Apr 18, 2024  
2019-20 Graduate Catalog 
2019-20 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Regulations

Academic Credentials, T.C.A. Sec. 49-7-133, Misrepresentation of

It is a Class A misdemeanor to misrepresent academic credentials. A person commits the offense of misrepresentation of academic credentials who, knowing that the statement is false and with the intent to secure employment at or admission to an institution of higher education in Tennessee, represents, orally or in writing, that such person

  1. has successfully completed the required coursework for and has been awarded one or more degrees or diplomas from an accredited institution of higher education;
  2. has successfully completed the required coursework for and has been awarded one or more degrees or diplomas from a particular institution of higher education; or
  3. has successfully completed the required coursework for and has been awarded one or more degrees or diplomas in a particular field or specialty from an accredited institution of higher education.

NOTE: It is also inappropriate to knowingly falsify test scores and other admission materials. In such a case, these materials will be invalidated and any potential admission resulting from them will be rescinded.

Any applicant who misrepresents his or her credentials will be subject to disciplinary action from the University which may include dismissal from the University.

Academic Integrity

Students at MTSU are expected to be intellectually honest and forthright in their academic activities. Proper credit should be given to sources of all work done. To attempt to use the ideas or words of others or to falsify data is to plagiarize (i.e., adopt, present, or reproduce ideas, statements, images, or works of others as one’s own without proper acknowledgment) or fabricate (i.e., falsify any information or citation) respectively, neither of which is acceptable. Appropriate action will be taken as deemed necessary by the College of Graduate Studies, up to and including expulsion from MTSU and the rescinding of any graduate degree awarded as a result of a breach in academic integrity.

Academic Standards-Retention, Probation, and Suspension

Degree-seeking students are expected to take appropriate courses and make satisfactory progress toward their degree objectives as determined by the graduate program. A graduate student at the master’s or specialist’s level must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00 for all graduate work completed at MTSU as well as in the major. A doctoral student must maintain a minimum GPA of at least 3.25. Six semester hours of C grade (C+, C, or C-) coursework may be applied toward a master’s or specialist’s degree (unless prohibited by the degree program - see individual programs for details); seven hours of C grade may count toward a Ph.D. No grade below C- may be applied toward a degree; however, all grades are included in calculation of cumulative GPA.

A graduate student failing to meet the applicable minimum cumulative graduate GPA retention standard will be placed on academic probation for the subsequent term. Probation in itself has no serious consequences other than to alert the student of potential academic problems and the requirement to (re)establish satisfactory academic status. Once on probation, a student has three consecutive semesters in which to restore the cumulative GPA to the minimum required. If the student fails to attain the required GPA at the close of the third semester of probation, the student will be suspended automatically.

A graduate student who is on academic probation, then returns to good standing will no longer be on probation. Should the student once again fall below the minimum cumulative graduate GPA for retention (GPA<3.00 for master’s or <3.25 for doctoral) during their course of study, rather than being placed on probation again, they will be suspended.

In order to reenroll student must formally appeal the suspension to the graduate program by following established requirements within the program. In the event that a student is suspended and subsequently upon appeal is granted permission to reenroll, should the student fail to maintain the minimum cumulative GPA, there will be no second probationary period. The student will be terminated at the close of the semester and no longer eligible for matriculation in any program at MTSU.

Students whose appeals have been denied by their graduate programs will have the right to appeal this decision by notifying the associate dean of the College of Graduate Studies in writing by the first week of the term following their suspension. An ad hoc committee made up of members of the MTSU Graduate Council from other disciplines will be created. The student and program will have the opportunity to represent both the appeal and decision to the committee at this meeting. The decision of the committee is final.

Academic Standing-Removal from the College of Graduate Studies

In addition to students who are permanently suspended due to failure to return to good standing following a suspension (See Academic Standards - Retention, Probation, and Suspension), students may be removed from their programs due to an unsuccessful suspension appeal or for failure to make satisfactory academic progress.

In the case of failure to make satisfactory academic progress, the program may recommend dismissal to the College of Graduate Studies with clear documentation as to the reasons for recommendation. Action on this recommendation will be made by the dean of the College of Graduate Studies. Appeals of this dismissal would be made to the College of Graduate Studies and  are considered by an Ad Hoc Graduate Council Suspension Appeals Committee. The action of this committee is final.

