Degree Completion Procedures

Degree Completion Procedures

The degree completion procedures are completed online using the Graduate Dashboard. All steps and approvals are sequential meaning that a step cannot be submitted until the prior step has been completed and approved by all necessary parties. Please note the paper Forms 1-4 have been discontinued and all students must log on to the Graduate Dashboard to follow the degree completion procedures.

Course Planning:
Students are assigned a graduate advisor upon admission to a degree program. It is the student's responsibility to meet with the advisor to plan the appropriate courses in order to meet degree requirements. The plan should be recorded using the course planning tool.

Timeline for submission: end of first semester as an admitted graduate student.

Committee Selection:
Capstone requirements, including the dissertation, thesis, and project, require a committee for the oral exam. The student and advisor identify faculty to sit on the student's committee subject to approval by the Dean of Graduate and Extended Learning. The committee must include a minimum of 2 or 3 faculty, as described by each specific program, who have graduate faculty status.

Timeline for submission: prior to beginning capstone requirements.

Final Discourse Topic Approval:
Type of final discourse paper (dissertation, thesis, project, portfolio) and selection of the topic is discussed with the student's advisor. If human subjects are involved in the research, students must submit their research on IRBNet and have approval before beginning research. Please refer to your program's student handbook for additional information or schedule a meeting with your advisor.

Timeline for submission: prior to beginning final discourse paper.

IRB Approval:
Any research conducted at MSU Moorhead that involves human subjects must receive prior approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB). Please refer to the IRB website for information on submitting research proposals. Be sure to allow time for the approval process before you begin your research.

Once you have received IRB approval, please upload the approval letter to the Graduate Dashboard.

Timeline for submission: prior to beginning research study.

In the Graduate Dashboard, you must indicate your anticipated program completion term to be eligible for that term's commencement. All graduate students that complete a master's, specialist or doctorate degree are listed in the commencement program whether they participate in the commencement ceremony or not. Completion of the commencement step on the Graduate Dashboard is required. This step should be completed 6 weeks prior to commencement.

Degrees are posted to transcripts by the Registrar's Office three (3) times a year: at the end of the fall semester, spring semester, and summer session. There are two (2) commencement ceremonies during the year: at the end of fall semester in December and at the end of spring semester in May. Students completing all degree requirements during the summer are eligible to participate in either of the ceremonies and will indicate this on the Graduate Dashboard.

Academic garb should be ordered from the Bookstore no less than eight weeks prior to commencement.

Written Comprehensive Examination:
Completion of the written comprehensive examination is verified by the graduate program coordinator. A student who fails the comprehensive examination may repeat it during a subsequent term with program approval. A second failure will result in termination of degree program enrollment.

Timeline for submission: after successfully completing written comprehensive examination.

Oral Defense:
All graduate students, regardless of program, complete a final oral defense. Students who fail the final oral defense cannot receive a passing grade on the project or thesis and will not receive the degree. Students may repeat the oral defense during a subsequent term with program approval.

Timeline for submission: after successfully completing oral defense.

Submission of Final Paper to RED:
Standards for the preparation of a research paper must conform to the manual of style required by the program in which the degree is taken. Students must work closely with their committee chair and committee in the preparation of their research paper.

RED is an open-access repository maintained by the Minnesota State University Moorhead Library to showcase, preserve, and provide access to the scholarly and creative work produced by the MSUM community.

A copy of each thesis and dissertation written by a graduate student at MSUM as partial fulfillment of the requirement for the graduate degree is deposited in RED. For those graduate students that elect to do a Project/Action Research, only the abstract is entered in RED.

Instructions for creating accounts are available on the graduate website. Directions for submission of your final paper:

  • Students completing a Thesis (699) or Dissertation (799) will create an account in Digital Commons (RED) and upload their final, advisor-approved copy in PDF format.
  • Students completing a Project/Action Research (696 or 796) will create an account in Digital Commons (RED) and enter their abstract only. Please discuss your project options with your advisor.

Timeline for submission: after completion of final research paper and prior to degree completion submission.

Degree Completion:
This is the final step in the graduate degree completion process. Before completing this step, make sure that:

  • Your final paper or abstract has been submitted to RED (if required).
  • Official transcripts for any transfer credits have been submitted to the Registrar's Office and are entered as a transfer course in the course planning tool.
  • All required coursework has been completed.
  • You have double checked your transcript for any past grades of I, IP, or Z and work with the instructor on submitting grade changes. Degrees will not be posted until ALL grades have been submitted and recorded.

Timeline for submission: one week before commencement.