You are here: Home / Graduate / Current Students / Graduate Handbook / M.A. Program / MA Calendar

MA Calendar

  • Your temporary adviser is appointed prior to the start of your first semester. As noted earlier, the function of the temporary adviser is to help you select courses for your first semester and to answer any questions you may have as you begin your graduate program.
  • Your attendance is required during the orientation period prior to the start of the fall semester. This program includes teaching assistant training and meetings to discuss the graduate program and departmental policies. You also will register for your first semester of classes during the orientation period.
  • Prior to, or early in your second semester, you should notify the Graduate Officer whether you plan to continue with your temporary adviser or chose a new adviser.
  • With the assistance of your adviser, you will identify a committee of at least three qualified members, and upon the recommendation of the adviser, the Head or Graduate Officer will name those individuals as the committee of record. Once the committee composition is official, you will need to schedule a meeting with the members to conduct a program review no later than your second semester, and preferably early in that semester. Changes in the composition of the committee require approval by the Head or Graduate Officer and should be requested only in such instances as departure of existing members from the faculty, significant alteration in a previously approved program of study, the need for particular expertise not possessed by extant members, and irreconcilable personal differences unrelated to the quality of the candidate’s academic performance.
  • Beginning in academic year 2009-2010, within the first year of study, all incoming graduate students at The Pennsylvania State are required to complete an instructional sequence relating to scholarship and research integrity. Entering M.A. and Ph.D. students are required to complete in their first semester two non-credit on-line courses that the Graduate School offers in the Fall semester. One course is under the heading of “Human Subjects Research,” and the other “Responsible Conduct of Research.”  Each student will receive more information concerning enrollment and the content of the two courses, and the required date of completion, before the beginning of the Fall semester. Ph.D. students will also take part in five additional hours of instruction concerning the responsible conduct of research and research integrity that the Department ordinarily provides in four seventy-five minute sessions over a two-week period. These sessions, if at all possible, will also take place during the Fall semester, but may in some circumstances continue into the Spring semester. M.A. students who advance to the Ph.D. Program be required to take this instruction in their first year as doctoral students, but will not have to retake the online courses in Human Subjects Research and the Responsible Conduct of Research.
  • During your first year of graduate study, you should have made substantial progress toward determining the kind of research you will do in completing a thesis (or original research project for the non-thesis option) and toward acquiring the special methodological competencies that kind of research requires.
  • If you plan, through attendance at two summer sessions (preceding and following appointment as a graduate assistant), to complete your degree in one year, you must have a thesis proposal completed and accepted by your committee no later than the spring semester. It is possible for full-time graduate students to complete work for the M.A. in two semesters, but those with appointments as graduate assistants should plan on at least three semesters.
  • For graduate assistants, the writing of the thesis should be completed early in the spring semester of your second year. Financial support for graduate assistants pursuing the M.A. degree is not typically continued beyond a second year of full-time study.
  • The defense draft of the thesis must be circulated to all members of the advisory committee for approval and prior to its being typed in final form a minimum of two weeks in advance of the oral defense. The defense may cover the thesis and the general field of communication. After the committee has approved the thesis, it should be typed in final thesis form. Be sure that you follow the regulations published in the Graduate School Thesis Guide. You may obtain a copy from 115A Kern Graduate Building or by visiting the Graduate School web page:

When your thesis has received final approval, you should deliver the original copy to the Graduate School , a bound copy to the departmental office for the departmental library, and—as a professional courtesy—a bound copy to your adviser.

Policy for Completion of Thesis/Dissertation Revisions following Defense Meeting

  • Students are expected to complete revisions to a successfully defended thesis or dissertation and have them submitted to the advisor within 60 calendar days following the defense meeting. Failure to complete revisions in this timeframe may adversely affect the student's teaching opportunities, which may include, but are not limited to, continuing education, world campus, and resident instruction.
  • Advancement to the Ph.D. program is not automatic. M.A. candidates who wish to advance to the Ph.D. program must submit a formal letter of application, as well as three letters of recommendation from appropriate faculty. If granted admission to the Ph.D. program, and upon successful completion of the M.A. degree, the Graduate Officer or department Head will notify the Graduate School of the change in the applicant’s degree status.