Academic Regulations


Retention Standards

A student, regardless of admission status, will be placed on academic probation if that student’s cumulative graduate grade point average (GPA) at Cameron University is less than 3.0 at the end of any semester or summer term. Failure to achieve a 3.0 GPA or above during any semester or summer term, during which the student is already on academic probation, will result in suspension for one regular (Fall or Spring) semester from graduate study at Cameron University. Students who are suspended may apply for re-admission on probation at the end of that semester. Following re-admission on probation, students who fail to achieve a 3.0 GPA in any semester while still on probation will be dismissed from Cameron University. The Registrar’s Office will notify students of their probation, suspension, or dismissal status.

Advisement and Plan of Graduate Study

At the time of admission, each student will be referred by the Office of Admissions to a graduate advisor. The student will work with their graduate advisor to plan a program of courses, study, and research that will enable the student to complete all of the requirements for the desired degree. This Plan of Graduate Study must be signed by the student and approved by their graduate advisor and the dean. Any change in the plan of study must be approved by and filed with the same officials. Any course taken prior to filing the approved plan of study, taken outside the plan of study, or taken at another institution must be approved by the same officials before it can be included in the student’s degree program.

The Plan of Graduate Study shall be approved during the first semester to assure continuity in the student’s graduate study. To reflect changes in interest or availability of courses, students may request a change to their plan of study through their graduate advisors. Courses on the plan of study cannot be removed once they have been successfully completed.

DEGREE WORKS (DEGREE AUDIT)

Degree Works provides an individualized degree audit for students using their specific major and catalog year. Each degree audit includes detailed information such as completed leveling, core, and elective courses, the courses applied to each requirement, the semester courses taken, the grade in each course, and the requirements that remain incomplete. The online degree audit can be a useful tool in the advisement process, but it is not an official degree check and should not replace regular consultation with an academic advisor.

Students may view their individual Degree Works audit online in AggieAccess by clicking the My Info tab, under the Student Quick Links channel, clicking Degree Works, and entering their student ID. An academic advisor can assist individual students with interpreting their Degree Works audit.

Changes in Degree Requirements

Academic requirements in graduate programs are subject to periodic review and revision which may render specific requirements listed in this catalog obsolete. Students are strongly urged to consult with their graduate advisors concerning academic requirements and policies currently in effect for a particular program. Students are responsible for fully understanding and complying with the requirements for their programs of study.

Time Limit

Students have six years to complete all courses, comprehensive examinations, portfolios, and theses required by their degree program. Courses which fall outside the six-year window, including all transfer classes, will not count toward degree completion though they will remain on student transcripts, be included in GPA calculations, and usually count toward state certification and licensure requirements. Under extremely rare circumstances, a single, one-year exception to the six-year time limit may be granted by the Dean of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies. Students who wish to petition for an exception may do so by using forms that are available through their respective advisor.

COURSE NUMBERING

Graduate courses, numbered 5000 and above, are open to graduate students and undergraduate students meeting certain criteria for conditional admission.

Enrollment

The completed application form, official transcripts of all previous undergraduate and graduate credit and any required exam scores should be submitted to the Office of Admissions at least one (1) week prior to first enrollment for graduate credit at Cameron University Before the first graduate enrollment, the student must be admitted to graduate studies. To receive credit, a student must enroll prior to taking the course. Refer to the Enrollment Schedule for specific dates and details regarding enrollment and payment of tuition and fees for each academic session.

Graduate students should work with their graduate advisor to complete the enrollment process. This process includes:

  1. Completing a tentative enrollment schedule,
  2. Receiving the approval of the appropriate graduate advisor and obtaining permission to enroll.
  3. Enrolling in the course(s) through AggieAccess.

Electronic messages sent from students to their advisors are the equivalent of completing a tentative enrollment schedule. However, under no circumstances will Cameron University personnel enroll students without written verification of the schedule sought by a given student.

Late Enrollment

Enrollment after the first full week of classes in any semester, summer, or eight- week session or proportionate period of a special schedule is a late enrollment. Late enrollments require permission from the graduate advisor, the professor of each course involved, the department chair and/or dean of the school responsible for the class or classes and the VPAA or designee. Any student enrolling late will be responsible for making up all work.

