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 master’s 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 bachelor’s 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 student’s 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 student’s proficiency.  Flexibility is needed in proficiency areas, due to Ph.D. programs being so individualized.

Regarding interdisciplinary programs – can courses from one discipline count toward a master’s degree in another discipline?  Currently, 50% of coursework for a master’s degree needs to be in the student’s major discipline.

The question was raised concerning penalizing students whose master’s degree is in a different field than their Ph.D. program, or students who haven’t earned a master’s degree, but are pursuing a Ph.D.  It was felt that some students are so prepared and ambitious that they are earning a master’s degree and Ph.D. at the same time.

A problem was discussed involving students who fail a doctoral comprehensive exam, then ask for a master’s degree.  Should a master’s degree be awarded as a “consolation prize” 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 master’s program, if the student wishes to re-apply to pursue a master’s 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 student’s committee as early as possible.

Decision:  Dr. McLeod will consider the idea of requiring 45 credits past a bachelor’s degree for all master’s 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).


Graduate Council Meeting - Minutes February 5, 2001