Graduate Course Guidelines
From MWSU Graduate School Policy Portal
This is only a draft for discussion
Graduate level courses (500-699 numbered courses) are expected to have more content and higher standards than undergraduate (100-499 numbered) courses. This is true whether or not the course is cross-listed with an undergraduate course. In addition, they are expected to be qualitatively different in their approach to learning and assessment of that learning.
Grading in graduate courses should be predominately based on demonstration of deep-level knowledge through writing, speaking, or applied activities. Thus, the Graduate School has adopted the following policies:
- Course assessments should not focus on memorization or definitions
- Course assessments that count as a substantial part of the grade should not be multiple choice
- The only exception to this can be a final course or program assessment utilizing a standardized test (e.g., the GRE subject test)
- Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES are items from a test bank or instructor's manual appropriate or allowable as graded work
MWSU is Missouri's official Applied Learning Institution, and as such all of our graduate programs have been designed to be applied graduate programs. While traditional coursework is an important part of all graduate courses and experiences, it is assumed that each and every graduate course at Western will have a substantial applied component to it in one of Western's applied learning areas:
- Applied Research or Applied Creative Activities
- Study Away
- Service Learning
- Collaborative Work
Graduate courses represent a personal interaction between a graduate student and a graduate faculty member. As such, graduate faculty are expected to function in more of a mentoring role than the traditional undergraduate instructor. It is for this reason that differential workload is given for graduate courses.
Online interactions in graduate courses should be as interactive as possible. No graduate courses should consist only of readings and discussion threads (see applied learning expectations above).
Thesis and Capstone Courses
The graduate faculty member assigned as the instructor of record for thesis or capstone courses is expected to have regular contact with the student and is responsible for addressing all questions and concerns in a timely manner. Normally this means meeting (online, by telephone, or in person) at least twice per month and responding within 48 hours to all requests.