The faculty of the Graduate School, under the authorization of the Board of Trustees, grants the degrees listed below. In addition, the faculty of the Graduate School offers several non-degree graduate certificates. The graduate faculty, as represented by the Dean of the Graduate School and through the Graduate Council, has primary responsibility for the development, operating policies, administration, and quality of these programs. Operating through the Graduate Dean, the faculty appoints committees that directly supervise the student’s program of study and committees that monitor research activities and approve theses and dissertations.

Doctoral Degrees

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) is conferred for advanced graduate work in a variety of disciplines including agricultural, food, and life sciences, animal science, anthropology, biology, business administration, cell and molecular biology, chemistry, comparative literature and cultural studies, computer science, counselor education and supervision, crop, soil, and environmental sciences, curriculum & instruction, economics, engineering, education policy, educational statistics and research methods, English, environmental dynamics, food science, geosciences, health, sport, and exercise science, higher education, history, kinesiology, mathematics, materials science and engineering, philosophy, physics, plant science, poultry science, psychology, public policy, recreation and sport management, rehabilitation, and space and planetary sciences. See the Ph.D. and Ed.D Degrees tab above for general requirements.

The degree of Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) is conferred for advanced professional proficiency in a selected field of education. See the Ph.D. and Ed.D Degrees tab above for general requirements.

The degree of Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) is conferred for professional proficiency in the area of advanced nursing practice. 

The degree of Doctor of Occupational Therapy (O.T.D.) is conferred for entry-level professional proficiency in the area of clinical occupational therapy.

Specialist Degree

The degree of Education Specialist (Ed.S.) is conferred for specialization in one of two areas: curriculum and instruction and educational leadership. See the Specialist Degrees tab above for general requirements.

Master's Degrees

The degree of Master of Arts (M.A.) is conferred for graduate work of which the major portion has been done in the liberal arts. For general degree requirements, see the Master's Degrees tab above.

The degree of Master of Science (M.S.) is conferred for graduate work of which the major portion has been done in agriculture, educational statistics and research methods, engineering, kinesiology, health science, counseling, re­habilitation, human environmental sciences, biological and physical sciences, statistics, operations management, and communication disorders. For general degree requirements, see the Master's Degrees tab above.

The degree of Master of Accountancy (M.Acc.) is conferred upon a stu­dent who completes an approved program of graduate studies in accounting. See the general degree requirements for M.Acc. degree.

The degree of Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) is conferred upon a student who majors in childhood education or secondary education. See the Master's Degree tab above.

The degree of Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) is conferred upon a student whose major work is in the field of business. See the general degree requirements for M.B.A. degree.

The degree of Master of Education (M.Ed.) is conferred upon a student who majors in the field of education. For general degree requirements, see the Master's Degrees tab above.

The degree of Master of Information Systems (M.I.S.) is conferred upon a student who completes an approved program in information systems. See the general degree requirements for M.I.S. degree.

The degree of Master of Music (M.M.) is conferred upon a student who completes an approved program of graduate studies in music. See the general degree requirements for M.M. degree.

The Master of Public Administration and Nonprofit Studies (M.P.A.) is conferred upon a student who completes an approved program of graduate studies in the field of public administration. See the general degree requirements for M.P.A. degree.

The degree of Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in art, creative writing, drama, or translation is conferred upon a student who completes an approved program of graduate studies in these areas. General policies and procedures for a Master of Fine Arts degree are the same as for the Master of Arts. See the individual M.F.A. programs in Art, Creative Writing and Theatre.

The Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.) is conferred upon a student who com­pletes an approved program of graduate studies in this area. See the general degree requirements for M.S.N. degree.

The degree of Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) is conferred upon a student who completes an approved program of graduate studies in this area. See the general degree requirements for M.S.W. degree.

The degree of Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) is conferred upon a student who completes an approved program of graduate studies in this area.  See the general degree requirements for M.P.H. degree.

Master's Degrees

General Policies on Master's Degrees

Program of Study. At the time of admission to the Graduate School and acceptance in a program of study leading to a graduate degree, the student is assigned to a major adviser. The choice of a major adviser is largely determined by the student’s choice of a major subject.

The program of study may consist of courses chosen from one department or it may include such cognate courses from other departments as may in individual instances seem to offer greatest immediate and permanent value. As a general principle, two-thirds of the courses come from the degree program in which the student is seeking a graduate degree. The program of study must be approved by the student’s Advisory Committee or, depending on program requirements, the Thesis Committee.  No more than six hours of special problems (individual study) courses may count toward a 30 hour master's degree.

A student who writes a master’s thesis must register for a minimum of six semester hours of master’s thesis. No more than six semester hours of master’s thesis enrollment may be given credit in the degree program.

Under ordinary circumstances graduate registration is limited to 18 hours for any one semester including undergraduate courses and courses audited. Registration above 15 hours must be approved by the Graduate Dean.

All requirements for a master’s degree must be satisfied within six consecutive calendar years from the first semester of enrollment in the program.

Transfer of Credit. The University of Arkansas will permit a student to transfer six hours of graduate credit for a 30-hour degree program (12 hours for a 60-hour degree program) from an accredited graduate school in the United States as part of the master's program, provided that the grades are “B” or better, the courses were taken within six years previous to the conferral of the current degree, and the subjects are acceptable to the program concerned. (The transfer of graduate credit from institutions outside the United States is at the discretion of the Graduate Dean.) Students contemplating transfer of credit should consult with the Graduate School and their program in advance. Please see transfer of credit regulations, below.

