Graduate School Administration
Cragmor Hall room 110
Phone: (719) 255-3417
General Information: https://graduateschool.uccs.edu/
Graduate School Staff: https://graduateschool.uccs.edu/about/staff
The Graduate School provides oversight and coordination for all graduate programs on the campus. The individual departments within the specific colleges provide the curriculum, faculty, and program advisors for the degrees offered.
For further information, contact the specific program or department within the academic college or contact the Graduate School at the above address for information about the program or submitting an application.
We believe students who are fully supported and engaged can focus on their educational goals to reach their highest potential. In everything we do we offer resources, create opportunities, and promote excellence so that UCCS provides an outstanding student experience.
We create an environment that is welcoming, supportive, and collaborative. We provide service that is friendly, helpful, and thorough - we will do the legwork so you don’t have to. When you interact with our office, we are clear in our communication to help you get to where you need to go. We are open to new ideas to develop best practices. We put energy into developing relationships inside and outside of UCCS to co-create mutually beneficial partnerships. We respect individuals and provide information, tools, and support to help them explore their next adventure.
By working in this way, we promote responsible growth and quality educational experiences. As a result of all we do, we provide opportunities for professional development and student support to enhance student success.
Graduate Programs of Study
Graduate programs available for completion through the University of Colorado Colorado Springs are listed on the Programs of Study table of the catalog.
Each program has specified deadlines which must be met for the application to be fully considered. Please check with the program of interest for deadlines. Application materials must be fully processed and applicants admitted at least 5 working days before March 1 for maximum consideration for financial support starting in the fall semester. Applicants should check with their program of interest to determine for which semesters applications are being accepted. Some programs may only admit once a year.
Foreign applicants please contact your program/department of interest for complete application instructions and deadlines.
New degree or unclassified students are notified of eligibility to register for coursework from the Office of the Registrar. If this notice has not been received in time for registration, an inquiry should be made to the Office of the Registrar. Degree and unclassified students who do not stay continuously enrolled (having missed three consecutive semesters) must check with the Office of the Registrar 60 days before the next intended registration period to make sure of eligibility to register during regular registration. Former students should follow the same procedure. Degree students changing departments or graduate degree programs should begin the change process with the new department.
Graduate students will be considered to be carrying a full load during a regular semester (including summer) for purposes of determining residence credit if they are registered for 5 semester hours or more in courses numbered 5000 or above, or any number of dissertation hours.
Maximum Course Load
The maximum number of semester hours a graduate student may take is 15 hours in a regular semester. The maximum number of graduate credits during a summer session is 6 hours per 4-week term and 9 hours per 8-week summer session. To take more than the maximum number of semester hours the student must receive written approval from their program director.
The student, in consultation with their advisor, is responsible for obtaining and documenting appropriate institutional committee approval for research involving human subjects, animals, and/or biohazards. This approval must be received prior to students undertaking their research.
Students are expected to adhere to the highest codes of personal and professional ethics, as set forth by the student code of conduct. Students who do not meet these standards may be dismissed from the Graduate School by the Graduate Dean upon recommendation of the director of the student’s graduate program. A student may appeal such action under the provisions described in Graduate Student Appeals below.
Graduate Academic Policies and Procedures
The official Policies and Procedures of the Graduate School are available on the UCCS Graduate School website.
Admission to the Graduate School
The following are minimum standards for admission of students to a degree program of the Graduate School. Individual programs may adopt additional requirements beyond the minimum requirements.
Minimum requirements for admission as a regular degree student:
a. Hold a baccalaureate degree or a master’s degree from an accredited college or university, or demonstrate completion of work equivalent to the baccalaureate or master’s degree given at this University.
b. Have an undergraduate grade point average of 2.75 or better (“A” is equal to 4.0).
Have a combined undergraduate grade point average and score on a national standardized admissions test that meet criteria determined by the department
Have completed 9 semester hours of relevant graduate coursework at an accredited university with a grade point average of 3.0 or better. Note that units completed before admission may not all be transferable to a graduate degree program.
c. Have adequate preparation to enter graduate study in the chosen program, and meet the requirements for admission, as determined by the program faculty.
d. English proficiency must be established for all students. A student who is noticeably deficient in the written and/or oral use of the English language cannot obtain an advanced degree from University of Colorado Colorado Springs. Each program judges the qualifications of its students in the use of English.
