A faculty or professional staff member trained to help students select courses and plan programs of study for degree or program completion.
Dismissal from an academic unit or program for not maintaining the required grade point average or failure to fulfill other program requirements. Dismissal indicates that a student is no longer admitted to the University and may not register.
Students who are readmitted into graduate study will not have grades and credit hours earned more than seven years prior to their new entrance date count in the computation of their grade point average. In such cases, the transcript will read, “Grades and credit hours earned more than seven years prior to current entrance date were not included in the computation of the grade point average.” The request for academic forgiveness must occur at the time of readmission.
The academic standing of a student is determined by the student’s grade point average (GPA). All graduate students must have a 3.0 or better grade point average to maintain “good standing.” A “warning” will be issued to a student whose GPA falls below a 3.0 in any semester or session even though the overall GPA is 3.0 or better. A student will be placed on “probation” if the overall GPA falls below 3.0, and will receive a “dismissal” notice if the overall GPA is not raised to or above 3.0 at the end of a semester or session on “probation,” except when the academic unit housing the student’s program grants an “Extended Probation” for an additional enrollment period.
Accelerated master’s degree program
Accelerated master’s degree programs have been approved in some academic units. These programs allow students who earn bachelor’s degrees at Western Michigan University to begin graduate coursework before completion of the undergraduate degree, and use this graduate coursework (usually 9-12 hours) to count for both the bachelor’s and master’s degrees, thus “accelerating” completion of the master’s degree. Special admission and registration procedures must be followed by students in accelerated programs until the bachelor’s degree is completed; see www.wmich.edu/registrar/faculty-staff/advisors/ADP.html for more information.
A systematic review of all graduate students, conducted by departments according to a set of department-based criteria, for the purposes of apprising students of their status toward degree completion.
A University-administered stipend awarded by an academic or service unit to an appointed graduate student who is enrolled in a program leading to a graduate degree. Assistants are apprentices in the profession and assist in doing part of the work of the department, teaching or research or service.
A specially designated assistantship awarded to an appointed doctoral student.
A registration category in which a student registers for and attends class(es) regularly without being held responsible for the work required for credit. A student who registers for a course in this way is not eligible to sit for examinations, earns no credit hours for the registration, and pays full tuition. The designation “AU” appears on the transcript if the auditor attends at least three-fourths of the class or laboratory sessions and gives evidence to the course instructor that the role as auditor has been satisfactory. See also Graduation audit below.
See Doctoral candidacy, below.
Capstone course or experience
A culminating holistic experience (e.g., thesis, dissertation, comprehensive examination) designed to review and more broadly understand the major issues, themes, theories, and research findings of the student’s discipline, often to enable the student to examine the relationship of the discipline to other areas.
An organizational unit formed for purposes of linkage and visibility, focused on a theme, issue, or set of skills. A center will frequently be interdisciplinary in nature. A center does not offer degree programs but may, on rare occasions, offer a course or courses.
The Center for English Language and Culture for International Students (CELCIS) provides intensive English language instruction for those prospective students who need further training in English in order to qualify for regular admission to the University. Classes at various levels include: Speaking and Listening Comprehension, Grammar, Reading and Vocabulary, Writing, Research Paper Writing, and work in the Language Laboratory. For further information and application forms, contact the Center by telephone, (269) 387-4800, or by Fax, (269) 387-4806.
A graduate certificate is awarded for the satisfactory completion of a nondegree graduate program designed around a narrow, applied, and coordinated curriculum with a professional focus. A graduate certificate program may be either multidisciplinary or uni-disciplinary in organization and may be taken separately or in conjunction with a graduate degree program. The graduate certificate is not an award of license, accreditation, or certification to render professional services; rather, it signifies that a student has satisfactorily completed an approved graduate certificate program curriculum.
Class or credit hour load
For all graduate students taking courses for a stated degree or certificate program, six hours constitutes full-time status, and three hours constitutes half-time status in fall and spring semesters. In the summer I and summer II sessions, three hours in either session constitutes full-time status for that session and two hours constitutes half-time status.
Students who have completed all the course work for their master’s or doctoral level program and who have only the thesis or dissertation to complete are required by Western Michigan University to enroll for a minimum of one-hour in thesis or dissertation credits. An enrollment of one-hour for thesis or dissertation will satisfy WMU’s continuous enrollment requirement.
However, students must be aware that FICA regulations and some federal loan deferment regulations require at least half-time enrollment, which at WMU is now at least three hours of enrollment in fall and spring semesters or at least two hours in summer I and summer II sessions. Graduate students, even those enrolled for thesis or dissertation hours, must be enrolled at least half-time (three hours in a semester or two hours in a session) in order to qualify for FICA tax exemption or to be eligible for loan deferments.
