Summary Guide to Graduate School Policies (Section 9)


The policies included in Section 9 and summarized below are administered through the Graduate School and the Associate Vice President for Graduate Studies.


Principles of Academic Curricular Policy. All graduate programs must have a research course, ethics course, and a Capstone component (Graduate Core) approved by the Graduate Policies Committee at the time of program approval. All substantive changes made to Graduate Core courses (research, ethics, and capstone) must be approved by the Graduate School via Graduate Policies Committee (9.11).


Definitions. There are many academic definitions identified in Section 9.12.  Notably, the following criteria is used to designate graduate faculty (9.12).


Faculty who meet the following criteria will be designated as graduate faculty, be eligible to serve on the graduate committee, and have voting privileges in plenary meetings. Graduate faculty will annually be designated by the Vice President for Academic Affairs, in consultation with the Associate Vice President for Graduate Studies, and each of the Collegiate Deans.


Designated Graduate Faculty must meet 2 of the 3 following criteria:

  • Graduate faculty must hold a terminal degree in an appropriate field of study or at minimum a master’s degree or clinical specialization in an appropriate field of study plus significant professional experience (10,000 hours minimum).
  • Graduate faculty will teach graduate level courses on a regular basis or be administratively responsible for an approved graduate program (see FH 9.21).
  • Graduate faculty must be active in research appropriate to the field or discipline. Documentation of research should be submitted to the Graduate School annually.


Graduate Faculty should meet the following criteria in an ongoing manner:

  • Graduate faculty must be active in research appropriate to the field or discipline.
  • Graduate faculty must have significant professional experience related to degree program or courses of study.
  • Faculty will possess appropriate current experience in graduate level teaching.
  • Graduate faculty must advise graduate students and be willing to serve on graduate student capstone committees.
  • Graduate faculty may serve as members of the graduate Policies Committee.


Principles of Graduate Study. Coursework at the graduate level is not just different classes than the undergraduate. It is not simply more information on a particular topic. It is designed to be a qualitatively different experience. Concordia University has accepted these principles as the practical ways graduate education will be delivered at Concordia (9.13).


Changing Graduate Curricular Requirements.  Procedures for changing a course, modifying the graduate core, graduate certificate, graduate program or program emphasis.  Please consult the approval process for each (9.14).




Program Integrity and Responsibility to Graduate Policy.


The Graduate Program Department Chair/Coordinator is responsible for:

  • The content of the learning outcomes and curriculum for the graduate programs in their respective areas.
  • For knowing, understanding, and implementing approved Graduate policies and procedures.
  • For demonstrating to the Associate Vice President for Graduate Studies (AVP-GS) how programs meet Graduate policies and procedures. The AVP-GS reports specifically how each program is responding to the approved graduate policies, procedures and initiatives to the Graduate Policies Committee.

Procedures for programs failing to meet approved policies, procedures, and initiatives are described (9.15).


Degrees Offered.  This list of approved programs is updated annually (9.21).


Annual Assessment.  Graduate programs of the university will be assessed annually. Program directors, department chairs, or emphasis coordinators will be responsible for the implementation of assessment plans.  [Assessment plans are to be submitted in June, each academic year] (9.22).


Accreditation. [updates pending] (9.23)

  1. Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
  2. National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (CAEP).
  3. Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).
  4. National Council on Family Relations (NCFR).
  5. Minnesota State Board of Teaching (BOT).
  6. Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).
  7. National Commission on Orthotic and Prosthetic Education (NCOPE) & Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).


Proposals for New Courses, Emphases, Certificates, Programs or Degrees [updates pending]. All new emphases, certificates, programs or degrees should demonstrate an affirmative response to the following questions (9.24).


5 gates for consideration of new academic programs

  1. Is there a market for the new program?
  2. Do we have the capacity to deliver?
  3. If we don’t have the internal capacity, who is our external partner?
  4. How does it fit with university mission, vision, and promise?
  5. Will it contribute to the revenue stream of the University?


Proposers for new emphases, certificates, programs or degrees should consult with the Associate Vice President for Graduate Studies in preparation for the written proposal.  The general outline for the proposal is listed below.  In addition, proposers should follow the “calendar steps” leading to approval of the proposal.


Introducing a new proposal

  • The new proposal shall support the mission of the university.
  • University capacity will be adequate for the needs of the new proposal.
  • New proposals shall have the approval of these entities: college graduate faculty, collegiate dean, graduate admissions, associate vice-president for graduate studies, VPAA, SVP, and the graduate policies committee. A report of such approval will be made to the faculty senate. The proposal shall include provisions for regular review.
  • The new proposal should demonstrate meeting the graduate core: research, ethics and outcome project. Future changes to the graduate core must have prior approval by the Graduate Policies Committee.


Admission to Program.  Admission criteria are outlined for the master’s, educational specialists, doctorate of physical therapy, and the educational doctorate degrees (9.32).


Enrollment by CSP Faculty and Staff.  Parameters for enrollment are outlined. (9.33).


