General Degree Requirements

In this chapter...
Admission to Candidacy
Course Load
Course Levels
Grading System
Grade Change Policy
Grade Appeals Policy
Transfer Credit
Correspondence and Experiential Credit
Challenge Examinations
Military Service Credit
Graduate Degree and Graduate Course Time Limits
Grade Point Average Requirement
Master's Thesis Requirements
Foreign Language Requirement
Summative Evaluation
Comprehensive Examination
Application for Degree
Second Master's Degree
Name and Address Changes

Prerequisites and additional requirements for specific degrees will be found in the appropriate departmental sections. It is the graduate studentís responsibility to become fully acquainted with regulations and requirements of the university, the college and the department in which the student plans to pursue a course of study.

Admission to Candidacy
Admission to graduate study is not admission to candidacy for the masterís or specialist in education degree. A student is responsible for initiating the admission to candidacy form after completing nine hours of graduate work at Murray State University with a minimum grade point average of 3.0. A student is recommended for admission to candidacy by the studentís departmental graduate advisor and the graduate coordinator of the college in which the student is a major.

Admission to candidacy forms are available in Graduate Admissions.

Course Load
The maximum graduate course load, including any undergraduate deficiency, may not exceed 12 hours during a regular semester and six hours for each five-week summer term. In summer the load may be increased to seven hours per five-week term if one of the courses is a four-hour course. The minimum course load for a full-time graduate student during a regular semester is nine hours.

ēGraduate Assistants
To be eligible for an assistantship, students must be within two courses (no more than nine hours) of completing undergraduate course work; be admitted to graduate school and enrolled in six graduate hours or a maximum of nine graduate hours during each of the fall and spring semesters.
A graduate assistant may not carry a combined teaching and course load which exceeds 15 hours. A non-teaching assignment of 12 to 15 hours per week is considered the equivalent of a three-hour teaching load.

ēOverload Exceptions
If an exception is to be made in any individual instance, a graduate student must have an accumulative GPA of no less than 3.25, or a 3.25 for the previous semester. Permission to exceed the credit hour limit can only be granted by the dean of the college in which the student is a major. A special form, located only in the deanís office, must be completed by the student and signed by the dean to authorize exceptions. Under no circumstances may a graduate student take more than 16 hours in any semester without approval by both the dean and the vice president for academic affairs.

Course Levels
Courses at the 500 level are restricted to graduate students and to undergraduates with at least a junior standing. Exceptions to this regulation must be approved in writing by the appropriate collegiate dean and the Provost. A graduate student enrolled in a 500 level course will be required to do substantially more work than an undergraduate student in the same course. This requirement, which shall be clearly specified in the course syllabus, may take the form of research or other work appropriate to the discipline.

Courses numbered 500 and above, taken for graduate credit, may be counted for credit toward a masterís degree if they are approved as part of the studentís graduate program.

Courses numbered 600 or above are open only to graduate students. In all masterís programs, at least half of the total formal coursework hours, EXCLUDING THESIS, PRACTICUM, INTERNSHIP, or CO-OP CREDIT, must be in courses open only to graduate students (600 level).

Grading System
The following system of grades is used for the evaluation of course work:
A .....exceptionally high quality, valued at four points for each credit;
B .....good, valued at three points for each credit;
C .....satisfactory, valued at two points for each credit;
D .....not accepted for graduate credit;
E .....failure, no credit, valued at no points but counted as hours attempted;
P .....pass, credit valued at no points and no hours attempted;
AU ..audit, no credit;
I ......incomplete, computed as hours attempted and no quality points;
X .....absent from examination, computed as hours attempted and no quality points;
W ....withdrawal, no hours attempted and no quality points;
WP ..withdrawal passing, no hours attempted and no quality points; 
WE ..withdrawal failing, computed as hours attempted and no quality points;
R ....A grade to be used in restricted approved instances in specific approved courses to denote either completion of a course for which credit is deferred until additional course work is completed, or that the course must be repeated. This grade may be given for courses numbered 698, 699, 798, and 799. It will change to a grade of I (or an E at the departmentís discretion) if work has not been completed within two years from the time the R grade is given.

