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Graduate School

Graduate School Policies and Regulations

Graduate students are responsible for becoming familiar with the various requirements of graduate study that are applicable and to satisfy them accordingly. The University reserves the right to change the requirements regarding admission and to drop, add, or change the arrangement of courses, curricula, requirements for retention, graduation, degrees, and other regulations of the Graduate School. Such regulations shall be effective whenever determined by the appropriate faculty and administrative bodies. See website addenda. They may govern both current and new students. In addition, fees, expenses, and other items may change dependent upon departmental, university, or system regulations or policy. Contact the MSU Graduate School for the most current updates.

The following policies constitute minimum requirements of the Graduate School. Additional department or program requirements may apply.

Credits The University is on a semester system. The semester hour is the unit of credit used at MSU. For graduate work, nine (9) semester hours is considered full-time load in fall and spring and six (6) semester hours is considered a full-time load for summer.

Transcripts
Unofficial Transcripts Available on the Web

Current students and students enrolled at MSU since fall 2003 can acquire unofficial transcripts online, at no charge, using CampusConnection.

*MSU Graduates—The Graduate School will secure a copy of the most recent transcript on your behalf.

All Non-MSU Graduates—request institution send official transcript directly to the MSU Graduate School.

Changes of Name/Address/Phone Number
Students are required to advise the University in writing of any changes of name, address or phone number. Information should be updated using CampusConnection/Maintain Personal Data. Forms are also available from either the Registrarís Office or online at www.minotstateu.edu/records. Concerns about release of directory information may also be directed to the Registrarís Office.

Restricted Directory
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) designates certain information related to you as "Directory Information." Students may request to prevent the release of directory information to third party individuals by notifying the MSU Registrarís Office or completing the Student Rights to Privacy form at the Registrarís Office website. Failure to notify the Registrarís Office as outlined above indicates implied consent to release directory information. Minot State University has identified the following as directory information:

Student Directory Information
Annual Notification of Rights under FERPA

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. These rights include the following:

  1. The right to inspect and review the studentís education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access. Students should submit to the Registrar, Dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate official, written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The University official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the University official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
  2. The right to request the amendment of the studentís education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading. Students may ask the University to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the University official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the University decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the University will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his/her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
  3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the studentís education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. School officials are those members of an institution who act in the studentís educational interest within the limitations of their "need to know." These may include faculty, administration, clerical and professional employees and other persons who manage student education record information including student employees or agents. Examples of a school official may include a person—
      employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff);
    1. or company with whom the University has contracted, eg. attorney, auditor, collection agency;
    2. serving on an institutional governing board;
    3. or student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his/her tasks.
  4. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his/her professional responsibility. A school official is defined as those members of an institution who act in the studentís educational interest within the limitations of their "need to know." These may include faculty, administration, clerical and professional employees and other persons who manage student education record information including student employees or agents. Upon request, the University discloses education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
  5. The right to refuse to permit the designation of all of the following categories of personally identifiable information as "directory information,"
  6. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Minot State University to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is:
    • Family Policy Compliance Office
      U.S. Department of Education
      400 Maryland Avenue SW
      Washington DC 20202-4605

A copy of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 is on file and available for inspection at the following campus locations:

Library
Placement Office
Academic School Offices
Registrarís Office
Director of Student Life
V.P. of Student Affairs
Student Association
Student Development Center

Course Numbering System
Courses numbered 501 and greater are restricted to students who hold a baccalaureate degree or undergraduate seniors based on the non-degree policy.

Any course numbered 500, regardless of prefix, is designed for a workshop and is offered for satisfactory/unsatisfactory credit. This type of credit may not be applied to an advanced degree at Minot State University.

The following course numbers are reserved: 589 Continuing Enrollment; 590 Seminar; 592 Special Topics, 597 Independent Study; 598 Project; and 599 Thesis. These course numbers permit courses which may better fit the needs and desires of students without having to offer them on a yearly basis.

Grading
Grades are reported in letter symbols, each of which carries a value in honor points per credit hour attempted. The honor points are used to evaluate a studentís scholarship record. MSU graduate programs do not allow for the awarding of the letter "D" as a grade.

Grade Significance Honor Points Other Symbols
A Above Average 4 W-Withdrew
Au-Audit
X-In Progress
P-Pass
I-Incomplete
NC-No Credit
S-Satisfactory
NR-No Report
U-Unsatisfactory
#-Course Repeated
B Average 3
C Below Average 2
F Failure (no credit) 0

Grades are processed at the end of each term. Students may access their grades through the web approximately one week following the close of the term. Discrepancies on transcripts must be brought to the attention of the Registrarís Office within one year of the term in question.

