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Master of Science Degree Program

How to Apply

Interested applicants must meet the Graduate School qualifications to be admitted as a Clinical Sciences graduate student.
Application procedures differ whether you are a US Citizen/Permanent Resident or an International Student/Non-US Citizen. Follow our detailed application procedures to ensure your application is complete.

Selection of MS Students

Faculty from the appropriate area of study will review applications and make their recommendations to the Department Head. Prior to final acceptance of the student:
  1. A faculty member must agree to serve as a temporary advisor. A letter including the advisor's acceptance of the student must be received by the Department Head prior to final acceptance of the student.
  3. The application in its final form must be reviewed and supported by the Department Head


A permanent advisor for graduate studies should be named as soon as possible but must be determined before the start of the fourth regular semester registration. The temporary and permanent advisors for graduate studies must themselves be a qualified graduate faculty member as described by the Faculty Requirements for Resident/Graduate Student Advising.

Duties of the advisor for graduate studies

The advisor for graduate studies must counsel and advise the student on a regular basis throughout the graduate program.
His/Her duties include:
  1. Ensure that faculty members that provide support or major advising for the student's research projects or manuscripts are included on the student's committee and publications where appropriate.
  3. Assist the student in choosing graduate committee members that will properly mentor and help the student during the program.
  5. Ensure that the student fulfills all graduate school and departmental requirements by the deadline dates and that evidence of this is submitted to the Department Head or designee prior to approval for graduation.
  7. Assure that all examination dates are announced and that all department and College faculty are invited at least one week prior to the examination.
  9. Ensure that a departmental representative is present at the student's final examination.
  11. Assist in fulfilling the roles and responsibilities of the student's graduate committee as listed below.
  13. The graduate student’s advisor is responsible for prompt 6-monthly evaluations of the student’s performance throughout the plan A MS program. The evaluations must to be reviewed with the student and signed by the advisor and the student. A copy must be submitted to the resident/graduate coordinator in the departmental office to be included in the student’s file.
  15. Ensure that the quality of the graduate program is maintained.
  17. Assist the student in selecting a graduate committee and submitting the required GS-6 program of study form before the start of the fourth regular semester registration. However, the department recommends that the GS-6 be submitted during the third semester of study.

Graduate Committee

The student together with his/her advisor will select a graduate committee and submit the required GS-6 program of study form before the start of the fourth regular semester registration. However, the department recommends that this be performed during the third semester of study. The committee must consist of 3 or more members, one of whom is the advisor. It is required that one member of the committee be from another department within CSU.
Per the Graduate and Professional Bulletin, a faculty member with a rank of professor, associate professor, assistant professor, or instructor can serve as an outside committee member on a graduate committee as long as he/she holds a regular, special, transitional, joint, or emeritus/emerita faculty appointment.
  • A faculty member cannot hold one of the above appointments in the same department as the student and advisor. As an example, if there is a faculty member who is a professor in the Physics Department but holds a joint appointment as a professor in the Mathematics Department, this faculty member may not serve as an outside committee member for a graduate student in either the Physics or Mathematics Departments.
  • A faculty member who holds only a temporary or faculty affiliate appointment cannot serve as an outside committee member.
These changes will take effect on April 1, 2008 for all newly-created graduate student committees and for changes of committees.
Faculty involved in supporting or doing major advising of the student on a research project, scientific paper or report should be included on the committee. Individuals who are not academic faculty but who have special expertise may serve on committees in addition to the prescribed members, but they may not vote at the final examination. While the graduate student's advisor is directly responsible for his/her work, committee members are expected to have an active interest in the student's progress and contribute to the successful completion of the program. The committee members must devote time to counseling and advising the student throughout the graduate program. Further guidelines regarding advisor and committee selection are provided in the CSU Graduate and Professional Bulletin.

Duties of the Graduate Committee

  1. Assist in the selection of academic courses to fulfill graduate school requirements and to best train the student in their area of interest.
  3. Provide guidance relative to the selection of an appropriate research project or paper, including project design and execution.
  5. Help administer and evaluate the advanced degree examination required by the Graduate School and the Department of Clinical Sciences.
  7. Ensure that the quality of the graduate program is maintained.
  9. Ensure that the graduate student understands academic rules regarding ownership of data and authorship of publications.
  11. Meet with the student at least once per year.
  13. Minutes of each committee meeting should be kept by the graduate student, reviewed and signed by the student’s advisor, and a copy submitted to the resident/graduate student coordinator in the department.
  15. The graduate committee is not responsible for reminding students of published deadlines or for monitoring procedural details. Such matters should be managed independently by the student.