Access to Records

For the MTSU policy concerning student access to educational records, see Student Access to Educational Records .

Appeals, Other

Graduate students have the right to appeal for cause any decision affecting their academic standing as graduate students. Cause excludes grade appeals, which are under the purview of the MTSU Grade Appeal Committee. The Appeal Advisory Committee of the Graduate Council is an ad hoc committee reporting to the dean of the College of Graduate Studies. The committee is convened at the discretion of the dean of the College of Graduate Studies.

The Graduate Council and the College of Graduate Studies have approved in principle the document Appeal Advisory Committee of the Graduate Council. Copies of this document are made available to all graduate students at the website (www.mtsu.edu/graduate/pdf/StudentAppealsGradCouncil.pdf) and in the College of Graduate Studies, Sam H. Ingram Building.

Classes-Cancellation of Scheduled Classes

The minimum enrollment requirement is ten students for upper-division and 5000-level graduate classes; eight students for 6000-level classes; and six enrollees for 7000-level classes (excluding graduate research courses). Any class may be canceled if the number of enrollees is deemed insufficient; however, no scheduled class may be discontinued without the approval of the dean of the college in which the course is offered.

Complaints and Grievances

Middle Tennessee State University wants to ensure all students have a positive educational experience, are treated fairly and courteously by University personnel, and are provided an outlet to address conditions and circumstances that concern them. Procedures for student complaints and grievances may be found at www.mtsu.edu/information/student-complaints.php.

Credit Hour Unit

A credit hour unit is one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work each week for 15 weeks, or equivalent academic activities, to achieve the student learning outcomes for the credit hour. Laboratory and studio classes usually earn one credit for each two hours of attendance or equivalent for a semester unless otherwise indicated.

Degree Plan, Filing a Form

In consultation with the graduate advisor, each degree-seeking student must file a formal outline of the degree program on a degree plan available at the College of Graduate Studies or on the website (www.mtsu.edu/graduate/forms.php) prior to the start of their first term. Individual departments are responsible for monitoring the completion of prerequisites. The degree plan requires the approval of the major professor and/or the graduate program director.

Degree Plan, Revision Form

Changes in degree programs are permitted upon proper filing and approval of a Change in Degree Plan Form, which is available at the College of Graduate Studies website (www.mtsu.edu/graduate/pdf/DegreePlanReviseALL.pdf). Changes in degree programs will take effect at the beginning of the semester after the change in degree plan is approved. When unforeseen circumstances arise during the semester of graduation, an exception to the implementation date may occur at the request of the graduate program director and with the approval of the dean of Graduate Studies.

Examinations, Comprehensive (for Specialist’s and Master’s Students)

This examination is scheduled by each department during the time period designated by the College of Graduate Studies. Normally, the comprehensive examination may be taken no more than twice, and failure to pass the comprehensive exam on the second attempt terminates one’s degree program. Any exception to this “twice-only” rule must be recommended by the graduate program and approved by the dean of the College of Graduate Studies. See also Glossary.

Examinations, Qualifying and Preliminary (for Ph.D. Students)

Please see the section under Doctor of Philosophy Degree  and/or the Glossary.

Examinations, Other

Any graduate student may be required to take one or more additional tests designed to measure general educational achievement and/or achievement in selected major areas.

Graduate credit may not be earned by CLEP or Special Examination.

Grades, Appeal of Course Grades

Level One

  1. Student appeals concerning a course grade should be resolved by conference between the student and the faculty member who assigned the grade.
  2. In the event of an impasse between the student and the faculty member, a student with an appeal of a grade shall discuss it with the department chair within ten (10) days of the conference with the involved faculty member. The department chair shall investigate the circumstances, record his/her findings, and send a copy to the student and the faculty member within ten (10) days of the notification of impasse. Although the department chair does not have the power to change the grade, he/she will make a recommendation concerning the appeal.

Level Two

  1. If the student is not satisfied, he/she may, within fifteen (15) days following receipt of the department chair’s recommendation, refer the appeal plus all relevant data including stated reasons why he/she believes the appeal has thus far not been satisfied to the Provost’s Office. The vice provost for Academic Affairs shall select a college committee to hear the appeal and transmit the appeal documents to the committee chair or to the office of the dean of the college which houses the selected appeals committee.
  2. The committee hearing the appeal will receive documents and testimony regarding the circumstances, will record its findings, and shall render a decision. Notification of the committee’s decision will be made to the student, faculty member, department chair, college dean, vice provost for Academic Affairs, and the director of Records.
  3. The decision of the committee hearing the appeal will be final concerning the grade in question.

