Graduate School Policies and Procedures
Graduate School Policies and Procedures
- ARTICLE I: ORGANIZATION AND ADMINISTRATION
- ARTICLE II: GRADUATE DEGREE PROGRAMS
- ARTICLE III: ADMISSION TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
- Section A: Regular Admission
- Section B: Provisional Admission
- Section C: New Applications
- Section D: Applications by Former Students
- Section E: Transfer Credits
- Section F: Credit Earned at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs before Admission to the Program
- Section G: Credit Earned at Other University of Colorado Campuses
- Section H: Graduate Certificate Programs
- Section I: License and Endorsement Programs
- Section J: Non-Degree Seeking Admissions from Other Graduate Programs
- ARTICLE IV: GRADUATE DEGREE REQUIREMENTS
- Section A: Course Requirements
- Section B: Grades and Quality of Graduate Work
- Section C: Leave of Absence
- Section D: Probation and Dismissal
- Section E: Thesis and Dissertation Committees
- Section F: Capstone/Project Committees
- Section G: Examinations
- Section H: Foreign Language Requirement
- Section I: Application for Admission to Candidacy
- Section J: Thesis/Dissertation Requirements
- Section K: Time Limits for Completion of Degrees
- ARTICLE V: GRADUATE STUDENT APPEALS
- ARTICLE VI: IMPLEMENTATION AND AMENDMENTS
ARTICLE I: ORGANIZATION AND ADMINISTRATION
Section A: Principles
1. The University of Colorado Colorado Springs Graduate School consists of all graduate programs and courses offered by the campus. The faculty of the Graduate School is responsible for maintaining the high standards and quality of all graduate programs, program options, graduate certificates, license and endorsement programs, and all other graduate courses. The graduate faculty within each discipline and the Graduate Executive Committee (GEC) shall plan, develop, and administer programs approved for the campus in accord with the general standards of excellence and sound academic administration established by the Graduate School. A graduate program is defined as a course of study leading to an approved graduate degree, certificate, or license and endorsement program. A program may be administered by one or more departments, schools, or colleges; a single unit offering multiple graduate degrees will have multiple programs.
2. There shall be a Graduate School Dean who is responsible for the administration of Graduate School Policies and Procedures.
3. Details of the administration and organization of graduate programs are determined by the graduate faculty in each department, school, or college.
4. The policies in this document are minimum requirements to which all graduate programs and courses must adhere. Program standards may exceed those established in this document.
Section B: The Graduate School Dean
1. The Graduate School Dean is a member of the campus administration and reports to the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. The Graduate School Dean is responsible for administering the programs in the Graduate School in accordance with the Graduate School Policies and Procedures.
2. The Graduate School Dean shall have the following responsibilities:
a. Ensure that all graduate programs and courses are in compliance with the Graduate School Policies and Procedures and that these policies are uniformly applied.
b. Ensure that all graduate students are in compliance with the Graduate School Policies and Procedures and that these policies are uniformly applied.
c. Call and preside over meetings of the Graduate Executive Committee.
d. Recommend and develop new policies, as necessary, for approval by the Graduate Executive Committee, Deans' Council, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs, and the campus.
e. Communicate recommendations from the Graduate Executive Committee regarding new degree programs and significant modifications of curricula to the Deans' Council, and Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.
f. Oversee maintenance and update of the Thesis and Dissertation Manual.
g. Promote cooperative and beneficial relationships among the departments, schools, colleges, and extended studies.
h. Oversee the general operation of the Graduate School Office.
j. Appoint 'ad hoc' graduate faculty committees as needed (e.g., Merit Fellowship Review).
k. Oversight of all media communications for and from the Graduate School.
l. Review and verify approved courses that have been forwarded from departments, schools, and colleges.
m. The Graduate School Dean shall serve in an advisory capacity to the deans and faculties of the departments, schools, and colleges.
o. The Graduate School Dean is appointed by the Board of Regents upon the recommendation of the Chancellor and the Provost and the Executive Chancellor for Academic Affairs.
Section C: Graduate Faculty
The graduate faculty is responsible for academic and curricular decisions regarding graduate education at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. Graduate faculty empowers the Graduate Executive Committee to oversee the operations of the Graduate School.
Appointment to the graduate faculty of the Graduate School recognizes the ability of the faculty member to contribute to the education of our graduate students. All members of the graduate faculty shall have earned a doctoral degree, the terminal degree appropriate to the discipline, or shall have demonstrated, through experience or other achievements, qualities that qualify them for membership in the graduate faculty. A graduate program includes all graduate faculty members appointed specifically to the faculty of that program. A list of all members of the graduate faculty shall be maintained in the Office of the Graduate School Dean and on the Graduate School website under the faculty tab. The appointment list will be updated each semester by the Graduate School administrative staff.
1: Types of Membership
a. Regular membership on the graduate faculty shall generally be limited to full-time tenure-track, or tenured faculty (TTF) of the University of Colorado Colorado Springs who participate in graduate programs. The term of appointment for regular members of the graduate faculty shall be the duration of their University appointment. Tenured graduate faculty who leave the University, retire, or maintain limited activities on the campus, will have their graduate faculty appointments changed to special members of the graduate faculty, as defined below.
Faculty in the Clinical or Research tracks or Senior and Principal Instructors who hold a doctorate degree and who regularly teach graduate courses or supervise graduate student research may be appointed as regular members for the duration of their appointment upon recommendation of the program director and approval of the Graduate School Dean.
