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University of West Alabama    
 
    
 
  Nov 22, 2017
 
2012 - 2013 Graduate Catalogue [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Information | 2




Candidacy

Students seeking admission to the School of Graduate Studies must provide a transcript documenting completion of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum 2.75 grade point average (four-point scale). A student who has an undergraduate grade-point average below 2.75 or a graduate grade-point average below 3.00 will be admitted conditionally and will be allowed to take 12 hours of graduate work. If a grade point average of 3.00 or higher is achieved in the first twelve (12) hours, regular admission to the graduate program may be granted and these credit hours may apply toward a degree.
A score on the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) (Verbal and Quantitative) is required for unconditional admission to the School of Graduate Studies. Students should take the GRE or MAT prior to admission to the School of Graduate Studies. Students may be allowed to begin graduate work prior to submission of a test score with the understanding that no one can take beyond nine (9) semester hours without completing this requirement. Students in Instructional Leadership M.Ed. or the Alternative Class A program may not begin courses prior to submission of the MAT or GRE score. Graduate students who have completed an accredited master’s degree program are not required to submit either an MAT or GRE score as a requirement for admission to the School of Graduate Studies.

Students admitted to the School of Graduate Studies are restricted to taking specified professional courses for their first nine hours. After the first nine hours, students may be unconditionally admitted to the School of Graduate Studies if they have submitted their MAT or GRE score and have met all specified program requirements for unconditional admission.

Transfer Credit and Transfer Students

Students who plan to take courses from other institutions must receive written approval from the Graduate Dean before registering to be sure that the desired courses fit their specific programs.

As many as nine semester hours of graduate credit from an accredited institution may be accepted by UWA toward a master’s degree depending on requirements of the specific program. This credit must have been earned within a nine-year period prior to initial enrollment in the graduate program to which it is applied. No transfer credit below “B” level is acceptable. Transfer credit cannot be used to raise grade point average deficiencies at UWA. No credit by correspondence can be used toward a graduate degree. An official record of transferred credit must be sent to the Registrar by the institution from which the credit has been earned before such credit will be considered for acceptance.

Transient Students

Students who are pursuing advanced study at other institutions may be enrolled as transient students at UWA. These students must obtain permission from their colleges on official forms or letters from their deans.

UWA students may be permitted to take work from other institutions as transient students. Transient credit cannot be used to raise grade point average deficiencies at UWA. A grade of “D” or lower earned in residence may not be raised by study at another institution. Official forms for this work will be provided to these students when they are approved for this work by the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies in consultation with the Dean of the College. Any transient work to be counted toward a degree at UWA must have the prior approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies. Grades for transient courses must be in the office of the University Registrar two weeks prior to commencement if they are to be used for meeting graduation requirements at that time.

Grades

The following is the grading system of the School of Graduate Studies at UWA: “A, B, C, D, F, P, I (Incomplete), IP (Internship in Progress), and X (Absent from Examination).” It is the student’s responsibility to complete the necessary work to remove the grade of “I” or “X” at least ten class days prior to the end of the next semester or online session. Failure to remove the “I” or “X” grade during the specified time will result in the student’s receiving an “F” grade.  Students are limited to no more than three academic withdrawals (W and/orWF) after the established drop date, as stated in the University Catalogue, during their entire degree program.  The Dean of the School of Graduate Studies may grant exceptions to this policy.

The entire graduate program rests upon high academic standards. Candidates for master’s degrees must maintain an overall average of “B” in all course work attempted. No grade below “C” will be accepted for graduate credit. In order for a student to graduate from the School of Graduate Studies, the student must earn a 3.00 grade point average on all work attempted, as well as a 3.00 grade point average (3.25 in Instructional Leadership and Education Specialist programs) in the major field of study/teaching field.

Change of Program

Graduate students in good academic standing may apply to change their program by filing a request for degree change through The School of Graduate Studies at least two weeks prior to the next academic term in which they intend to enroll. The School of Graduate Studies reserves the right to deny a change of degree request on the basis of Alabama State Department of Education requirement, college or departmental requirements, program similarity, probationary status, academic record, academic standing, or excessive prior degree changes.  Students are limited to a  maximum of three degree program changes.  The Dean of the School of Graduate Studies may grant exception to this policy.

