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Steps in the MS Program

The following list summarizes the primary steps in the process of earning a Master of Science in Communication & Information in the College of Communication & Information at the University of Tennessee. It does not substitute for the full details provided in the CCI Handbook or other official University publications.

  • Meet with first-year studies advisor on a regular basis.
  • Take required first-year courses:
    • CCI 501 Orientation to Graduate studies (fall semester).
    • CCI 540 Communication Theory (fall semester).
    • Research class designated for your concentration – some are in the fall, some in spring.
  • All graduate students applying for College graduate scholarships must apply by January 15. Details on these scholarships are available from the Associate Dean’s office.
  • The following steps should be taken by March 1 of the first year:
    • Confirm your program advisor (chairperson), who may be the same or different from your first-year studies advisor; who must be a faculty member at the level of assistant professor or higher; and who must agree to serve as your program chair.
    • Submit the Program Planning form to the Associate Dean’s office.
    • The full program committee does not need to sign the program planning form for the first year, but you should begin identifying two additional faculty members for your committee as soon as reasonably possible. They will need to be familiar with your program and your project/thesis topic.

Students Pursuing a Thesis:

  • Follow all instructions on the Graduate School webpage for the Master’s degree: https://gradschool.utk.edu/graduation/steps-to-graduation/.
  • File the Admission to Candidacy form with the Graduate School one semester prior to expected graduation and pay graduation fees. Be sure to submit a hard copy of this form to the Associate Dean’s office.
  • Enroll in the 500 (Thesis) course in appropriate area of concentrated study.
  • Prepare a preliminary thesis proposal and distribute to all committee members no less than two weeks prior to the proposal meeting.
  • Hold thesis proposal meeting and gain committee approval on your proposal.
  • Ask committee members to complete a “Project or Thesis Proposal” form (see Appendix E of the Handbook) to serve as evidence of the committee’s approval of the proposal. This is optional, but strongly recommended.
  • Conduct thesis study.
  • Deliver final draft of thesis to committee members no less than two weeks prior to the oral defense.
  • Submit the “Schedule of Final Examination/Defense of Master’s Thesis or Project” form to the Associate Dean’s office at least 10 business days before the defense date. (See Appendix F of the Handbook.) The defense may not proceed until this form has been submitted to the Associate Dean’s office.
  • Participate in Oral defense of thesis; make corrections as required by committee.
  • Check final draft with thesis consultant in the Graduate School.
  • Get committee signatures on the thesis approval form.
  • The final version of the electronic thesis needs to be uploaded into TRACE (see the Graduate School Thesis Consultant for guidelines on doing so.)
  • Deliver one hard copy of thesis to your chair and one to the Associate Dean’s office for College archives.

Students Pursuing a Project (non-thesis):

  • Follow all instructions on the Graduate School webpage for the Master’s Non-Thesis degree: https://gradschool.utk.edu/graduation/steps-to-graduation/
  • File the Admission to Candidacy form with the Graduate School one semester prior to expected graduation and pay graduation fees. Be sure to submit a hard copy of this form to the Associate Dean’s office.
  • Enroll in the 590 (Project) course in appropriate area of concentrated study.
  • Prepare a preliminary project proposal and distribute to all committee members no less than two weeks prior to the proposal meeting.
  • Ask committee members to complete a “Project or Thesis Proposal” form (see Appendix E of the Handbook) to serve as evidence of the committee’s approval of the proposal. This is optional, but strongly recommended.
  • Conduct project study.
  • Deliver final draft of project to committee members no less than two weeks before the examination.
  • Submit the “Schedule of Final Examination/Defense of Master’s Thesis or Project” form to the Associate Dean’s office at least 10 business days before the defense date. (See Appendix F of the Handbook.) The defense may not proceed until this form has been submitted to the Associate Dean’s office.
  • Participate in Oral defense of project; make corrections as required by committee.
  • Get committee signatures on the Report of Final Exam form.
  • Deliver one copy of final project to committee members.