General Requirements for Master’s Degree
Admission, Progression and Degree Candidacy
Students under regular admission criteria are considered degree-seeking candidates and must maintain a minimal grade point average of 3.00, earning a minimum grade of C in no more than two courses.
Students under provisional admission status may be permitted to enroll in specific classes until admission requirements are met. Under provisional status, students may take up to twelve (12) semester hours and must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.00. See respective schools for program-specific requirements.
Credit and Course Requirements and Limitations
All master’s degrees require a minimum of 30 hours of graduate credit. Students are responsible for meeting the semester hour requirement for the chosen degree.
Under special circumstances the School may allow a maximum of six semester hours from courses numbered 450 or higher to be applied to a graduate program. A minimum grade of B is required, and students may not receive both undergraduate and graduate credit for any given course.
Upon the approval of the school dean and the graduate dean, students may obtain credit for curricular requirements by successfully completing a validation examination—written, oral, manipulative, or otherwise, as determined by the school involved.
Credit obtained by validation examination is considered earned credit and maybe permitted only as part of an established course of study. Credit for experiential learning, credit by challenge examination, and other categories of non-traditional credit does not apply to a graduate degree.
Students may earn a maximum of six hours of credit by validation examinations. All examinations are given on a pass/fail basis. Scores will not be placed on a student’s permanent record and are, therefore, not transferable. An examination and recording fees will be charged.
In order to graduate, a candidate must:
- Submit an application to graduate which must be filed with Records and Advisement two months prior to the anticipated graduation date.
- Complete all coursework with a minimum grade-point-average of 3.00, including no more than two classes with a grade below B-. Classes with a grade below a C are not counted toward the master’s degree.
- Pass a comprehensive examination and/or a defense of a thesis/research project, portfolio, or case study, as may be required by the respective School. Specific requirements for each degree are listed under the School.
Responsibilities of the Student
Students are responsible for regulations and procedures published in this bulletin and in school entrance materials. Advancement in the program is contingent upon the adherence to the decisions of the Graduate Council and the policies and procedures as published in this catalog. To avoid unnecessary delay or interruption of study, the student must assume the initiative in such matters as securing approval of a program of study and arranging for required tests and examinations.
Second Master’s Degree
Courses of study for students already holding a master’s degree are arranged individually. Some class work from the previous degree may be applicable to the current program. Southern Adventist University requires that theory courses taken ten years previously and technology application courses taken five years previously must be repeated or waived by a validating examination. For a second degree, at least 2/3 of the credits required (including independent study and excluding graduate prerequisite credits) cannot overlap with the first degree and must be completed at Southern either online or on campus. A thesis or research project may be required. The GRE/GMAT is not required for a student pursuing a second master’s degree from a U.S. accredited institution.
A student’s record is regarded as confidential, and release of the record or of information contained therein is governed by regulations of the federal law on “Family Educational Rights and Privacy.” Only directory information, such as a student’s name, photograph, address, e-mail address, telephone listing, birthplace and date, major fields of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, and the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended, may be released by the institution without consent of the student unless the student has asked Southern to withhold such information.
The law also provides for the release of information to university personnel who demonstrate a legitimate educational interest, other institutions engaged in research (provided information is not revealed to any other parties), and certain federal and state government officials.
A student may inspect and review records and is entitled to challenge the content of records. Students may access online a history of their coursework, grades, and degree audit.
A more thorough explanation of records may be obtained from the Records and Advisement Office. The Director of Records and Advisement will further explain and clarify the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act to students, parents, or interested parties upon request. A FERPA tutorial and quiz is available at southern.edu/records.
When a thesis is required, the topic and research design must be approved and supervised by the School.
Student must submit to the School, two copies of the approved thesis, one of which will be placed in the McKee Library.
DNP Scholarly Project
For the DNP degree, a student is required to write a scholarly project and successfully defend it in an oral examination at an officially designated time and place.
Time Limit for Degree Completion
The time allowed for degree completion is listed for each school/degree in the table below.
||Education and Psychology
||Business and Management, Nursing (MSN/MBA)
||Business and Management
Transfer students must complete 75 percent of the degree program at Southern Adventist University. Transfer credit for courses with a minimum grade of B may be applied toward the degree requirements upon approval of the School.
Veterans Educational Benefits
VA benefits will be terminated if the student’s cumulative grade point average falls below 3.00. Practical training or Internships required for graduation may be certified to VA and must meet the same standards of progress as students pursuing resident courses.
Withdrawal from a Course
Withdrawals at 80% tuition refund automatically receive a “W”. The grade for any withdrawal during the final two weeks of a class will be an “F”.
Each graduate student enrolled under regular and provisional admission status is assigned an adviser who provides academic counseling, approve course scheduling, and supervises research.
Students must comply with the attendance policies for courses in which they are enrolled.
Course Load for Intensive Classes
No more than one credit hour per week for any given course may be earned. For every week of class instruction a maximum of one credit hour may be earned.
