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Graduate Guide


Congratulations! Now that you’ve been admitted to a graduate degree program, there are a few things you need to know to make your journey less stressful.

This guide will provide you with a summary of information on what to expect and the required documentation you will need to complete your program of study.

Categories of Admission

Regular Status:
This status is assigned to an applicant who meets all the requirements for admission to graduate study:

  • A 3.0 grade point average;
  • A bachelor’s degree;
  • The required background in the area of proposed study;
  • The required transcripts;
  • Test scores (if required); and
  • All other requirements identified by the discipline.

Provisional Status:
Students who lack one or more of the above criteria may be admitted in this status. The official letter of admission will list the conditions to be satisfied before the applicant may be assigned to regular status.

Note: A maximum of 24 graduate credits may be earned in provisional status.

Typical conditions to be satisfied include the following:

GPA— When a student’s grade point average in his or her undergraduate studies is below 3.0, he or she must complete the first 12 graduate credits and earn a GPA of 3.0 or better. Certain programs may require that the student earn at least a B in each class of the first 12 credits.

Bachelor’s Degree — A student who is in his or her last semester of undergraduate work at another accredited institution may be admitted in provisional status pending receipt of the bachelor’s degree. 

For additional conditions, please refer to the Graduate Handbook.

Performance, Enrollment and Program of Study

1. Performance of Graduate Students
To receive a master’s degree, a student must have a GPA of at least a 3.0 on a 4-point scale in his or her program of study.

  • Students with a cumulative GPA below 2.4 may be suspended
  • Students who do not make satisfactory progress may be placed on academic probation.
  • A student on academic probation for two consecutive semesters may be suspended.
  • Students who receive a course grade that is less than a C will not receive credit for that course.

2. Enrollment
Full-time enrollment requires a minimum of nine graduate semester credits for both fall and spring semester; six hours is considered full-time for summer term.

Students must enroll for at least one credit hour of thesis, field project or other designated course during final semester of study.

3. Program of Study
The graduate program of study is a listing of courses agreed upon between the student and the faculty of that program. The courses listed must satisfy the course requirements in the Graduate Catalog. The student’s adviser will provide guidance in completing this requirement. To be official and binding, this document must receive final approval of the associate vice-president for Academic Affairs. Only students in regular graduate status may file this form.

The Program of Study form must be filed midway through the first semester of regular status.

Although students have five years to finish their graduate study, they are expected to progress satisfactorily and ideally, complete the master’s degree requirements in two years.

As the student progresses through graduate study, situations might occur that necessitate the request for approval of changes in his/her program of study. The most common forms are listed below:

  • Program of Study
  • Course Substitution/Addition/Deletion
  • Change of Major/Concentration/Emphasis
  • Graduate Transfer of Credit
  • Independent Study/Research/Directed Study
  • Exit Document Intent
  • Request for Oral Examination

Please refer the Graduate Student Handbook for additional forms and information.

Suggested Two-Year Timeline 

Students should consult with the academic unit to which the graduate program belongs to compare this timeline with that suggested for the program.

Year one—first semester

a. Consult with an adviser to discuss steps needed to complete the master’s degree.

b. File a plan of study.

Year one—second semester

a. Decide upon a thesis topic.

b. Begin a review of literature.

c. Identify the faculty members who will serve on the oral defense committee.

d. Present the research plan to the committee (Exit Document Intent Form).

e. Begin initial/pilot test or research projects if needed before commencing the central research project, OR begin the main research project.

Year two—first semester

a. Provide a progress report to the committee.

b. Proceed with the research.

c. Schedule degree check with the Registrar’s Office.

d. Begin writing the exit document.

Year two—second semester

a. Complete the research.

b. Finish the exit document.

c. Provide a draft of the research paper(s) to adviser for approval.

d. Schedule date, time and place for the oral examination.

e. Submit the Request for Oral Examination form through the Graduate Office to the Registrar’s Office at least two (2) weeks before the scheduled oral examination date.

f. Distribute a copy of the paper to the committee at least two (2) weeks before the scheduled oral examination.