THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
The Graduate School provides the student with opportunities for
creative achievement and the advancement of knowledge. Graduate study fosters the spirit
of independent investigation while creating an environment for free inquiry and
intellectual challenge in advanced and specialized areas. Its emphasis upon scholarship,
original thinking, and the practical application of knowledge to the solution of complex
problems will enable the student to make a valuable contribution to society.
All graduate work is administered by the Graduate School under
the direction of the Graduate Dean who is advised by the Graduate Council. The voting
members of the Council are eight Full Members of the Graduate Faculty and eight Graduate
Directors, one from each college. Non-voting members ex officio are the Senior Vice
President for Academic Affairs, the Graduate Dean and the Director of the University
The Graduate School offers twelve different graduate degrees (M.A.,
M.Ac., M.B.A., M.S.N., M.Ed., M.P.A., M.H.S., M.S., M.S.S.H., M.S.CHE., M.S.E.E.,
M.S.M.E., M.S.C.I.S., Ed.S., Ph.D., Ed.D. [cooperative program with Auburn University]),
and thirty-three programs, within numerous areas of concentration.
See appropriate sections under College of Education.
See appropriate section under Program in Gerontology.
Information concerning assistantships and fellowships may be
obtained from the college or department concerned. In addition to a completed graduate
assistantship/fellowship application which includes three (3) letters of recommendation,
students must have attained regular standing and submit a standardized test score to be
eligible for consideration for a graduate assistantship/fellowship. Tuition granted for a
graduate assistantship/fellowship may not be applied to audit courses.
The following graduate degree programs are offered through the
Graduate School of the University. More details are available under school/college
listings elsewhere in this bulletin.
The College of Allied Health Professions offers graduate programs
leading to the degrees of Master of Science in Speech and Hearing Sciences, Master of
Health Sciences (Physician's Assistant Major) and the Doctor of Philosophy in
Communication Sciences and Disorders.
The College of Arts and Sciences offers graduate programs leading
to the degrees of Master of Arts in Communication, English, History, and Sociology; Master
of Public Administration; Master of Science in Biological Sciences, Marine Sciences,
Mathematics, Psychology, and Doctor of Philosophy in Marine Sciences.
The College of Business and Management Studies offers graduate
work in business leading to the degree of Master of Business Administration and graduate
work in accounting leading to the degree of Master of Accounting. This program is given in
the evenings and is designed for those individuals presently engaged in managerial or
technical positions with business, industry, or government.
The College of Education offers graduate programs leading to the
degrees of Master of Education, Master of Science, the Educational Specialist, the Doctor
of Education (degree awarded by Auburn University), and the Doctor of Philosophy.
The College of Engineering offers graduate programs leading to
the degree of Master of Science in Chemical Engineering, Master of Science in Electrical
Engineering and Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering.
The College of Medicine offers a program leading to the Doctor of
Philosophy degree in Basic Medical Sciences. The objective of the program is to produce
graduates with training and knowledge in basic human biology with an in-depth knowledge of
one of the basic medical sciences (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Microbiology and
Immunology, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology, Physiology, Structural and Cellular
Biology). A combined program leading to the awarding of both the Ph.D. and M.D. degree is
available to highly qualified applicants.
The College of Nursing offers a graduate program leading to the
degree of Master of Science in Nursing.
The School of Computer and Information Sciences offers a graduate
program leading to the degree of Master of Science in Computer and Information Sciences.
GRADUATE SCHOOL ADMISSION
REQUIREMENTS AND PROCEDURES
The Dean of the Graduate School, advised by the Graduate Council,
establishes and monitors the standards under which students are admitted for study in
degree programs under its jurisdiction.
Each student must be qualified for admission to the Graduate
School. However, the fact of qualification does not guarantee admission. Admission may be
restricted because of capacity limitations. Notice of actions on applications for
admission will be forthcoming from the Office of Admissions. Any other correspondence
between a student and faculty members, department chairs, and/or administrative officers
does not constitute nor does it imply admission to the Graduate School.
