Degrees and Requirements

View/Print PDF

The University is approved to offer both master's and doctoral degree programs.  In addition, there are also several graduate certificate, post-master's certificate, and sixth-year certificate programs.  Visit Programs for the list by area of study and concentration.

CAPSTONE EXPERIENCES

All graduate programs at Southern Connecticut State University are required to include a capstone experience in the curriculum.  The capstone consists of a program-directed educational experience that leads to a special project, comprehensive examination, thesis, or doctoral dissertation representative of the discipline(s). The capstone is defined as a culminating experience of rigorous academic achievement that:

(a)   integrates knowledge from one’s discipline(s);
(b)   applies specific knowledge;
(c)   demonstrates knowledge and expertise to the appropriate disciplinary community; and,
(d)   illustrates readiness for transition into more advanced professional or academic pursuits.  

Each academic department determines whether a student has successfully completed the capstone requirements.  Successful completion of the capstone special project, thesis, or dissertation indicates that the capstone has been approved by two faculty members and the department chair. In addition, successful completion of the thesis or dissertation indicates that the thesis or dissertation has been approved for and submitted to ProQuest for publication.

Requesting an Extension

If a student is making satisfactory progress towards the completion of the capstone but will require additional time for completion, the following options are available:

1. Master’s degree capstone – Master’s students who are making satisfactory progress towards the completion of their capstone but have not yet completed the requirement, may request an Incomplete (I) from their faculty member.  The Incomplete must be resolved no more than 30 days after the next semester begins, or if the faculty member is providing additional time, then the faculty member must file a grade change with the Registrar's Office to Incomplete Extension (I+) with a revised deadline.  Students should be aware that a grade of Incomplete may impact financial aid. Students working towards completion of a capstone may be granted a maximum extension of 12 months, unless an additional extension is expressly granted by the faculty member and approved by the Dean or Associate Dean of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies.  

2. Doctoral dissertation – Doctoral students who are making satisfactory progress toward the completion of their dissertation, but have not yet completed and formally submitted the dissertation, will receive an "I" for the course and register for an extension, either EDL 901 Continuing Enrollment for Doctoral Dissertation or NUR 817 Dissertation Advisement Continuation.  The extension courses do not earn credit and a grade of "Q" will be assigned to indicate satisfactory progress. When all work is complete and accepted by the faculty member and/or committee responsible for oversight, the "I" grade for the dissertation course will be changed to the appropriate letter grade for course credit.

Please note: Financial Aid recipients who are registered less than half-time may have their loans enter repayment. 

CATALOG YEAR

The student must meet the graduation requirements for their selected graduate program as published in the catalog in effect at the time of the student's initial enrollment as long as they maintain continuous matriculating status. For all students, the initial enrollment shall be the first day of classes following matriculation in a regular semester at the University.

Courses listed in this catalog are subject to change through normal academic channels. New courses and changes in degree requirements are initiated by departments and approved by the Graduate Council and the Provost.  The student will have the option to change catalog years to meet or substitute these degree requirements. 

By changing catalog years, a student becomes responsible for fulfilling all the graduation requirements for their new catalog year and the Chairperson of the Department may approve substitutions of courses in the program. 

Matriculated students re-enrolling at the University may elect to revert to their original catalog year provided that it is no more than 5 years prior to the current term. Students may not revert to a catalog year that is prior to their initial admission term. Students may elect to switch to a newer catalog year once enrolled.  Students must receive departmental approval to switch catalog year. 

COURSE ABBREVIATIONS

Course listings include those courses which have been offered within the past five years.  The subject abbreviations for graduate courses are:

Art ART
Athletic Training ATH
Biology BIO
Business Administration MBA
Chemistry CHE
Coastal Resilience CRM
Communication Disorders CMD
Computer Science CSC
Counseling and School Psychology CSP
Data Science DSC
Education EDU
Educational Foundations EDF
Educational Leadership EDL
English ENG
Environmental Education EVE
Exercise Science EXS
French FRE
Geography GEO
Health and Movement Sciences HMS
History HIS
Information and Library Science ILS
Interdisciplinary Studies IDS
Italian ITA
Marriage and Family Therapy MFT
Mathematics MAT
Nursing NUR
Physics PHY
Political Science PSC
Psychology PSY
Public Health PCH
Reading RDG
Recreation and Leisure REC
Research Measurements RSM
School Health SHE
Science Education SCE
Sociology SOC
Social Work SWK
Spanish SPA
Special Education SED
Sport Management SMT
Teaching English Learners (TESOL) TSL
Women's Studies WMS/WGS
World Language and Literatures WLL