Academic Forgiveness Policy

Courses taken at the graduate level cannot be “reprieved,” "renewed," or “forgiven,” nor can they be excluded from the retention/graduation grade point average calculation.

Repeating Courses

All graduate work attempted will be used in figuring the graduate grade point average (GPA). For example, if a graduate course is later repeated, both grades will be used in calculating the graduate GPA. Repeated courses will only be counted once in the Plan of Graduate Study.

Incomplete Courses

An incomplete may be given (at an instructor’s discretion) to a student whose grade average is passing, but who did not complete a course at the end of the term. The instructor shall record the conditions and time limit for removing the “I” on the grade roster that is filed with the Registrar’s Office.

It is the responsibility of the student to satisfy the requirements specified by the instructor at the time of the assignment of the "I". It is the responsibility of the instructor to submit a "Grade Correction" form to the Registrar. Students who receive an "I" will have no more than one year from the end of the semester in which the course was taken to complete the required work for the course. If, by the end of the year, no change in grade has been submitted, the grade of "I" will become permanent. In no case will an "I" be changed to an "F" after a student has graduated. “I” grades are neutral and not counted in grade point average calculations.

Grades of "C" or Lower

No grade below C (2.00) may be used to fulfill graduate course requirements at Cameron University. A maximum of 6 credit hours with a grade of C will be applied to graduate hours earned at Cameron University.

COURSE LOAD

The following categories shall be used in determining full- and part-time graduate student status:

Fall or Spring Semester

  • Full-time: at least 9 but not more than 16 hours of graduate credit. 
  • Three-quarter time: 7-8 hours of graduate credit. 
  • One-half time: 5-6 hours of graduate credit. 
  • One-quarter time: fewer than 5 hours of graduate credit.

Summer Semester

  • Full-time: at least 4 hours but not more than 9 hours of graduate credit. 
  • Three-quarter time: 3 hours of graduate credit. 
  • One-half time: 2 hours of graduate credit. 
  • One-quarter time: 1 hour of graduate credit.

Any student using VA benefits or a student loan should contact the Office of Veteran Affairs or Office of Financial Assistance to verify course load requirements.

A student who is approved as a graduate assistant and is enrolled in at least six hours of graduate credit during the semester of the assistantship shall be classified as a full- time graduate student.

It is recommended that a graduate student who is fully employed (40 hours or more per week) not enroll in more than six semester hours of graduate courses during the fall or spring semester or three semester hours of graduate courses during a summer session.

Number of Hours Required

A minimum of thirty-three (33) semester hours of graduate credit earned at a regionally or nationally accredited institution of higher education shall be required for a master’s degree awarded by Cameron University. Requirements for specific graduate degree programs may exceed these minimums. A student must meet the requirements for their specific graduate degree program to be awarded that degree.

Credits

Cameron University strictly adheres to OSRHE policies when defining academic sessions and credit hours (OSRHE Policy and Procedures Manual, Section 3.18.3.) Per OSRHE mandate, all classes taught during the standard term are expected to meet for sixteen, twelve, or eight weeks in the Fall or Spring semesters; four, six, or eight weeks in a summer session; or an equivalent number of days/weeks between a semester and/or session for intersession. No institution, academic department, or individual faculty member is authorized to reduce the number of academic weeks in the standard semester without specific approval of OSRHE.

The semester-credit-hour is the standard and traditional unit of credit to be used by Cameron University in evaluating a student's educational attainment and progress for all programs. A semester-hour of credit is calculated as follows:

  • One semester-hour of credit is normally awarded for completion of a course meeting for 800 instructional minutes, (50 minutes/week for sixteen weeks; 100 minutes/week for eight weeks; 200 minutes/week for four weeks), exclusive of enrollment, orientation, and scheduled breaks. Organized examination days may be counted as instructional days.
  • Laboratory credit is normally awarded at a rate not to exceed one-half the instructional rate. One semester-hour of credit is normally awarded for completion of a laboratory meeting a minimum of 1600 minutes (100 minutes/week for sixteen weeks; 200 minutes/week for eight weeks).
  • Instruction offered through a combination of class and laboratory meetings would normally observe the standards set forth above on a pro rata basis. For example, a course offered for four semester-hours of credit might meet for 100 minutes of organized instruction plus 200 minutes of laboratory per week for 16 weeks.
  • Block or alternative course schedules may also occur within the dates set forth for a semester or summer session. Courses offered during academic terms shorter than a semester will observe the same academic standards involving instructional hours per semester-credit-hour as those courses offered during a standard academic semester. Institutions are encouraged to be flexible in offering courses in alternative schedules to meet student and employer needs.
  • A student enrolled in a Study Abroad course is earning course credit, therefore, the course will be considered part of the student’s enrollment status for determining Title IV financial aid eligibility.