Appointment to Regular membership may be made for other distinctive cases not meeting the above criteria upon recommendation of the program director, and approval of the Graduate Executive Committee. Approval shall be based upon the quality of graduate teaching, thesis/dissertation/capstone supervision, scholarly achievement, and relevant experience.
b. Special membership to the graduate faculty shall be individual faculty participating in graduate programs who do not qualify for Regular membership who may be appointed by the Graduate School Dean, upon the recommendation of the graduate program director. The term of the initial and ongoing appointments may be for up to three years. The appointment may be renewed upon recommendation of the graduate program director and approval of the Graduate School Dean. Those without terminal degrees in their discipline (as noted on the Graduate Faculty appointment form) will be limited to teaching within their area of expertise (i.e., teaching the course(s) specifically hired to teach, thesis/dissertation/capstone committee membership). Special appointments must clearly specify whether the member will be teaching, what they will be teaching, and what committees they will be on. Any later additions to these duties will require an additional appointment form.
2. Privileges and Responsibilities
a. A faculty member holding a regular appointment to the graduate faculty may:
i. Teach graduate courses
ii. Vote on issues that are before the graduate faculty
iii. Serve on thesis, dissertation, and capstone committees of the Graduate School
iv. Participate in program activities for the specific program(s) for which the faculty member was appointed
v. Participate in meetings and committees of the campus Graduate School in accordance with the campus Graduate School Policies and Procedures
b. Special members of the graduate faculty hold the same privileges as Regular members, with two exceptions:
i. They may not vote in Graduate School elections
ii. They may not serve as chairs or on committees without the approval of the Graduate School Dean
3. Revocation of Membership
The status of a Regular, or Special member of the graduate faculty may be revoked for cause by a two-thirds vote of the graduate faculty of the member's graduate program. This recommendation must then be approved by the Graduate Executive Committee.
4. Conduct of Business
The full membership of the graduate faculty meets when called, with reasonable notice, by the Chancellor, the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, the Graduate School Dean, the Graduate Executive Committee, the President of Faculty Assembly, or upon filing a petition with the Graduate School Dean, signed by 10% of the graduate faculty. The petition must set forth, in full, the reason for calling the meeting.
If a full graduate faculty meeting is required, the members present at any meeting of the full Regular membership of the graduate faculty shall constitute a quorum. The meetings shall be chaired by the Graduate School Dean and conducted in accordance with Robert's Rules of Order, except that if a vote is called for, it shall be conducted in a manner that will allow all Regular members of the graduate faculty present to participate.
Section D: Program Directors:
Each department or program that offers a graduate degree through the Graduate School shall have a designated graduate program director. This individual shall be recommended by the department chair (where appropriate) and appointed by the Dean of the school/college. Graduate program directors in collaboration with the program faculty have the responsibility for the curriculum and the integrity of the program. The program director shall work with the graduate advisors and their students to facilitate the admission, progression, and ultimate success of all students. Duties and responsibilities of program directors shall include:
1. For Prospective Students and Unclassified Students
a. Provide accurate written information about the program
b. Recruit new students
c. Meet with prospective students
d. Oversee evaluation and admission of applicants to the program
e. Facilitate a smooth transition from unclassified to classified status for qualified students
f. Coordinate recruitment activities with the Graduate School and the Enrollment Management Team as needed.
2. For New and Continuing Students
a. Monitor progress of provisionally admitted students and request the change of their admission status as appropriate with The Graduate School and Admissions and Records
b. Ensure students are properly advised, have access to an appropriate advisor, and are expected to complete the program in a timely manner
c. Work with the department chair or other appropriate persons to schedule and assign graduate courses
d. Oversee the development and administration of required examinations
3. For Graduating Students
a. Verify that all requirements (e.g., coursework, examination, thesis, dissertation, capstone project) have been satisfied
b. Provide final approval on thesis/dissertation/capstone format, when required
4. For Program Faculty
a. Recommend curricular revisions, as necessary
b. The program director will also bear ultimate responsibility for the paperwork that arise in each category listed below:
i. Admission forms
ii. Revise admission status when student is admitted 'provisionally'
iii. Use of unclassified credit
iv. Transfer of credits
v. Validation of expired coursework
vi. Advancement to candidacy
vii. Approval of thesis/capstone/dissertation committee
viii. Degree audits
Section E: Graduate School Executive Committee
1. Composition of the Graduate Executive Committee: The Graduate Executive Committee (GEC) consists of the following members:
a. Graduate School Dean (Chair)
b. An identified faculty representative from each unit/department that has a graduate degree program. Each representative has one vote in the GEC (units/departments with one or more master's and doctoral degrees have one vote). Units/departments may request additional membership on GEC for robust and unique degrees/options/programs subject to GEC vote. A voting member must have Regular faculty appointment status. The Graduate School will keep a list of voting members of GEC each semester.
c. A representative of the library faculty (non-voting member)
2. Responsibilities: The GEC focuses on the issues of graduate education including, but not limited to, student affairs, curriculum development, and academic transactions. In particular, the GEC will:
a. Approve policies and procedures of the Graduate School (Note that some policies may require further approval by the UCCS Faculty Assembly, the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, the Chancellor, the University of Colorado System office, or the Regents)
b. Review all proposals for new graduate programs, new program options/tracks/concentrations/areas of emphasis, and make recommendations to the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
c. Review proposals for significant modification (Article II: Section C) of existing curricula and make recommendations to the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
3. Quorum: The voting members, or proxy approved by the chair, present at any GEC meeting shall constitute a quorum. The meetings shall be chaired by the Graduate School Dean and conducted in accordance with Robert's Rules of Order, except that if a vote is called for, it shall be conducted in a manner that will allow all present Regular members of the GEC to participate.