Since enrollment fees are determined by hours enrolled, and not by full- or part-time status, students (whether graduate or undergraduate) who enroll for four or fewer hours in fall or spring are charged a lesser enrollment fee than those who enroll for five or more hours, and consequently they will be required to pay an additional fee for unlimited use of the recreation center. Students enrolling for four or fewer hours will have access to the recreation center for 10 visits without extra fee charges.
A term used during the registration process to indicate that a course has reached its maximum enrollment limit and is therefore “closed” to further registrations.
A course, or courses, related in some way to the major area of study for the master’s, specialist, or doctoral degree. Cognates may be, and often are, courses outside the department of the degree program.
A concentration (or option or emphasis) is a thematically coherent block of courses that are more similar to one another than to others in the degree program. A concentration has a title and constitutes a significant percentage (e.g., 10%) of courses in the degree program. Concentrations (or options or emphases) may be recorded on the student transcript.
Conditional Admission is granted to the student who meets some of the admission requirements of the University. Continued enrollment in courses at WMU is conditional upon the applicant completing academic course work at a performance level specified at the time of “Conditional Admission” status is granted. Examples of specific performance could include, but are not restricted to: completion of a specified number of graduate credits with a “B” or better grade, completion of specific prerequisite courses with specified grades, or completion of a program’s core requirements with specified grades. The time period for any “Conditional Admission” status may not exceed two semesters and one summer session, with ineligibility for further enrollment after that period unless the specified conditions have been met and the applicant qualifies for “General Admission” status.
Continuing education courses and programs
Graduate courses and programs offered through Extended University Programs in the Regional Locations of Battle Creek, Benton Harbor/St. Joseph, Grand Rapids, Holland, Lansing, Muskegon, Traverse City, or elsewhere away from the Kalamazoo campus.
Continuing education unit (CEU)
Documented acknowledgment of participation in a non-credit program or workshop.
Following a student’s first enrollment in 7000 (Master’s Thesis), 7200 (Specialist Project) or 7300 (Dissertation), the student must have continuous enrollment in 7000/7200/7300 until all thesis/project/dissertation requirements are completed satisfactorily and approved by the appropriate bodies. A student unable to complete the thesis/project/dissertation within the program-stipulated hours of registration will be required to continue to enroll in 7000/7200/7300; however, only the program-stipulated hours will count toward meeting the program requirements for the degree. For students not enrolled in the summer I and summer II sessions, pre-enrollment in the subsequent fall semester is necessary for access to library resources during summer I and summer II. Continuous enrollment is defined as enrollment in all fall and spring semesters from the initial enrollment to the semester in which the student graduates (some programs may require students to be enrolled during summer sessions as well as fall and spring semesters; students should refer to respective program handbooks). If the student will graduate in summer I or summer II, the student must be enrolled in that session.
A course that must be taken at the same time as another course. See also Prerequisite below.
Course numbering system
Undergraduate courses are numbered from 1000 through 4999. Courses numbered 5000 through 5999 are for upperclass and graduate students. (Graduate students register for graduate credit in 5000-level courses; undergraduate students register for undergraduate credit in 5000-level courses.) Courses for graduate students only are numbered 6000 through 7999.
Each instructor is required to make available to students a course syllabus that shall contain a basic course description, course objectives, course requirements and policies, grading criteria, and instructor contact information. Instructors are encouraged to include a tentative schedule indicating when various topics will be addressed, and when quizzes, exams, and due dates for assignments shall occur. Instructors are further encouraged to include in their syllabi basic University policies regarding academic conduct, human rights, diversity, and students with disabilities.
Western Michigan University will consider graduate credit as that earned in an accredited, postsecondary educational institution in which the course was approved by that institution for graduate credit and was supervised by that institution. Western Michigan University will also consider graduate credit as that earned in an examination program recognized and approved by the Graduate Studies Council.
Credit toward a degree program will be granted only for graduate courses in which a grade of “C” or better is earned.
Graduate credit may not be earned in a 5000-level or 6000-level course by attendance in an undergraduate course in a related area.
A method, separate from the letter grade system, used to evaluate performance in courses. ”Credit” is earned for grades of “B” or better; grades of “CB” or below earn “No Credit.” Credit/No Credit courses are not computed into the student’s overall grade point average.
A unit of academic credit. One credit hour usually represents one hour of class time per week for one semester (15 weeks) or two hours of class time per week for one session (7 1/2 weeks). See also semester hour and quarter hour below.
See Class or credit hour load above.
The date by which certain forms or information or payment must be received by an office or unit.
A student formally admitted to a master’s, specialist, or doctoral degree program and pursuing a planned program of study to earn that degree. See also Program of study below.
For each doctoral student a doctoral dissertation committee shall be appointed to review the dissertation proposal, procedures, and results; to make suggestions relative to these concerns to the student; and to decide whether to approve the dissertation and the oral defense as fulfilling these requirements for the doctoral degree. All members of this committee must approve the dissertation and its oral defense, and the dissertation must be in a form acceptable to the unit and to the Graduate College before the student may be awarded the doctoral degree.