General Requirements

MS students will be required to participate in course work which is applicable to their area of study. Involvement in a research project is mandatory. Clinical training will primarily be limited to development in those areas directly related to the student’s research.
  • Individuals not enrolled in residency training programs in the Department of Clinical Sciences will be required to register for a Plan A (thesis) MS degree. The Plan A program requires the completion of a minimum of 30 hours of graduate course work, the completion of a research project in an area of the student’s interest and the preparation of a written thesis. Publication resulting from work in the thesis is strongly encouraged. Under special circumstances and with the approval of the Department Head, a Plan B (non-thesis) degree may be approved with the same total number of credits that has been completed for a Plan A MS.
The student will be required to annually update a checklist of departmental program requirements. Each requirement on the checklist should be signed by the student’s advisor upon completion.

Credit Requirements

It is the responsibility of the student to see that all of the following requirements are met on time. If they are not, approval for graduation will not be granted. The requirements outlined below apply.
  1. Each student must prepare a program of study (GS Form 6), a document which lists all courses which will be taken in pursuit of the degree. The advisor and the committee should be closely involved in the development of the program of study, and they must indicate approval by signature. The GS-6 program of study form is due before the start of the fourth regular semester registration. However, the student is encouraged to have the form completed as soon as is feasible.
  3. Credit hours required. The minimum number of credit hours required for completion of the Plan A (thesis) program is 30. A minimum of 24 credit hours must be earned at CSU, 21 of which must be earned after admission to the Graduate School. At least 24 credits hours must be in regular, didactic, graded course work of which 12 must be in 500 or higher level. Regular course work is defined as courses other than independent or group studies, research courses, open seminars, thesis/dissertation credits, supervised college teaching, unique title courses offered through the Division of Continuing Education and any courses graded pass/fail.

    A limited number of credit hours (as outlined above) may be transferred from another university to the graduate program at CSU with the approval of the advisor, committee, Department Head, and Graduate School. Each case is assessed individually and accepted or rejected on its own merits. Requests to transfer graduate credit must be at the equivalent of the 500 level or above. Arrangements for transfer of credit are made when the GS Form 6 is submitted. Credits earned at institutions not accredited by one of the major regional accrediting agencies or at foreign universities are not acceptable for transfer. Courses to be applied toward fulfilling the requirements for a Master’s degree must have been registered for and completed within the ten years immediately preceding the date of completion of the requirements for the Master’s degree. Credits used for one Master’s degree may not be used for a second Master’s degree unless approved by the Resident/Graduate Committee for the Department of Clinical Sciences and the Department Head.
  5. The graduate studies programs need to ensure adequate and appropriate training in statistical methods and research study design. The incoming students have varying degrees of prior exposure to these areas of study, and so it is imperative that the student’s advisor play an active role in determining that adequate training is achieved. Several advanced courses in statistics and experimental design (VS 662) are offered through the Department of Clinical Sciences, and these are highly recommended for departmental graduate students. In addition, VS 580 (Physiology and Pathophysiology) is a highly recommended course for all departmental graduate students.
  7. It is strongly advised that all Plan A MS graduate students attend weeklygraduate seminars. It is required that all Plan A MS graduate students present at least 1 seminar prior to completion of their program. Registration for VS792 is required for the semester during which the Plan A MS graduate student is presenting a seminar. Otherwise registration for VS792 is not a requirement unless the student wishes to receive credit for the course. In order to receive credit the student must not only register for the course but must also meet the specific course requirements (i.e. grade based on attendance). It is the responsibility of the Plan A MS student to schedule their seminar presentation with the graduate student coordinator in the departmental office in advance of the semester during which they wish to present.
  9. A minimum cumulative grade point average of "B" must be maintained in all course work exclusive of grades earned in research, special studies and seminar courses. No credit will be given in courses in which a "C" is received. Any course in which a "D", "F", or "U" is received, must be repeated.

Time Limit

The plan A MS degree program is designed to be completed within two years. At the discretion of the student’s advisor and graduate committee, the time to completion of the program may be extended but only to a maximum of six years from the beginning of the program.

