Master's Degrees, Specific Degree Requirements

Master of Arts

The Master of Arts degree is available to persons who have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college and who meet the minimal requirements described below.

Foreign Language

The prerogative of requiring a foreign language for the M.A. degree rests with the degree program. M.A. students enrolled in degree programs which require a foreign language may fulfill this requirement by demonstrating intermediate proficiency via any one of the options below:

  1. Presenting an official undergraduate transcript from Baylor University or another regionally accredited institution of higher learning showing that while enrolled the student received a grade of “B” or better in the Baylor University 2320 course or its equivalent course in the foreign language taken at another institution. Note: This option is valid if the above course was taken not more than five years before the student was accepted into the Baylor graduate program.
  2. After matriculation into the graduate program at Baylor University, and after having satisfied the necessary prerequisites, enrolling in 2320 and receiving a grade of “B” or better.
  3. Enrolling in French, German, or Spanish 5370/5371, or Latin or Greek 5321/5322 and receiving a grade of “B” or better in French, German, Spanish 5371, or Latin or Greek 5322. These are reading courses designed specially for graduate students; no previous experience with the language is necessary. The Graduate School must receive a petition requesting the foreign language course be accepted as completion of the language requirement. These courses may not be audited, or taken as Pass/Fail or Credit/Non-Credit.
  4. Taking the reading examination offered by the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures (Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, or another modern language approved by the candidate’s department), Department of Classics (Greek and Latin), or the Institute of Biblical and Related Languages (Hebrew and related Semitic Languages).
    Note: Students in International M.A. degree programs (Master of International Journalism) must pass an oral examination in addition to the reading examination (Option #4). Bona fide foreign international M.A. students may use English as their foreign language, provided their TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score is 550 or higher.
  5. Presenting a degree from a foreign university. This procedure is valid if the student’s native language is not that of the country in which the degree has been obtained.

The student is responsible for securing proof of having satisfied the language requirement. Deadlines for meeting the language requirement may be found on the Graduate School website ( and additional information regarding foreign language test preparation can be found on the Modern Languages and Cultures website (

Graduate Hours

Minimally, thirty semester hours is required for graduate programs. Individual degree programs have the option of increasing the required number of semester hours. The programs also set the required minimum thesis credits which typically consist of six semester hours. The minimum number will apply for all students in the program. 

Approved Major and Minor

Students may have no more than two fields of graduate study. They may earn no fewer than eighteen semester hours in the major field, and no fewer than six semester hours in the minor field. The minor field must be approved by the chairpersons of both the major and minor departments. With the approval of the major professor and the Graduate School, a student may include a limited number of courses from allied fields as part of the major program, or in lieu of a minor. If the degree program offers a sufficient number of graduate courses to satisfy degree completion, the course work can be completed within one department.


The prerogative of requiring a thesis for the Master of Arts degree rests with the degree program. Should a thesis be required, the following requirements apply:

  1. The chairperson of the department and/or the graduate program director approve both the thesis topic and the chairperson of the thesis committee. The thesis committee chairperson must be a member of the Baylor Graduate Faculty.
  2. The chairperson of the department or the graduate program director, in consultation with both the candidate and the committee chairperson, will identify the members of the thesis committee. The thesis examining committee will include three members of the Baylor Graduate Faculty: the committee chairperson, one other Graduate Faculty member from the student’s home department, and a third member or “outside” member. The outside member must be a Graduate Faculty member whose primary faculty appointment is from a department other than the one conferring the student’s degree. The student’s mentor will serve as the chairperson of the committee and ensure that formal announcement is made, that the exam is conducted fairly, and that it is open to the faculty. The “official outside” member helps to ensure a consistent level of quality, rigor, and fairness across all graduate programs at Baylor University and may or may not be actively involved in the thesis. The committee may include additional members (who are not necessarily members of the Graduate Faculty) beyond the minimum required number.
  3. The thesis committee will approve the general plan of the research project and the topic of the thesis.
  4. Candidates are expected to consult with the members of their committee and to acquire the approval of the committee as well as the major department chairperson of the completed draft of the thesis. Candidates should acquire Guidelines for Preparing the Dissertation and Thesis and other necessary materials at the beginning of the semester in which graduation is expected. The most recent edition of the Guidelines is available on the Baylor homepage
  5. No longer than ten days after the oral examination, but no later than the “last day” deadline posted in the Graduate School Academic Calendar for the semester of graduation, an electronic pdf copy of the thesis in its final departmentally approved form should be submitted to the Graduate School. With the thesis copy, the student should also submit the appropriate forms required, as stated in the Guidelines. A student is certified for graduation once the pdf copy of the thesis is submitted electronically and approved, and all remaining steps, as stated in the Guidelines, have been completed.


See Master's Degrees, General Degree Requirements for additional information.

Master of Science

The Master of Science degree, which is offered through facilities in either Waco or Dallas, is offered to students who have earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college. The requirements for this degree are the same as for the Master of Arts degree, except that there is no foreign language requirement.