Graduate Bulletin

IV. Master Degree Requirements

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The nature of the Master’s degree varies according to the subject and the discipline in which it is granted. It may be (1) a research degree, representing a step toward the doctorate, (2) a terminal degree meeting professional requirements, or (3) intellectual preparation for personal enrichment and public service. The requirements set forth in this section are in addition to those listed under general academic regulations.

Fulfillment of the Master’s Degree Requirements

All candidates for the Master’s degree must complete a formal application for the degree, which must be approved by their Program Advisor and the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research. The application for degree must be filed in the Registrar’s Office. Filing deadlines for the Application for Graduation are: December Graduation, May 1; May Graduation, October 1; August Graduation, February 1.

To qualify for the graduate degree, a candidate must:

  • Complete between 30 and 51 hours of graduate study depending upon the specific requirements of the program.
  • Complete a minimum residency of 24 credit hours of which no more than six credit hours can be earned through independent study.
  • Successfully complete the course of study as specified in the discipline requirements within a seven- year period.
  • Earn a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better in all courses submitted for the degree.
  • Complete a thesis or pass a comprehensive examination or capstone course as required by the discipline. In some disciplines a combination of the above may be required.

Particular programs may have other requirements. Refer to the specific program of interest.

Any changes to the degree requirements must have prior approval of the Program Advisor and the Dean of the College/School supervising the program in which the student is majoring.

Transfer of Credit

A minimum of 24 credit hours of courses for the Master’s Degree must be taken at the University of the Incarnate Word. Students who have previously completed graduate course work at other regionally accredited institutions may transfer a maximum of twelve credit hours toward the degree. Transferred units must come from courses which are equivalent to those required by the UIW degree, or which are closely related so as to transfer as elective units. Credit hours cannot be transferred if they were previously used to satisfy a degree program, nor can they be used to satisfy more than one program. The number of credit hours may vary from program to program.

Transfer credit is allowed only for courses with a grade of “B” or better. Credit hours normally taken in the undergraduate program may not be transferred as graduate credit. Normally, graduate transfer credit which is more than seven years old may not be used to complete a degree.

The University of the Incarnate Word, St. Mary’s University, Our Lady of the Lake University, and Oblate School of Theology maintain a cooperative enterprise for undergraduate and graduate learning as the United Colleges of San Antonio. The consortium is a confederation composed of the independent colleges of liberal arts and sciences, specialized schools for professional training, and libraries and research institutions, cooperating with each other. In accordance with the agreement of the United Colleges of San Antonio, up to twelve credit hours may be accepted from these institutions with prior approval of the Program Advisor and the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research. These credits cannot reduce the 24 credit hour minimum requirement for courses taken at UIW.

A University of the Incarnate Word student who wishes to take courses at another institution with the intention of transferring them to UIW must have the approval of the Program Advisor and the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research before registering for such courses

Transfer of credit requests are recommended by the Program Advisor to the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research for the final approval. When the Dean finalizes the decision, the Dean then sends notice of acceptance or rejection to the Registrar for appropriate changes to the student transcript.

Continuation in the Master’s Program

A “C” grade denotes less than satisfactory performance. Upon receipt of a “C,” the student will be notified in writing by the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research that work in a course is unsatisfactory. Students who earn a grade of “C” may repeat the course for a higher grade. The higher grade is used to compute the GPA; however, both grades will appear on the transcript. No more than two courses may be repeated, and no course may be repeated more than once.

A student will be removed from the program if a grade of “C” is received in more than two courses regardless of the cumulative GPA. A student will be removed from the program if a grade of “F” is received in one course. Once removed from the program, a student who wishes to be re-instituted must apply for re-admission to the University. This no-fee application is available through the School of Graduate Studies and Research.

Dismissal from a Master’s Program

A student dismissed from any program must wait at least one year before reapplying to a graduate program.

Completion of the Master’s Program

All candidates for the Master’s degree must complete one of the following: a thesis, a comprehensive examination, or a capstone course as required by the discipline. In some disciplines a combination of the above may be required.


Candidates choosing the thesis option shall be guided by a three-member Thesis Advisory Committee. The Chair is chosen because of strong knowledge of the field as determined by discipline criteria, and one of the three members may be from outside the University of the Incarnate Word. The Dean of Graduate Studies and Research names the committee upon recommendation of the student’s Program Advisor. The Thesis Advisory Committee and the Institutional Review Board, if appropriate, must approve the thesis proposal in writing, prior to approval by the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research.

The thesis must be completed within two years after completion of course work and within seven years of the beginning of the program of study. Students must register at least once for a thesis course. Master Thesis course numbers are 63TP (Thesis Proposal) and 63TR (Thesis Research).

Students who do not complete their thesis within the registered semester may be approved to continue enrolling in Thesis Writing in subsequent semesters at the full tuition rate until completion. A “NG” will be assigned for satisfactory progress toward completion of the thesis and a grade of “A” or “B” will be assigned for the course in the semester it is completed. For sufficient reason, a student may interrupt the thesis enrollment with an approved Leave of Absence.

Graduate students completing the thesis requirement must be registered for Thesis Research during the semester of their graduation. To graduate, students must have the approved thesis suitable for binding in the library by the date on which final grades for graduates are due for that semester. Detailed instructions for preparation of the thesis are found in the Thesis Manual.

Comprehensive Examination

Candidates choosing the Comprehensive Examination option for Master’s degrees must pass a comprehensive examination in their major field within six months of completion of the course work for the degree. All students who take a comprehensive examination must register for it. A $10 examination fee may be required each time the examination is taken. The Comprehensive Examination may be attempted a maximum of three times at the discretion of the Committee. Comprehensive Examinations are usually identified by the number CE90 and do not carry credit hour credit. Consult the Program Advisor for individual discipline regulations.

Capstone Course

Capstone courses provide an integrative learning experience and synthesis of knowledge which combine theory and research in the discipline. The courses build upon previous coursework and include application of theory to practical issues in the field. Capstone courses are usually numbered 63CS. Enrollment requires approval by the student’s Academic Advisor.