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Washington State University
College of Education

Our Graduate Programs – Current Masters Degree Student Information

Master’s Timeline for Degree Completion

**Be sure to consult your specific program handbook for detailed information and the Graduate School’s Navigating your Degree as some degrees may be on a faster or slower timeline depending on your degree

Semester one

Meet with your temporary advisor.

An academic advisor will be key in helping you navigate through the policies put forth by the Graduate School and your department. On your departmental admission letter your temporary advisor and their contact information will be listed. Be sure to contact your temporary advisor early in your first semester to begin mapping out your plan for your second semester and to ask any course/program related questions.

Resolve Admissions Contingencies.

Check your status with the Graduate School and clear any contingencies listed on your original admissions certificate. You may also find this list in your myWSU > Task/To-Do button. You will not be able to file a Program of Study (listed below) until all contingencies are cleared. Registration holds may be added that prevent future registrations until contingencies have been cleared.

Establish ties in Washington.

Since graduate tuition at WSU is considerably less expensive for Washington residents than for out-of-state graduate students, you may want to establish residency* as soon as possible.   Visit the Graduate School’s website for more information on Establishing WA State Residency.

*Applies only to Domestic Students.  International students are ineligible for WA State Residency.

However, international or domestic students appointed to an assistantship receiving tuition waiver(s) must establish a residence (or domicile) in the State of Washington to be eligible for their waiver(s).

Required Trainings

Responsible Conduct of Research Training

Link to exam: Responsible Conduct of Research

All graduate students are required to take the CITI-RCR training (Collaborative Institutional Teaching Initiative Responsible Conduct in Research training), which takes about 2 hours. There are different modules within the CITI-RCR focused for different disciplines (e.g., biomedical sciences, physical sciences, social and behavioral sciences, and humanities). Your department can direct you to which module is most appropriate for your graduate training. For RCR training, a grace period of one semester will be granted for students who have yet to complete the training at the start of their assistantship. However, a hold will be put on their registration for future semesters, preventing processing of assistantships until the trainings have been completed. To ensure timely processing of assistantships, students should complete the trainings in their first semester by the following deadlines: September 30 (Fall semester), January 31 (Spring semester) and June 30 (Summer semester).

Discrimination/Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Prevention

WSU is committed to being an institution that demonstrates trust and respect for all persons and cultivates individual and institutional integrity in all that we do. The goal of the online DSHP course is to assist WSU in maintaining a safe and respectful working and learning environment. It describes different types of discrimination and harassment, including prohibited personal behaviors, identifies key WSU Executive Policies addressing these topics, and provides links to specific offices and resources available to help in cases of alleged discrimination and harassment. For more information and to sign up for the course, visit this site at Human Resource Services. For DSHP training, there is a one semester grace period as described above for RCR training.The Office of Civil Rights Compliance & Investigation has provided additional information on WSU’s response policy for discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct.

Semester two

Select your committee.

By now, you are probably settled in and have some idea of the type of research you would like to conduct. But first, you should select your master’s committee, which will help guide you through the research. A master’s committee consists of three faculty members: two from your department. One member is identified as the committee chair, and one, your primary contact.  Review your prospective department’s faculty web pages to find a chair whose research interests match your own.  Your permanent advisor does not have to be the faculty member assigned as your temporary advisor when you were admitted.

File a program of study – no later than when you have 20 credits.

Your committee chair, in conjunction with other members, should aid you in developing your proposed program of study. This form can be found on the Graduate School’s Forms page. This includes an official list of classes you have taken, those you intend to take, and your research interest. After the proposed program is agree upon by each committee member, it should be uploaded into your myWSU >Profile > Service Request workflow system.  This workflow system will route your form to your committee, the department chair and ultimately, the for the final approval, the Graduate School. You should follow-up to ensure the program of study is submitted to the Graduate School for final approval by the end of your second semester.

How to Upload Graduate School Forms through your myWSU Portal

Semester three

File an application for master’s degree and pay your graduation fee.

You should submit the Application for Degree and Graduation through your myWSU account at least one semester before you schedule your final examination. Your final graduation requirements (To-Do List) will show up in your myWSU Task Tile 2-4 weeks after you complete your Application for Degree. If you are a thesis student, Schedule a precheck of your dissertation formatting with the Office of Graduate Education. This precheck will aid you in correcting formatting issues with your thesis before you must submit for the official check in the ETD Administrator/Proquest.

Semester four or your final term

Schedule your final exam.

After your thesis or project (non-thesis students) is complete, you are ready to take your comprehensive exams or defend your special project or defend your thesis, you need to work with your committee to determine when you will take your final exam or conduct your final defense. You will need to submit the final examination scheduling form (and a draft of your thesis if you are pursuing a Master of Arts in Education) no later than 15 business days prior to the date of the exam, which will then schedule your final examination. If you are a thesis student, submit your thesis through the WSU Libraries to the ETD Administrator/Proquest for your official formatting check ( and to the COE Office of Graduate Education ( for the COE exam announcement.

Attending Commencement and Regalia information.

Register to Walk and ordering commencement Regalia. Check the appropriate term you will be walking.

After you defend: If you are a thesis student, submit your thesis to the ETD Administrator/Proquest and your final documents.

To avoid any delays, be sure that your thesis is formatted in accordance with the Graduate School digital formatting guidelines. Your thesis is due 5 business days after your final exam. Check the Graduate School’s website for other forms that should be submitted along with your thesis, including a copy of your front matter pages (title, signature & abstract), Hold Harmless/Copyright Acknowledgement form. All your documents are due 5 business days after your final exam.

Update your mailing address.

Diplomas are mailed approximately eight-ten weeks after commencement. In the event that you move during that time, be sure to update your new mailing address in myWSU.

Timeline for master’s degrees

Time-to-completion for master’s degrees is six (6) years beyond your oldest coursework on your Program of Study.

If you have any questions please contact the College of Education Office of Graduate Studies at or 335.7016/335-9195