DEGREES AND CERTIFICATES

Doctoral Degrees

Requirements two through four above, which govern the master's degrees, also apply to the doctoral program. Applicants to the doctoral program must hold a master's degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a grade point average of at least 3.0.

Master's Degrees

Minimum requirements for a master's degree for students who come to the program with appropriate and complete requirements of an undergraduate degree must meet the standards listed below. Students must consult the individual program descriptions for requirements that go beyond those of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies.

1. All master's degree programs at Southern require the successful completion of one or more of the following individual capstone experiences: a thesis, a comprehensive examination, or a special project. The capstone experience is the culminating academic event for students enrolled in a master 's degree graduate program. It requires students to demonstrate their ability to organize and synthesize knowledge and apply skills developed throughout their academic program. The student, with the approval of the graduate program adviser, may change from one option to another until the thesis or special project proposal has been submitted for a final grade or until the first comprehensive examination is taken. The determination of the capstone experience is by the faculty of the academic department. All master's degrees should include one of the following:

  • Thesis: The master's thesis is a capstone experience of the master's degree candidate and offers evidence of the student's original research and the results of that research. There are five types of theses that may be completed: (1) investigative or experimental, (2) historical or descriptive, (3) interpretive, analytical or critical, (4) creative or (5) qualitative. A thesis proposal must be approved by the thesis adviser and department chairperson, prior to the preparation of a final thesis. All theses must meet the form, style, and other requirements outlined in the Thesis Guidelines. The master 's degree is conferred after successful completion of a minimum of 30 graduate credits including the thesis.
  • Special Project: The special project provides an opportunity for graduate students to complete an academically rigorous project that contributes in some meaningful way to the student's discipline and professional community. The special project involves the integration and application of discipline-specific knowledge, concepts, theory and skills in the development of a tangible product (a.k.a., deliverable), accompanied by a written report describing the process and results of the product's development. Students choose to complete a special project to demonstrate the ability to make independent use of and apply information and training, and to furnish objective evidence of their aptitude in their chosen field of study. A special project in the major field may be required at the discretion of the graduate program. The master 's degree is conferred after successful completion of a minimum of 30 graduate credits including the special project.
  • Comprehensive Examination: The comprehensive examination in the major field is set by the graduate program concerned and may be scheduled any time after at least two-thirds of the planned program have been completed. A candidate who fails the comprehensive examination may petition the graduate program adviser for a second examination if there are extenuating circumstances. If the petition is not granted, the student will be dismissed from the program. Failure in the second examination results in dismissal from the program and exclusion from further candidacy. The master's degree is conferred after successful completion of a minimum of 30 graduate credits, including the comprehensive exam.

2. All courses completed for credit toward program requirements must be passed with a minimum grade of "C" (2.0). No graduate degree program may include fewer than 30 graduate level credits (graduate level is defined as 500-level or above.) Some graduate programs require minimum grades of "B" or higher. Courses completed with a grade of less than "C" will not be counted toward the program course requirements, and if taken outside of the Grade Replacement Policy, the grade will be calculated in the program and overall graduate grade point average.

3. Satisfactory completion all additional program degree requirements as defined in the particular graduate program.

4. The University requires a minimum cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 to be eligible to graduate from a graduate program.  

NOTE: Well in advance of graduation, students who will graduate with a master's degree that includes teacher certification must check with the certification officer in the School of Education about the Connecticut State Department of Education requirement for subject knowledge testing called Praxis® Core.

Sixth-Year Certificates

Programs leading to the Sixth Year Professional Diploma provide opportunities for experienced and qualified candidates to pursue a  program of advanced graduate work beyond the master 's degree and to develop additional competency in an area of specialization.