Section F: Standing Committees of the Graduate Executive Committee
The following standing committee is appointed by and responsible to the GEC:
The Student Affairs Committee is a four-member subcommittee of members from the GEC and one student representative appointed by the Graduate School Dean (5 members total). This committee is responsible for hearing student issues and appeals. The Student Affairs Committee will not accept appeals concerning grades or program admission decisions. The committee meets as needed.
ARTICLE II: GRADUATE DEGREE PROGRAMS
Section A: Independent, Single-Campus Programs
An independent degree program is a program existing under the authority of the graduate faculty and Graduate School Dean of this campus. Faculty members and students participating in an independent program must comply with the rules established by the graduate faculty of that program. Faculty in an independent program has the authority and responsibility for the following:
1. Initiate recommendations in regards to the appointment of individuals to the graduate faculty of the program
2. Develop and revise the curriculum, program options/tracts, and new programs
3. Enforce admission and graduation requirements
Section B: Coordinated Programs, Multiple Campus Programs
Coordinated programs are graduate degree programs that are offered cooperatively by two or more campuses in the University of Colorado System. This may be under the degree granting authority existent on one campus or through the degree granting authority of each participating campus. Administrative authority and faculty responsibilities will be specified in the agreements that establish coordinated programs.
Section C: Program Development and Modification
Proposals for new degree programs, options, or certificates and for significant modifications of existing programs will be initiated by the faculty of the sponsoring unit in accordance with its policies and procedures, including college/school review, and then brought to GEC for vote. The Graduate School will inform other offices as needed.
New degree and certificates programs must follow CU system administrative policy statements as well as any campus policy and procedures. A proposal for a new degree must include all required information before review and will require Regent’s review and approval. A proposal for new tracks/options will include similar items as a proposal for a new degree but may be shorter in length and may not include Regent review. Proposals for certificates must follow campus policy (#200-023) and associated procedures. Certificates may require Regents’ review. Presentations to the GEC for new degrees and tracks/options should include:
1. A discussion of the program and degree plan(s)
2. Resources needed for the program/option/track
3. The student demand for the new program/option/track
4. Faculty expertise in the area, and
5. Any other information that the department/school/college believes is relevant to the discussion
The GEC will be involved in proposed modifications to existing programs (as outlined below). The Graduate School will then inform appropriate offices about the changes. The GEC may have an approval role, an endorsement role, or just be informed about changes. Modifications that impact resources or standards to program, campus or student need to be approved by GEC. Modifications related to elimination of a program must be reviewed for impact on students and the proposal must be endorsed by GEC. Other changes to programs not related to resources must be communicated to GEC. Course level changes are made on the normal course inventory, which includes review and signature by the Graduate School Dean but not by the GEC. Approval of course level changes does not imply changes to programs. Programs are responsible for updating the academic catalog upon approval/endorsement. Changes may need to be published by the catalog deadline to be in place for the following academic year.
Modifications requiring a vote by the GEC:
- Addition or removal of non-curriculum requirements (e.g., thesis, dissertation, master's comprehensive examination, doctoral exam) and other degree completion requirements (e.g., paper publication, internship, practicum)
- Curriculum changes
- Changes in credit hours
- Changes that impact resources (e.g., number of courses needed (even if no overall credit number change), new faculty for new content areas)
- New degrees, new program options, and new certificates
Modifications requiring review and endorsement by the GEC, but require no vote:
- Discontinuance of programs or certificates
- Changes in degree name or degree type if no changes in resources
Modifications requiring notification only:
- Changes in curriculum not covered in the "modifications requiring GEC vote" section.
The Graduate School Dean or program director may request a GEC review and recommendation for changes to programs. For other changes that are not covered in this section, please contact the Graduate School to determine type of approval needed.
ARTICLE III: ADMISSION TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
The following are minimum standards for admission of students to a degree program of the Graduate School. Individual programs may adopt additional requirements beyond the minimum requirements.
Section A: Regular Admission
1. Minimum requirements for admission as a regular degree student:
a. Hold a baccalaureate degree or a master's degree from an accredited college or university, or demonstrate completion of work equivalent to the baccalaureate or master's degree from an accredited institution.
b. Have an undergraduate grade point average of 2.75 or better on a 4.0 scale.
Have a combined undergraduate grade point average and score on a national standardized admissions test that meet criteria determined by the program.
Have completed 9 semester hours of relevant graduate course work at an accredited university with a grade point average of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale. Note that units completed before admission may not all be transferable to a University of Colorado Colorado Springs graduate degree program.
c. Have adequate preparation to enter graduate study in the chosen program, and meet the requirements for admission, as determined by the program faculty.
d. English proficiency must be established for all students. A student who is noticeably deficient in the written and/or oral use of the English language cannot obtain an advanced degree from University of Colorado Colorado Springs. Each program judges the qualifications of its students in the use of English.
The following are options for determining English Proficiency. Departments must use at least one of these options:
Postsecondary degree from a US accredited institution or in a program where English is the language of instruction.
Earn a minimum score on a program-approved English proficiency test (TOEFL, iELTS, KITE, Duolingo, etc.) that has been taken in the last two years. Each program sets a minimum score.
Successful completion of an UCCS approved English language training program.
Programs may develop other criteria that are reported to the Graduate School. The established criteria must be published (e.g., on department websites). Such methods may include, but are not limited to, in-person interviews with students; specific scores on standardized tests such as GRE or GMAT; submission of papers to professional journals where English is the written language and student has a substantial role in writing the paper.