Application forms and other materials should be requested from
the Director of Admissions, Administration Building, Room 182, University of South
Alabama, Mobile, Alabama 36688-0002, telephone (334)460-6141 or toll-free telephone number
(800)872-5247. The e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
International students should contact the Office of International
Services, Faculty Court South, Room 3, University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama
36688-0002, telephone (334)460-6050, for application information.
Specific information regarding academic programs may be obtained
by contacting the Director of Graduate Studies in the appropriate colleges.
DEADLINES FOR APPLICATIONS
Final deadlines for all applications and supporting documents for
new students are as follows: September 1 for the Fall Quarter; December 10 for the Winter
Quarter; March 10 for the Spring Quarter; and June 1 for the Summer Quarter. Students who
do not register for the quarter in which they were accepted must update their admission in
writing by the deadline if they wish to enroll in a future quarter.
Students who have previously attended USA and who did not
register for the quarter in which they were accepted, but who wish to register for the
same graduate program in the same academic year must update their admissions through the
Office of the Registrar by November 15 for the Winter Quarter, February 15 for the Spring
Quarter, or May 15 for the Summer Quarter. Fall Quarter begins a new academic year and
requires submission of applications through the Office of Admissions.
Deadlines for applications and supporting documents for
international students are usually at least one month earlier than the deadlines for U.S.
citizens. Refer to the "International Students" section for details.
Not all programs admit students each quarter, and some programs
set earlier deadlines. Please see appropriate section of this publication.
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR ADMISSION
All documents required for admission review (transcripts, test
scores or letters of recommendation) must be official, i.e., mailed from the home
institution or testing agency directly to the Office of Admissions, and become the
property of the University of South Alabama.
CATEGORIES OF ADMISSION
Each program has specific requirements for admission that may exceed
the requirements listed below for admission to the Graduate School. Persons interested in
applying for admission to a specific program should consult the appropriate section of
this publication, under "Requirements for Admission."
Applicants to the Graduate School may be admitted in one of the
- Regular Admission. Regular admission
requires the following:
- A bachelor's degree from an accredited institution of higher
- A minimal grade-point average of 3.00 on all undergraduate work (A
= 4.00). The grade-point average used is that computed by the Office of Admissions.
- Sufficient courses in the major subject to qualify for graduate
study in the involved discipline. A student who has a deficiency in courses in the
discipline but who otherwise qualifies for Regular Admission will be required to complete
appropriate prerequisite course work.
- Recommendation of the appropriate director of graduate studies and
approval by the Graduate Dean.
- International students must submit documentary evidence showing
TOEFL test scores of 525 or above, or a bachelor's or graduate degree earned at an
accredited United States institution of higher education.
- For those students who have had previous graduate work,
performance at the graduate level may be taken into consideration as well as undergraduate
performance. An earned advanced degree may substitute for some admission requirements (see
description of specific program).
- Provisional Admission. Students who do
not meet the requirements for Regular Admission may be admitted to the Provisional
Admission category. Provisional Admission requires:
- A bachelor's degree from an accredited institution of higher
- A minimal grade-point average of 2.5 on all undergraduate work (A
= 4.00) or 2.75 on the last 96 hours of college work. The grade-point average used is that
computed by the Office of Admissions. Graduate Directors or Coordinators of each graduate
program may recommend consideration of other factors in the review of an application.
- Recommendation of the appropriate Director/Coordinator of Graduate
Studies and approval by the Dean of the College/School.
- International students must submit documentary evidence showing
TOEFL Test Scores of 525 or above, or a bachelor's or graduate degree earned at an
accredited United States institution of higher education.
For a Provisional student to be changed to Regular status, the
following are required:
- Provisional students will be eligible for Regular status after
accruing a minimum of 12 quarter hours of course work taken at the University of South
Alabama for graduate credit toward degree requirements, provided at least a B average is
maintained in all such work attempted. No more than 20 quarter hours of graduate credit
earned as a Provisional Admission student may be approved for change of status to Regular
Admission. The Provisional student who does not have the required B average upon
completing at least 20 quarter hours of graduate credit toward degree requirements will be
subject to dismissal from the graduate program. See appropriate college or school and/or
department section of this publication for any additional requirements. At all times,
students are subject to the policy stated in the Academic Standards Section of this
publication entitled "Academic Dismissal."