Transfer of Credit Regulations Established by the Graduate School for the Various Master’s Degrees:

Criteria for Acceptable Transfer Credit:

  1. Only graded courses (not research hours) are subject to transfer.
  2. The course must have been regularly offered (not special problems or individual study) by a regionally accredited graduate school.
  3. The course must have been a bona fide graduate level course, approved for graduate credit and taught by a member of the graduate faculty.
  4. The course must appear on an official transcript as graduate credit from the institution offering the course.
  5. The course grade must be a “B” or “A.” (The student’s grade-point average is NOT to include grades on transfer courses.)
  6. The course must be recommended by the student’s major adviser and be applicable to the degree requirement at the University of Arkansas.
  7. The course must not have been taken by correspondence or for extension credit.
  8. The course must be acceptable to the department concerned and to the Graduate Dean
  9. The student must have satisfied the 24-credit hour residence requirement.  (The student must have satisfactorily completed a total of 24 hours of graduate course work taken in residence)
  10. The course must have been taken within the six-year time limit of the student’s program at the University of Arkansas.

Petition for the transfer of credit from foreign universities may be made to the Graduate Dean by the department/program.

Graduate credit cannot be transferred to satisfy any of the requirements for the Master of Accountancy, Master of Business Administration, Master of Information Systems, or M.A. in Economics  degrees unless the school at which the course was taken is accredited by A.A.C.S.B.  Other accredited graduate programs have the discretion to deny transfer credit from non-accredited programs.

Ex Officio Committee Members: Student committees may contain ex officio members who have graduate faculty status on the University of Arkansas campus. However, when a person does not hold graduate faculty status on the University of Arkansas campus, he/she may still be allowed to hold an ex officio position on a student’s committee, in accordance with the following policy: When a committee member does not hold graduate faculty status at the University of Arkansas, he/she will be allowed to serve on a student’s master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation committee, in addition to the minimum number of members required by the Graduate School or the department/program. The ex officio member will be allowed to sign the thesis or dissertation and their vote will be recorded but will not be binding for conferring the degree. This use of the term ex officio will indicate that the person does not hold graduate faculty status at the University of Arkansas and is serving in an honorary role.

Conflict of Interest Policies:  Students should be aware that the Graduate School has policies pertaining to the composition of advisory and thesis committees. These may be found in the Graduate Student Handbook on the Graduate School website.   It should also be noted that to avoid the perception of a conflict of interest, students are discouraged from providing refreshments and faculty are discouraged from creating the expectations that students will provide refreshments during oral defenses.

Thesis. The title of the thesis must be recommended by the thesis director and the thesis committee and be approved by the Dean of the Graduate School as soon as established by the director and committee.  The thesis must be submitted for approval to the thesis committee consisting of a minimum of three faculty members who have been approved by the Dean of the Graduate School. This committee must receive the thesis in time for the student to defend the thesis and submit it to the Graduate School by the posted deadline date. In order for a thesis to be submitted to the Graduate School, a majority of the thesis committee members must have voted to approve the thesis submission and the final oral defense of the thesis. If a student feels that the major adviser (chair of the thesis committee) is preventing completion of the thesis unreasonably, the student may appeal to the Graduate Dean for resolution of the matter.  For instructions on submitting an approved thesis, students should consult the Graduate School’s Guide to Preparing Theses and Dissertations. Students will be required to submit their theses to University Microfilms Incorporated (UMI/ProQuest). There may be an additional charge for this submission.

We expect the thesis to be written in English. Under exceptional circumstances, another language may be used if prior approval is obtained from the Dean of the Graduate School. A request to write in a language other than English should be submitted to the Dean of the Graduate School by the student’s thesis committee, with endorsement by the department/program head/chair/director. The request should include a proposal and justification for the exception. In all cases, one thesis abstract must be written in English and the defense of the thesis must be in English. Programs wishing to be eligible for their students to submit theses in languages other than English shall seek approval in advance from the Graduate Council.                                  

Comprehensive Examination/Thesis Defense. In addition to completing other requirements, the candidate for a master’s degree must take a comprehensive examination, which may be oral and/or written as recommended by the major department. If the student has completed a thesis, the final defense of the thesis must be oral. This can substitute for the comprehensive examination, if the department so chooses. If the final defense of the thesis substitutes for the comprehensive examination, the examination may include other aspects of the candidate’s graduate work. All members of the thesis committee (and advisory committee, if the thesis defense substitutes for the comprehensive examination) must participate in the thesis defense unless the Dean of the Graduate School has approved an exception. If a committee member does not participate in the final oral defense, that person will be asked by the Graduate School to resign from the committee. While this final oral defense will not be posted on the website of the Graduate School and open to the general public, as is allowed with the doctoral dissertation defense, members of the student's degree program and/or department, as well as other affiliated areas, may be invited to the defense by the thesis committee chair.  The thesis committee chair may disallow inappropriate questions from the guests. 

Students may elect to participate by distance through electronic means in their final oral defense of the thesis, if approved by the thesis faculty director. In advance of the final oral defense, the student must provide to the Graduate School a written, signed statement that he/she has elected this option. 

