Graduate Catalog : 2005-2007
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Graduate programs are typically classified as either research or professional oriented programs. Research programs have a major research component. At the master’s level, the research component may be included in a series of courses, a research product, and/or a thesis. At the doctoral level, the research product is a dissertation. Professional programs (usually available only at the master’s level) may include an internship and/or a practicum in lieu of a research product.

Graduate studies tend to be more focused, provide greater depth of study within the chosen field, and foster independent learning. All of the graduate programs at Sam Houston State University require an assessment of knowledge retention toward the end of the academic program. The assessment may be incorporated as a comprehensive exam, in written and/or oral format, and/or a comprehensive capstone course.

Regardless of the type of program, the academic expectations placed on graduate students far exceed those experienced at the undergraduate level. While pursuit of knowledge is the major goal of graduate studies, graduate students are expected to achieve and remain in academic good standing. At Sam Houston State University, a graduate student must maintain an overall grade point average of at least 3.0 on all graduate course work attempted. Review the “Scholastic Expectations” section of this chapter for further details.





Procedure Time
1. Become familiar with general regulations and appropriate degree section of Graduate Catalog Before registration
2. Meet with graduate advisor to plan course of study Before initial registration
3. Meet Candidacy Requirements Per program requirements
4. Conduct Annual Review with Advisor After each year in program
5. If Thesis or Dissertation is required:
        a. Establish Advisory Committee
        b. Submit thesis/dissertation proposal
        c. Defend thesis/dissertation proposal
        d. Defend final thesis/dissertation
        e. Submit thesis/dissertation to library for review

Per program requirements

See Academic Calendar

6. Apply for degree See Academic Calendar
7. Meet Comprehensive Requirements During semester of anticipated graduation



(1) Each student is responsible for contacting his/her graduate advisor for the specific program requirement deadlines. A student is required to complete graduate work within a six-year period, measured from the date of initial enrollment for graduate credit in a particular degree program.

(2) Students must be enrolled in at least one course (one credit hour or more) in both the semester of graduation and the semester in which the comprehensive requirements are met.



A degree plan details the curriculum for the specific academic program and is developed for each graduate student. All courses on the approved degree plan must be completed with a satisfactory grade to meet the requirements for the degree. Changes in an approved degree plan may be made by petition to the graduate advisor and approved by the appropriate academic dean. A student has a maximum of six years from the time he/she is initially admitted into a degree-seeking program to complete the degree requirements outlined in the degree plan.


(Refer to Academic Policy Statement 930129)

A graduate student at Sam Houston State University writing a thesis or dissertation in partial fulfillment of the degree requirements must enroll in the appropriate thesis/dissertation courses (refer to the course descriptions at the end of the respective program section of this catalog to find the specific course numbers for thesis/dissertation courses). Typically, a master’s student takes six (6) hours of thesis courses and a doctoral student takes twelve (12) hours of dissertation courses. Once a student enrolls in a thesis/dissertation course, the student must continuously enroll in such a course until graduation. Some programs have an internship requirement that must be completed after the thesis/dissertation is defended. Students in a program with this rare internship requirement do not have to enroll in a thesis/dissertation course during their internship period. The only other exception to the continuous enrollment requirement is for a student granted a leave of absence.

A student who is unable to work on the thesis or dissertation for a period of time may present to the appropriate academic dean a written request for a leave of absence of up to one year. The dean’s approval of such a request must be in writing. Additional requests for leaves of absence may be approved but must be submitted after the previous leave has lapsed. A student granted a leave of absence may not be enrolled in any coursework during this period.

A student is required to complete graduate work within a six-year period, measured from the date of initial enrollment for graduate credit in a particular degree program. The period of time a student is on an approved leave of absence will be counted as time accumulated towards that six-year deadline for completion of the degree.

Any extension of the six-year deadline must be approved in writing by the appropriate academic dean. A student on a leave of absence will be considered an active student for purposes of official records, but will lose access to University services.


Thesis/Dissertation Committee. A thesis/dissertation committee will be appointed immediately following admission to candidacy. The committee is composed of at least three members: two graduate faculty members from the major field and one from the minor field, provided a minor is elected. The thesis director/dissertation chair will be selected by the student and, with guidance from the director/chair, the student will select the other two committee members. The committee must then be approved by the chair of the major department and the appropriate academic dean. Any change in the composition of the thesis/dissertation committee will be approved in the same manner.