International Students.  International students must provide proof of English proficiency (if English is not the student’s first language). The policy outlines how proficiency can be established (9.34).


Undergraduate Admission to Graduate Courses.  Normally undergraduate students are not permitted to enroll in graduate courses without being admitted to the graduate program (9.35).


Transfer Credit.  (9.37)

  1. Up to 6 semester credits may be accepted for transfer from an accredited graduate school for the MA (MS). The credits must be appropriate to the student’s program and the course(s) must be equivalent to the course(s) in the program (i.e. outcomes (objectives) need to match). Application for transfer of credit is made by the student to the Advisor. The credits must be certified by the Registrar and approved for the degree program by the program director.
  2. Up to 9 semester credits may be accepted for transfer from an accredited graduate school for the Ed.S.
  3. Up to 12 semester credits may be accepted for transfer from an accredited graduate school for the Ed.D.
  4. Normally no credits will be accepted for transfer into the DPT program.
  5. Only courses with a grade of B or better may be accepted for transfer credit.
  6. Normally credits older than five years will not be accepted.
  7. The chair of the graduate program or designee will make the determination whether a student is required to audit a course in place of taking the course for a grade.
  8. Students taking graduate level courses as part of a Concordia University St. Paul graduate certificate, approved by the Graduate Policies Committee, may apply the entire graduate certificate’s credits to the graduate program to which it is connected.
  9. Specific programs and/or departments may establish institutional articulation agreements with other accredited institutions. Proposals outlining such agreements should be presented to the Associate Vice President for Graduate Studies, who will report such to the Graduate Policies Committee prior to approval.


Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy for Graduate Students.  To achieve satisfactory academic progress, a graduate student must maintain a 3.0 cumulative grade – point average (CGPA) and complete a minimum cumulative of 67% of all attempted graduate level coursework. Incompletes (I) and withdrawals (W) do not count toward completion.  When a student does not maintain satisfactory progress, the University will impose certain restrictions that will affect the student’s eligibility for enrollment (Academic Probation; Academic Disqualification).  A description of these restrictions, along with the Disqualification Appeal Process can be found in the policy (9.41).


Attendance Policies.

The Graduate School assumes that all registered students have freely accepted personal responsibility for regular class attendance. Students are expected to attend all class meetings and laboratory sessions for the courses in which they are enrolled. In cases of emergencies and/or unforeseen circumstances students are expected to notify their instructors and arrange for any possible “makeup” assignments; however, instructors are not required to allow for such “makeup” assignments.


All graduate programs/courses will have a stated attendance policy included in each syllabus. (9.42)


Additional attendance guidelines and requirements for graduate students:


  • While it is the student’s responsibility to communicate with the instructor regarding an absence, if the instructor has not heard from the student, and the student is not participating, the instructor should attempt to contact the student and the program’s academic advisor.
  • If a student must miss a class/chat because of an emergency or illness, he/she is required to contact the professor in order to identify and complete his/her regular assignment(s) and complete a make-up assignment that contributes to the subject being studied and enhances the class-learning environment.
  • A missed class/chat may be made up for partial credit.
  • If a student misses two classes/chats, the instructor and the student need to discuss the student’s ability to complete the course. In addition, the student will be required to complete his/her regular assignment(s) and extra work. Specific procedures should be outlined in the syllabus.
  • Any additional absences will require retaking the course. The student will be billed and a grade will be issued each time the course is taken.
  • Regular attendance is a key factor in determining the continuing financial aid support. Attendance will be used to calculate the amount of aid to be returned if a student used Financial Aid (Title IV) and student discontinues enrollment or withdraws.
  • Instructors understand the uncertainty of military requirements and other contractual obligations, and they will work with the student to meet educational goals.
  • It is the student’s responsibility to contact the instructor to make appropriate arrangements.
  • All Chats and/or Web Ex sessions will be recorded as part of Financial Aid (Title IV) requirement to verify the last date of attendance.
  • Students with short or long term disability concerns that may affect attendance should register with Student Accessibility Services. However, course participation is essential to courses and generally expected in accordance with this policy.


Program Requirements.  (9.43)

  1. A master’s degree graduate degree at Concordia University, St. Paul, shall require a minimum of 30 semester credits with a grade – point average of 3.00 or better. All master’s students must pass their Capstone at 80% or higher.
  2. A Doctor of Physical Therapy degree at Concordia University, St. Paul, shall require a minimum of 100 semester credits beyond a bachelor’s degree with a grade point average of 3.0 or better.
  3. An Educational Specialist degree at Concordia University, St. Paul, shall require a minimum of 30 semester credits beyond a master’s degree with a grade point average of 3.0 or better.
  4. An Educational Doctorate degree at Concordia University, St. Paul, shall require a minimum of 60 semester credits beyond a master’s degree with a grade point average of 3.0 or better.
  5. All post – graduate students must meet the approval of their Capstone or Dissertation committee.


