Bylaws of the Graduate Council
From MWSU Graduate School Policy Portal
Article I: Name
The name of this body shall be Missouri Western State University Graduate School (MWSU Graduate School).
Article II: Purpose
The mission of the Missouri Western State University Graduate School is to promote excellence in graduate education, to offer unique graduate programs that respond to regional post graduate educational needs, and to further the University’s focus on applied learning and applied research. MWSU graduate policies and programs, in accord with Western’s mission, are focused around quality programs that provide valuable applied opportunities for students and the community to advance educational and career opportunities.
Article III: Membership
The Graduate School membership shall consist of two major bodies: the Graduate Faculty and the Graduate Students.
Article IV: Faculty
Section 1. Minimum Qualifications and Applications
Minimum Qualifications for appointment consideration are as follows: Terminal degree highly preferred with current record of significant scholarly/creative activity in the discipline. In the absence of terminal degree, a master’s degree and either highly significant publication/presentation record in the discipline or considerable professional experience in the discipline. Application for Graduate Faculty is made by submitting a completed application form to the applicant’s Academic Department Chair or School Dean. A vita should be emailed to the Graduate Dean. Adjunct Graduate Faculty applications should be submitted through the chair of the department where the courses will be offered. MWSU Faculty may apply for Graduate Faculty designation at anytime, even if they are not immediately instructing a graduate course or involved in a graduate program. All applications will be reviewed in turn by Department Chair or School Dean, Academic College Dean, and Graduate Council, with final action taken by the Provost.
Section 2. Categories of Graduate Faculty, Reappointment and Review
Membership in the MWSU Graduate Faculty shall be classified in one of three faculty designations: Full Graduate Faculty, Associate Graduate Faculty and Adjunct Graduate Faculty.
The criteria for each level of membership is set out as follows:
Full-time MWSU Faculty who hold a terminal degree in an appropriate field of study and demonstrate evidence of scholarly/creative activity, including a minimum of one of the following:
- One peer reviewed publication or creative activity in one’s content discipline within the past three years; two such publications within the past five years; or, one such publication and four conference presentations within the past five years and/or
- Relevant professional service and leadership in one’s discipline at the regional or national level. There must be evidence of keeping current in one’s content discipline and/or
- Possessing special or unique content related qualities contributing to a particular graduate curriculum. Normally this will be non-academically recognized experience/expertise related to the teaching area.
Responsibilities and privileges include teaching graduate courses, advising graduate students, chairing and serving on graduate student committees, and being eligible to serve on Graduate Council. Graduate Faculty may also be requested to serve on committees and special committees. Graduate Faculty are appointed for a five year term, after which they may apply for reappointment.
Associate Graduate Faculty
Full-time MWSU Faculty judged capable of contributing to quality graduate education in the area of their expertise. Responsibilities and privileges include teaching graduate level courses, advising graduate students, and serving on student committees. These appointments are for one year with the possibility of annual reappointment.
Adjunct Graduate Faculty
Professionals, staff, and administrators judged capable of contributing to quality graduate education in the area of their expertise. Adjunct Faculty do not hold full-time MWSU faculty contracts.
Responsibilities and privileges include teaching graduate level courses and serving on student committees. These appointments are for one year with the possibility of annual reapplication.
Graduate Faculty, Associate Graduate Faculty, and Adjunct Graduate Faculty must remain current in their discipline with a record of current professional development to receive reappointment.
Section 3: Faculty Workload
Graduate Faculty workload is calculated in such a manner as to provide access to graduate education within available resource constraints while providing a mechanism for Graduate Faculty to perform the additional professional development necessary to provide quality graduate education.
Faculty teaching courses in which graduate students are enrolled shall have a workload range of 22-24 credits. If the faculty load exceeds 24 credits the faculty member should be paid for overload. The total workload for a faculty teaching graduate students should not exceed 26 credits in an academic year. Approval to go over 26 hours must be obtained in advance through the department chair, college dean, and graduate dean.
If a course is a graduate-only course (500/600 level), calculate a faculty workload of 1.33 workload credits for what in an undergraduate situation would give 1.0 workload credit. If a course is cross-listed and enrolled in by both undergraduate (400 level) and graduate students (500 level) credit, calculate a faculty workload of 1.33 workload credits for what in an undergraduate situation would give 1.0 workload credits.
