Requirements for Candidates for Masters Degrees

Advising and Guidance from the Graduate Committee

At the beginning of a student’s work toward the master’s degree, the chair of the student’s graduate program, in consultation with the student, designates a primary academic advisor. The primary academic advisor may be the chair of the graduate program or another faculty member. This advisor also may serve as chair of the student’s graduate committee. The graduate committee, when required by the program, will consist of a minimum of three members who meet periodically with the student to discuss his or her progress.

Requirements for a Master’s Degree

This Catalog stipulates the specific requirements for a master’s degree in each program of the University. The minimum requirements include the following:

  1. Students must maintain continuous registration, including the semester in which the degree is awarded.
  2. Students must complete at least 24 credit hours of graduate coursework in residence. A minimum total of 30 credit hours of graduate coursework are required for all master’s degrees. A maximum of six hours of transfer credit is allowed for programs requiring 30 credit hours; additional credit hours may be accepted for transfer if more than 30 credit hours are earned, as long as the 24 credit minimum in residence is maintained.
  3. Graduate students must maintain at least a B average in courses approved by the program or graduate committee and presented for the degree.
  4. Students must fulfill all departmental or school course requirements. (No credit is granted for graduate courses in which a grade lower than a B- has been received).
  5. Students must complete all other requirements as listed by the specific graduate program.
  6. Students must complete all requirements, including thesis if required by the program, within five years after admission to the Graduate Division.

There are specific Graduate Level Forms (Form 1, Form 2, Form 3) used to mark the student’s progress through the graduate program; they are available online through the Office of the Registrar's website. They should be completed in collaboration with the primary academic advisor and submitted within the stated deadlines. Other useful forms are also posted at this site.

All graduate level forms are submitted to the Graduate Division, with signatures as noted. The Graduate Division obtains final signature(s) and submits forms to the Office of the Registrar.

Examination

If a general examination is required for the student’s master’s degree, the examination may be written, oral, or a combination of both. The decision for pass or fail shall be by majority vote of the graduate committee in programs that utilize a graduate committee. In programs that do not use graduate committees, the program faculty by majority vote shall determine whether the student has passed or failed.

Thesis

Evaluation

If a thesis is required for the student’s master’s degree, the graduate committee, or the program faculty in programs that do not use graduate committees, will supervise and approve the thesis. Programs may designate additional examiners for the master’s thesis beyond the student’s graduate committee. Students must receive approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for theses involving human subjects or from the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) for theses involving use of vertebrate animals. Approval from these institutional committees, where appropriate, must be sought at the time of approval of the thesis topic, and research on the thesis may not commence until after IRB and/or IACUC approval is granted. Where appropriate, permission from other entities, such as the Office of Research Services and the UH Hilo Environmental Health & Safety Office may be required.

Submission and Publication

It is the student’s responsibility to prepare a final manuscript that meets the style requirements of both the UH Hilo Graduate Division and his or her graduate program. Details on these requirements may be found in the Graduate Student Handbook.

Publication is required for the thesis. UH Hilo uses ProQuest/UMI’s ETD Administrator, a web-based service for the submission and publication of student theses and dissertations. If online submission is unfeasible, please contact the Mookini Library or call (808) 932-7296 for assistance.

Annual Review Form

The primary academic advisor will submit an annual review form for each graduate student under her or his charge to the chair of the graduate program, using the form provided by their graduate program. This form will include data concerning number of credits earned; progress toward meeting other requirements such as papers, projects or theses; GPA; and other specific requirements for the graduate degree.

Awarding of the Degree

When a student has satisfied the requirements for a master’s degree, the chair of the student’s graduate program submits Form 3: Thesis/Project/Dissertation Completion (PDF) to the Graduate Division by the required deadline. If submitting a thesis, this form should be submitted to the library for acknowledgement of submission of the thesis.

Deadlines

Degree completion dates will be posted on the academic calendar. Those who have not completed all degree requirements by the established deadlines will be required to register the following semester.