Adviser and Committee (9.44)

  1. Adviser. All students will be assigned an advisor. All students shall receive academic advice from a graduate CSP faculty person.
  2. Committee. A student’s committee shall consist of a committee chair and one or two readers approved by the program director. The chair of the committee shall be CSP graduate faculty. Exceptions shall be approved by the program director.


Grading. Grade reports are available online at the end of each course.  Conceptual Grading Standards for all programs in the Graduate School, In-Progress Grades, Repeating a Course, Withdrawing, Changing or Appealing a Grade After It Has Been Issued, and procedures for Appealing a Grade are detailed in the policy (9.45).


Time Limits. (9.46)

  1. Master’s degree programs must be completed within five years of the beginning of the first course.
  2. Ed.S. degree programs must be completed within six years of the beginning of the first course.
  3. Ed.D. degree programs must be completed within seven years of the beginning of the first course.
  4. DPT degree programs must be completed within four years of the beginning of the first course.


Appeal of Policy and Procedure. (9.47)

Steps for making an appeal (re-admission, grade course change, or academic integrity).

  1. Student submits completed Appeal of Academic Dishonesty Graduate Form to the Dean’s Office.
  2. The Dean reviews the form and determines if appeal should be granted based on stated reason for appeal.
    1. If Request for Appeal is denied, the Dean will email the student with reason for denial.
    2. If Request` for Appeal is approved, the Dean will email the student and follow-up.
  3. If denied, the student may appeal the decision to the Graduate Appeals Committee.
    1. Submit appeal to the Associate Vice-President for Graduate Studies (AVP-GS) for consideration by the Graduate Academic Appeals Committee.
    2. If Request for Appeal is denied, the AVP-GS will email the student with reason for denial.
    3. If Request for Appeal is approved, the AVP-GS will email the student and follow-up.
  4. Final Appeal Option
    1. If denied, the student may appeal a final time to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. If appeal is denied, the student can appeal the decision a final time to the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
    2. The Vice President for Academic Affairs will review the case and email the student of decision and reason.
    3. No further appeals are allowed after this decision.


University and Program Requirements. Students must complete all requirements as specified by the University and Program (9.51).


Date for Transcripts and Diploma. Transcripts and diplomas will reflect the degree awarded and the term date during which all academic work was completed (9.52).


Completion of Requirements.  Candidates who complete all course requirements within 30 calendar days following the end of a regular academic term at Concordia University are listed as graduates of that term.  Degree requirements are completed when all grades for course have been filed and recorded by the Registrar (9.53)


Commencement. Students will be invited to participate in the annual commencement ceremony

in May providing all course work will be completed by the forthcoming September.  Students who are unable to participate in the May ceremony may graduate in absentia (9.54).


Research with Human Subjects (9.62).


  1. Ethical and policy issues in research involving human participants are grounded in Concordia University, St. Paul’s mission in the enlightened care of God’s creation and the safeguarding of human participants in all research under which the University is a part. The University will comply with all federal regulations requiring the establishment and operation of an Institutional Review Board for the protection of human participants.


  1. All research that can be defined as “a systematic investigation designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge” (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services – 45 CFR 46) must be reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Participants (IRB).


  1. IRB review is also required of research carried out under the sponsorship of an institution other than Concordia University, St. Paul, but which is performed on the premises of Concordia University, St. Paul, even if the research has already been approved by the IRB at the sponsoring institution or elsewhere.


  1. Students and Faculty who are planning to conduct research are directed to use and follow FHB Section 8, Appendix D: Concordia University Saint Paul, MN Protocols and Procedures for Research Involving Human Subjects Application and Information Packet and Appendix E: Protocol Form Research Involving Human Subjects.


  1. Faculty and student researchers must successfully complete Human Subjects training through the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) program prior to submitting protocol forms for IRB review. All researchers must maintain valid (non-expired) certification of CITI training. The CITI certification is good for three (3) years from date of successful completion.


Release of Student Information.  Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Concordia University defines the following information as directory information: the

student’s name, address, telephone listing, date and place of birth, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities and teams, dates of attendance, degree and awards received, and the most recent educational institution attended by the student. This information may be released unless the student notifies the Registrar of a specific hold (9.63).


Textbook Selection. Graduate course texts will be approved by the program chair (9.64).


Faculty Communication with Graduate Students. Graduate faculty will be available for student contact by personal appointment, phone consultation, or email interaction. All student requests for a response shall be honored in a timely manner (9.65).


Academic Integrity for Graduate Students (9.66).  Academic integrity is essential to any academic institution and is in keeping with the mission of Concordia University. In order to protect the rights of students, the disciplinary procedure for dealing with cases of academic dishonesty follows these broad guidelines. Violations of academic integrity include “cheating” and “plagiarism” as defined by the university’s Graduate Student Code of Conduct.


The procedures for implementing academic integrity policies including following due process are detailed in the policy.  See procedure for appeals in (9.47)


Dissertation Fees.  Students enrolled in the Educational Doctorate degree program must pay an additional fee to cover the costs of the dissertation committee members and editing of the dissertation. The fee will be made known to the student at the time of acceptance into the program (9.70).

Last modified: January 25, 2018