Specific requirements for each degree program and certificate programs are given under the degree heading. Regulations applying to all graduate degrees and certificates are stated below.
Catalog Effective Date
Graduate students will comply with the catalog requirements in effect at the time of submission of their Program of Study. See the detailed description of Program of Study. There are two exceptions to this policy: 1) when a program accrediting agency enforces changes that apply to all students in a program, no matter when the student began the program, he/she will have to adhere to the program accrediting agency’s authority and 2) 400/4000 courses taken prior to August 2010 may be counted toward the graduate degree (only 5000 or higher level courses can count toward a graduate degree beginning with the fall 2010 semester).
The total minimum credit required for a master’s degree varies and is listed in the description for each degree program. At least one-half of the total hours must be in the major area. Credits in elective areas are specified in the degree program or are approved by the department or school.
Graduate study in any department or school must be preceded by sufficient undergraduate work to satisfy the department or school that the student can continue at the graduate level in the chosen field. Each student’s undergraduate record is examined by the appropriate department or school before admission to a degree program is granted. Since undergraduate courses differ in content and extent, not all prerequisites can be listed in the Graduate Catalog. Specified prerequisite courses may be taken for undergraduate credit or challenged by special examination as a means to verify that a student is prepared for graduate study. Undergraduate prerequisites do not count toward degree requirements.
A majority of all coursework in a graduate student’s program must be taken for graduate credit at UTC. Graduate program faculty will determine the extent of transfer credit acceptable in their respective programs.
To be considered for transfer credit in any graduate degree or certificate program, a course taken at another university must meet the following minimum criteria:
- carry graduate credit from a regionally accredited university
- have a grade of B or better
- fit within the timeframe of the student’s candidacy program, and
- not have been used for a previous degree at the same degree level.
Initiation of procedures to have transfer credit accepted is the responsibility of the student, who must have one official transcript sent to the UTC Graduate School directly from the institution(s) at which the work was taken. The student should present the syllabus to the program coordinator/director. If the program coordinator finds the coursework comparable in requirements and standards to the relevant UTC coursework and recommends the transfer credit, the course(s) may be listed on the student’s Application for Admission to Candidacy form. This form should then be submitted to the dean of The Graduate School for final evaluation and approval. If approved, the credit will be incorporated into the student’s official academic record.
Doctoral Students With Master’s Degrees
Students admitted to a doctoral program who have completed a master’s degree, or its equivalent, may petition the faculty of the doctoral degree program to accept all or parts of the relevant graduate course work to count as fulfilling a portion of the doctoral degree requirements. A student with a master’s degree may substitute no more than 50% of the doctoral degree requirements with graduate work completed at another institution or within another degree program offered by UTC unless the course work is included in the Doctoral Program of Study Form. Students submitting such a petition must understand that the professional accreditation guidelines governing a doctoral program may limit the number of transfer courses.
Students entering a doctoral degree program that requires the master’s degree as a condition of acceptance may not apply the master’s degree course work toward the completion of the doctorate.
Although previously completed graduate courses may be used to satisfy a portion of the requirements for the degree listed on the student’s Doctoral Program of Study Form, those courses will not be officially transferred to The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and will not be placed on the student’s UTC transcript.
Graduate degree students may be required to complete one or more semesters of full-time study as determined by the major department.
Each degree seeking graduate student must complete and file a Program of Study (form GS #101) by the end of the first semester of enrollment in graduate coursework except where otherwise noted for specific graduate degree programs. All information requested must be provided before the Program of Study will be accepted and approved by the Graduate School. The Program of Study form can be found at http://www.utc.edu/Administration/GraduateSchool/CurrentStudentForms.php.
All core courses in the degree program must be listed on the Program of Study. Elective courses may be listed on the Program of Study at that time, if known, but this is not required. Elective courses will be listed on the Application for Admission to Candidacy (see below) when the student applies for graduation or prior to applying for graduation. Students must list on the Program of Study form (where courses are listed) whether a comprehensive exam is required or not, i.e., comprehensive exam required or comprehensive exam not required.
The courses listed on the Program of Study must be thoughtfully considered, as they dictate the academic courses necessary for partial fulfillment of the degree requirements. Students in conjunction with their advisors must pay special attention to include those courses required by the degree program.
Admission to Candidacy
Admission to a graduate degree program allows the student to demonstrate ability but does not guarantee the right to continue toward a degree unless he or she is admitted to candidacy.
