Graduate Degrees Offered
Middle Tennessee State University offers Doctor of Philosophy, Specialist in Education, Masters, Graduate Certificates and degrees for a total of over 50 graduate programs.
The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) is offered for the purpose of developing doctoral level expertise combining pedagogy with scholarly achievement and research excellence (applied or theoretical) in the fields of COMPUTATIONAL SCIENCES, ECONOMICS, ENGLISH, HUMAN PERFORMANCE, LITERACY STUDIES, MATHEMATICS & SCIENCE EDUCATION, MOLECULAR BIOSCIENCES, and PUBLIC HISTORY. Above all, the Ph.D. recipient from MTSU is a learned person who has acquired advanced academic skills and is well prepared to teach at the collegiate level, conduct independent scholarly investigation, and provide service to the private and public sectors associated with his/her academic discipline.
Applicants for admission to this degree objective must hold a baccalaureate degree. Although a master's degree is not a general university requirement, each graduate program has the option of establishing such a requisite.
University Requirements Leading to the Ph.D. Degree:
Following are the minimum university requirements that must be met to be eligible for the granting of the Ph.D. degree. IN ADDITION, PLEASE NOTE THAT EACH INDIVIDUAL PH.D. PROGRAM HAS ESTABLISHED DISTINCT CURRICULAR REQUIREMENTS THAT ARE SPECIFIC TO THAT PROGRAM. REFER TO THE DEPARTMENTAL SECTION IN THIS SITE.
General Course and Credit Requirements:
The required minimum is 60 semester hours of coursework, with at least two-thirds of the program at the 7000 level. No more than 12 semester hours of dissertation research (course 7640) may be applied toward this 60-credit requirement. If approved by the student's Graduate Advisor, up to 12 semester hours of coursework completed at the master's level may be applied toward this 60-credit requirement. In the case of a D.A. recipient from MTSU, additional hours may be applied toward the 60-hour requirement if recommended by the graduate advisor and approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies.
The 60-credit requirement must include:
- At least 42 semester hours in discipline-specific coursework. Undergraduate or dual-listed 4000/5000 courses (or their equivalent) CANNOT be used to apply toward this requirement.
- At least 12 semester hours for the dissertation research (course 7640). NOTE: Once a Ph.D. student has begun taking dissertation research, he/she is expected to enroll in at least three (3) semester hours of dissertation research each semester (exclusive of Summer Semester) until the dissertation is completed. Thus Ph.D. students normally enroll for more than 12 total semester hours of dissertation research.
- At least 6 semester hours (two courses) in an educational pedagogy core. MTSU recognizes that competency and understanding of current teaching strategies and technologies is an important component of a contemporary, well-rounded Ph.D. curriculum. Thus an educational core consisting of at least two 3-credit pedagogy courses is required. Please refer to the applicable graduate program section in this catalog for your specific pedagogy requirement.
Additional Program Requirements:
Each doctoral program establishes degree requirements which are specific to that discipline and MAY BE IN EXCESS OF THE MINIMUM UNIVERSITY REQUIREMENTS. Students should consult their graduate program section in this catalog. The Graduate Advisor/Director of each graduate program, in consultation with the Advisory Committee when relevant, may also specify additional requirements such as prerequisites, a reading knowledge of foreign language(s), a working knowledge of statistics, computer literacy, or specific courses related to graduate teaching assistantships or research assistantships.
Pre-dissertation Advisory Committee
As soon as practicable, each Ph.D. student will be assigned a three-person Advisory Committee officially constituted by the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies. The committee is recommended by the Graduate Advisor, in consultation with the student and the potential major professor. If warranted, the committee membership may be reconstituted upon a recommendation from the Graduate Advisor and approval by the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.
Shortly after constitution of the Advisory Committee, the student should meet frequently with the committee members. The committee provides academic guidance to formulate a curricular plan best suited for the academic needs and interests of the student. This pre-candidacy stage permits optimal flexibility in the event of modified academic interests.
Each Ph.D. student may be required to take a preliminary examination administered by the student's graduate program. The examination will be used to assess specialized and general knowledge of the major area, as well as writing skills. The results of the preliminary exam should be used, in part, to plan the student's academic program. To be eligible to take this preliminary examination, the student must be fully admitted to the College of Graduate Studies and to the graduate program. Programs may have additional requirements.
The student must pass written and/or oral comprehensive qualifying examinations after having completed all coursework required for the Ph.D. degree (or is enrolled in the last course of the program of study, exclusive of the dissertation). The student must be in good academic standing and must have at least a 3.25 grade point average in all graduate work at the time the Intent to Schedule the Qualifying Examinations is filed. The qualifying examinations are intended to assess whether a candidate is qualified to continue in a doctoral program and advance to candidacy.
