Graduation Requirements

To be certified for graduation, you will have to complete the following degree requirements:

Degree requirements

  1. Successful completion of all courses listed on your MSIA, MSIS, MSACS, MSA, MBA, MSHI, MSET, or D.Sc. Plan of Study within the 5-year time limit for Master's and 7-years for Doctorate students.
  2. Achievement of a GPA of at least 3.0 (a "B" average), with no more than 6 credit hours of a "C" grade and no grade below a "C" in the courses on your Plan of Study.
  3. Satisfaction of Regental standards for residency. This is satisfied by completing all but a maximum of nine credit hours of your coursework at DSU (distance courses count as "at DSU").
  4. Successful completion of final assessment which could include portfolios, comprehensive exams, etc. Please see special program for more information on this.

Program milestones: From start to graduation

The following outline of program milestones will help keep students on track through their graduate program and help them understand the requirements they must meet along the way. Master students have five years and Doctorate students have seven years from the date they take their first course in the program and must maintain a 3.0 GPA.

  1. Start the Program:
    • Meet with your advisor to become acquainted with the program and its requirements
    • Begin planning coursework
    • Register for courses
  2. First Semester: Complete your Plan of Study and turn into the Graduate Office.
  3. Semester before you graduate: Apply for Admission to Candidacy by completing an Application to Candidacy and turning it into the Graduate Office.
  4. Final Semester:
    • Complete an Application for Graduation and submit by the requested deadline.
    • Complete the integrative assessment activities for your program
      • MSIA, MSIS, MBA, or MSHI Comp Exam (semester in which you plan to graduate)
      • MSET Portfolio
  5. Pre-Certification of your eligibility for graduation by the Graduate Office.
  6. Post Ceremony: Certification of Program Completion/Graduation by the Graduate Office.

Grades and grading

The following grades and grade definitions are used in South Dakota graduate programs:

A - Exceptional 4.00 grade points per semester hour
B - Good 3.00 grade points per semester hour
C - Average 2.00 grade points per semester hour
D - Unsatisfactory 1.00 grade points per semester hour
F - Failure 0.00 grade points per semester hour
AU - Audit Does not calculate into GPA
W - Withdrawal Does not calculate into GPA
I - Incomplete Does not calculate into GPA
NP - Normal Progression Does not calculate into GPA
EX - Credit by Exam Does not calculate into GPA
CR - Credit Does not calculate into GPA

An incomplete "I" grade may only be awarded under specific conditions as outlined in BOR Policy 2:10 Grades and Use of Grade Point Average. For each incomplete given, the instructor must indicate in writing to the student, the respective graduate programs coordinator, and the Office of Graduate Studies and Research, how and by when, the incomplete is to be removed. The instructor must also attach a copy of this correspondence to the final grade report. Any students with unresolved "I" grades for courses in their Plans of Study and in which the courses are required for their degree will not be certified for graduation.

Normal progress (NP)
A normal progress grade may be granted when the instructor determines that a graduate student is making normal progress in a graduate Thesis/Dissertation/project course. If a graduate student does not enroll for a period of one calendar year, the "NP" grade may change to "I" (Incomplete) upon approval by the VP for Academic Affairs. The "NP" grade calculates into attempted credits but does not calculate into completed credits or grade point averages. The "NP" grade will be changed to the earned letter grade when the project has been completed.

Probation and suspension
If your GPA falls below the required 3.0, you will be placed on probation. You then have the opportunity to bring your GPA back up to 3.0 in your next 9 credit hours. If you do not raise your grade to the 3.0 requirement, you will be suspended from the program.

No grade below a "C" is acceptable for graduate work. If you receive more than two "C" grades or any "D" or "F", you will be suspended. If you are suspended you can petition to be re-admitted to the program.

If you are re-admitted to the program after academic suspension, you must repeat any course with the "D" or "F" grade. The grade on the repeated course will replace the original grade and will be used in calculating GPA. You may not repeat a course more than once.

If you are placed on probation or are suspended and wish to contest the decision, you may appeal the decision, following the grievance procedure described above.

Students suspended for academic reasons may seek reinstatement after two academic terms by submitting a formal request for reinstatement, along with a supporting statement of explanation, to the Graduate Office. The request shall be acted upon according to the established procedure for application to the program.

Grade deletion
By BOR policy, grade deletion (deleting all grades for a semester) is not permitted for graduate degree programs.

Independent study
Independent Study credits are permitted at the graduate level with the approval of the instructor and the dean and only if it was not possible to take the course when it was offered, and to wait to take it the next time it is offered will cause an undue delay in graduation or create problems with course sequencing. You should make such a request to the appropriate instructor.

Transfer credits
Academic courses will be transferred as meeting graduation requirements if the courses parallel the scope and depth requirements for the degree or if the courses meet electives required for the degree. (See BOR Policy 2:5 Transfer of Credit)

The following minimum conditions must be met before graduate-level credit can be accepted:

  • The institution is regionally accredited at the Master's level.
  • The student must have been in good standing in the institution from where the credit is transferred.
  • The grades in courses transferred are "B" or better;
  • These transfer credits must have been completed no more than four years prior to commencement of the DSU graduate degree program.

The program committee for each degree program may establish specific program-level processes and criteria for course evaluation. Transfer credit from another institution will be recorded on a DSU transcript only if the transfer work is accepted as part of a DSU graduate degree. Limitations on transfer credit are determined by BOR Policy. (See BOR Policy 2:29 Definition of Credits and Related Institutional Requirements)

Policies are important for your successful completion of your graduate degree. Copies of all DSU Graduate Policies are available in the Office of Graduate Studies and Research and on-line here.

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Last Updated: 9/23/14