Bylaws Article VII, Section 2, of the 1998-99 Constitution, Bylaws, and Standing Rules of the University Faculty Senate provides the authorization for the Graduate School to approve new and revised graduate programs and courses. It reads as follows:
The faculty of the Graduate School, as represented by the Graduate Council, is delegated authority for the interests of the Graduate School except in those matters that have University-wide implications; it shall administer its own affairs subject to review by the Senate.
- The review process shall include a report of actions of the Graduate Council to the Senate through the Senate Council. On special motion of the Senate Council, any of those actions may be placed on the agenda of the Senate for appropriate action.
- The Senate Council will provide for liaison with the Graduate Council.
- The Dean of the Graduate School shall present an annual report to the University Faculty Senate. (Pending approval by the University Faculty Senate in the Fall of 1998.)
This delegation is interpreted by the Graduate School to include actions governing the introduction of new programs and courses, and changes in existing programs and courses.
The Graduate Council Program, Option, or Minor Proposal Form must be completed when proposing program/option/minor additions, changes, or drops. Proposals for new graduate programs, extended access of graduate programs, integrated undergraduate/graduate programs, changes in graduate degree requirements, graduate program name changes, and discontinuing graduate programs all must be submitted for review through the Graduate Council. Guidelines for extended access of graduate degree programs, integrated undergraduate/graduate degree programs and dual-title degree programs are available upon request through the Dean of the Graduate School, 114 Kern Graduate Building.
All proposals must include a justification statement for action being taken. Submit 1 copy of the proposal form and 25 copies of the supporting documents to the University Curriculum Coordinator at the University Faculty Senate Office. It is important that the proposal include a copy of the program in a format suitable for inclusion in the Graduate Degree Programs Bulletin. Prepare documentation in the outline format as shown below. The proposer is reminded that the Subcommittee and Committee reviewing the proposed program may not have knowledge of the field and is encouraged to provide as much documentation as possible for the reviewers. All proposals, whether a new program or a program change, must be consecutively paginated or the proposal will be returned to the proposing unit. In addition, a table of contents needs to be included in the proposal.
APPLICATION PROCEDURES AND GUIDELINES
In framing these guidelines, the Graduate Council and its Committee on Programs and Courses wish to emphasize that participation in newly established and continued IUG programs is appropriate for some, but not all, students who formally meet the minimum standards for admission to such a program. In particular, minimal performance in the graduate degree portion of an IUG program serves no particular purpose, and marginally prepared students undertake such a program at great risk of failure.
IUG programs should therefore address very clearly, in their program-specific guidelines, the issues of admission and appropriateness of the program to individual students. The selectivity of IUG programs is reflected in the small proportion of students who enroll in an IUG program in a given year. In year 1995-96, for example, only 2.7 percent of those students enrolled in baccalaureate degrees in the University Scholars Program, which is already a highly selected pool of students, were pursuing an IUG.
IUG programs should also be specific about the mechanisms for evaluating students for admission and for monitoring and mentoring their progress in the program. Although there are many advantages to IUG programs, care must be taken to properly develop and coordinate the plans of students to ensure proper admissions procedures, an adequate level of rigor, efficient sequencing of courses, and expedient completion of the program of study. Proposals for IUG degree programs should include a draft version of a student handbook that will provide guidance for prospective students.
Each point below should be addressed in the proposal and in the program handbook. Any other points relevant to a specific IUG program should also be addressed.
(Approved by the Graduate Council - May 8, 1996)
*While no single criterion can consistently distinguish between academic and professional programs, there are several dimensions that each inform the decision whether a program should be offered as an M.A., M.S., or Ph.D. or as a professional degree. While exceptions exist for each, the following statements tend to be true:
- Academic degrees train students to conduct research and emphasize the generation of new knowledge, whereas professional degrees train students to apply existing knowledge to practical problems
- Academic degrees include a research requirement (paper, thesis, dissertation) while professional degrees may not include any research component, but this is not exclusive).
