Current Graduate Students

Forms

All completed Graduate School forms with the appropriate signatures must be submitted to the department Graduate Coordinator at least 2 business days before the Graduate School deadline.  A physical or emailed copy of the document is acceptable. Students can check the status of submitted forms by logging in to MyLSU and selecting “Graduate Milestones” under “Student Services."

Visit the Graduate School Forms page for the most current form.

Master's Degree Requirements from the LSU Catalog

Final acceptance of the master’s thesis rests with a committee of three or more members of the graduate faculty nominated by the chair of the major department and appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School. 

The major professor, who must be from the major department, is designated as chair or co-chair of this committee. If either an adjunct or a non-tenure-track faculty member is the major professor, a full-time tenured or tenure-track graduate faculty member must co-chair the committee. Other committee members may be from the major department or from other pertinent departments. If there is an external minor, one committee member must represent the minor department. Both thesis and non-thesis committees must include at least one full member of the graduate faculty, and at least one-half of the committee’s graduate faculty members must be full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty members at LSU. Any additions to or changes in the makeup of this committee must be approved in advance by the Dean of the Graduate School. The Dean of the Graduate School may serve as a member of any committee or may appoint additional members.

For the non-thesis option, the committee must consist of three or more members of the graduate faculty nominated by the chair of the major department and appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School. At least one member of the examining committee must be a full member of the graduate faculty. The major professor serves as chair or co-chair of the examining committee. Representatives of the graduate faculty may be added by the Dean of the Graduate School.

Candidates for master’s degrees in most programs are required to pass a comprehensive final defense. This defense may be oral, written, or both oral and written, depending on the requirements of the department concerned. In non-thesis programs, greater weight is ordinarily given to this defense, and it will probably be broader in scope than the defense given to a student who completes a thesis.

At least three weeks prior to the time this defense is to be given (and by the current semester deadline if the student is a degree candidate), the student’s department should submit to the Graduate School a “Request for Final Exam” form. Normally, a candidate for the master’s degree will take the final defense during the semester in which he or she plans to graduate. If a student wishes to take the final defense at an earlier date, the student’s committee must furnish the Dean of the Graduate School with a sound academic reason for doing so. Exams may be taken anytime the university is open for business. To be eligible to take the final defense, the student must be in good academic standing. Graduate students are considered to be in good academic standing, (making satisfactory academic progress), if they maintain a 3.00 cumulative grade point average on all graduate coursework taken within the university (all LSU campuses) and a 3.00 semester average on all coursework (undergraduate and graduate), and earn a grade of “S” in research. Students who are not in good academic standing may not take any graduate milestone exams. Milestone exams are defined by the Graduate School as the General Defense, Final Doctoral Defense, Master’s Thesis Defense, and the Master’s Non-Thesis Defense. This rule does not apply to departmental exams unless stipulated by the department. The student must also be registered for at least one hour of graduate coursework (if in a non-thesis program) or thesis research (if writing a thesis). In non-thesis programs, all degree requirements must be met no later than the deadline in the regular semester following the final defense.

For students defending a thesis, the defense committee must have copies of the thesis at least two weeks prior to the final defense.

In order for a student to pass this defense, there may not be more than one dissenting vote. Dissenting votes, along with assenting votes, must be recorded on the defense forms and the thesis defense approval report submitted to the Graduate School.

Failure of the Master’s Thesis Defense
The masters’ thesis represents the culmination of the degree program.  Although failure is unusual, it can occur even with seemingly well-prepared students.  Once a defense is scheduled, a grade must be filed with the Graduate School in a timely manner.  The only grades that can be reported are P (“Pass”), F (“Fail”), or R (“Retake”).  It is highly recommended that the defense results be filed within two weeks of the scheduled defense date. Failure to turn in a grade defaults to an F.

A grade of P indicates that the student has successfully completed and defended the thesis or dissertation and no further work is required.

A grade of F indicates that the student has not successfully completed or defended the thesis or dissertation.  An F results in the student being terminated from the program at the end of the semester or summer term in which the defense is taken.  The committee is required to provide the student feedback on why the defense was failed.

A grade of R indicates that the student has not successfully completed or defended the thesis or dissertation and that additional work, which may include a second oral defense, is required and permitted.  The committee will provide specific feedback on the remaining requirements.  The final grade, P or F, must be filed with the Graduate School by the end of the next regular semester.  There is no minimum amount of time required for a retake.  For a defense retake, the only grades that can be reported are P or F.