Admission to the School of Graduate Studies is not equivalent to unconditional admission to an approved program. Candidates admitted to the institution or graduate school on or after August 1, 2012, to enroll in courses in a Class A (master’s level) or Class AA (education specialist level) teaching field program may complete no more than five approved program courses prior to unconditional admission to the program. Students in programs leading to certification may transfer up to five courses from a previous program. Transfer credit accepted for a previous program must be evaluated for credit in a new program. Students may not enroll in new degree coursework without prior approval from The School of Graduate Studies.

Students approved for changes will be automatically enrolled under the requirements of the most current Graduate Catalogue.

Size of Classes

The University reserves the privilege of withdrawing any course in which an insufficient number of students have enrolled (generally, fewer than eight in graduate courses). Large classes are closed or divided into sections whenever the interests of the students are better served by so doing. Decisions involving course enrollments are made by the Dean, with the approval of the Provost.

Withdrawal from College

If a student decides to withdraw from the University during any semester after officially registering, he/she must notify the Graduate Dean’s office in writing. No student is allowed to withdraw within the last ten (10) class days (two weeks) of the semester except in an extreme medical emergency or similar situation, as determined by the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies. A student failing to attend classes without officially withdrawing will automatically receive a grade of “F.”

The student will also be required to pay full tuition and fees for the course(s).

Students are limited to no more than three (3) academic withdrawals (W and/or WF) after the established drop date, as stated in the University Catalogue, during their entire degree program.  The Dean of the School of Graduate Studies may grant exceptions to this policy.

Academic Standing Policy

GOOD ACADEMIC STANDING: Graduate students at The University of West Alabama must maintain an overall grade point average of 3.0 (master’s level) or 3.25 (Instructional Leadership M.Ed. and all education specialist level) to be considered in “Good Academic Standing.” No grade below a “C” will be accepted for graduate credit. Students are responsible for monitoring their own compliance and student status as stated in this policy. The School of Graduate Studies is not required to officially notify a student of a change in his/her academic status.

ACADEMIC WARNING: After completing 12 semester hours, a student will be placed on “Academic Warning” if he/she does not meet the required overall grade point average specified in his/her program. Academic Warning may be removed if the student raises the overall grade point average to a 3.0. (3.25 for Instructional Leadership M.Ed. and education specialist level) by the end of the online term or campus semester in which the student was placed on Academic Warning.

ACADEMIC PROBATION: A student on “Academic Warning” who fails to raise his/her grade point average to a 3.0 will be placed on “Academic Probation.” The student will be removed from Academic Probation if the cumulative GPA is raised to a 3.0. (3.25 for Instructional Leadership M.Ed. and education specialist level) by the end of the online term or campus semester in which the student was placed on Academic Probation.

IMPORTANT: A student on academic probation from UWA may not use credit earned at another institution for clearing his/her academic probation for meeting degree requirements for graduation from UWA. Any credits earned by a student at another institution while he/she is on probation will not transfer back to UWA.

ACADEMIC DISMISSAL: A student on academic probation who again fails to earn the required overall grade point average required in his/her program will be dismissed from the School of Graduate Studies after the probationary period. In the following circumstances a student will be dismissed regardless of whether or not he/she has been placed on Academic Warning or Academic Probation:

  1. A student earns a D and/or F in the same course two times
  2. A student earns three grades of W and/or WF
     

The Dean of the School of Graduate Studies may grant exceptions to this policy.

A student who is preregistered for courses for a subsequent online term or campus semester and is dismissed will be dropped from his/her preregistered courses.

PROCEDURES FOR ACADEMIC APPEAL: One calendar year after dismissal, the student may appeal to the Graduate Appeals Committee for readmission. A student who wishes to appeal for readmission must submit a written request to the Graduate Dean, who will present it to the Graduate Appeals Committee. The appeal must be based on extenuating circumstances which may have caused the student to have academic difficulties for a particular online term or campus semester. The appeal must also provide adequate evidence of ability, maturity, and motivation on the part of the student. Students are limited to no more than two academic appeals.

Readmitted students must maintain satisfactory academic progress in all subsequent terms or semesters until degree completion. Should a readmitted student achieve less than a 3.0 grade point average (3.25 for Instructional Leadership and education specialist programs) in any subsequent term or semester, the student will be academically dismissed without the possibility of readmission.
 

