Jun 18, 2021  
2020-2021 SDSM&T Academic Catalog 
    
2020-2021 SDSM&T Academic Catalog

VI. General Degree Requirements


VI.1. Supervision of Advanced Degree Programs
      VI.1.a. Composition of Graduate Committees
      VI.1.b. Changes in Committee Membership
      VI.1.c. Emergency Committee Substitutions
      VI.1.d. Change of Major Professor
      VI.1.e. Changing the Master’s Program Option
VI.2. Program of Study
VI.3. Certification of Degree Requirements
VI.4. Credit Policies for All Graduate Degrees
      VI.4.a. Graduate Course Level Requirements
      VI.4.b. Advanced Degree Grade Requirements
      VI.4.c. Topics, Seminar, Co-op, and Independent Study Credits
      VI.4.d. Dual Credit for Multiple Programs
      VI.4.e. Graduate credits earned at SD Mines
      VI.4.f.  Applying Credits from Outside Institutions
      VI.4.g. Applying Undergraduate Level Credits Toward an Advanced Degree
      VI.4.h. Applying Graduate Level Credits Taken as an Undergraduate Toward an Advanced Degree
      VI.4.i.  Application of Credits Taken as an Undergraduate Student or Special Graduate Student Toward an Advanced Degree
VI.5. Thesis/Dissertation Submission Requirements
VI.6. Thesis/Dissertation Defense Requirements
VI.7. Time Limitation for Graduate Degrees
VI.8. Participation in Commencement
      VI.8.a. Applying to Graduate
      VI.8.b. Deadline for Participation in Commencement
VI.9. Catalog of Graduation for Graduate Students


1. Supervision of Advanced Degree Programs

a. Composition of Graduate Committees

The supervision of the general study program of each student, including compliance with all the various South Dakota Board of Regents, institutional, and Office of Graduate Education policies, is primarily the responsibility of the advisor.  For all thesis and dissertation degrees, the graduate student advisory committee assists in this role.  The graduate student advisory committee consists of a minimum of:

  • a major professor,
  • a graduate representative, (must not be from the student’s department/program),
  • one additional member for master’s students, for a minimum total of 3 members, or
  • 3 additional members for doctoral students, for a minimum total of 5 members.

For the purposes of these roles (below), faculty may be in the professorial track (tenure-track or non tenure-track), instructor or lecturer track, or research scientist track. 

The major professor is primarily responsible for supervision of the graduate student’s research and thesis/dissertation preparation, as well as ensuring that academic standards and requirements are met and satisfied.  The advisor and the major professor may or may not be the same person, depending on restrictions or requirements within the student’s program and/or department.

The major professor serves as chairperson of the graduate student advisory committee and assists the student in selection of other members of the committee. To be eligible to serve as a major professor on a graduate student advisory committee, the person must be a full time faculty member at SD Mines. In the case of emeritus faculty or retired faculty, departments may petition the dean of graduate education for an exception to this policy. For supervision of a master’s program, the major professor must have a minimum of an MS degree. For supervision of a doctoral program, the major professor must have a minimum of a doctoral degree.

A co-major professor is not required but may be beneficial to the student’s committee. To be eligible to serve as a co-major professor, the person must be approved by the student’s department or program. For supervision of a master’s program, the co-major professor must have a minimum of an MS degree. For supervision of a doctoral program, the co-major professor must have a minimum of a doctoral degree.

The Graduate Representative is a faculty member of a graduate student advisory committee (must not be from the student’s department/program) that represents the Office of Graduate Education and is a voting member on a doctoral or master’s committee whose responsibilities are to:

  • represent the broad concerns of the Office of Graduate Education and the University with respect to high standards of graduate education and scholarly performance,
  • assure that all procedures are carried out fairly and according to the guidelines of the Office of Graduate Education,
  • participate in conducting final examinations and provide an outcome report to the Office of Graduate Education immediately following the final exam,
  • assist in the resolution of committee disputes.

To be eligible to serve as the graduate representative on a graduate student advisory committee, the person must be a full-time faculty member at SD Mines. The person must be from a department other than the student’s home department and must be approved by the student’s major program and the dean of graduate education. For supervision of a master’s program, the graduate representative must have a minimum of an MS degree. For supervision of a doctoral program, the graduate representative must have a minimum of a doctoral degree.