NOTE: In cases where the department chair is the person against whom the complaint is lodged, then the dean in whose college the department is located shall assume the duties of the chair in the investigation and decision making.

Additional Information

  1. The number of days indicated at each level above shall be considered the maximum, but every effort should be made to expedite the process.
  2. The failure of the student to proceed from one level of the appeal procedure to the next level within the prescribed time limits shall be deemed to be an acceptance of the recommendations and/or decision previously rendered. All further considerations and proceedings regarding that particular appeal shall cease at that point.
  3. A grade appeal may be withdrawn at any level without prejudice.
  4. All appeal proceedings shall be kept as confidential as may be appropriate at each level.
  5. A grade appeals committee shall have reasonable access to all official records for information necessary to the determination of a recommendation.

Grades, Grade Point Average (Quality Credits)

Grade points are numerical values assigned to letter grades in order to provide a basis for quantitative determination of grade (quality) point averages. The four-point system with pluses and minuses is used.

The following system is used in determining grade point average:

  Grade Grade Points  



The scholastic standing of a student is expressed in terms of grade point average (GPA). A GPA is the total number of grade points divided by the total number of credit hours (exclusive of P, S, and U credit hours) at Middle Tennessee State University. Any transferred courses are included in the calculation. For a grade of F, the credit hours count, but zero grade points are earned.

Grades, Marking System

The following notations are used by faculty of the University to indicate the quality of the work performed by students taking graduate courses:

A, A-
B+, B, B-
C+, C, C-
D+, D, D-

Grades That Do Not Influence Grade Point Average

W - Withdrawal
NC - No credit (audit)
I - Incomplete
S - Satisfactory
U - Unsatisfactory
P - Pass

The P/F grade is given only in those courses with prior approval to use pass/fail grading. Courses may be taught on a pass/fail basis only after approval of the Graduate Council. Course descriptions state if pass/fail grading applies.

Pass or Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grades are not used in determining the grade point average. However, satisfactory grades do count toward graduation credit requirements and are treated in every other respect as being equivalent to traditionally graded courses. Any course in which an “unsatisfactory” is received does not count toward graduation credit requirements.

The grade I indicates that the student has not completed all course requirements due to illness or other uncontrollable circumstances, especially those which may occur toward the close of the term. Mere failure to make up work or turn in required work on time does not provide a basis for the grade of I unless the extenuating circumstances noted above are acceptable to the instructor. When a student fails to appear for a final examination without known cause, the grade to be reported should be determined as follows: If the student has done satisfactory work to that point, the grade I may be reported on the assumption that the student was ill or will otherwise present sufficient reason for official excuse; if the student has attended irregularly and has not done satisfactory work to that point, the grade F should be reported.

The “incomplete” must be removed during the succeeding semester, excluding summer. Otherwise, it converts to a grade of F. A student should not make up the “incomplete” by registering and paying again for the same course. The I grade carries no value until converted to a final grade.


Students may view their grades online each semester by selecting the appropriate option via PipelineMT. No student can view grades until all debts or obligations owed to MTSU have been discharged.

Graduate Courses, Permission to Enroll in

Seniors at MTSU with 90 semester hours of credit may be allowed to take up to 12 semester hours of graduate coursework. Approval is required by the student’s undergraduate department chair, the graduate department chair, and by the dean of the College of Graduate Studies. Undergraduate students wanting to take graduate courses must complete the Application for MTSU Undergraduate Students to Take Graduate Work which is available through the College of Graduate Studies.

NOTE: The Jennings A. Jones College of Business does not allow undergraduate students to take graduate courses unless they are enrolled in an approved Accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s (ABM) program.

Intent to Graduate

An Intent to Graduate form, available on the College of Graduate Studies website (mtsu.edu/graduate/forms.php), must be filed by the student by the end of the second week of the semester in which the student plans to graduate or no later than the end of the first week of S2-June term (for August graduation).


