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inside NKU

    Northern Kentucky University
   
 
  Nov 21, 2017
 
 
    
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog

Degree and Certificate Exit Program Requirements



Culminating Experiences and Capstone Courses

All graduate degree programs require a culminating experience described in each program section. Examples include dissertation, thesis, project, portfolio, comprehensive exam, and capstone course. All references to dissertation also include dissertation alternatives as approved by the vice provost for graduate education, research & outreach.

Guidelines for All Culminating Experiences

Forms to Submit to Office of Graduate Education

Any students taking a comprehensive exam or defending a project/thesis/dissertation must submit the following forms completed by the appropriate graduate program director or thesis/dissertation chair; these forms are available on the Office of Graduate Education website at http://inside.nku.edu/graduate/current-students/Thesis.html​.

  • Form for Thesis/Dissertation/Comprehensive Exam Committee Appointment - completed at the start of the thesis/dissertation/comprehensive exam process.
  • Form to schedule the Thesis/Dissertation Defense (also for comprehensive exam) - no later than two weeks prior to scheduled defense.
  • Form for Thesis/Dissertation Defense Results (also for comprehensive exam) - within two weeks of results.

Defense of Dissertation/Thesis/Project

When a student has completed the dissertation/thesis/project, the student may be asked to present it formally to their committee through an oral examination and in some cases a presentation to the university community. This process provides the opportunity to answer questions posed by the student’s committee about the research.

Unfinished Dissertation/Thesis/Project Grade

Until a dissertation/thesis/project has been completed, approved by the department, and formally certified by the Office of Graduate Education, the grade to be assigned to thesis/project credits will be an X. This grade does not affect a student’s GPA nor credits earned. When the dissertation/thesis/project is completed, the faculty supervisor will change the X to a P or letter grade and the credits will be counted toward graduation. Letter grades will contribute to the overall GPA. If the dissertation/thesis/project is never completed, then the X grade remains on the transcript permanently.

Completion of Dissertation/Thesis/Project

After successful completion of the program requirements for the dissertation/thesis/project and after the committee has indicated the student has passed, the student should make all required changes to the document (if applicable to the student’s particular work). Completed is defined as follows: the student has successfully defended the dissertation/thesis/project; has made all changes required by his/her project director and/or thesis/dissertation/project committee; project director and/or thesis/dissertation/project committee has approved those changes.

After the committee chair approves the final document, the student will upload the document in PDF format to the ProQuest/UMI website (if applicable to the student’s particular work). Students should not upload documents to UMI until the document is completed. Theses and dissertations must be uploaded by the student to ProQuest/UMI, an online graduate research submission, publishing, archiving, and dissemination service. Complete instructions for the final submission of the dissertation, thesis, or project are published in the Electronic Thesis/Dissertation Guidelines found on the Office of Graduate Education web site at http://inside.nku.edu/graduate/current-students/Thesis.html.

Submission to ProQuest/UMI does not necessarily mean acceptance. Once the document has been uploaded to UMI, the director of graduate education will examine the document. The student and graduate program director will be notified of changes/editing that must be made before final approval by the director of graduate education can be given. Once the final dissertation/thesis/project has been certified by the Office of Graduate Education, the director of graduate education will notify the Office of the University Registrar that the student has been cleared for graduation as long as all other graduation requirements have been met.

Submission Deadlines

The following dates are the deadlines for uploading completed documents to ProQuest/UMI. In order to ensure the deadlines are met, students and their dissertation/thesis/project committee chairs should plan the defense date accordingly. If the document has not been fully approved and uploaded to ProQuest/UMI by these dates, the student may be required to delay graduation for at least one term.

Fall No later than November 1
Spring No later than April 1
Summer No later than July 1

Use of Proprietary Information

The tradition and culture of graduate education requires that dissertations/theses/published projects be treated as public documents, and as a result, they will be placed in the library for public access. If a student is using proprietary information supplied by their employer or sponsor for the dissertation/thesis/project, they should reconcile proprietary issues with the employer or sponsor before beginning work on the dissertation/thesis/project. In rare instances a waiver from public access for a limited time (no longer than one year) may be granted. To protect the student’s investment of time and energy, students should be sure to have the waiver request signed by the appropriate graduate program director, approved by the Office of Graduate Education, and on file in the Office of Graduate Education prior to the start of work on the dissertation/thesis/project. If the waiver is denied, students may either agree to publication anyway or rewrite the dissertation/thesis/project in a manner that can be published.

