Policies & Procedures

Masters Policies

General Requirements for Master's Programs

A master of science in education program requires a minimum of 36 credit hours. Up to 6 credits may be undergraduate course credits at the 300 and 400 level, however courses counted in a bachelor's degree may not be counted in a master's degree. As there is no “general” master’s program in education, requirements vary between programs. The minimum number of credit hours in a major area of specialization ranges from 12 to 30. Several programs have additional course requirements in areas such as research and foundations as well.

A minimum of 12 credit hours must be taken outside of the major program area for all master's programs. The exceptions are the master's degree in Adult Education and master's degree in Instructional Systems Technology, for which a minimum of 9 credit hours must be taken outside the major. Master's degree students must complete all program coursework within seven years of matriculating in the program.

Faculty Advisor

An advisor from the major program area must be selected by the student or assigned by the department. Students should check with the department office for information about the assignment of faculty advisors.

 Electronic Plan of Studies (e-POS)

The electronic Plan of Studies (e-POS) is a coursework plan to fulfill program requirements. It must be developed with the faculty advisor, then be approved by the Department Chair, and the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies. An electronic Plan of Studies (e-POS) should be submitted within one year of matriculation. Failure to do so can result in a hold on enrollment. If any courses listed on the electronic Plan of Studies (e-POS) were not taken at Indiana University, a Request for Transfer of Graduate Credit must be submitted concurrently. Links to the electronic Plan of Studies (e-POS) as well as other forms can be found on the Graduate Student Portal.

 Students in Residential Programs Taking Online Courses

Students in residential programs may take online courses, but on campus courses must account for at least half of their coursework. Online courses don’t count towards the residency requirement. Information on tuition and fees can be found on the Bursar website.


Students in Online Programs Taking Courses on Campus

Students in online programs are allowed to take on campus courses. However, students doing this can be subject to not only higher tuition rates but also additional on campus fees. Information on tuition and fees can be found on the Bursar website.


Master's Thesis

A master's thesis is an option in some program areas. Carrying out master's thesis research and writing a master's thesis are particularly valuable experiences for students who seek a scholarly career. Students who choose to write a master's thesis should incorporate appropriate research coursework in their electronic Plan of Studies (e-POS).

Students who opt to complete a master's thesis must enroll in 3-6 credit hours of 599 Master's Thesis as part of the minimum 36 credit hour requirement for the degree. A master's research committee must be appointed. This committee consists of two or three faculty members. The thesis director must be from the major area of specialization. If the proposed research involves the use of human subjects, a research review form for the use of human subjects must be completed. The thesis study must include gathering information or data to answer a research question pertinent to the area of specialization of the student's major. A thesis manuscript must be written and submitted to the research committee.  

The thesis manuscript must explain all aspects of the study, including the question posed, the rationale for the study, a literature review, the method and procedure for collecting information to answer the question, procedure for data reduction, synthesis and analysis, conclusions of the study, and educational implications.

A public thesis defense is required. The announcement of the defense must be submitted to the Graduate Studies Office, at least four weeks prior to the defense date for dissemination to school faculty. The committee members assess the quality of the manuscript and of the thesis defense. The committee must approve the thesis in order for a passing grade to be awarded in the thesis credits.

Forms for the appointment of a thesis committee, the acceptance of the thesis proposal, the thesis defense announcement, as well as information about the formatting and submission of the thesis manuscript, are available online at the School of Education Graduate Student Portal.


Workshop courses are intended primarily as a mechanism for the professional development of teachers and other education professionals. The topics covered and the skills learned in workshop courses are generally of an applied nature intended to give participants hands-on experience with models and techniques directly useful in school settings. Workshop courses are typically scheduled to meet on a concentrated schedule (e.g., for one or a few continuous days, sometimes all day) and afford little or no time between class sessions for studying or for out-of-class assignments. They may or may not generate credit hours. Workshop courses carrying graduate credit require a minimum of 700 contact minutes per credit hour and require readings and papers or projects for each credit hour earned. (Papers are sometimes scheduled with a due date after the end of the workshop period.)

Up to 9 hours of credit gained through workshop courses (including conference and institute courses) may be used in master’s programs. If both undergraduate and workshop courses are to be used in a master’s program, the total of undergraduate credit hours and workshop credit hours may not exceed 9.

Transfer Courses

Some graduate coursework completed at other universities may be transferred into degree programs at Indiana University. All coursework transferred must be from an accredited college or university. No transfer credit will be given for a course with a grade lower than B. Courses graded P (Pass) may not ordinarily be transferred into education graduate programs. Courses graded S (Satisfactory) may be transferred only if a letter is received from the course instructor stating that the student's performance in the course was at or above a grade of B.

All transferred courses must be relevant to the student's electronic Plan of Studies (e-POS). They must be approved by a program advisor and by the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies. An official transcript is required for coursework to be transferred. A course description or syllabus may be required in order to judge the appropriateness of coursework to be transferred.

Master's degree students must complete a minimum of 27 credit hours of coursework at Indiana University. Beyond this, graduate coursework may be transferred from other universities. Of the 27 credit hours required at Indiana University, a minimum of 18 credit hours must be earned through the campus awarding the degree.

Course Revalidation

Revalidation is a process whereby a student demonstrates current knowledge of course material that was not taken recently. For all graduate degree programs, coursework over seven years old must be revalidated. For master's programs, the seven years is counted back from the date of degree conferral.

Several methods of revalidating old courses are available:

Passing an examination specifically covering the material taught in the course (such as a course final examination).

Passing a more advanced course in the same subject area, taken more recently (within the seven years).

Passing a comprehensive examination (e.g., a doctoral qualifying examination) in which the student demonstrates substantial knowledge of the content of the course.

Teaching a comparable course.

Publishing scholarly research that demonstrates substantial knowledge of the course content and understanding of fundamental principles taught in the course.

Presenting evidence of extensive professional experience that requires the application of material taught in the course.

Forms for course revalidation are available on the School of Education’s Graduate Student Portal.  Courses must be revalidated individually (only one course per form). A Curriculum Vitae is required when revalidating coursework through professional experience, publications, and teaching. 

The revalidation evidence for each course must be assessed by an Indiana University faculty member who teaches the course being revalidated. The revalidating faculty member must be personally convinced, based upon present evidence, that the student has current mastery of basic course concepts and principles.

If the course instructor is not available, a faculty member in the same program specialization area may be substituted. Permission to use a part-time faculty member or a faculty member at another university for course revalidation must be secured from the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies.

Departments have the right to limit the amount of old coursework to be included in graduate programs.


Degree Conferral

Degree conferral for Master’s degrees occurs monthly. An online Application for Graduation form must be submitted to the Graduate Studies Office at least one month prior to the degree conferral date. In order for a name to be listed in the Commencement program, students must apply much earlier. The Graduate Studies Office will send out an e-mail and post these specific dates each semester. Generally, applications must be submitted by the dates listed below, however dates are subject to change year to year.

Late September for December Commencement

Late February for May Commencement

Failure to apply for graduation by the deadline may result in your degree being denied for that graduation period. The online application to graduate can be found in the Graduate Student Portal


There are two Commencement ceremonies per year: May and December. May commencement is intended for students graduating January through August, and December commencement for students graduating September through December. Procedures for participating in Commencement may be obtained online at http://www.commencement.iu.edu. Information will be mailed by the IU Alumni Association to those who applied on time to graduate.

Additional policies apply. Please refer to the "Policies Governing All Graduate Programs " section of this bulletin for more information.

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Additional program information can be found at the Office of Graduate Studies.