Note: It is important to communicate to potential students the English language expectations so that they can plan appropriately and not apply if they do not meet the minimum standards.
Information about program admission standards is available in each department/program office/website and on the Graduate School website
Section B: Provisional Admission
An applicant not meeting the criteria for admission in Article III, Section A1 criteria a, b, or c may be recommended by the faculty for admission as a provisional student. The recommendation for admission as a provisional student must include a letter from the program/department/school stating the conditions that the student must meet in order to become a graduate student with regular status. When the conditions for regular status are met, the program director must reclassify the student's status to fully admitted and inform the student in writing.
Provisional students are subject to the same standards of performance required of regular degree students, in addition to other requirements as specified by program faculty, imposed as conditions of the provisional admission status.
Section C: New Applications
Applications for admission to an advanced degree program should be made online through the University of Colorado Colorado Springs Office of Admissions' graduate application. The complete application must include:
1. The graduate application.
2. Official transcripts from degree-granting institutions must be submitted. Additional transcripts may be required to verify prerequisites or major coursework. A final official transcript from degree-granting institution must be verified.
3. A nonrefundable application processing fee.
4. Test scores, letters of reference, and other materials as required by specific department/program/school/college.
5. For international applicants, demonstration of English language proficiency and proof of financial support. International students are encouraged to contact the International Affairs Office.
See specific program/department/school/college websites or advertising materials for admission deadlines as well as additional requirements they may have.
A student who wishes to change the major field of study after an admission offer from a program must follow the practices of the new program they plan to enter into, but the following broad guidelines are expected. Programs should have clear posted procedures.
- If changing to a program in a different college, the student must submit a new graduate application for the new program and pay the graduate application fee. Dual degree and joint programs may have different processes for adding dual/joint program.
- If changing to a program in a different department within the same college, typically the student must submit a new graduate application for the new program and pay the graduate application fee. However, some colleges may allow an interdepartmental transfer without requiring a new application or fee (e.g., when there is one admissions committee for a college). For changes without a new application, programs may submit the appropriate change form to graduate admissions or registrar office.
- If changing programs within the same department, the student must discuss the change with the program director. The program director may submit the appropriate change form to admissions or registrar office OR departments may have additional internal procedures that require a new application and fee.
The new program/department/school/college faculty will evaluate the student for admission. Admission to one program does not guarantee admission into another degree program.
At times, departments/schools/colleges may accept partial applications for a student's regular or provisional admission as long as the applicant submits all material by the deadline date determined by the graduate director.
Section D: Applications by Former Students
A student who was previously admitted to a graduate program, did not complete the degree, is no longer eligible to register at the University, and now wishes to return to school must do the following:
1. Clarify status with the program to determine eligibility to return and pursue the same degree.
2. If the program does not uniformly require a new application, then the program shall submit the appropriate change form to reactivate the student. A program may require a new application to be submitted and reviewed for the student to be readmitted to the program. In this situation, a new application fee is required.
3. Student may be held responsible for any curricular changes that have occurred in the program since they were last enrolled.
4. Any coursework that is more than six years old for master's degrees and nine years old for doctorates at the semester of degree conferral will need to be validated to be used towards the degree. Departments may have shorter timelines for work needing validation.
A student applying to a doctoral program from a master's program in the same department should submit an application for the doctoral program and pay the application fee.
A student in a doctoral program who gets a master’s degree along the way does not need to submit a new application or pay an application fee.
Section E: Transfer Credits
Transfer credits may be applied to a graduate degree only with the approval of the program director. Each master's program will establish, with the concurrence of the GEC, the maximum number of semester hours (not to exceed 30% of the required credits) that may be transferred from another accredited institution and applied toward its graduate degree. Additional transfer credits for doctoral programs may be allowed at the discretion of the program director, with approval of the Graduate School Dean. The following provisions will apply:
1. All transfer courses must have a minimum grade of B or above (3.0 on a 4.0 scale).
2. Programs may require that credit will not be accepted for transfer until the student has established a satisfactory academic record at this university.
3. All work accepted for transfer must have been completed within the approved degree time limit or must be validated and approved by program faculty.
4. Courses applied towards an awarded master's degree or bachelor's degree may not be used towards another master's degree in progress. Courses applied to a master’s degree may be used towards the doctorate degree with the approval of the program faculty and graduate school.
5. Courses applied towards a UCCS graduate certificate program may be used towards a master’s degree so long as these courses meet transfer credit policy.
6. Requests for transfer of credit must be made on the form specified for transfer of credit and an official transcript of course credit must accompany the requests or be on record in Admissions and Records.
7. Master's degree students must submit transfer requests to the program director by the deadline determined by the program.
8. Doctoral degree students must submit transfer requests to the Graduate School before submitting the application for admission to candidacy.
9. Graduate level credits earned while an undergraduate at another institution may be transferred to the Graduate School upon approval of the program faculty and graduate school as long as the credits did not count towards the undergraduate degree.
10. Students transferring in credits from international institutions to count towards degree requirements must have courses evaluated by a professional service to determine the work is graduate level, equivalency of grades and number of credits. Please visit the Transfer office website at https://transfer.uccs.edu/contact/faq (See Office of Admissions and Records for suggested service providers). If UCCS has a contracted agreement with an international institution, course evaluation will not be required.
Section F: Credit Earned at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs before Admission to the Program
1. Seniors at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs may transfer up to nine semester hours of coursework, provided such work meets the following requirements:
a. Completed with a grade of B or above in the senior year at this University
b. Falls within the time limit for the completion of the graduate degree
c. Does not apply toward course or credit requirements of the bachelor's degree
d. Is approved by the program director prior to beginning the graduate degree
2. Courses must be at the 0500/5000 level or higher and taught by a faculty member with an appointment to the Graduate Faculty.