- Approval by the appropriate Director/Coordinator of Graduate
Studies, and Dean of the College/School.
- Non-Degree Admission. Students holding
baccalaureate degrees from accredited institutions of higher education who are not
interested in earning graduate degrees or who need to complete prerequisites for
particular degree programs may enroll as Non-Degree graduate students. A suitable
background for the courses to be taken is expected.
Because of limited class size and resources, academic units may limit the enrollment of
Non-Degree students. After admission, permission to enter each course is obtained from the
Graduate Director/Coordinator in the appropriate college, school and/or department.
Non-Degree students subsequently seeking admission into one of the graduate degree
programs of the University must submit a formal application through the Office of
Admissions to the Graduate Director/Coordinator of the appropriate college, school and/or
department. Students may be subject to further conditions, such as the completion of
necessary undergraduate background courses. The student's record in graduate courses taken
while in the Non-Degree status may be considered. A maximum of 20 quarter hours of
graduate credit earned while in Non-Degree status may be applied toward a graduate degree
if the student is later admitted to a graduate program of study.
International students must submit documentary evidence showing
TOEFL test scores of 525 or above, or bachelor's or graduate degrees earned at accredited
United States institutions of higher education.
- Transients. Students in good standing in
the graduate school of other universities may enroll in the Graduate School of the
University of South Alabama, provided they have the written permission of the Dean of the
Graduate School of the University of South Alabama. Enrollment as a transient student in
no way implies future admission as a degree or non-degree graduate student. Students who
wish to remain in transient status for more than one quarter must submit the University's
Transient Student Form and a readmission form (available from the Registrar's Office) each
quarter prior to the deadline (see "How to Apply for Readmission").
STANDARDIZED TEST SCORES
Test scores submitted to meet admission requirements (see
description of specific program) may not be more than five years old.
GRADUATE STUDY FOR ADVANCED UNDERGRADUATES
With permission of the department chair and appropriate director of
graduate studies, a student who has completed 144 quarter hours with a "B" (3.0)
average may register for graduate courses provided the total load does not exceed 16
hours. This policy is extended to provide an opportunity for well-prepared undergraduates
who meet two Regular admission criteria: minimum GPA and sufficient undergraduate course
work in the major subject to qualify for graduate study in the involved discipline.
The same course may not be counted both as undergraduate and
graduate credit, and the graduate course may count toward a degree in graduate school if
and when the student is admitted graduate school provided such course was not used to
satisfy requirements for the undergraduate degree.
ADMISSION TO CANDIDACY REQUIRED BY COLLEGE
Admission to Graduate School does not imply admission of a student
to Candidacy for the master's degree in the College of Education. The student is referred
to the "Admission to Candidacy" section in the College of Education for further
GRADUATE SCHOOL ACADEMIC STANDARDS
A student who withdraws from the University or from a course will
have WD recorded on his or her permanent record, provided the withdrawal occurs within the
time limits listed in the official Calendar. Withdrawal after the time limits can only be
approved by the Dean of the Graduate School upon the recommendation of the appropriate
director of graduate studies. (See "Withdrawals" on page 37 of this Bulletin.)
Courses for which the grade of D is assigned may not be counted
toward a degree program. A maximum of two courses with the grade of C may be counted
toward a degree program. However, some programs accept no grades of C; see specific
CHANGE OF GRADE
Grades reported for graduate students by instructors to the
Registrar may not be changed except in case of error in recording or in evaluation. Grade
changes require the approval of the instructor of record, with information regarding the
change provided to the department chair, the director of graduate studies of the college
in which the course is taught, and the Dean of the Graduate School. Grades on record for
one calendar year may not be changed for any reason.
