The following academic policies guide decision-making of the Office of Graduate Studies. These policies establish minimum standards and qualifications, which program concentrations may exceed. Please refer to each program concentration for additional policies. Policies 1.0 through 5.0 are oriented toward the institution and faculty. Policies 6.0 through 9.0 are oriented toward the graduate student. Policy 10.0 on due process exists for instances when one wishes to appeal a decision based on these policies. The Graduate Council will review and make recommendations for modification in these policies when appropriate.
1.0 Graduate Faculty and Graduate Council
2.0 Program and course adoption, assessment, revision, termination
3.0 Course numbering
4.0 Course grades
5.0 Course credit
6.0 Admission requirements
7.0 Student admission categories
9.0 Academic standards: credit, grades, degree, graduation
10.0 Due Process
11.0 Scholarship applications and processes
12.0 Graduate Assistant Tuition Waiver Policy
1.1.1 Graduate Faculty includes faculty or staff with full graduate status (voting), administrator of Graduate Studies and Research (voting), faculty holding associate graduate faculty status (non-voting), and the Vice President for Academic Affairs (non-voting).
1.1.2 The Office of Graduate Studies and Research will schedule meetings once fall and spring semester and/or as needed, and distribute the agenda one week prior to any meeting. All members may recommend items for the agenda and participate in discussion. Voting members shall make decisions. The members in attendance at the meeting shall constitute a quorum. A simple majority vote of those in attendance is necessary for action on a motion.
1.1.3 the unit Graduate Council represents Graduate Faculty members.
1.2.1 The Graduate Council shall include the following voting graduate faculty members: two from education, one from each program concentration, and two from the graduate faculty-at-large members. The Administrator of Graduate Studies and Research shall serve as chair, vote only in case of a tie, and prepare the agenda for council meetings. The Vice President for Academic Affairs shall serve as a non-voting member.
1.2.2 The Graduate Council chair, in consultation with the Vice President for Academic Affairs, shall appoint all members for the Council except the two graduate faculty-at-large. The Graduate Council chair shall receive nominations from the graduate faculty for the two graduate faculty-at-large members and submit nominations to the Faculty Senate for a vote.
1.2.3 In the event that a member cannot complete a term, the regular process of appointment or nomination and election shall serve to replace that person. Members may serve multiple consecutive terms.
1.2.4 The Graduate Council derives its powers from the Constitution of the Valley City State University Faculty Association. Policies of the Faculty Association Constitution and Graduate Council regulate all matters affecting graduate education.
Graduate Council is the graduate unit policymaking body.
1.2.5 Purpose of Graduate Council is to promote graduate education at VCSU. To this end, the Graduate Council will promote graduate education at Valley City State University; recommend addition or termination of courses and program concentrations, determine standards and policies for selection and evaluation of graduate faculty and graduate instruction; determine standards and policies for selection, retention, and graduation of graduate students; act upon appeal by petition of graduate standards and policies by faculty and students; and assure uniform application of the standards and policies.
1.3.1 Graduate faculty status recognizes a faculty member's teaching and research qualifications that enable him or her to conduct graduate level instruction and to supervise and direct graduate student research and scholarship. The expectation is that graduate faculty members shall contribute to the advancement of knowledge, the practice of teaching, and service to the institution and discipline. There are two levels of graduate faculty status: Full and Associate.
1.3.2. Full graduate faculty status may be granted to full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty or staff members holding a doctoral degree, or another degree nationally recognized as the terminal degree in that discipline. In addition to academic preparation, faculty holding full graduate faculty status shall demonstrate a record of ongoing scholarly activity. Full members of the graduate faculty may teach graduate courses in their areas of specialization, be assigned as advisors to graduate students, serve on graduate and student committees, chair student capstone committees, and participate as voting members of the graduate faculty.
1.3.3 Associate graduate faculty status may be granted:
Associate members of the graduate faculty may include, but are not limited to, visiting instructors or adjuncts. Associate members of the graduate faculty may teach graduate courses in their degree or specialized areas of expertise, advise graduate students, serve on student committees, and participate as non-voting members of the graduate faculty. Associate members who chair student committees must have another committee member with Full status who agrees to serve as administrative co-chair.
