degree and a baccalaureate in two different disciplines
  • Doctorates in two different disciplines
  • Doctorate in one discipline and a master’s or baccalaureate in another discipline

Persons having a doctorate will not be permitted to work on a second degree from the same department with a different emphasis.

Courses to be double counted shall be determined by the department(s), but in no case may the number of credits exceed 12 credits for the master's degree (except for the special cases listed below) or equivalent of a master’s degree plus 12 credits for the doctorate. The appropriate college dean(s) involved shall be notified of these decisions.


  • When one of the degrees is the Master of Fine Arts, a two-year degree, the courses to be double counted shall not exceed 26 credits.
  • Students pursuing the Master of Business Administration and the Master of Science in Nursing degrees may double count a maximum of 28 credits.
  • Students pursuing the Master of Business Administration and the Master of Library and Information Science degrees may double count a maximum of 28 credits.
  • Students pursuing the Master of Science degree in Information Architecture and Knowledge Management and the Master of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication may double count a maximum of 28 credits.
  • Students pursuing the Master of Science degree in Information Architecture and Knowledge Management and the Master of Library and Information Science degree may double count a maximum of 28 credits.


In some departments all graduate students are required to take a qualifying examination. Each student should inquire of the major department whether such an examination is required and when it should be taken. The student is responsible for making the arrangements for taking the examination.Students working for a degree requiring a thesis may have their thesis topic approved as soon as they pass the qualifying examination. GO TO TOP


In some departments, an oral examination, open to the university community, may be required of candidates writing a thesis. When the thesis has been accepted by a student’s advisor, the department will arrange for the oral examination.The college dean will be kept informed of the time and place of the examination and the composition of the examining committee. The results of the examination will be sent to the college dean for approval. This examination is directed primarily toward the thesis but may contain other topics with which the committee feels the candidate should be familiar. The committee usually consists of three to five graduate faculty members, the majority of whom must be associated with the student’s program. GO TO TOP


The writing of an acceptable thesis is mandatory in certain master's degree programs. The thesis topic must be approved by the department and filed with the college dean no later than the semester preceding that in which the candidate expects to receive the degree. The thesis topic should be one that will further the student’s educational development by developing research or other skills that will help the student keep abreast of the field and enable the student to pursue independent work. The thesis topic is formulated by the student in consultation with the advisor and submitted to the department for approval according to normal departmental procedures.

The thesis must be completed and in the hands of the examining committee no later than eight weeks before commencement. Some departments may demand an earlier deadline. After the thesis has been accepted by the examining committee and after the candidate has passed the oral examination (if required by the major department), two copies of the final, letter-perfect thesis are prepared and submitted to the appropriate college office. Two copies of an abstract of not more than 400 words are included with the copies of the thesis. Students should consult guidelines for preparation of theses and dissertations, which are available in the college offices.

Master's candidates have the option of submitting their thesis in electronic form instead of the paper format. Guidelines for creating electronic theses are found at the Kent State University Libraries electronic thesis or dissertation (ETD) website. Theses are submitted electronically through the OhioLINK ETD Center, where they are made publicly available. If this option is exercised, no paper copies are required for the University Libraries. Individual units may still require submission of a paper copy for their archives. It is the responsibility of the master’s student to fulfill this requirement.

Each student writing a thesis is required to register continuously for Thesis I (6xx99) for a total of 6 credits. A student who has completed the required 6 hours of Thesis I is expected thereafter to register continuously for Thesis II (6xx99) each semester, including summer, until all degree requirements are met. No more than 6 hours of Thesis I credit may be counted toward completion of degree requirements.

The student should make certain that the topic has been approved and must register for thesis writing no later than the last semester the student is in residence. Grades of S (satisfactory) or U (unsatisfactory) are used. GO TO TOP


The student will ordinarily observe the following procedure in order to be eligible for the doctoral degree:

  • Indicate the intention to meet specifications of the departments concerned by applying for admission. The college or independent school and the department together will determine acceptability.
  • Fulfill the credit requirements of the department in which the major work is done.
  • Fulfill the residence requirements (if any).
  • Satisfy the language or research tool requirements of the department.
  • Pass the candidacy examinations in the major field (if any).
  • Carry out a suitable scholarly research or creative program.
  • Write a dissertation that shows high attainment and creativity
  • Successfully defend the findings of the dissertation in public before a committee of the graduate faculty.
  • Have registered for a minimum of 90 semester credits beyond the bachelor’s degree, or 60 credits beyond the master’s degree (registration for thesis, dissertation and research may be included in this total).