Incompletes
An incomplete grade may be requested by a student who has been in attendance, has done satisfactory work (C or better) during the term, and whose work is incomplete for reasons found to be satisfactory to the instructor. A Graduate School Course Completion Agreement detailing the work to be completed and expected completion date must be signed and dated by both the student and instructor. The original copy of the agreement must be submitted to the Registrarís Office by the grade submission deadline. A copy of the agreement should be retained by the instructor and student. A copy of the agreement should also be forwarded to the Graduate School. If a grade change is not received by the Registrarís Office prior to the 60th calendar day following the date the original grade was due, the "I" grade will be automatically changed to the official grade as assigned on the agreement. Extensions will only be considered due to extenuating circumstances. A full explanation in writing from the student AND faculty member involved, approved by the program director and department chairperson, must be approved by the Graduate Dean one week prior to the completion date deadline for consideration. A new course completion agreement must accompany the extension request.

Active Status
In order to maintain active status, graduate students must register in the Graduate School every consecutive semester (fall, spring, summer). Maintaining active status is critical and is required in order to participate in the university community as a graduate student.

Leave of Absence: Students who are completing course work (excluding thesis, project, and capstone courses) and plan to be inactive for a period of time not to exceed a full calendar year are encouraged to file a Leave of Absence in the Graduate School. Submission of this form provides a means for the Graduate School to track studentsí progress and term activate students after the period of absence so they may register for the upcoming semester. Students who have begun their final requirement and have an in-progress grade (X) may only apply for a Leave of Absence in the case of extenuating circumstances. In such cases, the Leave of Absence must be accompanied by a letter to the dean of the Graduate School explaining the circumstances; this type of Leave will be approved for one semester at a time.

Request for Term Activation: Students who are inactive in graduate course work for one or two consecutive semesters and have not filed a Leave of Absence are eligible to file a Request for Term Activation. This option is not available for students who have registered for their final requirement (thesis, project, capstone course).

Application for Re-Admission: Admitted students who wish to return to graduate study after having been inactive for three or more consecutive semesters (without filing a Leave of Absence) should submit an Application for Re-admission in the Graduate School. Accompanying the Application for Readmission should be official transcripts showing additional graduate courses taken from other institutions of higher education while inactive at MSU and an updated Statement of Purpose describing their plans for completing the degree if re-admitted. Re-admission must be approved by both the program and the dean of the Graduate School.

Continuing Enrollment Policy
Students who have completed all necessary course work for their degree and who have registered for their thesis, project, or capstone course but have not completed this final requirement during the semester of registration must register for 589, Continuing Enrollment, each additional and consecutive semester, including summer, while they are completing their final requirement. Continuing Enrollment allows students to continue their active status and maintain access to university faculty and facilities as they complete their work. A fee of $100 will be assessed each semester (including summer) for registration in 589, Continuing Enrollment. Students who fail to register for Continuing Enrollment as required will be considered non-retained in their graduate program. Non-retained students may appeal their status by following the Status Appeals Process.

Cumulative Grade Point Average and Course Failures
In order to be retained in the Graduate School, an admitted graduate student must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 in all 500 level coursework that applies toward the degree. The academic standing of all graduate students will be reviewed at the end of each term.

A student who has attempted fewer than 12 credits and has a cumulative GPA below 3.00 will be placed on academic probation until either a) 12 graduate credits have been attempted or b) the GPA is raised to 3.00, whichever comes first. The student will be dismissed from the Graduate School if 12 credits have been attempted, and the GPA is not 3.00 or higher.

A student who has attempted 12 or more credits, and has a cumulative GPA below 3.00 will be placed on academic probation through the end of the next enrolled semester. If at the end of the next enrolled semester, the GPA is not 3.00 or above, the student will be dismissed from the Graduate School.

A student with a failing grade (F) in a graduate class within his/ her program of study will be placed on academic probation until the failed class is repeated and/or a new grade is assigned as long as the student maintains the required 3.00 GPA. The course must be repeated the next semester it is offered. Exceptions to this schedule must be approved by the Program Director and the Graduate Dean. If a failed grade is not changed by the end of two calendar years from the date the grade is assigned, the student will be dismissed from the Graduate School.

A student with a failing grade (F) in a graduate class within his/ her program of study and a GPA of less than 3.00 will be placed on academic probation through the end of the next enrolled semester. If the GPA is not 3.00 or higher by the end of the next enrolled semester, the student will be dismissed.

At no time will a graduate student be allowed to carry more than two failed courses on his/her transcript. A student with more than two failed courses on his/her transcript will be dismissed from the Graduate School immediately.

See specific academic programs for additional or more stringent retention requirements.

Academic probation will be recorded on a studentís unofficial transcript only.

Repeating Courses
No courses with a grade less than a "C" may count toward a graduate degree requirement. If a student receives a grade of "C", that course may be repeated. Both enrollments will be recorded on the studentís official transcript with the second final grade used in calculating the grade point average. Graduate courses may only be repeated once.