1.4.1 Approval procedures for Full and Associate graduate faculty include
1.4.2 Graduate faculty are evaluated through the campus process required of all faculty. Faculty evaluation is the responsibility of the faculty member's unit administrator. This administrator recommends initial appointment to graduate faculty status and monitors continued faculty adherence to the criteria (See 1.3). The unit administrator for graduate faculty will submit to the Administrator of the Office of Graduate Studies and Research an evaluation with a recommendation for continuance or discontinuance in graduate faculty status. Course evaluation is the responsibility of the Office of Graduate Studies and will be conducted for all courses.
1.4.3 Faculty members may appeal decisions on their status through the process described in the Constitution of the Faculty Association procedures for conflict resolution as stated in Article XI Section A of the Constitution of the Faculty Association.
Continuous updating of graduate curricula is essential to maintaining a high quality program. The curricular modification process from academic division/school, graduate council, curriculum committee, faculty senate, and if necessary, SBHE, ESPB, and HLC will be followed.
Structured curriculum, which results in new options, certificates, concentrations, or degrees, is subject to review and approval. The academic unit sponsoring the program prepares a Program Request addressing objectives, relation to unit and university mission, population served, admission requirements, course requirements, impact on degree programs, and start date.
2.1.1 The academic unit sponsoring the program reviews the request. If the program involves courses from two or more divisions/schools, all academic units involved must review and approve the program.
2.1.2 The Office of Graduate Studies and Research presents the program request to the Graduate Council and Curriculum Committee, which may seek additional or related information if helpful for its review. If both approve the program request, it will be referred to Faculty Senate for final approval. If the proposal is not approved, it will be returned to the sponsoring unit. If a program requires approval of external organizations the academic unit and the Office of Graduate Studies and Research will prepare and submit necessary materials.
Faculty need to update courses as changes in the field necessitate. Program needs change over time. Faculty need to continuously assess program content, structure, and continued viability. The assessment may lead to revision, or termination of a course, program part, or program. Initiation of action may be by graduate faculty, division chair/dean or Office of the Graduate Studies and Research. The Office of Graduate Studies will refer revisions to the Graduate Council and Curriculum Committee, which may seek additional or related information helpful to their reviews. If both approve the proposal, it will be referred to Faculty Senate for final approval based on majority vote.
601-699 and 701-799 are reserved for master's level course work and enrollment is restricted to graduate students.
A - Excellent, 4 honor points per credit hour
B - Above average, 3 honor points per credit hour
C - Average, 2 honor points per credit hour
D - Below average, 1 honor point per credit hour
F - Failing, 0 honor point per credit hour, grade/course no acceptable toward graduation
I - Incomplete, not computed into grade point average until final grade awarded
W - No grade, student withdrew
S - Successfully completed
U - Unsuccessful attempt
AU - Audit
5.1 Course credit is credit granted toward meeting prerequisite or required program course requirements for courses successfully completed at VCSU.
5.2 Transfer course credit is credit toward meeting prerequisite or required program course requirements for courses take at another regionally accredited institution.
The following must be submitted by degree seeking applicant:
All application materials must be received at least 30 days before classes begin for the fall, spring, and summer terms.
Two classes of graduate certificates can be distinguished:
6.2a.1 Certificate awarded with a Master’s Degree requires no additional admission procedures. Admission to the graduate program admits the student to the certificate. Certificates of this type much be applied for prior to or at the time of degree completion.
6.2a.2 Certificate awarded independent of a graduate degree
Admission into the Graduate Certificate program does not guarantee admission into a graduate degree program nor imply the waiver of any requirements for admission in to a graduate degree program (6.1a). Certificate students may only take courses restricted to the certificate program.
The following must be submitted by certificate seeking applicant:
6.2b.1 Certificate applied for with a Master's degree requires no other qualifications other than admission into the Graduate degree program.
6.2b.2 Certificate applied for independent of a Graduate Degree
A certificate seeking applicant must meet the following qualifications:
Non-degree seeking applicants must submit the following:
6.4.1 Canadian Students - Canadian students follow 6.0 Admission Requirements
6.4.2 In addition to all other required admission materials, the following must also be completed:
The decision of admission to graduate student status at VCSU is made by the Administrator of Graduate Studies and Research in consultation with faculty of the program concentration to which the student applies. Application should be made to the VCSU's Office of Graduate Studies and Research. See Page 10, Figure 2.
The student may be admitted under one of the following admission categories:
7.2 Full Admission
After the required official documents have been received, evaluated, and a determination that the applicant has met all admission requirements as stipulated by the program concentration will this status be granted by the Office of the Graduate Studies and Research.
7.2.1 Concentration faculty makes recommendations on all applications, and the final admission decision is the responsibility of the Office of Graduate Studies and Research.
