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Summary of Procedural Steps Toward the M.A./M.S. Degree

See the Graduate School website for a listing of all deadlines that apply to the following steps. All required forms are available from the Geography Degree Program Assistant or the Graduate School website.

  1. Secure admission to status as prospective degree candidate for the M.A./M.S. degree (See Section A and B).
  2. Obtain advisement from the Graduate Coordinator and Graduate Studies Committee until a Major Professor is selected.
  3. Select a Major Professor (form required) and formally establish an Advisory Committee (forms required) by the end of the first semester of residence in the program.
  4. Formulate a Program of Study with the Major Professor and Advisory Committee (see Section G) by the end of the second semester of residence in the program.
  5. Complete all required course work (see Section C).
  6. Present a thesis proposal to be approved by the Major Professor and Advisory Committee (Approval Form required). Unless individual circustances warrant, this should be completed by the end of dthe second semester of residence in the program.
  7. Complete thesis under supervision of the Major Professor (See also Instructions for Preparing the Thesis and Dissertation available from the Graduate School and the Geography Degree Program Assistant).
  8. The student’s Advisory Committee shall determine the appropriate style manual for the written thesis. In addition, it has become common for at least one manuscript suitable for submission to refereed professional journals to constitute the body of the thesis. Graduate students encountering problems associated with the timely return of their thesis materials (2 to 8 weeks depending on circumstances) from either the major professor or Advisory Committee (#12 below) should report their concern to the Graduate Coordinator, who, in consultation with the Head, will inquire into the nature of the delay.
  9. The thesis, approved by the Major Professor, is submitted to the Advisory Committee which acts as a reading committee and represents the Graduate Faculty in determining the acceptability of the thesis. A majority of the three-member Advisory Committee and the Chairperson of the Reading Committee must be regular or provisional members of the Graduate Faculty. The responsibilities of the Reading Committee Chairperson are:
    1. to coordinate the reading and evaluation of the thesis or dissertation after it has been submitted to the Reading Committee by the Major Professor;
    2. to communicate the salient points of the Reading Committee's evaluation of the thesis or dissertation to the Major Professor, and
    3. to verify that the recommendations of the Reading Committee made during the review process and the final oral exam are incorporated into the final copy of the thesis or dissertation by signing the cover page of the final copy immediately below the signature of the Major Professor.
  10. The Final Oral Examination, which is a defense of the thesis, is given after the thesis is approved by the Advisory Committee. The Major Professor will arrange the time and the place of the examination. It is administered by the Advisory Committee. The Major Professor serves as Chair. This examination is normally confined to the thesis topic and related matters, though the Major Professor may ask the student to prepare a short discourse on a topic provided two to three days prior to the examination. The examination should last approximately two to two and one-half hours and should begin with a brief oral presentation by the student.
  11. Once the thesis has been approved by the advisory committee and the final oral examination has been passed, the thesis must be submitted to the Graduate School for final approval no later than two weeks prior to graduation of the following semester. Theses which are not submitted by this deadline must be defended again and approved by the Advisory Committee before they will be considered by the Graduate School for final approval.
  12. One complete formatted copy of the thesis must be electronically submitted to the Graduate School for a format check no later than four weeks prior to graduation. For details and guidelines on how to submit, consult the Graduate School Website at:
  13. The Graduate School must receive the Final Defense Approval forms and an electronic submission of the corrected thesis no later than two weeks prior to graduation.
  14. An application for graduation must be filed with the Graduate School no later than Friday of the second full week (first full week in summer) of classes in the graduation semester. The application will be made online at Because of the short length of time between this date and graduation day, no exceptions will be made by the Graduate School. Formal

    graduation exercises are held in May, August, and December. Students must be registered at the University of Georgia for a minimum of three credit hours the semester in which they complete all degree requirements and a minimum of 10 hours over at least two semesters after admission to candidacy.

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