The Use of Copy Editors in Theses.  The Graduate School at the University of Arkansas does not forbid the use of copy editors (see definition below) for theses and dissertations under the following conditions:

  1. Any use of copy editors for theses and dissertations must be approved by the thesis/dissertation committee and the department/program chair/head/director.
  2. The student understands that there is a difference between legitimate editing and violations of academic integrity policies and is responsible for ensuring that the line is not crossed.

*Note:  The Graduate School considers it to be a violation of our academic integrity policy to use copy editors in any Graduate School required exam (e.g. comprehensive exam, candidacy exam).

Definition of copy editors:  copy editors review written material for accuracy, readability, coherence and relevance as well as for errors of spelling and grammar.  This policy refers to the provision of such services regardless of by whom they are provided and regardless of whether the copy editor is paid or unpaid.  (Members of the thesis/dissertation committee are exempt from this definition.)

Grades.  All courses included in a student's program of study for a degree must have an acceptable grade (a letter grade of A, B, or C, or a mark of CR).  A mark of "S" does not carry  degree credit and any course with a mark of "S" cannot be included in the final program of study.  If the course is to be included in a program of study, the mark of "S" must be changed to an acceptable grade or a mark of CR, although no more than six hours of CR may be accepted toward the requirements for a graduate degree.  Please note that all work for the course must have been submitted by the student to the instructor by the last day of final examinations in order to be eligible for graduation for that specific semester.

Grade-Point Average. To receive a master’s degree, a candidate must present a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 2.85 on all graduate courses required for the degree, unless the department requires a higher grade point average. Failing to earn such an average on the minimum number of hours, the student is permitted to present up to six additional hours of graduate credit to accumulate a grade-point average of 2.85. In the computation of grade point, all courses pursued at this institution for graduate credit (including any repeated courses) shall be considered. Students who repeat a course in an endeavor to raise their grade must count the repetition toward the maximum of six additional hours. Students should also be aware that they may not use for degree credit any course in which they received a grade of D or F. There is no grade forgiveness policy at the graduate level at the University of Arkansas. Individual departments may have higher grade standards. 

Split Decisions among Advisory and Thesis Committees. When a split decision occurs among committee members of a master’s advisory or thesis committee, the majority decision will hold.

Sharing Courses Between Two Degrees. When a student earns two master’s degrees, no more than six hours of course work may be used to satisfy the requirements of both degrees, i.e. shared between the degrees. This rule pertains whether the course work is taken on the University of Arkansas campus or is transferred from another university.

Master of Accountancy

See the Master of Accountancy program.

Master of Arts and Master of Science

General minimum requirements of the Graduate School follow for the degrees of Master of Arts and Master of Science – including the several engineering degrees. Program requirements may be higher. Note: For degree requirements in the Master of Arts in Economics, see the Graduate School of Business.

  1. 24 graduate semester hours and a thesis, or 30 semester hours without a thesis. (The thesis may be a departmental requirement or may be required by the major adviser.)
  2. At least 50 percent of the credits (whether coursework or research) must be at the 5000 level or above.
  3. No more than 50 percent of the credits may be online unless the program has been approved for online delivery.
  4. A comprehensive examination.
  5. A cumulative grade-point average of 2.85. (Individual departments may have higher grade standards.)

Master of Arts in Teaching

The Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) degree is an initial teacher certification program and has two licensure areas: elementary education and secondary education. The M.A.T is a 33-semester-hour degree offered to a cohort of students in consecutive summer, fall, and spring semesters with initial enrollment in the summer semester.

Admission Requirements:  Students are selected up to the maximum number designated for each cohort in the licensure area. Admission requirements for the M.A.T. degree for initial certification are: completion of an appropriate undergraduate degree program; a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 in the last 60 hours completed for the baccalaureate degree; admission to the Graduate School; admission to a Teacher Education program; completion of the pre-education core with a minimum of a “C” grade in all courses; completion of all prerequisite courses in the teaching field; clearance through the Office of Teacher Education, which includes passing score(s) on the Math, Reading, and Writing sections of the Praxis Core or ACT/SAT/GRE; successful completion of the required criminal background checks.

Program Requirements: All M.A.T. students complete 27 credit hours of coursework in the licensure area, 6 credit hours of internship, and a culminating project. To receive the degree, a candidate must present a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 on all graduate courses required for the degree. Students may not present for degree credit any course in which they earned a grade of D or F.

For information on each licensure area (elementary and secondary), refer to the sections of this catalog on M.A.T. in Elementary Education and M.A.T. in Teacher Education (secondary) in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

Admission to candidacy, residence requirements, and other requirements are the same as for the Master of Education degree.

Teacher Licensure and Licensure of Other School Personnel: The Arkansas State Board of Education issues the regulations governing the licensure of teachers in Arkansas. The Board specifies minimum cut-off scores for the Praxis I and Praxis II exams. Each application for a teacher’s license or a request to add an additional license or endorsement area requires completion of an approved program of study and documentation of passing the Praxis exams.

The Coordinator of Teacher Education will recommend students for initial teacher license who have submitted the licensing packet and successfully completed the appropriate approved program and all state licensure requirements. Those interested in seeking an additional license or endorsement should contact the Coordinator of Teacher Education at G-22 Stone House South, 479-575-6740, or the Arkansas Department of Education, 501-682-4342 for licensure information.

