Nov 24, 2020  
2020-21 Graduate Catalog 
    
2020-21 Graduate Catalog

Minimum Degree Requirements for Graduate Academic Programs


Doctoral Degrees

Middle Tennessee State University offers the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Economics, English, Human Performance, Literacy Studies, Computational Science, Mathematics and Science Education, Molecular Biosciences, and Public History and the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree in Assessment Learning and Student Success. The Ph.D. and Ed.D. degrees are offered for the purpose of developing doctoral-level expertise combining pedagogy with scholarly achievement and research excellence (applied or theoretical). Above all, doctoral degree recipients from MTSU are scholars who have acquired advanced academic skills and are well prepared to teach at the collegiate level, conduct independent scholarly investigation, and provide service to the private and public sectors associated with their academic discipline.

Admission

General admission requirements for a doctoral degree may be found in the admission section  of this catalog. Applicants for admission to this degree must hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited university. Although a master’s degree is not a general University requirement, each graduate program has the option of establishing such a requisite.

General Course and Credit Requirements

The required minimum is 60 semester hours of coursework with at least two-thirds of the program at the 7000 level. No more than 12 semester hours of dissertation research (course 7640) may be applied toward this 60-hour requirement. If recommended by the student’s graduate advisor and approved by the graduate dean, a limited number of semester hours of coursework taken at the master’s level may be applied toward this 60-hour requirement.

The 60-credit requirement must include the following:

  1. At least 42 hours (48 hours for the Ed.D.) in discipline-specific coursework. Undergraduate or dual-listed 4000/5000 courses (or their equivalents) cannot be used toward this requirement.
  2. At least 12 semester hours of dissertation research (course 7640).
    Once Ph.D. students have begun enrolling in dissertation research, they are expected to enroll in at least 1 semester hour of dissertation research (exclusive of Summer semester) until the dissertation is completed. Failure to maintain continuous enrollment while in the dissertation phase will require the student to apply for readmission to the program. Readmission is not guaranteed.

Additional Program Requirements

Each doctoral program establishes degree requirements that are specific to that discipline and may exceed the minimum University requirements. Students should consult the appropriate graduate program section in this catalog. The graduate program director may specify additional requirements above the required 60 hours for the degree, such as prerequisites, publication of research-based articles, and/or presentation of a research-based conference paper.

Pre-dissertation Advisory Committee

As soon as practicable, each doctoral student will be assigned an advisor or advisory committee. The advisor/committee is appointed by the graduate program director, in consultation with the student and the potential major professor. If warranted, the advisor/committee membership may be reconstituted upon a recommendation from the graduate program director and approval by the dean of the College of Graduate Studies. Advisory committee members and any changes must be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies through the appropriate form found at www.mtsu.edu/graduate/forms.php. Members of the committee must hold the appropriate Graduate Faculty Status according to their role.

The advisor/committee provides academic guidance to formulate a curricular plan best suited for the academic needs and interests of the student.

Examinations

Each doctoral. student may be required to take a set of examinations administered by a graduate program. A less than satisfactory outcome (including a fail decision on any component of the examinations) may result in additional academic requirements and/or a re-examination. A re-examination may be given only once. A second fail decision on any component of the examinations results in a recommendation to the dean of the College of Graduate Studies for academic dismissal. The student may appeal the dismissal recommendation, for cause, to the dean of the College of Graduate Studies who will then refer the appeal to the Graduate Council. For the details of the policy and procedures, see www.mtsu.edu/graduate/pdf/StudentAppealsGradCouncil.pdf.

Qualifying Examinations: Each doctoral student may be required to take a qualifying examination. The qualifying examination is administered by a graduate program early in the student’s doctoral program; often after the first year of the doctoral program. Students should consult with their advisors as to the individual program’s policy on the timing and content of the administration. It may assess overall knowledge upon entry into the program or prior to entering the dissertation phase. The results of this examination should be used, in part, to plan the student’s academic program. To be eligible to take this examination, the student must be fully admitted to the graduate program. Programs may have additional requirements or assess students by different means. The student should contact the individual program to determine qualifying examination requirements.

Preliminary Examination: The doctoral student must also pass an additional or subsequent written and/or oral examination. This examination is referred to as the Preliminary Examination. The student must be in good academic standing and must have at least a 3.25 grade point average in all graduate work.The preliminary examination is intended to assess whether a candidate is qualified to continue in a doctoral program, advance to candidacy, and pursue dissertation work.