The following are options for determining English Proficiency. Departments must use at least one of these options.
Postsecondary degree from a US accredited institution or in a program where English is the language of instruction.
A score of at least 80 on the TOEFL test or a score of 6.5 on the IELTS test or an equivalent score on an approved English proficiency test (e.g., KITE). Test must have been taken in the last two years. (Programs may set higher standards if they have a heavy communication component to their program or requirements that require high English proficiency).
Successful completion of a UCCS approved English language training program
Department may develop other criteria that are reported to the Graduate School. The established criteria must be published (e.g., on department websites). Such methods may include, but are not limited to, in-person interviews with students; specific scores on standardized tests such as GRE or GMAT; submission of papers to professional journals where English is the written language and student has a substantial role in writing the paper.
Note: It is important to communicate to potential students the English Language expectations so that they can plan appropriately and not apply if they do not meet the minimum standards.
Information about program admission standards is available in each department/program office/website and on the Graduate School website
An applicant not meeting the criteria for admission in Article III, Section A1 criteria a, b, or c may be recommended by the faculty for admission as a provisional student. The recommendation for admission as a provisional student must include a letter from the program/department/school stating the conditions which the student must meet in order to become a regular degree student. When the conditions for regular status are met, the program director must reclassify the student’s status to fully admitted, and inform the student in writing.
Provisional students are subject to the same standards of performance required of regular degree students, in addition to other requirements as specified by program faculty, imposed as conditions of the provisional admission status.
Applications for admission to an advanced degree program should be made online through the University of Colorado Colorado Springs Office of Admissions’ graduate application. The complete application must include:
- The graduate application
- Official transcripts from degree-granting institutions must be submitted. Additional transcripts may be required to verify prerequisites or major coursework. A final official transcript from degree-granting institution must be verified.
- A nonrefundable application processing fee.
- Test scores, letters of reference, and other materials as required by specific department/program/school/college.
- For international applicants, a score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), IELTS, or an equivalent if the program/department/school/college agrees to use an alternative proof of language proficiency (e.g., participation in ESL program), and proof of financial support.
See specific program/department/school/college for admission deadlines as well as any other requirements they may have.
A student who wishes to change the major field of study after an admission offer from a program must follow the practices of the new program they plan to enter into, but the following broad guidelines are expected. Programs should have clear posted procedures
- If changing to a program in a different college, the student must submit a new graduate application for the new program and pay the graduate application fee. Dual degree and joint programs may have different processes for adding dual/joint program
- If changing to a program in a different department within the same college, typically the student must submit a new graduate application for the new program and pay the graduate application fee. However, some colleges may allow an interdepartmental transfer without requiring a new application or fee (e.g., when there is one admissions committee for a college). For changes without a new application, programs may submit the appropriate change form to graduate admissions or registrar office.
- If changing programs within the same department, the student must discuss the change with the program director. The program director may submit the appropriate change form to admissions or registrar office OR departments may have additional internal procedures that require a new application and fee.
The new program/department/school/college faculty will evaluate the student for admission. Admission to one program does not guarantee admission into another degree program.
At times, departments/schools/colleges may accept partial applications for a student’s regular or provisional admission as long as the applicant submits all material by the deadline date determined by the graduate director.
Applications by Former Students
A student who was previously admitted to a graduate program, did not complete the degree, is no longer eligible to register at the University, and now wishes to return to school must do the following:
- Clarify status with the program to determine eligibility to return and pursue the same degree.
- If the program does not uniformly require a new application, then the program shall submit the appropriate change form to reactivate the student. A program may require a new application to be submitted and reviewed for the student to be readmitted to the program. In this situation, a new application fee is required.
- Student may be held responsible for any curricular changes that have occurred in the program since they were last enrolled.
- Any coursework that is more than 6 years old for master’s degrees and 9 years old for doctorates at the semester of degree conferral will need to be validated to be used towards the degree. Departments may have shorter timelines for work needing validation.
A student applying to a doctoral program from a master’s program in the same department, should submit an application for the doctoral program and pay the application fee.
A student in a doctoral program who gets a master’s degree along the way does not need to submit a new application or pay an application fee
Transfer credits may be applied to a graduate degree only with the approval of the program director. Each master’s program will establish, with the concurrence of the Graduate Executive Committee, the maximum number of semester hours (not to exceed 30% of the required credits) that may be transferred from another accredited institution and applied toward its graduate degree. Additional transfer credits for doctoral programs may be allowed at the discretion of the program director, with approval of the Graduate School Dean. The following provisions will apply:
- All transfer courses must have a minimum grade of B or above.
