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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Courses and Scholastic Standards

Page address: https://grad.mnsu.edu/programs/bulletin/info-courses.html

Only courses bearing graduate credit are applicable toward a graduate degree. The minimum number of credits required to be taken in courses restricted to graduate students is specified in the various graduate programs. At least one-half of the credits required for the Master's degree program must be from courses listed as 600-699, excluding thesis or APP credits. The 600-level courses are for graduate students only.

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.

Graduate Student Load

To be considered full-time, a graduate student must enroll for at least 6 semester credits. The student's maximum course load each semester is 12 credits for the regular school year and a maximum of 8 semester credits during the summer session. Any exception must be approved by the student's advisor and the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Research. Any student exceeding the load limit without proper authorization shall lose the credits in excess of the authorized load.

Credit by Examination

Students who possess expertise and knowledge in a specific area covered by graduate coursework may, with the approval of the class instructor, department chairperson, and the graduate dean, apply for credit by examination for up to 6 credits. Forms may be obtained from the department offering the specific course(s) to be examined.

Individual Studies

A maximum of 6 credits may be taken for independent study.

Course Definitions

  1. Contact Hour: One 50-minute period containing class group activity under supervision.
  2. Regular Course: Contact hours between professor and students designed more to synthesize content than to present material to be learned. Thus, contact among class members and professor is heavily supplemented by regular assignments and systematic evaluation. A course meets on a regular basis usually for an academic semester, a summer session or as a module.
  3. Workshop: The principal learning takes place through interchange among class members, the professor and her/his assistants. Thus, most work for credit is frequently done within the scheduled contact hours; however, appropriate evaluation of student performance may include assessment of outside work as well. A workshop has specific focus on an educational problem and occurs in a compact time period.
  4. In-Service: A professor and a group of students concentrate on cooperatively working toward the resolution of a specific problem clearly relating to professional assignments of students. An in-service course focuses on concerns of a unique clientele. This course is usually offered on-site over an extended period of time. Each new subtitle must be approved by the department chairperson, college dean and, if at the graduate level, the graduate dean. Approval is for an indefinite time.
  5. Seminar: Characterized by in-depth study and a narrow focus. Students are expected to do extended research outside of class and to present and defend their research in class. A limited number of students is accepted and stringent prerequisites are required.
  6. Practicum, Internship, Field Study or Field Work: Credit is awarded for an educational experience on an individual basis emphasizing on-the job training. The student's work is jointly supervised by the academic unit involved and the cooperating agency. Written permission from the individual professor and/or department is required prior to registration.
  7. Tour: An extended group experience off campus in which major learning results from travel. Tours must be supervised by regular Minnesota State University faculty who accompany it. Credit is awarded and student evaluation is expected. The tour itself constitutes the major learning experience in earning credits.
  8. Field Trip: A short-term visit off campus to a site of educational significance. This activity is supplemental to a regular course. Credit awarded is for the course involved, with no extra or separate credit awarded for the field trip.
  9. Individually Paced Course: A series of specifically defined lessons. Each lesson involves an assignment and an evaluation which the student must complete at an acceptable competence level. Learning may involve group and/or individual activity, but the standards established apply equally to all members. A maximum of six credits of independent study may count toward a degree program.
  10. Individual Study: Permits properly qualified students to undertake independent study under guidance of a faculty member. It is used only where the time sequence and content are especially suited to the individual student and no other students are enrolled in the same work at the same time. Written permission from the individual professor and/or department is required prior to registration. A maximum of 6 credits of independent study may count toward a degree program.
  11. Module: Identifies a regular course taught in a compact time frame. All other guidelines for a regular course apply.

Note: Individual study courses require consent of instructor and department chair. In-service courses carry individual subtitles and are designed to meet special practitioner needs.

Scholastic Standards

The accumulation of grades below 3.0 in more than two courses of three or more credits each or Incomplete/In-Progress in more than three courses of two or more credits, or a combination of the above in four courses excluding thesis/alternate plan paper credits removes the student from degree status.

The Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Research will monitor the academic standing of all graduate students each semester and take the following actions based on the review of the graduate students' semester ending grade reports. A student who fails to meet the academic standards may be required by the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Research to withdraw from the university. Individual academic programs may have published retention and dismissal policies that differ from those noted below. In these cases, the departmental policy will supersede the general university policy.

Students receiving financial aid (excluding non-federally funded University graduate assistantships) must abide by federal, state, and institutional policies, including but not limited to, satisfactory academic progress standards. For additional information please see the web page of the Student Financial Services Office.

Academic warning letters will be sent to graduate students who receive a grade of less than 3.0, an In -Progress (IP), or Incomplete (I) in any graduate course of 2 credits or more, or who have a cumulative grade point average of less than 3.0.

Probation letters will be sent to students who received an academic warning letter the previous term and who have subsequently failed to demonstrate significant improvement in their academic record. While under Academic Warning status, students who receive a grade of less than 3.0, a grade point average for the term of less than 3.0, a cumulative grade point average of less than 3.0, or an In-Progress or Incomplete in excess of four graduate courses of 2 credits or more will be placed on probation.