Academic Integrity

 Academic integrity is one of the highest values that held at the University of West Alabama. Academic integrity compels everyone in the University community–faculty, staff, and students alike–to conduct his or her work with honesty, transparency, and honor. In all academic courses, a commitment to academic integrity entails working within the established codes and respecting the intellectual property of others and the fair use of that property. The enforcement of the academic integrity policy, then, is intended to protect the integrity of the University as well as the honor and standing of its students.

Academic dishonesty is defined as an action taken that gives a student an ill gained advantage in any academic pursuit that would not have been available if left solely to the student’s own abilities and performance. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating, assisting in cheating, plagiarism, theft or possession of examinations or other unauthorized class materials, submitting the same assignment in more than one course without the instructors’ consent, knowingly furnishing false academic information (such as falsified transcripts) to the University, altering or attempting to alter a grade or information on any University record, misrepresenting oneself to submit work for another student, or enlisting someone else to submit work falsely for oneself.

Plagiarism is defined as the failure to properly document all materials from sources, published or otherwise, that are included in an essay, research paper, examination, or other assignment. This includes items such as definitions of particular terms taken from a research source. Incidents of plagiarism include quoting or paraphrasing without properly crediting the author, using the syntax of a source document in a paraphrase without significant modifications, or incorporating the ideas of another without attribution by standard documentation. The actual words of a published or online source must be cited properly and enclosed in quotation marks according to the documentation style of the appropriate academic discipline. Failure to do so is plagiarism. Paraphrased material must also be documented accurately and appropriately and must represent the student’s own words and own unique sentence structure. Failure to do so, again, is plagiarism. Finally, material which is carelessly or incompletely paraphrased is also regarded as an incident of plagiarism. It is the responsibility of the student to learn these academic conventions and abide by them. Further information about using sources and citations may be found via the Julia Tutwiler Library Home Page (http://library.uwa.edu/). This same page provides information on avoiding plagiarism in any of the style manuals given in the links.

The University of West Alabama reserves the right to use electronic means to detect and help prevent plagiarism. By enrolling at UWA, students agree to have course documents submitted to www.Turnitin.com or other means of electronic verification. All materials submitted to Turnitin.com will become source documents in Turnitin.com’s restricted access database, solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism in such documents. Students may be required by instructors to individually submit course documents electronically to Turnitin.com.

In instances where a faculty or staff member believes a student has committed or assisted in an act of general academic dishonesty, such as theft of an exam, attempting to alter a grade, falsifying transcripts, or assisting in an act of academic dishonesty, the student is consulted to determine if the matter can be resolved. Following consultation with the student, if the faculty member believes an act of academic dishonesty has been committed and that punitive action is warranted, the matter is referred to the Academic Integrity Committee in writing in the form of an Academic Dishonesty Incident Report, which is available in the Handbook for Faculty and Professional Staff. The faculty member may also include a recommendation for possible disciplinary action consistent with those listed in accordance with the University Student Code of Conduct.

In a case of determination of academic dishonesty related to a specific class assignment, such as an act of plagiarism or cheating on an exam, the faculty member must notify the student and explain the nature of the charge and the nature of the punishment to be imposed. The faculty member is authorized to choose from the following options for such an offense:

  1. Having the student rewrite the assignment, with or without a grade penalty
  2. Giving the student an “F” or a zero for the assignment or a portion of the assignment
  3. Giving the student an “F” for the course, if justified by the seriousness of the offense and only done in consultation with the appropriate Dean(s) and Chair.

Should the professor feel the incident needs further action, he or she may refer the student to the Academic Integrity Committee by filing an Academic Dishonesty Incident Report Form detailing the infraction with the Chairperson of the committee. A copy is also filed with the Office of the Provost.

A student accused of academic dishonesty is afforded due process considerations and has the right to a hearing before the Academic Integrity Committee and the right to legal representation during that hearing. A student may request a hearing by writing to the Dean of his or her College, who will in turn refer the matter to the Academic Integrity Committee. A student may waive the right to due process and instead allow the punitive action to be determined by the committee. In this case, the student will sign a form waiving due process.

In adjudicating the case, if the Academic Integrity Committee finds the student guilty, it may impose the following action(s):

  1. No further action
  2. Written reprimand
  3. Disciplinary suspension for one or more semesters
  4. Expulsion
  5. Other penalties as appropriate

A decision rendered in a hearing by the Academic Integrity Committee will be conveyed in writing to the student and to the accusing professor as well as to the Provost. The student may appeal the decision in writing to the Provost no later than three working days after final action in the matter. Right to counsel or representation will also be available in the appeals process.