There are alternatives to reliance on time-in-class as the basis for determining academic credit hours earned. The achievement of academic credit hours should be linked to demonstrated student learning either through regular class assignments and evaluations or demonstration of competencies. When determining the appropriate academic credit for non-traditional or accelerated format courses, institutions must adhere to the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) Handbook of Accreditation Standards. HLC requires institutions to rigorously assess student learning outcomes consistently across all formats. Institutions offering courses in accelerated or other non-traditional formats are expected to be especially diligent in documenting that students in these courses master the skills and knowledge expected of students in traditional courses.

Transfer of Credits

A student may request that a maximum of twelve (12) semester hours of graduate credit earned at Cameron University or other regionally or nationally accredited institutions of higher education be transferred to a graduate degree program at Cameron University. Only coursework with a grade of “A” or “B” is eligible for transfer. Transfer credit must have been earned within six years prior to the completion of the master’s degree at Cameron University and must fit within the student’s Plan of Graduate Study. Students may petition for transfer of credits after they have completed twelve (12) hours of graduate courses at Cameron University with a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or above. Forms may be obtained from the student’s graduate advisor. Transcripts of record from colleges and universities accredited by HLC will be given full value. Transcripts of record from degree granting institutions accredited by organizations recognized by the United States Secretary of Education are subject to review and may transfer on a course-by-course basis.

SECOND MASTER’S DEGREE

A student may request that a maximum of twelve (12) graduate credit hours be applied toward a second master’s degree at Cameron University. The student’s graduate advisor must approve the use of those 12 hours.

Extension Courses

A student may request that a maximum of six (6) semester hours of graduate credit earned through extension courses (e.g. Independent Studies) be counted toward a graduate degree program at Cameron University. Requests must be approved by the appropriate department. Extension course credits earned at other regionally or nationally accredited institutions of higher education and counted in a graduate degree program at Cameron University will be considered transfer credits. See the above statements.

Correspondence Courses

Credit earned through correspondence study may not be applied toward any master’s degree at Cameron University.

WORKSHOP CREDIT

A maximum of three semester hours of workshop credit may be applied toward a master’s degree at Cameron University.

FINAL EXAMINATION(S) IN A SPECIFIC COURSE

The final examination in a specific course will be administered at the date and time indicated on the finals schedule and/or on the course syllabus. Any deviation from the designated schedule of final examinations must be approved in advance by the school’s dean. If a final examination is not given in a particular course, the final examination time period will be used for summary, evaluation, or other productive purposes.

THESIS

Specific master’s degree programs may include a thesis as part of the degree plan. A student selecting the thesis option must complete six semester hours of graduate thesis credit. These credits may be counted on a degree plan upon successful completion of a thesis with a grade of “S” (i.e. satisfactory). “S” grades are not included in grade point average calculations.

A student may not enroll in thesis credit hours until they have completed all degree program prerequisites. The student may then enroll in two 3-hour sections of thesis credit. After completing those six hours, they must enroll in 1 hour of thesis credit during all subsequent fall and spring semesters until the thesis is successfully defended. Summer sessions will have optional enrollment; however, if a student intends to work on their thesis during a summer term, they must be enrolled in a thesis course.

After completing the thesis, a student should apply for oral defense with the Dean of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies. Applications are available through graduate advisors and online. Personnel will review the application and student’s enrollment history, and appropriate charges will be applied for all spring and fall semesters since first enrolling in thesis hours (i.e. students must be continuously enrolled in thesis hours until completion.). Regardless of the number of credit hours completed, only 6 hours may be applied toward the student’s Plan of Graduate Study. Additional information regarding thesis instructions may be obtained from a student’s graduate advisor or academic department.