The written examinations are given at least one month before the close of the fall, spring and/or summer semesters. Permission for the Ph.D. student to schedule the qualifying examinations requires the approval of the student's Advisory Committee and the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies. Applications may be obtained from the Graduate Office or the Department. The deadlines for submitting these applications may be found in the calendar section of this catalog.
A satisfactory or passing performance on the written and/or oral examinations means that the candidate is qualified to continue the program as planned. A less than satisfactory outcome on any component of the qualifying examinations may result in additional academic requirements and/or a re-examination. A re-examination may be given only once. A Fail decision results in a recommendation to the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies for academic dismissal. The student may appeal the dismissal recommendation, for cause, to the Appeal Subcommittee of the Graduate Council via the Chair of the Graduate Council or the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.
Written Qualifying Examination
- The purpose of the written examination is to evaluate the candidate's overall knowledge of the field, integrative skills, ability to organize material, and competency in written expression. The maximum time limit for the written examination is 8 hours.
- The written examination is administered by the major department (i.e. the graduate program).
- The graded written examinations are maintained in the department and are available to the student upon request.
Oral Qualifying Examination
The oral examination is administered by the student's Advisory Committee and covers
the candidate's area of specialization and general knowledge. The committee evaluates
the candidate's breadth of knowledge of the field(s), integration and problem-solving
skills, competency in oral expression, and potential for conducting independent research.
Advancement to Candidacy
After having successfully completed the qualifying examination, the student must file an Advancement to Candidacy application with the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies. At this time the Dissertation Committee is formally constituted and usually has the same membership as the pre-dissertation Advisory Committee, although this is not mandatory. For example, should the student's research area change, it may be relevant to replace one or more of the original Advisory Committee members with faculty better qualified to provide research mentoring in the new area of inquiry. The degree plan as approved by the student's Advisory Committee, as well as certification by the student's Advisory Committee of successful completion of the qualifying examinations, is listed on the Advancement to Candidacy form. Upon approval, the College of Graduate Studies will notify the applicant of advancement to candidacy.
Before an applicant is officially admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree, the student must have satisfied the following requirements:
- An Advancement to Candidacy form and an Intent to Graduate form must be filed by the deadlines published in the Graduate Catalog, the Schedule Book, and posted on department bulletin boards on campus. Normally, there are few extension exceptions granted if these forms are not submitted by the listed deadlines.
- The student must have at least a 3.25 grade point average on all coursework listed on the candidacy forms as well as any other graduate work undertaken at Middle Tennessee State University within the specified time limit (10 years). Grades of "D" or "F" are not accepted for any graduate degree credit, and no more than seven (7) hours of "C" grade may count toward Ph.D. degree requirements. However, all "C, D, and F"; grades will be included in the student's GPA computation, unless otherwise exempted by the university repeat policy.
- The student's entire program, including the dissertation, must be acceptable to the Dissertation Committee, Department Chair and/or Director of Graduate Studies, and the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.
Defense of Dissertation
After the completion of the dissertation and all other prescribed work for the degree, candidates will be given a final oral examination dealing primarily with the dissertation and its relation to the candidate's major field of study. This examination will be conducted by the student's Dissertation Committee. All members must be present at the examination. If the student's performance on this examination is satisfactory as judged by the committee, all requirements for the degree will be completed upon approval of the dissertation; completion of all prescribed coursework (including all incomplete's) and attaining university minimums.
Residency requirements will be established by each program, pending Graduate Council approval.
There is a ten-year time limit for completing all Ph.D. degree requirements. Thus all coursework offered toward the doctoral degree, as well as the dissertation, must be completed within 10 years after matriculation (i.e. the first semester of enrollment).
Only coursework completed at an accredited institution that would count toward the doctorate there will be considered for approval as transfer credit toward the Doctor of Philosophy coursework requirement at MTSU. Additional information on transfer credit may be found in the section on academic regulations.
Middle Tennessee State University offers the Specialist in Education (Ed.S.) degree in Administration and Supervision and in Curriculum and Instruction. The Ed.S. is provided specifically for teachers, counselors, and administrators wishing to pursue graduate study beyond the master's level. The Ed.S. in Administration and Supervision is available through the Department of Educational Leadership. The Ed.S. in Curriculum and Instruction is offered by both the Department of Educational Leadership and The Department of Elementary and Special Education. The Ed.S. in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in School Psychology is offered by the Department of Psychology.
Common Requirements for All Specialist's Degree Programs
All specialist's candidates must:
- Complete all applicable coursework after receipt of the master's degree.