If no graduates enroll in the graduate level cross-listed section of a course (500 level section), calculate a faculty workload as if it were an undergraduate only course. If a graduate student is enrolled in an undergraduate course (often to fulfill a deficiency), faculty workload will be counted at the undergraduate rate since only undergraduate course requirements are in place.
Article V: Graduate Curriculum
Section 1: Graduate Curriculum Policies
MWSU Graduate Faculty are responsible for designing curriculum for graduate programs in their discipline or, in the case of an inter-disciplinary graduate program, for their respective disciplines. All MWSU masters programs must contain a minimum of 30 graduate credits and graduate certificate programs a minimum of 15 graduate credits. At least half the credits in a masters or graduate certificate program must be at the 600 level (graduate-only courses). All programs must originate in and be administered by an academic department. The program contact person must be a department chair or full graduate faculty member.
Section 2: Policy for Submitting a New Graduate Curricular Program
1. All new program submissions must be submitted by a Graduate Faculty Member through a department chair in the Spring Semester using a New Graduate Program Submission Form. The due date is the last Friday of January.
2. Submissions need to be in two forms: a paper copy and an electronic copy. Both copies are to be sent to the Graduate Dean and must be received no later than 4pm.
3. Upon submission, a proposal(s) must have signatures from the following: department chair(s), chairs of affected department(s), and dean(s) of affected college(s)/school(s). A proposal(s) without the required signatures may be sent back to the originators of the proposals and not considered by the Graduate Council (GC) for this semester.
4. The Graduate Curriculum Committee (GCC) will review all proposals and provide copies of the proposal(s) to all members of the Graduate Council. During a GC meeting in the Spring Semester, the GCC will make their recommendations concerning the proposals to the GC. Approval or disapproval of the proposals will be determined by a vote of the GC.
5. All approved proposals (requiring CBHE approval) will be sent to CBHE. After CBHE approves the proposal(s), the originators of the proposal must submit a New Graduate Course Proposal Submission Form, including course syllabi, to the GC for approval (see Policy for Submitting Graduate Courses). If a proposal is not approved, the GC will write a letter outlining the reasons for disapproval, and send copies to all affected departments and schools.
6. If a department fails to implement approved proposals within 2.5 year period, the proposal must be resubmitted to the Graduate Council.
Section 3: Policy for Submitting Graduate Courses
1. All new course submission must submit using a New Graduate Course Proposal Submission Form. The due date is the second Friday in September for the Fall Semester and the last Friday in January for the Spring Semester.
2. Submissions need to be in two forms: a paper copy and an electronic copy. Both copies are to be sent to the Graduate Dean and must be received no later than 4pm.
3. Upon submission, a proposal(s) must have signatures from the following: department chair(s), chairs of affected department(s), and dean(s) of affected college(s)/school(s). Proposals without the required signatures may be sent back to the originators of the proposal(s) and not considered by the GC for this semester.
4. The GCC will review all proposals and provide copies of the proposal(s) to all members of the GC. Moreover, the GC will post the proposal(s) for all Graduate Faculty to review for a period of at least 30 days. During the GC meeting in the Spring and Fall Semesters, the GCC will make their recommendations concerning the proposals to the GC. Approval or disapproval of a proposal(s) will be determined by a vote by the GC.
5. If approved, the GC will notify the originators of the proposal and submit courses to be included in the Graduate Bulletin and the Banner System. If a proposal(s) is not approved, the GC will write a letter outlining the reasons for disapproval and send copies to all affected departments and schools.
Section 4: Policy for Submitting Revisions to a Current Graduate Curricular Program
1. All program revisions (additions, deletions, revisions of course in existing programs, etc.) must submit using a Graduate Course Revision Form. The due date is the second Friday in September for the Fall Semester and the last Friday in January for the Spring Semester.
2. Submissions need to be in two forms: a paper copy and an electronic copy. Both copies are to be sent to the Graduate Dean and must be received no later than 4pm.
3. Upon submission, a proposal(s) must have signatures from the following: department chair(s), chairs of affected department(s), and deans(s) of affected college(s)/school(s). Proposals without the required signatures may be sent back to the originators of the proposal(s) and not considered by the GC for this semester.
