The academic policies described in this section apply to all graduate degree and certificate programs and are approved by the Graduate Council and the Academic Policy Committee of the Faculty Senate and administered by the Office of Graduate Studies. Under this general regulatory umbrella, each graduate program is locally administered by an academic unit assigned by the university. The academic unit may be a department, or a college. Although an academic unit may develop local regulations for a specific graduate program under its control, the local regulations must be consistent with these academic policies and are therefore subject to review and approval by the Graduate Council. It is the responsibility of all faculty members and graduate students to become thoroughly familiar with all policies that govern the graduate program in which they participate.
English is the language of instruction at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Graduate students must be proficient in English and may be required to demonstrate a prescribed level of ability. Minimum standards are set by the Office of Graduate Studies can be found in the Applying for Admission as a Graduate Student section of this catalog.
Simultaneous enrollment in more than one graduate degree program is prohibited by the Office of Graduate Studies. Simultaneous enrollment in a graduate degree program and a graduate certificate program is permitted. Because of the fundamental requirement that at least two-thirds (2/3) of the total credit requirement for a certificate must be earned after admission to the certificate program, graduate degree-seeking students who are interested in acquiring a graduate certificate as an intermediate step should promptly apply to the certificate program. Simultaneous enrollment in two graduate certificate programs is permitted. Simultaneous enrollment in more than two graduate certificate programs is prohibited by the Office of Graduate Studies. Simultaneous enrollment in graduate degree and 2 or two graduate certificate programs is also prohibited by the Office of Graduate Studies.
Graduate Student Advising
Thoughtful, comprehensive advising is critical to the success of every graduate student. In this context, the word “advising” is used broadly to encompass:
Academic Planning: This includes helping students map out a plan for completing the degree or certificate requirements, adjusting the plan to accommodate changes that may occur in the student’s life, and helping students meet the administrative requirements of the program and the university.
Professional Development: This includes helping students make conceptual connections among courses, improve their research skills, build their professional networks, conduct research that contributes to existing knowledge within the discipline, and when appropriate make a successful transition from graduate student to working professional. This kind of comprehensive advising requires an ongoing partnership, lasting from admission to graduation that is based on mutual respect and understanding and in which all parties work to create a learning experience that allows students to:
- Develop a plan for completing the degree or certificate within a reasonable time and adjust the plan when it is in the student’s best interest
- Develop a level of expertise in a topic
- Improve their ability to use the methods and technology of their discipline
- Contribute as a member of a professional community of practice within their discipline
- Engage in continued learning after graduation
At Metropolitan State University of Denver, graduate students work with an advisor, supervisory committee, and/or procedural advisor. Refer to specific program handbooks for more detail.
Graduate students must be under the guidance of an advisor if they are not under the guidance of a supervisory committee. An advisor may be a professional staff member or a member of the faculty and is appointed by the graduate program. It is permissible for the Graduate program director to serve as the advisor for all students enrolled in the graduate program. It is also permissible for an advisor to guide a master’s student through all graduate activities except for a culminating activity that requires a supervisory committee. Once appointed, the advisor is the primary source for program information and advice and works with the student on matters related to both academic planning and professional development. At any point during an academic program, either the program or the student may request an advisor change to best match the student’s academic interests or professional goals. Any advisor change should be the result of consultation among the student, current advisor, proposed advisor, Graduate program director, and because of possible faculty workload considerations, the department chair. The program should inform the Office of Graduate Studies of any advisor change by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A supervisory committee is required for any master’s student engaged in thesis activity. A supervisory committee is composed of members of the faculty who are appointed by the graduate program and charged with the guidance of a student admitted to a specific graduate degree program. The committee consists of a major advisor who serves as chair plus at least two (2) but no more than four (4) additional members who are chosen to provide a broad range of knowledge and expertise to the student. No student may remain in a graduate program that requires a thesis without a major advisor named as part of the supervisory committee. The major advisor is the primary mentor for the student. A majority of the committee members must hold full-time appointments in the department(s)/program(s) responsible for granting the degree or the participating departments in the case of interdisciplinary programs. In all cases, the fundamental principle is that the committee, collectively, should be constituted to provide the best possible guidance throughout the student’s career, including their thesis work. Graduate students should take an active role, working with their advisor, in identifying faculty members to serve on their supervisory committee. Once possible committee members are identified, the student completes an Appointment of Supervisory Committee form and submits it for signature by the specified committee chair and Graduate program director. This form must include a recommended committee membership based on a reasonable match between student and faculty academic interests. The form is then submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies for review. Once satisfied with the recommended committee, the Associate Vice President of Graduate Studies formally appoints the committee and sends e-mail notifications to the Graduate program director and the student (using the student’s MSU Denver e-mail address). The Appointment of Supervisory Committee form should be submitted as early as possible in the student’s graduate career. A change in the membership of the supervisory committee can be made after initial appointment by submitting an updated Appointment of Supervisory Committee form. This should be done according to policies and procedures developed by the graduate program and only with the approval of the Office of Graduate Studies.
