Master's Information

Admission

There are two steps to admission to a master’s degree program.  The first step is application to the Office of Graduate Studies at UNL.  The second step is application to the Department of Educational Administration.  Application forms, procedures, and timelines can be found at http://cehs.unl.edu/edad/application-forms-and-procedures-admissions-timelines-0.

Memorandum of Courses

The Memorandum of Courses is the list of courses students must complete for their Master’s degree.  This Memorandum of Courses must be approved by the student’s advisor and by the EDAD Graduate Chair.  The Memorandum of Courses must be submitted to and approved by the Office of Graduate Studies before students have completed half of the program of studies.

Residency for Masters Students

The term “residency” is used in two separate ways.  First, the University of Nebraska has a well-defined policy regarding residency within the State of Nebraska for the purpose of establishing tuition rates.  Information on residency for tuition purposes can be found at http://www.unl.edu/gradstudies/bulletin/tuition-and-fees.

“Residency” for master’s degree students also refers to the number of credit hours a student must complete in regularly scheduled campus courses at UNL.  While some graduate credits may be transferred from other institutions, students seeking an Option I masters degree must complete 10-12 semester hours of UNL campus courses, excluding credit in thesis research.  Option II master’s degrees must complete at least 18 hours in regularly scheduled campus courses.  At least one-half of the work for a master/s degree must be in the department or area constituting the student’s major.

Options for the Masters Degree

The Department of Educational Administration offers one major at the Masters degree level—educational administration.  Three degree options are available:

  • A Master of Arts, Option I degree with a specialization in student affairs administration
  • A Master of Education, Option II degree
  • A Master of Arts, Option III degree

Not all degree options are available for all career interests.  Current degree options are detailed in the following narrative.

Core Courses in EDAD

See Degree Requirements for a list of required courses.

Masters degree students interested in obtaining P-12 administrative certification/endorsement should pursue the M.Ed., Option II degree.  Under this option, a student must earn a minimum of 36 semester hours of credit in courses.  The memorandum of courses should include not fewer than 18 hours of EDAD courses and at least 6 hours selected from education courses outside the major.  A thesis is not required.  At least 12 of the 36 hours must be earned in courses open exclusively to graduate students (900 or 800 level without 400 or lower counterparts).  The M.Ed., Option II degree leading to P-12 administrative certification/endorsement can be completed on line, on campus or through a combination of the two delivery modes.

Masters degree students interested in P-12 education, but not seeking administrative certification/endorsement may select either a M.Ed., Option II degree or the M.A., Option III.  Under Option III, the student must earn a minimum of 36 semester hours of credit, at least 18 of which must be earned in courses open exclusively to graduate students (900 or 800 level without 400 or lower counterparts).  A thesis is not required.  The program must include not fewer than 18 hours in EDAD courses.  Courses leading to a master’s degree for students interested in P-12 education, but not seeking administrative certification/endorsement, can be completed on line, on campus or through a combination of the two delivery modes.

An M.A., Option I degree with a specialization in student affairs administration is available as an on campus program designed for students that will be enrolled full-time for two consecutive academic years and hold graduate assistantships, a graduate hourly position, or receive an Edgren Tuition Fellowship.  Designed to meet ACPA/NASPA competency areas for student affairs practitioners and the CAS standards, 41 hours are required to complete the degree including 35 semester hours of regular course work and 6 hours of thesis credit.

Students interested in a part-time program of higher education administration may pursue the M.Ed. (Option II) or M.A. (Option III).  Under Option II, a student must earn a minimum of 36 semester hours of credit in courses.  The memorandum of courses should include not fewer than 18 hours of EDAD courses and at least 6 hours selected from education courses outside the major.  A thesis is not required.  At least 12 of the 36 hours must be earned in courses open exclusively to graduate students (900 or 800 level without 400 or lower counterparts).  Under Option III, the student must earn a minimum of 36 semester hours of credit, at least 18 of which must be earned in courses open exclusively to graduate students (900 or 800 level without 400 or lower counterparts).  A thesis is not required.  The program must include not fewer than 18 hours in EDAD courses.  A 12 credit hour specialization in student affairs is available for individuals pursuing either degree option.  Courses in the part-time program will be available on line.  Limited spaces may be available in on campus courses, but are not guaranteed.

A master’s degree student may change his/her declared degree (M.A. or M.Ed.) or M.A. Option (I or III) at any time during the program of study with written approval from the adviser, the Graduate Chair and the Dean for Graduate Studies.  The only exception to this policy is that students may not change from Option I to any other Option if certification of full time status has been utilized.