- File a Candidacy Form with the Graduate Office prior to the completion of 24 credit hours. No courses at the 5000-level or lower may apply toward the specialist's degree.
- Successfully complete a written (and/or oral) comprehensive examination. The examination may be taken no more than twice.
- Complete all specific graduate program requirements. These additional specific degree requirements are found under the applicable department.
Second Specialist's Degree from MTSU
An individual who has received one specialist's degree from MTSU may obtain a second specialist's degree with a minimum of 24 additional semester hours of graduate coursework earned at MTSU if approved in advance by the graduate program and the graduate dean. No transfer coursework is accepted towards the second specialist's degree. All specific course requirements must be met for the second degree (except FOED 7060, Seminar in Educational Foundations, and SPSE 7130, The Curriculum: Structures and Functions), including the written comprehensive examinations and thesis (if required). All semester hours must be earned after the first specialist's degree has been conferred.
Master of Arts Degree (M.A.)
There are seven departments offering programs leading to the Master of Arts degree. They are Economics and Finance; English; History; Music; Political Science; Psychology; and Sociology and Anthropology.
Normally, the Master of Arts degree requires a thesis; however, graduate programs in English, Economics and Finance and Music include a non-thesis option requiring more than 30 semester hours. (Specific program requirements may be found on the appropriate department web site.)
Master of Arts in Teaching Degree (M.A.T.)
The Master of Arts in Teaching degree is offered in Foreign Languages. The degree should be pursued by those individuals interested in teaching. Admission is open to licensed teachers as well as those seeking initial licensure. Specific degree requirements are found at the department web site.
Master of Business Administration Degree (M.B.A.)
The Master of Business Administration program includes courses in the following six areas of business; accounting, economics, finance, management, marketing, and information systems. Specific degree information can be found at the Graduate Business Studies web site.
Master of Business Education Degree (M.B.E.)
The Master of Business Education degree program is offered by the Department of Business Education, Marketing Education, and Office Management (BMOM) in the Jennings A. Jones College of Business. Specific degree requirements are found under their web site.
Master of Criminal Justice Degree (M.C.J.)
The Master of Criminal Justice degree program is a joint program with Tennessee State University. Students may seek professional employment in the operational agencies in the field of criminal justice or pursue relevant research or teaching positions. Eighteen semester hours credit from each university required. Applicants must compete a special application specifically for this degree program. Specific degree requirements are found on the Department of Criminal Justice Administration web site.
Master of Education Degree (M.Ed.)
There are four departments offering programs leading to the Master of Education degree. The M.Ed. degree provides programs of study in Administration and Supervision, Advanced Studies in Teaching and Learning, Aerospace Education, Curriculum and Instruction, Literacy, Professional Counseling, and Special Education. Specific degree requirements are found under the Department of Aerospace, Department of Educational Leadership, Department of Elementary and Special Education, and the Department of Psychology.
Master of Fine Arts Degree (M.F.A.)
The Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) with a major in Recording Arts and Technologies is offered by the Department of Recording Industry to prepare practitioners in the field of audio and music recording and production for advanced work in an integrated electronic media environment. Specific degree requirements are found under the Department of Recording Industry.
Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.)
MTSU offers in collaboration with other Tennessee Board of Regents institutions the Master of Professional Studies for individuals seeking interdisciplinary training within the social sciences and their current profession. Information regarding this degree is available through the College of Continuing Education and Distance Learning.
Master of Science Degree (M.S.)
There are eleven departments and/or colleges offering programs leading to the Master of Science degree. The University offers the Master of Science degree in Aviation Administration; Biology; Chemistry; Computer Science; Engineering Technology; Exercise Science; Health and Human Performance; Horse Science; Information Systems; Leisure and Sports Management; Mass Communication; Mathematics; and Professional Science. Specific degree requirements are found under the applicable department.
Normally, the Master of Science degree requires a thesis; however, some graduate programs include a non-thesis option requiring more than 30 semester hours. Specific program requirements may be found under the appropriate department.
Master of Science in Nursing Degree (M.S.N.)
The Master of Science in Nursing degree is offered through the Regents Online Campus Collaborative (ROCC), and is delivered following the standard protocol established for the delivery of ROCC courses and programs. Information regarding this degree is available through the School of Nursing.
Master of Science in Teaching Degree (M.S.T.)
The Master of Science in Teaching degree is offered by the Department of Mathematical Sciences. The degree should be pursued by those individuals interested in teaching. Admission is open to licensed teachers as well as those seeking initial licensure. Specific degree requirements are found under the Department of Mathematical Sciences.
Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)
The Master of Social Work degree program is a collaborative program with Middle Tennessee State University, Tennessee State University, and Austin Peay State University. Specific degree requirements are found under the Department of Social Work.