A grade of I (incomplete) means that some relatively small part of the semesterís work remains undone because of sickness or other reason satisfactory to the instructor. This work must be completed during the next semester or summer session in which the student enrolls in the graduate program if credit for the course is to be gained. If these conditions are not met, the grade automatically becomes a failing grade. This procedure is not applicable to incompletes recorded for individual study such as special problems, practicum, research or thesis. 

A grade of X may be changed by special examination within one month (two weeks during the summer term) after the student enrolls in the graduate program if credit for the course is to be gained.

Changes in grades, other than an I or X, must be processed before the end of the semester following the semester in which the grade was recorded. Grade changes will not be allowed after a degree is conferred.

A student who fails to return within one year forfeits the privilege of making up work or taking examinations to earn credit for courses in which a grade of I or X was received.

Grade Change Policy 
Recording of grades. Grades are recorded in the Registrarís Office as reported by the faculty at the end of each term. No grade filed in that office may be changed except upon a written statement signed by the instructor certifying an error has been made.

When an error is made in reporting a grade, the instructor may make the necessary change in the Registrarís Office within the next regular semester following the recording of the grade. A grade will not be changed after a degree is conferred.

The policy concerning the changing of X and I grades is addressed above.

Grade Appeals Policy
Murray State University recognizes that differences of opinion or interpretation may arise between students and faculty members regarding the assignment of course grades. The university urges students first to seek resolution through informal discussion with the appropriate faculty member. The following policy has been adopted as a formal avenue for the resolution of a student grievance or appeal, in the event that such differences cannot be resolved informally. The university recognizes the right of students to present a grievance to an established committee and to have that grievance considered on its merit by an expeditious and orderly process. It should be noted that situations involving academic misconduct should be directed to the University Judicial Board.

Complainant:  one who files a grievance, complaint or appeal within the scope of this policy.
Respondent:  one against whom a grievance is filed.
Days:  counted when classes or exams are scheduled, excluding Saturdays.
Faculty:  all persons, whether full or part-time, who are responsible for, assist in, or administer the instructional program. (See Section 2.1 of the Faculty Handbook for a complete definition.)
Grievance:  a written allegation or complaint that there has been a violation, misinterpretation, or improper application of existing policies, rules, regulations, practices, and/or procedures which a student believes to be unfair, inequitable, or a hindrance to his/her effective performance.

A grievance procedure must be initiated within the first twenty (20) days of the semester immediately following the semester or term during which the incident of grievance is alleged to have occurred, exclusive of summer session. Any special circumstance or request involving the time limitation set forth above will be considered and evaluated by the appropriate academic dean. Documentation of any revision of the time limitation will be included in the grade appeals form.

A faculty member has the responsibility to retain all course material and/or records not left in the studentís possession which contribute to the final course grade. These materials must be kept for the 20-day period of the following semester during which a student may appeal a grade, or in the event of an appeal, until conclusion of the appeal process.

Step 1. Before a formal grievance may be filed with the Academic Appeals Board, the complainant should first seek resolution with the instructor. In the event that the instructor is a teaching assistant, the faculty supervisor should also be present during these discussions.
Step 2. Should the matter not be resolved to the satisfaction of the complainant, informal discussion should be sought with the appropriate department chair. In the event that the chair is the respondent of the grievance, informal discussion will be held with the academic dean.
Step 3. Should the informal discussions as outlined in Steps 1 and 2 not prove satisfactory to the complainant, informal discussion should be sought with the appropriate academic dean, if the dean has not been previously consulted.
Step 4. Once all means of informal resolution on the collegiate level have been exhausted, the complainant should present a completed grade appeals form to the registrar (Registrarís Office) within fifteen (15) days of the initial discussion with the instructor. Grade appeals forms are available in the registrarís office and in the office of each collegiate dean.
Step 5. The registrar shall immediately forward the grade appeals form to the chair of the Academic Appeals Board who in turn will notify the faculty member/respondent that a formal grievance has been filed. The faculty member/respondent will be provided a copy of the completed grade appeals form.
Step 6. The chair of the Academic Appeals Board shall convene that committee within twenty (20) days of the receipt of the grade appeals form. (The Academic Appeals Board is defined in Section of the Faculty Handbook.)  Prior to the hearing, both complainant and respondent may elect to choose an advisor for the purposes of collecting data and/or presenting his/her position to the board. Complainant and respondent have the right to be accompanied by their advisor during any open meeting of the board at which the boardís agenda includes that particular grievance. The board holds the prerogative to call for pertinent testimony from any party involved in the grievance, or any party whom the board believes could clarify the grievance.
Step 7. Unless an extension of time is sought by the board, the written recommendation of the Academic Appeals Board shall be forwarded to the provost for final disposition. Copies of the recommendation shall also be sent to the appropriate academic dean, the complainant, and the respondent, within ten (10) days of the completion of the hearing. Telephone notification to the complainant of the availability of the recommendation shall fulfill the terms of this requirement. The test of the recommendation and all pertinent testimony and gathered data shall be kept in confidence.
NOTE:  If at any point in this process, the student alleges that actions have taken place that may be in violation of Murray State University Non-Discrimination Policies, this process must be suspended and the matter directed to the Office of Equal Opportunity.