To be eligible to serve as a committee member at large on a graduate student advisory committee, the person must hold a minimum of a BS degree, and must be approved by the student’s major program. Students must have a minimum of one committee member with a doctoral degree. Departments may petition the dean of Graduate Education for exceptions.

Off-campus persons, including emeritus faculty, retired faculty, and members of industry, may serve as a co-major professor or committee member at large if they meet the requirements listed above. Such persons should contact Human Resources to file a volunteer agreement prior to serving on the committee. The committee must consist of a minimum of 3 full-time SD Mines faculty members. If a committee contains more than 5 members, a majority of the committee must be full-time SD Mines faculty.  In the case of emeritus faculty or retired faculty, departments may petition the dean of graduate education for an exception to this policy.

A person with graduate student status cannot serve on a graduate student advisory committee.  Under extraordinary circumstances departments may petition the Council of Graduate Education for an exception to this policy.

b. Changes in Committee Membership

A change in major professor may be accomplished as described in Graduate Education Policy VI.1.d. Change of Major Professor.

Changes of committee members other than the major professor require:

  • approval by the major professor via email,
  • approval by the new committee member via email,
  • documented approval of the current program of study by the new committee member.

A change of the graduate representative requires:

  • approval by the major professor via email,
  • approval by the new committee member via email,
  • documented approval of the current program of study by the new committee member,
  • approval by the dean of graduate education.
c. Emergency Committee Substitutions

When a committee member or graduate division representative is unable, due to last-minute unforeseen circumstances, to attend a scheduled defense, an alternate may be designated so that the defense may proceed. The absentee will immediately notify the major professor and the dean of graduate education with a description of the circumstances warranting the absence and the name of a willing alternative who meets the requirements for committee membership. The major professor will make the determination as to whether the defense should go forward or be rescheduled.  The alternate will attend the defense and sign the defense results report on behalf of the absentee committee member. The absentee will still provide written feedback on the thesis/dissertation to the student in a timely manner and will sign the title page to indicate final acceptance of the document. No more than one alternate committee member is permitted at a defense.

d. Change of Major Professor

The student has a right to change the major professor charged with supervising the student’s research. However, such a change may substantially impact the student’s research topic, funding, and time needed to complete the degree. Thus, the student is strongly encouraged to consult with the current major professor, the proposed new major professor, and the relevant department head(s) before requesting the change. 

A student’s major professor is formally declared on the program of study. A change of major professor also requires a new program of study. Students who have not yet filed a program of study are not obligated to follow the procedure outlined in this policy.

Students who have received external assistantship funding should recognize that they have a professional and ethical responsibility to turn over all data gathered and work performed as part of the assistantship to the supervising professor and to cooperate to a reasonable extent to provide information or assistance to aid the professor in meeting reporting and performance requirements of the funding agency. This responsibility exists regardless of whether the supervising professor has been formally declared as the major professor on the program of study, and fulfillment of this responsibility will normally be required as a condition of the change.

Students who have received institutional funding, or no funding, may be required to change research topics as a condition of changing major professors.

A graduate student may petition the dean of graduate education for a change in major professor by submitting the relevant form to the Office of Graduate Education in accordance with the following procedures. 

  1. It is the obligation of the graduate student to identify another fully qualified faculty member who agrees in writing to become the student’s new major professor. A department is not obligated to provide an alternate major professor, unless the student is changing from a thesis to a non-thesis MS program.
  2. The current major professor and the department head(s) of the current and new major professors must be notified of the proposed change. If the current major professor is unavailable (for example, has left the university), documentation of notification should be attached to the request if possible. If not possible, the department head of the current major professor must confirm that the notification cannot be reasonably provided.
  3. The current major professor may formally object to the change through a written statement that includes the reasons for the objection and any proposed remedies that would remove the objection. The student and the current and new major professors should then attempt to agree in writing on the conditions of the change, facilitated by the dean of graduation if necessary. This agreement must be signed by the student, current major professor, new major professor, and the department heads(s), and it must be attached to the petition.
  4. If mutual agreement cannot be reached, the dean of graduate education shall consult with all parties and then determine the conditions, if any, that must be fulfilled by the student prior to the change. The current major professor cannot appeal the decision of the graduate dean. 
  5. If the student disagrees with the conditions determined by the dean of graduate education, the case may be appealed to the Council of Graduate Education, which will review the conditions and either approve them or provide revised conditions, as determined by majority vote of a quorum of committee members.  The decision of the Council on Graduate Education is final.
  6. If the current major professor declines to provide a written objection, the dean of graduate education will authorize the requested change in major professor.
  7. The current major professor may, provided he/she is the instructor of record, change any of the student’s existing thesis or dissertation NP grades to S or U, but previously assigned S grades may not be changed to U. 
  8. The new major professor will have the option to accept none, all, or a portion of the previous research credits with a grade of NP or S earned under the direction of the current major professor. The accepted credits must be listed on the new program of study and approved by the new major professor and department head.
e. Changing the Master’s Program Option

