Guidelines For Successfully Completing Your Degree

NOTES:  This list is not strictly sequential. Several procedures often occur during the same semester. Please see your advisor if you have any questions. Titles of documents and forms that you will complete are in italics. Make sure that the administrative assistant in Psychological Sciences receives a copy of each of these forms for your file.

  1. Take required classes.
    1. Contact your advisor and arrange regular meetings throughout each semester to discuss the courses you are taking. Discuss elective coursework with your advisor.
    2. Generally, course offerings will follow the 2-year Course Schedule, although changes will occur due to sabbatical leaves, etc.
    3. Make sure that you pay attention to prerequisites as listed in the Course Description section of the UNC Catalog.  If you believe that you can substitute a prerequisite course in another program or at another institution, discuss it with your advisor.
    4. In your late first or early second semester, start to think about your comprehensive examination topic.  Discuss your ideas with your advisor. (See #4 below.)
    5. Review the Masters Comprehensive Exam Policy.
    6. Familiarize yourself with the general procedures of the Graduate School in the catalog.
  2. Apply for scholarships (optional.)
    1. Note that various restrictions apply for each scholarship.
    2. If you would like to be considered for a scholarship, fill out a Graduate Scholarship Application on the Graduate School website.
  3. Apply for graduation late in the semester BEFORE the semester in which you plan to graduate (usually your second term of coursework.)
    1. A fee is required, and if you do this the same semester you plan to graduate a late fee may also apply.
    2. The Application for Graduation in a Master’s Program form is available online. It must be signed by your advisor. A memo to the Graduate School may be required to clear any course substitutions. Return this paperwork to the Graduate School, but also give a photocopy to The School of Psychological Sciences.
  4. During the first week of the semester in which you plan to complete comps, meet with your advisor to finalize your topic for your comprehensive exam paper.
    1. Arrange for a second faculty member to read your comprehensive exam paper by discussing this with your advisor and getting approval from the faculty member that you select.
    2. Download the Comprehensive Exam Honor Code or obtain a copy from Roberta Ochsner. Sign it and return it to Roberta Ochsner.
    3. Download a Permission to Take Written Comprehensive Examination or obtain a copy from Roberta Ochsner. Fill it out and have your advisor sign it.
    4. Download the MA Comprehensive Exam Topic Approval or obtain a copy from Roberta. Fill it out and have your advisor and your second reader sign it. Return it to Roberta Ochsner.
  1. Complete your comprehensive exam paper. (See the Master’s Comprehensive Exam Policies.)
    1. The deadline for turning in your comprehensive exam paper is two weeks before the Graduate School deadline for reporting comprehensive exam results.
    2. Allow two weeks for readers to evaluate your comps paper. If there is a split decision, a third faculty member will be asked to evaluate your comps paper.
    3. You will receive a letter notifying you if you pass your comps or not.
    4. One retake is permitted if you do not pass. (See the Graduate School policies in the UNC Bulletin.)
    5. Turn in your final exam paper to graduate program administrative assistant, in pdf format on a CD.  She will distribute it to your readers.
  2. Once you have passed your comprehensive exam, you may make arrangements to attend graduation if you wish.  (See #3 above.)
  3. A Master’s thesis is optional, but is advised for students going on to a PhD. See the UNC Thesis Manual online for the procedures.
  4. Graduation ceremonies are held in May and December.
  5. CELEBRATE!