4. The GCC will review all proposals and provide copies of the proposal(s) to all members of the GC. Moreover, the GC will post the proposal(s) for all Graduate Faculty to review for a period of at least 30 days. During the GC meeting in the Spring and Fall Semesters, the GCC will make their recommendations concerning the proposal(s) to the GC. Approval or disapproval of a proposal(s) will be determined by a vote by the GC.
5. If approved, the GC will notify the originators of the proposal(s) and submit changes to be included in the Graduate Bulletin and the Banner System. If a proposal(s) is not approved, the GC will write a letter outlining the reasons for disapproval and send copies to all affected departments and schools.
Section 5: Program Review
Each MWSU graduate program will be evaluated internally each of the first three years of operation and subsequently in conjunction with each standard 5-year departmental review. Program coordinators and chair(s) of the department(s) involved in program delivery must prepare a self-study evaluation of the graduate program(s) for submission to the appropriate Academic Dean, Graduate Dean, and Graduate Council by August 1st. The Graduate Council’s evaluation is then forwarded to the Provost for review and any necessary action.
Article VI: Graduate Courses
Section 1: Nature of Graduate Courses
Graduate level courses cannot be taken for Credit/No Credit or the A/CR/U option (except thesis credits which are Pass/Fail). Graduate courses will have a designated 500 or 600-level number. 500-level designation will be used for graduate courses which have a cross-listed 400 level equivalent undergraduate course or where senior undergraduates will be allowed to take the course. 500-level graduate courses must have additional academic components required beyond the 400-level cross-listed course as described in the course syllabus. 600-level designation is used for graduate-only courses.
Section 2: Minimum Required Hours
A minimum of 24 credits of coursework (excluding thesis/internship/project hours) are required in all MWSU master degree programs. All additional hours may come from additional coursework, research, internship, practicum, etc. as designated by the graduate program. A minimum of 12 credits of coursework (excluding thesis/internship/project hours) are required in all certificate programs.
Section 3: Minimum Student GPA
Only courses with a grade of C or better will count toward a certificate, masters degree, or graduate credit. Candidates may earn no more than 6 credits with a grade of C to be counted toward the program. Graduate courses taken for credit may be enrolled in only twice. Courses designed to have multiple semester enrollments are exempt from this regulation. Students may withdraw from graduate courses according to the current MWSU policy applicable to undergraduate courses.
Section 4: Prerequisites
The waiving of a course prerequisite is strongly discouraged. When a waiver is proposed, the department(s) offering the course must certify (either by recognizing an equivalent course taken at another university, equivalent professional skills, or by the student satisfactorily completing a course prerequisite competency examination) that the student possesses the prerequisite skills required for the course. This certification must be forwarded for approval along with the student’s program of study as described in the Graduate Advisor and Committee section of this document.
Article VII: Governing Body of the Graduate School
Section 1. Responsibilities
The Graduate Council at MWSU is responsible for developing and recommending University policy and procedures for graduate study, establishing standards, criteria, and approving graduate curriculum in accordance with existing University policies and through its Graduate Dean advising the administration on matters affecting the administration of graduate education. This includes, but is not limited to, graduate offerings, student policies, and Graduate Faculty appointments. All policies impacting graduate education must pass acceptance by an absolute majority vote of the Graduate Council.
Section 2: Meetings
Meetings of the Council will occur at a minimum of twice a semester and additional scheduled meeting times as called upon by the Graduate Council Chair. The Graduate Council shall establish and/or change bylaws for conducting its business in consultation with appropriate governance bodies, the Graduate Dean, and the Provost. Meetings of the Missouri Western State University Graduate Faculty may also be called by the Dean of the MWSU Graduate School, the Provost for Academic Affairs, the President of the University or by twenty percent of the total Graduate Faculty. A quorum of the Graduate Council is defined as 50% of the current voting members. If a quorum is not present, no actions binding on the Graduate Faculty or Graduate Students can be taken. The chair of the Council has the authority to set the rules for the meetings, however, the most recent edition of Robert’s Rules of Order will be used to settle disputes. A two-thirds majority of the Council can override any rules set by the chair or call for modifications to standards in Robert’s Rules.