A student who has been admitted to and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree may apply for a master’s degree in the same department in which the doctorate is to be taken. Upon certification that the student has met the requirements for the master’s degree in that department, the degree may be awarded. The total number of graduate hours required for the Ph.D. shall not be altered thereby. GO TO TOP


To become a candidate for the doctorate, a student must pass a candidacy (comprehensive) examination in the field of the major subject. This examination will be taken when departmental requirements have been met, but it should not be taken later than nine months before the student expects to receive the degree. The content and scope of the examination are determined by the department concerned. The examination may be either written or oral or both. The student is not permitted to continue with the dissertation unless this requirement is satisfied. Failure on the candidacy examination and a subsequent prescription and reexamination are subject to departmental policy. When opportunities for such reexamination are exhausted without success, the student will be dismissed from graduate study. GO TO TOP


A dissertation is required of each doctoral candidate in any department offering the doctoral degree. The dissertation topic must be approved by the department and filed with the college dean no later than one semester preceding that in which the candidate expects to receive the degree. Each graduate unit has adopted a procedure for the preparation of a dissertation prospectus. This document will normally include an outline of the parameters of the projected dissertation topic with a statement of the problem to be undertaken, the procedure or
methodology to be used in the research, a preliminary review of the literature substantiating the need for the study, and the principle sources of information for the dissertation. The prospectus must be in writing, but an oral presentation may also be required.

Each doctoral candidate, upon admission to candidacy, must register for Dissertation (8xx99) for a total of 30 hours. It is expected that a doctoral candidate will continuously register for Dissertation I, and thereafter Dissertation II, each semester, including summer, until all requirements for the degree have been met. The IP (in progress) grade is used until the student completes the dissertation at which time all IP grades in dissertation are changed to S (satisfactory) grades. The dissertation must demonstrate that the student has acquired the ability to conduct research in a discriminating and original manner. The dissertation should make a significant enough contribution to the field in which it is written that at least one scholarly article suitable for publication in a professional journal may be derived from it or that the findings of the dissertation would be otherwise publishable.

After the dissertation, typed in legible form, is accepted by the dissertation advisor, it will be read by the student’s dissertation committee, and any recommended revisions will be communicated to the student. Upon completion of the revisions, if any, the student will be required to defend the findings before a committee of graduate faculty members, including the dissertation committee and others chosen by the department and college dean. The responsibility for conducting the examination itself will be that of an impartial moderator selected from a department other than that of the student’s major or minor. The defense of the dissertation is open to the university community. Questioning is restricted to members of the graduate faculty, and the vote of the examining committee will be conducted in private.

After the candidate has passed the oral examination, the doctoral candidates will submit their dissertation in electronic form. The dissertation will also include an abstract of no more than 350 words. Information on the process may be found on the University Libraries' Guidelines for the Preparation of Electronic Theses and Dissertations website. Theses and dissertations must be prepared according to established guidelines. Guidelines for preparation and typing of theses and dissertations are available in the college office.

Dissertations submitted electronically are available through the OhioLINK ETD Center. Individual units may still require submission of a paper copy for their archives. It is the responsibility of the doctoral student to fulfill this requirement.

All dissertations must be published according to a plan provided by ProQuest Information and Learning, Ann Arbor, Michigan, for the purposes of archiving, indexing, and dissemination. All communications and relations between faculty or students and ProQuest shall be carried out only through the Kent State University librarian. Publication of the complete dissertation or significant parts of it through other avenues is expected, but this is not to be used in lieu of the requirement stated herein. GO TO TOP


A doctoral student will be allowed, with the consent of the advisor and of the instructor concerned, to enroll in any course offered at Kent State University. GO TO TOP


Deadlines are established for filing theses, dissertations, applications for graduation and similar actions initiated by graduate students. Exact dates of the various deadlines will vary somewhat from year to year and are published on the Office of the University Registrar website and in the colleges’ web pages as well as the University's Catalog Academic Calendar website. It is the responsibility of each graduate student to be familiar with the deadlines. GO TO TOP


For the reproduction of theses and dissertations, a student must submit two suitable copies in partial fulfillment of degree requirements. Suitable copies are described in the guidelines and instructions for typing theses and dissertations. Guidelines may be obtained at the office of the student’s graduate dean.Students should consult this document for typing instructions. This requirement is waived for doctoral and master's students choosing the option of electronic submission of their dissertation. GO TO TOP

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