Graduate Council Meeting - Minutes
February 5, 2001

Graduate Council Members

Ken Bowers, College of Letters & Science (Mathematics)

Janice Bowman, College of Agriculture (Animal & Range Sciences)

Doug Cairns, College of Engineering (Mechanical Engineering)

Gretchen Iman, Graduate Students

Ralph Johnson, College of Arts & Architecture (Architecture)

Bruce McLeod, Graduate Dean

Gretchen McNeely, College of Nursing

Craig Stewart, College of Education, Health & Human Development (HHD)

Kent Swift, College of Business

Present:   Bruce McLeod, Ian Godwin, Craig Stewart, Jan Bowman, Ken Bowers, Kent Swift, Gretchen McNeely, and Gretchen Iman.

Item 1: Use of Master's Degree Credits Toward Ph.D. Requirements

There have been an increasing number of students requesting that their masterís degree credits be applied toward a Ph.D. program and policy needs to be established addressing this issue.  A proposal was made that perhaps a typical doctoral program would require 45 credits past the bachelorís degree, plus 18 dissertation credits, equaling 63 total credits.

Janice Bowman stated: In the College of Agriculture, there are proficiency requirements for Ph.D. students, which includes required coursework in specific areas.  The studentís proficiency is evaluated by their committee.

Ken Bowers stated: In Mathematics, there are no required proficiencies, but the comprehensive exam is used to demonstrate a studentís proficiency.  Flexibility is needed in proficiency areas, due to Ph.D. programs being so individualized.

Regarding interdisciplinary programs Ė can courses from one discipline count toward a masterís degree in another discipline?  Currently, 50% of coursework for a masterís degree needs to be in the studentís major discipline.

The question was raised concerning penalizing students whose masterís degree is in a different field than their Ph.D. program, or students who havenít earned a masterís degree, but are pursuing a Ph.D.  It was felt that some students are so prepared and ambitious that they are earning a masterís degree and Ph.D. at the same time.

A problem was discussed involving students who fail a doctoral comprehensive exam, then ask for a masterís degree.  Should a masterís degree be awarded as a ďconsolation prizeĒ for failure to complete a Ph.D. program?

It was agreed that if a student fails a Ph.D. comprehensive for the second time, a maximum of 9 credits could be used toward a masterís program, if the student wishes to re-apply to pursue a masterís degree.

An important point that was stressed involved the importance of the graduate committee members in advising and supporting students.  Proficiency levels should be determined by the department and the studentís committee as early as possible.

Decision:  Dr. McLeod will consider the idea of requiring 45 credits past a bachelorís degree for all masterís candidates, and solicit responses from across campus.

Item 2: Proving Currency of Coursework

The current policy of disallowing student credits after 10 years (for doctoral students) was debated.

Numerous students, particularly in the Ed.D. program, have 10+ year old coursework, that they wish to apply to their graduate program of study.

The questions arose: Should these students be allowed leniency to use these credits, since they are currently working in the field, and are working toward administrative certification?  This is a departmental issue.

A concern arose regarding the issuing of individualized student-department contracts regarding coursework.  Who would be responsible for monitoring the contracts?  It would be a burden on the CGS and departments.

Decision:  All parties agreed to keep the 10 year rule for coursework as stated, with no stipulations.


Agenda Items 3 and 4 were tabled at this meeting, and will be discussed at the next scheduled Graduate Council meeting.


* The next Graduate Council meeting is scheduled for 9:00 a.m., March 2 in the President's Conference Room (Montana Hall).