It is the responsibility of the student to schedule the final defense with sufficient lead time to meet the Graduate School deadlines for graduation in a given semester.

The oral defense and the thesis are considered an integrated requirement.  It is not possible to pass one and fail the other.  The committee should not sign the thesis defense approval report until all requirements, including successful oral defense, are completed, nor should it sign the oral defense report until the thesis has been successfully defended.

The student has the right to petition for reconsideration.

The written and/or oral exams are major milestones in the graduate student’s professional path.  Once an exam is scheduled, a grade must be filed with the Graduate School in a timely manner.  The only results that can be reported are P (“Pass”), F (“Fail”), or R (“Retake”). The grade must be filed within two weeks of the scheduled exam date. Failure to turn in a grade defaults to an F.

A grade of P indicates that the student has successfully passed the entire defense and is not required to retake any or all of the defense. 

A grade of F indicates that the student has failed the entire defense and is not permitted to retake any or all of the defense.  An F results in the student being terminated from the program at the end of the regular semester in which the defense is taken.  The committee is required to provide the student feedback on why the defense was failed.

An R indicates that the student has failed part or all of the defense and will be permitted to take part or all of the defense one additional time.  The committee will provide the student feedback on the specific weaknesses that should be corrected. The committee determines when the retake will be given, but it must be given no later than the end of the next regular semester.  For the defense retake, the only grades that can be reported are P or F. 

If the student wishes to graduate the semester during which the defense is taken, the student must make sure that the defense result is filed before the Graduate School deadline for graduation that semester.

The student has the right to petition for reconsideration. 

The Graduate School and Graduate Council strongly encourage defenses in which all participants are present in person. Remote participation should be used only when there are serious impediments to physical presence at the defense and not be used simply for the convenience of a committee member. The committee Chair should aid the student in finding a meeting time at which all members can be present and assist the student in arranging for remote access equipment and technical assistance. The following guidelines are in effect:

A single committee member (other than the Chair or Dean’s Representative) may participate in a Master’s Defense and Request for General Defense remotely through VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) programs such as Skype without special permission from the Graduate School. The committee Chair, however, should give permission and notify the student. The telecommunications protocol chosen must permit real-time, two-way exchange of visual information (e.g., presentation slides) and dialogue among the committee members and the student to assure participation when physical presence is unfeasible.

Should extraordinary circumstances make it necessary for the Chair or the student or a second member (who is not the Dean’s Representative) to participate via VoIP programs, approval must be sought from the Dean of the Graduate School at least three weeks prior to the scheduled meeting. That is, it is possible for two persons at the meeting to be present remotely except for the Dean’s Representative. (The individual participating remotely can never be a Dean’s Representative.) The “Request for Remote Participation in Graduate Committees” may be found at in the Forms section of the Grad School’s website. This form must be signed (or approved by e-mail) by all committee members and submitted to the Graduate School before remote participation of two persons will be approved.

Also under very extraordinary circumstances, the student may participate remotely. However, these circumstances should be genuinely severe and detailed by the committee Chair in a separate petition to the Dean of the Graduate School and endorsed by the department chair. Reasons that would be acceptable might be documented long-term illness or disability. Reasons that are not acceptable would be, for example, employment elsewhere, lack of funding, family inconvenience, or residence in a foreign country. In general, students are required to be present at their milestone examinations in person.

The responsibility for arranging, testing, and assuring operative connection and time-zone coordination rests upon the student and the director (Committee Chair). If a formal Request for Remote Participation is necessary, the form must be completed and submitted to the Graduate School, along with the request for defense, at least three weeks prior to the date of the defense and by the current semester deadline for graduation, if applicable.  Emergency requests, such as those caused by medical needs, will be considered on an ad hoc basis.

All final defense reports and the approval of all thesis format corrections requested by the document editor must be approved in the regular semester following the final defense. As with thesis candidates, non-thesis students who pass the final defense in one semester must complete degree requirements no later than the next regular semester following the final defense. A final defense may be voided by the Dean of the Graduate School for failure to have an approved thesis in a timely manner as described.

PhD Committee Requirements from the LSU Catalog

 

During the entire period of work toward the doctorate, the student’s program is directed by a special advisory committee. This advisory committee consists of three members of the graduate faculty.  After the outlines of the program have assumed more definite form and the direction of research has been clearly established, this special committee is enlarged to three or more members with the addition of the Dean’s Representative. This enlargement must take place prior to the general defense.