Students formally declare whether they are following the thesis option or the non-thesis MS option on the program of study.  This policy applies to changing between the non-thesis or thesis option within the same Master’s program.

Students who wish to change from a non-thesis option to a thesis option may do so by submitting a new program of study for the thesis option, including the designation of the major professor and the committee to supervise the research. 

Students who wish to change from the thesis option to the non-thesis option may do so by submitting a new program of study for the non-thesis option signed by the student’s major professor for the thesis option. If the major professor is unwilling to approve the change, the student must follow the procedure outlined in GEP VI.1.d. Change of Major Professor, in which case the department head/designated program coordinator for the non-thesis program takes the role of  the “new major professor”.

If the student is changing from a thesis option to a non-thesis option, the program coordinator may allow none, some, or all credits of thesis research with a grade of S to be substituted for credits of non-thesis project, up to the maximum credits of non-thesis project allowed by the program. The substituted credits must be listed on the new program of study and approved by the program coordinator and department head. 

2. Program of Study

For all thesis and dissertation degrees, the graduate student advisory committee will assist the student in formulating a schedule of coursework leading to the advanced degree.  A copy of the appropriate form and graduate student advisory committee signatures must be filed by the student and submitted to the student’s department/program and the Office of Graduate Education.

For all non-thesis programs, the program coordinator or an assigned academic advisor will normally assist the student in formulating a schedule of coursework leading to the advanced degree. A program of study signed by the advisor (in addition to the signature of the program coordinator or department head) must be filed by the student and submitted to the student’s department/program and the Office of Graduate Education.

All graduate students are required to submit a POS no later than the mid-term of the semester after which 9 credit hours have been completed or for which a grade of Incomplete has been issued.  This is usually the second semester of study for full time degree seeking students.  These forms can be found at the graduate education website. The program of study is used for degree audits to ensure that students have fulfilled all degree requirements.

Students applying to an accelerated MS program must fill out an accelerated MS advising plan, as detailed in section GEP IV.2. Accelerated Master’s Programs .  Accelerated MS students must submit a program of study in the first semester following the completion of the BS degree.

Students in pursuit of a thesis or dissertation degree who have been granted a leave of absence before submission of a program of study will be required to submit a program of study by midterm of the semester after completion of 9 credit hours.

Revised programs of study must be filed in a timely manner by the student and with the same offices as the original schedule. Minor course substitutions can be made with the approval of the major professor via email, along with a brief explanation of the changes. Consult the instructions provided with the POS form regarding additional procedures for revising the POS.

3. Certification of Degree Requirements

Before a diploma can be released, the dean of graduate education must certify that the student has fulfilled all degree requirements. For certification of the degree for a given semester, ALL requirements must be complete on or before the scheduled due dates published by the Office of Graduate Education.  Note that all keys must be returned to the facilities office before the degree is granted.

Graduate students must meet the minimum registration requirement (currently 2 credits) during the specific semester or summer in which they complete all requirements for their degree and become eligible for graduation.  There will be no grace period; hence, students who fail to complete all degree requirements prior to the official closure date for a given semester or summer will be required to register for a minimum of 2 credits during a subsequent semester or summer in order to graduate.

Students are strongly cautioned not to make travel plans or other arrangements that will be difficult or costly to change until they are certain that all degree requirements can and will be satisfied.  It is the responsibility of the student to know and comply with these degree requirements.