3. Graduate coursework must be substantially different than undergraduate coursework, with the graduate coursework demonstrating more rigor and exceeding undergraduate course expectations.
4. Completion of the same graduate and undergraduate courses (e.g., course cross listed at 4000 and 5000 level) will not be allowed.
5. Retroactive changing of undergraduate credit to graduate credit is not allowed.
6. Credits earned as an unclassified student at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs may be applied to a graduate degree only with the approval of the program director. Each course must have a grade of B of better to be transferred in towards the graduate degree. Each program will determine the maximum number of credits as an unclassified student not to exceed 12 semester hours. If a program would like to transfer in more than 12 credits hours, they can request an exemption through the Graduate School.
Section G: Credit Earned at Other University of Colorado Campuses
Programs may accept graduate credits earned at other campuses of the University of Colorado. Refer to the program/department/school/college for each programs' specific policy on other University of Colorado campus credit transfers.
Intercampus Enrollment: https://registrar.uccs.edu/intercampus-enrollment
Section H: Graduate Certificate Programs
Graduate certificate programs require the student to meet the minimum graduate school admission requirements and any additional program requirements. Refer to the appropriate program/department/school/college for specific admission requirements to the certificate program. Each graduate certificate program must: (1) require a minimum of 12 credit hours of graduate coursework unless there are specific accreditation requirements that require additional coursework, (2) have a named director, or academic advisor, (3) have a clearly defined completion and exit process, and (4) be approved by the Graduate School Dean. Additionally, admission to a graduate certificate program does not constitute admission to a degree program. Certificate students must maintain a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale once admitted to the certificate program. Students falling below a 3.0 GPA will be placed on probation or removed from the program following the program's policy.
Section I: License and Endorsement Programs
License and endorsement programs require the student to meet the minimum graduate school admission requirements and any additional program requirements. Refer to the appropriate program/department/school/college for specific admission requirements to license and endorsement program. Each graduate license and endorsement program must: (1) require a minimum of nine credit hours of graduate coursework unless there are specific accreditation requirements that require additional minimum coursework, (2) have a named director, or academic advisor, (3) have a clearly defined completion and exit process, and (4) be approved by the Graduate School Dean. Additionally, admission to a license and endorsement program does not constitute admission to a degree program. License and endorsement students must maintain a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale once admitted to the program. Students falling below a 3.0 GPA will be placed on probation or removed from the program following the program's policy.
Section J: Non-Degree Seeking Admissions from Other Graduate Programs
Students who are enrolled in a certificate/license/endorsement program, are taking pre-requisite courses, or want to take a certain class without being degree seeking can enroll as a non-degree seeking student, if they meet the minimum requirements for admission. Graduate level courses taken as non-degree credit may be used towards a degree with permission from the graduate program.
A graduate student in 'good standing' from another institution may take graduate courses for transfer to that institution when space is available, with the approval of the program director.
ARTICLE IV: GRADUATE DEGREE REQUIREMENTS
The following are minimum requirements for a degree program in the Graduate School. Individual programs may adopt additional requirements that are more restrictive.
Section A: Course Requirements
1. Master's Degree *
a. Plan I (thesis): 30 semester hours (minimum), including 3-6 hours of thesis credit counted toward the degree requirements. At least 24 semester hours must be at the graduate level.
b. Plan II (non-thesis): 30 semester hours (minimum), with at least 24 semester hours taken at the graduate level.
* Department(s)/school(s)/college(s) determine whether to use one or both options.
2. Doctoral Degree
Students are required to complete 60 semester hours (minimum) of graduate level credit, including dissertation credits. Each doctoral program shall determine how many credits from an earned Master's degree may be included in this total. Ph.D. programs will require 30 units of dissertation credit; however, other types of doctoral programs may require fewer research credits.
3. Graduate Level Courses
A graduate level course is any course that bears the graduate number appropriate to the discipline (i.e., 0500/5000, 0600/6000, 9500-9790) and is taught by a member of the graduate faculty.
4. Use of Undergraduate Courses
No lower division undergraduate courses (e.g., 0100/1000, 0200/2000), or undergraduate courses designed to improve basic skills may be used as credit towards a graduate degree.
A program may require a student to take undergraduate courses as a means of making up deficiencies, but the credits generated in these courses may not be counted towards the minimum number of credits required for the graduate degree.
5. Independent Study
Independent study credit hours may not exceed 25% of the minimum credit hours required for the degree.
Section B: Grades and Quality of Graduate Work
1. Minimum Grade Point Averages
To remain in good academic standing in the Graduate School and to receive a graduate degree, a student is required to maintain at least a B (3.0) graduate program grade point average on a 4.0 scale, which includes all work required for the degree while taken at this University (classified and unclassified) and may differ from the University grade point average.
2. Repeating Courses
A student who receives a grade below B (< 3.0) in a course may repeat the course once, with the approval of the program director, provided the course has not been previously applied toward a degree. The grade received in a repeated course may substitute for the original grade and only the latter grade will be used in calculating the graduate program grade point average required for graduation; however, all grades received during the student graduate school experience will appear on the student's transcript and will be used in calculating the student's University grade point average.
3. Minimal Acceptable Grades
Any graduate level course applied to a master's degree must have a grade of C (2.0) or better; undergraduate level courses applied to a master's degree must have a grade of B (3.0) or better.
Any course applied to a doctoral degree must have a grade of B minus (2.7) or better.