- Professional degrees are often interdisciplinary in emerging fields and emphasize cross-training (e.g., law and environmental science; journalism and medicine). Academic degree programs may be interdisciplinary within broad fields (e.g., life sciences), but have a traditional disciplinary core (e.g., biology).
- Academic masters degrees are traditionally intended to prepare students for doctoral work in the field, while professional masters degrees are typically considered "terminal" degrees, though in some fields students may qualify for admission to doctoral study based upon the professional masters in that field.
- Professional degrees emphasize professional development for advancement in specific careers (practitioners)
- Students entering professional degree programs often need not have undergraduate training in the field, and the curiculum provides foundation material assuming a diversity of backgrounds. Students entering academic degree programs typically must have undergraduate training in the field and graduate work begins with advanced study in that field.
The proposed degree title should communicate more broadly the nature of the training (not in terms of discipline, but in terms of types of competencies, etc. that cut across fields) and it is a huge problem if it is not well recognized and established because it would not convey known expectations to the market place. On the professional masters side, there are also some very well-established degrees such as the M.B.A., M.Eng., M.F.A., and M.Ed., and because the attributes of these degrees are well established and have market value, they are applied to many disciplinary fields; e.g., there are large number of programs in Engineering that offer the M.Eng., a large number of programs in Education that offer the M.Ed., etc.), just as the M.S. is the well-established degree across a broad range of sciences, technology fields, etc.
The intent of the Graduate Council policy is, absent a well established degree title already nationally recognized (e.g., M.B.A., M.Eng., etc.), to build a well established degree for new professional masters programs (much as the M.S. and M.A. are used across many disciplinary fields) by uniformly using the M.P.S. (Master of Professional Studies). The M.P.S. degree is nationally recognized (and in some places where higher education is regulated at the state level, e.g., New York State, including public and private institutions such as Cornell, used as the title for all professional masters degrees), as well as in many other countries.
**An option is a distinct curricular specialization within (but not exclusive to) a major; it is the only formal curricular specialization within a major that is recognized on the transcript and diploma for students in the major. Options are defined by certain minimim requirements related to the distinctiveness and commonality of the coursework in the major. (NOTE: All portions of the requirements below must be met.)
a. Each option in a major requires at least a certain minimum number of specific course credits (i.e., exclusive of 600 thesis credits, culminating experience credits, internship credits, etc.) that are distinct to the option. The minimum number of these credits is the lesser of 18 credits or one-third of the course credits required for the major. For example, in the case of a 30 credit master's degree program with 24 course credits required and two approved options, each identified option must require a minimum of 8 course credits none of which are required by any other option in the major (i.e., at least 8 course credits required of students in Option A must be different from any course credits required of students in Option B, etc.). Options may share additional common course credits as wel, but the minimum requirements indicated above for course credits unique to the respective options must be met.
b. In addition, at least one-fourth of the required course credits in a major with options must be common to all stuents in the major; this constitutes a "core", regardless of the option selected. Thus, if 24 course credits are required in a given master's program, at least 6 credits must be in common (core) for all students in the program.
A student can be enrolled in an option only within his/her major. However, any major may adopt any approved option through the graduate program proposal process. Graduate programs that wish to adopt a previously approved option should submit a joint proposal with the academic unit that originated and offers that option. Any given option must have the same curricular (course) requirements in all majors in which it is offered. All programs should use the term option in lieu of the terms emphasis or track when preparing program changes or proposing new program specializations.
***A minor must be in one of the approved graduate degree programs offered at Penn State or a formal graduate minor program that has been approved by the Graduate Council and should provide valuable intellectual and/or professional breadth and depth to a studentís program. A minor must consist of a minimum of 15 credits for doctoral programs and 6 credits for masterís programs.
Prepared by the Committee on Programs
and Courses 1996
Revised by the Committee on Programs and Courses 2003
Revised by the Committee on Programs and Courses 2008
The program proposal form is available at http://www.senate.psu.edu/curriculum_resources/guide/grad_proposal_form.html.