Each doctoral dissertation committee shall consist of at least three members. The student’s major dissertation advisor shall serve as chairperson of the committee. At least one member shall be from outside the student’s department (this person may be from a related cognate discipline, from outside the student’s college, or from outside WMU) who shall serve as a bona fide, fully participating member of the committee. The committee shall be approved and recommended by the unit, approved by the office of the appropriate academic dean, and approved and appointed by the graduate dean. Each member of the committee must be either a member or an associate member of the graduate faculty, and the committee chairperson must be a full member of the graduate faculty (a current list of graduate faculty members by department is available through the Graduate College at www.wmich.edu/grad/sub-faculty-staff.html).
Each unit offering a doctoral program shall approve and publish its policies concerning doctoral dissertation committees, including the qualifications for membership on doctoral dissertation committees, the procedures used to select who should serve on these committees, and the specific functions and responsibilities that the members of these committees have. The chairperson of each student’s doctoral dissertation committee shall indicate in writing the specific responsibilities that individual members of that committee have.
A candidate for a doctoral degree, prior to the session or semester in which the dissertation is defended, is required to have earned or completed satisfactorily the following and to have received approval by the academic program unit to continue study toward a doctoral degree:
1. A degree program grade point average of 3.0 or better (3.25 in some programs)
2. Appointment of a doctoral dissertation committee and approval of the dissertation proposal by the committee
3. All courses (excluding dissertation credit) and program requirements
4. All research tool requirements
5. Comprehensive examinations
6. Fulfillment of the residency requirement, if required by the program
Individual programs may have additional requirements for candidacy. See www.wmich.edu/grad/forms/Doctoral_Candidacy.pdf for the doctoral candidacy admission form.
An official procedure for withdrawing from individual classes without removing registration from all classes. The deadline for the last day to drop a course without academic penalty (grade of “W” is on the transcript) is noted each semester or session on the Registrar’s website www.wmich.edu/registrar/calendars/indexs.html. Students who do not follow the official procedure when dropping a class will earn the grade of “X” for that course; the “X” grade carries no honor points and affects the grade point average in the same manner as an “E” or failing grade. See also Late drop below.
Dual enrollment admission (that is, admission to a master’s program while yet enrolled in a baccalaureate program) may be granted to any WMU senior who has an acceptable academic record (with a grade point average of 3.0 or better for the two years prior to graduate admission date) and who has no more than 15 credit hours remaining for completion of the bachelor’s degree.
Once granted dual enrollment status, the student may enroll in a maximum of 12 credit hours of graduate course work that has been approved by the appropriate departmental advisor in addition to those undergraduate courses required to complete the bachelor’s degree.
Dual enrollment is permitted for the calendar year only, and no graduate credit earned in this way may be used to meet undergraduate requirements. If the bachelor’s degree is not completed in the period of one calendar year, the student may not continue on dual enrollment.
A student must request dual enrollment status on the application for admission to a master’s degree program and must have requested and received audit for graduation with the undergraduate degree in order to determine eligibility; however, official entry is not immediate. Graduate credits earned accumulate but the official entry date must follow the semesters or sessions of dual enrollment status and the completion of the bachelor’s degree.
Dual enrollment is distinguished from enrollment in an accelerated master’s degree program by the following: it can be used for any graduate degree program; the dual enrollment applicant must have applied for graduation with the bachelor’s degree and be within 15 credit hours and one year of graduation; and the graduate coursework is not counted toward both the bachelor’s and master’s degrees. (See also Accelerated master’s degree program, above.)
A course which will count as credit toward a degree, if approved by the advisor, but is not specified in the program’s course requirements.
See Concentration above.
A University-administered stipend awarded by an academic or service unit within the University or by another donor to an appointed graduate student who is enrolled in a program leading to a graduate degree. Fellowships do not typically have a service requirement, but this may vary for some fellowship programs.
Field experience, practicum, work experience, co-op, internship
Field experience: actual practice, often away from the college campus, in a practical or service situation. In a teacher education program, it is usually conducted in schools. Practicum: 1) a course of instruction aimed at closely relating the study of theory and practical experience, both usually carried on simultaneously; 2) an academic exercise consisting of study and practical work; and 3) supervised experience in counseling or a similar activity through such procedures as role-playing, recorded interviews, abstraction analysis, and supervisory evaluation with interviewing techniques. Work experience, co-op, or internship: a sponsored learning experience in an occupational area for persons preparing for full-time employment, conducted in connection with a course of study, where the students spend a part of their time on an actual job in a school, business, or industry.
See Class or credit hour load above.
The Grade and Program Dismissal Appeals Committee (GAPDAC) renders the final decision on student grade and program dismissal appeals. The complete policy is contained in this catalog in the section entitled Student Rights and Responsibilities.