Hours After the Master's Degree
The Tennessee Board of Education has ruled that teachers may count any graduate work received after the masters' degree toward the next pay raise, per current guidelines. No credit will be given for repeated work. The student must request the Office of Teacher Licensure to send proper credentials to the State Department of Education and/or to the applicable local officials.
Second Master's Degree from Middle Tennessee State University
An individual who has received one master's degree from MTSU may obtain a second master's degree with a minimum of 24-semester hours of coursework earned at MTSU if approved in advance by the graduate program and the graduate dean. No transfer coursework is accepted toward the second master's degree. All specific course requirements must be met for the second degree including the written comprehensive examinations and thesis (if relevant). All semester hours must be earned after the first master's degree has been conferred.
Common Requirements for All Master's Level Degree Programs
All Master's candidates must:
- Satisfactorily complete the undergraduate prerequisites;
- Complete a minimum of 30 (or more) semester hours of graduate course work. No more than 30 percent of the total degree hours may be dually listed as undergraduate/grate hours. No undergraduate courses may apply toward the graduate program requirements. If a thesis is required, normally no more than three (3) hours will apply toward the 30 (or more) semester hour program requirement. However, additional semester hours of thesis research (6640) may be taken and will appear on the student's transcript;
- File a Candidacy Form with the Graduate Office prior to the completion of 21 credit hours;
- Successfully complete a written (and/or oral) comprehensive examination; the examination may be taken no more than twice;
- Complete all specific graduate program requirements. Note: Six (6) semester hours of "C" grade course work may be applied toward a master's or specialist's degree. Courses with a grade lower than "C" will not be applied toward any graduate degree requirements.
The comprehensive examinations are scheduled by each department during the last part of the semester in which the student expects to graduate. These may be oral, written or both. This test is not merely a re-examination of coursework, but is an assessment of the candidate's ability to integrate scholarly information linking the major and related fields. The comprehensive examinations may be taken no more than twice.
After admission, a degree student is assigned faculty advisors in the major and minor areas. The student should consult these advisors for program planning and optimal course scheduling.
Intent to Graduate
By the end of the first full week of the term in which the student intends to graduate, or by the end of the first week of Summer Session II (for August graduation), the candidate must file an Intent to Graduate Form with the College of Graduate Studies, and complete the College of Graduate Studies exit survey.
The thesis in final form must be submitted to the dean of the College of Graduate Studies no later than 30 days before graduation, having been approved by the major professor, the reader(s), and the department chair. Guidelines for the thesis vary from department to department. The primary responsibility for form, content and style rests with the student and major professor. Nonetheless, a thesis not meeting standards may be rejected by the dean of the College of Graduate Studies and graduation delayed. The original and three copies must be submitted for binding. One copy is forwarded to the library, one to the major professor, one to the department and one is returned to the student. Additional fees must be paid if extra copies are bound.
Note: Once the student has begun taking thesis research, he/she is expected to enroll in at least one hour of thesis research (course 6640) until the thesis is competed.
Graduate certificate programs provide advanced study beyond the baccalaureate degree and are intended as both professional development and as an intermediate step towards a desired graduate degree. Middle Tennessee State University offers seven graduate certificates: Dyslexic Studies, Gerontology, and Health Care Management. The Gerontology and Health Care Management certificates are interdisciplinary programs involving courses and faculty in multiple MTSU departments.
Prospective students should apply to the Graduate School. Once a student is admitted to the graduate school, his or her application is transmitted to the director of the individual certificate program for admission consideration. For admission to the interdisciplinary graduate certificate programs in Gerontology and Health Care Management, students must possess a bachelor's degree with an undergraduate GPA of 2.75 (4.0 scale) and are required to submit a letter demonstrating their interest in the program detailing prior field experiences, and outlining career goals and aspirations.
The Dyslexic Studies Certificate program is significantly rooted in the research base that defines dyslexia and guides identification as well as the content and strategies for effective intervention. Prerequisites for admission will be a certificate in some field that is integral to the education of P-12 students, documentation of three or more years of successful experience in the career field, and permission of the program advisor.
The certificate program in Gerontology provides supplementary education in gerontology for students preparing for careers in a broad range of positions. This program is also designed to give those already working in the field an opportunity to enrich existing skills and knowledge and to provide further opportunities for career advancement.
Health Care Management
This curriculum is designed to a) offer support for individuals interested in the healthcare field who may or may not want to pursue a graduate degree to obtain recognition for a coherent body of graduate level study in the field of health care management; b) provide for interdisciplinary collaboration in teaching, learning, and practice; and c) encourage qualified students to pursue graduate degrees related to their specific field of interest or practice. For more information see Health Care Management.