The prerequisite for the graduate major is an undergraduate minor or its equivalent and/or the recommendation of the graduate program director. The prerequisite for the graduate minor is 12 semester hours of undergraduate coursework in that area or its equivalent and/or the recommendation of the graduate program director or delegate. If prerequisite course work is marginally deficient, the student may be admitted to the College of Graduate Studies to make up the deficiencies concomitantly while taking graduate courses. Prerequisite courses do not apply toward meeting graduate program requirements. Monitoring the completion of prerequisites is the responsibility of the individual departments.

Repeated Courses

A graduate student may repeat graduate courses in which a grade of B- or lower was earned. However, there are certain restrictions and limitations. A maximum of two (2) courses, not to exceed eight (8) credits combined, may be replaced. The grade in the second attempt replaces the original assigned grade in the first attempt regardless of the earned grade. For all additional courses or subsequent repeated courses, there will be no grade replacement; i.e., all earned grades will be used in the grade point average calculation and are recorded on the transcript.

Graduate students may not repeat a course in which they have previously earned the grade of A, A-, B+, or B without written approval from the director of graduate program director and dean of the College of Graduate Studies. If granted, there will be no grade replacement in the GPA calculation; i.e., all attempts will be used in the grade point average calculation and recorded on the transcript.

Semester Hour Load of Student

A student’s enrollment status is determined by the number of credit hours taken per term according to the following:

Full-time - 9-12 graduate hours
Three-quarter time - 7-8 graduate hours
One-half time - 5-6 graduate hours

Graduate students are limited to a maximum of 12 graduate hours per semester. If an exception is requested, overload forms must be signed by the director of graduate studies and the dean of the College of Graduate Studies (www.mtsu.edu/graduate/pdf/OverloadRequest.pdf). Full-time status for students holding graduate assistantships is six (6) graduate semester hours.

NOTE: Graduate students enrolled in thesis/dissertation coursework whose total graduate enrollment is less than 5 credit hours for the semester may Petition for Adjusted Enrollment Status based on thesis/dissertation workload.

Teacher Education Program, Postbaccalaureate

The post-baccalaureate teacher education program is designed for individuals who have completed a baccalaureate degree but who did not complete teacher preparation. The College of Education requires candidates to address any course and program deficiencies in their undergraduate education to ensure the attainment of the knowledge and skills required in general education, professional education, and the major for the teaching field. Additional coursework and program requirements will be determined by the teacher licensure analyst. Transcript analysis forms for the post-baccalaureate program are available at www.mtsu.edu/education/docs/Request_for_Transcript_Analysis_Traditional_08302018.pdf.

Postbaccalaureate students must also make formal application for admission to the teacher education program. Admission to teacher education is a prerequisite to enrollment in upper-division courses in Elementary Education (ELED), Reading (Literacy) (READ), Special Education (SPED) (except SPED 3010), Foundations of Education (FOED), or Youth Education (YOED).

Teacher Licensure

All applications for professional teaching licenses in Tennessee must be filed with the dean of the College of Education who is responsible for recommending each applicant from this University. All applicants for teacher licensure should furnish the Tennessee State Department of Education a report of scores attained on the Praxis. A copy of the scores should be sent to the Office of the Dean, College of Education. MTSU verification of the scores will be forwarded with the Application for Licensure.

Time Limit

Students have six (6) years from the initial semester of matriculation to complete the requirements for a master’s or specialist’s degree. There is a ten-year time limit from initial matriculation to complete all requirements for the doctoral degree. Exceptions to these time limitations, for good cause, will be considered by the dean of the College of Graduate Studies when submitted in writing with a proposed timeline for completion and the recommendation of the advisor and the graduate program director.


Student copies and official copies of a student’s record are furnished free of charge upon written request by the student. No transcript will be provided for a student who has any financial indebtedness to the University or who has not completed admission procedures. Official transcripts from other institutions must be obtained directly from those institutions.

Transfer Credits

In general, only coursework taken while in graduate status, prior to attending MTSU, will be transferred and only if those courses were not used in partial satisfaction of degree requirements at the previous university. Coursework transferred or accepted for credit toward a graduate degree must represent graduate coursework relevant to the degree, with course content and level of instruction resulting in student competencies at least equivalent to those of students enrolled in the institution’s own graduate degree programs. Transfer credit requires the recommendation of the graduate program director and approval of the dean of the College of Graduate Studies. Transfer courses with grades below B will not be accepted for credit in any graduate degree programs. Also, note that credits completed seven (7) or more years prior to admission to a degree program at MTSU will not generally be considered for transfer.