Admission Process for Initial Licensure:

Stage I: Enrolling in an Undergraduate Degree Program Leading to a Potential Teacher Licensure Field. Potential fields include the following:

  • Art Education — B.F.A.
  • Career and Technical Education — B.S.E.
  • Elementary Education — B.S.E.
  • Human Environmental Sciences Education — B.S.H.E.S.
  • Kinesiology P-12 — B.S.E.
  • Middle Level Education — B.S.E.
  • Music Education — B.M.
  • Secondary Education — B.A., B.S.

Stage II: Complete an Evaluation for Internship by October 1 prior to entering the M.A.T. Art and music students should complete the evaluation by October 1 prior to a fall internship and March 1 prior to a spring internshipSatisfactory completion of this form does not guarantee admission to the M.A.T. degree program or other teacher education programs. This form can be downloaded from the College of Education and Health Professions Web site. The form must be completed and returned to the Coordinator of Teacher Education, G-22 Stone House South. All requirements must be met to be cleared for the internship.

Students must meet the following criteria to be cleared for internship:

  1. Successful completion of the PRAXIS I test by meeting or exceeding the Arkansas Department of Education cut-off scores. This test should be taken after the student has completed 30 credit hours and upon completion of ENGL 1013ENGL 1023, and MATH 1203. Please note that several departments have additional program requirements regarding the Praxis I and II. Please consult with your adviser for additional requirements.
  2. Obtain a “C” or better in the following pre-education core courses: CIED 1013CIED 3023 (PHED 3903 for KINS K-12 majors) and CIED 3033. For Elementary Education a minimum of “C” or higher must be earned in ENGL 1013ENGL 1023ENGL 2003COMM 1313, and MATH 1203 unless University of Arkansas exemption is earned in one or more of the courses.
  3. Complete additional licensure requirements. COEHP majors take  PBHL 1103 and PEAC 1621. PHED majors take PBHL 1103 and PHED 3043. ELED majors take HIST 3383. SEED Social Studies students take either HIST 4583 or HIST 3383 and any ECON course.
  4. Secondary Education majors except for Art and Music majors, must complete the following courses with a grade of “C” or higher: CIED 3023 or CIED 4023 and CIED 4131, or present demonstration of computer competencies in a portfolio.
  5. Obtain a “C” or better in the six hours of program-specific courses. (See your adviser for information.)
  6. Schedule a visit with your adviser for additional requirements including admission to upper-division courses.
  7. The student should consult with their adviser regarding PRAXIS II requirements.
  8. Earn a cumulative GPA of 2.70 or higher in the undergraduate degree program (special conditional admission will be considered on a case-by-case basis for students with a GPA between 2.5 and 2.69). Some programs require a higher GPA. Consult your adviser for the GPA requirements for your program.

Stage III: Admission to M.A.T. Degree Program

Please consult with your faculty adviser for additional requirements set by your program. The following minimum criteria are necessary to be eligible for consideration for admission:

  1. Meet all requirements in Stages I & II.
  2. Complete an appropriate undergraduate degree program.
  3. Earn a cumulative GPA of 2.70 or higher in all previous courses completed as part of a bachelor’s degree program. Some programs require a higher GPA. Consult your adviser for the GPA requirements for your program.
  4. Obtain recommendation for admission from M.A.T. program area based on successful completion of portfolios, evaluation for internship, GPA requirements, course work requirements, selected written recommendations, an interview, and other requirements specified by your program.
  5. Obtain admission to the Graduate School.

Enrollment in each cohort will be limited. Transfer students will be allowed to enter the program on a space-available basis and must progress through all three admission stages.

Stage IV: Graduation requirements for the Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.)

  1. Meet all requirements in Stages I — III.
  2. Earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00.
  3. Complete a minimum of 33 graduate semester hours as specified by program area.
  4. Satisfactorily complete an internship. The internship will be completed at a school/district in Benton or Washington counties that has been approved by the Northwest Arkansas Partnership Steering Committee.
  5. Pass the appropriate Praxis test (see adviser for the appropriate test) by meeting or exceeding the Arkansas Department of Education cut-off scores. The test is required for most programs. Please consult with your adviser.
  6. Successfully complete the comprehensive examination.
  7. Consult with your adviser for other requirements.
  8. Apply for degree at the Graduate School, 119 Gearhart Hall.

Licensure: Students who have completed Stages I — III must obtain a licensure packet from the Coordinator of Teacher Education, Peabody Hall room 117, prior to entering internship.

Students should always consult the Coordinator of Teacher Education for licensure requirement changes. Students will not be licensed to teach in Arkansas until they have met all requirements for licensure as set forth by the Arkansas Department of Education.

Students who have completed the B.M. or B.F.A. in music or art education and have completed the internship may obtain the licensure packet from the Coordinator of Teacher Education, Peabody Hall room 117.

Usually licensure in another state is facilitated by qualifying for a license in Arkansas. An application in another state must be made on the application form of that state, which can be obtained by request from the State Teacher Licensure office in the capital city. An official transcript should accompany the application. In many instances the applications are referred to the Coordinator of Teacher Education to verify program completion in teacher education.

Master of Athletic Training

See the Master of Athletic Training program.

Master of Business Administration

See the Business Administration program.

Master of Education

Programs of advanced study leading to the degree of Master of Education (M.Ed.) are offered in adult and lifelong learning, educational leadership, educational technology, elementary education, higher education, physical education, recreation and sport management, secondary education, special education, and human resource and workforce development education.