A course in fundamentals in which a student must achieve a specified grade or “Credit” in order to qualify for enrollment in more advanced courses.
See Academic standing above.
See GAPDAC above.
The numerical value given to letter grades. “A” is equivalent to 4 points; “BA” to 3.5 points; “B” to 3 points; “CB” to 2.5 points; “C” to 2.0 points; “DC” to 1.5 points; and “D” to 1.0 point. An “E” or “X” is equivalent to zero points.
Grade point average (GPA)
A scholastic average of letter grades computed by dividing total honor points by total credit hours attempted. See also Honor points below.
Graduate Center for Research and Retention
A designated unit within the Graduate College that provides mentoring, guidance and support to all graduate students during their trajectory to the graduate degree, and especially at the dissertation/thesis phase of their programs. Refer to www.wmich.edu/grad for additional information.
Graduate certificate program
See Certificate program above.
See Credit above.
Faculty who are approved to perform the functions of graduate education, to include teaching graduate courses, advising graduate students, and serving on graduate student committees. Only members of the graduate faculty may serve on thesis, specialist project, and dissertation committees.
Graduate Research and Creative Scholars Award
The Graduate Studies Council and the Graduate College annually present recognition awards in two categories to graduate students to recognize achievement in research and creative activity: the Department Graduate Research and Creative Scholars Award and the All-University Graduate Research and Creative Scholars Award. These awards acknowledge graduate students’ contributions to the scholarly and artistic productivity of Western Michigan University. Each department with a graduate program may nominate one graduate student for each level of degree offered by the department; by virtue of this nomination, the student will be designated as a Department Graduate Research and Creative Scholar. From among the Department awardees, a faculty committee will select those students whose research or creative activity has exceptional merit to be designated as All-University Graduate Research and Creative Scholars.
Graduate Student Advisory Committee
The Graduate Student Advisory Committee (GSAC) is a standing committee of the Graduate Studies Council. It reviews services and needs of graduate students; makes recommendations to appropriate officials and offices; recommends graduate students for appointments to University councils and committees; and serves as liaison between departmental graduate student organizations, the Graduate Studies Council, and the dean of the Graduate College.
Graduate Student Permanent Program of Study
A Graduate Student Permanent Program of Study is a document composed by a graduate student’s program advisor, listing all courses and other requirements necessary for completion of the degree program to which the student was admitted. The program of study is approved by the program advisor and the graduate dean, filed in the student’s academic folder in the Registrar’s Office, and used to audit the student’s eligibility for the degree at the time the student applies for graduation. Master’s and Specialist programs of study must be filed prior to the student’s completion of 12 hours. Doctoral programs of study must be filed prior to the student’s completion of 18 hours or by the end of the second semester of enrollment.
Graduate Studies Council
The Graduate Studies Council of the Faculty Senate reviews, develops, and recommends policy regarding graduate education at Western Michigan University.
Graduate Teaching Effectiveness Award
The Graduate Studies Council and the Graduate College annually present recognition awards in two categories to graduate students to recognize achievement in teaching excellence; the Department Graduate Teaching Effectiveness Award and the All-University Graduate Teaching Effectiveness Award. These awards acknowledge graduate students’ contributions to the teaching mission of Western Michigan University. Each department with a graduate program may nominate one graduate student for each level of degree offered by the department; by virtue of this nomination, the student will be designated as a Department recipient of the Graduate Teaching Effectiveness Award. From among the Department awardees, a faculty committee will select those students whose teaching activity has exceptional merit to be designated as All-University recipients of the Graduate Teaching Effectiveness Award.
A formal, required evaluation of the student’s academic record and program of study to determine the student’s eligibility for graduation. The audit, initiated by a student’s application for graduation, determines whether all University, degree, and program requirements have been met satisfactorily. See also Audit above.
Deadlines for all degree recipients to apply for graduation are August 1 for Fall graduation, December 1 for Spring graduation, February 1 Summer I and Summer II graduation.
Students who change a graduation date need to notify the Registrar’s Office. No fee for the change is required. The Registrar’s Office will not change a student’s graduation date unless the student notifies them.
Students must be enrolled during the term of graduation.
Financial assistance, usually based on need and not required to be repaid, awarded to a student.
Guidelines for the Preparation of Theses, Specialist Projects, and Dissertations
The University’s official formatting guide for master’s theses, specialist projects, and doctoral dissertations, published by the Graduate College. This publication is available for downloading at www.wmich.edu/grad/guidelines.pdf.
A restraint placed on a student’s ability to register for classes as a result of an unfulfilled monetary obligation or other action by the University.
A numerical value of the letter grade and credit earned in a course, determined by multiplying the grade point earned in the course by the number of credit hours for the course. See also Grade point above.
