Handbook: Plan B Masters degree requirements and suggested timeline of events and milestones

What follows is a combined listing of program and Graduate School requirements and a suggested timeline.  It is understood that each student’s situation is unique and that the actual timeline for each student may vary, but it is important to remember that all master's degrees conferred by the University of Minnesota must be earned within five calendar years of initial enrollment in the program.  

Prior to arrival

  • Familiarize yourself with pertinent section of the Graduate School Catalog.
  • Communicate with your advisor(s) about your role as his or her student, mutual expectations, your assistantship (if applicable), and courses you plan to take for the first semester.
  • Register for classes with the help of your advisor(s). If you’re new to the University, you’ll need to activate your University e-mail address at www.umn.edu/initiate.

Upon arrival

  • Meet with your advisor(s) and establish a meeting schedule.
  • Introduce yourself to the NRSM program coordinator and DGS.
  • Go to your major advisor’s departmental office to visit the departmental administrator. Here you will likely obtain mailbox, office assignment, keys, employment forms, and information about your assistantship (if applicable).

First year

  • Each student must meet with his or her advisor at the end of spring semester and discuss degree progress and goals for the future. The program coordinator will alert your advisor when it's time to schedule a meeting, and will also provide a form that will help shape the discussion and provide verification that the meeting took place. This meeting must take place every year until you graduate.
  • Work with major advisor(s) to identify Plan B paper topic.
  • Prepare and submit your graduate degree plan (.pdf), ideally during the second semester or upon completing 10 credits.   The NRSM Research Plan & Statement of Education & Career Goals (.pdf) must accompany the submission of the degree plan.  Note that transfer coursework is entered in a separate location on the document.  These documents must be turned in to the NRSM program office for review after the advisor's signature has been obtained.  Please note that approval of the degree plan can take up to a month or longer.  Please plan accordingly. 
  • Form your examination committee using the Graduate School's online reporting process, "Assign/Update Master's Final Committee."  Note that this is an exclusively online process.  The Graduate School requires that the degree plan be on file before you officially name your committee, but for the purposes of approving your degree plan, we require that you inform us of who your committee members are at the time you submit the degree plan.  

Second year

  • Complete course requirements (minimum of 30 credits). A departmental seminar, NR 8107, must be taken.
  • If there are changes to the degree plan, they need to be petitioned within the program and to the Graduate School using this Petition form. (.pdf)
  • Prepare Plan B paper.
  • If necessary, apply for Advanced Masters Status. (.pdf)
  • Request a graduation packet from the Graduate School.
  • Submit application for degree (part of the graduation packet) to the Office of the Registrar on or before the first working day of the month you intend to complete all requirements.
  • Schedule final oral exam with advisor and committee members. Inform the NRSM program coordinator of the date and time of your final oral exam.  Your advisor may or may not require that you give a formal public seminar. 
  • Defend Plan B paper in a closed final oral examination.
  • Deliver Examination Report Form (part of the graduation packet) to the Graduate Student Services and Progress office (333 Bruininks Hall). Give a copy to the NRSM program coordinator.
  • Submit your Plan B paper to the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy, which provides long-term preservation and access services for the intellectual and creative output of the University's academic, research, and administrative communities. The Conservancy is an open access repository and makes submissions freely available, worldwide.
  • Meet with DGS and program coordinator for exit interview.
  • Return keys to your department, along with any other equipment you may have borrowed.