Section 3: Voting and Terms
Voting members of the MWSU Graduate Council are as follows: One Graduate Faculty member per academic department offering graduate courses and/or graduate degrees. Non-voting members are the Academic Deans, Dean of the Graduate School, the Faculty Senate Liaison and Student Representative. The Graduate Council members shall be elected by their respective departments, recommended by the department chair, and approved by the appropriate Academic Dean and Provost. Voting members will have a 3-year term. A Graduate Faculty member may serve two consecutive terms, then must be off the Graduate Council for at least one full 3-year term. Terms on Graduate Council begin and end August 1st of each year. A department can elect not to have a Graduate Council representative.
Section 4: Council Organization
The Council shall elect from among its voting members, a chair and a vice chair to each serve a one-year term. The Graduate Dean shall be Executive Secretary whose responsibilities include (in consultation with the Council Chair) scheduling meetings, drafting and distributing agendas and minutes, and providing documents and background information to the Council as necessary for it to fulfill its charges and responsibilities. The Council Chair (in consultation with the Council Vice Chair) shall assist the Graduate Dean in the duties as outlined immediately above in addition to recommending persons to fill Graduate School committees and assume the responsibilities of the Graduate Dean in his/her absence. The Vice Council Chair shall assist the Council Chair and Graduate Dean in their duties and assume the responsibilities of the Council Chair in his/her absence.
Section 5: Committees
The standing committees of the Graduate Council are the Graduate Curriculum Committee, Graduate Scholarship Committee, Marketing Committee, and other committees as recommended by the chair and vice chair and voted into existence by the Graduate Council. The Graduate Curriculum Committee considers proposals for changes in the graduate curriculum, reviews proposals, makes recommendation regarding graduate curriculum and procedures, and coordinates when appropriate with the undergraduate curriculum committee.
The Graduate Scholarship Committee works with the chair, vice-chair and dean to review and develop criteria for student scholarships, reviews scholarship applications, and makes recommendations regarding scholarships and procedures for awarding scholarships.
The Marketing Committee considers and recommends ways in which to promote graduate offerings and programs.
Article VIII: Graduate Students
Section 1. Admission Requirements
Application materials must be submitted to the Office of Admissions by the program deadline. After screening for minimum criteria, the application and all supporting materials will be forwarded to and evaluated by the graduate admissions committee of the appropriate program to which the student is applying. The recommendation of the program committee and/or the program director is sent to the Office of Graduate Studies for final approval by the Graduate Dean. The Office of Graduate Studies will then notify the student of his/her admission status.
All foreign nation students must provide evidence of visa status and F-visa students must have an I-20 form on file with the Admissions Office.
Section 2. Degree Seeking Applicants
To be admitted to graduate studies as a degree seeking student, an applicant must submit an Application for Graduate Admission according to the following deadlines:
- July 15th for Fall Admission
- October 1st for Spring Admission
- March 15th for Summer Admission
After these deadlines, only applications for non-degree seeking admission will be considered.
Admission to graduate programs at MWSU is based upon the following minimum criteria:
1. A Bachelor’s degree or Master’s degree from an accredited college or university. Transcript(s) must be submitted with application.
2. Entrance to Graduate School requires a minimum 2.75 undergraduate grade point average (GPA) or previously earned masters degree.
3. Individual programs may have further or more stringent requirements for admissions such as resume, letters of recommendation, and interview.
4. Degree-seeking students admitted to a graduate program must enroll and begin classes at MWSU within the next academic year after receiving official notice of acceptance from the Graduate School. An extension may be granted by the graduate dean and academic program under extreme circumstances.
5. Applicants who are non-native speakers of English must receive a minimum score of 500 paper test, 173 computer-based, or 61 internet-based on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or a 5.5 academic IELTS score unless they possess a baccalaureate degree from a college or university in which instruction is given in English. Tests taken more than two (2) years prior to the date of application cannot be accepted.
Section 3. Non-Degree Seeking Applicants
The following policies apply to students who are not seeking a graduate degree and wish to enroll in graduate courses:
1. Students with a bachelor’s degree who wish to take courses for graduate credit but who do not intend to seek a master’s degree must submit transcripts from an accredited college or university showing a degree date and a minimum undergraduate grade point average of 2.75.