Research Requirements

The Plan A graduate student is expected to participate in a research project. Research projects must be reviewed by the student’s advisor and graduate committee. Application for any research money must be made to the appropriate funding agency through a faculty member who assumes responsibility for performance of the work.

Thesis Requirements for Plan A Students

The thesis is a written formal document which addresses, in an original fashion, some important concerns of the discipline. A thesis involves significant independent work. A certain number of credits are allowed for the preparation of the thesis. A properly prepared manuscript must be submitted to the student’s advisor and committee at least two weeks before the final examination. The candidate must submit to the graduate school, two unbound copies of the manuscript no later than the end of the 11th week of the graduation term for fall or spring semester, or by the end of the 5th week of the 8 week summer term. Guidance for preparation of the manuscript can be found in the "Thesis Manual" (available at the CSU book store) and in the references listed therein.

Final Examination

The final examination must be held prior to the end of the 11th week of the graduation term for fall or spring semester or by the end of the 5th week of the 8 week summer term. At the discretion of the committee, the final examination may be oral or written or both. At least one week before the final examination, the advisor must inform the student and the committee members of the nature and scope of the examination. The advisor is responsible for ensuring that the oral examination date is announced and that all departmental faculty are invited at least one week prior to the examination.
The examining committee will consist of the student’s advisor, and all members of the student’s graduate committee. A departmental faculty member "representative" appointed by the departmental graduate program coordinator or the Assistant Department Head must also be in attendance at the examination.
The advisor will generally serve as the chairperson. The chairperson will begin by outlining the format of the examination to the audience. Guidelines as to when those in attendance (committee versus audience) will be allowed to ask questions will be provided by the chairperson. Audience questions are usually encouraged immediately following the presentation. It is suggested that a maximum of one hour be allowed for a presentation of the student’s research. This may consist of a review of the results of several projects where applicable or more in-depth coverage of a single area of investigation. The presentation is primarily intended to acquaint the committee with the student’s general knowledge of this and related subject material and the student’s understanding of experimental design and data assessment. A question period by the examination committee, suggested to last a minimum of one hour will follow the presentation. Questions will generally be related to the student’s research and course work.
Voting at the final examination shall be limited to the members of the student’s graduate committee. A majority vote by the committee is required for the student to pass the examination. A tie vote is interpreted as failure to pass the examination. Committee members who are not academic faculty do not have a vote on the final examination.
Providing the committee approves, the candidate who fails the final examination may be reexamined once and may be required to complete further work. Reexamination must take place no earlier than two months and not later than 12 months after the first examination. The retake examination should be attended by a Departmental representative faculty member appointed by the Assistant Department Head that has not been involved with training the student or the Assistant Department Head to ensure that fair and due process is followed.
The student is responsible for taking the Report of Final Examination (GS Form 24) to the examination and returning it, completed and signed, to the Graduate School Office within two working days after results are known.

Publication of Graduate Research

It is strongly recommended that the graduate student and the student’s advisor disseminate significant research results through publication. Guidelines regarding publication authorship may be obtained from the departmental office.

Program Completion

A copy of the thesis must also be presented to the Department Head for filing in the Department office. GS Form 25 and 25A (application for graduation) and the diploma name forms are due in the Graduate School office no later than the end of the second week of the academic term: by the end of the first week of the eight week summer term. Students must be enrolled in classes or registered for continuous registration (CR) during the semester in which they wish to graduate.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fees are to be paid by the graduate student or by funds available from the student’s advisor. The graduate student should initiate the process of establishing state residency immediately after arrival in the program. International students who will not be able to establish Colorado residency, will therefore be responsible for all out-of-state tuition costs.


No stipend is paid to the student unless an advisor has funds available to do so. If a stipend is paid, its duration and its withdrawal is up to the advisor. Stipends must be at least equal to the current graduate school minimum recommendation.


If the student’s graduate program includes a research project, the advisor must indicate in his letter of acceptance of the student to the Department Head that the advisor has support of the project. Application for all research support must be made through the student’s advisor or with his/her knowledge and approval. All data and products of the research conducted by a student during the course of their graduate program is the property of Colorado State University.
Colorado State University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin or sex. The University complies with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, related Executive Orders 11246 and 11375, and all Civil Rights Laws of the State of Colorado. Accordingly, equal opportunity for employment admission shall be extended to all persons and the University shall promote equal opportunity and treatment through a positive and continuing affirmative action program.