4. Credit Policies for All Graduate Degrees

The credit policies listed in this section (GEP VI.4) apply to all graduate degrees at SD Mines. Additional restrictions or requirements may be specified for individual programs; please see the program requirements in the academic catalog for more information.

a. Graduate Course Level Requirements
  1. The student cannot apply any credit hours or grades for 100, 200, and 300 level courses (which are usually taken to overcome academic deficiencies) toward advanced degree requirements.  If, in the opinion of the student’s major professor and graduate student advisory committee, progress in these courses is unsatisfactory, additional work may be required to demonstrate proficiency.
  2. Of credits counted for an advanced degree, at least 50 percent of the credit hours in any graduate program must be at the 600 level or above.  Exceptions must be approved by the dean of graduate education.
b. Advanced Degree Grade Requirements

To qualify for any advanced degree, the faculty has stipulated that the following requirements must be satisfied:

  1. The student must earn a minimum 3.00 cumulative GPA as calculated from all courses that appear on the graduate transcript. See section GEP V.5. Calculation of Graduate GPA  for additional information.
  2. The student must earn a C grade or better in any graduate course (500 through 800 level), which is indicated to be credited toward advanced degree requirements by appearing on the program of study form.
  3. The student must earn a B grade or better in any undergraduate level course which is indicated to be credited toward advanced degree requirements by appearing on the program of study form.
  4. The student’s thesis or dissertation research must be of a quality to earn a final grade of S.
  5. A student who fails any course within their discipline as defined by their department/program must repeat the course with a passing grade as defined above. The student may petition through his or her advisor or major professor to the dean of graduate education for an exception to this rule.
c. Topics, Seminar, Co-op and Independent Study credits

The total number of credits in “Special Topics in - “, “Advanced Topics in - “, “Seminar in - ” , “Cooperative Education”, and  “Independent Study” applied to graduate degrees shall be limited to nine credits. There are no restrictions as to the distribution of these credits in the above categories. This restriction may be waived only on petition to the dean of graduate education.

d. Dual Credit for Multiple Programs

Up to 12 credit hours that have been used, or are being used, to satisfy requirements for one MS degree at SD Mines may be applied toward another MS degree from this institution, with the separate approval of the relevant advisors, programs and departments for each degree. In no cases can double-counted credits (either double-counted MS/MS, or BS/MS) be triple counted toward a third degree (BS, MS, MEng or PhD).

e. Graduate credits earned at SD Mines

All graduate course credits earned at SD Mines are eligible for use in MS and PhD degrees granted by SD Mines, within the constraints of the program and other graduate education policy, and subject to approval by the graduate committees for each program and the department head/program coordinator. However, undergraduate credits used for an accelerated MS degree may not be used a third time toward a second graduate degree.

Up to six (6) thesis credits from Mines may be substituted for dissertation credits in a PhD program, subject to approval by the student’s graduate committee. If more than 6 credits of thesis are listed on the student’s program of study, a justification must be provided and the additional credits must be approved by the dean of graduate education. 

f. Applying Credits From Outside Institutions

A minimum of 60% of the credit hours in the graduate degree program must be completed from the institution granting the degree. 

Transfer credits. Credits for graduate level coursework taken at another institution are eligible to be transferred and applied to the requirements for a degree at SD Mines. A maximum of 12 coursework credits may be transferred to a MS degree and a maximum of 24 coursework credits may be transferred to a PhD degree. Students wishing to request transfer credits must use the appropriate transfer of credits form found on the graduate education website.

Domestic graduate transfer courses and transfer grades are recorded and evaluated by SD Mines, calculated into grade point averages according to the South Dakota regental grade scheme, and recorded on the student’s academic transcript only if these transfer courses are equivalent to a specific graduate course at SD Mines, or a course approved by the program coordinator or department head.  International transfer courses will appear on the transcript along with the number of credits earned, but no grade will appear or be calculated into grade point average. See GEP VIII. PhD Degree Requirements  for additional details.

Such credit from institutions external to the South Dakota regental system must be reviewed and approved by the student’s committee and by the dean of graduate education.  The dean of graduate education shall notify the registrar and director of academic services in writing of the credits to be accepted and placed on the student’s transcript.  An official transcript received directly from the issuing institution to support the request is required.  The transferred course number, title, and semester hours will be entered on the student’s transcript.

