MCS Individualized Graduate Degree Programs

Handbook Table of Contents | Constitution | Faculty Policies | Degree Policies

MCS Policy on Individualized Graduate Degree Programs

Adopted by College Council 24 February 1989

The Mellon College of Science will, in cases presenting special merit, allow students to pursue individualized programs leading to a self-defined degree of Master of Science, Doctor of Philosophy, or Doctor of Arts, with an appropriate field designation in each case.

In order to be accepted into such a degree program, the prospective degree candidate must either be enrolled as a graduate student in one of the departments of the College, or be admitted to graduate study in one of them. This admission may be as a regular graduate degree candidate in that department or, at the department's discretion, conditional on an outlined individualized degree program. The department admitting the student will serve as the student's home department for administrative purposes.

Each individualized graduate degree program shall be initiated by petition to the College Council and shall be developed by an ad-hoc committee of three regular or research faculty members of Carnegie Mellon University; one of them, at least, shall be a regular faculty member in a department of the College. The composition of the committee shall be approved by the Dean. This committee shall develop, in consultation with the student, a degree program incorporating degree requirements, degree designation, and criteria and procedures for course selection and for evaluation of the student's progress and performance. In the case of a doctoral program, these requirements shall include a comprehensive examination, a doctoral dissertation, and a public final examination. In every case, the proposed requirements shall be in compliance with pertinent College policies on graduate degrees. The proposed program, as well as any subsequent amendment, shall be submitted to the College Council, which may approve it, reject it, or request changes. The Council's approval is required for the program to become effective.