- Some programs may require that credit will not be accepted for transfer until the student has established a satisfactory academic record at this University.
- All work accepted for transfer must have been completed within the approved degree time limit, or must be validated and approved by program faculty.
- Courses applied towards a master’s degree or bachelor’s degree may not be used toward another master’s degree. Courses applied to a master’s degree may be used towards a doctorate with the approval of the program faculty and the graduate school.
- Requests for transfer of credit must be made on the form specified for transfer of credit and an official transcript of course credit must accompany the requests or be on record in the Office of Admissions.
- Master’s degree students must submit transfer requests to the program director by the deadline determined by the program.
- Doctoral degree students must submit transfer requests to the Graduate School before submitting the application for admission to candidacy.
- Graduate level credits earned while an undergraduate at another institution may be transferred to the Graduate School upon approval of the program faculty and graduate school as long as the credits did not already count towards an undergraduate degree or master’s degree.
- Students transferring in credits from international institutions to count toward degree requirements must have courses evaluated by a professional service to determine the work is graduate level, equivalency of grades, and number of credits. Please visit the Transfer office website. (See the Office of Admissions for suggested service providers.) If UCCS has a contracted agreement with an international institution, course evaluation will not be required.
Credit Earned at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs before Admission to the Program
- Seniors at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs may transfer up 9 semester hours of coursework, provided such work meets the following requirements:
- Completed with a grade of B or above in the senior year at this University
- Falls within the time limit for the completion of the graduate degree
- Does not apply toward requirements of the bachelor’s degree
- Is approved by the program director prior to beginning the graduate degree
- Courses must be at the 0500/5000 level or higher and taught by a faculty member with an appointment to the Graduate Faculty.
- Graduate coursework must be substantially different than undergraduate coursework, with the graduate coursework demonstrating more rigor and exceeding undergraduate course expectations.
- Completion of the same graduate and undergraduate courses (e.g., course cross-listed at 4000 and 5000 level) will not be allowed.
- Retroactive changing of undergraduate credit to graduate credit is not allowed.
- Credits earned as an unclassified student at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs may be applied to a graduate degree only with the approval of the program director. Each course must have a grade of B or better to be transferred in towards the graduate degree. Each program will determine the maximum number of credits as an unclassified student, not to exceed 12 semester hours. If a program would like to transfer in more than 12 semester hours, they can request an exemption through the Graduate School.
Credit Earned at Other University of Colorado Campuses
Programs may accept graduate credits earned at other campuses of the University of Colorado. Refer to the program/department/school/college for each program’s specific policy on other University of Colorado campus credit transfers.
Graduate Certificate Programs
Graduate certificate programs require the student to meet the minimum graduate school admission requirements and any additional program requirements. Refer to the appropriate program/department/school/college for specific admission requirements to the certificate program. Each graduate certificate program must:
- Require a minimum of 12 semester hours of graduate coursework unless there are specific accreditation requirements that require additional coursework.
- Have a named director, or academic advisor.
- Have a clearly defined completion and exit process.
- Be approved by the Graduate School Dean.
Additionally, admission to a graduate certificate program does not constitute admission to a degree program. Certificate students must maintain a 3.0 GPA once admitted to the certificate program. Students falling below a 3.0 GPA will be placed on probation or removed from the program following the program’s policy.
License and Endorsement Programs
License and endorsement programs require the student to meet the minimum graduate school admission requirements and any additional program requirements. Refer to the appropriate program/department/school/college for specific admission requirements to license and endorsement program. Each graduate license and endorsement program must: (1) require a minimum of 9 semester hours of graduate coursework unless there are specific accreditation requirements that require additional coursework, (2) have a named director, or academic advisor, (3) have a clearly defined completion and exit process, and (4) be approved by the Graduate School Dean. Additionally, admission to a license and endorsement program does not constitute admission to a degree program. License and endorsement students must maintain a 3.00 GPA once admitted to the program. Students falling below a 3.00 GPA will be placed on probation or removed from the program following the program’s policy.
Non-Degree Seeking Admissions from Other Graduate Programs
Students who are enrolled in a certificate/license/endorsement program, are taking prerequisite courses, or want to take a certain class without being degree seeking can enroll as a non-degree seeking (unclassified) student if they meet the requirements for admission. Graduate level courses taken as non-degree credit may be used toward a degree with permission from the graduate program.