All written examinations are given before the close of the Fall, Spring, and/or Summer semesters. Permission for the Ph.D. student to schedule the preliminary examination requires the approval of the student’s advisory committee. The student should contact the individual program to determine the deadlines for submitting these applications.

A satisfactory or passing performance on the written and/or oral examinations means that the candidate is qualified to continue the program as planned.

Written Preliminary Examination

  1. The purpose of the written examination is to evaluate the candidate’s overall knowledge of the field, integrative skills, ability to organize material, and competency in written expression. The maximum time limit per section for the written examination is eight hours.
  2. The written examination is administered by the graduate program.
  3. The graded written examinations are maintained in the department for a period of five years and are available to the student upon request.

Oral Preliminary Examination

The oral examination is administered by the student’s advisory committee and covers the candidate’s area of specialization and general knowledge. The committee evaluates the candidate’s breadth of knowledge of the field(s), integration and problem-solving skills, competency in oral expression, and potential for conducting independent research.

Advancement to Candidacy

After a student successfully completes the preliminary examination, the program will send the results to the College of Graduate Studies via the Graduate Test Results form found at www.mtsu.edu/graduate/forms.php. At that time the dissertation committee is formally constituted and usually has the same membership as the pre-dissertation advisory committee, although this is not mandatory. For example, should the student’s research area change, it may be appropriate to replace one or more of the original advisory committee members with faculty better qualified to provide research mentoring in the new area of inquiry.

Defense of Dissertation

Upon submission of the completed dissertation, the doctoral candidate who has successfully completed all requirements for the degree will be scheduled by the chair of the dissertation committee, in consultation with the other committee members, to defend the dissertation. The College of Graduate Studies must be notified of the dissertation title, date, time, and location of the defense at least two weeks prior to the date of the examination via the “Dissertation Defense Announcement Request Form” (www.mtsu.edu/graduate/forms.php). The defense is open to all members of the University community who wish to attend. The dissertation defense is administered by the dissertation committee according to program guidelines. Successful defense of the dissertation must be attested to by all members of the dissertation committee by means of the “Thesis/Dissertation Approval Page” (www.mtsu.edu/graduate/forms.php). Students must then upload their dissertation into ProQuest by the published deadline in order to graduate in that semester. If a student submits the dissertation between the published deadline and graduation day, the student will graduate the following semester but will not be required to enroll in any further hours. Guidelines for the dissertation vary from department to department. While the responsibility for the technical quality and content of the dissertation lies in the advising committee, the College of Graduate Studies imposes format requirements to ensure an appropriate appearance for the dissertation. Final responsibility for the dissertation lies with the author. The University reserves the right to refuse any manuscript that does not conform to the “MTSU Thesis and Dissertation University Style Guide” formatting guidelines, is not in suitable condition for archiving, is in any form plagiarized or fabricated, or does not meet the quality standard expected of a dissertation (www.mtsu.edu/graduate/student/docs/MTSUStyleGuide2019.pdf). Thus, a dissertation not meeting standards may be rejected by the dean of the College of Graduate Studies and graduation delayed.

Residency

Residency requirements are established by each program, pending Graduate Council approval. Students must be enrolled in at least 1 credit hour in the semester in which they graduate unless they have met the deadline for submission in the previous semester which waives this requirement.

Time Limit

There is a ten-year limit for completing all doctoral. degree requirements. Thus, all coursework offered toward the doctoral degree as well as the dissertation must be completed within ten years after matriculation (i.e., the first semester of enrollment). All graduate level coursework considered for transfer credit into the Ph.D. program must be degree-applicable and have been completed within seven years prior to the first enrollment in the doctoral program.

Transfer Credits

Only coursework completed at an accredited institution that would count toward the doctorate there will be considered for approval as transfer credit toward the Doctor of Philosophy coursework requirement at MTSU. Additional information on transfer credit may be found in the section on academic regulations .

Intent to Graduate

By the end of the second full week of the term in which the student intends to graduate, or by the end of the first week of the Summer June Term (for August graduation), the candidate must file an “Intent to Graduate Form” (mtsu.edu/graduate/forms.php) with the College of Graduate Studies, and complete the College of Graduate Studies exit survey. All degree requirements must be completed prior to the date of graduation. If a student will not complete the degree in that semester, they should withdraw their “Intent to Graduate Form” (with the appropriate form) and fill out a new form for the semester in which they will graduate.

Specialist Degrees (Ed.S.)

Middle Tennessee State University offers the Special­ist in Education (Ed.S.) degree in Administration and Supervision, Curriculum and Instruction, and Professional Counseling. The Ed.S. degree is provided specifically for teachers, counselors, and administrators wishing to pursue graduate study beyond the master’s level.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must meet the admission requirements for degree-seeking students and submit any additional materials required by the major program of study. (See relevant program for specific requirements.)

All applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university; some programs require a master’s degree from an accredited university.

General Course and Credit Requirements

The required minimum is 30 semester hours of coursework. (Professional Counseling requires a minimum of 61 hours.)

Specialist candidates must successfully complete all graduate program requirements. Specific degree requirements are found under the applicable program listing.

Additional Program Requirements

Each specialist program establishes degree requirements that are specific to that discipline and may be in excess of the minimum University requirements. Students should consult the appropriate graduate program section in this catalog. The graduate program director may specify additional requirements above the required hours for the degree, such as prerequisites.

Comprehensive Examinations

If required, comprehensive examinations are scheduled by each department during the last part of the semester in which the student expects to graduate. These may be oral, written, or both. This test is not merely a reexamination of coursework, but it is an assessment of the candidate’s ability to integrate scholarly information linking the major and related fields. The comprehensive examinations may be attempted no more than twice.

Residency

Residency requirements are established by each program, pending Graduate Council approval. Students must be enrolled in at least 1 credit hour in the semester in which they graduate.

Time Limit

There is a 6-year limit for completing all specialist degree requirements. Thus, all coursework offered toward the specialist degree as well as any other requirements must be completed within 6 years after matriculation (the first semester of enrollment). All graduate level coursework considered for transfer credit into the specialist program must be degree-applicable and have been completed within 7 years prior to the first enrollment in the specialist program.

Intent to Graduate

By the end of the second full week of the term in which the student intends to graduate, or by the end of the first week of the Summer June Term (for August graduation), the candidate must file an “Intent to Graduate Form” (mtsu.edu/graduate/forms.php) with the College of Graduate Studies and complete the College of Graduate Studies exit survey. All degree requirements must be completed prior to the date of graduation.

Second Specialist Degree from MTSU

An individual who has received a specialist degree may obtain a second specialist degree with a mini­mum of 24 additional semester hours of graduate coursework earned at MTSU if approved in advance by the graduate program and the graduate dean. All specific course requirements must be met for the second degree, unless otherwise specified, including the written comprehensive examinations.

Master’s Degrees

Middle Tennessee State University offers a wide array of master’s degree programs. These include the Master of Accountancy (M.Acc.: Accounting), Master of Arts (M.A.: Economics, English, History, International Affairs, Liberal Arts, Psychology, and Sociology), the Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.: Foreign Languages), the Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.: Business Administration), the Master of Busi­ness Education (M.B.E.: Business Education- no longer taking students), the Master of Criminal Justice (M.C.J.: Criminal Justice Administration), the Master of Education (M.Ed.: Administration and Supervision, Curriculum and Instruction, Literacy, and Special Education), the Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.: Recording Arts and Technologies), the Master of Library Science (M.L.S.: Library Science), the Master of Music (M.M.: Music), the Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.: Professional Studies), the Master of Public Health (M.P.H.: Public Health), the Master of Science (M.S.: Aeronautical Science, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering Technology, Exercise Science, Finance, Geosciences, Horse Science, Information Systems, Leisure Sport and Tourism, Management, Mathematics, Media and Communication, and Professional Science), the Mas­ter of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.: Nursing), and the Master of Social Work (M.S.W.: Social Work).

Admissions

Applicants must meet the admission requirements for degree-seeking students and submit any additional materials required by the major program of study (see relevant department for specific requirements). All applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university.

General Course and Credit Requirements

The university required minimum credit hours for a Master’s program is 30 semester hours of coursework. Actual minimum credit hours vary depending on program.

All master’s candidates must

  1. satisfactorily complete the undergraduate prerequisites.
  2. complete a minimum of 30 (or more) semester hours of graduate coursework. No more than 30 percent of the total degree hours may be dually listed as undergradu­ate/graduate hours (5000-level courses). No undergraduate courses may apply toward the graduate program requirements. If a thesis is required, normally no more than three hours will apply toward the 30 (or more) semester hour program require­ment. However, additional semester hours of thesis research (6640) may be taken and will appear on the student’s transcript.
  3. complete all specific graduate program requirements.

Comprehensive Examinations

If required, comprehensive examinations are scheduled by each department during the last part of the semester in which the student expects to graduate. These may be oral, written, or both. This test is not merely a reexamination of coursework, but it is an assessment of the candidate’s ability to integrate scholarly information linking the major and related fields. The comprehensive examinations may be attempted no more than twice.

