Master's Academic Policies
Registration as a full-time student is required for each student receiving assistantship support, holding fellowships, or other awards. All degree requirements (including thesis defense and thesis submission) have to be completed prior to the deadline set by graduate school for a given semester for graduation in that semester. If the requirements are completed past that deadline, registration in the next semester is required. UTEP does not observe in-absentia registration.
Normal Academic Progress
Students pursuing a Master's degree are expected to complete the minimum credit requirement each semester and to maintain an acceptable academic grade point average. Acceptable is understood to mean a minimum 3.00 GPA. Students who fall below these standards will be considered to be on academic probation. If a student remains below this standard for two consecutive semesters, he/she may be terminated. Each advisor has the responsibility to submit a brief progress report to the Graduate Advisor for each student advised. The report needs to be submitted at the end of each semester if the graduate student is continuing in the next semester (or summer session). Each student's progress will be evaluated. Inadequate progress may result in the termination of assistantship support.
Graduate Studies Committee
The graduate studies committee of the Civil Engineering Department consists of all the graduate faculty members of the Department. The graduate advisor of the department is designated as the Chair of the committee.
The chair of the graduate studies committee will assign a tentative advisor in concurrence with the Department Chair to each entering graduate student. New graduate students are highly encouraged to visit with various faculty members concerning opportunities for thesis research activities or graduate design projects. After the student has decided on the preferred option area, he/she should inform the Graduate Advisor within the first six weeks of the first semester of study of the preferred faculty member to serve as the student's advisor. Whenever possible, the research interests of the student and assigned advisor will be compatible. EACH STUDENT SHOULD SCHEDULE AT LEAST ONE MEETING EACH WEEK WITH THE FACULTY ADVISOR TO ENSURE ADEQUATE COMMUNICATIONS. The advisory committee must consist of at least three faculty members of the Graduate Faculty. One member of the committee must be from outside the Department in a field related to the thesis/project problem. If a student selects a minor, then one member of the committee must be a faculty member of the minor department.
Each advisory committee has the following responsibilities:
- Review and approve the graduate student's plan of study.
- Consult with and advise the graduate student on research approach, techniques, findings, and reports.
- Review and approve the graduate student's thesis research/project proposal before substantial steps are implemented to do the research/project.
- Review the graduate student's thesis/project and suggest improvements.
- Monitor and evaluate the student's progress in meeting the course and research/project requirements for the degree.
- Conduct the required examinations for the candidate's degree program.
- Approve each of the required documents and examinations (requires a two-thirds majority vote of the advisory committee members).
A plan of study is required so that no student proceeds without advice on a specific plan. Since a plan of study is developed quite early, a student does have the opportunity to modify his/her plan to make changes that are educationally sound based on new information. The preliminary degree plan of studies must be submitted during the first year and must contain a declaration of the option program the student will pursue, in addition, to thesis or non-thesis option. Modifications of an approved plan of study must be approved by the faculty adviser and the advisory committee. If a student's plan of study deviates from the academic course requirements for the particular graduate degree, then a petition must be submitted by the student prior to enrolling in courses that are inconsistent with the specified course requirements. Furthermore, the final degree plan must be approved before graduation.
Thesis / Project
Each master's student pursuing the thesis option is expected to complete and present a research project proposal to the advisory committee. Each student pursuing a non-thesis degree is expected to present a design or analysis proposal.
Thesis Guidelines and Specifications
A degree candidate must demonstrate ability to do independent research and competence in scholarly expositions by the preparation of a thesis on a topic related to the major subject. The thesis should represent a significant contribution to knowledge, be presented in a scholarly manner, reveal an ability on the part of the candidate to do independent research of high quality and indicate considerable experience in using a variety of research techniques.
All students must complete a final oral examination, consisting primarily of defense of the thesis research/project activity. However, the examination may cover all courses in the student's degree plan. The thesis is to be developed by the student with the supervision and criticism of the faculty advisor. The draft thesis is to be submitted first to the faculty advisor. After the thesis has been approved by the faculty advisor, the student needs to distribute a copy to each member of the advisory committee. The student must allow enough time to make changes as required by the advisory committee. The student should plan to present the final draft of thesis to members of the advisory committee at least two weeks prior to the date of the final oral exam. This will allow approximately a week for review and the student will have at least a week for correcting the copy to be presented at the final exam. The final draft should be complete in every respect including figures, tables and bibliography; the content and style should be correct and polished.
Graduate students should allow a minimum of two weeks for their graduate committee members to review draft copies of a thesis. Turnaround time for thesis reviews can often be reduced considerably if the graduate student notifies the committee members in advance of the date when draft copies will be submitted for review. The student and his/her advisor may agree to prior review of the thesis, either section-by-section or in its entirety or both. If so, the student should plan on presenting the entire thesis to his/her advisor at least a month prior to the scheduled final oral exam.
Guidelines for the preparation and submission of the thesis can be obtained from the Graduate School Webpage.
A graduate student has the right to submit a petition concerning any academic and/or administrative policy related to the graduate degree program. The petition needs to be approved by the student's faculty advisor and the advisory committee before it is directed to the Graduate Advisor or the Department Chair. The Graduate Advisor will forward the petition to the Dean of the Graduate School for the final decision if necessary. The Departmental Graduate Studies Committee will make the recommendations on petitions relating to policies and requirements promulgated by the Department. In all cases, a petition must be submitted as early as possible so that the student has time to develop alternative plans if the petition is denied. Problems that develop between a student and member(s) of the advisory committee can be arbitrated on a confidential basis by the Department Chair and/or the Graduate Advisor, as appropriate.