No credit may be obtained by correspondence. Up to 9 hours may be obtained through prior learning assessment or 12 hours combined prior learning assessment and transfer credit.

Doctoral students should check with their graduate program director for the policy on transfer of credits into their doctoral degree program.

Withdrawals from the University

The College of Graduate Studies handles all issues relating to graduate students withdrawing from the University. Students are highly encouraged to consult with the College of Graduate Studies before making any decisions about withdrawing. Please also consult the Registration Guide (www.mtsu.edu/registration/registration-guide.php) for withdrawal and fee adjustment deadlines. Questions about withdrawing should be directed to the College of Graduate Studies via phone at (615) 898-2840 or via email at AskGrad@mtsu.edu.

General Withdrawal Guidelines:

  1. Withdrawing Prior to Term - Students finding it necessary to withdraw from all classes prior to the beginning of a term may withdraw via PipelineMT.
  2. Withdrawing During a Term
    1. During the first two weeks (14 calendar days) of a term, courses may be dropped via PipelineMT without assignment of a grade on the official transcript.
    2. Beginning on 15th calendar day through 60 percent of a term, students can drop some or all courses via PipelineMT and a grade of “W” will be assigned.
    3. After 60 percent of the term, a complete withdrawal from ALL classes can be accomplished via PipelineMT, through the last day to withdraw in each term. Instructors assign the appropriate grade of “W” if the student is passing or “F/FA” if the student is failing.
    4. After 60 percent of the term, individual courses cannot be dropped via PipelineMT. Individual courses may be dropped if appropriate signatures are obtained on a drop form and submitted to the MT One Stop.
    5. The deadline to withdraw from the University (all classes) and receive a grade of “W” or “F,” as determined by the instructor is generally one week prior to the last day of classes and will be noted in the Registration Guide for each term.

NOTE: Fees, Financial Aid, Housing, etc. can be impacted anytime a student withdraws or drops a course. Consult the Registration Guide and those offices for more information.

Summer differs; please check Registration Guide for specific dates.

If extreme extenuating circumstances necessitate a graduate student’s withdrawal from the University after 60% of the term, exceptions may be made. A grade of “W” may be recorded with written concurrence of the faculty member, but only if the extenuating circumstances are first verified by the College of Graduate Studies. Students who fall under this category should schedule an appointment with the withdrawal coordinator in the College of Graduate Studies and provide a written statement and all documentation to support their extenuating circumstances. The University Withdrawal Policy can be reviewed at www.mtsu.edu/policies/student-affairs/505.php.

Glossary of Terms

Admission to degree status-Admission to the College of Graduate Studies as a graduate student for the purpose of seeking a graduate degree. This status requires completing a graduate admission application; meeting all entrance and test requirements; transmittal of relevant official transcripts; payment of an application fee; approval by the graduate program/department; and approval by the College of Graduate Studies. In the case of international students or domestic students whose highest degree is from an institution outside the United States, an external evaluation of the relevant official transcripts from an evaluation source such as WES may also be required for all non-English transcripts.

Admission to non-degree status-Admission to the College of Graduate Studies as a post-baccalaureate student for the purpose of officially taking graduate courses but not seeking a graduate degree through MTSU. This status requires completing a graduate admission application; transmitting relevant official transcripts; payment of an application fee; and approval by the College of Graduate Studies. Not all graduate courses are open to non-degree students; thus the student should consult with the director of graduate study in the department.

Advancement to candidacy-Status of the student who has completed all or a substantial portion of the curriculum and has successfully passed the culminating examination (comprehensive exams for master’s students or preliminary exams for doctoral students). Advancement to candidacy is recognition that the student is prepared to commence the thesis or dissertation research. Once thesis-track and dissertation students reach this status, they should file an Advisory Committee Form with the College of Graduate Studies (mtsu.edu/graduate/forms.php). For non-thesis students, it verifies that the student has completed all degree requirements and is eligible for graduation. The Advancement to Candidacy form is submitted to the College of Graduate Studies by the graduate program director and identifies the members of the thesis (mtsu.edu/graduate/forms.php) or dissertation committee (mtsu.edu/graduate/forms.php).

Cognate-Six semester hours of related coursework.