7.2.2 Full Admission may be granted only to degree or certificate seeking students.
7.3 Provisional Admission
Students are admitted with provisional status when all requirements for admission are not met, or their GPA is below 3.0 but other materials show potential. Applicants with a GPA below 3.0 must submit scores from at least one examination such as the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), the Millers Analogies Test (MAT), the Praxis II - Principles of Learning and Teaching, or National Teaching Board for Professional Standards. Scores will be used to assess students' previous educational achievement levels and to evaluate their potential for meeting the demands of coursework at the graduate level.
7.4 Non-Degree Admission
Individuals who desire to pursue study beyond the baccalaureate degree for professional growth and improvement of skills but not to work toward an advanced degree objective may be admitted as non-degree graduate students under the following conditions:
7.4.1 Students in this category are affiliate with The Office of Graduate Studies and Research and not a program concentration. Courses taken under the non-degree status do not guarantee admission into a graduate program. No more than nine (9) 601-699 and 701-799 credits may be taken under the Non-Degree status. Professional development graduate courses (numbered 700) are not eligible for graduate degree programs, may be taken without formal admission to VCSU, and are not limited to nine (9) credits.
7.4.2 Students enrolled with Non-Degree status may subsequently desire to be considered for admission to Graduate Studies to pursue an advanced degree. Such a change in status may be accomplished for subsequent term submitting a new application to The Office of Graduate Studies and Research as a degree-seeking student and completion of all other requirements. No more than nine (9) credits earned in the non-degree status may be used to fulfill graduate degree requirements if approved by graduate faculty from a program concentration, the Chair/Dean of the division, and the Office of Graduate Studies and Research.
8.1 A student shall be permitted to register for graduate study only after formal admission.
8.2 The student is responsible for adhering to all dates established by the Registrar such as adding courses, dropping courses, paying tuition and fees, and withdrawing from course.
8.3 It is the student's responsibility to inform the Registrar, Office of Graduate Studies and Research, and advisor of any changes in student information or intentions.
8.4 Student enrolled in at least nine (9) graduate credit hours in fall, spring, or summer terms are classified as full-time students. Part-time is considered anything less than stated previously. Students enrolled in five (5) graduate credit hours in fall, spring, or summer terms are classified as half-time students.
8.5 Program concentrations may set minimum course credit requirements for their graduate students so as to maintain academic standards and expected progress toward degree requirements.
Once admitted the student is expected to maintain a high level of academic achievement and a strong continuous connection to his/her adviser, other students, and the program of study. The following policies support this goal. Any deviation must be appealed by a petition submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies and Research.
9.1.1 The maximum per semester credit limit for a graduate student is 12 semester hours for fall, spring, and summer terms. Minimum per semester credit required is one semester hour.
9.1.2 Once admitted, students may petition for transfer of graduate credit earned at another regionally accredited institution. The course work must conform to the time limits and grade expectations for course work counted toward the degree at VCSU. The petition is submitted to the adviser and Office of Graduate studies and Research that will process the petition.
9.1.3 Credit counted toward the degree from VCSU through transfer with a grade of B or better from other regionally accredited institutions may not exceed nine (9) credits required for the degree or three (3) credits required for a certificate.
9.1.4 Credit counted toward the degree from VCSU must be completed within a seven (7) year time limit. The time begins with the beginning of the semester when first course counted toward the degree is completed to the end of the semester when the last course counted toward the degree is completed.
9.1.5 Credit counted toward the degree from VCSU must have been earned from a U.S. or Canadian institution accredited to offer graduate courses and degrees. (Credits from international institutions can be transferred only if approved by a departmental committee.)
9.1.6 Credit counted toward the degree from VCSU must be graduate level.
9.1.7 Credit counted toward the degree from VCSU must not be continuing education, correspondence, and extension, workshop, or Pass/Fail Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory courses.
9.1.8 Credit counted toward the degree from VCSU must not have been used to fulfill the requirements of a baccalaureate degree.
9.2.1 All enrolled students pursuing a Master's degree will maintain continuous enrollment from matriculation until completion of all degree requirements. Continuous enrollment is defined as registration during each semester (fall, spring, and summer) of the academic year until the degree is attained or until status as a degree-seeking graduate student is terminated through an official University withdrawal.
9.2.2 With continuous enrollment, graduate students will have "active" status until the degree is conferred and have the option of continuous access to University services and resources - such as financial aid, advisor assistance, and information resources - throughout their graduate careers. Continuous enrollment credit does not count toward graduation requirements.