Cases of academic dishonesty will be pursued under this policy regardless of when they are discovered, and grades and diplomas may be rescinded as a result.

October 14, 2008; Rev. April 24, 2009; November 13, 2012

Academic Load

The maximum load for a graduate student is thirteen semester hours of course work a semester. This total applies to combined graduate/undergraduate hours online and on-campus. The maximum load for an eight-week online session is seven semester hours.

For the Summer session only, the maximum load for a graduate student is ten semester hours of course work. This total also applies to combined graduate/undergraduate hours online and on-campus.

Students holding graduate stipends must take at least three semester hours and no more than ten semester hours of graduate work a semester (online and on-campus combined).

With approval of the Graduate Dean, students registering for SC 549 , SC 559 , SC 569  or LM 569  may take an additional three hours that semester (online and on-campus combined).

With approval of the Graduate Dean, students with a graduate GPA of 3.60 or higher may register for an additional three hours if the hours will allow them to graduate that semester/session.

The Graduate Dean must approve all graduate student overloads.

Time Limit

All requirements for the master’s degree must be completed in not more than nine years from the initial enrollment.

Second Chance Policy

Courses over nine years old are not accepted toward graduation, nor are they considered in calculating G.P.A.

A complete history of courses will appear on the student’s transcripts regardless of whether the courses are or are not included in the program or in the calculation of G.P.A

Absences

Students are expected to display responsible judgment in regard to class attendance, and faculty members are expected to keep an accurate record of attendance in all classes, recording all absences, including those due to late registration or change of schedule. It is also the student’s responsibility to keep a record of absences.

An absence policy will be provided in each course, and a student’s grade may be lowered for excessive absences. A student cannot receive credit for a course if he/she is absent more than one-third of the class meetings, regardless of the reason for the absences.

Absences may be excused by a professor if the student presents adequate evidence of a legitimate reason, such as illness or other emergency. In the event that the student and the professor do not agree on the acceptability of the excuse presented, the matter should be referred to the Graduate Dean for determination. The professor or the Graduate Dean may require the student to have written evidence sent directly from the student’s doctor, or other persons involved.

Professors are not expected to provide make-up examinations for students absent from an announced test without legitimate excuse. Either the professor or the Graduate Dean must judge the legitimacy of the absence before a make-up test is given. In the event a student is absent from a final examination, he/she must present evidence to the student’s Dean to justify a make-up examination. When professors receive authorization from the student’s Dean to provide such examinations, they will set a mutually agreeable time for them.

Policies of the Julia Tutwiler College of Education

The following policies should be observed carefully by those students enrolled in the Teacher Education Program:

  1. In the event a student does not complete the requirements for the graduate degree within a period of six years from the date of admission to the University, the College of Education reserves the right to modify the student’s program in such a way as to bring it into harmony with current degree requirements, to re-evaluate credits transferred from other institutions, and to require further work in some areas in which the courses are over ten years old. Courses over nine years old may not be used in the teaching field or professional education for certification without approval of the Dean.
  2. The Teacher Education Program and the Teacher Certification Program are governed by the Alabama State Department of Education, and the College of Education reserves the right to change requirements in these programs at any time when such changes are mandated by the State Department.
  3. When students enroll in the College of Education, they are assigned advisors who are responsible for providing general guidance as students plan their work toward graduation. Each student, however, is responsible for determining his/her own status in regard to meeting the particular requirements for graduation in the chosen area of study. Exceptions to the requirements stated in the catalogue must be approved in writing by the student’s advisor, the chairperson(s) of all departments involved, and the Dean of the Julia Tutwiler College of Education. A record of the exception is placed in the student’s folder in the Office of the Dean and the official record folder in the Office of the Registrar.
  4. Students who are not enrolled for at least two consecutive semesters may be required to follow the catalogue that is in effect at the time of their return.