A graduate student in “good standing” from another institution may take graduate courses for transfer to that institution when there is space available, with the approval of the program director.
Graduate Degree Requirements
The following are minimum requirements for a degree program in the Graduate School. Individual programs may adopt additional requirements that are more restrictive.
Master’s Degree *
Plan I (thesis): 30 semester hours (minimum), including 3-6 hours of thesis credit counted toward the degree requirements. At least 24 semester hours must be at the graduate level.
Plan II (non-thesis): 30 semester hours (minimum). At least 24 semester hours must be at the graduate level.
* Department(s)/school(s)/college(s) determine whether to use one or both options.
Students are required to complete 60 semester hours (minimum) of graduate level credit, including dissertation credits. Each doctoral program shall determine how many credits from an earned Master’s degree may be included in this total. PhD programs will require 30 units of dissertation credit; however, other types of doctoral programs may require fewer research credits.
Graduate Level Courses
A graduate level course is any course that bears the graduate number appropriate to the discipline (i.e., 0500/5000, 0600/6000, 9500-9790) and is taught by a member of the graduate faculty.
Use of Undergraduate Courses
No lower division undergraduate courses (e.g., 0100/1000, 0200/2000), or undergraduate courses designed to improve basic skills may be used as credit toward a graduate degree.
A program may require a student to take undergraduate courses as a means of making up deficiencies, but the credits generated in these courses may not be counted toward the minimum number of credits required for the graduate degree.
Independent study semester hours may not exceed 25% of the minimum number required for the degree.
Grades and Quality of Graduate Work
Minimum Grade Point Averages
To remain in good academic standing in the Graduate School and to receive a graduate degree, a student is required to maintain at least a B (3.0) graduate program grade point average, which includes all work required for the degree while taken at this University (classified and unclassified) and may differ from the University grade point average.
A student who receives a grade below B in a course may repeat the course once, with the approval of the program director, provided the course has not been previously applied toward a degree. The grade received in a repeated course may substitute for the original grade and only the latter grade will be used in calculating the graduate program grade point average required for graduation; however, all grades received during the student graduate school experience will appear on the student’s transcript and will be used in calculating the student’s University grade point average.
Minimal Acceptable Grades
Any graduate level course applied to a master’s degree must have a grade of C or better; undergraduate level courses applied to a master’s degree must have a grade of B or better.
Any course applied to a doctoral degree must have a grade of B minus or better.
Grades Received Before Admission to the Graduate School
Courses transferred from another institution are not included in the calculation of the University grade point average. Courses transferred in from another institution, including any other CU campus, will not be included in the graduate program grade point average. The University grade point average does not include any courses taken while in unclassified status; however, the graduate program grade point average will include all unclassified courses applied to meeting the degree requirements.
Incomplete and In Progress Grades
A grade of “I” (Incomplete) will convert to “F” if the work is not completed within the one-year maximum period of time according to University policy. A grade of “I” should be given only when the following conditions are met:
- The student requests an incomplete grade.
- Reasons for not completing course requirements are beyond the student’s control.
- A substantial amount of coursework has been completed at a passing level by the student.
- The instructor sets the conditions whereby the course will be completed, including deadlines of less than one year.
A grade of “IP” (In Progress) may be given only for master’s thesis, capstone projects, and doctoral dissertation work “in progress.” Typically, “IP” grades are given upon completion of the thesis/capstone/dissertation defense unless the department/program has a policy about giving grades at specific milestones. The committee chairperson must submit a grade change for the “IP” grade to the student’s final grade.
Courses applied to graduate degrees must not be taken as pass/fail with the exception of clinical practicum and internship coursework.
Leave of Absence
If a student needs to take a leave of absence for longer than one semester, the student will need to request a leave of absence from the program. A leave of absence may occur for one year (three continuous semesters including summer). Programs may have shorter stop-out periods. Students may request consecutive leaves, but if the student has not contacted the program to return from their LOA at the end of the designated time frame and later request to return, the student may need to reapply to the program to determine if they are still eligible to return to the program.
A program may also place a student on an administrative leave of absence if student is not making satisfactory academic progress in the program. An administrative leave of absence cannot be used in place of academic probation, but may be used simultaneously. The program may request that students meet certain conditions prior to returning.
