Forms & Policies

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Processes, Policies, and Forms

Academic Standing (Good Standing, Probation, Disqualification)

Good Standing: Graduate students whose Humboldt State cumulative GPA and overall GPA are 3.0 or above are considered in good academic standing.

Academic Probation and Disqualification: Graduate students, including those who are classified or conditionally classified, and credential-seeking students will be placed on academic probation if their Humboldt State cumulative grade point average falls below a 3.0 (B grade average).

    • A graduate coordinator may also notify a student of academic probation or disqualification for failure to maintain a GPA of 3.0 or better in all courses taken to satisfy the requirements of the degree. 
    • Graduate students may be placed on probation and/or disqualified for failure to make adequate progress in the program, as defined by the requirements and policies of individual programs, by recommendation of the program faculty and graduate coordinator, and action of the graduate dean.
    • While on academic probation if a graduate student or a credential student’s cumulative GPA at Humboldt State is below a 3.0 for a second consecutive term, the student will be academically disqualified.

Readmission/Reinstatement: Disqualified graduate students will not be allowed to register unless they are formally reinstated and/or readmitted to the university.

    • Regularly enrolled students who are academically disqualified from HSU are not eligible to enroll in coursework through Extended Education.
    • First DQ: Students may be immediately reinstated to the university given a positive recommendation from the graduate program including an agreement by a graduate faculty member to serve as the student's advisor submitted to the Graduate Studies Office.
    • Second DQ: Student must take a minimum of one semester off before reapplying. Students may be required to take additional time off.
      • Students may be readmitted to the university given a positive recommendation from the graduate program including an agreement by a graduate faculty member to serve as the student's advisor.
      • Students will be required to provide a letter with a statement describing the reasons for the academic probation and a plan to address the underlying problems in order to increase the likelihood of success. Both documents will be forwarded to the Graduate Studies Office for processing.
      • After the absence period, an admission application is required for reinstatement consideration.
      • Humboldt State reserves the right to accept applications for disqualified students during specified application terms only.
      • Please contact the Admissions Office for more information.
    • Third DQ: No option to reapply to HSU. May complete coursework elsewhere and reapply to a different CSU campus.

Policies:

Advancement to Candidacy and Application for Graduation

Processes:

    • See our webpage for full details.

Policies:

    • See our webpage for full details.

Forms:

Changes to Program (Courses, Committee, Title or Timeline)

Processes:

    • Change courses: Students who need to change the courses listed in their Advancement paperwork should complete a Request for Program Variation or Waiver.
    • Change committee members: Complete a Request for Program Variation or Waiver.
      • Will need approval from former and new committee members.
    • Change graduation date: Complete a Graduation Date Change Request through the Office of the Registrar.
      • The student will need to be enrolled in at least one course to be able to graduate in that semester, see Graduate Continuous Enrollment.

Forms:

Changes to Program (New Program or Option)

Processes:

    • Change to another option in the same program: To switch to another option (e.g. in the Environmental Systems, Natural Resources or Psychology programs), complete the Request for Program Variation or Waiver form.
    • Change to another master's program: Students who want to change from one master's program to another will need to completely reapply, including paying another application fee, and submitting the application materials.

Policies:

    • See relevant Title 5 sections
    • See the Graduate Student Handbook

Forms:

Commencement/Hooding Ceremony

You may participate in Commencement if you received a degree from HSU during the past summer or fall semesters, or if you have applied for graduation and expect to be awarded your degree at the end of the spring, summer, or fall semesters of the current academic year.

Commencement Program

Your name, title of your thesis/project and major professor are listed in the commencement program if your Application for Advancement to Candidacy was submitted by the deadline.

    • Please contact the Office of the Registrar if you do not want to be included in the printed program.

Hood Colors

Students receiving a master's degree are hooded during the commencement ceremony. The color of the hood depends on the program (see the Color Guide below).