Program Requirements: General minimum requirements for the degree of Master of Education (M.Ed.) follow:

    1.  27 semester hours and a thesis or 33 semester hours and no thesis. 
    2.  A written comprehensive examination (portfolio in educational technology) 
    3.  A cumulative grade-point average of 3.00.
    4.  A minimum of 24 graded UA course hours.

Admission Requirements:  After a student has been admitted to the Graduate School, the student may seek acceptance into one of the M.Ed. programs. Upon acceptance to a program area, the student is assigned an adviser. Acceptance in a program should be accomplished before the completion of the first graduate course. Some programs require students to take the Graduate Record Examinations, the Miller Analogies Test, or the National Teachers Examination. All Master of Education degree programs include a minimum of 33 semester hours.
Admission to Candidacy. Admission to candidacy will be met when the following have been completed:

  1. unconditionally admitted to graduate standing.
  2. accepted to a program and assigned an adviser.
  3. completion of 12 semester hours of graduate credit over and above any entrance deficiencies or conditions.

Transfer of Credit. Transfer of credit regulations established by the Graduate School.  See the General Policies in regards to master's degrees above for more information.

All requirements for a master’s degree must be satisfied within six consecutive calendar years.

Other Requirements. Students who do not have a grade-point average of 3.00 upon completion of Master of Education program requirements may be allowed to submit up to six additional hours of graduate credit in residence on the Fayetteville campus or at approved Graduate Resident Centers to accumulate a 3.00 average. Students should also be aware that they may not use for degree credit any course in which they received a grade of D or F.

 In addition to completing other requirements, the candidate must pass a comprehensive examination administered by the respective program area (portfolio for educational technology).

Master of Fine Arts

See the Art, Creative Writing and Theatre programs.

Master of Information Systems

See the Information Systems program.

Master of Music

See the Music program.

Master of Public Administration

See the Public Administration program.

Master of Science in Computer Science

See the Computer Science program.

Master of Science in Nursing

See the Nursing program.

Master of Social Work

See the Master of Social Work page.

Master of Public Health

See the Master of Public Health page.

Specialist Degrees

Programs of advanced study leading to the degree of Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) are offered in curriculum and instruction and educational leadership, and may be issued by the Graduate School to those students whose major objective is to develop educational competency in one of these specialized areas. All graduate courses applicable to this degree must be taken on the Fayetteville campus unless otherwise specified.

Admission to the Program. Students who wish to become candidates for the degree of Educational Specialist are expected to first complete work equivalent to the requirements for the master's degree as determined by program faculty and must apply to be admitted to the Graduate School and the specific program of study.  A student cannot satisfy any part of the residence requirement for the educational specialist degree until after he/she has been officially admitted to the educational specialist program.

Program Requirements. All Ed.S. programs contain a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate work beyond the master’s degree in a planned program. The program for each student must include the requirements specified in the particular program to which the student has been accepted; assessed deficiencies in the area of specialization; assessed courses to meet current professional requirements of the Master of Education degree; a minimum of nine semester hours of graduate work in a related field(s) other than the area of specialization; a graduate course in research, statistics, or data processing applicable for educational specialists; and an original project, research paper, or report for which variable credit up to six semester hours is required. A grade-point average of 3.25 is required for the Educational Specialist degree program on all work presented as part of the Ed.S. degree program.

After a student is accepted into an Ed.S. program, a committee with a minimum of three members will be appointed, and a program of study will be established outlining the minimum requirements. Only the adviser and one other member of the student’s committee may be from the program area sponsoring the program. The committee’s responsibilities include the determination of deficiencies, the acceptability of previous graduate work, the approval of the candidate’s program of study, the approval of the original project or research paper, and the conduct of a final examination. This examination will be a comprehensive oral evaluation scheduled near the end of the candidate’s program and will include one or both of the following: 1) evaluation of the original project, research paper, or report, and 2) evaluation covering material related to the background and professional preparation of the candidate. A written examination may not be taken to substitute for the oral examination. A written account of the original project, research paper, or report will be filed with the program area sponsoring the candidate’s program of study.

Residence Requirements:  The last 30 hours of the program must be completed within a period of six years from the first semester of admission to the program. A minimum of 30 hours of resident study at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, in an approved program is required. Credit earned in any University of Arkansas center, off-campus workshop or special course will not count as residence study in the Ed.S. program. The only exception is course work completed at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Graduate Resident Center, the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope Graduate Resident Center and Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas at Helena Graduate Resident Center by students pursuing the Ed.S. degree in education with a specialization in educational leadership.

Upon completion of all requirements, candidates are issued an Educational Specialist degree. Their names appear on the commencement program, but there is no distinctive academic regalia in connection with the Educational Specialist degree.

Ph.D. and Ed.D. Degrees

Programs of advanced study leading to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) are offered in: agricultural, food, and life sciences, animal science, anthropology, biology, business administration, cell and molecular biology, chemistry, comparative literature and cultural studies, computer science, counselor education and supervision, crop, soil, and environmental sciences, curriculum & instruction, economics, engineering, education policy, educational statistics and research methods, English, environmental dynamics, food science, geosciences, health, sport, and exercise science, higher education, history, kinesiology, mathematics, materials science and engineering, philosophy, physics, plant science, poultry science, psychology, public policy, recreation and sport management, rehabilitation, and space and planetary sciences. (Note: For the Ph.D. in Business Administration and Economics, see the Graduate School of Business.)

