MA Program Degree Plan, Timeline & Forms

Dates & Deadlines –
Summer 2024 (Thesis)/(Non-Thesis), Fall 2023 (Thesis)/(Non-Thesis), Spring 2024 (Thesis)/(Non-Thesis)
  1.  Plan your courses. Before the end of your first semester you should meet (in person or by email) with the MA Program Coordinator to plan your Program of Study (POS). The MA Program Coordinator is your academic advisor until you establish your thesis or capstone paper committee, when your committee chair becomes your advisor. For students starting in the fall, it is best to plan your POS after the preliminary list of courses for the following year is released about mid-October. To register for independent study use the Restricted Registration Agreement
  1. After your core requirements are met you can take the Comprehensive Exam.
    • Use the Comp Exam Request Form to inform the Program Assistant of your intention to take this exam by the deadline of the fourth Friday of the semester if fall or spring. The expectation is that you take the exam the semester following your completion of POS 6736 Conduct of Political Inquiry and POS 6746 Quantitative Methods in Political Research.
    • The exam is normally scheduled on the sixth Friday of every fall and spring. Graders assess your performance using the the rubrics here and here.
    • You must be enrolled in a minimum of 3 credit hours in the semester you take Comprehensive Exam. However, if all your requirements are met, including thesis hours if you are doing thesis, you can enroll in only 1 credit of thesis hour (6971, if doing thesis) or directed research (6918, if doing non-thesis). Enroll with your committee chairs.
    • It is possible to take the Comprehensive Exam, coursework, and thesis credit in the same semester, but only if required core courses have been passed.
  1. After you pass your comprehensive exam and no later than the start of your last semester of classes:
    • Form your thesis or non-thesis committee.
      • If you have chosen to write a thesis, identify a faculty member to serve as your thesis Chair and at at least two other faculty to serve as your committee members. Initiate your Thesis Advisory Committee form and submit to the program assistant a completed Restricted Registration Agreement Form for the semester you intend to start your thesis hours. The Thesis Advisory Committee form must be submitted and approved by the College of Graduate Studies prior to your enrollment in Thesis hours. See “Dates and Deadlines” link above for due date.
      • If you have chosen to write a non-thesis research paper, submit the Non-thesis Proposal Approval form to both faculty members who have agreed to serve as readers. Carefully follow the instructions for the proposal and final paper. Once you have completed the Non-thesis Proposal Approval Form, submit it and the final draft of your paper to the program assistant. If you choose to complete your Non-Thesis paper as part of an independent study or directed research course, complete a Restricted Registration Agreement Form with your “Chair” reader prior to the start of the semester you intend to enroll. See “Dates & Deadlines” link above for due date.
      • Whether you are doing thesis or non-thesis, your readers must be members of the Graduate Faculty, seen here. Note that anyone who is not a member of the Graduate Faculty may still be eligible with permission of the MA Program Coordinator.
    • Note the Graduate Thesis/Dissertation Defense and Graduate Thesis/Dissertation Final Submission Deadlines at, which apply to non-thesis papers as well. You can also refer to the “Dates & Deadlines” link above.
    • If course requirements are completed, students will need to register for at least one credit hour every semester until the thesis or non-thesis is successfully defended. Thesis students register for thesis credit (6971); non-thesis students register for directed research credit (6918) or independent study (6908); in either case register with your committee chair (instructor) using the Restricted Registration Agreement
  1. During the semester you wish to graduate:
    • Before the semester starts you need to file your Intent to Graduate form online through myUCF. Visit the registrar’s online academic calendar for the deadline, as it varies by semester.
    • You need to arrange your thesis or non-thesis proposal and final defense with your committee members. Consult program assistant for deadlines, which vary by semester.
    • At your defense submit to your committee members the Thesis Approval Form or Non-thesis Approval Form. Committee chairs will only sign these forms after all required revisions are complete. Non-thesis Approval Forms will be submitted to the program assistant. Thesis approval forms will be submitted by the student directly to the College of Graduate Studies. Instructions on obtaining all required signatures can her found here. Consult program assistant for important deadlines, which vary by semester.
    • If you presented your Non-thesis research paper at a conference, attach a photocopy of the page in the conference program that has your name and paper on it.
    • For more information about the Thesis process refer to the Thesis and Dissertation webcourse: College of Graduate Studies (