The full advisory committee must comprise at least three members of the graduate faculty, including the major professor, who acts as chair or co-chair and who must be from the major department. If either an adjunct or a non-tenure track faculty member is the major professor, a full-time tenured or tenure-track graduate faculty member must co-chair the committee.

At least one-half of the graduate faculty on doctoral committees must be full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty at LSU. A minimum of two of those faculty members must be from the student’s major department and at least one of whom must be a full member of the LSU graduate faculty. The remaining members may be from the major department or may be from outside the department if pertinent to the student’s area of concentration, with the proviso that at least one of the remaining members must be a full member of the graduate faculty.

Any declared outside minors require representation, either from among the first three members of the committee or by additional appointments to the committee. The Dean of the Graduate School may serve as an ex officio member. Members of the special advisory committee are nominated by the chair of the major department and appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School, who may make any changes deemed desirable.

The Dean of the Graduate School appoints a member or members of the graduate faculty to serve on doctoral general and final defense committees. These individuals represent the Dean of the Graduate School and the entire graduate faculty. They are full voting members of the committee with all the rights and responsibilities of the other committee members. In the case of final defenses, it is the responsibility of the committee chair to ensure that the Dean’s representatives receive copies of dissertations as soon as possible, but no later than two weeks before the date of the defense.

 

It is in the best interests of students that those with high probability of continuing successfully toward a doctoral degree be identified as soon as possible. Doctoral students are, therefore, required to pass a rigorous qualifying examination or the general defense within three calendar years (36 months)—or a period deemed equivalent for part-time students—of their classification as doctoral students. An exception may be made to this if a department notifies the Graduate School.

Whether a qualifying or general defense is used to meet the above requirement, the procedure should be sufficiently rigorous so as to provide reasonable confidence that the student who passes it may proceed successfully to a doctoral degree.

A student becomes eligible to take the general defense after demonstrating to the advisory committee adequate academic and professional aptitudes. Exams may be taken anytime the university is open for business. Students not in good academic standing will not be allowed to take the general defense. Graduate students are considered to be in good academic standing, (making satisfactory academic progress), if they maintain a 3.00 cumulative grade point average on all graduate coursework taken within the university (all LSU campuses) and a 3.00 semester average on all coursework (undergraduate and graduate), and earn a grade of “S” in research. Students who are not in good academic standing may not take any graduate milestone exams. Milestone exams are defined by the Graduate School as the General Defense, Final Doctoral Defense, Master’s Thesis Defense, and the Master’s Non-Thesis Defense. This rule does not apply to departmental exams unless stipulated by the department. Students must be registered for a minimum of one to three hours of credit during the semester in which they are taking the general exam.

There is no Graduate School requirement that doctoral students pass a pre-general examination before becoming eligible to take the general defense. However, since pre-general examination requirements may be retained by individual departments, students should check with the appropriate departmental office concerning this requirement.

A request for the general defense must be submitted to the Graduate School by the student’s department chair at least three weeks prior to the proposed defense date. This request must state the time and place proposed and the names of faculty members nominated to serve as the examining committee. These will be the members of the enlarged advisory committee including the dean’s representative appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School. Any additions to or changes in the makeup of this committee must be approved in advance by the Dean of the Graduate School. At this time the final departmental-level academic course plan should be completed and submitted to the Graduate School with the “Request for General Exam.”

The general defense is ordinarily the most rigorous test in the entire doctoral program. In order for the student to pass this defense, there may not be more than one dissenting vote. Dissenting votes, along with assenting votes, must be recorded on the defense forms submitted to the Graduate School.

The defense may be oral, written, or both oral and written, according to the rules of the major department. However, the minor department (if an outside minor has been declared) retains the right to decide the format of its part of the defense. The defense must be comprehensive enough to demonstrate expert competence over broad segments of the major field and a high degree of familiarity with the content of and current progress in one or more minor fields (if appropriate).

The general defense should be regarded as the culmination of a student’s program in coursework. In most cases, the remaining time spent obtaining the degree is to be devoted to concentrated work on the dissertation and preparation for the final defense. When a student passes the general defense, the results should be forwarded by faculty and staff only to the Graduate School.

The written and/or oral defenses are major milestones in the graduate student’s professional path.  Once a defense is scheduled, a result must be filed with the Graduate School in a timely manner. The only results that can be reported are P (“Pass”), F (“Fail”), or R (“Retake”). It is highly recommended that the results be submitted to the Graduate School within two weeks of the scheduled defense date. Failure to turn in a grade defaults to an F.

