The MLS Student Handbook

Graduate Degree Program & Admission to Candidacy Guidelines, modified for MLS students


The primary goals of the Graduate School are to encourage independent scholarship and develop competence in research or other creative activity. The objective of graduate study is not merely to take courses. The purpose is to plan a well-rounded, coherent program of courses and research that will contribute to the student's general academic goals and aspirations. Students are expected to follow general program planning procedures by undertaking these initial steps:

1. After admission to Graduate School, if not previously assigned an advisor, the student will be assigned an advisor in the area of proposed specialization;

2. The advisor or another faculty member designated by the advisor, and the MLS faculty committee, are responsible for directing the student in the graduate program. The student's MLS faculty committee should consist of the advisor as chair, one other faculty member from the area of concentration, and one who has no connection with the graduate student's degree program. The MLS faculty committee, which is responsible for developing the program of study, typically also serves as the thesis committee; therefore, it is imperative that a graduate faculty member serve as the major advisor and that as many graduate faculty members as possible serve on the committee. Some departments have limited graduate faculty, but all efforts should be made for the committee members to hold graduate status.

3. The student will take tests as prescribed by the advisor and the departmental graduate committee;

4. The advisor will counsel with the student, and together with the departmental graduate committee or its delegate, will arrange a program. The degree program should include only the courses required for completion of the degree. The student should become acquainted with the members of the graduate committee as quickly as possible and should consult with them, as well as with the advisor, about the graduate program; and

5. The completed program, approved and signed by the major professor, all MLS faculty committee members, the MLS Program Director who in this situation serves as the department chair, and the Graduate Dean, should be filed in the Graduate School on or before the completion of nine hours of graduate credit. Any coursework beyond nine hours taken prior to the arrangement of a degree program may not necessarily be counted.

Graduate School will send copies of the approved program to the graduate advisor and to the graduate student. The student, the advisor, the departmental graduate committee, and the department chair must agree upon any changes in the approved graduate degree program. The department chair must send an amended program with the new date or appropriate documentation outlining any additions or deletions to the Graduate School for approval and for inclusion in the student's file.

The Program of Study serves an important function. It is the "guide" utilized by most graduate students throughout their graduate study at Fort Hays State University, and it becomes part of their permanent record in the Graduate School. It should be completed as soon as possible upon admission and no later than the completion of the first nine graduate hours. Your faculty advisor will prepare a Program of Study form that will be submitted for approval to the MLS Program Director, then to the Dean of the Graduate School.

- There is a six-year time limit for any course on a program of study. A course that has been completed may remain on the program for only six years. Failure to complete the degree in the specified time frame can mean loss of credit. A validation process may allow a student to retain a course for an additional two years with special approval from the Graduate Dean. Contact the Graduate School, or consult the University Catalog for more information on this process.
- There shall be no more than nine hours of Seminar on a student's program of study.
- There shall be no more than six credit hours of Workshop on a student's program of study.
- No more than 15 credit hours may be transferred to FHSU for use on a 30 credit hour graduate program. Concentrations in the MLS program may have varying rules regarding the number of hours that will transfer. A Master's degree candidate must earn a minimum of 15 resident hours at FHSU. (The number of hours accepted for transfer varies from department to department. Some departments will only allow six or nine credit hours of transfer coursework, others none.)
- At least 50% of the courses must be "content-based" courses.


Admission to candidacy is an important step in the completion of a degree program. A graduate student may apply for admission to candidacy upon the successful completion of at least nine hours of graduate study and upon filing an approved program of study in consultation with the major advisor and departmental graduate committee or its delegate committee. Application for candidacy should be made before completing more than 15 hours in order to avoid the possibility of extending the program. The student must be recommended for candidacy by the student's advisor, the departmental graduate committee, and the department chair. The student is admitted to candidacy by the Graduate Dean.

To be admitted to candidacy, the student must have: (1) satisfactorily passed the preliminary or other qualifying examination, if either is required by the major department; (2) removed all deficiencies for admission to graduate study; (3) earned a B average in all graduate courses that are a part of the degree program to that point; (4) filed a program of study in the Graduate School that has been approved by the Graduate Dean; and (5) completed a total of at least nine graduate program hours.

The student must be admitted to candidacy before being eligible to sign for or take comprehensive examinations or to file an Intent to Graduate form.


The student who plans to graduate at the end of a given semester or summer term must file Intent to Graduate form at the time of enrollment or before the filing deadline given in the class schedule. The student must be admitted to candidacy before being eligible to file an Intent to Graduate.

In the event the student does not graduate after filing an Intent to Graduate, a new Intent to Graduate form must be completed before the deadline for the semester or summer term in which the student plans to complete requirements. The student must be enrolled in a graduate course in the department of the major the semester or summer session of filing or refiling an Intent to Graduate.


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