Reduction of credits. PhD candidates already holding an MS degree at the time of PhD admission may qualify for a reduction in credits equal to 24 course credits in the case of a non-thesis MS, or 24 course credits and 6 research credits in the case of a thesis MS. The credits from the accepted MS are not transferred to the student’s SD Mines transcript and do not count into the GPA. Partial acceptance of the MS is not permitted. However, should the prior MS not be accepted, the student may still request to transfer up to 24 credits of graduate coursework as described in the preceding paragraphs on Transfer credits

All requests for transfer credits or reduction of credits are subject to approval by the student’s graduate committee. The final list of courses that may be applied to the MS or the PhD is established at the time that the student’s program of study is approved.

g. Applying Undergraduate Level Credits Toward an Advanced Degree
  1. Undergraduate courses taken to overcome academic deficiencies may not be applied to a graduate degree.  If, in the opinion of the student’s advisor, major professor and graduate student advisory committee, progress in these courses is unsatisfactory, additional work may be required to demonstrate proficiency.
  2. Credits at the 100-, 200-, and 300-level may not be applied to a graduate degree.
  3. Credits at the 400-level may be applied toward a graduate degree under the following circumstances:
    1. The courses have not been used to fulfill requirements in an earned baccalaureate degree (except for credits approved to be double-counted for an accelerated master’s program).
    2. The courses must be approved by the student’s graduate student advisory committee and by the department head or program coordinator.
    3. The student must have earned a B grade or better in any 400-level course which is to be credited toward advanced degree requirements.
    4. The number of 400-level credits that may be applied toward a master’s degree is limited to 9 hours.
    5. The number of 400-level credits that may be applied to a PhD degree is limited to 12 hours. This limit includes transfer courses and courses from a prior MS degree that are applied to the PhD as part of a reduction in credit (see GEP VI.4.f. Applying Credits from Outside Institutions).
  4. Undergraduate-level credits taken as a graduate student are automatically placed on an undergraduate transcript. If approved for use toward a graduate degree, a request form to move them to the graduate transcript must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Education.
h. Applying Graduate Level Credits Taken as an Undergraduate Toward an Advanced Degree
  1. Graduate level credits taken as an undergraduate and used to fulfill requirements for the undergraduate degree may not be used toward a graduate degree unless the credits were taken as part of an approved accelerated master’s program at SD Mines.
  2. Up to 12 semester hours of graduate level credits taken as an undergraduate and not used to fulfill requirements for the undergraduate degree may be used toward a graduate degree only after the courses in question are approved by the graduate student advisory committee.
i. Applying Credits Taken as an Undergraduate Student or Special Graduate Student Toward an Advanced Degree

The maximum total number of SD Mines credits, taken as an undergraduate student or special graduate student, which were not applied to an SD Mines degree and that can be used toward a graduate degree, is 12. Note that these credits are in addition to any “doubly counted” credits associated with Accelerated Master’s programs.

5. Thesis/Dissertation Submission Requirements

A master’s thesis should represent an effort of such quality and construction that it can be displayed in the school library with similar scholarly works, as well as providing material for publication(s) in an appropriate professional journal(s).

A PhD dissertation is expected to advance or modify knowledge and demonstrate the candidate’s technical mastery of the field of study.  

The thesis/dissertation is written under the direction of the major professor, but the student should seek guidance from all members of the graduate student advisory committee.  Before starting to write the thesis or dissertation, the student is urged to review the document titled “Thesis and Dissertation Writing Manual” on the graduate education website and to consult style manuals online or in the SD Mines Devereaux Library.  In general, the document may follow the style of captions, footnotes, and bibliographical references used by the leading technical journal in the student’s field.

In lieu of the conventional thesis/dissertation format, the document can consist of a compilation of published and/or submitted journal manuscripts that are derived from the student’s research and are either authored or co-authored by the student.  Theses or dissertations submitted in this form must have an introduction and conclusion to tie the journal papers into a cohesive research paper.  The final document must be accompanied by an abstract of 250 to 300 words and vitae of the student. Detailed instructions on the format, requirements and completion of a thesis or dissertation can be found on the website of the Office of Graduate Education.