Transfer Credit
A maximum of 12 hours may be transferred from a regionally accredited graduate school after a student has been admitted to candidacy. All transfer credit must be approved by the studentís advisor and collegiate graduate coordinator. Departments and colleges may set more restrictive policies concerning the kind and amount of transfer hours they will accept. All transfer credit must have been earned within the eight-year period allowed for the degree. The student must have an overall GPA of 3.00 on graduate work at Murray State University and a grade of B or better in any course that the student wishes to transfer to Murray State University. It is the responsibility of the student to initiate a request for transfer of credit.

ēTransfer Credit to Replace MSU Courses
If a graduate student takes a course at Murray State and chooses to repeat that course at another institution, permission from the studentís graduate advisor and collegiate graduate coordinator must be secured. A course substitution form must be forwarded to Graduate Admissions in Sparks Hall.

Correspondence and Experiential Credit
Murray State University does not grant graduate credit for correspondence courses or for portfolio-based experiential learning.

Challenge Examinations
Murray State University does not grant graduate credit for the completion of a challenge examination or any national testing for credit in any course.

Military Service Credit
Contingent on the approval of the graduate advisor, the college graduate program coordinator, and the vice president for academic affairs, six hours of graduate credit will be accepted toward a masterís degree for completion of U.S. Army Command and General Staff College as recommended by the American Council on Education.

Graduate Degree and Graduate Course Time Limits
All course work used to fulfill masterís degree programs or specialist in education requirements must be completed within the eight-year period prior to awarding the degree, beginning with the date the student initially enrolls in a class for graduate credit. Failure to complete a course in eight years will result in the loss of all credits taken outside of the time limits and the student being unable to continue with the approved program unless an extension is sought and granted. Graduate degree grade point averages are based on the courses listed on the graduate program form and applying to the program being sought. Any courses excluded by the eight-year rule shall not be included in the computation of the grade point average. 
Students may request of their collegiate graduate program coordinator a time extension. Time extensions must be approved by the Graduate Studies Committee of the Academic Council. Extensions are considered on a case-by-case basis.
Grade Point Average Requirement
A candidate for the masterís degree or specialist in education must have a grade point average of 3.0 in all the approved program graduate courses before the degree is conferred. No credit shall be granted for a grade below C. Transfer courses do not count in the grade point average.

A graduate course repeated does not remove the original grade received in the course. In calculating grade point averages, a repeated course shall be considered an additional course.

Masterís Thesis Requirements
Many graduate programs require a thesis for which a maximum of six hours of credit may be earned (consult program curriculum under department). If a thesis is required, the studentís departmental advisor should be consulted early in the first term of graduate study. The advisor will assist the student in choosing a thesis topic, a thesis director, and a thesis committee (to consist of three to five members, including the director).

The thesis title, the thesis director and members of the committee must be approved by the collegiate graduate coordinator who will formally appoint the committee and notify Graduate Admissions.

Students using human subjects in their research must seek approval and follow the guidelines of the MSU Institutional Review Board.

ēThesis Approval
Two weeks prior to the date on which the degree is to be conferred, the original and four copies of the signed thesis are to be submitted in unbound form to Graduate Admissions.

Complete procedural and structural instructions are contained in Guidelines for the Preparation of Masterís Theses, as revised by the Graduate Studies Committee in 1999, and available from the collegiate graduate coordinator. It is the responsibility of the student to secure and comply with these guidelines.