2. Senior undergraduate students desiring to take courses for graduate credit may take up to six total credit hours of graduate-level courses (500 level only) for graduate credit during only the last two semesters before receiving the bachelor’s degree, provided they meet the following criteria:
a. Are within 24 hours or less of meeting the requirements for the baccalaureate degree.
b. Have a cumulative undergraduate grade point average of not less than 3.0;
c. File for permission to enroll in a graduate course and receive approval before registering for the graduate course.
d. A course taken for undergraduate graduation credit will NOT be allowed to count as graduate credit.
3. Students with a bachelor’s degree who do not have appropriate program-required courses for admission to graduate work but are otherwise admissible to a graduate program may, with permission of the appropriate graduate program, take as many undergraduate courses as required for a degree-seeking graduate application.
4. Students interested in taking in-service/Professional Development courses or Workshops for graduate credit may do so by seeking admission through the Graduate Office. They must show proof of a bachelor’s degree by submitting appropriate academic transcripts.
Section 4. Provisional Admission Applicants
If a graduate applicant fails to meet one of the admissions requirements the student may request a provisional admission for their first graduate semester. Requests for provisional admission must originate from the student in writing stating a justification for the exception. The student must attain departmental/program support, approval by the Academic Dean, and forward all written materials to the Graduate Dean for final approval. Full admission will be granted if the student attains a 3.0 GPA or better during the first semester of graduate studies at MWSU. Failure to achieve a 3.0 GPA will cause dismissal from the program. If dismissed, the student may re-applyfor admission one year after the dismissal, subject to departmental review.
Section 5. Graduate Advisor and Committee
Each degree-seeking and provisional graduate student will be assigned a graduate advisor upon admission. Prior to the initial registration each student must work with the advisor to establish a program of study, approved in the first semester, signed by the department/ program director and filed in the Graduate Studies Office. Failure to receive prior approval for courses may result in those courses not counting toward the graduate degree.
The modification of an approved graduate program of study by the substitution of other courses (MWSU or otherwise) or the waiving of course or program requirements, must be approved by the program director(s) and department chairperson(s) of the relevant MWSU academic department(s), and Graduate Dean.
If required in the approved program of study, the advisor will help the graduate student establish a graduate committee as soon as reasonably possible. The student will select a graduate committee of a minimum of three MWSU Graduate Faculty, one serving as committee chair. The student may add up to two additional committee members, including those who are not MWSU Graduate Faculty but who have substantial knowledge of the student’s program of study.
Approval of committee membership is required by the department/ program director and Graduate Dean. The committee is responsible for formal approval of the proposed Scholarly Work as required by the program. All signed original forms, including program of study and approved Scholarly Work, must be filed in the Graduate Studies Office.
Section 6. Graduate Student Course Load
In order to maintain their admission status, graduate students admitted as degree seeking or who have provisional admission are required to take a minimum of one graduate course per academic year (Fall, Spring, Summer).
For the purpose of academic status at Missouri Western, the following will be applied to graduate students:
During each regular academic semester
- 8 or more credits = full time student
- 5-7 credits = half time student
- less than 6 credits = part time student
During each summer academic semester
- 5 or more credits = full time student
- 3-4 credits = half time student
- less than 3 credits = part time student
Graduate students are allowed to take a maximum of twelve credits per academic semester. To enroll in more than 12 credits in one semester the student must make petition, with approval of the academic advisor and program director, to the Graduate Dean for final decision.
A maximum of 6 approved credits of graduate work can be transferred to MWSU from another university and counted toward a Missouri Western graduate degree. All transfer credits must be approved by the graduate program director to which the student is applying and Graduate Dean and will be counted toward the graduate GPA. Additionally, a maximum of 6 graduate credits taken at MWSU while at non-degree seeking status may be counted toward a graduate degree.
For certificate programs, a maximum of 6 credits, either transferred or taken while at non-degree seeking status, may be counted toward the program. Additional transfer credits or other exceptions to these rules must receive approval by the department/ program director and Graduate Dean.
A degree-seeking graduate student will be placed on academic probation if the semester GPA falls below 3.0. If placed on probation, the student must raise the semester GPA to 3.0 or above in the next semester in which the student registers for classes. Failure to bring the semester GPA to 3.0 or higher in the next enrolled academic semester will cause the student to be dismissed from the program. If dismissed from a program, the student may re-apply for admission one year after being dismissed, subject to departmental review.