Final Examination

All Masters degree students are required to complete a comprehensive examination or equivalent as specified by the department.

Masters degree students obtaining P-12 administrative certification/endorsement (M.Ed., Option II) will complete a portfolio (see http://cehs.unl.edu/edad/currentStudents/portfolio for requirements).

Students pursuing the M.A., Option I degree with a specialization in student affairs may elect to conduct a final oral examination on the thesis or write a final capstone paper as their comprehensive examination (see http://cehs.unl.edu/edad/masters-comprehensive-examination-policy for requirements).

All other students (M.Ed., Option II or M.A., Option III) are required to write a capstone paper as their final examination at the end of their program of studies (see http://cehs.unl.edu/edad/masters-comprehensive-examination-policy for requirements).  

The capstone paper must be completed within 24 months prior to the date of graduation (written examinations more than 2 years old are not valid for graduation).  A final examination (written and/or oral) in the minor department may be waived-subject to the approval of the minor department-provided all grades in the minor are at least a B or Pass.  If a student fails to pass the final written exam, the Graduate Chair must file a report in the Office of Graduate Studies and indicate what the student must do before taking another exam.  A makeup exam may not be taken during the same semester or summer session in which the student failed.

Masters Thesis

The Masters thesis is a written document that reports a student’s research.  The subject of the thesis is chosen by mutual agreement between the student and major adviser.  Both the major advisor and a reader, a graduate faculty member in EDAD other than the advisor, determine the successful completion of the master’s thesis under Option I.  There is no fixed length for the thesis.

Masters theses should reveal a capacity to carry on independent study or research and should demonstrate the student’s ability to use the techniques employed in their field of investigation.  It is expected that the research contained in the thesis will be worthy of publication in appropriate peer-reviewed journals.  Students are encouraged to prepare the manuscript(s) for publication prior to, or soon after, completion of their graduate program.

Thesis Oral Defense

Masters students in a thesis option (Option I) must take a final oral examination or have it waived.  The first part of the examination is open to the public and consists of a formal presentation of the student’s thesis research, during which time all persons present may engage in general questioning.  At the end of the public hearing, there will be a closed questioning portion of the examination where all persons except the student, the major advisor and the reader, and invited faculty must be excused.  At this time the advisor and reader decides whether or not the defense was satisfactory and informs the student of that decision.

The Masters thesis and abstract in preliminary form must be approved by the adviser prior to applying for the final oral examination or for its waiver (at least four weeks prior to the examination).  An electronic copy of the thesis and abstract in preliminary form must be submitted to Masters Degree Specialist in the Office of Graduate Studies for approval at least two weeks (one week in summer) prior to the final oral examination.  This copy will be reviewed by the Masters degree specialist and the student notified of any changes to be made.  Please refer to The Guidebook for the Preparation and Submission of an Electronic Thesis on the Graduate Studies website for the exact format to be followed (http://www.unl.edu/gradstudies/current/degrees/masters).

Following the successful completion of the oral examination, the student should submit another electronic copy to the Masters Degree Specialist for final approval.  Once the student receives notification of final approval, the thesis should be uploaded to Digital Commons.  Upon a successful upload, the student will receive an email notification, which will need to be printed out.  The student will then bring the printed notification, one copy of the title page, two copies of the abstract and their signed Final Examination Report Form to the Masters Degree Specialist in the Office of Graduate Studies, 1100 Seaton Hall.  The title page and one of the abstracts will be stamped for approval and returned to the student for depositing in 318 Love Library.  The Final Examination Report Form will be signed by the personnel in the Library and the student will proceed to the Cashier in Canfield Administration Building to pay the archiving fee.  The cashier will sign off on the Final Examination Report Form and the student will then bring the form back to the Office of Graduate Studies.

The student should consult her/his major adviser about the number of additional copies of the thesis, which should be prepared, and also about the binding of these copies.  One copy must be filed in the departmental office of the major and ordinarily one copy is furnished to the major adviser who directed the study.

Full-time Student

Graduate students requiring certification as full-time students must be enrolled for at least 9 credit hours during an academic semester or at least 6 credit hours during summer sessions, whether or not the student holds a graduate assistantship.  With approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies, students in a thesis-option masters degree program (i.e., Option I) registered for fewer than the minimum hours required for a full program may be granted full-time status provided they are not employed more than 20 hours per week (half time).  Form available at http://research.unl.edu/gradstudies/fulltime/.

In order to be eligible to utilize the full-time certification, the student must have been registered at least half-time (i.e., at least 4 credits) in the fall and spring terms prior to the initiation of the full-time certification status.  Masters students may utilize the full-time certification not longer than 12 months.