Comprehensive Examinations

Specific master’s degree programs require the successful completion of a comprehensive examination for completion of a graduate degree. The degree program’s graduate faculty administer the examinations and determine the minimum passing grade.

Comprehensive examinations are administered each semester during the fall, spring, and summer and on dates and times as determined by the department and approved by the dean. Those dates, along with the deadlines to register, are available online and through the program advisors. Students are solely responsible for determining the date of their comprehensive examinations and for applying to take the exam on or before application deadlines. Applications are available through graduate advisors.

Students who fail a comprehensive examination may be able to repeat the exam on a limited basis. Students should check with their graduate advisor for information regarding the maximum number of retakes permitted. Students who fail comprehensive examinations and are eligible to take it again must re-apply for permission through their graduate advisors.

Application for a Graduate Degree and Degree Check

Each candidate for a graduate degree must file an Application for Graduation with the Registrar one semester prior to when they plan to graduate. The Application for Graduation is available through AggieAccess.

Upon filing an Application for a Graduate Degree, candidates will have a degree audit conducted by personnel in the Registrar’s Office. Applicants will be informed by the Registrar of any remaining requirements for the degree. Students may check their degree progress at any time through Degree Works, available on AggieAccess, My Info tab, Student Quick Links channel.

Diplomas will be issued for students who have completed all requirements for graduation at the end of each semester.

Exit Interviews

As part of the outcomes assessment process, students must complete the exit survey prior to graduation. These surveys, which are conducted online, serve two purposes: 1) they allow students to identify what they perceive as strengths and weaknesses associated with their degree programs, and 2) they allow program administrators to implement improvements based on the information provided. Specific information regarding the exit surveys is available from graduate advisors.

PARTICIPATION IN COMMENCEMENT AND HOODING CEREMONIES

A graduate student must meet specified requirements for their master’s degree program before participating in commencement and hooding ceremonies. Students should contact their graduate advisor for these requirements.

Academic Dishonesty Policy

If a student is found to have engaged in any form of academic dishonesty, action will be taken in accordance with the Cameron University Sanctions for Academic Dishonesty. Academic dishonesty includes a variety of behaviors including but not limited to plagiarism; cheating; copying from another student’s test paper, laboratory report, or other report. The student will be informed in writing, or in person, of any action taken by the instructor in response to academic dishonesty. The action will also be documented with the dean and/or chair of the student’s major department and the student’s graduate advisor. Please refer to the Student Handbook for further information regarding academic offenses and sanctions for academic dishonesty.

Appeal of a Final Grade

Only under certain conditions will a formal grade appeal be granted to a graduate student who feels a grade was assigned improperly or unfairly. The sole basis for an appeal is to determine whether the student’s final grade was assigned fairly within the grading system adopted by the faculty member. The subjective or qualitative judgment of a faculty member cannot be challenged. For example, a grade received on a paper cannot be appealed. Only factual and objective elements of a student record are within the scope of an appeal.

A student who wishes to contest a grade should first make an effort to discuss the matter with the faculty member concerned and make every attempt to resolve the problem concerning the disputed grade. If, however, there is no satisfactory resolution, a student may pursue the issue by consulting the chair of the appropriate department or the dean if the chair of the department is directly involved in the grievance. The department chair or dean will invite the instructor to a conference with the student regarding the matter. If the faculty member does not attend the conference, or if it is determined that the grade should remain as recorded and the student remains dissatisfied, the student must initiate a formal request for an appeals hearing prior to the end of the first regular semester following the semester during which the course was taken.

It must be stressed that the Graduate Council will make no effort to establish whether a grading system is academically sound; rather, it will attempt to establish whether or not an instructor’s grading practices and procedures were followed consistently and accurately when determining the student’s final grade. All other instances of conflict over grades must be resolved at the department or school level.

Initiating a Formal Appeal

The student shall submit a completed grade appeal form to the chair of the Graduate Council, who in turn will send a copy to the instructor, the department chair, and the dean. The Graduate Council will hear and consider all graduate-level grade appeals.

