NSU Catalog 2013-2014 
    Jul 20, 2024  
NSU Catalog 2013-2014 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Graduate Studies

Graduate Office

Spafford Hall, Room 204A
(605) 626-2558

Master of Music Education

Northern State University awards a Master of Music Education degree.

Master of Science

Northern State University awards a Master of Science degree in the following programs:

Banking and Financial Services

Training and Development in E-learning

Master of Science in Education

Northern State University awards a Master of Science in Education degree in the following programs:

Instructional Design in E-learning
  (School and Clinical Mental Health)
Educational Studies
Leadership and Administration
Sport Performance and Leadership
Teaching and Learning with emphases in:
  Classroom Teaching and Learning

Descriptions of graduate courses are included in the course description section of the catalog. Courses numbered 700 through 799 are open to graduate students only. Courses numbered 500 through 699 may include students who have enrolled for undergraduate credit.

General Information

Through its graduate program, Northern State University identifies individuals with outstanding abilities and encourages them to prepare for leadership in the professions of education, counseling, and technology. The knowledge base for the graduate programs emphasizes knowledge of self as a master teacher, administrator, or counselor and member of a learning community and calls for a collaboration among teachers, students and their families and communities that embraces diversity, promotes a positive sense of personal identity, and embraces the possibilities for academic success. The mission of the graduate program is:

  • to provide a climate in which students can expand their knowledge;
  • to encourage development of critical and independent thinking skills;
  • to enhance the ability to analyze problems objectively;
  • to develop the ability to investigate and interpret current research;
  • to provide a wide range of courses that will prepare graduate students for the professional demands of leadership roles in education and technology; and
  • to maintain flexible program guidelines to prepare students for a wide range of employment opportunities.

Specific outcomes of all graduate programs are:

  1. The graduate will demonstrate understanding of formulation, conduct, and applications of research.
  2. The graduate will provide evidence of knowledge of theoretical concepts in the program area.
  3. The graduate will demonstrate skills appropriate to the program area.
  4. The graduate will demonstrate competent a) written, b) oral, and c) technological communication skills.
  5. The graduate will provide evidence of skills in reflection and synthesis, applying theory to practice.


The Graduate Council develops policy, procedures, and programming for all graduate programs. It is led by the Chair of Graduate Studies, who serves as chairperson. Members include the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs; nine elected members of the graduate faculty; and one student elected by the Graduate Student Association. The director for the Center for Statewide E-learning and the Dean of Education serve as ex-officio members.

Admission to Graduate Studies

Whether or not they intend to complete a degree program, students enrolling in course work for graduate credit must apply for admission to graduate study. The following information must be submitted:

  1. An application form for admission to graduate study;
  2. An official transcript of all college or university credits including both undergraduate and graduate credit, if applicable. Students who attended a South Dakota regental university (BHSU, DSU, NSU, SDSM&T, SDSU, USD) do not have to provide a transcript;
  3. A $35.00 application fee. (Fee assessed on all applications to graduate school. Students will pay the fee multiple times if applying to multiple graduate schools at the same or different institutions.)
  4. Two letters of reference addressing the student’s potential for success in graduate study. Students who wish to pursue a master’s degree at Northern State University should declare their intent when admitted to graduate study. Students wishing to complete graduate credit for professional growth or certification purposes may enroll in a non-degree program. However, only 10 semester hours of non-degree credit may be applied toward a degree program at a later date.
  5. Students pursuing the Counselor Education program must complete an interview process with the counselor education faculty prior to admission into the program.

Students must be admitted as candidates for the master’s degree as follows:

  • The minimum grade point average for admission to a master’s degree program is an overall 2.75 for bachelor’s degree work.
  • Students who do not meet the minimum GPA may be admitted if they have earned a GPA of 3.00 during the last 64 semester hours of bachelor’s degree work or a GPA of 3.25 in their major field of study.
  • Students who do not qualify on the basis of the baccalaureate grade point average may take the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). A minimum combined score of 800 is required for the verbal and quantitative sections of the GRE, and a 2.5 or greater is required for the analytical writing section to be admitted to a degree program. Information regarding the GRE is available from the Office of Graduate Studies.
  • Admission to the school administration program requires one year of full-time K-12 teaching experience in an accredited school.

Non-degree Admission

Students who intend to complete graduate credit for professional growth, for certification purposes, or who do not meet the requirements above are admitted on a non-degree basis. They may later request a change in status to a degree program. A minimum of six graduate hours at Northern State University must be completed with a minimum GPA of 3.00 before requesting a change in status. Non-degree students may transfer a maximum of 10 semester hours to the degree program.

Immunization Policy

All students born after 1956, who receive instruction on one of the residential campuses must show proof of immunization for measles, mumps (MMR), and rubella. Proof of two doses of measles, mumps, rubella, vaccine or of the presence of an immune antibody titer is required. Immunizations for tetanus, diphtheria, and poliomyelitis, as well as a tuberculin test are recommended. Proof consists of a State Health Department Certificate or it may be included as part of the Northern State University physical exam report.

International Student Admission

In addition to the requirements for admission to graduate study, international students must provide evidence of:

  • A minimum score of 550 on the paper-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), or
  • A minimum score of 79 on the Internet-based TOEFL, or
  • A minimum score of 6 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or
  • Evidence of satisfactory completion of the Northern State University Intensive English Program for TOEFL score of 71-78 or IELTS scores between 5.5-6.

International students must provide evidence of their ability to finance a program of study without assistance from Northern State University. International students are required to purchase a South Dakota Board of Regents  medical insurance policy, proof of which must be provided before registering. The insurance requirement applies to the student, her or his spouse and any other accompanying dependents.

Graduate Credit for Seniors

Students classified as seniors may request permission to enroll in 500- and 600-level courses for graduate credit if they meet the following criteria:

  1. Fewer than 16 hours of undergraduate work to complete toward the baccalaureate degree;
  2. A grade point average of 2.75 or better.

Course work taken for graduate credit will not apply toward the bachelor’s degree.

Admission to Candidacy for the Master’s Degree

Once admitted to graduate study, students who wish to become candidates for the master’s degree must contact the Chair of Graduate Studies. One of the following conditions must be met:

  1. Successful completion of at least 6 to 10 credits in all programs except counseling (which requires completion of at least 10 to 16 hours), and E-learning (which requires 8 to 12 hours);
  2. Enrollment in 11 or more semester hours of graduate credit during the current semester with a 3.00 GPA at midterm (counseling allows 17 semester hours of accumulated and current enrollment.)

Graduate Committee

The graduate committee serves during the student’s candidacy review and final examination. It consists of three members of the graduate faculty—two are chosen by the student from the graduate faculty in his or her degree program. The third member is appointed by the Graduate Office from outside the student’s degree program. It is the student’s responsibility to arrange a date and time for the candidacy review and final examination. Both must occur prior to the last two weeks of an academic semester or the last week of summer school.

Candidacy Review Process

The purpose of the candidacy review is to:

  1. Recommend the student for candidacy;
  2. Determine whether any transfer credit will be accepted for the degree program; and
  3. Develop an outline of the candidate’s program of study including specific requirements for the graduate portfolio.

Recommendation for candidacy is by unanimous vote of the student’s graduate committee. Upon recommendation of the graduate committee, the student and chair, with recommendations of the other two committee members, prepare the candidate’s program of study and outline the requirements for the graduate portfolio.

A minimum of six and no more than ten credit hours completed before the candidacy review may be applied to a graduate degree program. (NOTE: counseling requires completion of 10 but no more than 16 credit hours and E-learning requires 8 but no more than 12 hours). All credits must be appropriate for the student’s chosen program. The graduate committee, graduate director, and Graduate Council have authority to accept or reject credits completed prior to the candidacy review when they exceed more than one-third of the program total.

Modifications of the program of study must be approved by graduate committee chairperson and the chair of graduate studies.

Teacher Education Certification

A master’s degree does not certify anyone to teach, administrate, or counsel in the public schools. Those who intend to do so must be eligible for a teaching certificate or its equivalent. Candidates should check certification requirements in the state in which they intend to work.

Graduate Program Portfolio

The graduate student is required to develop a portfolio documenting achievement of the program outcomes according to the requirements developed during the candidacy review and the guidelines for graduate portfolios outlined in the Graduate Student Handbook. The handbook, portfolio binder, and index tabs for the specific program are available in the university bookstore. E-learning students must specify an E-learning portfolio. The completed portfolio will be made available to the graduate committee at least two weeks prior to the final oral examination.

Internship and Field-Based Research Project

All graduate programs require an internship as a culminating experience. Two-thirds of the course work should be completed before enrolling in the internship. A field-based research project may be conducted as part of the culminating experience (except in the counseling program where the research project may be conducted as a separate experience). This research will include a paper which will be part of the student’s portfolio. The topic of the research project must be approved by the committee and the chair of Graduate Studies. Students must complete their field-based research projects prior to their oral exams.

In addition, IRB Human Subjects Approval must be acquired before students begin any research involving human beings. The IRB forms are available in the Graduate Office. Two copies of the field-based research project must be presented to the Graduate Office to be placed in the NSU Library. A public presentation of the field-based project may be made as part of the final oral examination.

Final Examination

Written and oral examinations are required during the last period of enrollment. The writing component, as required by the program, will serve as one component of the oral examination and must be completed at least two weeks but not more than four weeks before the oral examination. Summer students must complete the written examination during one of the scheduled dates. Contact the Graduate Office for details. Students are responsible for scheduling the examination with the Graduate Office.

Full-time students must pass the oral examination no earlier than six weeks and no later than three weeks before the end of the semester in which they intend to graduate. Summer students must pass the oral examination no later than one week before the end of the second summer session. The oral examination will be based on the student’s field of study, the writing examination, and the graduate student portfolio that may include the research project.

Application for Graduation

Students may apply for graduation in the semester in which all course work, internships, papers, and final examinations are completed. Any student who fails to successfully complete all remaining requirements in the semester of graduation must apply for graduation again in a subsequent semester. All incomplete grades and all correspondence courses must be completed by the verification deadline (approximately 3-4 weeks) or the student will be required to reapply.

Institutional Endorsement/Second Master’s Degree/K-12 Certification Requirement

Students who have already earned a master’s degree may seek an institutional endorsement or a master’s degree in another program area. If the first degree was not awarded by Northern State University, the student should apply as stated under “Admission to Graduate Studies.” If Northern State University awarded the first master’s, the student should contact the Graduate Office.

An institutional endorsement or second master’s requires appointment of a graduate committee, a candidacy review, additional course work and a final examination. No more than 10 hours can be applied from the first master’s degree toward a second master’s degree. There is no limit to the number of hours that may be applied toward the institutional endorsement, but they must have been completed within the six-year period (see “Validation of Credit”) and considered appropriate for the student’s chosen program. An institutional endorsement is limited to students who have a classroom teaching master’s degree and want to add administration capability. The endorsement is available in the school administration program only.

Time Limits

All degree work must be completed within a period of six years.

Transfer of Credit

A maximum of 8 semester hours of graduate credit for a 32 hour program, 9 semester hours of graduate credit for a 36 hour program, and 12 semester hours of graduate credit for a 48 hour program may be transferred from other approved colleges or universities. All transfer credit must carry a grade of B or better and must meet Northern State University criteria for credit approval on the graduate level. Transfer credit must be approved by the graduate committee and the Chair of Graduate Studies.

Validation of Credit

Course work is considered outdated if taken more than six years before completion of the degree program. Outdated course work may, however, be applied to the master’s degree by repeating the course or completing the validation process. Students may validate up to six (6) credits of outdated work. To validate an outdated course, the student must demonstrate current course knowledge by passing an examination or completing an equivalent assignment. The student must make a request to the Office of Graduate Studies to validate a specific course. The Chair of Graduate Studies will appoint a faculty member responsible for preparation, monitoring, and scoring of the validation process. A $20.00 fee must be paid at the Graduate Office for each validation.

Credit Load

The maximum credit load during one semester is 14 hours. Graduate assistants are limited to 12 hours but must be enrolled in a minimum of (6) hours. The maximum credit load during a four-week summer session is six hours. Not more than 12 semester hours may be completed during the two four-week summer sessions. Exceptions must be approved by the Chair of Graduate Studies. A full-time load is nine (9) or more semester hours; three-fourths load is 6.75 semester hours; half-time is 4.5 semester hours; and part-time is one to three semester hours. Graduate credit is awarded in letter grades of A, B, C, D, F.

All graduate students are required to maintain a 3.0 GPA. Students falling below a 3.0 will be allowed a one-semester probation to raise their GPA to a 3.0. Graduate assistants will lose their assistantship for the probationary semester. Students failing to raise their GPA after the probationary period must withdraw from their classes for two consecutive semesters. For readmission, students must seek approval from the Chair of Graduate Studies.

Incomplete Grades

The deadline for removal of a grade of Incomplete (I) for course work is no later than one calendar year from the end of the semester in which the incomplete grade is given. Extension may be granted by the instructor with appropriate rationale. The deadline for an incomplete grade for a thesis is two years with extension granted by the instructor with appropriate rationale.

Repeat or Retake Course

Students will be allowed one retake for graduate courses (course numbers 500 and above); credit is counted toward graduation only once. The student must petition the Chair of Graduate Studies for permission to take a graduate course more than two times.

Students will be allowed unlimited takes for a graduate course for which credit toward graduation may be received more than once (e.g., Independent Study, Thesis). All takes will count in grade point average calculations. Individual departments/majors may limit the number of credits allowed toward graduation in certain courses.

The audit (AU) grade is the only grade that will not be counted as a take of a course. All other grades, including a Withdraw (W), will count as a take of a course.

Transfer courses and non-courses (e.g., CLEP, credit by exam) will count as a take of a course.

Correspondence/TV/Extension Credit

Correspondence or television credit will not be accepted for a master’s degree without prior approval of the Chair of Graduate Studies. Graduate credits earned in off-campus extension may be applied toward a degree program if approved by the Chair of Graduate Studies.

Workshop Credit

Workshop credit is permitted as approved by the Chair of Graduate Studies and by the student’s committee at the candidacy review. No more than three (3) graduate credit hours in any graduate program can be workshop credits. Workshop courses at the graduate level are numbered 593, 693, 793, or 893.

Financial Assistance

A limited number of graduate assistantships are awarded annually for one academic year and require part-time teaching or non-teaching duties in specific schools. Graduate assistantships will be offered only to students who are academically qualified, based on their undergraduate record (GPA) or GRE scores, admitted to the graduate program and have submitted an application for a graduate assistantship. Graduate assistants receive a stipend plus two-thirds remission of tuition, which includes waiver of non-resident tuition. Both the non-resident tuition waiver and the two thirds remission of tuition are effective throughout that academic year, including summer enrollment. Graduate assistants will have a work assignment related to their field of study and a workload of approximately 20 hours per week. Individuals employed as graduate assistants may not also hold other employment within the same department.

Graduate assistants are required to be enrolled in 6 hours per semester and are limited to no more than 12 hours per semester. Graduate assistants who resign the assistantship position or drop below 6 hours per semester, but continue classes, will be required to pay the remaining two-thirds tuition waived.

Application forms for graduate assistantships are available at the Office of Graduate Studies. While the priority application deadline is March 1, applications are taken until all positions are filled. Applications must be turned in before a graduate assistantship will be considered.

Five $1000 scholarships are available to new graduate students, continuing students, and graduate assistants. Applications for scholarships may be obtained from the Graduate Office.

Perkins Loans, Direct Stafford Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans, TEACH Grants and Federal Work-Study are available for qualified graduate students. Work-study positions are paid on an hourly basis and do not include tuition remission.

Students must be accepted for admission and enrolled at least half time in a graduate degree program in order to qualify for federal financial assistance.

For detailed information regarding financial aid programs, application procedures, and deadlines, contact the Financial Aid Office, Northern State University, 1200 South Jay Street, Aberdeen, SD 57401-7198. (605) 626-2640.

Academic Requirements

  1. A grade point average of 3.00 or above must be earned in the total hours taken for graduate credit. Grades below a C will not count toward graduation.
  2. A course can be repeated at Northern State University only if originally taken there. The second grade earned will be counted. Exceptions must be approved by the Chair of Graduate Studies.
  3. At least half the master’s degree credits must be 700-level courses. Exceptions must be approved by the Chair of Graduate Studies.
  4. Before completing at least six but no more than 10 credits in all programs except counseling (which requires completion of at least 10 but no more than 16 credits) and E-learning (which requires completion of 8 but no more than 12 credits), the Chair of Graduate Studies and committee chairperson will determine whether a student with less than a 3.00 grade point average should continue in a degree program.
  5. Any student who is deficient after completing one-half of the total hours in the program will be dropped.

Appeal Process

Graduate students who feel they have been aggrieved by a decision or an action of a Northern State University graduate faculty member relating to class absences, grades, alleged academic dishonesty, plagiarism, or classroom behavior disorders, shall follow the procedure outlined below if they wish to bring their grievances to a resolution.

  1. The student shall first attempt an informal resolution between the student and graduate faculty member. Failing resolution at this level, the student should file a written complaint to include the desired outcome with the faculty member involved within ten (10) school days after the alleged grievance. The faculty member must respond in writing within ten (10) school days after the written grievance has been filed. Copies of both the written complaint and the faculty response should be filed in the Office of Graduate Studies.
  2. If the grievance is not resolved at step A, the Chair of Graduate Studies will meet with the graduate student and graduate faculty member to attempt a resolution. Failing resolution at this step, the graduate student may submit a written complaint and request for resolution to the Graduate Council. A meeting of Graduate Council will be called. The student and the member of graduate faculty will be allocated time to speak to Graduate Council. Each may provide written material if desired. Members of Graduate Council may ask relevant questions of the faculty member and the student. Upon completion of the discussion, the Graduate Council will meet to determine the resolution of the complaint. Copies of the decision will be given in writing to the faculty member and the graduate student.
  3. A graduate student not satisfied with the resolution at step B of the above procedure may initiate an appeal to the Academic Grievance Committee as outlined in the student handbook beginning on step C.

Summary of Procedures for a Master’s Degree

  1. File an application for graduate study with the Graduate Office at least two weeks before registration.
  2. Register according to the Northern State University calendar if acceptance in graduate school is complete.
  3. Purchase a portfolio binder and graduate student handbook in the university bookstore.
  4. Select a graduate committee with approval of the Graduate Office.
  5. Arrange the candidacy review prior to completion of at least six to 10 credits for 32 credit programs, 8 to 12 credits for 36 credit programs, and 10 to 16 credits for 50 credit programs. Contact the committee chair to arrange a date for the candidacy review. Prepare the candidacy packet according to guidelines of the Graduate Office.
  6. For option B, select field-based research topic while enrolled in EDER 761. Get approval of the graduate committee chair and graduate director. Obtain and complete the IRB Human Subjects Approval for Research Studies.
  7. Complete graduate portfolio requirements according to guidelines specified by committee to include field-based research project completed during the internship.
  8. For option B, arrange for the public presentation of the field-based research findings with the Graduate Office.
  9. Submit the graduate portfolio to include the field-based research paper (option B) to the faculty advisor at least two weeks prior to the oral examination.
  10. If the student elects to complete a thesis, (Option A) the student must submit the topic for approval of the graduate committee and the graduate director before enrolling for credit. Submit two copies of the thesis and one copy of the abstract to the Director of Graduate Studies at least five days before graduation.
  11. Students may elect to complete the non-paper option which is Option C. With this option students are required to take EDER 751, Interpretation of Educational Research (2 credits).
  12. Arrange to complete the writing requirement for the final examination, two to three weeks before the oral examination.
  13. Arrange the oral examination with the graduate committee members during the last semester of the program. Complete the request for oral exam form (for Options A and B) with committee signatures and return it to the Graduate Office with the date and time at least two weeks before the oral examination. Submit the completed portfolio to the graduate committee at least two weeks before the oral examination. The oral examination must be completed no earlier than six weeks and no later than three weeks before the end of the semester. (During the summer, the oral examination must be completed no later than one week before the end of the second summer session.)
  14. Apply for graduation no later than eight weeks before the end of the academic year or one month before summer session graduation.

For additional information, contact
Director of Graduate Studies
Northern State University
Aberdeen, South Dakota 57401
(605) 626-2558; FAX (605) 626-7190