Nationally recognized tests of aptitude are required by some colleges, departments or programs of the university. Test scores may be used for admission, for candidacy, or as a condition of degree completion. Test score requirements for specific degrees will be found in the Graduate Bulletin under the appropriate departmental sections.

Foreign Language Requirement
Students who are required by their departments to demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language may satisfy the requirement in one of the following ways:  
ē by the completion of four semesters of college level study in one language with an average of C or better,
ē by passing the language examination of the Educational Testing Service of Princeton, New Jersey, or 
ē by passing a proficiency examination administered by the Department of Modern Languages.

The native language of a foreign student may be accepted to meet the graduate language requirements if recommended by the studentís advisor and approved by the graduate coordinator of the studentís college.

For those disciplines which permit the substitution of statistics, computer science or a combination thereof for a foreign language, the requirement may be met by the satisfactory completion of two semesters of the permitted substitute courses with grades of C or better. These courses are in addition to the total number of hours required for the degree. A proficiency examination administered by the appropriate department may be accepted in lieu of the required course work.

Summative Evaluation
In addition to completing required courses, students in masterís degree programs will be expected to demonstrate that they have successfully met program standards through summative evaluation procedures administered near the end of the course of study. Murray State University also uses information on student performance gathered in summative evaluations for purposes of program improvement.

Comprehensive Examination
A student should refer to the section containing degree requirements of the studentís graduate program for information regarding the comprehensive examination. 

A student normally takes the comprehensive examination during the semester in which the student graduates; however, a student who has completed 24 hours toward the masterís degree may also elect to take the examination.

An application for the comprehensive examination must be filed in Graduate Admissions during the first three weeks of the semester in which the student plans to take the examination.

The comprehensive examination is usually administered three weeks prior to the conclusion of the semester.

Application for Degree
Application for the degree should be made and the degree fee paid during the first three weeks of the semester in which the student expects to graduate. If a student does not graduate after making application, the student must reapply for the degree. Degree applications are available in Graduate Admissions. Refer to the Other Costs section in Chapter 2 for charges.

Second Masterís Degree
Students desiring to pursue a second masterís degree at Murray State University shall have completed all requirements for a previous masterís degree at Murray State University or another accredited university. In general, the same basic requirements for general admission, admission to candidacy, and other conditions previously stated in this catalog relative to a masterís degree are also applicable to a second masterís degree with the  following exceptions:

1. A maximum of nine semester hours of completed graduate work from a previous masterís degree may be applied toward the second degree if the courses are appropriate for the degree and are approved by the department and if they fall within the eight-year time limit for completion of the masterís degree.

2. If the second masterís degree involves certification, all requirements for the certificate must be met prior to the completion of the degree.

Candidates for a second masterís degree must file an application for admission to graduate school and identify their subsequent program prior to registration for additional coursework. The student must then contact the advisor assigned from the department offering the subsequent program and plan a complete program of studies. Individual programs have specific requirements which must be met before pursuing a subsequent masterís degree. Normally, any deficiencies in preparation for a subsequent masterís degree must be resolved during the first semester of enrollment.

Transcripts will be released at the written request of the student and in conformity with existing state and federal statutes pertaining to the release of student academic records. There is a fee for this service.

The official academic record is the property of the university. Consequently, the university reserves the right to withhold the release of a transcript of that record if the student has an obligation to the university, and reserve the right to maintain the information contained in the permanent record according to established practice and in compliance with state and federal laws.

Documents received from third parties (including high school and college transcripts, test scores, etc.) are the property of Murray State University. These documents cannot be released by Murray State to other institutions or agencies nor can they be returned to the student. Students needing to send high school transcripts, other school transcripts, test scores, etc., should contact the original source. 

Name and Address Changes
After registration, a student who has a name or address change is expected to notify the Registrarís Office in writing, and will be held responsible for any communication from university offices sent to the address last given, and may not claim indulgence on the plea of having changed lodgings or name and therefore of not having received the communication. The original demographic information from the studentís initial admission to the university remains on the transcript, and any approved changes are added to the permanent record when the proper legal documents are presented to the Registrarís Office.

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