Programs of advanced study leading to the degree of Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) are offered in educational leadership, adult and lifelong learning, and human resource and workforce development education.

The degrees of Doctor of Philosophy and Doctor of Education are awarded in recognition of high scholarly attainment as evidenced by a period of successful advanced study with at least a 3.0 cumulative graduate grade-point average, the satisfactory completion of certain prescribed examinations, a minimum number of degree credits as specified by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, and the development of a dissertation covering some significant aspect of a major field of learning.

Students who wish to become candidates for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy or Doctor of Education are expected to complete work equivalent to the requirements for the master’s degree as determined by program faculty and must apply to be admitted to the Graduate School and the specific program of study.

The University of Arkansas does not recognize any official designation such as "ABD" or "Ph.D. candidate" or "Ph.D. (c)," and it is expected that if the student uses Ph.D. or Ed.D. after their name, it is only after the degree has been conferred.  To do otherwise will be considered academic fraud.

Immediately after admission to the program, with the approval of the Dean of the Graduate School, a Doctoral Program Advisory Committee will be appointed from the graduate faculty to evaluate the student’s preparation and fitness for further graduate work. This committee will serve in an advisory capacity in working out and directing a suitable program of advanced study and investigation. The student’s major adviser shall serve as chair of the committee. Appointment of this committee does not constitute admission to candidacy for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy or Doctor of Education, a very important and significant step in the student’s graduate career, which must be taken after the student has completed approximately two years of graduate work beyond the baccalaureate degree.

The degree must be completed within seven consecutive calendar years from the first semester of admission to the program.

Program of Study. The objectives of the program of study leading to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy or Doctor of Education shall be scholarly achievement of high order and the development of a fundamental understanding of the major field and its relation to supporting fields of knowledge.  The nature of the program of study will vary somewhat, depending upon the major field of study and the objective of the prospective candidate, but will consist of a minimum of 72 graduate semester credit hours beyond the bachelor's degree and 42 graduate-only semester hours beyond the master's degree.  Program requirements must balance credit hours for required coursework, research, and dissertation preparation.  In addition, a minimum of 50% of the first 30 credit hours and at least 42 of the final credit hours presented for the doctoral degree must be at the 5000 level or above. No more than 50% of the credits presented for the degree may be online unless the program has been approved for online delivery.

Ex Officio Committee Members: Student committees may contain ex officio members who have graduate faculty status on the University of Arkansas campus. However, when a person does not hold graduate faculty status on the University of Arkansas campus, he/she may still be allowed to hold an ex officio position on a student’s committee, in accordance with the following policy:

When a committee member does not hold graduate faculty status at the University of Arkansas, he/she will be allowed to serve on a student’s master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation committee, in addition to the minimum number of members required by the Graduate School or the department/program. The ex officio member will be allowed to sign the thesis or dissertation and their vote will be recorded but will not be binding for conferring the degree. This use of the term ex officio will indicate that the person does not hold graduate faculty status at the University of Arkansas and is serving in an honorary role.

Conflict of Interest Policies :  Students should be aware that the Graduate School has policies pertaining to the composition of advisory and dissertation committees.  These may be found in the Graduate Student Handbook on the Graduate School website.  It should also be noted that to avoid the perception of a conflict of interest, students are discouraged from providing refreshments and faculty are discouraged from creating the expectation that students will provide refreshments during oral defenses. 

Transfer of Credit Regulations Established by the Graduate School for Doctoral Degrees:   Transfer credit is allowed to fulfill the course requirements of the doctoral degree at the discretion and request of the department/program.  All dissertation hours and the candidacy exam must be taken at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.  If sufficient hours have been earned at the University of Arkansas to meet the requirements of the degree, additional hours will not be transferred.  Transfer of course work is done at the end of the student's program.

Criteria for Acceptable Transfer Credit:

  1. Only graded courses (not research hours) are subject to transfer.
  2. The course must have been regularly offered (not special problems or individual study) by a regionally accredited graduate school.
  3. The course must have been a bona fide graduate level course, approved for graduate credit and taught by a member of the graduate faculty.
  4. The course must appear on an official transcript as graduate credit from the institution offering the course.
  5. The course grade must be a “B” or “A.” (The student’s grade-point average is NOT to include grades on transfer courses.)
  6. The course must be recommended by the student’s major adviser and be applicable to the degree requirement at the University of Arkansas.
  7. The course must not have been taken by correspondence or for extension credit. Course cannot be a self-paced course.
  8. The course must be acceptable to the department/program concerned (with the appropriate signature by the department/program chair/head/director) and to the Graduate Dean.
  9. The course must have been taken within the seven-year time limit of the student’s program at the University of Arkansas.
  10. The transcript must say either that the student was admitted to a doctoral program, the course work was completed after an earned master’s degree, or a master's degree was not earned while the student was attending the institution.

Petition for the transfer of credit from foreign universities may be made to the Graduate Dean by the department/program.

Graduate credit cannot be transferred to satisfy any of the requirements for degrees unless they are from appropriately accredited schools.