B. Post-Baccalaureate Credit Certificate Programs
Post-baccalaureate credit certificate programs are designed to meet the requirements of stakeholders or needs as identified by faculty.
All post-baccalaureate credit certificates should be referred to as a Penn State College/School of "X" Post-Baccalaureate Credit Certificate in (Program Area).
Students in a post-baccalaureate credit certificate program must have completed a baccalaureate degree prior to enrolling in the courses in the program.
Courses in post-baccalaureate credit certificate programs will adhere to existing University policies and procedures for course approval as outlined by the academic unit and the appropriate Senate and/or Graduate Committees.
The individuals involved in development of the academic content of the post-baccalaureate certificate will include faculty designated by the responsible academic unit.
Academic units will determine the minimum and maximum number of courses or credits to meet the requirements of certificates. Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 599; 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements. Courses below 400 level may not. To be considered graduate-level, at least half of the credits required in a post-baccalaureate certificate should be at the 500- or 800- level. Exceptions to this requirement may be made on a case-by-case basis by appeal to the Graduate Council Committee on Programs and Courses.
Because the maximum number of credits taken in nondegree status that can be transferred to a graduate program is 15, it is strongly recommended that post-baccalaureate certificate programs not exceed this limit. It is recommended that there be a minimum of nine credits, with a typical certificate in the twelve- to fifteen-credit range.
Whether the course in a post-baccalaureate credit certificate program will be accepted as graduate level applicable toward a Penn State degree will depend on the criteria for the graduate program as defined by the graduate degree program and the Graduate School. The academic unit proposing the post-baccalaureate certificate program must clearly specify the relationship between the coursework in the post-baccalaureate credit certificate program and any relevant graduate degree program, including in all marketing materials. The latter must be explicit in conveying that up to 15 credits of coursework taken in nondegree status can count towards a graduate degree, however, admission into a graduate program, and credit towards a graduate degree for specific courses taken in nondegree status, is up to the graduate program.
All instructors teaching courses in the certificate program will be approved by the academic unit. Instructors for 500-level courses must be members of the Graduate Faculty or, if not, must be approved by the Graduate School.
The quality of a post-baccalaureate credit certificate program resides with the college or school, which appoints the instructors, select the courses, and supervise the program.
Colleges/Schools can offer post-baccalaureate programs through any appropriate Penn State delivery system.
Monitoring and assessing the financial viability of the post-baccalaureate credit certificate program will be a joint responsibility of the delivery system and the academic unit.
Each College/School in the University will have a systematic proposal development review and approval process for post-baccalaureate credit certificate programs. This process should include consultation regarding the proposed certificate offering with other relevant units1.
Post-baccalaureate certificate programs should include a 5-year sunset clause, with removal of the certificate offering taking effect automatically upon the preplanned termination date, unless a request for a renewal is submitted through the college/school's regular approval process. Requests for renewals must include a copy of the original proposal, and a justification for the renewal, which can be for up to 5 years. There is no limit to the number of successive renewals that can be requested per certificate program.
Records of all PBCCPs will be maintained by the University Faculty Senate, and a master listing of all approved, active programs posted online in the Graduate Degree Programs Bulletin, in a special section. Submission cover forms will be posted in the University Faculty Senate Guide to Curricular Procedures. Submitted post-baccalaureate credit certificate programs will be listed in the Curriculum Report (Blue Sheets). Conflicts regarding possible duplication of or other issues related to a certificate offering will be referred to the Graduate Council Subcommittee on New and Revised Programs and Courses for review and resolution.
Post-baccalaureate credit certificate program descriptions must adhere to the following standard format for inclusion in the Bulletin, and be submitted as MS Word files (diskette or e-mail attachment):
Name of the PBCCP and number of credits.
Unit and college/school offering the certificate.
Person in charge of the PBCCP and contact information (mailing address, telephone and fax #s, e-mail address).