Each degree seeking graduate student must complete and file an Application for Candidacy, Certificate Award and Graduation, (form GS #103), at least one semester prior to the semester of his/her anticipated graduation. For example, if a student anticipates graduating in May of a given year, the student must file form GS#103 in fall preceding the anticipated May graduation. The Application for Candidacy, Certificate Award and Graduation form can be found at http://www.utc.edu/Administration/GraduateSchool/CurrentStudentForms.php.
In order to be eligible for admission to candidacy, the student must have a cumulative 3.0 GPA or better on all courses taken for graduate credit and have completed prerequisite and designated courses as required by the major department or school and no grade below a C.
In addition, some departments require that applicants for admission to candidacy successfully complete a qualifying examination prior to admission to candidacy for the degree. Please refer to the appropriate department for specific information regarding qualifying examination requirements or other departmental requirements for admission to candidacy. Professional and ethical fitness may also be a factor in granting candidacy.
On the application, any changes in the core courses listed in the student’s Program of Study and all electives completed and those which the student plans to complete to fulfill requirements for the degree must be listed. The application, signed by the student, reviewed and signed by the major adviser and approved by the coordinator of the graduate program, must be submitted to The Graduate School office and approved by the dean of The Graduate School at least one semester prior to the date on which the degree is anticipated. It is the approved Program of Study and Application for Candidacy forms, rather than any examples that may appear in the Graduate Catalog, which will constitute the student’s graduation requirements.
A student who fails to submit a candidacy form at least one semester before his/her anticipated graduation will not be guaranteed consideration for graduation.
Each graduate degree student will have a graduate committee. The use of the term graduate committee in this publication represents the thesis/dissertation committee and the student’s advisor committee. For programs requiring a thesis or dissertation, the committee shall consist of a chairperson and the number of graduate faculty as specified by the program. At least two additional members with appropriate graduate faculty status and expertise in the study area must be appointed. The coordinator of a graduate program may petition the Graduate Council to allow a person who is not a member of the faculty and who, because of relevant professional experience and academic training, is qualified to serve on the committee.
For those programs not requiring a thesis or dissertation, the graduate committee shall be the graduate faculty of the program. Subject to Graduate Council policies and individual program requirements, the graduate committee must approve all coursework applied toward the degree, certify the student’s mastery of the necessary skills and knowledge of the profession, and assist the student in completing the requirements of the program. In some instances the graduate program coordinator will advise all students and sign off on their Program of Study on behalf of the graduate faculty, thus certifying that the program polices approved by the faculty are being implemented. The department head and/or program coordinator, dean of the College, and the dean of the UTC Graduate School shall approve each graduate committee for each student.
A graduate certificate program is a planned program of graduate-level study comprised of a minimum of nine hours of graduate-level academic courses. Certificate programs–with their flexible, cutting-edge, and concentrated nature–enhance the University’s ability to meet the needs of an increasingly technological and sophisticated economy.
A candidate for a graduate certificate of credit program must be a fully admitted student who has satisfactorily completed the minimum requirements for the certificate as described elsewhere in the Catalog. These minimum requirements include achieving a 3.0 grade point average in the program itself as well as a cumulative 3.0 GPA on any prior work taken at the University. The candidate must be a graduate student in good standing and in compliance with all other applicable policies.
Students who expect to complete the requirements for a certificate program must file a Graduation Application with the Graduate School the semester prior to the anticipated completion of the degree. The application is available in the Graduate School Office or on the Web site, http://www.utc.edu/Administration/GraduateSchool/documents/CandidacyandGraduationAppl.GS103ff.pdf.
In addition to submitting the Graduation Application, students must submit an Application for Completion of Certificate Program to The Graduate School no later than the last day to add courses in the semester the student anticipates completing the certificate. The Application for Completion of Certificate Program is done on the same form as the Graduation Application and is located on the web site, http://www.utc.edu/Administration/GraduateSchool/documents/CandidacyandGraduationAppl.GS103ff.pdf.
Certificates are approved for placement on transcripts at the same time degree conferrals are awarded (May, August, and December). When the student has successfully completed the coursework in the certificate program, the Graduate School will mail an official UTC certificate of completion to the student. The Graduate School will monitor the completion of the certificate requirements and notify the Records Office.
A candidate for a graduate degree must follow the policy of the department concerning administration of comprehensive examinations. In some degree programs, comprehensive examinations are waived or options are given. Where applicable, the examination is administered by the major department or school but includes the related areas of study. The mode of this examination may be oral or written with the approval of the appropriate graduate committee. To be eligible to take the exam, the student must have a cumulative 3.0 grade point average and had his or her candidacy form accepted. The examination is normally taken in the semester in which the candidate is completing course requirements. An application indicating the appropriate date and option requested for the examination must be submitted to and approved by the dean of The Graduate School at least one month prior to the date of the comprehensive examination.