Comprehensive examination-An examination given to master’s and specialist’s degree students, generally during the last semester of coursework. The examination for all students may be oral, written, or a combination of both modes. It may be taken no more than twice. Students must be currently enrolled to be eligible to take the comprehensive examination. The purpose of this examination is to assess the candidate’s knowledge of a broad academic field and to evaluate whether the candidate has attained certain standards and/or requirements necessary to successfully complete the program. If the examinations are written, they are to be kept on file in the department. The student has the right of access to his or her graded exam for a period of five (5) years.

Concentration-A curricular component of a graduate program representing a well-recognized subset or branch of the discipline. A concentration appears on the student’s graduate transcript.

Conditional admission-The granting of temporary admission into a graduate program with certain stipulations being placed upon the student. Continuation in the program as a degree-seeking student is contingent upon fulfilling the specific requirements established at the time of the admission. Conditional admission into the College of Graduate Studies may be granted if the applicant has less than the minimum requirements, i.e., either the required minimum grade point average for graduate study or the test scores (but not both) are not met. Such admission is at the discretion of the graduate dean. Monitoring of any conditions is the responsibility of the program

Continuous enrollment-Enrollment during the regular academic year (Fall and Spring Semesters) unless the academic program requires year-round enrollment. Continuous enrollment is expected of all students from initial enrollment until completion of dissertation for doctoral students and until completion of thesis for all specialist’s and master’s students. Students in non-thesis programs should maintain continuous enrollment through their culminating experience.

Degree plan-The degree plan specifies the courses that the student is required to take to complete the curricular requirements. The term “degree plan” may be used synonymously with “Advising Form,” which is an online form used in conjunction with DegreeWorks to establish a course plan of study. Students may update their degree plans or Advising Forms by filing a Revision form with the College of Graduate Studies (mtsu.edu/graduate/forms.php).

Full-time/part-time graduate status-See “student load.”

Graduate advisor-A faculty member appointed by the department and approved by the College of Graduate Studies to advise graduate students and provide curricular planning counseling. Graduate students should consult with their graduate advisors prior to or immediately upon being admitted to a graduate program. A list of graduate advisors may be obtained from the graduate program or the relevant department.

Graduation analyst-A staff member within the College of Graduate Studies who assists the individual graduate student with respect to all relevant administrative matters from the point of admission through graduation. Any graduation analyst can assist any graduate student.

Graduate Program Director-A faculty member who holds graduate faculty status appointed to serve as the principal officer of a graduate program with respect to curricular and other relevant matters.

Graduate status-Status whereby a post-baccalaureate student is declared eligible to enroll in graduate courses at MTSU. The granting of graduate status does not necessarily mean that one has been admitted to a graduate program. (Also see “hold” and “admission.”)

Graduation requirements-Those academic and other requirements that must be successfully completed in order to be eligible for receipt of the degree. In general, the requirements in existence at the time of matriculation are those that must be fulfilled. These requirements are listed in the graduate catalog of that year. Changes in a graduate curriculum may occur while a student is enrolled. If so, the student will have the option of fulfilling the new requirements or following the original plan in existence at the time of matriculation. This is subject to “stop-out” limitations and course availability. (See “stop-out.”)

Hold-A block placed on registration (or transcripts). For example, a registration hold will be placed on all students who have not filed a degree plan prior to or during their first semester.

Intent to graduate-Indication that the candidate is planning to complete all degree requirements during the current term. An Intent to Graduate Form must be filed by the candidate by the date listed on the College of Graduate Studies website for the semester of planned graduation. This authorizes release of the student’s file for final evaluation and authorizes information to be collected for issuance of the diploma.

Major-A field of study representing a well-recognized discipline in which a graduate program is offered. A major appears on the student’s graduate transcript.

Major professor-The faculty member providing the primary scholarly research mentoring to the graduate student. The major professor serves as the director or chair of the thesis or dissertation committee.

Matriculation-The first semester of enrollment after admission to a graduate program.

Minor-A free-standing curricular component of a graduate program representing an academic discipline. This designation verifies that scholarly expertise in the minor field has been achieved in addition to that attained in the major discipline.

Plagiarism-The use or reproduction of material from another person’s work (e.g., publications, productions, or intellectual property) without revealing the source and/or clearly acknowledging the degree of dependency. If materials are reproduced verbatim from another source, or even reproduced in large part with only minor modification, proper citation must occur. To avoid allegations of plagiarism, clearly cite the source and use quotation marks to identify the excerpts, or clearly acknowledge the source by indenting and single-spacing the reproduced selections.