Human Subjects Institutional Review Board of Western Michigan University (HSIRB)
All research involving contact with human research subjects requires prior approval by the Human Subjects Institutional Review Board of Western Michigan University. No research involving human subjects is exempt from review by this Board. For more information, see www.wmich.edu/research/hsirb.html or telephone the Research Compliance Officer in the Office of the Vice President for Research, 387-8298.
A temporary course grade (“I”) granted by an instructor when illness, necessary absence, or other reasons beyond the control of the student prevent completion of course requirements by the end of the semester or session. An “I” may not be given as a substitute for a failing or low grade. Incomplete grades for graduate students will convert to an “X” if not removed within one calendar year, or sooner if so stipulated by the instructor.
An instructor who assigns a grade of “I” will submit a Report of Incomplete Grade Form located on the faculty menu in GoWMU indicating the remaining requirement for removal of the incomplete grade and indicating the time allowed, if less than one full year.An e-mail will be automatically generated to the student, the Registrar’s Office as well as an e-mail confirmation sent to the instructor.
Enrollment in an appropriately designated, variable credit course for a specific plan of study, authorized and supervised by a designated, consenting faculty member. Normally, it is a project designed to allow a student (or small groups of students) to investigate areas of interest not within the scope of a regular course or to obtain an educational experience outside that normally offered by a regular course. A contract is developed between a faculty member and a student to obtain the experience or to complete the research on a specific topic. In an independent study class, the student works independently on a plan of study, not in a class scheduled to meet regularly in a specific location at a specific time such as a lecture, lab, lecture/lab/discussion, or seminar. The meeting hours to the class are “arranged”.
The faculty member is the responsible custodian of the project, obliged to provide guidance, assistance, criticism, suggestion, and evaluation, and shall be the instructor of record who is responsible for turning a grade into the Registrar’s Office. See also Readings course below.
An organizational unit similar in nature to a center, as defined above, but which may be degree-granting. Typically an institute will be interdisciplinary. Course work for a degree offered through an institute may include some courses offered by the institute itself, but primarily will be comprised of courses in various disciplines/departments already in existence.
Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee of Western Michigan University (IACUC)
The use of any vertebrate animals in research, testing, or instructional projects requires prior approval by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee of Western Michigan University. For more information, see www.wmich.edu/research/animalcare.html or telephone the Research Compliance Officer in the Office of the Vice President for Research, 387-8298.
Institutional Biosafety Committee of Western Michigan University (IBC)
Any activity involving the construction or handling of recombinant DNA molecules or organisms and viruses containing recombinant DNA molecules requires prior notification or approval from the Institutional Biosafety Committee of Western Michigan University. For more information, see www.wmich.edu/research/biosafety.html or telephone the Office of the Vice President for Research, 387-8298.
A term designating a combination of subject matter from two or more disciplines within a course or program.
Work in a firm or agency related to a student’s degree program and/or career plans. Usually involves earning college credit and may involve receiving payment. See also Field experience, practicum, work experience, co-op, internship above.
An official procedure for withdrawing from individual classes without removing registration from all classes that takes place after the last day to drop a course without academic penalty.
Leave of Absence
WMU supports a leave of absence policy to assist graduate students who are temporarily unable to continue their programs. The leave of absence may extend consecutively for up to two semesters and two sessions. Students may request information about the application process from their advisor or view the application form at www.wmich.edu/grad/forms/leave_of_Absence.pdf.
Michigan Intercollegiate Graduate Studies (MIGS) Program
An admissions category for guest graduate students from all Michigan institutions offering graduate degree programs to take advantage of unique educational opportunities on the campuses of other institutions. Western Michigan University participates in this program. No admission application or application fee is required. Both course grades and credit hours transfer to WMU for courses taken under the MIGS program. See www.wmich.edu/grad/forms/migs.pdf or contact the MIGS liaison in the Graduate College for further information.
Michigan residence requirements
The requirements for identifying or establishing permanent residence in Michigan for tuition assessment purposes. For more information, see the “Student Rights and Responsibilities” section in this catalog.
Multiple topic or umbrella course
A variable topic, variable credit course that focuses on a current or a special interest in a specific field or academic area. The course may be repeated for credit with different topics.
Non-degree Admission is granted to the student with a bachelor’s degree who is eligible for enrollment in graduate courses with the understanding that course work taken with this status is specifically for (a) a graduate certificate program, (b) continuing teacher certification, (c) SCOPE registrations, or (d) enrollment as a guest student (e.g., through the Michigan Intercollegiate Graduate Studies program). Such course work usually will not apply to a WMU graduate degree program. If the non-degree admitted student subsequently decides to apply to a specific WMU graduate degree program after his or her non-degree enrollment, a maximum of nine hours of graduate credit elected under this status may be considered for inclusion in a graduate program (with the consent of a program advisor and the Graduate College) and the applicant will be expected to meet all other University and program-specific admission requirements. Students on graduate non-degree status are not eligible to hold a graduate appointment (e.g., assistantship) except for students in graduate certificate programs, who are eligible for appointment only within their certificate program.