The Dean of the Graduate School has authority to dismiss graduate
students from the Graduate School.
A student who receives 8 quarter hours of F will be academically
dismissed from Graduate School. In addition, any combination of 12 quarter hours of grades
of C or less (C, D, U, F) in all graduate courses or required undergraduate prerequisite
or foundation courses will result in academic dismissal.
A student will be dismissed from the Graduate School after three
unsuccessful attempts to pass the comprehensive examination. Some programs allow only two
A student in the status of Provisional Admission who does not
have a B (3.0) average upon completing 20 quarter hours of graduate credit toward degree
requirements will be academically dismissed from the Graduate School.
A student who has been academically dismissed is eligible to
reapply to the Graduate School subject to the approval of the director of graduate studies
of the specific new program and the Dean of the Graduate School. This is not intended to
include the program from which the student has been dismissed.
FINAL GRADE GRIEVANCE POLICY
A student may initiate an inquiry under procedures set forth by the
Graduate School Final Course Grade Grievance Policy. A copy of this policy is available in
the dean's office of each college and in the Graduate Dean's Office.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY
English is the language of instruction at the University of South
Alabama. Any remedial work in English language skill, which may be found needed after a
student has been admitted to the Graduate School (Provisional Admission or Regular
Admission), may be specified and requested by the director of the graduate program in
which the student is enrolled. International students, except those who have earned a
bachelor's or graduate degree at an accredited United States institution of higher
learning, are required to take the English language proficiency examination administered
at this University at the beginning of the first quarter in which they are enrolled.
Students with deficiencies in any of the various areas of command of English (oral
comprehension, reading comprehension, grammatical structure, vocabulary, etc.) will be
required to successfully complete the appropriate ESL courses. All ESL courses must be
completed as soon as possible but not later than the end of the third quarter after
A former USA graduate student who has failed to attend for one
quarter or more, or an admitted student who did not register within the same academic year
must file for readmission in the Registrar's Office. A graduate student who has not taken
a graduate course within a five-year period or a graduate student who wishes to change
degree program or type must apply through the Office of Admissions. Specific degree
programs may have additional requirements. Consult the appropriate section within this
Bulletin for any additional information.
Registration (making course selections and enrolling in classes)
occurs prior to the beginning of each quarter. Students may register via the telephone
utilizing USA's V.I.P.S. (Voice Interactive Phone System). (See the quarterly Schedule of
Classes for additional information.)
FULL LOAD OF COURSE WORK IN A QUARTER
A full load is eight to twelve credit hours. Permission of the major
department and the Graduate Dean must be obtained to take more than 12 hours.
CHANGE OF PROGRAM
A student wishing to change from one graduate program to another
must apply to the new program through the Office of Admissions unless the new program is
in the College of Education or the College of Business and Management Studies. If the new
program is in the College of Education or College of Business, the student should consult
the Director of Graduate Studies for the appropriate college.
While the University of South Alabama will endeavor to provide
timely and accurate advisement, it is the responsibility of the student to know and
satisfy the degree requirements of the academic program.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MASTER'S DEGREE
- A minimum of 48 quarter hours of credit in a program approved by
the major department and the Dean of the Graduate School is required. The following
- No more than 16 hours of either dual-listed courses (400- and
500-level listings for the same course) or upper division undergraduate courses (400-level
courses) may be counted toward meeting the minimum hours required for a degree; the total
of dual-listed and 400-level credit hours may not exceed 24.
- A maximum of 12 quarter hours of graduate credit obtained at
another accredited institution may be approved for transfer to the University of South
Alabama. The credit is approved only after completion of a minimum of 12 quarter hours of
graduate credit at the University of South Alabama. Transfer credit must have the
recommendation of the major department and appropriate director of graduate studies and
the approval of the Dean of the Graduate School. Only grades of A or B or the equivalent
may be accepted as transfer credit. Grade equivalency must be verified by the appropriate
director of graduate studies. Course work completed more than five years prior to the date
for graduation may not be counted for degree credit. Students must meet all degree
residency requirements. Transfer credit for courses offered at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab
must be listed in the MESC Bulletin. Any other courses at the Sea Lab not listed in the
MESC Bulletin and offered by other institutions must have prior approval by the Dean of
the Graduate School to be considered for transfer credit.