Preliminary examination-The second of a set of doctoral examinations that are taken at the end of coursework and are preliminary to entering the dissertation phase. Preliminary examinations may be both written and oral and are inclusive of coursework and supplementary readings. Students should consult with their advisors as to the individual program’s policy on timing and content of examinations.

Prerequisites-Courses that are required for completion in order to provide the necessary academic background for subsequent graduate coursework. Prerequisites are determined and monitored by the individual graduate program.

Qualifying examination-An examination given to doctoral students to assess the level of mastery of knowledge in the discipline and to determine if the student is qualified to continue as a candidate for the doctoral degree. Individual programs often require the successful completion of the qualifying examination after the first year of the doctoral program. Students should consult with their advisors as to the individual program’s policy on timing and content of examinations. Written portions of the examination are to be kept on file in the department for a period of five (5) years, and the student has the right of access. Passing the examination is a milestone in academic achievement by a doctoral student.

Readmission (reenrollment)-Applications for readmission must be filed if a graduate student fails to maintain continuous graduate enrollment (excluding summers). If granted, the student may reenroll for the identified term. Readmission, if granted, is based on competitiveness with current applicants and is not guaranteed. The department or program should be consulted for its readmission policy.

Repeat policy-The number of graduate courses possible for repetition for the purpose of grade replacement is limited to two. These two courses may not exceed 8 credit hours.

Satisfactory progress-Successful advancement of a student toward his/her degree objective in the judgment of the faculty and dean of the College of Graduate Studies. To be deemed as making satisfactory progress, a graduate student must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.00 (3.25 in doctoral programs) or greater and must successfully complete sufficient and appropriate graduate courses. These graduate courses must apply toward the graduate curriculum in a manner consistent with completion of the degree objective and within the established time limit.

70/30 Rule-A curricular stipulation for master’s degree candidates specifying that no more than 30 percent of the total degree hours may be dually listed as undergraduate/graduate hours. Candidates with more than 30 percent of the degree program dually listed as undergraduate/graduate hours cannot graduate until the balance is attained. Normally, no more than 3 credits of thesis research (course 6640) will be applied toward the minimum degree hour requirement. Careful curricular planning in consultation with the graduate advisor is essential.

Specialization-A curricular component of a graduate program representing a well-recognized subset or branch of the discipline. A specialization does not appear on the student’s graduate transcript.

Stop-out-Events in life-such as family leave, illness, or military duty-may result in a student being unable to maintain continuous enrollment. In such a case, students may request permission to interrupt their studies on a temporary basis. A stop-out is the period of time during which a student fails to register for successive academic sessions. If the stop-out period exceeds one academic year (Fall and Spring semesters), the student may be required to fulfill degree requirements in existence at the time of reenrollment, rather than those in place at the original matriculation. A formal Request to Stop-Out Form must be filed by the student, endorsed by the graduate program director in the department, and approved by the dean of the College of Graduate Studies prior to the beginning of the stop-out period (mtsu.edu/graduate/forms.php). If approved prior to the beginning of the stop-out, this period is not counted toward the time limit for degree completion. A stop-out may be utilized no more than one time during the time limit for the degree program.

Time limits-The time elapsed from matriculation during which a student is required to complete all degree requirements. Master’s and specialist’s students have six years from matriculation to complete all degree requirements. Doctoral students have ten years from matriculation to complete all degree requirements. These time limits are subject to extension but only for compelling reasons. Students requesting an extension should file a Request a Time Limit Extension for Graduation form, which must be supported by the graduate program and approved by the dean of the College of Graduate Studies (mtsu.edu/graduate/forms.php).

Transfer credit-Student’s coursework taken at other colleges and universities that is formally transferred to the MTSU graduate record. In general, only coursework taken while in graduate status prior to attending MTSU will be transferred and only if those courses were not used in partial satisfaction of degree requirements at the previous university. Transfer credit should demonstrate equivalency to existing MTSU courses acceptable for the graduate degree and requires the approval of the student’s graduate program and the dean of the College of Graduate Studies during the first semester of enrollment at MTSU. In general, credits completed seven (7) or more years prior to admission to a degree program at MTSU will not be considered for transfer.