A non-degree student is one who has been admitted to a non-degree category and is not otherwise seeking a master’s, specialist, or doctoral degree.
See Class or credit hour load above.
Permission to Elect
A student who intends to register for Master’s Thesis (7000), Specialist Project (7200), or Doctoral Dissertation (7300) for the first time is required to file a completed Permission to Elect form (available at www.wmich.edu/grad/forms.html) with the Graduate College before registering to ensure that the student is informed about the regulations pertaining to the preparation and submission of the manuscript and the requirements for research involving regulated subjects and hazardous materials
A portfolio is a collection of work (e.g., paintings, writings, etc.) that may be used to demonstrate competency in an academic area.
See Field experience, practicum, work experience, co-op, internship above.
A requirement, often the completion of a prescribed course or courses, which must be met before a student may register for another specific course. See also Corequisite above.
Prerequisite with concurrency
A requirement, usually the completion of another course, which may be taken at the same time as the course it is a prerequisite for.
As a condition of academic standing: A student will be placed on probation if the student’s overall grade point average falls below 3.0. See also Academic standing above.
Program Dismissal Appeal
See GAPDAC above.
Program of study (Graduate Student Permanent Program)
A program of study is a document listing the course and other requirements necessary to earn a graduate degree in a specific discipline. The program of study is composed by the advisor and the student, and approved by the graduate dean as meeting all University, program, and degree requirements. The program of study is used to conduct the graduation audit, and therefore must be filed well in advance of the student’s application for graduation: Master’s and Specialist programs of study must be filed prior to the student’s completion of 12 hours; Doctoral programs of study must be filed prior to the student’s completion of 18 hours or by the end of the second semester of enrollment.
A specialist project committee shall be appointed for each student undertaking a project as partial fulfillment of the requirements for a specialist degree. The purpose of the project committee is twofold: 1) to provide the range of expertise necessary to advise a student in the conduct of the specialist project, and 2) to ensure that evaluation of the project represents a consensus of professionals in the student’s chosen discipline.
The specialist project committee is charged with the supervision and evaluation of the specialist project, a task that includes but is not limited to the following responsibilities: a) advise the student on selection and/or development of a specialist project topic; b) review and approve a proposal for the specialist project; c) provide consultation regarding progress on the project; d) evaluate the final document; and e) in those departments requiring an oral defense, evaluate the oral defense of the project.
In addition to the previously described responsibilities that are generic to all project committee members, the chairperson of the committee assumes the following additional responsibilities: a) in those departments where this responsibility is not discharged through other mechanisms, advise the student regarding selection of project committee members; b) routinely monitor student progress on the project; c) call project committee meetings; d) evaluate the readiness of the project proposal and of the project for committee review and action; and e) inform the student of the need to adhere to the Guidelines for the Preparation of Theses, Specialist Projects, and Dissertations (available at www.wmich.edu/grad/guidleines/).
Each project committee shall consist of a minimum of three members or associate members of the graduate faculty of Western Michigan University; the committee chairperson must be a full member of the graduate faculty. Two of the committee members must be from the department or academic program in which the student is pursuing the specialist degree. The appointment of a specialist committee is a three-stage process requiring, first, a mutual agreement between the specialist student and the prospective committee members; second, a formal appointment by the chairperson of the department (or the chairperson’s designee); and third, notification of and approval by the office of the dean of the Graduate College regarding this appointment.
Each unit offering a specialist degree in which the project is either required or optional may approve and disseminate additional guidelines concerning specialist project committees, including the qualifications for committee membership, the procedures used to select and appoint committee members, and the specific functions and responsibilities that the members of these committees have. Additionally, each unit is encouraged to disseminate an updated list of faculty who qualify to serve on specialist project committees and their respective areas of expertise (a current list of graduate faculty members by department is available through the Graduate College at www.wmich.edu/grad/sub-faculty-staff.html).
All doctoral dissertations written at Western Michigan University are required to be published and available to a public audience. The common method of publication is to have ProQuest/UMI Dissertation Publishing microfilm the dissertation and have it available for dissemination to scholars and researchers around the world.
Provisional Admission is granted to the student who meets many of the admission requirements to the University and is expected to be formally admissible. Enrollment status is provisional until additional documents or materials for acceptance in the “General Admission” category are provided. Examples of missing documentation could be a final transcript from another institution where a degree was recently completed or a completion record of a specific placement examination. The time period for any “Provisional Admission” may not exceed one year from the time of initial status with ineligibility for further enrollment after that year.
Quarter or Term hour
A unit of academic credit, usually representing one hour of class time per week for one quarter or term. A “quarter” or “term” is a unit of time, usually 10 to 12 weeks long, in the academic calendar of an institution. Western Michigan University uses the semester calendar. See also Semester hour below.