Additional Program Requirements

Each master’s program establishes degree requirements that are specific to that discipline and may be exceed minimum University requirements. Students should consult the appropriate graduate program section in this catalog. The graduate program director may also specify additional requirements above the required hours for the degree, such as prerequisites, foreign language proficiency, and etc.

Thesis

Some Master’s degree programs require a thesis, a significant written work reflecting independent and unique research. Students will need to submit an “Advisory Committee Form” before beginning their research (www.mtsu.edu/graduate/forms.php). The thesis in final form must be electronically submitted to ProQuest no later than the date specified in the Academic Calendar, which is approximately four weeks before graduation. It must be approved by the committee chair and members, the graduate program director, and the dean of the College of Graduate Studies, using the “Thesis/Dissertation Approval Page.” Guidelines for the theses vary from department to department. While the responsibility for the technical quality and content of the thesis lies in the graduate committee, the College of Graduate Studies imposes format requirements to ensure an appropriate appearance for the thesis. Final responsibility for the thesis lies with the author. The University reserves the right to refuse any manuscript that does not conform to the “MTSU Thesis and Dissertation University Style Guide” formatting guidelines, is not in suitable condition for archiving, is in any form plagiarized or fabricated, or does not meet the quality standard expected of a graduate thesis (www.mtsu.edu/graduate/student/docs/MTSUStyleGuide2019.pdf). Thus, a thesis not meeting standards may be rejected by the dean of the College of Graduate Studies and graduation delayed.

Once students have begun taking thesis research hours, they are expected to enroll in at least 1 semester hour of thesis research (course 6640) until the thesis is completed. If a student submits the thesis between the published deadline and graduation day, the student will graduate the following semester but will not be required to enroll an any further hours.

Residency

Residency requirements are established by each program, pending Graduate Council approval. Students must be enrolled in at least 1 credit hour in the semester in which they graduate.

Time Limit

There is a six-year limit for completing all master’s degree requirements. Thus, all coursework offered toward the master’s degree as well as any other requirements must be completed within six years after matriculation (the first semester of enrollment). All graduate level coursework considered for transfer credit into the master’s program must be degree-applicable and have been completed within seven years prior to the first enrollment in the master’s program.

Intent to Graduate

By the end of the second full week of the term in which the student intends to graduate, or by the end of the first week of the Summer June Term (for August graduation), the candidate must file an Intent to Graduate form (mtsu.edu/graduate/forms.php) with the College of Graduate Studies and complete the College of Graduate Studies exit survey. All degree requirements must be completed prior to the date of graduation.

Graduate Certificate Programs

Graduate certificate programs provide advanced study beyond the baccalaureate degree and are intended as both professional development and as an intermediate step towards a desired graduate degree. They can also add specialized expertise for students completing a graduate degree. Middle Tennessee State University offers graduate certificates in Applied Social Research, Assurance, College and University Teaching, Data Science, Gerontology, Health Care Management, Museum Management, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Tax, United States Culture and Education, and Women’s and Gender Studies. The certificate in United States Culture and Education is open only to international students. NOTE: Students enrolled in graduate certificate programs are not eligible for federal financial aid.

Admissions

Applicants must meet the admission requirements for degree-seeking students and submit any additional materials required by the certificate program (see relevant department for specific requirements.)  All applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university.

General Course and Credit Requirements

The required minimum credit hours for a Graduate Certificate program is 12 semester hours of coursework. Minimum credit hours vary depending on program.

All certificate candidates must:

  1. complete a minimum of 12 (or more) semester hours of graduate coursework.) No undergraduate courses may apply toward the graduate program requirements.
  2. complete all specific certificate program requirements.

Additional Program Requirements

Each certificate program establishes requirements that are specific to that discipline and may be in excess of the minimum University requirements. Students should consult the appropriate graduate program section in this catalog. The graduate certificate program director may specify additional requirements above the required hours for the degree where appropriate.

Residency

Residency requirements are established by each program, pending Graduate Council approval. Students must be enrolled in at least 1 credit hour in the semester in which they graduate.

Time Limit

The time limit for use of credit toward the certificate is six years from the date of enrollment in the earliest course applied toward the certificate, including transferred courses.

Intent to Graduate

By the end of the second full week of the term in which the student intends to graduate, or by the end of the first week of the Summer June Term (for August graduation), the candidate must file an Intent to Graduate form (mtsu.edu/graduate/forms.php) with the College of Graduate Studies and complete the College of Graduate Studies exit survey. All degree requirements must be completed prior to the date of graduation.