Master of Arts Degree

The Master of Arts (M.A.) degree is normally an incidental degree on the way to full Ph.D. candidacy and is earned after a student successfully passes all parts of the general examination.  The M.A. is the incidental degree awarded to Ph.D. students in all divisions: humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering.  The only exception is in the Department of Music, where Ph.D. students in the music composition program may earn a Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) as the incidental degree.   The incidental master's degree may also be awarded to Ph.D. students who, for various reasons, leave their Ph.D. program, provided that the program-specific requirements for the awarding of the master's degree that are listed with the Graduate School are met. 

Termination of Ph.D. degree candidacy at the master's level shall stand without further appeal unless new evidence of scholarly promise or capacity is provided by the former student's subsequent professional achievement, as shown by scholarly publication.  In the latter event, a recommendation by the department may be made to the dean of the Graduate School that a student be reinstated to degree candidacy for the Ph.D.  The dean's decision in such matters is final.

Students who have earned the master's degree and wish for it to be awarded must apply for it online through the advanced degree application system accessed through TigerHub, according to the posted degree deadlines.  All degrees are awarded by the Trustees at their next meeting after the degree list has been approved by the faculty and the Graduate School.  Degrees cannot be awarded retroactively.  Ph.D. students who apply for the incidental master's degree after passing the general examination will receive the degree when it is awarded by the Trustees, and not retroactively to the semester in which they passed the general examination.  Ph.D. students who have earned the master's degree may request that the master's degree be awarded at any time up to the point when the Ph.D. is awarded, when the two degrees may be awarded concurrently.  Because no degree can be awarded retroactively, and because the master's degree is an incidental degree which may be earned on the way to the Ph.D., the master's degree cannot be awarded after the Ph.D. is awarded.