A grade of P indicates that the student has successfully passed the entire defense and is not required to retake any or all of the defense. 

A grade of F indicates that the student has failed the entire defense and is not permitted to retake any or all of the defense.  An F results in the student being terminated from the program at the end of the semester or summer term in which the defense is taken.  The committee is required to provide the student feedback on why the defense was failed.

An R indicates that the student has failed part or all of the defense and will be permitted to take part or all of the defense one additional time.  The committee will provide the student feedback on the specific weaknesses that should be corrected. The committee determines when the retake will be given, but it must be completed no later than the end of the next regular semester. For the defense retake, the only grades that can be reported are P or F. 

If the student wishes to graduate the semester during which the defense is taken, the student must make sure that the defense report is filed before the Graduate School deadline for graduation that semester.

The student has the right to petition the Dean of the Graduate School for reconsideration.

Students who have passed the general defense normally direct most of their energies toward preparation of the dissertation, which must be a contribution to knowledge in the major field of study. The dissertation must demonstrate a mastery of research techniques, ability to do original and independent research, and skill in formulating conclusions that in some way enlarge upon or modify accepted ideas.

The form of the dissertation must be in accordance with the instructions in the Formatting Electronic Theses and Dissertations handbook available online

A request for the final defense must be submitted to the Graduate School by the student’s department chair at least three weeks prior to the proposed defense date or by the current semester deadline, if the student is a candidate for a degree (see the academic calendar for all pertinent dates). This request must specify the major and minor fields (if appropriate), dissertation title, time and place proposed for the defense, and nominations for the examining committee. The examining committee, including the dean’s representative, must have copies of the dissertation at least two weeks prior to the final defense. Defenses may be taken anytime the university is open for business. The student must be registered for dissertation research hours (a minimum of three hours during the fall and spring semester or one hour during summer). The student must also be in good academic standing. Graduate students are considered to be in good academic standing, (making satisfactory academic progress), if they maintain a 3.00 cumulative grade point average on all graduate coursework taken within the university (all LSU campuses) and a 3.00 semester average on all coursework (undergraduate and graduate), and earn a grade of “S” in research. Students who are not in good academic standing may not take any graduate milestone exams. Milestone exams are defined by the Graduate School as the General Defense, Final Doctoral Defense, Master’s Thesis Defense, and the Master’s Non-Thesis Defense. This rule does not apply to departmental exams unless stipulated by the department.

Permission to hold the final defense will be granted by the Dean of the Graduate School only after all the foregoing conditions are satisfied and three (3) calendar months have elapsed since the student passed the general defense.

The Dean of the Graduate School will approve the final defense committee. In most cases, it will consist of the student’s special advisory committee or a similarly constituted group to which one or more additions may have been made as representatives of the dean and the graduate faculty. Any additions to or changes in the makeup of this committee must be approved in advance of the defense.

Although the final defense is traditionally conducted as an oral test primarily concerned with the dissertation and related problems, the committee determines procedure and content, which may extend into subject matter related to major and minor fields (if appropriate), even though well removed from topics suggested by the dissertation.

In order for the student to pass this defense, there may not be more than one dissenting vote. Dissenting votes, along with assenting votes, must be recorded on the defense form and the defense approval report submitted to the Graduate School.

The Master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation represent the culmination of these degree programs.  Although failure is unusual, it can occur even with seemingly well-prepared students.  Once a defense is scheduled, a grade must be filed with the Graduate School in a timely manner.  The only grades that can be reported are P (“Pass”), F (“Fail”), or R (“Retake”).  Failure to turn in a grade defaults to an F.

A grade of P indicates that the student has successfully completed and defended the dissertation.

A grade of F indicates that the student has not successfully completed or defended the dissertation.  An F results in the student being terminated from the program at the end of the semester in which the defense is taken.  The committee is required to provide the student feedback on why the defense was failed.

A grade of R indicates that the student has not successfully completed or defended the dissertation and that additional work, which may include a second oral defense, is required and permitted.  The committee will provide specific feedback on the remaining requirements.  The final grade, P or F, must be filed with the Graduate School by the end of next regular semester. For a defense retake, the only grades that can be reported are P or F.

It is the responsibility of the student to schedule the final defense with sufficient lead time to meet the Graduate School deadlines for graduation in a given semester.

