During their second year in the program, students complete an empirical research project under the guidance of a three-person thesis committee. A member or an associate member of the School of Management and Labor Relations graduate faculty may serve as the committee chair, who directs this research project. A satisfactory oral defense of the thesis is required. Upon completion of the thesis and oral defense, students become eligible to take the qualifying exam. Students must pass the qualifying exam in order to be awarded the master of science degree.