Failure of Culminating Experience

Graduate program directors will notify the Office of Graduate Education in writing when one of their students does not pass the culminating experience. The graduate program director will recommend one of two options for the student: allow a second opportunity to pass a culminating experience or be withdrawn from the program. If the student is allowed to remain in the program, and if the student’s catalog of record provides more than one option for a culminating experience, the student may select a second option rather than repeat the previous option. The student must have the written permission of the graduate program director before selecting the second option.

Two failures of the culminating experience, whether two failures of the same experience or a combination of two different experiences, will result in dismissal from the program.

Master’s Degree Thesis/Final Project/Comprehensive Exam Specific Requirements

There are four formal culminating experiences excluding programs where a specifically designated course serves this function. Each of these is listed below. For specific information on which one will be required for the student’s program of study, students should consult with their graduate program director.

  1. Formal thesis

Requirements:

  • It should include a thorough review of secondary sources.
  • It should include original research.
  • There will be at least three faculty members on the student’s committee; one member may be outside of NKU.
  • It will be published in ProQuest/UMI upon completion.
  • There will be a formal defense of the thesis.
  • There must be final approval by Office of Graduate Education.
  • Thesis credits may be 3-6 credits of degree requirements.
  1. Published Project

Requirements:

  • It should include a literature review of secondary sources.
  • It should contribute to a body of knowledge or practice.
  • There will be at least three faculty members on the student’s committee; one member may be outside of NKU.
  • There will not be a formal defense of the project.
  • It will be published in ProQuest/UMI upon completion.
  • There must be final approval by Office of Graduate Education.
  • Project will be 3 credits of degree requirements.
  1. Unpublished project

Requirements:

  • The length depends upon the project and the particular graduate program.
  • Non-research, portfolio and creative documents (or products) will fall into this category.
  • There will not be a formal defense of the document/project.
  • There is no oversight from Office of Graduate Education.
  • Approval by the graduate program director is required.
  1. Comprehensive Examination

Each program using the comprehensive examination as a culminating experience will set forth the appropriate guidelines including dates and format.

Continuing Credit

Individual graduate programs will determine the number of continuing credit hours students in their program are allowed to pursue. All continuing credit must be taken within the six years allowed to complete the master’s degree.

Committee Membership for Exit Options

Outside members should not be required but may be used. When outside members are used, the graduate program director must apply for and receive graduate faculty status for the outside members via the faculty credentialing process. Each graduate program director will be responsible for “tutoring” faculty in the appropriate method of chairing or being a member of a committee. Each graduate program director will decide on the oversight necessary.

Doctoral Degree Dissertation/Dissertation Alternative Specific Information

Each individual doctoral program will decide whether a dissertation or dissertation alternative meets the requirements for their degree.  For specific information on which one will be required for hate student’s program of study, students should consult with their graduate program director.

Doctoral students must be continuously enrolled in at least one credit hour every term while completing their dissertation or dissertation alternative.

Dissertation Committee Membership

There must be at least three members (a chair and two “readers”) on the dissertation committee, whose responsibility it is to:

  • Approve the dissertation proposal;
  • Evaluate the dissertation;
  • Participate in the defense of the dissertation, and
  • Vote to determine a candidate’s passing of the defense.

One person shall be designated the dissertation chair. This member will:

  • Facilitate the committee schedule and meetings;
  • Mentor the candidate through the completion of the degree;
  • Process paperwork;
  • Coordinate the candidate’s defense with the Office of Graduate Education.

One “reader” member of the dissertation committee must be from outside the candidate’s department of study.

All members of the dissertation committee shall approve the dissertation proposal.

The program shall have a dissertation proposal process that provides for the Office of Graduate Education, the program, and the candidate, a written and signed document defining the expectations of the program for a successful dissertation.