Radiation Safety Committee (RSC)
All uses of radioactive material, including research-related uses, must be approved by the Radiation Safety Committee prior to initiation. For more information, see www.wmich.edu research/radiation.html or telephone the Radiation Safety Officer in the Office of the Vice President for Research, 387-8298.
A form of independent study, designed to provide a graduate student with an opportunity to read intensively within an area in which further knowledge would be appropriate. Enrollment in the appropriately designated course (5980, in most departments) requires a specific plan of study, authorized and supervised by a consenting faculty member, which includes the amount of reading, a description of the student’s reporting method(s), and the number of credit hours to be earned by the completion of the plan of study. The maximum number of credits allowed to be earned and applied to a degree program is four, whether the readings course credits are all taken in one department or more than one, and the grade earned will be a letter grade.
An enrollment procedure administered by the Office of Admissions that is followed by a student who was previously enrolled in good standing at Western Michigan University but who has not been enrolled for one year or more.
Recombinant DNA Biosafety Committee (RDBC)
All research that involves recombinant DNA molecules must be reviewed and approved by the Recombinant DNA Biosafety Committee prior to initiation. For more information, see www.wmich.edu/research/biosafety.html or telephone the Research Compliance Officer in the Office of the Vice President for Research, 387-8298.
The process of enrolling in and paying tuition and fees for courses each semester or session. For a full explanation of the registration procedures and regulations, consult the Registrar’s website.
An appeal procedure for a student who has been dismissed or who seeks to be continued on probation. Reinstatement must be sought from the academic program’s admission body and a recommendation for reinstatement sent to the Graduate College for approval before the student will be allowed to register.
With the exception of courses that are approved by the University Curriculum Review Policy as repeatable for credit (e.g., multi-topic or umbrella courses), no more than two courses may be retaken and no course may be repeated more than once during the student’s graduate career (inclusive of both master’s and doctoral programs) at WMU. This number may be further limited by individual departments. Permission to retake a course must be obtained from the program advisor and graduate dean before registration for the course to be repeated takes place. The original grade for the course will remain on the student’s transcript, and both the original and repeated course grade will be computed into the degree program grade point average.
An acquired ability that serves in the manner of a tool that assists in one’s research. Doctoral students are expected to acquire the ability to use two research tools, at minimum. Normally, the research tools are selected from among foreign language, statistics, research methodology, and computer programming, although other tools are acceptable in some doctoral programs. Consult the program advisor for a full explanation.
Specialist program: Unless otherwise approved by the University for an individual academic unit, the general residency requirement for specialist students is one academic semester of full-time study on campus or enrollment in two sessions in consecutive years and the intervening semesters. Consult the program advisor for complete information.
Doctoral program: There is no general residency requirement for doctoral students. Each doctoral program or degree granting unit (e.g., college) may, however, with approval of the University through the curriculum review process establish its own residency requirement. Students must meet any such residency requirement prior to approval for candidacy. Students should consult with their advisor regarding the residency requirement for the specific program of interest.
A single-discipline unit which has an identification in the public mind beyond that of a department. Schools may have significant subdivisions such that students will apply for admission and take degrees through the subdivision rather than through the central unit as a whole.
A unit of time, 15 weeks long, in the academic calendar of Western Michigan University. The semesters occur in the fall and the spring. See also Session below.
A unit of academic credit, usually representing one hour of class time per week for one semester (15 weeks) or two hours of class time per week for one session (7 ½ weeks). See also Quarter or Term hour above.
Senior citizen, SCOPE admission status
A special nondegree admission status for persons sixty-two years of age or older that provides senior citizens with opportunities for nondegree study at Western Michigan University. Participants may register in one regularly scheduled class each semester on a seat-available basis. See www.wmich.edu/registrar/adultstudents/scope.html for more information.
A unit of time, 7 ½; weeks long, in the academic calendar of Western Michigan University. The sessions occur in summer I and summer II. See also Semester above.
A master’s thesis committee shall be appointed for each student undertaking a thesis as partial fulfillment of the requirements for a master’s degree. The purpose of the thesis committee is twofold: 1) to provide the range of expertise necessary to advise a student in the conduct of the master’s thesis, and 2) to ensure that evaluation of the thesis represents a consensus of professionals in the student’s chosen discipline.
The master’s thesis committee is charged with the supervision and evaluation of the master’s thesis, a task that includes but is not limited to the following responsibilities: a) advise the student on selection and/or development of a master’s thesis topic; b) review and approve a proposal for the master’s thesis; c) provide consultation regarding progress on the thesis; d) evaluate the final document; and e) in those departments requiring an oral defense, evaluate the oral defense of the thesis.