A final draft of the thesis/dissertation, which must include all components, including title page, abstract, vita, references, etc., should be submitted by the student to each member of the graduate student advisory committee a minimum of 2 full weeks before the time and date of the student’s scheduled defense. Final drafts must be complete, including all required components or the defense cannot be held. Earlier submission deadlines may be required by the graduate student advisory committee.

The graduate student’s committee-approved draft must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Education by the published deadline (approximately 2 weeks before commencement) to allow adequate time for grammatical review, corrections and revisions.  This draft, after all revisions recommended by the committee have been made, must be signed by the author and approved, signed, and dated by all committee members, the department head/program coordinator of the student’s major department/program, and the dean of graduate education before any copies are made for final reproduction. 

The institution requires one electronic copy and 2 paper copies (the original unbound manuscript and one bound copy) of the thesis/dissertation to be kept in the Devereaux Library.  Additional copies may be required by the student’s program or department.

The dissemination of a thesis or dissertation may be temporarily restricted due to legal or proprietary issues (ITAR, EAR, FAC, proprietary, or otherwise restricted information). A restricted thesis/dissertation requires approval by the dean of graduate education and the graduate student advisory committee prior to the defense. Attendance at the defense will also be restricted.  The hard copies and digital version(s) of the restricted document will not be released until the end of the specified period, which may not normally exceed 3 calendar years.

6. Thesis/Dissertation Defense Requirements

A student pursuing a Master’s thesis option must defend the thesis in an oral examination. The final Master’s coursework examination and thesis research defense may be combined (see the GEP VII.5. Final Examination  section for more information).

A PhD candidate must defend the dissertation in an oral examination.

The thesis/dissertation defense is open to the public except in the case of a restricted document (see the GEP VI.5. Thesis/Dissertation Submission Requirements section above).  The defense will be scheduled at any time after the student has completed the required coursework and after the graduate student advisory committee is satisfied that the draft is an acceptable manuscript in terms of technical quality, completeness, and proper expression and usage in American Standard English. Under no circumstances should a defense go forward if the draft manuscript is incomplete. 

A defense may not be scheduled during the period of university final examinations. A petition is required to schedule a defense during the summer term, using a form provided by the Office of Graduate Education.  

The student shall obtain and complete the appropriate form to schedule the defense and, in conjunction with the major professor, shall seek the approval of all committee members. The student shall submit the signed form with the Office of Graduate Education no less than 5 working days before the defense.  The Office of Graduate Education will announce the defense to the campus community.

The student’s committee constitutes the examining board for the defense. The major professor will head the session. The major professor is responsible for ensuring that a majority of the committee is present, or the defense cannot proceed.

The defense must be conducted on the SD Mines campus during typical business hours (8 am to 6 pm Mountain Time) so that the campus community may attend if desired. Exceptions to this policy must be granted by the dean of graduate education prior to scheduling the defense. Approval of an off-campus location will only be granted if the remote location serves a valid academic purpose, the entire committee has agreed to the location, and a real-time video/audio link is provided to a campus room.

Ideally, the defense participants, defined as the student and the entire committee, will be physically present in the room scheduled for the defense in order to facilitate effective interaction and review of the thesis or dissertation. Where this requirement constitutes a hardship, participants may attend the defense by electronic means, provided that the graduate division representative and a majority of the participants are physically present in the scheduled location. Should technical difficulties arise, the defense must be suspended until all participants again have access. At any time during the defense, any participant may assert that technology issues are interfering unreasonably with the effective conduct of the defense and ask that it be rescheduled wholly or in part. The Graduate Division Representative will consult with the committee and make the determination as to whether the defense must be rescheduled. 

A negative vote by any 2 or more members of the student’s committee will signify failure of the defense, pending review by the graduate student advisory committee and the dean of graduate education. 

Results of the defense/examination will be attested to by all committee members on a form furnished to the graduate representative by the Office of Graduate Education. Results must be returned to the Office of Graduation immediately following the exam by the graduate representative or other committee member to ensure chain of custody.   If the student fails to satisfy the examiners on either coursework or thesis/dissertation, written or oral examinations, the committee may schedule a re-examination over general background, thesis/dissertation, or both.  The re-examination will be scheduled at the discretion of the graduate student advisory committee, normally 8 to 12 weeks after the date of the first examination. The student may petition his or her committee for re-examination prior to the 8 week limit.