The oral defense and the dissertation are considered an integrative requirement.  It is not possible to pass one and fail the other.  The committee should not sign the dissertation defense results until all requirements, including successful oral defense, are completed, nor should it sign the oral defense report until the dissertation has been successfully defended.

The student has the right to petition the Dean of the Graduate School for reconsideration.

The Graduate School and Graduate Council strongly encourage defenses in which all participants are present in person. Remote participation should be used only when there are serious impediments to physical presence at the defense and not be used simply for the convenience of a committee member. The committee chair should aid the student in finding a meeting time at which all members can be present and assist the student in arranging for remote access equipment and technical assistance. The following guidelines are in effect:

A single committee member (other than the Chair or Dean’s Representative) may participate in a Doctoral Degree Audit and a Doctoral Final Defense remotely through VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) programs such as Skype without special permission from the Graduate School. The committee chair, however, should give permission and notify the student. The telecommunications protocol chosen must permit real-time, two-way exchange of visual information (e.g., presentation slides) and dialogue among the committee members and the student to assure participation when physical presence is unfeasible.
Should extraordinary circumstances make it necessary for the Chair or the student or a second member (who is not the Dean’s Representative) to participate via VoIP programs, approval must be sought from the Dean of the Graduate School at least three weeks prior to the scheduled meeting. That is, it is possible for two persons at the meeting to be present remotely except for the Dean’s Representative. (The individual participating remotely can never be a Dean’s Representative.) The “Request for Remote Participation in Graduate Committees” may be found in the Forms section of the Grad School’s website. This form must be signed (or approved by e-mail) by all committee members and submitted to the Graduate School before remote participation of two persons will be approved.
Also, under very extraordinary circumstances, the student may participate remotely. However, these circumstances should be genuinely severe and detailed by the committee chair in a separate petition to the Dean of the Graduate School and endorsed by the department chair. Reasons that would be acceptable might be documented long-term illness or disability. Reasons that are not acceptable would be, for example, employment elsewhere, lack of funding, family inconvenience, or residence in a foreign country. In general, students are required to be present at their milestone examinations or defense in person.
The responsibility for arranging, testing, and assuring operative connection and time-zone coordination rests upon the student and the director (Committee Chair). If a formal Request for Remote Participation is necessary, the form must be completed and submitted to the Graduate School, along with the request for defense, at least three weeks prior to the date of the defense and by the current semester deadline for graduation, if applicable. Emergency requests, such as those caused by medical needs, will be considered on an ad-hoc basis. 

All final defense reports and the approval of all thesis format corrections requested by the document editor must be approved in the regular semester following the final defense. As with thesis candidates, non-thesis students who pass the final defense in one semester must complete degree requirements no later than the next regular semester following the final defense. A final defense may be voided by the Dean of the Graduate School for failure to have an approved thesis in a timely manner as described.

The program for the doctoral degree must be completed within seven years from the time a student is classified as a doctoral student. This time limit may not be exceeded except by special permission of the advisory committee, department chair or delegate (such as the Director of Graduate Studies), and college dean. A formal meeting of the advisory committee must be held to approve any time limit extension. No less than three calendar months may elapse between the passing of the general defense and the completion of all requirements for the doctoral degree. The start date for completion of the doctoral degree does not change if the student transfers into a different doctoral program.

 

Steps to Graduation 

The graduation process generally begins the semester before you intend to graduate, as required forms are due very early the semester you will graduate. Consult the academic calendar and the Graduate School calendar for detailed due dates.  Because forms are kept in your permanent record, it is important that they be typed. Most forms can be edited on a computer and then printed for signatures. All dates and deadlines can be found on the Graduate School calendar. All completed and signed forms should be turned in to Janet 2 business days before the Graduate School deadlines.  

If you determine, during the course of the semester, that you will not meet the requirements for graduation, you must notify the department immediately by filling out and submitting the Request for Degree Candidate Deletion or Title Change Form to Janet in 3207 PFT.

"Degree Only" Registration

Students must have completed all degree requirements in a previous semester. “Degree only” registration is only allowed for students who have met all degree requirements: final defense reports have been received by the Graduate School and approval of all format corrections requested by the document editor by close of business on the last date to add classes for the semester. Non-thesis students may also register “degree only,” provided all degree requirements are met in a previous semester and final defense reports have been received by the Graduate School. All fees for Degree Only registration must be completed by close of business on the last date to add classes for the semester of graduation.