Time Requirement The maximum limit for completion of a graduate degree program is seven (7) years. This is calculated from the date the student first enrolls in course work that is required for the graduate degree. Should any of the course work (resident or transfer) exceed the time limit, the classes must be revalidated or repeated in order to be counted toward the degree.

Extensions beyond the seven-year limit may be granted in extreme instances. The reason for the extension must be presented in writing to the Graduate School. The studentís Graduate Committee, Department Chairperson, and the Dean of the Graduate School must approve the extension.

Change in Registration
PROGRAM CHANGE
—Each student is responsible for the program of study that has been approved by the advisor and submitted to the Graduate School. A change in a studentís program is made only with the approval of the advisor, department chair, and on proper forms filed with the Graduate School.

ADDING AND DROPPING A GRADUATE CLASS—The dates for adding and dropping graduate classes are printed in the calendar portion of this catalog and are consistent with the dates for adding and dropping undergraduate classes.

HARDSHIP WITHDRAWAL FROM A CLASS—After the drop period, special consideration may be given to hardship cases if recommended as such by the instructor, department/ division chairperson, college dean, and the Dean of the Graduate School.

WITHDRAWAL FROM THE UNIVERSITY—A student who finds it necessary to withdraw from the University before the end of the term must complete a withdrawal form with the Financial Aid Office. A letter must also be addressed to the Graduate School and the advisor stating the reason for withdrawal. Failure to follow the regular procedure will result in the student receiving an "F" in the courses for which he/she was registered. A student is not permitted to withdraw from the University during the last three weeks of a semester or the last two weeks of a summer session except in the case of an extreme emergency.

AUDITOR—An auditor is one who attends class as a listener without the privilege of participating in the regular class work. An auditor may participate in class activities at the discretion of the instructor. No credit is awarded for an audited class and an auditor may not later establish credit in the class by taking a special examination. A student may change his/her status in a course from "credit" to "audit" up through the final drop date of the term. This must be done on the proper form available at the Registrarís Office. An auditor must meet admission requirements for the Graduate School. Application blanks for auditing may be obtained from the Registrarís Office. The student must pay one-half of the normal tuition to audit the course.

TRANSFER OF CREDIT—A student may request to transfer a maximum of nine (9) semester hours of graduate credit into a program of study, provided that an "A" or "B" was recorded for each course. The hours must have been earned at a regionally accredited institution. Transfer credits will not be accepted if the work was earned more than seven years prior to the date the student expects to complete the graduate degree.

A student must complete a "Request to Transfer Credit to a Degree Program" form. The transfer of credit must be recommended by the studentís advisor and chairperson, and approved by the Dean of the Graduate School. Transfer work is not used in the calculation of cumulative grade point average.

INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD (IRB)—Research involving human subjects must have IRB approval prior to implementation. A student should seek IRB approval after gaining the committeeís approval of his/her research proposal. When approval is obtained and prior to the beginning of the research, the Chair of the IRB will sign the research proposal form and send the original approval letter to the researcher. IRB forms are accessible from the Graduate School website.

HUMAN SUBJECTS RESEARCH IN MINOT PUBLIC SCHOOLS—Researchers studying personnel or students in the Minot School District, must also complete an IRB research protocol contained in the document entitled, "Agreement Between Minot State University and the Minot Public School District Jointly Conducted Research." The research protocol, which is part of the IRB material, must be approved by Minot State Universityís Institutional Review Board and signed by the IRB chair and the Superintendent of the Minot School District prior to implementation of the research.

GRADUATE GRADE APPEAL PROCESS—The evaluation of student performance is recorded on the studentís University transcript as part of the studentís permanent record. The grade is determined by the faculty member responsible for the course and is based upon factors related to achievement of the course objectives. The course grade is considered final unless an appropriate appeal is filed by the student. For the student who is dissatisfied with a grade and has a reason to believe the grade issued is incorrect, the following appeal procedure is provided by the Graduate School and the University.

Level 1: Within the following term, the student shall confer with the instructor who issued the grade and outline the reasons why he or she believes the grade is incorrect. (If the faculty member is unavailable, the student is expected to contact the Program Director, Department Chairperson, or Dean of the Graduate School within this same time period.) Following the student-faculty conference, the instructor shall advise the student of the outcome of the course grade review within 14 days in writing and shall process a grade change if appropriate.

Level 2: If the student still considers the grade to be incorrect, the student may formally appeal the grade within two weeks after receiving the faculty response letter from Level 1. The student may request in writing that the Program Director and Department Chairperson review all the data from Level 1 and any additional information deemed pertinent by the student and/or faculty member and make a decision regarding the appeal. The Program Director and Department Chairperson must respond in writing to the student involved, the faculty member, and the Dean of the Graduate School within two weeks regarding the chairís decision on the appeal.

