Degree Requirements


Accelerated pathways allow students to earn both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in five years. Students accepted to an accelerated pathway may take up to 12 credits (the specific number of credits may vary by program) of graduate coursework during the senior year of their undergraduate program. The graduate coursework will be recorded on the undergraduate transcript and calculated in the undergraduate grade point average (GPA). If the student earns a grade of ‘C’ or better, the graduate coursework will also be recorded on the graduate transcript and calculated in the graduate GPA. This allows successfully completed courses to be applied towards the student’s current bachelor’s degree program and to be counted towards a future master’s degree program. Some programs may have higher grade requirements in place for certain courses which would require the student to retake the course for a higher grade.

Students may apply to the bachelor’s degree accelerated pathway program at the time of admission to the university, or by completing a change of major request, but no later than earning 90 credits in their junior year.  A minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average (GPA) is required to be accepted and remain enrolled in an accelerated pathway program, along with any additional criteria or course grade requirements as defined by the academic department. Students must complete the accelerated pathway requirements as outlined in the catalog to graduate from this program. Students who no longer meet these criteria will be advised into the traditional bachelor’s degree program. 

In their senior year, accelerated pathway students with a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA may apply for early acceptance to the School of Graduate and Professional Studies to pursue the master’s degree program, once the bachelor’s degree is complete. Students accepted to the graduate program only need to complete the remaining required courses to earn their master’s degree. 


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. 


Students must meet the graduation and program requirements in the catalog year of their matriculation (i.e. admission or re-admission to the University in a degree or certificate program); although, courses listed in the catalog are subject to change. New and revised courses and program requirements are initiated by departments and approved by the Graduate Council and the Provost. To ensure timely graduation, the Department may approve substitutions of courses in the program.

Students re-enrolling at the University may elect to revert to their original catalog year if 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 also elect to switch to a newer catalog year once enrolled.  Students must receive departmental approval to switch catalog year. The student becomes responsible for fulfilling all requirements for their new catalog year, including all changes in graduation and program requirements.


Graduate students currently enrolled in a degree program may seek to change to another degree program within the same department.  Students may discuss this option with the Graduate Coordinator and submit a Change of Program Form for their approval.  For programs involving educator certification, approval from the College of Education is also required before submission to the School of Graduate and Professional Studies.  

If the program is in another department, students must complete a new Graduate Application, pay the $50 non-refundable application fee, and ensure they have fulfilled any departmental requirements as indicated on the application.


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 made 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 of all program requirements for graduation as defined in the catalog.
  4. The University requires a minimum cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 to be eligible to graduate from a graduate program. 
  5. Courses applied towards a previously earned degree may not be applied to a subsequent degree. Courses applied towards a certificate may be applied to a degree.

Sixth-Year Certificates

Programs leading to the sixth-year certificate 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. Applicants to a sixth-year certificate program must hold a master 's degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a grade point average of at least 3.0. The sixth-year certificate requires at least 30 graduate credits with a minimum of 15 credits in 600-level courses. Requirements two through five above, which govern the master's degrees, also apply to the Sixth-Year Certificate. Capstone experiences may be included in a sixth-year certificate program as approved by the department.

Doctoral Degrees

Requirements two through five 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.


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.


The University requires a minimum cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 to earn a graduate degree or certificate. Some programs may have a higher cumulative GPA requirement for graduation. Students are limited to a maximum of 9 credits that may be transferrable to a graduate degree program requiring 30 to 35 credits, or no more than 25 percent for all other programs, not including prerequisites.


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 advisor.  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.


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

Academic Standards and Progress in the Program

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.

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.

Student Teaching (Master of Arts in Teaching and Graduate Certification in School Library Media 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.

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) such as edTPA and licensure exams. CSDE assessment requirements (e.g. Praxis® II) vary by certification area. For more information, please visit  CSDE website: 

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 in order 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.

Extra-Curricular Modules

The College of Education has made the following non-credit modules available to students in the Masters of Arts in Teaching program, and Graduate Certification in School Library Media at no cost, to complete the additional CSDE requirements noted above. Students register for these modules in Banner Student self-service:

  • COE 200 - Behavioral Difficulties Module
  • COE 201 – Dyslexia Module
  • COE 202 – Health & Mental Health Module
  • COE 203 – Computational Thinking Module

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.


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.