9.2.3 Minimum registration: Unless on approved Leave of Absence (see 9.3), a student must be enrolled in a minimum of one semester hour each semester until his/her degree is granted or the student's status as a degree seeking student is terminated.
9.3.1 On-leave status is available to students who need to suspend their program of study. On-leave status is granted in cases where the student demonstrates good cause (e.g. illness, temporary departure from the University for employment, military service, family issues, financial need, personal circumstances). A graduate student may request a maximum of three academic terms of leave including summer semester during the course of study for the degree. The time spent in approved on-leave status will be included in the seven-year time limit for completing requirements to the master's degree.
9.3.2 A student with approved on-leave status is not required to pay tuition or fees or register for the one credit of continuous enrollment. On-leave status does not provide the student with University resources. Approval of the advisor, program administrator, and the administrator for the Office of Graduate Studies and Research are required.
9.3.3 A student who does not enroll in a minimum of one semester hour or apply for and receive on-leave status fails to maintain continuous enrollment. Failing to maintain continuous enrollment through minimum credit registration or the on-leave status will cause the student to relinquish his or her graduate standing in the University.
A student who wishes to have graduate standing reinstated will be required to file a Graduate Readmission form and pay any fees required. Acceptance back into the graduate program is not guaranteed. The reinstatement procedures are dictated by the period of absence from enrollment.
9.4.1 Six semesters or less (including summer): The student completes the Returning Student Application, and if approved, must pay any fees required before reinstatement.
9.4.2 More than six semesters (including summers): The student is considered a new applicant, and new supporting materials and fees are required. The applicable standards are those in effect when the student applies for readmission. Coursework more than seven years old is not counted toward a graduate degree.
9.5.1 The following letter grades, quality level and points are used to calculate grade point averages. All quarter credit hours are converted to semester hours when calculating grade point averages:
Table not available - Please contact Administrator
9.5.2 Graduate students must maintain an overall graduate GPA of 3.0. A student falling below this minimum after nine (9) semester hours will be placed on academic probation and assigned Provisional status.
9.5.3 Graduate students placed on academic probation and assigned Provisional status must raise their overall GPA to at least a 3.0 within the next nine (9) graduate credit hours taken, if not the student will be dismissed from the program/institution.
9.5.4 The minimum passing grade for graduate credit is a 'C'. No more than six (6) semester hours of 'C' graded credit may be applied toward the degree.
9.5.5 'D' graded graduate credit may not be applied toward the degree.
9.5.6 Any course previously taken for which the grade received was below a 'B' may be repeated once. All repeats will be recorded along with the initial attempt. If a course is repeated, the second grade is used to determine grade point average. A student who fails in the first course of sequence cannot take the following courses in that sequence until the course has been completed with a passing grade.
9.5.7 Continuation in the program of study may be denied at any time during the program by not maintaining the University standard of scholarship, including academic integrity, and/or continuous enrollment.
9.8.8 Only two (2) graduate courses, prerequisite and/or required, may be repeated to satisfy completion of the degree.
9.5.9 The grade of "incomplete" may be negotiated with an instructor when the student has failed to meet a specific and important requirement in the course but has in other respects done passing work for the semester. The grade of incomplete must be removed during the regular semester following the term in which it was reported. If the deficiency is not made up within the specified time, the incomplete will revert to the grade earned at the time the incomplete was negotiated. An extension on the incomplete may be requested by the faculty member.
9.6.1 The graduate degree is a defined program of courses, research, or practice offered by a department, division, or multiple units that focuses on a field of study. Any deviation from the courses, research or practice must be appealed by petition through the adviser and the Office of Graduate Studies and Research and acted on by the Graduate Council.
9.6.2 All graduate degrees must require a minimum of 32 semester hours of graded courses, research, or practice.
9.6.3 All courses, research, or practice applied toward the degree must be completed within seven (7) years. The time begins with the beginning of the semester when first course counted toward the degree is completed to the end of the semester when the last course counted toward the degree is completed.
9.6.4 It is VCSU's responsibility to inform active and potential students of changes to the degree requirements. Students must be given sufficient notification so as to allow them to finish their program requirements. When this is not possible substitutions must be provided.
9.6.5 A student may complete more than one concentration in the Master of Education degree if the following are met:
9.7.1 Graduation requirements are as follows:
18.104.22.168 Student must apply for graduation according to the dates established by VCSU. (See graduate catalog)
22.214.171.124 Student must successfully complete a minimum of 32 graduate semester hours in an approved plan of study to be eligible for graduation.