4. Grades received before admission to the Graduate School
Courses transferred from another institution are not included in the calculation of the University grade point average. Courses transferred in from another institution, including any other CU campus, will not be included in the graduate program grade point average. The University grade point average does not include any courses taken while in unclassified status; however, the graduate program grade point average will include all unclassified courses applied to meeting the degree requirements.
5. Incomplete and In Progress Grades
A grade of 'I' will convert to 'F' if the work is not completed within the one-year maximum period of time according to University policy. A grade of 'I' should be given only when the following conditions are met:
a. The student requests an incomplete grade
b. Reasons for not completing course requirements are beyond the student's control
c. A substantial amount of coursework as determined by the program has been completed at a passing level by the student
d. The instructor sets the conditions whereby the course will be completed, including deadlines of less than one year.
A grade of 'IP' may be given only for master's thesis, capstone projects, and doctoral dissertation work 'in progress'. Typically, IP grades are given up until completion of the thesis/capstone/dissertation defense unless the department/program has a policy about giving grades at specific milestones. The committee chairperson must submit a grade change for the 'IP' grade to the student's final grade.
6. Pass/Fail Grading
Courses applied to graduate degrees must not be taken as pass/fail with the exception of clinical practicum and internship coursework.
Section C: Leave of Absence
If a student needs to take a leave of absence (LOA) from a program for longer than one semester, the student will need to request a formal leave of absence from the program. A leave of absence may occur for one year (3 continuous semesters including summer). Programs may have shorter stop out periods. Students may request consecutive leaves but if the student has not contacted the program to return from their LOA at the end of the end of the designated timeframe and later request to return, the student may need to reapply to the program to determine if they are still eligible to return to the program.
A program may also place a student on an administrative leave of absence if a student is not making satisfactory academic progress in the program. An administrative leave of absence cannot be used in place of academic probation but may be used simultaneously. The program may request that students meet certain conditions prior to returning. Such conditions for returning to the program must be written in a formal document, agreed upon by the student and program director, and filed with the Graduate School.
At readmission from a student-requested LOA or an administrative LOA, a program may ask students to complete any new program requirements since original application. During the leave period, the progression clock remains active. That is, students will need to complete a master's degree within six years or a doctoral degree within nine years from the original admission into the program. The student and program may still request an extension within the limits of the graduate school and program rules. Once a leave of absence has been approved by the program, the program director should notify the Graduate School. The Graduate School will work with the appropriate campus offices to put a stop on enrollment and financial aid for that student, until the time they decide to come back. To remove the holds, the program will need to inform the Graduate School that the student has restarted the program.
Section D: Probation and Dismissal
1. Student Ethics: Students are expected to adhere to the highest codes of personal and professional ethics, as set forth by the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, which appear in the University of Colorado Colorado Springs Student Academic Ethics Code. Students who do not meet these standards may be dismissed from the Graduate School Dean upon recommendation of the program director and college/school dean of the student's graduate program. A student may appeal such action under the provisions of Article V.
2. Academic Probation: A student who has attempted 9 or more semester hours at UCCS (to include 'I and 'IP' grades) in the Graduate School and whose UCCS graduate program grade point average of awarded grades falls below 3.0 will be placed on academic probation until such time as the UCCS graduate program grade point average is raised to 3.0 or higher. Courses taken at other institutions, including other CU campuses will not be included as part of the decision to place on or remove from probation. A student who is not making satisfactory academic progress (SAP) in program requirements may be placed on probation. A SAP Plan for removal from probation must be made at the time of probation. The student will have a maximum of one calendar year to be removed from probation, or the student may be dismissed from the Graduate School.
3. Dismissal from the Graduate School: Any student whose graduate program grade point average is below 3.0 or who has not met the requirements of the SAP Plan after the one-year probationary period will be subject to automatic dismissal. The program director will notify the Graduate School Dean and the student will be dismissed from the Graduate School. Under extenuating circumstances, the program director may petition the Graduate School Dean for an extension of the probationary time period.
Students may be dismissed from the Graduate School if they do not satisfactorily complete program requirements (e.g., pass coursework, pass examinations, make progress on thesis/dissertation projects, adhere to professional standards) as determined by the program.
A dismissed student is eligible to reapply for admission after one year. Approval or rejection of this application rests with the student's program/department. Validation of previous coursework may be required for students to complete matriculation in the degree.
Section E: Thesis and Dissertation Committees
Thesis Advisory Committee: A thesis advisory committee must be established for each student pursuing a master's degree under Plan I (thesis option). This committee will consist of the thesis advisor, and at least two other members of the graduate faculty, which may include a member from an allied program or community organization. Upon the recommendation of the thesis advisor, the committee is appointed by the program director with the approval of the college/school Dean. Appointment of committee members to thesis committees must follow the policies of appointment to the Graduate School Faculty (see Article I, section C).
PhD Dissertation Advisory Committee: A PhD dissertation advisory committee shall consist of five members of the graduate faculty, including one member of an allied department. One of the five members must be from an outside department with related specialties and that outside member may be from another institution, provided the faculty member has been granted Special membership on the Graduate Faculty. Upon the recommendation of the dissertation advisor, the committee is appointed by the program director with the approval of the college/school Dean. Appointment of committee members to dissertation committees must follow the policies of appointment to the Graduate School Faculty (See Article I, section C).