     

Official Student Records

Access to Student Records

Attention of all students, their parents, and UWA alumni is called to the provisions of Public Law 93-380, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, also known as “The Buckley Amendment.” Under the provisions of this law, all students and former students of the University have the right to inspect their official educational records in the Office of the Registrar. This right of inspection does not apply to any information submitted to this office as confidential prior to January 1, 1975, nor to access by students to financial records of parents. Parents or guardians of a student may not see records nor receive any grades unless the student specifically designates that his/her records and/or his/her grades may be made available to the parents or guardians. Grades are mailed to the address indicated by the student on his/her registration form.

Information classified as “Directory Information” may be released by the University unless a student specifically informs the Registrar in writing that his/her written consent is necessary before even this information may be released. “Directory Information” includes the following:

  1. Name, address, telephone listing
  2. Date and place of birth
  3. Major and minor fields of study
  4. Participation in officially recognized athletics and other activities, including weight and height of members of athletic teams
  5. Dates of attendance
  6. Degrees and awards received
  7. The most recent previous educational institution attended.
     

Other information from a student’s record will be released only to UWA officials, including professors, who have legitimate educational interests, unless the student has given his/her written consent for the release of specific information to others. For example, such a request as the release of a student’s grade-point average to other students for consideration of eligibility for a student organization will not be honored by the Registrar’s Office unless the student involved has specifically requested the release of this information.

Students who have questions regarding their official records should address them to the Registrar.

Transcripts of Credit

In compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, UWA does not release transcripts of a student’s work at the University except upon the student’s written request. A student or former student who desires a transcript of his/her record from the University should write to the Registrar, giving the date of attendance and the name of the institution or person to whom the records are to be sent. Students should be sure to state all names which may have been entered on their college records. A student may secure an unofficial transcript for personal use, but official transcripts are sent only to other colleges or organizations for reference purposes. Official transcripts cannot be delivered “by hand” unless specifically requested by the college or organization receiving the transcript.

A fee of $5 is charged for each transcript, whether it is an official or unofficial copy.

Transcripts are not issued for students who have failed in some way to complete their registration procedures or who have outstanding obligations to the University.

Service Members Opportunity College

In cooperation with thirteen higher education associations and a large number of colleges and universities, UWA participates in a network of four-year Service Members Opportunity Colleges, designed to provide opportunities for men and women in the armed services of the United States to pursue educational programs and complete degrees through a variety of traditional and non-traditional means. Among the features of this program are flexible entrance requirements, increased study opportunities, opportunities for completion of interrupted work, special academic assistance, credit for certain in-service educational experiences, and adaptable requirements.

Members of the armed services desiring more information should write to the Director of Admissions, Station 4, the University of West Alabama, Livingston, Alabama 35470.

Career Services

The Career Services Office, located in Foust Hall, is available to assist students who are in the process of making career decisions. The office also offers services to assist students and alumni conducting a job search through resume and job search counseling, on-campus interviews, career fairs, job listing, placement file referrals and a resume referral service.

Certification

Upon satisfactory completion of requirements for the Master’s or Education Specialist degree (including the State approved professional education requirements and experience) students who initially held or met requirements for an Alabama Class B or A Professional Certificate will qualify for the appropriate Alabama Class A or AA Professional Certificate.

Out-of-state students who plan to qualify for master’s degrees or higher level certificates or for special endorsements for their respective states should check carefully the requirements of their states. If an individual is admitted to an Alabama Class A program based on a bachelor’s level professional educator certificate in another state, completes a Class A program and desires Alabama certification, he/she must earn a Class B Alabama Professional Educator Certificate prior to applying for Class A certification.

If an individual is admitted to an Alabama Class AA program based on a master’s-level professional educator certificate in another state, completes a Class AA program, and subsequently applies for Alabama certification at the Class AA level, then the individual must earn at least an Alabama Class A Professional Educator Certificate before applying for Class AA certification.

Application for certification is the student’s responsibility and is made through the Certification Officer, the University of West Alabama, Station 8, Livingston, AL 35470 or by calling 205-652-3423. The State of Alabama requires that application for certification be submitted within five years of the graduation date.

A Special Alternative Certificate (SAC) allows a superintendent or administrator to employ an applicant who is completing requirements for initial Class AA certification in a special education teaching field through a State-approved Class AA program at an Alabama institution. Additional information, including requirements and restrictions, is provided in Rule 290-3-2-.06.