A student who fails the comprehensive examination may retake the examination once if recommended by the major department. In unusual circumstances a student, with the approval of the major department, may petition the Graduate Council for a third examination.
Thesis/Dissertation Defense and Submission
A student pursuing a thesis-option master’s degree or doctoral degree requiring a dissertation is required to present a thesis or dissertation, respectively. The thesis/dissertation should demonstrate the student’s ability to conduct independent research and to present the results of that research in a scholarly format. It should provide a significant contribution to knowledge in the discipline and reflect independent research of high quality.
The thesis/dissertation defense shall include a presentation by the student, open to the public, and an oral examination on the thesis/dissertation held before the Thesis / Dissertation Committee and other persons invited by the committee. A Notice of Scheduled Final Defense form (http://www.utc.edu/Administration/GraduateSchool/ThesisDissertation/Thesis-DissertationInfomation.htm) must be submitted to the Graduate School two weeks prior to the defense.
- The student must register for departmental thesis/dissertation courses for each semester the thesis/dissertation is in progress and for each semester or term in which the student receives faculty assistance and/or uses University facilities and resources.
- The thesis and dissertation format and other technical matters shall conform to the University’s Theses and Dissertations Standards (available on the Graduate School website). http://www.utc.edu/Administration/GraduateSchool/ThesisDissertation/documents/ThesisDissertationStds1stEdFINAL6-2011.pdf
- Following acceptance of the thesis/dissertation by the student’s committee, the student will conduct a presentation open to the public and an oral defense of the work before the committee. After the defense, the student’s graduate committee shall approve or reject the thesis/dissertation. Students must make all corrections and changes in the thesis/dissertation as agreed upon and recommended by the committee prior to final approval.
- Upon passing the defense and having the thesis/dissertation approved by the committee the student must submit one printed copy to the Graduate School to allow for checking that the document adheres to the University established formatting standards. The student will be required to make all formatting corrections before proceeding to electronic submission to ProQuest.
- The University has an agreement with ProQuest Information and Learning Company (ProQuest) for its online and paper-based bibliographic reference of all thesis and dissertations. Under this agreement, the document may be copyrighted with the copyright in the name of the author. The document will be published in the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses (PQDT) electronic database and the full document made available to subscribing institutions. There is no charge to students to submit theses and dissertations.
Students required to write a thesis must continue to register for 5999r Thesis each fall and spring semester after the initial registration until the thesis is accepted for submission to ProQuest. The student must be enrolled for at least two semester hours of thesis during the semester the thesis is submitted. (Students graduating in August must register for thesis hours in at least one summer term.)
- Grading of Thesis: NP grades for thesis hours will be recorded during semesters when, in the judgment of the thesis advisor, the student fails to demonstrate adequate progress on the thesis. SP grades will be recorded for those semesters during which adequate progress occurs.
A final grade for the thesis course will not be recorded until the thesis has been accepted by the Graduate School. At that time, up to six of the most recent semester hours of previously SP graded thesis credit will be recorded as A or B on the student’s transcript and can be included on the program of study. NP grades and SP grades for thesis in excess of the thesis hours required will remain on the transcript but cannot be used as hours in the program of study.
Students required to write a dissertation must continue to register for 7999r Dissertation each fall and spring semester after the initial registration until the dissertation is accepted. The student must be enrolled for at least two semester hours of dissertation during the semester the dissertation is submitted. All doctoral students in the Learning and Leadership program shall be continuously enrolled in each fall, spring and summer semester and no fewer than two semester hours during each semester when completing the dissertation. (Students graduating in August must register for dissertation hours in at least one summer term.)
- Defense of Dissertation Prospectus: The student must prepare and defend a prospectus for the dissertation research. The dissertation prospectus shall include a complete description of the proposed research project and the methods to be used to complete the project. The dissertation committee shall determine the extent to which a proposed project meets the standard for a high quality scholarly project. The student must be enrolled for at least two semester hours during the semester in which he or she defends the prospectus.
When the dissertation committee has approved the dissertation proposal and other requirements as specified by the specific doctoral program have been satisfactorily met, the student should file an application for admission to candidacy. The student will continually enroll in at least two semester hours during each semester until he or she has completed the research and is ready to defend the dissertation.