At readmission from a student-requested leave of absence or an administrative leave of absence, a program may ask students to complete any new program requirements since the original application. During the leave period, the progression clock remains active. That is, students will need to complete a master’s degree within six years or a doctoral degree within seven years from the original admission into the program. The student and program may still request an extension within the limits of the graduate school and program rules.
Once a leave of absence has been approved by the program, the program director should notify the graduate school. The graduate school will work with the appropriate campus offices to put a stop on enrollment and financial aid for that student, until the time they decide to come back. To remove the holds, the program will need to inform the graduate school that the student has restarted the program.
Probation and Dismissal
Students are expected to adhere to the highest codes of personal and professional ethics, as set forth by the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, which appear in the University of Colorado Colorado Springs Student Academic Ethics Code. Students who do not meet these standards may be dismissed by the Graduate School Dean upon recommendation of the program director and college/school dean of the student’s graduate program. A student may appeal such action under the provisions of Article V.
A student who has attempted 9 or more semester hours at UCCS (to include “I and “IP” grades) in the Graduate School and whose UCCS graduate program grade point average of awarded grades falls below 3.0 will be placed on academic probation until such time as the UCCS graduate program grade point average is raised to 3.00 or higher. Courses taken at other institutions, including other CU campuses, will not be included as part of the decision to place on or remove from probation. The student will have a maximum of one calendar year to be removed from probation, or the student may be dismissed from the Graduate School.
Dismissal from the Graduate School
Any student whose graduate program grade point average is below 3.00 after the one-year probationary period will be subject to automatic dismissal. The program director will notify the Graduate School Dean and the student will be dismissed from the Graduate School. Under extenuating circumstances, the program director may petition the Graduate School Dean for an extension of the probationary time period.
Students may be dismissed from the Graduate School if they do not satisfactorily complete program requirements (e.g., pass coursework, pass examinations, make progress on thesis/dissertation projects, adhere to professional standards) as determined by the program.
A dismissed student is eligible to reapply for admission after one year. Approval or rejection of this application rests with the student’s program/department. Validation of previous coursework may be required for students to complete matriculation in the degree.
Thesis and Dissertation Committees
Thesis Advisory Committee: A thesis advisory committee must be established for each student pursuing a master’s degree under Plan I (thesis option). This committee will consist of the thesis advisor, and at least two other members of the graduate faculty, possibly including a member from an allied program or community organization. Upon the recommendation of the thesis advisor, the committee is appointed by the program director with the approval of the college/school dean and forwarded to the Graduate School.
PhD Dissertation Advisory Committee: A PhD dissertation advisory committee shall consist of five members of the graduate faculty, including one member of an allied department. One of the five members must be from an outside department and that outside member may be from another institution, provided the faculty member has been granted Special membership on the Graduate Faculty. Upon the recommendation of the dissertation advisor, the committee is appointed by the program director with the approval of the college/school dean and forwarded to the Graduate School.
Clinical or Professional Doctorate or Master’s Dissertation, Capstone, or Project Committees
Clinical or Professional Doctorate Advisory Committee: Clinical or professional doctorate may allow capstone projects or dissertations. This committee shall consist of a dissertation/capstone chair and at least two other committee members of the graduate faculty. One member of the committee may be from another institution or community/industry organization. All committee members who make decisions about students’ grades or judgments about successfully fulfilling program requirements must be appointed as graduate faculty prior to serving on the committee. Upon the recommendation of the advisory committee chair, the committee is appointed by the program director with the approval of the college/school dean and forwarded to the Graduate School.
Master’s Capstone Committee: Programs may use capstone committees in different ways for requirements within a master’s program; however, all members of a capstone committee who make decisions about students’ grades or judgments about successfully fulfilling program requirements must be appointed as graduate faculty prior to serving on the committee.
Master’s Degree Examinations
Most master’s degree programs require a culminating experience, which may include a comprehensive examination, a portfolio, a capstone, a project, or a thesis defense after the other requirements for the degree have been substantially completed. A student must be registered at the time in which the comprehensive examination or thesis defense is held.
Comprehensive Examination: This examination is administered by a committee of at least three graduate faculty appointed by the program director. A majority of the examination committee must vote affirmatively for the student to pass. A student who fails the examination may not attempt it again until at least two months have elapsed. The student may retake the examination only once.