Degree Conferral and Commencement

Graduating from a program and participating in Commencement are two separate activities. Graduating from a program means the student has successfully completed all requirements identified by the program. It is an academic milestone whose indicator is conferral of the graduate degree.

Commencement is a public celebration of the academic completion of a degree program. Separate applications are required to graduate from a program and to participate in Commencement. A student may complete the degree and decide not to participate in Commencement. A student may not participate in Commencement before completing the degree.

Degrees are conferred three times each year: December, May, and August. Commencement exercises are conducted twice a year, in December and in May. Students who complete degree requirements in the summer or in the fall semester may participate in Commencement in December. Students who complete degree requirements in the spring semester may participate in Commencement in May. More information can be found in the Graduate Handbook- Degree Conferral and Participating in Commencement

Commencement exercises are held only in December and May.

Completion Letter

Students who complete all requirements for the degree well in advance of the award of the degree may, upon request, receive a statement from the Office of the Registrar certifying that all requirements for the degree have been completed.

Checklist for Completion of Degree Requirements

Master’s Degree (non-thesis option)

  1. Graduate program: Appoints primary academic advisor and, where appropriate, graduate committee, in consultation with the student.
  2. Student: Submits Form 1: Graduate Committee Formation (PDF) to the Graduate Division Office, indicating the student will complete the Non-Thesis track.
  3. Student: Satisfies residence and course requirements.
  4. Student: Maintains continuous enrollment in program.
  5. Student: Completes any other program requirements.
  6. Student: Registers for semester in which degree requirements will be completed.
  7. Student: Submits Graduation Application form (PDF) to the Cashiers Office by the required deadline. If student wants to participate in Commencement exercises, student submits the separate Commencement Registration by the required deadline.
  8. Student: Submits the Authorization to Participate in Commencement Form (PDF) to the Graduate Division by the required deadline.
  9. Student: Passes final examination, and/or passes requirements for papers or projects as specified by the graduate program.
  10. Student: Completes all other requirements specified by the graduate program.
  11. Student: Submits Form 3: Thesis/Project/Dissertation and Degree Requirements Completion (PDF) with appropriate signatures to the Graduate Division by the required deadline.
  12. Graduate Division: Obtains final signatures.

Master’s Degree (thesis option)

  1. Graduate program: Assigns primary advisor and committee.
  2. Student: Submits Form 1: Graduate Committee Formation (PDF) to the Graduate Division Office.
  3. Student: Submits Form 2: Thesis/Project/Dissertation Proposal (PDF) to the Graduate Division Office when ready to begin thesis.
  4. Student: Satisfies residence and course requirements.
  5. Student: Maintains continuous enrollment in program.
  6. Student: Completes coursework required for the degree.
  7. Student: Completes any other program requirements.
  8. Student: Passes general examination if required.
  9. Student: Registers for semester in which degree requirements will be completed.
  10. Student: Submits Graduation Application form (PDF) to the Cashiers Office by the required deadline. If student wants to participate in Commencement exercises, student submits the separate Commencement Registration by the required deadline.
  11. Student: Submits a copy of the Thesis Defense Schedule Form (PDF) to the Graduate Division one month prior to the defense deadline posted in the University Academic Calendar. Student retains the original until the time of the defense, and submits the completed form to the Graduate Division with the Primary Advisor’s signature indicating successful (or unsuccessful) completion of the defense.
  12. Student: Defends and completes thesis.
  13. Student: Submits original completed Thesis Defense Schedule Form to the Graduate Division)
  14. Student: Obtains signatures of committee members on Form 3: Thesis/Project/Dissertation and Degree Requirements Completion (PDF).
  15. Student: Submits thesis on ETD Administrator.
  16. Student: Obtains initials of the Collection Development Librarian (or designee) on Form 3, then submits form to the Graduate Division by the required deadline posted in the University Academic Calendar.
  17. Graduate Division: Obtains final signatures.