Graduate Council Meeting - Minutes
October 20, 2003

Graduate Council Members:

Ken Bowers, College of Letters & Science; Janice Bowman, College of Agriculture; Katie Daughenbaugh, Graduate Students; Marc Giullian, College of Business; Richard Helzer, College of Arts & Architecture; Bruce McLeod, Graduate Dean, Chair; Gretchen McNeely, College of Nursing; Craig Stewart, College of Education, Health & Human Development; Rob Maher, College of Engineering;Warren Jones, Faculty Council, Ex-officio

Present: Chair Bruce McLeod, Janice Bowman, Mark Giullian, Ken Bowers, Craig Stewart, Gretchen McNeely, Katie Daughenbaugh, Richard Helzer, Warren Jones, Robert Maher, Jennifer Miller (College of Graduate Studies), Maggie Gudatis (College of Graduate Studies)

Meeting commenced at 1:00.

Graduate Council Agenda Items:

Item 1: Brief discussion of elimination of minor/supporting area (wording)

    Concerns discussed:

  • Ecology and Cell Biology students taking 15 to 18 credits of statistics courses have expressed an interest in having these courses listed as a  minor/supporting area because of the possible advantages in the job market.
  • No minors have ever been approved at the graduate level.
  • Minors would have to be approved by the Board of Regents.
  • Supporting areas are never written on the transcript as a minor.
  • The possibility of awarding a certificate was presented as an option to establishing a minor.
  • The Math department would have to initiate the BOR approval for a minor, whereas the certificate approach might be initiated by the student's department.

            Item 2: Transfer credit policy review

    Current Credit Requirements for Master's Degree

  • Two-thirds of the minimum number of credits (including not more than ten (10) credits for the thesis) required for a degree must be taken from MSU.

    Current Credit Requirements for Doctoral Degrees

  • At least three academic years of study and research beyond the baccalaureate degree are needed to complete a doctoral program. This equates to a minimum of 30 credits (18 of which are dissertation credits in all degree programs except Education.  14 dissertation credits are required for the Ed.D.)
  • Courses taken during the Master’s program: Courses taken while in one degree program, beyond those listed on the graduate program of study may be used on an additional masters program or a doctoral program at a later time. In other words, courses used toward degree requirements for one degree may not be used again for another degree.  (This is not virtually impossible to monitor since neither the department nor the CGS retain copies of former students' programs of study.)
  • A minimum of thirty (30) credits applicable to the degree must be taken through the regular registration process, on the campus of MSU.

    Recommended transfer policy:  A maximum of one-third of the credits required for the master’s or doctoral degree at MSU may be transferred from any combination of the following: graduate degree or non-degree status at another university, previous graduate degree status at Montana State University, non-degree status at Montana State University or MSU undergraduate reserved credits.

     Concerns and items discussed:

  • Doctoral candidates may be using courses on their doctoral programs of study which were taken while they earning their Master's degree.

  • 590 and 690 courses may be clearly master or doctoral work, but other courses are not as clear.

  • When wording policies, the meaning of credits would be clearer if coursework credits or coursework including dissertation/thesis credits were used instead of just using the word credits.

  • Develop transfer policy wording particularly for the PhD level.

Item 3:Number of graduate level credits on the program of study

    Current Master’s policy:

  • 500-level courses: A minimum of two-thirds of the program (including thesis) must be comprised of 500-level courses. Some departments may require a higher percentage.
  • A maximum of nine credits of all 4XX and 5XX level courses taken at Montana State University prior to completion of a baccalaureate degree may be reserved and applied toward graduate program requirements with the approval of the student’s graduate committee and Graduate Dean.  (Please see “Transfer Credit” section.)

    Current Doctoral policy:

  • We have no written policy regarding percentage of 5XX level courses.  The CGS questions programs with unusual numbers of 4XX.  (Does the use of 4XX level courses toward degree credit requirements uphold the quality, rigor and integrity of doctoral degrees that we want coming out of Montana State University?

    Concerns and items discussed:

  • Standards vary across campus with some departments requiring as few as 12 credits graduate level coursework and others requiring 60 credits of coursework.

Item 4: Using publications in lieu of or as a component of the thesis or dissertation.(This might have to be tabled until the next meeting to accommodate sufficient discussion.)

    Concerns and items discussed:

  • More departments are asking PhD candidates to write and publish 4 to 5 papers before they defend.
  • How can we use 5 papers as separate chapters in a dissertation.
  • Dissertations submitted in this manner would require a clear introduction, summary, conclusions.
  • Dissertations would have to look like a complete body of work and not just papers stapled together.
  • Remind faculty that ETDs will make committee members more widely known around the world.

Meeting adjourned at 2:00.

Graduate Council Meeting - Minutes October 20, 2003