A fundamental requirement for satisfactory academic performance is that, with very limited exceptions, students with a cumulative grade point average (GPA) below 3.00 are ineligible for graduation from a graduate degree or certificate program. Students with a cumulative GPA that drops below 3.00 at any time should consult with their advisory or Graduate Program Coordinator for advice and possible options.
Cumulative GPA Requirement All students admitted to the Office of Graduate Studies, including degree and certificate students and nondegree-seeking students, must meet the cumulative GPA requirements described in this section. A student admitted to the Office of Graduate Studies must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00, including transfer courses. If the cumulative GPA is below 3.00 at the end of an enrolled semester (including summer), the student is placed on probation. At the end of the next enrolled semester (including summer), the Office of Graduate Studies reviews the student’s progress and takes one of the following actions:
- Remove the student from probation if the cumulative GPA is 3.00 or above.
- Continue the student on probation if the cumulative GPA is below 3.00 and the semester GPA is 3.00 or above. Students may continue on probation for an unlimited number of semesters but will be ineligible for graduation if their cumulative GPA is below 3.00 at the end of their graduation semester. Students should consult their advisor or the Graduate Program Coordinator for advice and possible options.
- May dismiss the student from their graduate program and Metropolitan State University of Denver if the cumulative GPA is below 3.00 and the semester GPA is below 3.00, depending on program requirements. Students who are dismissed are administratively withdrawn from their courses and cannot register for classes until they are either reinstated to the graduate program or readmitted to the Office of Graduate Studies. Students who request reinstatement and are granted reinstatement to the program within 30 calendar days are not required to reapply to the Office of Graduate Studies. A new online application and application fee is required after 30 days, or when a student’s request for reinstatement is denied.
In each case, the Office of Graduate Studies informs the graduate program via e-mail. The graduate student works through this process with the guidance of a graduate program representative.
Academic Performance at Graduation
All students enrolled in a degree or certificate program must meet the following academic performance requirements at the end of their final (graduation) semester: (1) cumulative GPA requirement, (2) program GPA requirement, and (3) individual course requirements. Failure to meet these requirements will result in dismissal.
Students may appeal their dismissal only in the situation in which they meet both of the following conditions:
- They changed graduate programs after their initial admission to the Office of Graduate Studies.
- Their semester GPA was 3.00 or above in all semesters (including summers) after their change of graduate programs.
In each case, the appeal will be carefully reviewed by the Office of Graduate Studies and the timeliness of the appeal will be considered.
Program GPA Requirement
The program grade point average (program GPA) is the grade point average computed for this set of courses. If the program GPA is less than 3.00, the student is ineligible for the degree or certificate and should consult their advisor or the Graduate program director for advice and possible options.
Individual Course Requirements
No grade lower than C- will count toward a graduate degree or certificate (regardless of cumulative GPA).
Repetition of Graduate Courses
A graduate student who has completed a graduate course for credit may attempt to repeat that course to improve the grade, but only once and only with the written approval of the Graduate program director using the Request to Repeat a Graduate Course form. All course registrations on record beyond published drop dates for each semester or session appear on the student transcript and GPA computations are carried out according to Metropolitan State University of Denver policy.
Transfer credit is academic credit that is awarded to a student by another college or university and is approved for application to the requirements of a graduate certificate or degree at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Transfer credit must satisfy the following restrictions:
- Transfer credit must be graduate academic credit representing a grade of A or B awarded by a regionally accredited U.S. college or university or by a non-U.S. institution of higher education that is approved for transfer purposes by the International Admissions Office. Continuing education units (CEU) and other nonacademic credits are ineligible as transfer credit.
- Culminating activity courses, courses where the grade is based only on attendance, and courses representing experiential learning, regardless of the level (undergraduate or graduate), are ineligible as transfer credit.
- Credit applied to meet the requirements of a previously earned degree of any type at another institution is ineligible for use as transfer credit
- Application of transfer credit must be approved by the graduate program.
The maximum transfer credit that can be applied to meet the requirements of a graduate certificate or degree is limited by the fundamental requirement that at least two-thirds (2/3) of the total credit requirement for a degree or certificate must be earned after admission to the program. A graduate program may impose a more restrictive transfer policy (fewer allowed transfer credits) for that program.