Policies

    • Students wanting to walk in the Commencement ceremony in May are required to register in advance,
    • Details about registering for Commencement or the ceremony itself are available here. '

Forms

Committee Formation

Process:

    • Your graduate committee should be formed during the second semester of your program.
    • The number of committee members varies by program. You will select committee members in consultation with your major advisor, who serves as chair or will be assigned a committee, depending on your program.
    • You should strive to select committee members that will be the most help as you design and complete your thesis or project.

Policies:

    • With rare exceptions, your major advisor/chair will be a tenured or probationary faculty member. If your major advisor/chair is an adjunct faculty or in the faculty early retirement program (FERP), at least one committee member must be a tenured or probationary faculty member in your primary discipline.
    • At least one committee member, in addition to your advisor/chair, must be HSU faculty or adjunct faculty who hold a Ph.D. or other terminal degree.
    • You may select a faculty member with a required terminal degree from outside your discipline as appropriate.
    • All theses, projects, and comprehensive examination responses must be evaluated by at least two HSU faculty members.
    • Persons with expertise or experience in your research area who are not affiliated with HSU and/or who do not hold a terminal degree can serve as an additional committee member.
    • Makeup of the graduate committee is reviewed by the graduate coordinator and graduate dean at Advancement to Candidacy.

Forms:

Comprehensive Examinations

A comprehensive examination assesses a student's ability to integrate knowledge of the area, show independent and critical thinking, and demonstrate mastery of the subject matter. The results evidence independent thinking, appropriate organization, critical analysis, and accuracy of documentation.

Process:

    • Some graduate programs require a comprehensive examination rather than a thesis or project. Some programs offer comprehensive examinations as one of the options for culminating experiences.
    • Students who complete a comprehensive examination will work with their advisor or graduate coordinator to set up a time and location to complete the examination.

Policies:

    • Title 5 - Comprehensive Exam
    • HSU Graduate Student Handbook
    • Exam questions and responses are kept according to the CSU records retention policy.

Forms:

Culminating Experience

Each student must complete an approved thesis, project, or comprehensive examination as defined by Title 5. It is the student's responsibility to determine from his/her advisor the departmental policy on theses, projects or comprehensive exams.

All culminating experiences for the Master's degree, regardless of specific form or discipline, must document the student’s achievement of the program learning outcomes at an appropriate level. All theses, projects, and comprehensive examination responses must be evaluated by at least two faculty members.

Thesis

    • A thesis is the written product of a systematic study of a significant problem. It identifies the problem, states major assumptions, explains the significance of the undertaking, sets forth sources for and methods of gathering information, analyzes the data, and offers a conclusion or recommendation.
    • The finished product evidences originality, critical and independent thinking, appropriate organization and format, and thorough documentation.
    • Normally, an oral defense of the thesis is required.

Project

    • A project is a significant undertaking appropriate to the fine and applied arts or to professional fields. It evidences originality and independent thinking, appropriate form and organization, and a rationale.
    • It is described and summarized in a written document that includes the project's significance, objectives, methodology, and a conclusion or recommendation.
    • An oral defense of the project may be required.

Comprehensive Examination

    • A comprehensive examination assesses a student’s ability to integrate knowledge of the area, show independent and critical thinking, and demonstrate mastery of the subject matter.
    • The results evidence independent thinking, appropriate organization, critical analysis, and accuracy of documentation.
    • Examination questions and responses are kept according to the CSU records retention policy.

Policies:

    • Title 5 - Graduate Program Culminating Experience Requirements
    • HSU Graduate Student Handbook

Forms:

Educational Leave of Absence

An educational leave of absence must be requested if you will not be attending HSU each semester. The maximum duration of a single leave is one academic year; the total duration of combined leaves may not exceed two years.

Process:

    • Submit your request to the Office of Academic Programs by the published deadline.
    • You may want to consider Graduate Continuous Enrollment, rather than leave if you will need to present findings or submit your final thesis/project that semester.