126.96.36.199 Student may not transfer more than nine (9) semester hours required for degree.
188.8.131.52 Student must complete the degree requirements as specified by the program.
184.108.40.206 Student must attain a minimum overall graduate grade point average of 3.0 with no more than two (2) course repeats. No course may be repeated more than once.
220.127.116.11 The time elapsed from the beginning of the first course applied toward degree requirements to the degree awarded date will not exceed seven (7) years.
18.104.22.168 Students must successfully complete a final comprehensive portfolio, and other program concentration requirements.
10.1 Faculty may appeal graduate policy decisions through the existing VCSU and SBHE policy and procedures.
10.2 Applicants to a graduate academic program may appeal decisions on their admission status by petition. The petition will be obtained from the Office of Graduate Studies and Research. The Office of Graduate Studies and Research will process the petition with the Graduate Council and notify the applicant of the result in a timely manner.
10.3 A graduate student may appeal a graduate policy by petition. The petition will be obtained from the Office of Graduate Studies and Research and be submitted through the advisor. The Office of Graduate Studies and Research will process the petition with the Graduate Council and notify the petitioner of the result in a timely manner.
11.1 Don Mugan Distinguished Scholars Award
11.1.1 Purpose of the Award: To acknowledge exemplary achievement of candidates enroll in the Master of Education program at Valley City State University.
11.1.2 Eligibility Criteria: For Award consideration, a candidate will have;
11.1.3 Process of Naming Recipients
12.0 Graduate Assistant Tuition Waiver Policy
Graduate students may apply for graduate assistant tuition waivers during semesters they are actively participating in the graduate assistant program. The application for tuition waivers can be obtained through the VCSU Business Office. The dollar value of tuition to be waived is based on historical data adjusted for annual increases in tuition.
12.1 Key points of the tuition waiver policy are as follows:
12.1.1 Tuition waivers will be awarded independently of stipends. A student may receive a stipend, a Tuition Waiver, or both. Graduate Assistants receiving a stipend may or may not receive a waiver.
12.1.2 Tuition waivers will be awarded in dollar equivalents and may reflect a fraction of total tuition. (Dollar amount waived = credit hours x tuition rate by residency)
12.1.3 Allocation of waiver funds is at the VP of Business Affairs discretion. (The Director of Graduate Studies will determine the number of graduate assistantships available based on funding).
12.1.4 A student may not receive tuition waivers for more than the number of credits in their approved Program of Study.
12.1.5 In any one semester, the maximum dollar value of tuition waived may not exceed the total tuition billed.
12.1.6 Students receiving Graduate Assistantships must not enroll in more than 6 credits per semester (Fall, Spring, and Summer).
Only students in “Approved” or Qualified” status are eligible for Tuition Waivers.
Students in their last semester who have more than 6 credits remaining on their program of study may petition the Graduate School for an exemption to this requirement. Continuous enrollment credits used in accordance with the Graduate School cannot be used with tuition waivers.
12.1.7 Students receiving graduate assistantships will be notified of the amount of their tuition waiver in their appointment letter.
13.0 Master of Arts in Teaching Credit by Challenge Policy
Credit for courses in the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree may be granted through a credit by challenge process. Currently enrolled, degree-seeking MAT students may apply to establish challenge credit for approved education courses already completed at the undergraduate level. Some courses (e.g. special topics or independent study) may not be challenged. Credit by challenge will be posted as a grade, but cannot exceed the grade of the course being used for the challenge process.
13.1 Key points of the credit by challenge policy are as follows:
13.1.1 A Petition for Course Challenge form, obtained from the Office of Graduate Studies, must be completed by the student, Director of Graduate Studies, and the Dean of Education.
13.1.2 Approved undergraduate courses for credit by challenge must be part of the VCSU secondary professional education sequence.
13.1.3 The fee for challenge credit is equal to the difference between graduate and undergraduate tuition for the two courses. If the petition is approved, the student must make payment in full before the credits are applied to the transcript.
13.1.4 No more than 15 challenge credits can be approved in the Master of Arts in Teaching program. All challenge credits must be a “B” grade or better.
13.1.5 Additional research, field experiences, and/or portfolio documentation will be required for any course being challenged.
Sponsored by: The Graduate Council & Faculty Senate
Effective: May 2005
Revised: July 2011
Revised: January 2012
Revised: Spring 2014
Revised: May 2015
Revised: October 2016