Section F: Clinical or Professional Doctorate or Master's Dissertation, Capstone, or Project Committees
Clinical or Professional Doctorate Advisory Committee: Clinical or professional doctoral programs may allow capstone projects or dissertations. This committee shall consist of a dissertation/capstone chair and at least two other committee members of the graduate faculty. One member of the committee may be from another institution or community/industry organization. All committee members who make decisions about students' grades or judgments about successfully fulfilling program requirements must be appointed as graduate faculty prior to serving on the committee. Upon the recommendation of the advisory committee chair, the committee is appointed by the program director with the approval of the college/school dean and forwarded to the Graduate School.
Master's Capstone Committee: Programs may use capstone committees in different ways for requirements within a master's program; however, all members of a capstone committee who make decisions about students' grades or judgments about successfully fulfilling program requirements must be appointed as graduate faculty prior to serving on the committee.
Section G: Examinations
1. Master's Degree Examinations
Most master's degree programs require a culminating experience, which may include a comprehensive examination, a portfolio, a capstone, a project, or a thesis defense after the other requirements for the degree have been substantially completed. A student must be registered at the time in which the comprehensive examination or thesis defense is held.
a. Comprehensive Examination
This examination is administered by a committee of at least three graduate faculty appointed by the program director. A majority of the examination committee must vote affirmatively for the student to pass. A student who fails the examination may not attempt it again until at least two months have elapsed. The student may retake the examination only once.
b. Thesis Defense
After the thesis has been accepted by the student's thesis advisor, a thesis defense will be administered by the thesis advisory committee. A majority of the committee must vote affirmatively for the student to pass. A student who fails the thesis defense may not attempt it again until at least two months have elapsed. A student may have only one additional defense.
2. Doctoral Degree Examinations
Each doctoral program will require one or more of the following types of examinations. A student must be registered at the time any of these examinations are taken. Successful completion of either a comprehensive examination or a specialty examination must precede advancement to candidacy.
a. Doctorate of Philosophy Degree
1. Preliminary Examination. An examination to ensure that a student is qualified for doctoral study.
2. Comprehensive Examination. An examination in the field of concentration and related fields. This examination may be written or oral or both and will test the student's mastery of a broad field of knowledge, not merely the formal coursework which has been completed. The comprehensive examination shall be conducted by an examining board of at least three members appointed by the program director.
3. Specialty Examination. An examination in a specific area of the general field of concentration. This examination may be written or oral or both and will test the student's mastery of a single subject that may well go beyond formal coursework that has been completed. The specialty examination shall be conducted by an examining board of at least three members appointed by the program director.
4. Dissertation Proposal. An examination to determine the student's preparedness and appropriateness of the topic, prior to commencing work on the dissertation.
5. Dissertation Defense. After the dissertation has been accepted by the student's dissertation advisor, a final examination of the dissertation and related topics will be conducted by the Dissertation Advisory Committee. The examination is open to anyone who wishes to attend. A successful candidate must receive the affirmative vote of a majority of the members of the dissertation committee. In case of failure, the examination may be attempted once more after a period of time determined by the committee. A student must be registered for at least one dissertation credit or candidate for degree status during the semester (or summer session) in which the dissertation defense is held.
b. Clinical and Professional Doctorate Degree
1. Capstone, Dissertation, or Project Preparedness Examination. An assessment (e.g., examination, proposal, etc) to determine the preparedness of the student and the appropriateness of the topic, prior to commencing work on the doctoral dissertation, capstone, or project.
2. Capstone, Dissertation, or Project Defense. After the capstone, dissertation, or project is completed, a final examination will be conducted by the Advisory Committee. The examination is open to anyone who wishes to attend. A successful candidate must receive the affirmative vote of a majority of the members of the Advisory Committee. In case of failure, the examination may be attempted one time after additional requirements determined by the committee are completed. A student must be registered for at least one credit hour or as candidate for degree during the semester in which the defense is held..
Section H: Foreign Language Requirement
The decision on foreign language requirements for doctoral degrees is the responsibility of the graduate faculty of each graduate program.
Section I: Application for Admission to Candidacy
For each student pursuing a master's degree, an Application for Admission to Candidacy should be completed during the first five weeks of the semester of intended graduation. This application is filed with the program directly. This application will certify that all requirements for the degree have been met or are in progress.
A doctoral student who wishes to become a candidate for a degree must file an Application for Admission to Candidacy with their program. Admission to candidacy will be granted only to students who have completed a significant fraction of the required course work and have passed the comprehensive examination and language requirement (if any).
Section J: Thesis/Dissertation Requirements
All theses and dissertations must adhere to campus standards for quality and formatting.
Every candidate pursuing a master's degree under Plan I (thesis option) is required to write a thesis, which may be research expository, critical, or creative type. Each thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a master's degree must satisfy the specifications of the University of Colorado Colorado Springs Thesis and Dissertation Manual (found on the Graduate School website) and shall represent 3-6 semester credit hours of work. Each program will have specification on the credit total a thesis in that discipline will require. If applicable, delineation of why different credits are available within the same program should be readily descripted within the program’s policy documents.
Every candidate pursuing a doctoral degree is required to write a dissertation based upon original investigation and showing mature scholarship and critical judgment, as well as familiarity with tools and methods of research/scholarship within their field. The subject must be approved by the student's dissertation advisory committee. Each dissertation presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a doctoral degree must satisfy the specifications of the University of Colorado Colorado Springs Thesis and Dissertation Manual. The dissertation shall represent a minimum of 30 semester credit hours of work for Ph.D. candidates but may be less in other doctoral programs.
Ph.D. Doctoral Dissertation Credit Hour Requirements
- Dissertation credits are expected to be taken when a student is working on the dissertation project.
- A doctoral student may take no more than 24 dissertation credits up until the semester in which the appropriate examination is passed. The student must take at least 15 dissertation credits in the semesters after the appropriate examination is passed.