Prerequisite Certificates for Traditional Class A and AA Programs

Individuals who have completed an approved program at an institution during one semester may enroll in coursework in a traditional Class A or Class AA program for the following semester in the SAME institution. These individuals may enroll for one semester of up to 15 semester hours of coursework prior to holding the prerequisite certificate. Any transferred courses must be included in the 15 semester hour limit. The prerequisite certificate must be verified prior to enrollment in any additional coursework.

Changes in Teacher Education and Teacher Certification Requirements

The Teacher Education Program and the Teacher Certification Program are governed by the Alabama State Department of Education, and the College of Education reserves the right to change requirements in these programs at any time when such changes are mandated by the State Department.

Degree Programs

The Degree of Master of Education

Students who complete requirements for the degree of Master of Education and who meet all requirements specified by the State Board of Education may be recommended for teacher certification in one of the following areas as determined by the nature of their work: Early Childhood; Elementary; High School; Pre-school-Grade Twelve; School Counseling; Instructional Leadership; Library Media and Special Education.

The Degree of Master of Arts in Teaching

The degree of Master of Arts in Teaching (Certification) is designed for those students who are already certified at the baccalaureate level and wish to pursue a master’s degree program. Specific certification requirements can be met while students are working toward the M.A.T. degree.

The degree program leading to the Master of Arts in Teaching (Non-Certification) is available to those students who hold a non-teaching bachelor’s degree and would like to prepare more thoroughly in a specialized academic area. This degree is oriented toward the preparation of students who plan to teach in the junior and community colleges or pursue advanced studies beyond the master’s level.

The Degree of Master of Science in Continuing Education

The Master of Science in Continuing Education program is designed to meet the needs of those students who are interested in pursuing graduate work as a means of personal development and/or preparation for certain professional areas requiring a master’s degree.

Second Master’s Degree

For a second master’s degree, the student must fulfill all requirements for the degree program. The student may transfer a maximum of nine semester hours from the first master’s degree in non-certification programs. Credit from the previous degree cannot be over nine years old.  Students in certification programs are required to complete at least 30 new semester hours of credit.

The Degree of Education Specialist

The Education Specialist degree is specifically designed to meet the Alabama State requirements for Class AA Certification in the following areas: Elementary Education, School Counseling, Instructional Leadership, Teacher Leader, Collaborative Special Education (K-6), Collaborative Special Education (6-12), Early Childhood Education and Library Media. The Education Specialist degree is also designed to provide the student with the skills necessary to become creative problem solvers, leaders, and instruments of change in the school.

Degree Requirements

Level of Courses

Graduate students who have taken a 400/500 level course as an undergraduate will not be allowed to take the course again at the 500 level for graduate credit. Courses at the 600-level are restricted to students in the Education Specialist programs.

Required Tests for Graduate Students

One of the following tests is required of all graduate students (See Admission to the School of Graduate Studies ):

  1. Graduate Record Examination (Verbal & Quantitative)
  2. Miller Analogies Test
     

Comprehensive Examination

All students are required to pass a comprehensive examination in order to successfully complete master’s and education specialist degree programs.

Students in the M.Ed. programs in School Counseling, Library Media, Instructional Leadership, and the M.S.C.E. programs in Guidance and Counseling and Library Media must pass the Praxis II as their comprehensive examination. Information on the Praxis II can be obtained at www.ets.org/praxis or 1-800-772-9476. Students may also contact the School of Graduate Studies or the Division of Online Programs.

Students in all other programs must successfully complete a UWA-administered comprehensive examination designed to determine a candidate’s ability in his/her particular field of study. The information that follows applies to UWA-administered examinations, but not to the Praxis II.

Eligibility to Take Comprehensive Examination

Students in the M.Ed. programs in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, students in the M.Ed. programs in the College of Liberal Arts, students in the M.S.C.E. programs (General and Counseling/Psychology), students in the Ed.S., M.Ed., and M.A.T. (Certification and Non-certification) programs in the School of Graduate Studies are eligible to take the comprehensive examination upon completion of twenty-four semester hours of coursework in their programs.

In the College of Liberal Arts and in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics students in the M.A.T. Certification programs are eligible to take the comprehensive examination upon completion of twenty-four semester hours, fifteen of which must be in the teaching field, and students in the M.A.T. Non-certification programs are eligible upon completion of twenty-four semester hours, twenty-one of which must be in the teaching field.

Moreover, to be eligible to take the examination, all students must have a minimal GPA of 3.0 (3.25 for the Ed.S.) on all work attempted as well as in the teaching/subject area.

