Oral Examination

Procedures for arranging the Master’s oral examination

  • The student meets with the graduate program advisor to review their transcript and ensure that all Master’s requirements have been met. The student’s transcript must be clear of incompletes (I), progress grades (P), and notations of no report (NR). (Note: students have six semesters plus a summer to complete all requirements for the Master’s degree.)
  • The student communicates with their committee members (the faculty advisor who chairs the committee and two Sociology and/or Community & Environmental Sociology faculty members) and arranges a date and time for the two-hour oral exam.
  • The student gives the graduate program advisor the information required to submit a Master’s warrant request and reserve a room for the oral exam:

* the student’s campus ID number

* the date and time of the Master’s oral exam

* the thesis title

* the names of the three committee members and their   institutional rank

(Note: the student must be registered for at least two credits or have permission to pay the degree completion fee  in order to obtain approval for the warrant.)

  • The graduate program advisor submits an online Master’s warrant request to the Graduate School’s master’s degree coordinator, asks the Sociology Department’s faculty services specialist to reserve a room for the exam, and notifies the student of the location. (Note: warrant requests must be made three weeks prior to the oral exam.)
  • The Graduate School’s master’s degree coordinator approves the warrant request and sends the Master’s warrant to the graduate program advisor via e-mail.
  • The student writes an abstract for the thesis, submits it to the faculty advisor for approval, and then e-mails it to the graduate program advisor. (Note: the graduate program advisor must receive the abstract at least two business days before the oral exam.)
  • The graduate program advisor prepares an announcement of the student’s oral exam, posts it on the department bulletin board, and circulates it via e-mail to Sociology and Community & Environmental Sociology faculty and students.
  • The graduate program advisor gives the Master’s warrant to the student’s faculty advisor and sends the “advisor approval page” to the student.
  • The student takes the oral exam. (Note: this comprehensive exam typically lasts for approximately two hours; questions may cover general sociology, graduate work to date, and the thesis.)
  • The three committee members decide (a) whether the student passed the exam and (b) whether the student may advance into the doctoral program. They then sign the Master’s warrant and return it to the graduate program advisor.
  • The graduate program advisor makes a copy of the signed warrant for the student’s file and sends the original via campus mail to the Graduate School’s master’s degree coordinator.
  • The student makes any suggested revisions to the thesis and formats the final document, conforming to the guidelines posted on the Graduate School website .
  • The student gives the final version of the thesis and the approval page to the faculty advisor.
  • The faculty advisor signs and dates the approval page and returns it to the student along with the thesis.
  • The student takes the thesis and the approval page to room B137 Memorial Library for deposit. (Note: the student must have their campus ID when depositing the thesis.)
  • The Memorial Library staff notifies the Graduate School staff that the thesis has been deposited.
  • The Graduate School staff notifies the Registrar’s staff that the student has fulfilled all requirements for the Master’s degree and also sends an e-mail to the student, asking for a response to a survey containing questions about the student’s experience in the Master’s program.
  • The student fills out and submits the survey.
  • The Registrar posts the student’s degree. (Note: This occurs approximately four to six weeks after the end of the semester.)
  • You may optionally upload  your thesis to an online repository at https://minds.wisconsin.edu/handle/1793/84081 in the Minds@UW framework. Depositing your thesis will give it a permanent URL (web address) and it will show up in Internet searches, including in Google Scholar. Link to more information: https://sociology.wisc.edu/current-students-2/masters-degree-2-2/sociology-mindsuw-masters-thesis-repository/