Academic Course Catalogs

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General Requirements for the Master's Degree

Please see program descriptions for additional requirements.

Unit Requirements

The master’s programs offered at the University of San Diego vary in length (minimum 30 semester units). Although some programs require full-time enrollment, most allow students to attend on a part-time basis.

Limitation of Time

All requirements for the master’s degree, including the thesis where required, must be completed within six years of matriculation.

Foreign Language Requirement

Proficiency in a relevant foreign language, although not a general requirement of all graduate programs, is required by some programs.

Students in the International Master of Business Administration program are required to demonstrate oral competence in one language other than English. Evidence of fulfilling language requirement must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar prior to petitioning to graduate. Competence is defined as a score of “mid-Intermediate” on the ACTFL Scale (or equivalent).

International students in graduate programs which include a foreign language requirement must satisfy that requirement with a language other than English. A student may show competence through examination in the native language, if that language is relevant to the student’s discipline and if the language is approved by the graduate program director.

Comprehensive and Oral Examinations

A written comprehensive examination and/or an oral examination including a thesis defense may be required, depending on the program. Students should consult the degree requirements in the relevant program description in this course catalog, and they should consult with the relevant graduate program director regarding details and petition deadlines.


Where required by the department or program, the student must submit a thesis of original content or interpretation, testifying to scholarly research, presented in acceptable style, and adhering to copyright law and to the regulations pertaining to the use of human and/or animal subjects. The course designations for thesis and number of units required are specified in the relevant program descriptions. Once coursework is completed, the student must register for thesis credit each semester until completion of the degree. Students at this stage ordinarily are not eligible for a leave of absence.

The thesis must be completed, approved, and submitted to the Office of the Registrar within two years after the first registration for thesis units.

Detailed instructions for the preparation and submission of the master’s thesis are presented in a pamphlet entitled Instructions for the Preparation and Submission of the Master’s Thesis, available for sale in the university bookstore. The deadlines for submitting the approved and final copies of the thesis are listed in the Academic Calendar at the beginning of this course catalog. Students who fail to submit the thesis by the published deadline will not be eligible for graduation in the then current term. If the thesis is submitted prior to the eighth day of the next semester, the student will not be required to register for thesis supervision and will be eligible to petition for graduation in the subsequent term (also see Access to Theses and Dissertations).

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