Dismissal letters will be sent to all students who were placed on probation the previous term and who failed to demonstrate a significant improvement in his/her academic record and received a grade point average for the term less than 3.0, or a grade of less than 3.0, IP, or I in excess of four graduate courses of 2 credits or more.

No grade lower than a "C" is counted for graduation credit, but all grades earned (including Ds and Fs) are counted in determining the grade point average. Graduate courses may be repeated but credit for the course is applicable toward the degree only once. However, all grades earned for that course shall be used in calculating the grade point average.

A student's work in any course will be evaluated in accordance with the following system of letter grades: A, B. C, D, F, N, and P.

Grading definitions and standards are posted [PDF] here (322 KiB).

P/N Grading System

Under the P/N (pass or no credit) system a graduate student may choose to register for a course so designated with the understanding that credit will be received, indicated by the letter "P," if the equivalent of a "B" grade or better is earned. If less than a "B" grade is earned, no credit will be granted, but an "N" will replace the traditional grade on the record. Whether the grade is "P" or "N," the hours taken will not enter into the computation of grade point average.

Graduate students may take any course for which they qualify as general education or elective on a Pass/No Credit basis. (Departments may, with approval of the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Research, prohibit P/N students from graduate courses open only to their majors. These courses will be designated in the Class Schedule.)

Departments may use Pass/No Credit grades for theses, individual study courses, practicums, workshops, tours, seminars, and internships in the major field. They may not use Pass/No Credit grades for other courses in the student's major without specific approval of the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Research.

Students are requested to check with respective departments for specific information. Students shall have the option of choosing the regular grading system or the P/N system in all courses open to P/N. All grading method changes must be processed through the Office of the Registrar by the posted deadlines. No more than one-third of a graduate degree shall consist of Pass/No Credit grades.

Quality Points

Quality points (grade points) are determined on the basis of letter grades. The number of quality points earned for a course may be determined by multiplying the number of points the grade commands by the number of credits the course carries.
Quality point calculations are as follows:

A+ = 4.00 A = 4.00 A- = 3.67
B+ = 3.33 B = 3.00 B- = 2.67
C+ = 2.33 C = 2.00 C- = 1.67
D+ = 1.33 D = 1.00 D- = 0.67
F = 0 P=0 NC=0

Grade-Point Average (GPA)

The total number of quality points acquired by the student divided by the total number of credit hours attempted on a regular grade basis, is called the grade-point average (GPA). Grades of NC and P have no effect upon the calculation of a grade-point average.

 

Dismissal from a Program

Students may be dismissed from a graduate program "for cause" by the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Research on the basis of recommendations from the advisor, examining committee (if one exists), and the department chairperson. "For cause" includes professional judgment of the department involved and the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Research that the student does not meet the academic or professional standards required for a student earning a graduate degree in that area.

Registration Hold

On the recommendation of the appropriate department and concurrence of the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Research, a hold may be placed on future registration of graduate students who are not making satisfactory progress toward a degree.

Appeal Review Process

A graduate student who feels s/he has been unfairly treated concerning grades or actions taken at the departmental level may appeal such perceived treated by following the University's grade appeal policy, posted at [PDF] mnsu.edu/policies/approved/gradeappeals.pdf (97 KiB).

A graduate student who feels he/she has been unfairly treated concerning actions taken at the departmental level may appeal such treatment as follows.  The appeal process is initiated by a personal visit with the professor involved.

If no resolution is achieved, the student should submit a written petition to the department chairperson with a copy to the instructor. The department chairperson may arrange a hearing with the student and the faculty member involved, and will, in any case, respond to the petition in writing within two weeks with copies to the student and the instructor.

If no satisfactory resolution is achieved, the student may appeal to the dean of the college in writing with copies sent to the department chairperson and the instructor. The dean may convene a College Grade Appeals Committee, if appropriate, which shall serve in an advisory capacity to the dean. Within two weeks the College Appeals Committee will make a recommendation to the dean who will respond in writing to the student of the decision reached with copies to the instructor and the department chair.

If a satisfactory agreement cannot be reached, the student will submit a written statement to the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Research with copies to the instructor, the department chairperson, and the college dean. The Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Research may convene a Appeals Committee to serve in an advisory capacity. This ad hoc committee will be comprised of three members of the Graduate Sub-Meet and Confer and a graduate student. The chairperson of the Appeals Committee will respond to the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Research within two weeks with copies to the student, the instructor, the chairperson, and the dean of the college. Both the student and the faculty shall be permitted to make a rebuttal to the written record compiled by the committee; this must be done within two weeks. The decision of the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Research shall be communicated in writing to all concerned parties. This decision is final.

Written petitions should describe the nature of the problem including relevant information, the remedy sought, and a statement that an attempt was made to resolve the issue at the appropriate levels. If witnesses are named in the petition, they should receive copies. The student should always keep a copy of all paperwork.

Student complaints and concerns about issues other than those noted above are to be resolved under the guidelines within the [PDF] Student Complaints and Grievances policy (382 KiB).