Policies:

    • Student must have attended at least one term prior to requesting leave.
    • Note: A leave of absence does not extend the seven-year limit.
    • Students must keep their HSU Preferred Email Address up-to-date. HSU will contact you via email with important registration information after your leave has ended.
    • If the leave changes your date of graduation, a Graduation Date Change Request must be submitted.
    • If you are registered in any coursework in the semester for which you are requesting leave you must officially drop the course using Student Center. The instructor will not drop the class for you.
    • A leave of absence maintains continuing student status. This allows you to maintain catalog rights and eligibility to enroll for the term immediately after the expiration of the leave without reapplying to the university. You are not eligible for any university resources or services (computers, laboratories, the library, faculty supervision, etc.) while on leave. Therefore students must be currently enrolled in order to present findings, submit final thesis/project, and graduate.

Forms:

Grading

Grading symbols are interpreted the same for graduate students as for undergraduate student with the following exceptions.

Credit/No Credit Grading (CR/NC)

    • A grade of Credit (CR) indicates satisfactory achievement of course requirements and is equivalent to a B- or higher grade. It is not used in grade point calculation.
    • A grade of No Credit (NC) indicates unsatisfactory achievement for course requirements. This grade is not used to in grade point calculation, however, some universities and many graduate and professional schools interpret an NC grade as F. NC is equivalent to a C+ or lower grade.
    • Some graduate courses have a mandatory grade mode of CR/NC; no more than a third of the CR/NC courses may count toward your degree.
    • You may choose the CR/NC option for courses not required by your program.
    • Students may take only one optional CR/NC course per semester at Humboldt State.

 Report in Progress (RP)

    • A grade of Report in Progress (RP) is used in conjunction with thesis, project, and other courses where work assigned extends beyond one academic term. The RP indicates that work is in progress but that assignment of a final grade must await completion of additional work. RP is not included in your grade point average. Work is to be completed in one year except for master’s thesis courses.
    • Master's thesis courses with an RP grade must be completed within seven years for the end of the term in which it was assigned. If you do not complete your additional work within one year (or seven years for thesis/project courses), the RP grade will be administratively changed to a grade of F (Failure) or NC (No Credit) depending on the grade mode of the course.

Required GPA

    • You must maintain a grade-point average of 3.0 (B) or better in all courses taken to satisfy your degree requirements. Courses in which no letter grade is assigned are not used in computing GPA.

Policies

Graduate Continuous Enrollment

Students are required to enroll for a minimum of one unit per term for at least two terms per academic year (fall, spring, summer) until your degree requirements are completed. Master’s degree students who do not maintain continuous enrollment (two terms each academic year), and who have not been granted a leave of absence are required to reapply for admission to the university and to the graduate program. If readmitted, student will be subject to any new admission or de­gree requirements that have been approved since the first admission to the program.

For students who need to enroll in Graduate Continuous Enrollment units to maintain Continuous Enrollment after Advancing to Candidacy:

 Process:

    • GCE Authorization Form: Complete student and course information sections (I and II).
    • Bring the form to Graduate Studies in Academic Programs. Obtain signature and verifications (section III).
    • Obtain approval signatures of Advisor and Graduate Coordinator (section IV).
    • Submit signed form to HSU College of Extended Education & Global Engagement (CEEGE) (SBS 211).
      • Complete by add/drop date to avoid a $25 late fee.
      • Completed forms received after add/drop date will require a Petition of the Student, with Graduate Advisor and Coordinator signatures.
    • Payment Options:
      • In person at CEEGE – cash, check, or credit card.
      • Through HSU Student Center by credit card.

Policies:

    • Student must have Advanced to Candidacy
    • Enrollment in the discipline-specific x693 course allows you to maintain continuous enrollment and to maintain your status in the master’s degree program.
    • Please check with your graduate coordinator; additional requirements for registering through extended education vary by department. For example, in the Biological Sciences department graduate students must have completed all the requirements above and in addition have their thesis approved by their committee and graduate coordinator. They may register in one unit of BIOL x693 to return to campus the following semester to deliver their thesis presentation. For another example, Natural Resources allows graduate students to register through extended education after they have produced a complete first draft thesis and met the minimum requirements above.
    • Please refer to the College of Extended Education & Global Engagement - Graduate Continuous Enrollment web site for information about campus privileges associated with enrollment through Extended Education.
    • Title 5
    • HSU Graduate Student Handbook

Forms:

Graduate Degree Requirements

Coursework

Please refer to the university catalog for the specific requirements of your program. General requirements for the master’s degree programs as specified by Title 5 below.