Brief description of the certificate program including purpose and objectives (maximum of 1000 characters, including spaces).
List of courses included in the certificate program, including course designation (abbreviation and number), title, and number of credits. Courses will be linked to the online master course listing for a complete description of each course in the online Bulletin.
Effective date, and expiration date (sunset clause) of the PBCCP.
Specific requirements (must include completion of an appropriate baccalaureate degree) for admission into the PBCCP, as applicable.
The University Faculty Senate delegates authority to the Graduate Council on all graduate curricular matters, such as approval of new and revised programs and courses. Post-baccalaureate credit certificates fall within that delegated authority.
Guidelines for Seeking Academic and Administrative Approval for Post-Baccalaureate Credit Certificate Programs
Each academic unit seeking approval for a post-baccalaureate credit certificate program should develop and implement its own internal procedures for reviewing such proposals.
The following items must be addressed in the proposal:
The requirements of the certificate program, including admission requirements, must be listed. Specific comments must be made regarding aspects of the program that may require special considerations.
The responsible academic unit will certify that a marketing report and/or feasibility study has been done to establish a need for the program.
For appropriate program delivery, the means for providing the facilities such as laboratories, library, and computing facilities, as well as supervision for the program must be indicated.
If there is a research component, there must be appropriate research facilities (i.e., clinical or field settings, laboratories, etc.)
To ensure the quality of the program, the following items must be documented:
Identify the academic unit responsible for the program.
Ensure that all 500- and 800- level courses will be delivered by faculty/instructors who are approved by the responsible academic unit and the Graduate School.
Assurances also must be made that all 400-level courses are taught by appropriately qualified faculty/instructors who are approved by the academic unit.
Specify the program content, location(s), and delivery mechanisms. This should include program objectives, syllabi and the mode of instruction (i.e., lecture, in-person classes plus TV, telecommunication linked courses, etc.).
Specify how student support services (e.g., academic advising and counseling, learning support services, etc.) will be made available.
The academic unit must clearly specify the relationship between the coursework in the post-baccalaureate credit certificate program and the coursework in the graduate degree program.
A statement identifying the organizational unit(s) which will assume the fiscal responsibility for the program must be included.
A 5-year sunset clause should be included in the proposal, with removal of the certificate offering taking effect automatically upon the preplanned termination date, unless a request for a renewal is submitted through the regular approval process.
The unit proposing a new post-baccalaureate certificate program should consult with all relevant units that may have a related certificate, courses or a current or future interest in the certificate program1.
A draft of the actual certificate that is proposed to be awarded to students must be included. Post-baccalaureate credit certificate program certificates must be designed so that they don't imply that they are graduate degree certificates.
Upon approval of a proposed post-baccalaureate credit certificate
program by the College/School Dean (or his/her designee), two copies of
the following materials must all be forwarded to the University Faculty
Senate Office: a) submission cover sheets with approval signature by the
College/School Dean (or his/her designee); b) proposal; c) copy of the
actual certificate; d) letters of cognate review as appropriate; and e)
PBCCP description in Bulletin format (MS Word file). One copy of these
materials will be forwarded to the Graduate School for review and approval
of the Bulletin description and, if necessary, referral of conflicts to
the Graduate Council Subcommittee on New and Revised Programs and Courses.
Post-Baccalaureate Credit Certificate Program Submission Form (PDF)
All course proposals (add, change, and drop) must be submitted via CSCS, including all consultations and approvals (cover sheet with signatures is not needed). All course proposals must follow the guidelines as outlined. Proposals for course changes and drops only will be reviewed in the Office of the Dean, The Graduate School, in consultation with the Chair of the Subcommittee on New and Revised Programs and Courses and/or the Chair of the Committee on Programs and Courses. After a proposal has reached level 8, print the most current version of the proposal and submit the following to the Curriculum Coordinator, University Faculty Senate, 101 Kern Graduate Building: FULL REVIEW GRADUATE proposals, 20 hardcopies; EXPEDITED REVIEW GRADUATE proposals, 5 hardcopies. Following approval by the Graduate School, the proposals are returned to the Senate Office for inclusion on the Senate Curriculum Report.