The “approval of the dissertation proposal” is deemed successful when the dissertation chair files appropriate paperwork with the Office of Graduate Education signifying approval for the candidate to move forward.

Until the dissertation defense is scheduled, the initial proposal may be amended with unanimous agreement of the dissertation committee and candidate.

A dissertation defense may not be scheduled without a signed dissertation proposal. The candidate shall initiate the scheduling of a defense. Defense scheduling requires the concurrence of at least one committee member.

Programs must provide alternatives for candidates to alter or change dissertation chairs and committee membership.

The “completion of the defense” is deemed successful when:

  • A simple majority of the dissertation committee votes approval.
  • If desired, programs can make votes more restrictive, but may not require unanimous approval by the committee (chair and readers).

Dissertation defenses shall be open to the public.

Graduation Requirements

Minimum Credit Hours Required for a Master’s Program

All master’s degree programs require a minimum of 30 semester hours. Only courses taken for graduate credit and placed on a graduate transcript as graduate credit may be counted toward a master’s degree.

GPA

No student may earn a graduate degree or graduate certificate with a GPA below 3.0 (no rounding allowed) for all graduate work taken for completion of a specific graduate program as well as a cumulative 3.0 (no rounding allowed) for all graduate work taken at the institution. If a student has declared academic bankruptcy, the graduate GPA will be based on all coursework taken subsequent to the bankruptcy.

Incomplete Coursework

No student will be awarded a degree if an I (incomplete) has not been cleared for all coursework applicable to that degree. An I in a course that is not part of the coursework for the degree is allowed. Students should be aware of the policy that changes an I to an F after a given period of time.

Enrollment

All students must be enrolled for at least one credit hour during the semester that they wish to graduate.

Degree Application Deadline

All graduate degree and certificate students must complete an Application for Graduation with the Office of the University Registrar. Students must complete the form via myNKU under the Student Self-Service Tab, Academics, Apply for Graduation. There is a fee associated with the graduation application. The fees given below are the current fees and are subject to change. The fee assessed will be the one in effect at the time a student submits an application for graduation.

The graduation application must be submitted by the following dates, or if a date falls on a weekend, by the Monday following the prescribed date.

For fall graduation April 22
For spring graduation October 22
For summer graduation April 22

Graduation Fees

For fall semester graduation:

Apply by April 22 $50
Apply between April 23 and August 8 $80
Apply between August 9 and October 31 $100
Apply after October 31* $100

* Graduation applications submitted after October 31 will not be processed for fall semester graduation unless special approval from the Office of Graduate Education is obtained. There is no guarantee that the application can be processed in time for fall graduation.

For spring semester graduation:

Apply by October 22 $50
Apply between October 23 and January 8 $80
Apply between January 9 and March 30 $100
Apply after March 30* $100

* Graduation applications submitted after March 30 will not be processed for spring semester graduation unless special approval from the Office of Graduate Education is obtained. Even with that approval, there is no guarantee that the application can be processed in time for spring graduation.

For summer semester graduation:

Apply by April 22 $50
Apply between April 23 and May 31 $80
Apply between June 1 and July 1 $100
Apply after July 1* $100

* Graduation applications submitted after July 1 will not be processed for summer semester graduation unless special approval from the Office of Graduate Education is obtained. Even with that approval, there is no guarantee that the application can be processed in time for summer graduation.

It is not necessary for a student enrolled in multiple programs (master’s and certificate, for example) to complete all of them at the same time. However, if the student is completing both in the same term, only one fee will be assessed. If they are completed in separate terms, the fee will be assessed for each.

Applications submitted separately will be assessed the fee individually.

Participation in Graduation Ceremony

In order for a student to participate (“walk”) in the NKU graduation ceremony, the following requirements must be met:

Doctoral students:

  • Successfully complete all program requirements.
  • Successfully complete all course work.
  • Successfully defend the dissertation/dissertation alternative.

Master’s and Graduate Certificate Students:

  • Successfully complete all coursework.
  • Successfully complete the culminating experience requirement pertinent to the program.

Individual graduate programs may set a more rigorous policy.