Graduate College Policy & Course Requirements

All students of the graduate college are expected to be familiar with and adhere to graduate college policy and graduate course requirements throughout their learning career.

The Graduate Dean enforces established graduate policy, administers the affairs of Graduate Studies, and reports to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The Graduate Curriculum and Policy Committee is consulted on all proposed graduate policy changes at MSU.

The following highlights the specific policies and requirements.

Time Limits

  • All work, including approved transfer credits, for a Master’s Degree, Graduate Certificate, or a Specialist Degree must be completed within a 6 year period.
    • For example: Credits completed in the fall 2016 semester will no longer be applied or counted toward your master’s degree at the end of the summer 2022 session.
  • All work for a Doctoral Degree must be completed within a 7 year period.
  • The time limit begins with the first course taken that applies to the program.
  • The time limit applies to transfer credits.

Graduate Enrollment Policy

  • Graduate students must be registered for at least one graduate-level credit (500 level and above) during the semester they intend to graduate.
  • Finishing a previous course with an 'IP' does not fulfill this requirement. Courses must have final grades assigned.
  • Continuous Registration is required for Doctoral students.
  • Click here to see the Graduate Enrollment Policy document.

Graduate Course Requirements

  • Only graduate-level courses (500 level and above) will be counted toward a graduate degree or graduate certificate.
  • All master’s degree programs must have at least one-half of the credits counted for the degree (excluding thesis and APP credits) earned in courses restricted to graduate students (600 – 699 level).
  • A 3.0 grade point average minimum must be maintained for all graduate work being counted toward the fulfillment of a graduate certificate or degree program.
  • Courses taken at Minnesota State University, Mankato that are assigned a 'C-' or below will not be counted for graduation credit. Transfer credits assigned a 'B-' or below will not be accepted.
  • If a dual numbered course is taken at the undergraduate level, it cannot be taken at the graduate-level and counted toward a graduate degree program or graduate certificate.

Research Methods or Statistics Credit Requirement

  • All graduate degree programs (excluding graduate certificate-only programs) must include at least one graduate-level research methods or statistics course of a minimum of 2 credits.
  • Any substitute course or variance must be approved by the Office of Graduate Studies.

Independent Study/Individual Study

  • A maximum of 6 credits of independent/individual study may be applied toward a graduate degree program or certificate.
  • Individual study courses require consent of the instructor and department chair. In-service courses carry individual subtitles and are designed to meet special practitioner needs.

Thesis Credit

  • A minimum of 3 thesis credits must be earned by a student following a thesis plan.
  • A maximum of 6 thesis credits can be applied toward a graduate program.

FULL-TIME STATUS

  • To be considered full-time, graduate students must be enrolled for a minimum of 6 graduate level credits per semester.
  • The maximum course load is 12 graduate-level credits each semester.
  • Any exception must be approved by the student’s advisor and the Office of Graduate Studies. Students exceeding the load limit without proper authorization shall lose the credits in excess of the authorized load.
  • Students who wish to take more than the maximum course load must complete and submit an Overload Request Form.

Credit by Examination

  • Students who possess expertise and knowledge in a specific area covered by graduate coursework may apply for credit by examination.
  • Forms may be obtained from the department offering the specific course(s) to be examined.
  • A maximum of 6 credits will be accepted.
  • The credits must be approved by the course instructor, department chairperson, and Office of Graduate Studies.

Waiving of Regulation by Petition

Graduate students may petition the Dean of Graduate Studies for waiving of certain regulations based on the existence of extenuating circumstances. Such a petition must be endorsed by the student's advisor before it will be considered.

Graduate Faculty

The Dean of Graduate Studies approves graduate and research faculty status based on the recommendation of the department chair and the college dean as well as a review of their credentials by the graduate committee.

Advisors

Upon admission to a program, students are automatically assigned an advisor from the department. It is common for students to change advisors after taking some courses and meeting faculty who share their interests. The proposed advisor must be a member of the graduate faculty at the Regular or Research Status; see the Graduate Faculty Policy for more information. A Change of Advisor form must be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies for the change to be effective.

Students are encouraged to work closely with their advisors in:
  1. Developing a Plan of Study and selecting their courses
  2. Meeting all departmental and Graduate Studies requirements
  3. Organizing an examining committee (if required)
  4. Completing the required research course and capstone project
  5. Arranging for comprehensive examinations (if required)
Non-degree seeking graduate students are not assigned an advisor. They may, however, seek advice from a member of the faculty.

COMBINED UNDERGRADUATE/GRADUATE PROGRAM

Some graduate programs permit undergraduate students who have completed at least 2 - 3 years of undergraduate study to apply to the graduate program and double count up to 12 graduate credits toward both the undergraduate and graduate programs.  The applicant’s undergraduate academic performance should reflect the potential to succeed in graduate-level coursework. This option is currently available to students in Electrical Engineering, Geography/Urban Studies, Information Technology, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Sociology, Anthropology, Gender and Women's Studies, and Elementary and Literacy Education. The admission and registration process for students admitted to the Combined Undergraduate/Graduate Program is as follows:

  1. Students may apply to the combined program at any time after the conclusion of their sophomore year, but prior to the start of their final undergraduate semester.
  2. Successful applicants are notified of their admission to the program by the Graduate Studies Office.
  3. Newly admitted students are not coded as or considered to be graduate students until they earn their undergraduate degree. They remain classified as undergraduate students until all undergraduate degree requirements are completed. The Graduate Studies Office will code these students with a graduate classification only after the undergraduate degree has been received.
  4. Until the undergraduate degree is earned, the student's advisor will inform the Registrar's Office of the graduate credits the student is authorized to register for. The Registrar's Office will then build special course sections for these students and register the students. After registration, the Registrar's Office will notify the advisor, Graduate Office and the Financial Services of the registrations. Instructional Unit L will be entered on these special course sections so these sections can be tracked for appropriate billing. This notification must be received prior to the start of the term. Students will pay the graduate level tuition for the identified 400/500 courses. Courses at the 600 level are not eligible for double counting.
  5. The courses/grades on the graduate transcript will remain on the graduate transcript even if the student does not continue in the graduate program after completing undergraduate degree requirements.
  6. No more than 12 credits are eligible to be double counted and applied to both the undergraduate and the graduate program.
  7. Students must register for double counted courses within the same semester. Backdating courses is not permitted.

Transfer Credits

A maximum of 10 semester credits of graduate credit, all of which must be related to the program, and completed with an earned grade of "B" or better, may be transferred from other appropriately accredited colleges or universities into a master's degree program. A maximum of 16 semester credits of graduate credit may be transferred from the other MinnState universities and applied to a program at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

To be accepted as transfer credit and applied towards a Minnesota State University graduate degree, the following conditions must be met:

  1. Credit must be from a regionally accredited educational institution
  2. Credits transferred into an accredited program may need to originate from an accredited program.
  3. The courses must be taught by a faculty member with graduate faculty status at the originating university
  4. The courses must be part of a regular graduate program at the originating university
  5. Evaluation and approval by the student's Examining Committee
  6. Evaluation and approval by the College of Graduate Studies and Research.

The following will not be accepted as transfer credit:

  1. Individual study
  2. Credit from a university that does not accept that credit for its own campus graduate programs
  3. Workshops, Continuing Education Courses and In-Service Training credits
  4. Courses completed with a Pass/No Pass or a similar evaluation
All work that fulfills the requirements of a master's degree program, including all transferred credit, must be completed within six calendar years.

Credits from Previously Earned Master's Degree

Students completing a master's degree program may, with the approval of the academic department, include previously earned credit counted toward an earlier awarded master’s degree. The award of this credit toward a second master's degree program must adhere to the following stipulations:

  1. Up to 30 % of the credits required for a second master's degree may be allowed by the application of appropriate courses from the first completed master's degree program. Courses applied to a second master's degree program must be approved by the faculty responsible for the second program.
  2. Courses accepted for double-counting may not be used to satisfy a second master's degree program's requirements of research seminars, internships, colloquia, theses or other capstone experiences.
  3. Courses allowed for double counting must be graduate courses completed with a grade of B or better, earned at a regionally accredited institution.
  4. A graduate student may not apply both conventional transfer credit and credit earned from a previous master’s degree toward the second master's degree program. The former or the latter, but not both, can be applied to a single program.
  5. All work for a master's degree, included work completed from another program, must be completed within a six-year period.

Change of Program

To change degree programs, students must submit a new application, including the application fee, to the College of Graduate Studies and Research.

Applications

Students possessing a four-year bachelor's degree earned at a regionally accredited college or university, or the equivalent, may be eligible to enroll in graduate study. Admission to the graduate school is open to all who qualify with no limitation based on race, religion, color, veteran's status, sex, age, national origin, marital status, physical and mental disability, sexual orientation, creed, status due to receipt of public assistance or any group against which discrimination is prohibited.

Students seeking a graduate degree or certificate must submit a completed application for a specific graduate degree program. It is the student's responsibility to arrange for an official degree verifying transcript to be sent by the degree-granting institution once it is available. Students are not considered to be fully admitted until an official final degree verifying transcript is received by the College of Graduate Studies and Research. Submitting false or fraudulent credentials during the application process may result in a denial of admission and/or termination of registration.

Students wishing to take graduate coursework, but who do not wish to seek a graduate degree or enroll in a graduate certificate program, must complete an application as a non-degree seeking student prior to registration. No more than 12 graduate credits taken by a non-degree seeking student may be applied to a graduate degree program. Non-degree study is not typically available to international students.

All applicants must pay an application fee at the time of application. The fee is waived for applicants currently enrolled in the McNair Scholars Program.

Materials filed with the College of Graduate Studies and Research cannot be returned, borrowed or reproduced.

A four-year cumulative minimum GPA of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale is required in all programs unless otherwise specified. Some programs require a higher GPA. The reviewing department may require the student to complete certain deficiencies in addition to the normal requirements of the graduate program.

Upon receipt of the department's recommendation, the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Research will admit the student to the program and the College of Graduate Studies and Research. The College of Graduate Studies and Research officially informs the applicant of his/her admission status. A student is not officially admitted to the College of Graduate Studies and Research until an admission recommendation from the department is reviewed by the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Research.

Applicants presenting little evidence of succeeding in graduate-level work may be denied admission to a degree program and permission to take graduate courses. Applicants may also be denied if the department involved and the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Research concur that the applicant does not meet the professional standards commonly required for a student earning a graduate degree in that area. The limited number of available spaces for new students within some programs may also limit the number of students who can be admitted to a program.

Most graduate programs at Minnesota State University, Mankato accommodate the student who, because of employment, family or other obligation, chooses to attain a degree on a part-time basis. Students may choose to not register for classes and resume a part-time or full-time load at a later date. However, the maximum time limit to complete all program requirements, including coursework and the capstone project, is six years.