Policies & Procedures

Masters Policies

General Requirements for Master's Programs

A master of science in education program requires a minimum of 30 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. Also up to 6 credits may be applied from a previous master's degree if the coursework is relevant and approved by the advisor. 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 6 credit hours must be taken outside of the major program area for all master's programs. 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.

The amount of hours that can be transfered in are dependent on the overall hours of the degree.

  • 15 hours for a 60 hour degree
  • 12 hours for a 48 hour degree
  • 10 hours for a 41 hour degree
  • 9 hours for 36 hour degree
  • 7 hours for a 30 hour degree

At least half of the overall degree hours must be earned on the Bloomington campus.

Course Revalidation

To ensure that graduates have current knowledge in their field, coursework must be less than seven years old at the time a student passes the oral qualifying examination (for doctoral students) or at the time of graduation (for Ed.S. or M.S.Ed. students). However, if program faculty feel that a student can clearly demonstrate current knowledge of course material taken more than seven years previously, the faculty may allow course revalidation.

Revalidation is a process whereby a student demonstrates current knowledge of older course material.

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. (Only two courses may be revalidated by this method).
  • 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.

E-docs for course revalidation are available in One.IU.  Courses must be justified individually even if a common method is used. A Curriculum Vitae is required when revalidating coursework through professional experience, publications, and teaching. 

The revalidation evidence for each 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.

Transfer credit must be transferred before it can be revalidated.

There are limits on allowable coursework revalidation:

  • Students may revalidate no more than 50% of their coursework for an IU SoE graduate program
  • Students may not revalidate coursework that is more than 14 years old.
  • In accordance with UGS policy/practice, no more than 2 courses may be revalidated via the qualifying exam.
  • Additionally, no more than 3 courses may be revalidated with any single method.

A faculty member may petition the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies for an exception to the above limits on behalf of a student if they believe the student can demonstrate current knowledge and the exception is in the best interest of the student and School. If a student withdraws from an advanced degree program with the intention of earning a less advanced degree, coursework used toward the less advanced degree will not require additional revalidation beyond that which would have been required for the more advanced degree. 

Even when a revalidation request falls within established policy, faculty should require students to take current coursework if that is clearly the best way to ensure students have current knowledge in the field. Coursework age, content timeliness, and student performance should be considered in decisions of whether to support revalidation of old coursework.


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.