In the Ed.D. Learning and Leadership program, the student must prepare and defend a proposal for the dissertation research. In the Ed.D. program, each student is required to prepare a dissertation abstract (primary advisor approval), a dissertation prospectus (dissertation committee approval), and a dissertation proposal (to be defended before the dissertation committee and approved by the committee). Once the dissertation committee has approved the dissertation proposal and other requirements as specified in The Graduate School Catalog, the student should file an application for admission to candidacy.
- Evaluation of Dissertation: The evaluation of the dissertation will consist of one of three outcomes: Pass, Re-examination, and Failure. The evaluation of Pass indicates that a majority of members of the dissertation committee concluded that the student met or exceeded the requirements set forth in the dissertation prospectus, but may be required to make minor editorial modifications to the dissertation. The members of the dissertation committee will sign the final draft of the dissertation once the student has made the required changes to the dissertation.
An evaluation of Re-examination indicates that the majority of the members of the committee found substantive problems in the work or the defense of the dissertation, but not warranting failure. The members of the committee will prepare a list of modifications or improvements required of the student’s work before a second dissertation defense will be scheduled. The re-examination will occur in the subsequent semester unless the dissertation committee and the dean of the UTC Graduate School grant additional time for the student to effect the necessary changes.
An evaluation of Failure indicates that the two or more of the dissertation committee members judged the quality of the student’s dissertation and the defense of the dissertation to be below the standards expected of doctoral level scholarly performance and not rectifiable. Failure of the dissertation shall be grounds for the student’s dismissal.
A basic principle in graduate education is that research and dissertations produced by graduate students will be published and made available to other researchers in the field. When a graduate student is involved in classified or proprietary research, and such research is intended to lead toward a dissertation, prior approval must be secured from the department head and/or program coordinator, and from the dean of the UTC Graduate School. Should the research become classified in the course of a project, the department head and/or program coordinator, and dean of the UTC Graduate School must be notified immediately so that proper procedures can be followed. Failure to comply with these requirements may lead to rejection of a thesis or dissertation manuscript.
Compliance with Institutional Review Board
All graduate students engaged in research that uses human participants or animal subjects must obtain approval from The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) or the Animal Subjects Review Board. There are no exceptions to this requirement. Graduate students engaged in any research, regardless of venue or academic requirement, must ensure that they comply with the policies and procedures established by the review boards. Students may not initiate any research that involves the use of human or animal participants without prior consent of the review board. Disregard of board policies and procedures may result in forfeiture of any data collected and disciplinary action.
Time Limit of Program of Study
All credit applied toward a master’s, specialist’s, or doctor of physical therapy degree must be earned within a six-year period, for the doctor of philosophy within an eight-year period, for the doctorate in education and the doctor in nursing practice within a ten-year period beginning with the registration for the earliest course counted. For graduate degrees requiring a thesis or dissertation the time limit includes the semester for defending the final thesis or dissertation. A student may appeal to his/her graduate committee for a one-year or less extension of the time limits for the degree, and on such appeal only, the student’s committee may grant up to a one year extension of the time limit. In such cases, the request must be signed by the major professor/adviser/chair and the dean of the college and submitted to the Office of the Graduate School for final approval.
If, through unusual circumstances, the student cannot work continuously on the thesis or dissertation, the student may request in writing a one-time stop-out. This request must be made no later than the end of the enrollment period of the semester preceding when the stop-out will be initiated and must provide a rationale and justification for the stop-out. The stop-out is not to exceed four continuous fall and spring semesters. The stop-out request must be approved by the thesis/dissertation chair/advisor, the program coordinator/director, and the dean of The Graduate School.
Application for the Degree
Students are responsible for applying for graduation with the Records Office according to the published deadlines. Students who neglect to file an application by the published deadline must apply for the subsequent graduation ceremony. The applicable deadlines are:
- Spring Graduation Ceremony - during the first week of spring course registration held in the fall
- Summer Graduation - Although there is no summer graduation ceremony, a student must apply for summer graduation or degree conferral during pre-registration in the spring for the summer and fall semesters.
- Fall Graduation Ceremony - during the first week of fall course registration held in the spring
The application form is available online at http://www.utc.edu/Administration/GraduateSchool/documents/CandidacyandGraduationAppl.GS103ff.pdf. The application for graduation should be submitted to the Graduate School.
In order to be eligible for degree conferral, the candidate must have completed all coursework as specified on the approved Application for Admission to Candidacy form, with no course with a grade below C presented for the degree and with a minimum average of B on each of the following: a) all coursework taken for graduate credit at UTC; b) all coursework transferred to UTC for graduate credit and; c) all coursework completed to fulfill the program approved on the Application for Admission to Candidacy. The same credits may not be used toward two graduate degrees.