- A course applied toward credit for a degree at this institution,
or elsewhere, will not be acceptable as credit toward a second degree.
- A minimum overall 3.0 grade-point average on all work attempted in
the student's specific program of study as well as an overall 3.0 grade-point average on
all work attempted is required. Courses for which the grade of D is assigned may not be
counted toward a degree program. A maximum of two courses with the grade of C may be
counted toward a degree program; however, some programs accept no grades of C (see
- A minimum of 30 quarter hours of degree program credit in
residence at the University of South Alabama is required.
- All requirements for a master's degree must be completed within
five calendar years from admission as a graduate student at the University of South
- A comprehensive examination is required and may be repeated no
more than twice. For details see specific programs.
- Submission of a standardized test score may be required. For
details, see specific programs.
- A foreign language may be required. For details see specific
programs. International students should note that English may not be offered as a foreign
language. The foreign language requirement may be fulfilled, normally no later than two
quarters before graduation, in one of two ways:
- Undergraduate course work in one acceptable foreign language which
demonstrates successful completion of at least the second-year intermediate level (a
course offered in the sixth quarter or fourth semester of an undergraduate sequence begun
at the introductory level) with a minimum grade-point of 2.5 in all work attempted in the
foreign language. The course work must have been completed within five calendar years
before the date of graduation from the relevant program. Course work may be taken as a
graduate student with no graduate credit.
- A satisfactory performance on an examination conducted at the
University of South Alabama requiring a written translation from the foreign language into
English, which examination will last no more than two hours and allow the use of a
dictionary. The examination is offered only to matriculated students and must be passed no
more than five calendar years before the date of graduation from the relevant program. The
text set for translation will be related to the student's subject area. Programs requiring
a foreign language are invited to make recommendations regarding appropriate material to
the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, which will appoint from its faculty a
specialist to be the examiner and to schedule, prepare, administer, and evaluate the
examination. The examiner will evaluate the translation as satisfactory or not
- A program may require or allow a candidate for the Master's degree
to prepare a thesis. A maximum of 12 quarter hours of 599 thesis credit may be counted
toward meeting the minimum hours required for a degree; some programs may allow less than
12 hours (see specific program).
- The grade of P (In Progress) is assigned to thesis credit; upon
completion and approval of the thesis by the Dean of the Graduate School, a quality-point
grade (A, B, C, D, F) and accumulated credit are assigned. If not changed to a
quality-point grade by the end of two years after the first P is given, the P
automatically becomes WD.
- A student on a thesis option program will be required to prepare a
- An oral defense of the thesis is required.
- The student must be enrolled in at least one hour of thesis during
the quarter in which the thesis is approved by the Dean of the Graduate School. Normally,
thesis students should be enrolled in 599 continuously from inception of the project until
final approval of the thesis by the Dean of the Graduate School.
- See "Guidelines for Theses and Dissertations" and
"Standards for Theses and Dissertations" in this Bulletin.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE EDUCATIONAL SPECIALIST DEGREE
See appropriate section under College of Education.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY DEGREE
- The specific requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy degree in
the Basic Medical Sciences, in Communication Sciences and Disorders, in Instructional
Design and Development, and in Marine Sciences vary among the specialties. Each of the
four programs leading to the completion of a Ph.D. degree has specific requirements
regarding courses, seminars, laboratory studies, directed studies, workshops, and
research. In general, a minimum of 90 credits of graduate work will be required for the
Ph.D. degree. Transfer credit may be accepted by certain programs, but must be approved in
advance by the college director of graduate studies. The quality of the student's program
and performance are emphasized and are considered as important as the fulfillment of
requirements. Completion of original research, and writing and defending a dissertation
are requirements for the Ph.D. degree.