Application of Credit Already Applied to a Graduate Certificate
A graduate certificate is viewed by some programs as an intermediate accomplishment or stepping stone between a baccalaureate degree and a master’s degree. The Office of Graduate Studies therefore allows graduate credit (but not undergraduate credit) earned at Metropolitan State University of Denver and previously applied to meet the requirements of a Metropolitan State University of Denver graduate certificate to also be applied to meet the requirements of a Metropolitan State University of Denver master’s degree. Relevant or applicable graduate coursework completed at Metropolitan State University of Denver can be applied to graduate degree requirements if a student wishes to pursue a graduate degree.
Choice of Graduate Catalog
A student enrolled in a graduate degree or certificate program may choose to meet the requirements for that program as defined in any annual edition of the Metropolitan State University of Denver Graduate Catalog in effect after the student is admitted to the program by the Office of Graduate Studies. Students may not elect to follow a catalog that was used prior to their admission into a graduate program at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Changing catalog may incur additional coursework and/or requirements.
Adjustment of Academic Requirements
The Metropolitan State University of Denver Graduate Catalog chosen by a student determines the program requirements that must be met by the student. The specific courses that have been approved by the Office of Graduate Studies as meeting those program requirements are known as the academic requirements for the student. A student may request a change in academic requirements only by submitting an Academic Adjustment Requirements form to the Office of Graduate Studies for review and approval.
Not all graduate programs require a thesis, please see your program handbook for details. Students who select a thesis option must remain mindful that like all Metropolitan State University of Denver researchers, graduate students engaged in thesis research are expected to carry out their research in an ethical and responsible manner. This includes consideration for human subjects, and animal subjects. A student must undergo a process involving three primary steps on the way to satisfying the thesis requirement of a graduate degree program. These steps must be taken in proper order, and each subsequent step cannot be undertaken until the student successfully completes the prior step.
Defense: The student defends the thesis before a committee known as the defense committee (which always includes the supervisory committee). This event is formally referred to as the final oral defense.
Final Reading Approval: The student makes any modifications that may be required by the defense committee and submits the revised thesis to the chair of the supervisory committee (or designee) for final reading approval.
Format Review: The student electronically submits the thesis and supporting documentation to the Office of Graduate Studies for a format review and will request to any corrections that may be required by the Office of Graduate Studies.
- This format review is guided by a detailed requirements and procedures described in a manual called Standards and Guidelines for Theses. A thesis that does not conform to the standards and guidelines will be returned by the Office of Graduate Studies to the student for corrections. The issues addressed in the standards and guidelines ensure that the thesis is complete in terms of the components required by the Office of Graduate Studies, that the final version meets technical publication standards (e.g., minimum margins for binding purposes), and that certain legal requirements involving copyright are given proper attention by thestudent.
- An official format review cannot be initiated until the chair of the supervisory committee (or designee) has granted final reading approval of the thesis. However, the Office of Graduate Studies will provide preliminary advice on request.
Final Version: After the thesis passes the format review, the student submits the final version as an electronic file to the Office of Graduate Studies for review by the Associate Vice President of Graduate Studies (or designee). This should be done before the deadline published in the academic calendar. The thesis requirement of a graduate degree program is not considered satisfied until the final version has been approved by the Associate Vice President of Graduate Studies. When submitting the final version:
- The student should submit an Access Agreement for a Thesis form. Because a thesis is a significant contribution to a discipline, the Office of Graduate Studies requires that all theses be archived and made publicly accessible. This is done through ScholarWorks, a digital university repository overseen by the Auraria Library. The conditions for public access to a thesis may vary depending on a variety of circumstances. These conditions are requested by the student and reviewed by the Office of Graduate Studies in the access agreement.Approval by the Office of Graduate Studies of an access agreement is a graduation requirement for all students who complete a thesis as part of a graduate degree program.
- The student can order archival bound paper copies of the thesis as required by the department and for personal use. The Office of Graduate Studies provides an electronic process for a student to order paper copies.
Name Used on a Thesis
The name used on a thesis must match the author’s name as it appears on official Metropolitan State University of Denver records. Students may choose to omit a middle name or use an initial. But the name used must be consistent throughout the thesis and the accompanying paperwork (Defense Committee Approval, Final Reading Approval, and Access Agreement).
The term culminating activity refers to a summary exercise that is carried out by a graduate student with a high degree of independence. It is based on advanced study and accumulated graduate experience. It is integrative in nature, and is typically the focus of the student near the end of their graduate career. Satisfactory completion of a culminating activity (or part of a culminating activity) is normally recorded by a grade in a graduate course set up specifically for that purpose (e.g., 592 Portfolio).