Requirements two through four above, which govern the master's degrees, also apply to the Sixth Year Professional Diploma. Applicants to sixth year professional diplomas must hold a master 's degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a grade point average of at least 3.0. Requirement one is optional at the discretion of the Sixth Year Professional Diploma Director.

All requirements, including any transfer credit, must be completed within a period of six years immediately preceding the awarding of the Sixth Year Professional Diploma. Credits accepted in transfer must have been completed with a grade of "B" (3.0) or higher and must be approved by the graduate program adviser. Transfer credits being applied for the Sixth Year Professional Diploma have been taken after the master's degree was earned and within the past six years. The sixth year planned program of study requires at least 30 graduate credits with a minimum of 15 credits in 600-level courses, as approved by the department in which the student is enrolled.

DUAL PROGRAMS

Graduate students currently enrolled in a degree or certificate program may seek dual enrollment in an additional certificate program.  Students in the MSW-Social Work program may also seek dual enrollment in a secondary degree program: MA-Women's & Gender Studies.  Students may discuss these options with the Graduate Coordinator and submit a Dual Program Enrollment Form for their approval.

Once approved by the School of Graduate and Professional Studies, students are required to maintain concurrent enrollment in both programs.  Tuition and fees will be assessed for all courses based on the rate for the student's primary degree program.  As noted on the form, not all certificate programs are eligible for financial aid.  Upon completion of both program's requirements, a separate diploma or certificate will be issued.

GRADUATION

University Requirements

The University requires a minimum cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 to earn a graduate degree or certificate. The amount of graduate work transferable to a graduate degree program is limited to a maximum of 9 credits for programs requiring 30 to 35 credits or 25 percent of the total credits for programs requiring 36 credits or more, not including prerequisites.

Program Requirements

Students should be acquainted with the program requirements for their catalog year. Students are responsible for fulfilling the specific requirements for their program and maintaining regular contact with their academic adviser.  The department chairperson has the authority to waive or provide substitute course work for departmental requirements.

Students should be aware that additional requirements may be imposed for certification or licensure (even once a plan of study has been prepared) if such requirements are imposed by outside licensing or accrediting agencies. A plan of study may be subject to revision to reflect such additional requirements.

Diplomas and Transcripts

A student's official graduation, or conferral date, is determined by a student's final course completion date, once all academic program requirements have been met. The degree or certificate awarded will be reflected on the student’s official transcript. Diplomas and certificates will be mailed to the permanent address on file with the university within approximately 30-45 days.  Visit the Student Records website for more information on how to obtain an official transcript or diploma following graduation.

Commencement

Students earning a degree or sixth-year certificate in the current academic year will be invited to participate in the commencement ceremony held annually each May. This includes students who graduated in the most recently completed fall or winter term, and students pending graduation for the upcoming spring or summer term. Students who wish to participate in the annual graduate commencement ceremony must complete the Commencement Participation Form online at: www.SouthernCT.edu/grad by the published deadline.  Visit the Commencement website for more information and details about the event.

Teacher/Educator Certification Programs

The academic standards below apply to all programs that prepare candidates for CT teacher/educator certification.

Fingerprinting and Background Check
Connecticut law requires all candidates in teacher/educator certification programs to undergo state and federal criminal history background checks before participating in school-based field experiences and student teaching. All candidates enrolled in a course requiring entering a P-12 school to complete an assignment, field experience requirement, and student teaching placement will be required to have a background check completed with the school they are placed in.  Any prior convictions revealed in your background check may prevent Connecticut school districts from accepting you for placement and may impact your ability to complete the teacher certification program. The University will not be responsible for a candidate's inability to complete the program. Background checks are conducted exclusively by the school districts which will determine on a case by case basis the appropriateness of the placement. SCSU does not conduct, receive, review or engage in discussion regarding student background check results.

Progress in the Program
After admission, all candidates must complete assessments designated by the College of Education and their specific certification program. All candidates must have a Tk20 account to submit these assessments.

