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Frequently Asked Questions Regarding CEBS Graduate Course Enrollment and Program Completion

  1. If my program requires me to take a research foundations course (such as EDFN 500 or a discipline-specific research methods course), at what point in my program should I plan to take that course?
  2. If I take courses as a non-degree-seeking (i.e., "unclassified status") student, will I be able to count those hours toward a degree if later on I am admitted to a degree program?
  3. If I change from one graduate program to another, how many of the hours completed in my original program can be counted, if appropriate, in my new program? 
  4. Is there a time limit for completing my program?
  5. Do graduate courses expire? Is there a limit on how old a course I may count in my program?
  6. What is the maximum number of hours a graduate student may take in one term?
  7. If I receive an "incomplete" (grade of X) in a course, how long do I have to complete the work, and what happens if I fail to complete the work before that deadline?
  8. When must I file my Program of Study (Form B/C)?
  9. When should I apply for graduation?
  10. If my program requires a comprehensive exam, when do I take it and how can I find out further information about it?
  11. What are the consequences of failing the comprehensive exam?
  12. Once my Program of Study (Form B/C) has been filed, how can I make changes?
  13. Do courses in which a "C" was earned count toward my program and my degree?
  14. Do courses in which a "D" was earned count toward my program and my degree?
  15. May I repeat any course to raise my grade?
  16. If I repeat a course, do the grades from both the first and second attempts count in my GPA?
  17. If I earn a "C" in EDFN 500 (Research Methods), may I count the course toward my degree?
  18. What determines "academic probation" status for graduate students?
  19. What are the consequences of being put on academic probation?
  20. Under what circumstances may I be dismissed from a graduate program?
  21. How can I find out whether a course completed at another institution may be accepted for transfer to my WKU graduate program?
  22. Is it ever possible to take a course for which I haven't taken or don't meet the prerequisites?
  23. May I enroll in two degree programs at the same time?
  24. May I enroll in a degree program and a certificate program at the same time?
  25. If I am completing a master's thesis or specialist project, do I have to be enrolled in the semester in which I complete and defend my thesis or project?
  26. How many hours may I transfer from another institution if I am pursing a Rank I, Rank II, or Certification Only program?
  27. If I have an undergraduate degree in a content area (such as math, biology, chemistry, English, etc.) and have taught for several years overseas, is there a process by which I can become certified based on my degree, my work experience, and my test scores?

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Q. 1:
  If my program requires me to take a research foundations course (such as EDFN 500 or a discipline-specific research methods course), at what point in my program should I plan to take that course?
     
A:
  Unless directed otherwise by your advisor, you should take EDFN 500 or other research methods course in your first semester or at least within the first 12 hours of your program.
     
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Q. 2:
  If I take courses as a non-degree-seeking (i.e., "unclassified status") student, will I be able to count those hours toward a degree if later on I am admitted to a degree program?
     
A:
  Assuming that the previously-completed hours are appropriate in the degree program, it is possible to count up to 12 of them in a master's or specialist program, and up to 15 of them in a doctoral program. However, according to the Graduate Catalog, "no more than a total of 12 hours of courses taken while admitted as a non-degree-seeking student, enrolled in another program, or transferred from another institution may be used in any master's program at WKU" (the total hour limit for doctoral students is 15 hours). Also, please note that courses older than six years do not count toward a master's program, and courses older than 10 years may be judged too old to count toward a non- degree (certification) program. See below for more information regarding the time limit for completion of degree and non-degree programs.
     
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Q. 3:
  If I change from one graduate program to another, how many of the hours completed in my original program can be counted, if appropriate, in my new program?
     
A:
  A: See the answer to the question above this one. The maximum number of hours completed prior to program admission that may be counted toward that program is 12 for master's and specialist programs and 15 for doctoral programs.
     
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Q. 4:
  Is there a time limit for completing my program?
     
A:
  Yes. If you are pursuing a master's or specialist degree, you must complete all requirements within six years from the date when you took the first course. If you fail to do this, you will not be able to count toward your degree any course that is older than six years. If you have extenuating circumstances, you may request an exception from the Dean of Graduate Studies, but there is no guarantee that the exception would be granted.
If you are pursuing a non-degree program (e.g., Planned Fifth-Year or Sixth-Year, endorsement, certification-only, etc.), you may be able to count older courses under some circumstances, as long as they meet current standards. See the policy on expiration of graduate courses and programs leading to teacher certification.

The time limit for courses in a doctoral program is 10 years.
     
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Q. 5:
  Do graduate courses expire? Is there a limit on how old a course I may count in my program?
     