Registration. All doctoral students who have been admitted to candidacy must enroll in a minimum of one hour of graduate course work or dissertation credit every major semester (fall, spring) until they graduate. Under unusual circumstances, this enrollment requirement may be waived for post-candidacy doctoral students for up to two years, with an approved request for a leave of absence. See the Graduate School Registration Policy. Note:  doctoral students must also be enrolled in a minimum of one hour of graduate credit in the semester that they graduate.  Students who fail to enroll each major semester after candidacy will have additional hours of dissertation credit added to the final semester of enrollment; this will be above the 18 hours of dissertation credit required for the degree.

Examination for Candidacy. After completing approximately two years of graduate study, the prospective candidate must take candidacy examinations in specified fields of study in accordance with the requirements of the program/department in which the candidate is working. These examinations may be either written or written and oral, but the expectation is that their purpose is to determine if a student is prepared to move to the independent research stage of their degree.  Upon satisfactorily completing these examinations, the student may be admitted to candidacy and may proceed to work toward completion of the remaining requirements for the degree. The Graduate School should be notified within two weeks of the student being admitted to candidacy. Note: The Graduate School considers the Advisory Committee to be responsible for administering and evaluating the candidacy examinations, but degree programs may have different structures.

Grades.  All courses included in a student's program of study for a degree must have an acceptable grade (a letter grade of A, B, or C) or a mark of CR.  A mark of "S" does not carry  degree credit and any course with a mark of "S" cannot be included in the final program of study.  If the course is to be included in a program of study, the mark of "S" must be changed to an acceptable grade or a mark of CR, although no more than six hours of CR may be accepted toward the requirements for a graduate degree.  Please note that all work for the course must have been submitted by the student to the instructor by the last day of final examinations in order to be eligible for graduation for that specific semester.

Grade-Point Average Requirement. A minimum cumulative graduate grade-point average of 3.0 is required to earn a Doctor of Philosophy or Doctor of Education degree. Note: For students admitted to the Graduate School prior to Fall 2001, the minimum cumulative graduate grade-point average required to earn a Doctor of Philosophy or Doctor of Education degree was 2.85.  Students should also be aware that they may not present for degree credit any course in which they earned a grade of D or F.

Language Requirement. Foreign language requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy degree vary from department to department. For specific details see departmental statements. These requirements should be completed early in the doctoral program.  The Doctor of Education degree does not have a foreign language requirement.

Dissertation. Each candidate must complete a doctoral dissertation on some topic in the major field. The topic assignment shall be made and a title filed with the Dean of the Graduate School as soon as possible after the topic is established.  The specific problem and subject of the dissertation to be determined by the major adviser, the candidate, and the advisory committee. The completed dissertation must be a definite, scholarly contribution to the major field. This contribution may be in the form of new knowledge of fundamental importance, or of modification, amplification, and interpretation of existing significant knowledge.  We expect the dissertation to be written in English. Under exceptional circumstances, another language may be used if prior approval is obtained from the Dean of the Graduate School. A request to write in a language other than English should be submitted to the Dean of the Graduate School by the student’s dissertation committee, with endorsement by the department/program head/chair/director, prior to admission to candidacy for the degree sought. The request should include a proposal and justification for the exception. In all cases, one dissertation abstract must be written in English and the defense of the dissertation must be in English. Programs wishing to be eligible for their students to submit dissertations in languages other than English shall seek approval in advance from the Graduate Council.                                  

Each doctoral candidate must register for a minimum of 18 hours of doctoral dissertation. After the student has passed the candidacy examinations, the student must register for at least one hour of dissertation (or graded course work) each major semester and during the semester of graduation, whether the student is in residence or away from the campus. Before the final degree is conferred, registration will be assessed for each semester in which a student fails to register without prior approval of the Dean of the Graduate School.

The dissertation must be submitted for approval to the dissertation committee consisting of a minimum of three faculty members who have been approved by the Dean of the Graduate School. This committee must receive the dissertation in time for the student to defend the dissertation and submit it to the Graduate School by the posted deadline date. Students will be required to provide documentation that they did the majority of the work for each paper submitted under the published paper option where the papers have co-authors. For instructions on submitting an approved dissertation, students should consult the Graduate School’s Guide to Preparing Theses and Dissertations. Students will be required to submit their dissertations to University Microfilms Incorporated (UMI/ProQuest).

The Use of Copy Editors in Dissertations.  The Graduate School at the University of Arkansas does not forbid the use of copy editors (see definition below) for theses and dissertations under the following conditions:

  1. Any use of copy editors for theses and dissertations must be approved by the thesis/dissertation committee and the department/program chair/head/director.
  2. The student understands that there is a difference between legitimate editing and violations of academic integrity policies and is responsible for ensuring that the line is not crossed.

*Note:  The Graduate School considers it to be a violation of our academic integrity policy to use copy editors in any Graduate School required exam (e.g. comprehensive exam, candidacy exam).

Definition of copy editors:  copy editors review written material for accuracy, readability, coherence and relevance as well as for errors of spelling and grammar.  This policy refers to the provision of such services regardless of by whom they are provided and regardless of whether the copy editor is paid or unpaid.  (Members of the thesis/dissertation committee are exempt from this definition.)