Specific titles may be added to common course numbers (594, 894, 595, 895, 596, 896, 597, 897, 598, 898, 599, 899) by using alpha suffixes following the same procedure that is used for undergraduate courses outlined in section I.D.2. The following alpha letters have been reserved for this purpose: A-G, I, and K.The following is a list of common course numbers used throughout the University (the dates the course numbers were established are listed for information only):
590, 890 Colloquium (1-3) (Agenda Appendix B, 6/8/71)
594, 894 Research Topics (1-18) (Agenda Appendix F, 2/1/83)
595, 895 Internship (1-18) (Agenda Appendix F, 2/1/83)
596, 896 Individual Studies (1-9) (Agenda Appendix B, 6/8/71)
597, 897 Special Topics (1-9) (Agenda Appendix B, 6/8/71)
598, 898 Special Topics (1-9) (1/11/93 Senate Blue Sheets)
599, 899 Foreign Study (1-12, max. 24) (1/11/93 Senate Blue Sheets)
600, 610 Thesis Research
601, 611 Thesis Preparation
602 Supervised Experience in College Teaching
603 Foreign Academic Experience (1-12)
A 500-level graduate course builds on advanced undergraduate and/or graduate courses, dealing with the frontiers of knowledge in the field. It is grounded in theories, hypotheses, and methodologies as expounded in current and/or primary literature sources. Synthesis of knowledge and independent analytical work by the student must be demonstrated. Significant interaction among students and with the instructor(s) is expected.
An 800-level graduate course pertains to the most recently established knowledge and methodologies in a field of study, as applied to practice. It emphasizes analytical thinking and application of knowledge by the student in the context of providing pragmatic solutions for professionals. Significant interaction among students and with the instructor(s) is expected.
A grade of P (Pass) or F (Fail) may be reported for students
in certain courses that have been designated by the program faculty for P/F
grading and that have been approved by the Graduate Dean using the guidelines
established by the Graduate Council. A "P" will not be used in calculating
the student's GPA; an "F" grade will be used in calculating the GPA.
To be eligible for pass/fail grading, the course should meet one or more of the following conditions:
The Graduate Council prohibits the simultaneous offering of the same course at the undergraduate (400 level and below) and graduate (500 and 800 levels) in the same classroom. Special exceptions may be considered by the Dean of the Graduate School.
The following resolution was passed in November of 1988 by the Graduate Council regarding adherence to the designated number of credits in fixed-credit courses at the 500 and 800 level:
The resolution creates policy that differs from that governing courses at the 400 level and below, as described in the Baccalaureate Degree Programs Bulletin. The 500 and 800 level policy states that a fixed-credit course at the 500 and 800 levels may not be offered for less than the indicated credits, either on an individual or a section basis. The only exceptions to this policy are certain 500-level courses that have regularly been made available in the past for fewer credits than the fixed-credit designation, such as certain summer offerings in Acoustics.
The policy does not pertain to 500- and 800- level courses created and designed to be variable credit offerings.
1 Consultation with Appropriate Units/Programs (Cognate Review) - The unit/program originating the proposal should consult with all units/programs with a known interest in the subject field, not simply those in the same college. The purpose of cognate review goes beyond assuring that other units or programs that may be impacted by a proposal are notified and given the opportunity to evaluate the proposal, delineate potential problems and/or inform of possible duplication of effort. There are many potential benefits to alerting units where appropriate faculty expertise may provide useful, constructive feedback on content, identify areas for collaboration, and even broaden the scope of prospective students who would enroll in the program. In addition to letters of consultation/ cognate review that proposers provide at the time of submission of a proposal, the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School, as well as members of the Graduate Council Subcommittee on New and Revised Programs and Courses may request additional letters at their discretion and judgment.
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