A semester load of nine graduate hours constitutes full-time status; five hours constitutes part-time status. Graduate students may enroll in a maximum of 12 hours unless special permission is obtained by petition to the Dean of Graduate Studies. Enrolling in a combination of graduate and undergraduate classes may affect compliance with status, loan deferment, and health insurance policies.
A maximum of six semester hours may be taken as independent study within the graduate degree.
Students attending on-campus classes are required to submit a completed Health Information form available at the University Health Center or online at southern.edu/universityhealth. Registration is not complete until this form is submitted.
Graduate programs are available online from the School of Business and Management, the School of Education and Psychology and the School of Nursing. Course offerings and their information are available at southern.edu/online or by calling Southern Online Office at 423.236.2087.
A Southern graduate student who has not registered for courses at Southern for three consecutive terms (including summers), or two consecutive terms for summer intensives, must apply for admission. An admission application should be submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies at least two weeks prior to the desired reentry date or the application deadline required by the respective school. An official transcript showing all coursework taken in the interim at other institutions is required. The student is notified when Office of Graduate Studies and the School have taken action.
A student who wishes to change a program of study must submit a Request for Change of Graduate Program form, which is available online at graduatestudies.southern.edu. The form requires the signature of the Dean of the School in which admission was previously granted. No signature is needed if a student requests to change from non-degree status to a degree program or from one degree to another within the same School. The student must be in good standing for a revision to be processed. Acceptance into a new degree program is contingent upon review and recommendation by that School. If the student is not accepted into the program requested, he/she remains in the former program. The results of each request for program change are communicated to the student by mail or email.
Students must register online or on campus no later than the beginning of the second week of class.
Students not meeting progression and graduation candidacy requirements may appeal to the Graduate Council for reinstatement to a program.
Up to two courses may be repeated for the purpose of improving the GPA. This does not apply to students under provisional admission status.
Courses may be taken online or on campus toward a second emphasis; transfer credit does not apply. Each emphasis consists of additional credits totaling at least one-third the amount of credits required for the degree. Refer to the School for clarification. Credit hours may apply to only one emphasis.
Course syllabi describe evaluation methods and the grading system for each course. The following equivalencies are used:
|GRADE POINTS PER HOUR
Grades below C do not count toward graduate earned credit. A maximum of two courses with earned C grades may count toward a master’s degree. Students accepted under provisional status are permitted one C grade providing the overall GPA is 3.00 or above.
Requirements for the DNP degree are:
1. No grade below a B is allowed during the DNP program.
2. A course with a grade below B must be repeated.
3. One course may be repeated in the DNP program.
Petition and Academic Grievance Procedures
The student who believes that he or she has been unfairly treated or disciplined, may enter into an academic grievance process. The student shall first discuss the grievance with the instructor, within two weeks of the grievance, in an informal conference. If the student believes that the solution is not appropriate, the student may submit the grievance, in writing, to the Dean of the School within four weeks of the informal conference. If the student believes that the resolution facilitated by the Dean is not appropriate, the student can appeal to the Dean of Graduate Studies within six weeks of the informal conference. The Dean of Graduate Studies will ask the Graduate Council to appoint a Grievance Committee according to the policies of the Employee Handbook. The decision of the Grievance Committee shall be final.
Students are expected to practice academic integrity. The penalties for dishonesty including plagiarism may include the following:
- Receive a failing grade on the exam, assignment, or project.
- Receive a failing grade in the class.
- Resubmit the assignment with a reduced value for the completed work.
- Complete a paper, project, or activity that improves the student’s understanding of the value and nature of academic integrity.
- Dismissal from the University.
Southern is in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (1973) and is dedicated to the elimination of architectural and prejudicial barriers which prevent any qualified person from attending. Southern has designated Disability Support Services (DSS), located on the third floor of Lynn Wood Hall, to provide academic disability services according to the provisions of applicable disability law.
The University does not assume the responsibility of identifying students who qualify for accommodations or special services. The student must 1) voluntarily and confidentially identify to the Disability Services Coordinator (DSC) as having a qualifying disability and 2) provide appropriate documentation to be certified to receive accommodations.
Students with physical or academic disabilities that could impact their learning experiences at Southern must contact DSS, by phone (423.236.2574) or in person (LWH 308), to schedule an appointment with the DSC. Students are to make this contact no later than the first three weeks of the semester. Otherwise, the process of certifying eligibility and arranging for reasonable accommodations might not be completed in time to meet their needs before mid-term. Students who make initial contact with DSS after the first month of the semester should not expect to receive accommodations for that semester.
More information about services, as well as the requirements and processes involved in qualifying for accommodations at Southern, are available online at dss.southern.edu.
Students may petition the Graduate Council for policy exceptions. Petitions should include reasons for the request. Petition forms are available online at southern.edu/records or at the Records and Advisement Office.