- Students who are candidates for the Ph.D. degree must be enrolled
for Research and Dissertation during the quarter in which the open defense of the
dissertation is completed, and must be enrolled in at least one hour of Research and
Dissertation during the quarter in which the dissertation is approved by the Graduate
THESES AND DISSERTATIONS
- Students who intend to write a thesis or dissertation should early
in their programs consult with the department chair or program director/coordinator for a
list of Members of the Graduate Faculty from which to select an advisor to supervise and
direct their research.
- If the Member of the Graduate Faculty selected by the student
consents to serve as an advisor, then the advisor and student initiate a recommendation
for a thesis/dissertation committee using GS Form 11.
- Ph.D. degree dissertation committees must include at least one
Full Member of the Graduate Faculty who is the committee chair and normally the student's
advisor/major professor. A Master's thesis committee must have a minimum of three members
and a dissertation committee must include at least four members of the Graduate Faculty.
Both thesis and dissertation committees must have at least one member from outside the
student's department or program.
- The Dean of the Graduate School is the appointing authority for
thesis and dissertation committees. Once the Graduate Dean has appointed the committee,
the student prepares a thesis or dissertation prospectus under the direction of the
- A Guide for Preparing Theses and Dissertations, Fifth Edition,
1997, is the guide for preparation of the prospectus and the thesis or dissertation. The
manual is for sale in the campus bookstore.
- Once a thesis or dissertation committee is appointed by the Dean
of the Graduate School, the student may then enroll for 599 Thesis or 799 Dissertation
credit with permission of the thesis/dissertation committee chair (advisor or major
- Normally, thesis/dissertation students should be enrolled in
599/799 continuously from inception of project until final approval of the
thesis/dissertation by the Dean of the Graduate School.
- The student must be enrolled in at least one hour of 599 or 799 in
the quarter in which the thesis/dissertation is approved by the Dean of the Graduate
- To be considered for approval by the Dean of the Graduate School,
an acceptable thesis or dissertation must be submitted to the Graduate School office by
the deadline announced in the University Calendar (see front of Bulletin).
STANDARDS FOR THESES AND DISSERTATIONS
- A thesis/dissertation should demonstrate that the student has the
capacity for original research, facility in the use of the English language, the ability
to review appropriate background material, formulate and address (a) significant
question(s), obtain, collate, and analyze appropriate data and draw logical conclusions
therefrom, and integrate in a meaningful way the new knowledge into the greater body of
existing knowledge and state its significance. The final thesis/dissertation must be
acceptable to the major professor, a majority of the thesis/dissertation committee, the
chair of the student's department, and the Dean of the Graduate School.
- Thesis and dissertation research will be consistent with the
Standards established by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. These Standards
are described in detail in the document, Standards of the College Delegate Assembly,
Commission on Colleges, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
- The thesis or dissertation must be an original research and/or
creative project. This document will demonstrate the student's ability to:
- Select a topic and delineate a problem that can be studied in
terms of time, equipment needs and experimental population available to the faculty
- Search adequately the literature for relevant studies on the topic
- Organize and analyze the information that is available, using
logical and/or statistical analysis appropriate for the project.
- Present the results orally and in a written form to the
satisfaction of the faculty thesis/dissertation committee and the Graduate Faculty.
- Present a final document as a Thesis or Dissertation to the
Graduate School Office in an accepted form and by the procedures outlined in the Guide for
Preparing Theses and Dissertations, University of South Alabama.
APPLICATION FOR DEGREE
Each candidate for the Master's, Educational Specialist's, or Doctor
of Philosophy degree must make application for the degree two quarters in advance in the
Registrar's Office. The dates are specified in the University Calendar.
A graduate student dissatisfied with a ruling regarding academic
affairs should consult with the faculty member concerned and the department chair to seek
an acceptable solution to the problem. If no agreement can be reached, an administrative
appeal procedure is available. Information concerning this procedure may be obtained from
the office of the Graduate Dean.