Candidates must maintain good standing in the program to qualify for a recommendation from Southern Connecticut State University for State of Connecticut teacher certification. They also must demonstrate the following:

  • Personal attitudes and dispositions that affect their performance as teachers;
  • Professional behavior appropriate to the context that shows realization that actions reflect directly upon the status and substance of the profession;
  • Confidentiality of all information concerning colleagues and students obtained in the educational process; and
  • Integrity and honesty in written and verbal communication, documentations, and coursework related.
  • A Scaffolding Success Action Plan (SSAP) needs to be provided whenever any of the following occurs: candidate GPA is below the program requirements, an assessment performance is at the “unacceptable level”, or a behavior on or off campus that does not meet the Professional Attitudes and Dispositions of Educators occur.

Certification in CT
To be recommended for certification in CT, candidates must successfully complete all program requirements, be in good standing, and pass all assessments mandated by the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) (e.g. licensure exams, etTPA). CSDE assessment requirements vary by certification area . https://portal.ct.gov/SDE/Certification/Guide-to-Assessments-for-Educator-Certification-in-Connecticut/What-Next 

Please note, candidates must meet the certification requirements in effect on the date the CSDE receives the certification application. If CSDE regulations change, candidates may need to meet the new requirements to be eligible for certification. Candidates are responsible for familiarizing themselves with Connecticut's teacher certification regulations and keeping abreast of changes to those regulations. Certification news and alerts are available on the Connecticut State Department of Education website.

Student Teaching (Master of Arts in Teaching programs only)
Student teaching requires a full-time commitment. As such, teacher candidates are not permitted to take other courses during the semester in which they student teach, other than the student teaching seminar that is taken simultaneously with student teaching. In rare cases, the department may petition the College of Education Dean for a waiver of this requirement. Additionally, candidates must have all courses and academic requirements completed prior to the semester of student teaching. All incomplete grades need to be cleared prior to the start of the student teaching semester.

Revocation of Admission to the Professional Program
Candidates may be dismissed from the professional program for the following:

  • Demonstrated unprofessional behavior or an inability to respond appropriately in various contexts which affects their performance as a teacher and based on the Level 2 review of the College of Education following the procedure to establish a Scaffolding for Success Action plan;
  • Falsified or misrepresented documentation or information provided for programmatic, academic, or professional qualification/competency purposes;
  • Not achieving an acceptable standard on the performance assessments required by the College of Education, the Educator Preparation Provider Council (EPPC), or the certification program;
  • Conviction in a court of law of a crime involving moral turpitude or of any crime of such nature that in the opinion of the university would impair the standing of the College of Education professional program; or
  • Other due and sufficient cause.

TIME LIMIT FOR COMPLETION

All requirements for a graduate degree at Southern must be completed within a period of six years prior to the granting of the master's degree or sixth year professional diploma. The six year period begins with the semester in which the first graduate course is completed that applies to the program or the date of acceptance, whichever comes first. Graduate courses more than six years old at the time of graduation do not count toward meeting degree requirements. This includes transferred courses. If time for completion of courses in a program extends beyond six years, the student assumes the risk of having to meet new requirements. This means that both courses and programs have, at best, a six year validity.

Students enrolled in the doctoral program have seven years to complete the degree.

An extension of the time to complete degree requirements may be granted only if there are compelling extenuating circumstances. To obtain an extension, a student must petition his or her graduate program adviser in writing prior to the expiration of the course or program. The graduate program adviser then forwards the petition, with a recommendation, to the Dean of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies. The student and the adviser will be notified in writing of the approval or disapproval of the petition. An extension of more than one year is rarely granted.

When an approved program expires, the student must reapply to the School of Graduate and Professional Studies. Courses that do not meet the six year validity period cannot be applied to a new program of study unless revalidated by examination. Some graduate programs permit revalidation, others do not. If the academic department has a revalidation process, the student's current state of knowledge and proficiency in the content, methodology, and skills of each course must be determined and certified by the graduate coordinator. School of Graduate and Professional Studies' policy does not permit revalidation of more than half of the coursework in a program. Revalidations must be approved and sent to the Office of Graduate Admissions before the student is readmitted.