7. Time Limitation for Graduate Degrees

A master’s degree program must be completed within 5 calendar years dating from the student’s formal entrance into a degree seeking program.

A doctoral degree program must be completed within 8 calendar years dating from the student’s formal entrance into a degree-seeking program. 

Students may petition the dean of graduate education for an extension to the time limit. Courses taken by the student at any institution that may be credited to the degree program and that were taken more than 5 years (for Master’s) or 8 years (for PhD) prior to the date of anticipated graduation must be reviewed by the student’s major department/program and the dean of graduate education for possible acceptance. Following this review, the student’s major department/program and the dean of graduate education will determine whether a reduction in credits applicable toward the degree, a re-examination, or both, is required for the student to complete his or her degree program.  The applicable forms are available at the graduate education website.

A student who is granted a leave of absence (see section GEP III.6. Leave of Absence ) will not be subject to continuing registration, and the leave of absence will not count toward the time limits to complete his or her program of study.

8. Participation in Commencement

a. Applying to Graduate

A student must apply to graduate by completing the application for graduation form on the graduate education website and must meet the program requirements before the degree is awarded.  The application for graduation form also serves as a request to participate in the commencement ceremonies.  In general, for each degree earned, a student is allowed and encouraged to participate in commencement once and have his or her name in the commencement program once.  Note that participation in the commencement ceremony does not equate to the conferring of a degree.  The degree is conferred when all requirements are met and the release of diploma process is completed.

The names of all students who have completed the requirements for graduation by the designated spring semester deadline will be included in the spring commencement program, and students who have completed the requirements by the designated fall semester deadline will be included in the fall commencement program.  Master’s students who will complete their degree requirements in the summer term will be listed in the fall commencement program and are eligible to participate in the fall commencement ceremony. The student’s name will appear in the program in the semester of completion whether the student is participating in the ceremony or not.

A student who wishes to participate in a commencement ceremony later than the semester in which the degree is completed must notify the Office of Graduate Education of his or her intent prior to the end of the semester in which the degree requirements are met.  In general, a student is allowed to participate in a commencement ceremony within one year of completing the requirements for the degree.

b. Deadline for Participation in Commencement

To be eligible to participate in commencement, a thesis MS or PhD student must pass the defense by the designated deadline. Students are expected to work diligently to address any revisions requested by the committee prior to commencement. If revisions are not completed prior to commencement, the student may still participate, but will not receive the degree until all revisions are approved by the committee and all graduation requirements are completed. Continuing registration is required until the student completes all requirements. 

MS students planning to complete a thesis in the summer term may participate in spring commencement if they submit a petition for a summer defense by the spring defense deadline, and it is approved by the dean of graduate education. 

Non-thesis MS students completing their degree requirements in the summer term are eligible to participate in spring commencement without making a petition, provided that they have no outstanding Incomplete grades on the graduate transcript

9. Catalog of Graduation for Graduate Students

  • The catalog of graduation begins with the summer term and ends with the subsequent spring term.
  • Every student is required to have a catalog of graduation.  New and transfer students are assigned the catalog in effect at the time of their initial enrollment in a graduate degree program at the university from which they are seeking a degree.  However, an accelerated MS student admitted during a prior catalog may petition the dean of graduate education for program exceptions involving credits taken between admission and matriculation to the MS program.
  • Students may elect a catalog of graduation that is later than their initial catalog but may not elect a catalog of graduation that is earlier than their initial catalog.
  • In order to receive a degree, a student must meet the program requirements listed in his/her catalog of graduation.
  • Students who discontinue enrollment at any Regental university for more than two consecutive semesters are assigned the catalog in effect at the time of their re-enrollment as their catalog of graduation.
  • Students are considered to be in continuous enrollment for purposes of the catalog of graduation so long as any break in enrollment at any Regental university is for two or fewer consecutive semesters (excluding summer) and students maintain their degree seeking status at the same Regental university.
  • Students who change their degree seeking status from one Regental university to another Regental university are assigned the catalog of graduation that corresponds to the term they are admitted to their new degree granting university.
  • Students who are not currently enrolled and who petition to graduate based on coursework previously completed at a Regental university are assigned the catalog in effect during the term they wish to graduate.