Level 3: The student may continue the appeals process by requesting in writing that the Dean of the Graduate School review all data from Levels 1 and 2 and any additional information received from the student, faculty member, Program Director, and Department Chairperson and make a decision on the appeal. This level of appeal must be initiated by the student in writing within two seeks from receiving the chairís written decision from Level 2. Within two weeks from the initiation of Level 3, the Dean of the Graduate School must inform the student, faculty member, Program Director, and Department Chairperson of the decision regarding the appeal by letter.

Level 4: If the student is still dissatisfied, he or she may continue the appeal process from Level 3 within 14 days of receiving the decision from the Dean of the Graduate School by requesting in writing that the Graduate Student Rights Committee hear the appeal. The Graduate Student Rights Committee must call a hearing of issues within 30 days of receiving the written request from the student. The student, faculty member, Program Director, Department Chairperson, and the Dean of the Graduate School will be informed by letter within five school days of the decision of the Graduate Student Rights Committee. The decision of the Graduate Student Rights Committee shall be considered final.

*The above policy applies to grade appeals only for students who have attended class and who have issues with the grades they earned, not for students who do not withdraw from Graduate School or who do not drop a course prior to the first day of finals. In each of those cases, the student must appeal to the Graduate Student Rights Committee for review. Appeals are granted for extenuating circumstances that are related to the term or terms being appealed. Requests to the Graduate Student Rights Committee must be in writing. The student must provide evidence supporting his or her request. The request and supporting materials should be provided to the Graduate School and students should allow two weeks for a decision by the Graduate Student Rights Committee. The decision of the Graduate Student Rights Committee is considered final.

Graduate Policy on Academic Honesty
Minot State Universityís overall policy on Academic Honesty is listed on page 28 of the Student Handbook (available online). Additionally, each academic department may have established policies on academic honesty more specific than those for the university. Students should refer to both the MSU policy and the department policy (if one exists) for initial information on academic honesty issues.

Should a student become involved in circumstances which allegedly breech a departmentís policy, that policy will be adhered to in resolving the honesty issue. The department chairperson, in consultation with the program director, will inform the Dean of the Graduate School and the student in writing of any changes in the studentís standing in the department as a result of the academic honesty policy and of the specific honesty infraction. Student disciplinary action may result in accordance with the Student Conduct Policy (pages 42- 44 of the Student Handbook) where appropriate. The Dean of the Graduate School will officially inform the student by letter of any changes in his/her graduate student status.

Appeal Policy for Academic Honesty
Graduate student academic honesty appeal process will follow the same steps and the same time frame as stated in the grade appeal process. The department policy will dictate the studentís standing. Appeals on honesty will be related to the honesty issue, and not the grade or other restrictions placed on the student by the policy.

Level 1: The first level of appeal is to the involved faculty member. This appeal must be in writing and should include any information the student feels is important in clarifying the issue in question. The appeal must be initiated 14 days from the time of the studentís official notification by the graduate office of the departmentís action. A copy of the departmentís policy should be included to clarify procedures and decisions made by the departments. The faculty member must respond within two weeks in writing to the student, the Department Chair, and the Dean of the Graduate School, regarding her/his decision on the appeal.

Level 2: Within two weeks after receiving the faculty response letter from level one, the student may continue the appeal process by requesting in writing that the department review all the data from level one and any additional information deemed pertinent by the student and/or faculty member and make a decision regarding the appeal. The department chairperson must respond by letter to the student involved, faculty, and the Dean of the Graduate School within two weeks regarding the chairís decision on the appeal.

Level 3: The student may continue the appeals process by requesting in writing that the Dean of the Graduate School review all data from level one and two and any additional information received from the student, faculty, and department chairperson and make a decision on the appeal. This level of appeal must be initiated by the student in writing within two weeks from receiving the chairpersonís written decision from level two. Within two weeks from the initiation of level three, the Dean of the Graduate School must inform the student, faculty member, and department chairperson of the decision regarding the appeal by letter.

Level 4: Within 14 days from receiving the decision from the Dean of the Graduate School, the student may continue the appeal process from level three to level four by requesting in writing that the Graduate Student Rights Committee hear the approval.

The Graduate Student Rights Committee must call a hearing of issues within 30 days of receiving the written request from the student. The student, faculty, department chairperson, and Dean of the Graduate School will be informed by letter within five school days of the decision of the Graduate Student Rights Committee. This decision is the final decision made within the academic appeal process.

Status Appeal Process
A student may appeal a non-retained or dismissed status in the Graduate School to the program director of his/her program of study. The appeal must be in writing accompanied by appropriate documentation to support the studentís position. Appeals will be handled by the program director, in consultation with the studentís advisor, and the Dean of the Graduate School, as needed. The Graduate School office will notify the student of the outcome of the appeal.

Readmission of Students Dismissed from the Graduate School
See: Readmission after Dismissal from the Graduate School