Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Master’s Thesis

Advisor, Committee, IRB

Q: What is an advisor or major professor? How is this determined?

A: Faculty advisors play a crucial role in acquiring the MS degree. Your faculty advisor will direct your written thesis and/or final project.  Students should select an advisor who has some research expertise or interest in the area of study the student wishes to pursue. Students should contact potential advisors well in advance of starting their project or thesis to request a faculty serve as major professor. At the mid-point of your graduate studies (approximately 20 earned semester hours), you should select a Thesis Advisor. Once you have a Thesis Advisor and have established a general thesis topic, you will need to establish a thesis committee with at least two other faculty members.

Q: What is a thesis committee? How is this determined?

A: Once you have a Thesis Advisor and have established a general thesis topic, you will need to establish a thesis committee with at least two other faculty members.  Your committee will consist of your faculty advisor and two additional committee members.  Both your faculty advisor and one additional committee member must hold “Graduate Faculty” status.  You should establish your committee prior to completing your thesis proposal as the committee will need to approve your proposal.

Q: Why must my research project be reviewed by UGA’s IRB?

A: As you think about your thesis, you need to be aware of UGA’s IRB.  Regardless of how simplistic or harmless your research project is, if it involves humans (like the use of interviews) or animals, it will require IRB approval.  The research MUST be approved prior to scheduling any interviews or the sending out questionnaires, etc.  So, it is best to assume that your project, if it involves human or animal subjects, requires IRB approval UNTIL you get permission from UGA IRB telling you otherwise, i.e. you get an exemption. You should work with your major professor on this process.


(Information here is taken directly from the Graduate School’s FAQs for Enrolled Students found at

Q: What forms do I need to submit for graduation?

A: For Thesis students, you have a total of six forms to submit. They are 1) Apply for Graduation (online), 2) Program of Study form, 3) Advisory Committee form, 4) Thesis Format Check (online), 5)  Thesis Defense & Final Examination Approval form, and 6) Electronic Thesis & Dissertation (ETD) Submission Approval form.  See the Graduate School Forms page for complete details.  Requests for services should be made directly to the R.S. Office.

Q: Is a format check required for my thesis?

A: Yes, you must submit your document electronically to the Graduate School by the deadline for a format check in your graduation semester. If you do not submit by the deadline, your graduation date will be changed to the next semester.

Q: How do I submit my thesis for a format check?

A: Check Thesis & Dissertation Guidelines for instructions, templates, and the link to submit. You will receive a confirmation page when it is submitted correctly. Print this page for your records.

Q: Will I know if my format is approved?

A: Yes, you will receive an email from the Graduate School stating whether you need to make corrections to your document or not. If you submit it on or near the deadline, it can take up to two weeks for us to check it and send you a response. If you have not heard from us after two weeks, you should contact to make sure your submission went through.

Q: I submitted a format check during last semester. Do I need to submit another format check this semester?

A: If you have already submitted a format check, you do not have to submit it for a format check again. Once you have passed your final defense and have made all of the corrections suggested by the Graduate School as well as your committee members, you then would submit as a final submission. You will receive an e-mail from the Graduate School once your thesis has been accepted as the official UGA copy.

Q: I found a link that does not work, yet I need to access to that material or document. What do I do?

A: Some of the links and URLs listed on these pages go to other UGA departments, like the UGA Graduate School or IRB Offices. The RS Office makes every attempt to keep our pages up-to-date; however, we have no control over these websites. If you find a broken link, 1) please alert the RS Department and 2) then, go to the UGA Graduate School’s site, or other appropriate department, and search for that page. A broken link on our departmental pages does not absolve you of the responsibility for ensuring that proper UGA documents are submitted or proper procedures are followed


Q: How does the Graduate School know that I am ready to graduate?

A: All graduate students must submit an application for graduation on Athena by the deadline posted for the semester that graduation is anticipated. The application is submitted electronically. Be sure to print the confirmation page for your records.

Q: I submitted my paperwork last semester but didn’t graduate. Do I need to submit all of the paperwork again?

A: If the Graduate School already has an approved advisory committee form (required only for thesis-writing master’s degrees) and a program of study form on file, it is not necessary to submit these forms again. If revisions are to be made to these forms, you would submit a recommended change in program of study form and another advisory committee form with “revised” checked at the top of the form. If no changes are needed, do not submit these forms again.

Q: Have I submitted all necessary paperwork to graduate this semester?

A: It is recommended that students keep copies of all forms submitted and note the date of submission to the Graduate School. All documents must be submitted by the deadline for the semester that graduation is anticipated.

Q: How do I change my graduation date?

A: You must email to request deletion of your graduation date in Athena. Once your graduation date has been removed, you will be sent instructions on reapplying for graduation in Athena.

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