Prospectus. The candidate, in consultation with the thesis director/dissertation chair, will select a subject of investigation and determine the availability of the required sources, facilities, materials, and equipment for the research and the writing of the thesis/dissertation. The student will prepare a prospectus which will specify the topic, detail the purpose of the proposed investigation, describe the proposed method(s) of investigation, indicate the relationship of study to relevant research and findings of scholars in the student’s area of concentration, and provide a commentary on source materials and/or facilities available for the successful completion of the research. The prospectus shall be submitted to the thesis/dissertation committee during the semester following admission to candidacy. After the committee has approved and signed the prospectus, it is submitted to the appropriate academic dean for final approval. Any subsequent changes in topic or the proposed method of investigation must be approved in writing by the committee and submitted for approval to the appropriate academic dean.

Preparation. To facilitate the preparation of the thesis/dissertation, the candidate should procure a copy of the Directions on Form, Preparation, and Submission of The Final Copies of Master’s Theses and Doctoral Dissertations. These guidelines are available from the appropriate academic dean’s office or the University’s Office of Graduate Studies.

Procedure. The candidate must submit the completed thesis/dissertation to his/her committee for final approval at least three weeks prior to the date on which he/she expects to graduate. The following steps are the order of procedure:

  1. The chair of the committee will establish a time and location for administering an oral examination on, or verbal defense of, the thesis/dissertation. Members of the thesis/dissertation committee and all members of the graduate faculty in the candidate’s major field will be invited to attend the oral examination and may question the candidate.
  2. The academic dean shall be informed of the time and location for the examination. Each Graduate Advisor will submit a final written report to the academic dean providing an assessment of the thesis, dissertation, or oral examination committee’s procedures and actions.
  3. After the examination is passed and the thesis/dissertation is approved and signed by the committee, the typed original shall be submitted to the academic dean at least two weeks prior to the date on which the candidate expects to graduate.
  4. Upon receipt of approval of the academic dean, the original and the required number of acceptable copies of the thesis/dissertation are taken to the Newton Gresham Library by the candidate. (Reproduction of the thesis /dissertation is the responsibility of the candidate.) The candidate will pay the Newton Gresham Library for the binding costs. The original copy will remain in the library collection.
  5. The student takes the signed Route Sheet to the Office of Graduate Studies and then to the Office of the Registrar.


All candidates for the graduate degree must pass a comprehensive examination based on all their graduate course work. Students must be enrolled in the University the semester or summer session in which the comprehensive exam is administered. The major department will establish whether the comprehensive examination is written, oral, or a combination of the two. In lieu of a comprehensive exam, some programs have been granted permission to use a comprehensive capstone course or portfolio submission. The department chair of the major field will organize a committee of at least one graduate faculty representative from each area of concentration for the administration of the examination. The grade “high pass,” “pass,” or “fail,” must be filed by the department chair in the office of the appropriate dean. A re-examination shall be permitted on any part(s) of the examination which the candidate fails. A third examination may be permitted upon approval of the appropriate academic dean and the committee.

Written Examination. The written examination usually will cover three areas of concentration: two areas in the major department and one area in the minor department. If all course work for the degree is within one department, the comprehensive examination will be determined by that department only.

Oral Examination. The oral examination is scheduled by the major department with committee members representing the major department and the minor department, if applicable.


Application for a Degree

Prior to the semester or summer school in which the degree is to be conferred, a formal application and payment of the degree audit/diploma fee must be made in the Registrar’s Office. The Academic Calendar, which is located in the current catalog and in the online Schedule of Classes, indicates the deadline for filing an application for a degree. A student filing a degree application after the published deadline will be assessed an additional late fee. A student who is completing the last semester of course work at an institution other than SHSU must provide the Registrar with an official transcript of this course work no later than one day prior to the graduation date. An application for a degree and further details are available online at

Attendance at Commencement

Should a degree candidate be unable to attend commencement, a written request for the award of the degree in absentia should be directed to the Office of the President of the University. The degree candidate should indicate the address to which the diploma is to be mailed.



Four grades are given in graduate courses at the University:

Grade Denotation
A Academic Excellence
B Acceptable Performance
C Passing, yet Insufficient Performance
F Failure

The mark IP denotes “in progress” and is given in theses and other courses which cannot be completed within one semester. The mark CR denotes “credit” and is given in one-hour workshops and may be given on transferred courses. The mark WP denotes “withdrew passing” and the mark WF denotes “withdrew failing.” The mark X denotes an incomplete course. If the student meets the prescribed requirements of the course before the end of the next academic semester after the X is given, the student will receive the grade earned; otherwise, the mark X will be automatically changed to an F. The mark of Q will be given to students who drop courses from the thirteenth class day, for a semester, or from the fifth class day, for a summer session, until the last day for dropping courses without grade of F as stated in the Academic Calendar. Courses with the mark of Q will not be counted as courses attempted, and will not be included in determining grade point averages.

The graduate student who elects to drop all courses, i.e., to resign from the University, must notify the Registrar’s Office and process a Resignation Request. (See Resignations)


The Graduate Faculty of Sam Houston State University expects students to conduct their academic work with integrity and honesty. Acts of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated and can result in the failure of a course and dismissal from the University. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating on a test, plagiarism, collusion (the unauthorized collaboration with another person in preparing work offered for credit), the abuse of resource materials, and misrepresentation of credentials or accomplishments as a member of the college.

The University’s policy on academic honesty and appeal procedures can be found in the manual entitled Student Guidelines, distributed by Division of Student Services. (Reference Section 5.3 of the SHSU Student Guidelines)


A minimum grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) is required in all course work. All grades earned in courses listed for graduate credit on the student’s official Degree Plan will be utilized in computing the grade point average.

When the grade of C is earned in any course, it must be balanced by a grade of A in a course of equivalent value taken in the same academic program. (See Academic Probation and Suspension, page 50.) A grade of A earned at another institution may not be used to remove a grade deficiency earned in residence at this University. Semester hours of credit earned at another institution shall be recorded as received but not utilized in computing the student’s Sam Houston State University overall grade point average. Only those transferred courses from accredited institutions in which a grade of A or B was earned and which are accepted toward an official degree program may be applied toward a degree (see Transferred Credit).


In order to achieve and remain in academic good standing at Sam Houston State University, a graduate student must maintain an overall grade point average of at least 3.0 (B) on all graduate course work attempted. (See Scholarship)

A 3.0 overall grade point average is the absolute minimum required for graduation. A graduate student who falls below a 3.0 overall grade point average at the close of any semester or summer school during which one or more semester hours are attempted will be placed on probation. Summer school (two sessions) is considered to be a unit equivalent to a semester. If an enrolled student on probation fails to achieve a minimum of 3.0 overall grade point average at the close of the next semester or summer school following the starting of the probation, the student will be suspended.

A student who earns a total of two grades of “C” in any combination of courses will have his/her graduate status reviewed by a committee of the department or college Graduate Faculty. The committee will consider the advisability of his/her continued enrollment in a graduate program. A student who earns three grades of “C” or one grade of “F” will be terminated from graduate studies. Those students who earn a third grade of “C” during the semester or summer session of their anticipated graduation will be terminated from graduate studies and will not be eligible to graduate. Any appeal for a review of the termination of graduate status should be directed in writing to the appropriate academic dean.

The appropriate academic dean may place on probation, retain on probation or suspend any student deficient in grade points without regard to the regulations previously stated. Any appeal for a review of the termination of graduate status should be directed in writing to the appropriate academic dean.


To resign (officially withdraw) from the University, a student must notify the Registrar’s Office and process a Resignation Request. The Resignation Request must be in writing and becomes effective on the date received by the Registrar’s Office. The effective date of the Resignation Request, as received by the Registrar’s Office, is the date which is used for determining any refund as authorized in the State Refund Policy (see Tuition and Fees Refund Policy). The student is responsible for clearing all debts owed to the University. Students who fail to officially resign from the University will receive the grade of F for each course in which they are enrolled.

Students who resign after the first nine weeks of a regular semester or after the first two weeks of a summer session receive a mark of WP (withdrew passing) or WF (withdrew failing) for each course for which they are enrolled. Students who resign from the University while enrolled in a course whose duration is less than a normal term will receive a mark of WP or WF if they resign after one-half of that course time has been completed. The mark of WP or WF is the responsibility of the student’s instructors.


A currently enrolled student or a former student of the University may obtain a transcript of his/her completed work from the Office of the Registrar. Requests for transcripts can be in writing and accompanied by the individual’s signature or may be obtained online at A fee, which according to state law must be paid in advance, will be charged for each copy. The fee for each transcript is $5. Transcripts will not be released to students who have a financial indebtedness to the University. Checks should be made payable to Sam Houston State University.


Sam Houston State University’s Academic Policy Manual and Student Guidelines provide specific information pertaining to the educational mission of the University and student conduct. Copies of these publications may be viewed at the Reference Desk of the Newton Gresham Library and online at Academic Policy Statements which may be of special interest to Sam Houston State University students include:

900823 Academic Grievance Procedures for Students
811006 Disabled Student Policy
810213 Procedures in Cases of Academic Dishonesty
801215 Second Master’s Degree
861001 Student Absences on Religious Holy Days
Student Educational Records