In addition to the previously described responsibilities that are generic to all thesis committee members, the chairperson of the committee assumes the following additional responsibilities: a) in those departments where this responsibility is not discharged through other mechanisms, advise the student regarding selection of thesis committee members; b) routinely monitor student progress on the thesis; c) call thesis committee meetings; d) evaluate the readiness of the thesis proposal and of the thesis for committee review and action; and e) inform the student of the need to adhere to the Guidelines for the Preparation of Theses, Specialist Projects, and Dissertations (available at www.wmich.edu/grad/guidelines/).
Each thesis committee shall consist of a minimum of three members or associate members of the graduate faculty of Western Michigan University; the committee chairperson must be a full time member of the graduate faculty. At least two of the committee members must be from the department or academic program in which the student is pursuing the master’s degree. The appointment of a master’s thesis committee is a three-stage process requiring, first, a mutual agreement between the master’s student and the prospective committee members; second, a formal appointment by the chairperson of the department (or the chairperson’s designee); and third, notification of and approval by the office of the dean of the Graduate College regarding this appointment.
Each unit offering a master’s degree in which the thesis is either required or optional may approve and disseminate additional guidelines concerning master’s thesis committees, including the qualifications for committee membership, the procedures used to select and appoint committee members, and the specific functions and responsibilities that the members of these committees have. Additionally, each unit is encouraged to disseminate an updated list of faculty who qualify to serve on master’s thesis committees and their respective areas of expertise (a current list of graduate faculty members by department is available through the Graduate College at www.wmich.edu/grad/sub-faculty-staff.html).
Time limit for completion of a degree
Master’s students must elect and complete all work for the degree within six years preceding the date on which the master’s degree is conferred; specialist students entering with a master’s degree, within five years preceding the date on which the specialist degree is conferred; specialist students entering with a bachelor’s degree, within six years preceding the date on which the specialist degree is conferred; doctoral students, within seven years preceding the date on which the doctoral degree is conferred. All transfer credit included in the program of study must also have been completed within these time limits. Students whose degrees are taken primarily through part-time study have the option of requesting an extension from the graduate dean; extensions may also be granted for other students by the graduate dean for such legitimate reasons as illness, injury, or hardship. The form to request a time extension for completion of a degree is available at www.wmich.edu/grad/forms/extensionformnew.pdf.
A transcript is a printed copy of a student’s permanent academic record at a particular institution. The transcript, at minimum, lists all courses taken and credit hours and grades earned, and degrees received.
Transfer credit (graduate)
Credit (graduate) that is earned at another accredited institution and accepted toward a Western Michigan University graduate degree, if approved by the program advisor and if the earned grade in the course is “B” or better. The credit, moreover, must be earned within a six-year period prior to graduation from Western Michigan University with a master’s or specialist degree or within seven years prior to the conferral of the doctoral degree. Grades or honor points earned at another institution do not transfer to WMU and hence do not affect the WMU grade point average (with the exception of the MIGS program; see MIGS above).
Transfer credit evaluation form
An official form which indicates approval of a request to transfer credit and which states the number and type of transfer credit awarded. Credit is not transferred nor applied to a program of study unless the transfer credit evaluation form is completed and approved by the program advisor and the credit evaluator in the Admissions Office.
The amount of money paid for courses based on the number of credits for which the student registers and the student’s residency status.
See Multiple topic course above.
Center: An organizational unit formed for purposes of linkage and visibility, focused on a theme, issue, or set of skills. A center will frequently be interdisciplinary in nature. A center does not offer degree programs but may, on rare occasions, offer a course or courses.
Institute: An organizational unit similar in nature to a center, as defined above, but which may be degree-granting. Typically an institute will be interdisciplinary. Course work for a degree offered through an institute may include some offered by the institute itself, but will be primarily comprised of courses in various disciplines/departments already in existence.
School: A single-discipline organizational unit which has an identification in the public mind beyond that of the department. Schools may have significant subdivisions such that students will apply for admission and take degrees through the subdivision rather than through the central unit as a whole.
University Microfilms, Inc. (UMI)
See ProQuest/UMI above.
Variable credit course
Some courses list a range of credit hours (e.g., 1 to 4 hours) for which the course may be elected, and as such are called “variable credit” courses. Students will determine, in prior consultation with the course instructor or the program advisor, the specific number of course credit hours to elect during the registration period.
An official procedure for withdrawing from the University for at least the remainder of the current semester or longer. The deadline for the last day to withdraw from all courses without academic penalty (grade of “W” is on the transcript) is noted each semester or session on the Registrar’s website. Students who do not follow the official procedure when withdrawing from the University will earn the grade of “X” for all courses; the “X” grade carries no honor points and affects the grade point average in the same manner as an “E” or failing grade.
The symbol “X” on a student’s transcript indicates that the student has never attended the class or has discontinued attendance and does not qualify for any other grade, including an “I” grade. The “X” grade carries no honor points and affects the grade point average in the same manner as an “E” or failing grade. Incomplete grades for graduate students will convert to an “X” if not removed within one calendar year, or sooner if so stipulated by the instructor. See Incomplete above.