- Following successful completion of the appropriate doctoral examination, a student may register for 1 to 10 units of dissertation credit in a semester (no more than 7 credits hours in summer) until the requirements for the degree are completed.
- A student must be registered for at least 1 dissertation credit or have the candidate for degree status during the semester (or summer session) in which the dissertation defense is held.
- Students must follow program and departmental policies and procedures for maintaining satisfactory progress through the program. Departments and programs should communicate these procedures and standards to students.
- A doctoral student is typically expected to be enrolled continuously; however, students are considered inactive after 12 months of no enrollment has occurred. If a student is classified as inactive, they will need to follow the procedures in Article III, Section D: Applications by Former Students according to their program’s requirements.
Clinical and Professional Doctoral Capstone, Dissertation, or Project
Students pursuing clinical or professional doctoral degrees are required to complete a culminating project (e.g., capstone, dissertation, project) in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a clinical or professional doctorate at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. The courses associated with the dissertation, capstone, or project shall represent at a minimum 10 semester credit hours of work. Programs may set a higher number of credits. Style requirements and format for the capstone/project are determined by the program, Dissertations are submitted to the Graduate School following the campus standards.
Section K: Time Limits for Completion of Degrees
Although students are normally expected to complete a master's degree in one to three years, master's degree students have six years, from the date of the start of course work, to complete all degree requirements (which includes filing the thesis if Plan I is followed). A student who fails to complete the degree in the six-year period must file a petition for extension with the program director and have it approved by the Graduate School Dean. The petition, giving reasons why the student should be allowed to continue in the program, must be endorsed by the program director. The program director must approve the application of any course to the degree that was taken more than six years prior to the semester of graduation, and all such courses must be validated by special examination. Courses that have been validated will be eligible for use towards graduation for two years. If the student takes longer than that from time of validation to complete the degree, a new course validation will be required.
Doctoral students are normally expected to complete all degree requirements within nine years from the date of the start of coursework in the doctoral program. A student who fails to complete the degree in the nine years must file a petition for extension with the program director and have it approved by the Graduate School Dean. The petition, giving reasons why the student should be allowed to continue in the program, must be endorsed by the program director or by three members of the student's dissertation advisory committee. If the Graduate School Dean approves, the student may continue studies for an additional year. If the Graduate School Dean does not approve the request, the college/school dean, with the concurrence of the program director, may dismiss the student from the program. If the Graduate School Dean and the program director do not agree on whether a student should be continued in the program, the Graduate Executive Committee shall make the final decision. If the extension is granted, any coursework that is over nine years must be validated by special examination prior to graduation. Courses that have been validated will be eligible for use towards graduation for two years. If the student takes longer than that from time of validation to complete the degree, a new course validation will be required.
Leave of Absence: Please refer to Article IV Section C for information about taking a Leave of Absence.
ARTICLE V: GRADUATE STUDENT APPEALS
Section A: Final Responsibility
- All appeals regarding course grades or admission decisions shall follow the procedures established by the school/college in which the course was taken, or the admission decision was rendered.
- Final authority on appeals submitted by graduate students concerning actions (other than grading or admissions decisions) taken by faculty members, program directors, academic college/school or graduate dean, or other administrative officials, rests with the Student Affairs Committee. If an appeal involves a matter affecting two or more University of Colorado campuses, the final action rests with the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs.
Section B: Student Appeal Procedures
The procedures for a student appeal to the Graduate School Dean and the GEC are:
- An appeal will be officially accepted from a student only after it has been determined that the student has exhausted the appeals process in effect in the program, department, school, and college. If the appeal is for a Graduate School decision, the provost will appoint a member of the GEC to hear the initial appeal and to call the Student Affairs Committee together.
- If a resolution to the problem identified in the student's appeal cannot be reached on the department or unit level, the student may submit a written appeal to the Graduate School Dean. The written appeal must describe in detail the basis in fact for the opinion that the student has been treated unfairly academically and must describe actions taken to resolve the problem at the departmental level.
- Upon receipt of a written appeal from a student, the Graduate School Dean will contact the appropriate departmental officer to get a response to the questions or objections raised by the student. In some cases, a written response from the department may be requested. The response and appeal are then sent to the Student Affairs Committee of the GEC. This committee makes a decision in the case. The decision from the Student Appeals Committee is final.
ARTICLE VI: IMPLEMENTATION AND AMENDMENTS
Section A: Implementation
These Policies and Procedures of the Graduate School shall take effect immediately upon approval by the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. Any program not in compliance with these policies and procedures at that time shall have two years to demonstrate full compliance. A program must submit a remediation plan if a compliance issue is identified. This will be submitted to the Dean of the Graduate School. A program whose requirements change from these policies and procedures shall submit in writing all such differences to the GEC.
Section B: Amendments
- Amendments or changes to the Graduate School Policies and Procedures for the purposes of correction, clarification, or compliance may be made by the Graduate School Dean with the support of the GEC.
- For approval an amendment or change must be favored by a two-thirds majority of the voting members of the GEC.
- The GEC retains the right to obtain feedback and/or full faculty vote on changes to these policies.
- Changes in these Graduate School Policies and Procedures will not become effective until they have been reviewed by the Graduate School Dean, the Deans' Council, and approved by the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.
- Graduate School Policies and Procedures should be reviewed every five years by an ad hoc subcommittee of the GEC with approval by vote of the GEC upon completion of review.
Approved by the Graduate Executive Committee: May 6, 2022
Approved by the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs: May 18, 2022
Copyright by University of Colorado Colorado Springs