Thesis Defense: After the thesis has been accepted by the student’s thesis advisor, a thesis defense will be administered by the thesis advisory committee. A majority of the committee must vote affirmatively for the student to pass. A student who fails the thesis defense may not attempt it again until at least two months have elapsed. A student may have only one additional defense.
Doctoral Degree Examinations
Each doctoral program will require one or more of the following types of examinations. A student must be registered at the time any of these examinations are taken. Successful completion of either a comprehensive examination or a specialty examination must precede advancement to candidacy.
Doctorate of Philosophy Degree
Preliminary Examination. An examination to ensure that a student is qualified for doctoral study.
Comprehensive Examination.An examination in the field of concentration and related fields. This examination may be written or oral or both, and will test the student’s mastery of a broad field of knowledge, not merely the formal coursework which has been completed. The comprehensive examination shall be conducted by an examining board of at least three members appointed by the program director.
Specialty Examination. An examination in a specific area of the general field of concentration. This examination may be written or oral or both, and will test the student’s mastery of a single subject that may well go beyond formal coursework that has been completed. The specialty examination shall be conducted by an examining board of at least three members appointed by the program director.
Dissertation Proposal. An examination to determine the student’s preparedness and appropriateness of the topic, prior to commencing work on the dissertation.
Dissertation Defense. After the dissertation has been accepted by the student’s dissertation advisor, a final examination of the dissertation and related topics will be conducted by the Dissertation Advisory Committee. The examination is open to anyone who wishes to attend. A successful candidate must receive the affirmative vote of a majority of the members of the dissertation committee. In case of failure, the examination may be attempted once more after a period of time determined by the committee. A student must be registered for at least 1 dissertation credit or candidate for degree status during the semester (or summer session) in which the dissertation defense is held. The Graduate School must be notified of the dissertation defense at least two weeks in advance of the scheduled date of the defense, which must be no later than 18 days before the final day of the semester of graduation.
Clinical and Professional Doctorate Degree
Capstone, Dissertation, or Project Preparedness Examination. An assessment (e.g., examination, proposal, etc) to determine the preparedness of the student and the appropriateness of the topic, prior to commencing work on the doctoral dissertation, capstone or project.
Capstone, Dissertation, or Project Defense. After the capstone, dissertation, or project is completed, a final examination will be conducted by the Advisory Committee. The examination is open to anyone who wishes to attend. A successful candidate must receive the affirmative vote of a majority of the members of the Advisory Committee. In case of failure, the examination may be attempted one time after additional requirements determined by the committee are completed. A student must be registered for at least 1 credit hour or as candidate for degree during the semester in which the defense is held. The scheduled date of the defense must be no later than 18 days before the final day of the semester of graduation.
Foreign Language Requirement
The decision on foreign language requirements for doctoral degrees is the responsibility of the graduate faculty of each graduate program.
Application for Admission to Candidacy
For each student pursuing a master’s degree, an Application for Admission to Candidacy should be completed during the first five weeks of the semester of intended graduation. This application will certify that all requirements for the degree have been met or are in progress.
A doctoral student who wishes to become a candidate for a degree must file an Application for Admission to Candidacy online. Admission to candidacy will be granted only to students who have completed a significant fraction of the required coursework and have passed the comprehensive examination and language requirement (if any).
All theses and dissertations must adhere to campus standards for quality and formatting.
Every candidate pursuing a master’s degree under Plan I (thesis option) is required to write a thesis, which may be a research expository, critical, or creative type. Each thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a master’s degree must satisfy the specifications of the University of Colorado Colorado Springs Thesis and Dissertation Manual (found on the Graduate School website), and shall represent 3-6 semester hours of work. Each program will have specification on the credit total a thesis in that discipline will require with delineation of why different credits are available within the same program if applicable.
Every candidate pursuing a doctoral degree is required to write a dissertation based upon original investigation and showing mature scholarship and critical judgment, as well as familiarity with tools and methods of research/scholarship within their field. The subject must be approved by the student’s dissertation advisory committee. Each dissertation presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a doctoral degree must satisfy the specifications of the University of Colorado Colorado Springs Thesis and Dissertation Manual. The dissertation shall represent a minimum of 30 semester hours of work for PhD candidates, but may be less in other doctoral programs.
PhD Doctoral Dissertation Semester Hour Requirements
- Dissertation credits are expected to be taken when a student is working on the dissertation project.