Final Examination. The candidate’s final examination for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy or Doctor of Education will be oral. At least two weeks in advance, the major adviser will forward to the Dean of the Graduate School notification about the date, time and place of the final oral examination. The examination will be primarily concerned with the field of the dissertation, but may also include other aspects of the candidate’s graduate work. The doctoral dissertation committee is responsible for insuring that the dissertation contributes new knowledge of fundamental importance or significantly modifies, amplifies, or interprets existing knowledge in a new and important manner. All members of the dissertation committee must participate in the final oral defense of the dissertation unless the Dean of the Graduate School has approved an exception. This participation may be by distance.  If they do not participate in the final oral defense, in person or by distance, they will be asked by the Graduate School to resign from the committee. While this examination is open to the public, the exam is controlled by the student’s committee chair. Questions from the public are at the discretion of the committee chair. If the committee chair expects to allow questions from the public, the student must be so advised. The chair will insure that questions from the public are appropriate by disallowing those which are not.

Students may elect to participate by distance through electronic means in their final oral defense of the dissertation, if approved by the dissertation faculty director. In advance of the final oral defense, the student must provide to the Graduate School a written, signed statement that he/she has elected this option. 

Split Decisions Within Advisory and Dissertation Committees. In the situation when there is a split decision among committee members of a doctoral program advisory or dissertation committee, the situation must be resolved to the satisfaction of each committee member. In the event that each committee member is not satisfied, the committee member may insist on the necessary steps to reach a resolution or elect to step down from the committee. In unusual circumstances, the Dean of the Graduate School may remove a faculty member from a student’s thesis/dissertation or advisory committee, or make an alternative arrangement (e.g., assign a representative from the Graduate faculty to serve on the committee).

Professional Doctoral Degrees

Currently, the University of Arkansas offers two professional doctoral degrees:

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.)
  • Doctor of Occupational Therapy (O.T.D.)

The degree of Doctor of Nursing Practice is conferred for advanced professional proficiency in the area of nursing advanced nursing practice.

The degree of Doctor of Occupational Therapy is conferred for entry-level professional proficiency in the area of clinical occupational therapy.

The degrees of Doctor of Nursing Practice and Doctor of Occupational Therapy are awarded in recognition of high scholarly attainment and the fulfillment of expectations set by the respective professional and accrediting organizations.  In each case, there will be ethical standards set in addition to the curriculum requirements.

Students who wish to become candidates for the degree of Doctor of Nursing Practice or Doctor of Occupational Therapy must apply to be admitted to the Graduate School and the specific program of study.

Doctor of Nursing Practice: After admission, an adviser will be assigned to guide the student’s plan of study, and a Doctoral Program Advisory Committee will be appointed from the graduate faculty to guide the development of the D.N.P. Project, the culminating experience in which students engage in practice scholarship. Refer to the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing Graduate Student Handbook for specific requirements.

Doctor of Occupational Therapy: The doctoral capstone provides an in-depth exposure to one or more of the following: clinical practice skills, research skills, administration, leadership, program and policy development, advocacy, education, and theory development. The doctoral capstone consists of two parts, a Capstone project and a Capstone experience.  During the second year in the O.T.D. program (of three), a Doctoral Capstone Advisory Committee will be appointed from the graduate faculty to guide the development of the O.T.D. Capstone Project. Refer to the O.T.D. Handbook for specific requirements.

Ex Officio Committee Members. Student committees may contain ex officio members who have graduate faculty status on the University of Arkansas campus. However, when a person does not hold graduate faculty status on the University of Arkansas campus, the faculty member may still be allowed to hold an ex officio position on a student’s committee, in accordance with the following policy:

When a committee member does not hold graduate faculty status at the University of Arkansas, he or she will be allowed to serve on a student’s advisory or project/capstone committee, in addition to the minimum number of members required by the department or program. The ex officio member’s vote will be recorded but will not be binding for the degree.  This use of the term ex officio will indicate that the person does not hold graduate faculty status at the University of Arkansas and is serving in an honorary role.

Conflict of Interest Policies. Students should be aware that the Graduate School has policies pertaining to the composition of advisory and project/capstone committees.  These may be found in the Graduate Student Handbook on the Graduate School website.  It should also be noted that to avoid the perception of a conflict of interest, students are discouraged from providing refreshments and faculty are discouraged from creating the expectation that students will provide refreshments during oral defenses. 

Online Credits.  No more than 50% of the credits presented for the degree may be online unless the program has been approved for online delivery.

Grades. All courses included in a student's program of study for a degree must have an acceptable grade (a letter grade of A, B, or C) or a mark of CR.  A mark of "S" does not carry degree credit and any course with a mark of "S" cannot be included in the final program of study.  If the course is to be included in a program of study, the mark of "S" must be changed to an acceptable grade or a mark of CR.  Please note that all work for the course must have been submitted by the student to the instructor by the last day of final examinations in order to be eligible for graduation for that specific semester.

Grade-Point Average Requirement. A minimum cumulative graduate grade-point average of 3.0 is required to earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice or Doctoral of Occupational Therapy degree. Students should also be aware that they may not present for degree credit any course in which they earned a grade of D or F.

Split Decisions Within Advisory and Project/Capstone Committees. In the situation when there is a split decision among committee members of a doctoral program advisory or project/capstone committee, the situation must be resolved to the satisfaction of each committee member. In the event that each committee member is not satisfied, the committee member may insist on the necessary steps to reach a resolution or elect to step down from the committee. In unusual circumstances, the Dean of the Graduate School may remove a faculty member from a student’s project/capstone or advisory committee, or make an alternative arrangement (e.g., assign a representative from the graduate faculty to serve on the committee).