Scheduling of Examinations and Application Process

Comprehensive examinations are scheduled once each on-campus semester (Fall, Spring, Summer). Dates for comprehensive examinations can be found in the academic calendar in the Graduate Catalogue and on the following website: www.uwa.edu/Academic_Calendars.aspx.

Application to take the examination must be made two weeks prior to the examination. The application must be approved by both the Dean of Graduate Studies and the academic Dean of the student’s field. Applications are available in the Office of the School of Graduate Studies and at secure.uwa.edu/application/compexam/default.asp . Applications are to be submitted to the Office of the School of Graduate Studies for processing.

Repeating a Comprehensive Examination

A student who fails the comprehensive examination upon the first attempt will be permitted to take the examination a second time. However, in order to be permitted to take the examination a third and final time, a student must complete at least six to nine semester hours of coursework as specified by his/her advisor and approved by the Graduate Dean in addition to the number of semester hours normally required for his/her master’s degree program. Such additional coursework may be a repetition of courses already taken. If a student fails the comprehensive examination the second time, he/she must wait two full on-campus semesters before taking the test the third time. A student who fails the comprehensive examination in his/her declared degree program will not be allowed to enter another degree program until he/she has completed the first program.

If a student fails the comprehensive examination a third time, he or she will be dismissed from the School of Graduate Studies and may not apply for readmission to Graduate Studies until after a period of two years. If readmitted, the student may transfer a maximum of nine semester hours from previous programs (Note: the transferred courses cannot be over nine years old).

A student who fails the comprehensive examination in his/her declared degree program will not be allowed to enter another degree program until he/she has completed the first program.

A student is permitted to take only one comprehensive examination (whether on-campus or online) during any on-campus semester (Fall, Spring, or Summer). If a student fails a comprehensive exam, he/she must submit a new application in order to take the examination again at a later scheduled time.

Filing for a Degree

Each candidate for a master’s or education specialist degree must apply for the degree through the Registrar’s Office no later than the registration period of the semester in which he/she expects to meet requirements for the degree. Application forms are available in the registration line or in the Registrar’s Office. It is the responsibility of the student to file this application. The last day for filing an application for a degree is shown in the University calendar. Students who fail to meet the degree requirements after filing for the degree or diploma, must refile for the degree when requirements are completed.

Thesis Requirements

A thesis evidencing research capacity, independent thought, and the ability to interpret materials is required of all candidates for the master’s degree who pursue the thesis option. The subject chosen must be in the major field and must be approved by the thesis committee of the major department or school, by the head of the major department or division, and the dean of the college.

A completed copy of the thesis must be submitted to the major department at least four weeks before the date the candidate expects to receive the degree. At least three weeks before graduation, two copies of the thesis, approved by the thesis committee, the head of the major department or division, and the Dean of the College must be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, along with an abstract not exceeding 350 words and a receipt for the binding fee. Theses must comply with the regulations set out in the publication A Manual for Students Preparing a Master’s Thesis, which is available in the Graduate School office. Approval of the thesis by the Graduate Dean is necessary before graduation.

The thesis should be completed, if possible, while the student is in residence at the University. To request permission to complete a thesis in absentia, the student must, before leaving the University, submit a satisfactory outline of the thesis, as well as evidence that adequate facilities are available where the work will be done, to the head of the major department or school.

Thesis

  1. A program may require or allow a candidate for the master’s degree to prepare a thesis. A maximum of six semester hours of a “599” thesis credit may be counted toward meeting the minimum hours required for a degree; some programs may allow fewer than six semester hours (see specific program).
  2. The grade of “IP” (in progress) is assigned to the thesis credit; upon completion and approval of the thesis by the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, a grade point grade (A, B, C, D, F) and accumulated credit are assigned. If not changed to a grade point grade by the end of two years after the first “IP” is given, the “IP” automatically becomes “WF”.
  3. A student in a thesis option program will be required to prepare a thesis prospectus during the first semester he/she is enrolled in “599.” The thesis advisor, department chair, dean and the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies will be given copies of the prospectus.
  4. An oral defense of the thesis is required with the complete thesis committee in attendance and it is open to all members of any relevant discipline employed by the University of West Alabama. A detailed announcement will be publicly posted and published in the UWA Report two weeks prior to the defense.
  5. The student must be enrolled in at least one hour of thesis during the semester in which the thesis is approved by the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies. Normally, thesis students should be enrolled in “599” continuously from inception of the project until final approval of the thesis by the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies. A maximum of six semester hours of thesis credit will be counted toward the student’s degree program.
  6. See “Guidelines for Theses” and “Standards for Theses” in the Graduate Catalogue.