- A doctoral student may take no more than 24 dissertation credits up until the semester in which the comprehensive examination is passed. The student must take at least 15 dissertation credits in the semesters after the comprehensive examination is passed.
- Following successful completion of the doctoral comprehensive examination, a student may register for 1 to 10 units of dissertation credit in a semester (no more than 7 hours in summer) until the requirements for the degree are completed.
- A student must be registered for at least 1 dissertation credit or candidate for degree status during the semester (or summer session) in which the dissertation defense is held.
- Students must follow departmental policies and procedures for maintaining satisfactory progress through the program. Departments should communicate these procedures and standards to students.
- A doctoral student is typically expected to be enrolled continuously; however, students are considered inactive after 12 months of no enrollment has occurred. If a student is classified as inactive, they will need to reapply to the program using the online application (other materials not required) and receive the department’s approval for continuing in the program to be reclassified as active.
Clinical and Professional Doctoral Capstone, Dissertation, or Project
Students pursuing clinical or professional doctoral degrees are required to complete a culminating project (e.g., capstone, dissertation, project) in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a clinical or professional doctorate at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. The courses associated with the dissertation, capstone, or project shall represent at a minimum 10 semester credit hours of work. Programs may set a higher number of credits. Style requirements and format for the capstone/project are determined by the department, Dissertations are submitted to the graduate school following the campus standards.
Time Limits for Completion of Degrees
Although students are normally expected to complete a master’s degree in one to three years, master’s degree students have six years from the date of the start of coursework to complete all degree requirements (which includes filing the thesis if Plan I is followed). A student who fails to complete the degree in the six-year period must file a petition for extension with the program director and have it approved by the Graduate School Dean. The petition, giving reasons why the student should be allowed to continue in the program, must be endorsed by the program director. The program director must approve applying any course to the degree that was taken more than six years prior to the semester of graduation, and all such courses must be validated by special examination. Courses that have been validated will be eligible for use towards graduation for two years. If the student takes longer than that from time of validation to complete the degree, a new course validation will be required.
Doctoral students are normally expected to complete all degree requirements within nine years from the date of the start of coursework in the doctoral program. A student who fails to complete the degree in the nine years must file a petition for extension with the program director and have it approved by the Graduate School Dean. The petition, giving reasons why the student should be allowed to continue in the program, must be endorsed by the program director or by three members of the student’s dissertation advisory committee. If the Graduate School Dean approves, the student may continue studies for an additional year. If the Graduate School Dean does not approve the request, the college/school dean, with the concurrence of the program director, may dismiss the student from the program. If the Graduate School Dean and the program director do not agree on whether a student should be continued in the program, the Graduate Executive Committee shall make the final decision. If the extension is granted, any coursework that is over nine years must be validated by special examination prior to graduation.
Courses that have been validated will be eligible for use towards graduation for two years. If the student takes longer than that from time of validation to complete the degree, a new course validation will be required.
Graduate Student Appeals
All appeals regarding course grades or admission decisions shall follow the procedures established by the school/college in which the course was taken or the admission decision was rendered.
Final authority on appeals submitted by graduate students concerning actions (other than grading or admissions decisions) taken by faculty members, program directors, academic college/school or graduate dean, or other administrative officials rests with the Student Affairs Committee. If an appeal involves a matter affecting two or more University of Colorado campuses, the final action rests with the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs.
Student Appeals Procedures
The procedures for a student appeal to the Graduate School Dean and the Graduate Executive Committee are:
- An appeal will be officially accepted from a student only after it has been determined that the student has exhausted the appeals process in effect in the program, department, school, and college. If the appeal is for a Graduate School decision, the provost will appoint a member of the Graduate Executive Committee to hear the initial appeal and to call the Student Affairs Committee together.
- If a resolution to the problem identified in the student’s appeal cannot be reached on the department or unit level, the student may submit a written appeal to the Graduate School Dean. The written appeal must describe in detail the basis in fact for the opinion that the student has been treated unfairly academically and must describe actions taken to resolve the problem at the departmental level.
- Upon receipt of a written appeal from a student, the Graduate School Dean will contact the appropriate departmental officer to get a response to the questions or objections raised by the student. In some cases, a written response from the department may be requested. The response and appeal are then sent to the Student Affairs Committee of the Graduate Executive Committee. This committee makes a decision in the case. The decision from the Student Appeals Committee is final.