    • Complete a minimum of 30-semester units of approved coursework within a maximum of seven years. (See seven-year limit.)
    • 21 or greater semester units at Humboldt (residency requirement) unless an exception is made; courses taken through HSU Extended Education cannot be used for resident credit;
    • At least half the units required for the degree are graduate level (500-600 courses);
    • Lower division courses (100-200 level) cannot be counted toward the degree;
    • No more than six thesis or project units will apply toward the degree with a maximum of nine total units for independent study, field work, and thesis/project courses;
    • B- or better in all courses taken to satisfy the requirements for the degree and maintain a grade point average of 3.0 (B) or better. A higher grade standard than the campus minimum (B-) may be specified by a graduate degree program;
    • Graduate students can choose optional CR/NC only for courses not required by their approved program; and,
    • No no more than one-third of master's degree courses may be taken credit/no credit.

Policies:

    • Title 5
    • HSU Graduate Student Handbook [pdf]

Graduation With Distinction

The Patricia O. McConkey Awards recognize the outstanding students graduating with a master’s degree from each program.

Process:

    • Each program may select a recipient based on academic performance, academic citizenship and the quality of the student’s thesis, project, or comprehensive exam.
    • Students who receive the award will “graduate with distinction.” This title will appear on the official HSU transcripts.
    • Recipients will be invited to attend the Outstanding Students Award Ceremony and Reception (Recognizing Students Who Make a Difference) held in the spring at HSU and will receive a certificate of award.
    • Recipients are also allowed to purchase a gold stole for commencement that identifies them as graduating with distinction.

Policies:

    • Please see our website for more details.

Forms:

    • The nomination form is also on our website.

Research with Animals

Our Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) strive to facilitate the efforts of our faculty and students to produce quality research and teaching experiences. At the same time, Graduate Studies has been appointed by the University President to monitor and share the responsibility of ensuring that individuals associated with HSU who work with vertebrate animals do so in compliance with relevant state and federal laws.

Process:

    • Prior to initiating a research project involving animals or incorporating animals in a teaching program, you and your advisor should review the laws that may regulate your work (note that individual students and their faculty advisors are held legally responsible for complying with these laws).
    • The next stage of the process involves obtaining approval, and permits when necessary, from the appropriate governing bodies.
    • Finally, the faculty member or student must submit a completed Section 5 protocol to the IACUC for in-house review.

Policies:

    • It is illegal to use animals for any purpose without first obtaining the necessary permits from federal and state agencies and without obtaining approval from the IACUC.

Forms:

Research with Human Subjects

Humboldt State University is committed to promote, encourage, and facilitate academic and clinical research. The purpose of HSU's Policy for Protection of Human Subjects in Research is both to protect the rights and well being of human subjects of research and to support the research efforts of Humboldt State University faculty and students. This policy encourages recognition of the basic ethical principles for the use of human subjects, respect for persons, beneficence, and justice.

Process:

    • Submit a proposal to the Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects in Research, also known as the Institutional Review Board (IRB).
    • This will ensure that your project will not only comply with Federal regulations, it will also protect the rights and well beings of your subjects.

Policies:

Forms:

Seven Year Limit

Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations limits the maximum time for completing a master's degree program to seven years.

Process:

    • Complete all coursework and submit your culminating experience before the seven-year deadline.
    • For courses taken more than seven years ago, you may petition for an extension with a Request for Program Variation or Waiver form AND a completed Documentation of Examination for Currency for Extension of the Seven-Year Limit form for each course older than seven years.

Policies:

    • The seven years is calculated from the time of completion of the oldest course listed on your approved graduate course list.
    • An extension may be granted if warranted by individual circumstances and if the outdated coursework is validated by examination.
    • Title 5
    • HSU Graduate Student Handbook

Forms: