Comprehensive Standard 3.6.3: Institutional Credits for a Graduate Degree
At least one-third of credits toward a graduate or post-baccalaureate professional degree are earned through instruction offered by the institution awarding the degree. (See Commission policy “Agreements Involving Joint and Dual Academic Awards: Policy and Procedures.”)
University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee (USF Sarasota-Manatee) graduate students earn at least one-third of their credits toward master’s degrees through instruction offered through USF Sarasota-Manatee.
The Graduate Credit Transfer section of the Academic Catalog explains that the majority of credits (over 50%) for the master’s degree must be from USF Sarasota-Manatee:
Students may, with the approval of their graduate degree program, transfer credits from any regionally accredited institution into their graduate degree program, as long as the majority of the credits are earned at the institution granting the degree. Credits obtained from USF System Institutions will be calculated into the GPA at USF Sarasota-Manatee and will be noted on the transcript as the grade earned. Credits from other regionally accredited universities are not calculated into the GPA at USF Sarasota-Manatee. Only credits with a grade of B or better may be transferred. Credit for course work expires seven (7) years after receiving the credit. There is no time limitation for courses from a completed master’s degree or professional degree applied toward a doctoral degree. The graduate degree program / department will be responsible for evaluating, approving, and initiating the transfer as soon as possible at the time of admission.
USF System Policy 11-005, Enrollment Requirements for Graduate Students, indicates that the Academic Catalog includes enrollment requirements for graduate students. In the Graduate Minimum Hours section, the Catalog explains that a minimum of 30 hours is required for a master’s degree, at least sixteen (16) hours of which must be at the 6000 level. At least twenty (20) hours must be in formal, regularly-scheduled course work, ten (10) of which must be at the 6000 level. Students may take up to six (6) hours of 4000-level courses as part of a planned degree program. Students may earn additional graduate credit in 4000-level courses only if specifically approved by the appropriate college dean.
Students apply for graduation online through their OASIS accounts. The academic advisor assigned to the college, in consultation with the appropriate dean, if necessary, conducts a graduation certification to ensure that the prospective graduate has finished all of the requirements of the degree. The advisor consults each individual student’s Program of Study that lists courses taken with the name of the USF Sarasota-Manatee professor who taught it or the name of another institution where the student took the courses. It helps the advisor determine whether or not the student took over 50% of the courses with USF Sarasota-Manatee. The Program of Study also helps the advisor explain to students where they should take courses to complete the degree with USF Sarasota-Manatee.
The steps to the graduation check are the following:
- After the graduation application deadline, the Registrar’s Office in Tampa runs a preliminary certification list that includes all USF System graduate students who have applied for degree completion.
- The Registrar sends this list to the graduate advisor at USF Sarasota-Manatee. The advisor reviews each student’s requirements, including the 50% requirement, and collaborates with the student’s program chair and dean when necessary to verify that major requirements have been met and to resolve issues. To perform this review, the advisor uses a variety of certification forms. This process is repeated with late graduation applicants near the end of the semester.
- After the semester ends and faculty submit final grades, the advisor reviews the final certification list, which is sent back to the Registrar’s office by the final certification deadline about a month after the semester ends. The list identifies students approved to graduate and those denied.
- The last step is the Student Instructional File, a report sent by the Registrar to the State Board of Education after the end of each semester. This report, required by the State of Florida, includes the names of students enrolled for the term and the degrees awarded by USF in a given term.
USF Sarasota-Manatee does not have any joint, cooperative, or consortia arrangements for credits earned at the post-baccalaureate or graduate level.
SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION AND EVIDENCE