The chair of the Graduate Council will schedule the date, time, and place of the appeals hearing; written notification of this information will be sent to the student, the faculty member, and Graduate Council members. A hearing will normally be scheduled within one month of the date on which the chair of the Graduate Council received the request by the student for a formal hearing if, in the judgment of the dean, the criteria for a formal appeal have been met. The chair of the Graduate Council has the authority to determine if a postponement is justified. If it is determined that the postponement is not justified, the chair can proceed with the hearing even if one or both parties are not present for the hearing. The hearing shall be a closed meeting at the request of either the faculty member or the student involved.

If a student or faculty member of the Graduate Council is in any way actively involved in the grade appeal, that member shall be declared ineligible to serve during that hearing and shall be replaced by an alternate representing the same constituency.

Procedure Governing the Appeal Hearing

If the faculty member is no longer associated with Cameron University, then the department chair is authorized to act on their behalf. The faculty member, however, will be given an opportunity to make a written response before a hearing is scheduled.

Both the faculty member and the student must be given the opportunity to be present at any time information relating to the appeal is being orally presented to the hearing committee.

Neither the faculty member nor the student may present information that reveals the grades or academic status of any other student by name unless the written permission of that student has been obtained. The student and the faculty member will be given an opportunity to state their cases personally and present witnesses and comments, as well as question the other party or parties and their witnesses, if any. The Graduate Council shall have no power to require information which is not voluntarily presented to the council except the work of the student in the class for which the grade is being appealed.

A quorum shall consist of five members of the Graduate Council plus the chair. Following the presentation of information by all parties involved, the Graduate Council may, at its option, excuse all parties to the dispute prior to beginning its deliberations.

The Graduate Council can recommend either of the following:

  • The grade as given by the faculty member is appropriate and should not be changed; OR
  • The grade is inappropriate and should be changed to the grade approved by at least two-thirds majority vote of Graduate Council members present. All Graduate Council members present are required to vote. After receiving notice from the Graduate Council, the chair will request that the Registrar initiate the appropriate procedure for a grade change.

The chair of the Graduate Council is responsible for forwarding the written recommendation of the committee to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the dean, the department chair, the faculty member, and the student.

The Graduate Council’s written recommendation must include grounds for its decision and have the approval of a majority of the members present. All voting members must sign the recommendation, but a minority may attach a statement of reservations or a dissenting opinion.

PROCEDURE TO APPEAL FOR EARLY RETURN AFTER SUSPENSION

The Registrar will notify the student of probation, suspension, or dismissal. Students who are academically suspended are not allowed to attend for one regular (Fall or Spring) semester. The student may appeal to the Graduate Council to return in an earlier semester.

The Graduate Council serves as an appellate body for the appeal process. The student who has been placed on suspension from graduate studies is the only person who may initiate the appeal process. Within sixty (60) calendar days of the date of the notice of suspension, the student shall present a written statement explaining the reasons for the appeal to the chair of the Graduate Council. No appeal can be instituted more than sixty (60) calendar days after the notice of suspension.

The chair shall place the appeal on the agenda of the next appropriate meeting of the Graduate Council and shall forward the student’s written statement and other appropriate documents to the members of the Graduate Council. The student may attend the meeting of the Graduate Council at which the appeal is heard and may present additional written or oral information. Such presentations shall be subject to limits which may be determined by a majority vote of the members present at the Graduate Council meeting. The Graduate Council may seek other appropriate information. No information that reveals the grades or academic status of any other student by name may be presented.

Following the presentation of information, the Graduate Council may, at its option, excuse all parties to the appeal prior to beginning its deliberation.

After completing its deliberations, the Graduate Council may set, by a majority vote of the members present, conditions for further study and recommend that the student be allowed to enroll in additional graduate classes at Cameron University. The recommendation of the Graduate Council shall be forwarded in writing to the student and Vice President for Academic Affairs by the chair of the Graduate Council. The chair shall initiate the appropriate action with the Registrar.

Academic Grievance Policy

All academic grievances involving graduate courses, faculty, or students are investigated successively by the department chair, the dean, Graduate Council, and the Vice President for Academic Affairs. When a grievance is successfully resolved at any level, the investigation and grievance procedure end. In the event that the grievance cannot be resolved by the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the student may file the grievance with the President. The President or their designee shall investigate the complaint and make such disposition as is warranted.