A:
  Yes, they expire, and yes, there is a limit. See the answer to the question above.
     
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Q. 6:
  What is the maximum number of hours a graduate student may take in one term?
     
A:
  A typical course load in the spring and fall semesters is 9-15 hours. Those students awarded graduate assistantships may enroll for 9-12 hours. During winter and summer terms the general rule is that the number of enrolled hours may not exceed the number of weeks of instruction. Thus, for example, you may enroll in no more than three hours in a three-week term.
     
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Q. 7:
  If I receive an "incomplete" (grade of X) in a course, how long do I have to complete the work, and what happens if I fail to complete the work before that deadline?
     
A:
  At the time that an instructor agrees to submit a grade of X for you, you should come to an agreement with the instructor about what remaining work must be submitted and by what deadline. The instructor may set specific deadlines, which you must meet. You must complete all requirements in time for the instructor to submit a grade for that course no later twelve weeks into the next full term (i.e., fall or spring, summer term excluded). The grade of X is automatically changed to F if the instructor does not submit a grade by the twelfth week deadline. However, instructors may set earlier deadlines for students to submit work; check with your instructor.
     
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Q. 8:
  When must I file my Program of Study (Form B/C)?
     
A:
  You should submit your program of study (Form B/C) during your first semester. Once you have completed one semester or 12 hours, you will not be allowed to enroll in a second semester or more hours unless your Form B/C is on file in Graduate Studies (if you are seeking a degree) or the Teacher Certification office (if you are pursuing a certification-only, Planned Fifth-Year/Rank II, or Planned Sixth-Year/Rank I program).
     
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Q. 9:
  When should I apply for graduation?
     
A:
  Apply for graduation upon earning 18 graduate hours.
     
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Q. 10:
  If my program requires a comprehensive exam, when do I take it and how can I find out further information about it?
     
A:
  All master's and specialist degree programs require completion of a comprehensive examination, either oral or written; or completion of an approved capstone course. Consult your program advisor to find out details regarding how students in your program meet the capstone requirement.
Students who complete a thesis or specialist project are required to complete a successful oral defense of the thesis or specialist project. Doctoral students are required to complete and defend a dissertation. Contact the program advisor for more information.
     
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Q. 11:
  What are the consequences of failing the comprehensive exam?
     
A:
  The CEBS Comprehensive Exam policy provides a complete explanation of what happens when a student fails all or a part of the comprehensive exam. In brief, the student who fails one portion of the exam may request a make-up exam on the failed portion, which the faculty will usually grant. The student who is notified that he or she has not passed all or part of the comprehensive exam should contact his or her advisor immediately to discuss the options. Generally students granted permission to take a make-up exam are allowed to take the make-up in the same semester as the original exam attempt.
Under Graduate Studies policy, a student who twice fails the comprehensive exam may be dismissed from the program. 
     
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Q. 12:
  Once my Program of Study (Form B/C) has been filed, how can I make changes?
     
A:
  In order to make changes to your Program of Study (i.e., additions, deletions, substitutions, transferred courses), you should seek advisor approval BEFORE you take the course. If your advisor approves the change, you must submit a Course Change Form to Graduate Studies and get approval of the change. If you are pursuing a program that leads to initial or advanced teacher certification, you must also obtain approval from the Teacher Certification Officer. That approval will require your advisor to sign a Course Substitution Approval Form to verify that the substituted course meets the same content standards as the course you propose to replace.
     
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Q. 13:
  Do courses in which a "C" was earned count toward my program and my degree?
     
A:
  In most cases you may count courses in which you earned a "C" toward your program. However, you must earn at least a "B" in a course designated as a research tool, and you must attain at least a 3.0 GPA in your graduate program and overall in cumulative graduate course work. In addition, your specific program may require that you earn at least a "B" in certain courses, so check with your advisor.
     
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Q. 14:
  Do courses in which a "D" was earned count toward my program and my degree?
     
A:
  No. Grades lower than a "C" may not be counted toward a degree or non-degree program.
     
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Q. 15:
  May I repeat any course to raise my grade?
     
A:
  You must repeat courses in which grades lower than a "C" were earned if you wish to count the courses toward your degree. However, both grades will be counted in your GPA, even though the credit hours are counted only once. Although you may not repeat a course in which you earned a passing grade ("C" or higher) just to raise your GPA, under some circumstances you may be allowed to repeat a course that you passed (contact your advisor). However, if you are permitted to repeat a course that you passed, both grades (i.e., from both the first and second attempts) will be counted in the GPA, even though the hours are counted only once.
     
