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Getting Started

When you arrive at OSU, you are not likely to already know who your major advisor will be or who will be on your committee. You will also not have developed a program of study or know what your thesis topic will be. This is OK. These are the things you are going to figure out during your first year. Your first term or two will be spent taking classes in your three fields of study, beginning an assistantship if one is awarded, developing a program of study, getting acquainted with faculty and taking two courses required for all MAIS students. Things will move fast, and these courses and activities will get you oriented and focused so that you can select your committee members and develop a program of study.

Program of Study

The program of study is your plan for earning the MAIS degree. It will include all the courses you will use toward your degree (You may take additional courses that are not included in the program of study). This must be completed and approved by your committee in a formal program meeting before you complete 18 credit hours. The 18 credit hour rule is in force for the initial filing of a program. Students can, with the approval of committee members, change their programs, including their areas of concentration and departmental affiliations after filing the initial program.

All programs of study submitted to the Graduate School must consist of, at a minimum, 50% graduate stand-alone courses. The remaining credits may be the 500 component of 400/500 slash courses.

You can obtain a program of study form, and instruction on completing it, at the Graduate School website.

Students may be able to apply a certain number transfer credits (those earned from other institutions) and reserved credits (credits earned as OSU in graduate courses in excess of the requirements for a baccalaureate or postbaccalaureate degree) toward their program of study. This will require the approval of your committee and must meet all program of study requirements, as outlined in the Graduate Catalog.

The degree requires a minimum of 49 credits. This includes 45 credits in your three fields of study and 4 credits of coursework on interdisciplinary study and research methods. A minimum of 9 credits in each of the three fields of study is required. No more than 21 credits should be taken in any one field unless the total program exceeds 49 credits. Thesis or research paper/project hours do not count toward this 21 credit requirement. No more than 3 credits of blanket-numbered courses in each field of study may be used in the program; thesis credits (Option A) or research paper/project credits (Option B) are exempt from this limitation. There is no foreign language requirement.

There are two options under the program:

Option A:
Thesis option – the requirement is 6 to 9 credits of Thesis 503 must be included in the program of study.
Option B:
Research paper/project option – the requirement is 4 to 7 credits, registered as Research 501, Reading and Conference 505, or Projects 506.

Advisors and Your Committee

MAIS students are required to form a committee consisting of four faculty members: one representing each substantive field of study, plus one Graduate Council Representative. The committee member from your major field of study will serve as your major advisor.

Your committee will hold formal meetings to approve your program of study, and then again for the oral defense of your thesis or research paper. However, you will be well-served by maintaining ongoing communications, both in person and via email. You should plan on meeting with your advisor each term. Also be sure to stay in contact with your committee members regularly. These people are important to your success and valuable resources. What you get out of your graduate school experience will in large part be determined by the relationships you form with these faculty members.

IST 511 and 512

In addition to the courses you take in your three fields of study, there are two additional courses oninterdisciplinary study and research methods that you are required to take in order to earn the MAIS degree. These courses are IST 511 and IST 512.

IST 511, Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies, is a one credit course designed to bring MAIS students together in their first term to teach them how to effectively complete their interdisciplinary program. Students will read about the nature and process of intersdisciplinary study, design their program of study, discover and access library and other university resources related to their fields of study, and work on synthesizing aspects of three differing fields.  See a sample syllabus here.

IST 512, Applying an Interdisciplinary Perspective, is designed for MAIS students so they can complete their research proposals and understand how to synthesize three fields of study into a research project. Students will develop knowledge and skills in theory, research methods, and practice of approaching problems, issues or events from an interdisciplinary perspective. The final work product from this course will be a thesis or project proposal. See a sample syllabus here.

For an excellent example of interdisciplinary work that analyzes a topic while also explaining the process of how to conduct interdisciplinary research, see Marilyn R. Tayler, "Jewish Marriage as an Expression of Israel's Conflicted Identity," in Allen Repko, ed., Case Studies in Interdisciplinary Research, Sage, 2012.

Program Meetings

Your committee will hold two formal meetings in the process of supervising your degree. The first is to approve your program of study and this must be done prior to your completion of 18 credit hours. The second meeting will be for the final oral examination of your thesis or research paper/project.

The program of study meeting provides an excellent opportunity for students to gain valuable input from committee members so that students can develop a coherent, well-thought out program.

Prior to the program of study meeting, MAIS students need to select a Graduate Council Representative from a list provided by the Graduate School and schedule the meeting with all committee members. Following the meeting, students will submit the signed Program of Study form to the Graduate School. In addition to this, you need to print the MAIS Program Meeting Checklist and take it to your committee meeting. The Graduate Council Representative will complete and sign this form and return it to the graduate school with the signed program of study.

The oral examination is the final defense of your thesis or research paper. Prior to scheduling your defense, you need to have the approval of your major advisor. Your advisor (and ideally, all your committee members) need to approve all the revisions made to your thesis or research paper. In order to schedule your oral defense, you must have a minimum GPA of 3.00 on both your program and cumulative graduate transcript. All course work with a grade of ÒIÓ appearing on the program of study must be completed prior to scheduling the final oral examination. You must schedule your exam with the Graduate School one week in advance to allow time to audit your program of study.

You must schedule all examinations required by the Graduate School using the Exam Scheduling Form. You must submit this form at least one week prior to your committee meetings.

In addition, you are responsible for:

  • Informing the Graduate School of the date, time, and place of the meeting.
  • Confirming the committee membership.
  • Notifying and reminding the committee of the meeting date, time, and place.

There is additional information that you need to know on program meetings at the Graduate School webpage. You can also check with the Event Coordinator in the Graduate School at 541-737-4881 if you have questions.