Section 7. Graduation Requirements
In order to be eligible for a graduate degree or certificate from MWSU the following criteria must be met:
1. Filing of an approved Application for Graduation.
2. Satisfactory completion of all required course work as listed on the approved Program of Study.
3. Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 in coursework required on the program of study
4. Approval of the completed Scholarly Work, as required by the program of study. This includes notice of acceptance of a graduate thesis or report by the Library.
5. Satisfactory completion of an oral and/or written examination if required by program, signed by the committee members, and filed with the Graduate Studies Office.
All students admitted to a graduate program at MWSU are required to complete their degree requirements within 6 years of first enrollment date following receiving degree-seeking status (or provisional status) for a Masters Degree or in 3 years for a post-baccalaureate certificate program. Time spent in the armed services active duty will not count toward the year limit. For any extension of this time limitation, the student must petition the Graduate Dean by submitting a request to the academic adviser who, in turn, submits a written recommendation to the Graduate Dean that is endorsed by the departmental or area program director of the graduate program. The Graduate Dean will notify the advisor and student in writing of the final decision.
Section 8. Scholarly Work
Graduate students may be required to complete a Scholarly Work component as part of their requirements for graduation, as designated by their graduate program. The requirement may be met through one of two options as prescribed for the individual's approved program of study. The options are graduate project or thesis.
A graduate project is a scholarly work which demonstrates synthesis of knowledge obtained from the graduate program of study. This can be in the form of a research project, research paper, scholarly writing, original artistic work/composition, or capstone project. The graduate project must be presented and defended before the student’s graduate committee. The student's advisor and committee must approve the research project and file the Graduate Project Approval Form with the Graduate Office. Committee acceptance of the completed Graduate Project must be filed with the Graduate Studies Office prior to graduation.
A thesis is an in-depth scholarly examination of a particular topic which makes a significant original contribution to the student's academic field. In general, a thesis is based on the examination of hypothesis(es) or research objective(s). The thesis requires approval of the supervising graduate research faculty member, the student’s graduate committee and the graduate dean. An oral defense of the thesis before their graduate committee is required. Acceptance by the committee of the completed thesis must be filed in the Graduate Studies Office prior to graduation. The thesis must be submitted to the library according to the “Thesis Guidelines Manual”. The Library has final authority in determining that the thesis document is in a consistent style and format suitable for permanent storage.
MWSU subscribes to the policy that all research involving human subjects which is conducted by faculty, students, and staff, must be reviewed and approved by the Human Subjects Committee prior to the initiation of the research. In addition, research involving the use of vertebrate animals must be approved in advance by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.
Section 9: Graduate Student Representative
One graduate student is to be chosen by the Graduate Student Council to serve as an ex-officio member on the Graduate Council.
Article IX: Veto Powers
Section 1. Members of the Graduate Faculty shall have the right at all times to challenge any Graduate Council action which is to be binding on the Graduate Faculty.
Section 2. A challenge of a Graduate School action must be made by at least twenty (20) percent of the Graduate Faculty. Such challenges with reasons shall be made in writing and presented to the Chair of the Graduate Council within twenty working days after the Graduate Council meeting at which the action to be challenged was taken.
Section 3. The Chair shall send a copy of the challenge to each member of the Graduate Faculty and shall arrange a meeting of faculty members of the Graduate School not sooner than five school days after copies of the challenge have been distributed to the faculty. The convened meeting shall consider the challenge.
Section 4. Not later than three school days after the convened meeting, the Chair of the Graduate Council shall distribute ballots to all Graduate Faculty asking them whether or not they uphold the action of the Graduate Council. A negative vote by an absolute majority of the Graduate Faculty (more than fifty percent of all eligible voters) constitutes a veto of the challenged Graduate Council action.
Article X: Amendments
Section 1. Amendments to these Bylaws may be proposed by the Graduate Council and passed by a majority vote of the council.
Section 2. Amendments to these Bylaws may also be proposed by petition of 20 percent of the Graduate Faculty (petition presented to the Graduate Dean and Chair of the Council). Amendments proposed by the Graduate Faculty through petition can be passed by majority vote of the council or by an absolute majority of the Graduate Faculty after being presented the changes in writing and being allowed 30 days for review.
Article XI: Ratification and Implementation
Upon ratification by an absolute majority of Graduate Faculty, these Bylaws become effective immediately.