Degree Requirements - Special Courses
GRADUATE CONSULTATION (589) — These courses cannot be applied towards degree requirements on a Graduate Program of Study & Committee form.
INDEPENDENT STUDY (592) — These courses may be included on a Graduate Program of Study & Committee form. The total allowable number of (592) credit hours is limited as follows:
- Doctoral: six (6) credits
- Master’s Research (thesis): four (4) credits
- Master’s Professional (non-thesis): six (6) credits
- Certificate: The total count of credits that include Seminar (594/500), Internship (598/576), and, Independent Study (592/570) credits may not be more than one-third (1/3) of the minimum required credits.
INTERNSHIP COURSES (598) — These courses may be included on a Graduate Program of Study & Committee form. The allowable number of (598) credit hours is limited as follows:
Note: The total count of credits that include Seminar (594/500), Internship (598/576), and Independent Study (592/570) credits may not be more than one-third (1/3) of the minimum required credits.
PASS/FAIL COURSES — These courses are those offered solely on a Pass/Fail basis. Examples include, but are not limited to, thesis research (590), graduate seminar (594), and dissertation research (690).
- Registration for Pass/Fail only courses is the same as traditional graded courses.
- For courses the student desires to change to a Pass/Fail basis, the student must complete the Request for Pass/Fail Grade form provided by the Registrar's Office. The form must be submitted prior to the tenth (10th) day of university instruction of the term.
- Up to a maximum of three (3) Pass/Fail credits may be included on a Graduate Program of Study & Committee form, excluding 575/590/675/690 credits.
Transfer of Credits
- Pass/Fail and other non-traditional graded courses may not be transferred from another academic institution.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT (588) — These courses cannot be applied towards degree requirements on a Graduate Program of Study & Committee form.
READING AND RESEARCH (689) — Such courses may be used by doctoral students who are reading research publications in the field in preparation for doctoral dissertation research. As such, these courses may be included in a doctoral Program of Study form.
SPECIAL TOPIC COURSES (591) — The total number of Special Topics (591) courses that may be taken during a graduate student's tenure varies by degree program. Such courses may be included on a Graduate Program of Study & Committee form.
Co-Convening: Refers to convening graduate and undergraduate courses on the same topic
together (in the same room, at the same time). For example, “Current Topics in Biology might be listed as both BIOL 4xx and BIOL 5xx.
Learning Outcomes: The expected capabilities of students upon successful completion of course material. [Target group + will be able to + action verb + object].
Co-convening of courses allows departments flexibility in their curricula. Departments offering co-convened courses must design such courses to meet the elevated learning outcomes expected of graduate-level coursework at MSU. Departments must keep in mind that graduate students enrolled in co-convened courses are typically working towards a Doctoral or a Master’s degree; in order to meet MSU’s goals as an R1 research institution, graduate students must be given the highest level of coursework preparation possible.
To meet these goals, co-convened courses should provide graduate-level classroom content and experiences designed to satisfy the needs and ambitions of graduate students. At the same time, such co-convened courses allow qualified and highly motivated undergraduates to specialize their knowledge and participate in graduate-level discussions and projects while working towards their own degree completion.
Co-convening is permitted under the following circumstances:
1) Only 400 and 500 level courses may be co-convened.
2) The syllabus of a co-convened course must be geared to offer students a course experience commensurate with their degree. In order to do so, the course syllabus must articulate specific sets of learning outcomes for graduate students and for undergraduate students. Achievement of these learning outcomes should be demonstrated through assignments and grading criteria tailored to each set of students. Adding an extra assignment to a class designed for undergraduate students is not sufficient to provide graduate students with course content commensurate with their degree.
3) All co-convened 500-level courses must be approved by the University Graduate Council. The attached syllabi in the course proposal must include both the 500-level and 400-level learning outcomes, assignments, and grading criteria to distinguish the graduate level course from the undergraduate course. Existing co-convened courses that require updates, must provide revised syllabi, with the above information.
4) If a student takes a co-convened course at the undergraduate level, they may not retake the same course at the graduate level (and vice versa).
 Certain graduate programs may require 300 level courses as leveling coursework. These courses should not be co-convened to allow graduate students to place them on the Program of Study as 500 level courses and use tuition credits to cover tuition costs. Instead, in cases when graduate students need leveling course work, programs may apply to the Graduate School for an exception to use tuition credits for 300 level courses on a Program of Study.
 The course instructors and academic units should thoughtfully review student course evaluations to ensure that the course experience meets the expectations and needs of the graduate students and of the undergraduate students.
The following courses are NOT approved for use on a Graduate Program of Study & Committee form:
- 490 Undergraduate Research/Creative Activity Instruction
- 470/492 Undergraduate Independent Study
- 400/494 Undergraduate Seminars
- 476/498 Undergraduate Internship
- 588 Professional Development
- 589 Graduate Consultation