Guidelines for Theses

  1. Students who intend to write a thesis should, early in their programs, consult with the department chair for a list of members of the graduate faculty from which to select an advisor to supervise and direct their research.
  2. If the member of the graduate faculty selected by the student consents to serve as an advisor, then the advisor and student initiate a recommendation for the thesis committee using the appropriate thesis recommendation form. These forms can be obtained from the School of Graduate Studies, Station 31 or Bibb Graves 122.
  3. A Master’s thesis committee must have a minimum of three members of the graduate faculty with at least one member from outside the student’s department.
  4. The Dean of the Graduate School is the appointing authority for the thesis committee on the recommendation of the Dean of the respective college. Once the Graduate Dean has appointed the committee, the student prepares a thesis prospectus under the direction of the committee.
  5. A Manual for Students Preparing a Master’s Thesis, Second Edition, 2009 is the guide for preparation of the prospectus and the thesis. The manual is available in the School of Graduate Studies, Bibb Graves 122.
  6. Once a thesis committee is appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School, the student may then enroll for “599” thesis credit with permission of the thesis committee chair (advisor or major professor).
  7. Normally, thesis students should be enrolled in “599” continuously from inception of project until final approval of the thesis by the Dean of the Graduate School. (See Thesis Section E.)
  8. The student must be enrolled in at least one hour of “599” in the semester in which the thesis is approved by the Dean of the Graduate School.
  9. To be considered for approval by the Dean of the Graduate School, an acceptable thesis must be submitted to the Graduate School office by the deadline announced in the University Calendar (see front of the Graduate Catalogue).
  10. The final copy of the thesis must be bound and placed in the University of West Alabama Julia Tutwiler Learning Resources Center. The student’s thesis advisor is also presented with a bound copy. In addition to the bound copy, an electronic disk of the thesis will also be submitted to the Learning Resources Center by the prospective Master’s candidate. The cost of having two (2) copies (and any other additional copies) of the thesis bound and the electronic disk will be incurred by the student.

Standards for Theses

  1. A thesis should demonstrate that the student has the capacity for original research, facility in the use of the English language, the ability to review appropriate background material, formulate and address significant questions, obtain, collate, and analyze appropriate data and draw logical conclusions therefrom, and integrate in a meaningful way the new knowledge into the greater body of existent knowledge and state its significance. The final thesis must be acceptable to the major professor, a majority of the thesis committee, the chair of the student’s department, and the Dean of the Graduate School.
  2. Thesis research will be consistent with the standards established by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. These standards are described in detail in the document, Standard of the College Delegate Assembly, Commission on Colleges, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
  3. The thesis must be an original research and/or creative project. This document will demonstrate the student’s ability to:
    1. Select a topic and delineate a problem that can be studied in terms of time, equipment needs and experimental populations available to the faculty sponsor.
    2. Search adequately the literature for relevant studies on the topic of choice.
    3. Organize and analyze the information that is available, using logical and/or statistical analysis appropriate for the project.
    4. Present the results orally and in written form to the satisfaction of the Faculty Thesis Committee and the graduate faculty.
    5. Present a final document as a Thesis to the Graduate School office in an acceptable form and by the procedures outlined in A Manual for Students Preparing a Master’s Thesis, the University of West Alabama.

Praxis II

As a precondition of certification, anyone completing a program in Instructional Leadership, Library Media, or School Counseling must earn a specific minimum score on the Praxis II.

Alternative Class A students must have a passing score on the Praxis II as a requirement for admission to the program.

Course Requirements for the Master’s Degree

Course Substitutions

Any substitutions of courses or other exceptions of the requirements for a degree must have the written approval of the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies after appropriate consultation with the Dean of the College.

Special Education Requirement

All students seeking Class A or AA Certification in any field shall be required to complete a general survey course in Special Education (three semester hours) if such a course was not a part of their undergraduate or graduate program. This course must be an elective in education if the specific program has elective hours.