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Q. 16:
  If I repeat a course, do the grades from both the first and second attempts count in my GPA?
     
A:
  Yes, even though the credit hours are counted only once, both grades are counted in the GPA. The grade from the second attempt does not replace the grade from the first attempt.
     
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Q. 17:
  If I earn a "C" in EDFN 500 (Research Methods), may I count the course toward my degree?
     
A:
  In some MAE programs EDFN 500 satisfies a "research foundations" requirement, but it is not a designated "research tool." Therefore, students in these programs may count EDFN 500 in their programs as long as they have earned a passing grade ("C"). If you have any doubt about the requirements of your specific program, consult your advisor.
     
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Q. 18:
  What determines "academic probation" status for graduate students?
     
A:
  A graduate student whose overall GPA falls below 3.0 will receive a letter of academic warning and will then have one additional full-time semester (i.e., 9 hours) to bring the GPA above 3.0. If the student fails to do this, the student will not be allowed to register for additional courses and will be dismissed from the program. See the Graduate Catalog for details of the Graduate Academic Probation and Dismissal Policy.
     
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Q. 19:
  What are the consequences of being put on academic probation?
     
A:
  As noted above, a student on academic probation who fails to bring his/her GPA above a 3.0 within one full-time semester (or equivalent) after receiving the letter of academic warning will be dismissed. In addition, students on academic probation are not eligible for graduate assistantships.
     
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Q. 20:
  Under what circumstances may I be dismissed from a graduate program?
     
A:
  Students may be dismissed from a program for failing to bring up the overall GPA after being placed on probation (see above questions), for twice failing the comprehensive exam, for egregious violations of the Student Code of Conduct, for violating program-specific expectations for conduct, or for failing to meet other program-specific expectations. Consult your faculty advisor for more information.
     
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Q. 21:
  How can I find out whether a course completed at another institution may be accepted for transfer to my WKU graduate program?
     
A:
  Consult your advisor, who may require you to provide not only the catalog course description of the course you wish to have counted in your WKU program but other information as well, such as the course syllabus, name of texts, etc. Any course accepted for transfer must have been completed at an accredited graduate institution within the 6-year time-limit for degree completion, and you must have earned at least a "B" or equivalent in the course. In addition, your transcript must show that your overall GPA at the transfer institutionwas at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Note that there is a limit to the number of transfer hours that may be counted toward a WKU graduate program; see the Graduate Catalog for further details.
     
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Q. 22:
  Is it ever possible to take a course for which I haven't taken or don't meet the prerequisites?
     
A:
  Yes. Under some circumstances, such as when a student has background experiences that compensate for the missing prerequisites, the course instructor may agree to waive the prerequisites. Contact the instructor of the course you wish to take.
     
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Q. 23:
  May I enroll in two degree programs at the same time?
     
A:
  Yes, depending on program level. Students seeking master's or specialist degrees may seek two degree concurrently. Doctoral students may seek only one degree at a time.
     
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Q. 24:
  May I enroll in a degree program and a certificate program at the same time?
     
A:
  Yes, students are allowed to pursue a degree and a certificate program concurrently.
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Q. 25:
  If I am completing a master's thesis or specialist project, do I have to be enrolled in the semester in which I complete and defend my thesis or project?
     
A:
  Yes, you must be enrolled during any semester in which you are actively working on your thesis or specialist project, and you must be enrolled in the semester in which you plan to submit the thesis or specialist project for approval. Consult your advisor for more information.
   
Q. 26:
  How many hours may I transfer from another institution if I am pursing a Rank I, Rank II, or Certification Only program?
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A:
  Students must complete at least half of the minimum required hours for their program at Western Kentucky University. Please see the Policy on Residency Requirement for Non-degree Certification-only Graduate Programs
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Q. 27:
  If I have an undergraduate degree in a content area (such as math, biology, chemistry, English, etc.) and have taught for several years overseas, is there a process by which I can become certified based on my degree, my work experience, and my test scores?
     
A:
  Western Kentucky University may recommend someone for certification based on a Proficiency Evaluation. This is consistent with 16 KAR 5:030 in which the university "may evaluate and accept competency for teacher certification purposes for any of the specific curriculum requirements when the teacher candidate can demonstrate proficiency by reason of previous education, unusual experience, or proficiency evaluation at a level comparable to the usual requirements in that curriculum area." Please see the Policy on Recommending Teacher Certification Based on Proficiency Evaluation for more information about qualifications and requirements for the evaluation.

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 Last Modified 9/24/14