Because a university is an ongoing enterprise that can carry out its mission only through constant adaptation to new needs and changing circumstances, Our Lady of the Lake University reserves the right to change any of its educational policies or procedures (including admissions and graduation requirements, curricular scope and content, schedule of offerings, fees and refunds, and regulations affecting students) at any time with notice to students. The University also reserves the right to refuse to admit or readmit, or to dismiss any student at any time within policy, rules and regulations.
The student is responsible for knowing the degree requirements and enrolling in the courses that fulfill those requirements. The student is also responsible for complying with University regulations which apply to all graduate students and with program requirements which apply to the specific field of study. Students should refer to their program-specific student handbooks for additional information on the department policies and procedures. University policies always take precedence over departmental policies.
Second Master’s Degree
A student who holds a master’s degree from OLLU and wishes to pursue a second master’s degree must have the degree program approved by an adviser, the director of the master’s program involved, and the dean or director of the school or college prior to the earning of credits for the second degree. The field of specialization of the second degree must be different from the first, although the name of the second degree need not be different from the name of the first. For all degrees no more than six semester hours of credit from the first degree may be applied toward the second degree.
Restatement of Purpose
A change of concentration form is submitted when a student wishes a change in area of specialization or concentration within the current discipline. This change may require additional credentials and must be approved by the dean of the college/school of the new program. Deadline for submitting restatement of purpose form is 10 working days prior to the first day of regular registration each term.
Students wishing to discontinue one program and gain admission into another program must complete the full admission process for new program.
Students are expected to attend each class and laboratory period, except when illness or extraordinary emergencies prevent it. Punctual attendance at each class and laboratory period is an obligation of the student. For some classes, the attendance requirements are determined by the college, school or department; for others, the individual faculty member sets attendance requirements in keeping with the nature of the course and the level of the students. Failure to conform to attendance requirements may subject a student to a failing grade or institutional withdrawal.
The University is required to monitor attendance for certain categories of students, such as those attending on Veterans Administration benefits, and to report these attendance records to the agency concerned.
A student may initiate a withdrawal from a class only by presenting the properly signed withdrawal forms to the Registrar’s Office either in person or via an official OLLUSA email account. Informal notice to faculty neither cancels registration nor the student’s contract with the Student Business Office.
The University may initiate an institutional withdrawal for disciplinary reasons or for students who are delinquent or in default of payment. Students on institutional withdrawal are prohibited by University policy from continuing their coursework.
Faculty members may initiate the withdrawal of student(s) enrolled in their class(es) by submitting a request to the Registrar’s Office. Upon completion of the withdrawal procedure in the Registrar’s Office, the student will be withdrawn with a grade of WI.
One credit hour shall be defined as an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement equivalent to not less than:
- One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out of class student work each week for approximately 15 weeks, or
- An amount of work equivalent to a minimum of 45 hours instruction and/or student work for other academic activities including laboratory work, music ensembles, studio work, and other academic work leading to course credit.
- The number of clock hours required for professional practice courses (practicum, internship, field experience, clinical teaching/student teaching) is based on the number of hours needed to gain the experiences to fulfill the learning objectives for the class. Professional practice courses are designed to comply with requirements of accreditation and certification bodies and professional licensure. The amount of clock hours required per credit hour will vary by discipline based on the best practices of each discipline.
A graduate student who has enrolled in a course and received a grade lower than a B (fewer than 3.0 grade points) may repeat that same course only one time, unless the course is described in the catalog as repeatable for credit.
- The most recent grade awarded will be used in the computation of grade point averages and credit earned.
- If a student repeats a course the most recent grade will used in the computation of grade point averages.
- Once a degree has been conferred, repeating courses for any reason will not affect the GPA or content of the degree already granted.
- Students whose disability or military reserve status might necessitate more repeat enrollments may requests exceptions.
Students who wish to replace a course grade must do so at Our Lady of the Lake University.
- Transfer work or departmental examination cannot be used to repeat a course recorded at OLLU.
- If the course is no longer offered in any form at OLLU, a student may not apply for the grade replacement option.
No more than two courses can be repeated while a graduate student at Our Lady of the Lake University. An academic program may have more rigorous standards and students should refer to the department description for information on the departmental standards.
In the explanation below, “I” followed by a grade indicates that a student received an “Incomplete” grade which has been completed and changed to the specified grade; e.g, “IA” means a student received an “I” but later completed the work and earned an “A.”
A+, A, A- (IA+, IA, IA-)
Indicates excellent achievement demonstrated by
- Competency and accuracy of knowledge
- Sustained and effective use of knowledge
- Independence of work
- Originality (Grade points: 4.00)
B+, B, B- (IB+, IB, IB-)
Indicates satisfactory achievement in the same factors listed under the “A” grade. (Grade points: 3.00)
C+, C, C- (IC+, IC, IC-)
Indicates below-average performance. (Grade points: 2.00)
No more than six semester hours of “C” grades may be counted toward a master’s degree; these must be balanced by “A” grades in other degree required courses. “C” grades may not be counted towards doctoral degrees.
D+, D, D- (ID+, ID, ID-)
Unsatisfactory work; does not count toward a master’s degree; does not fulfill course requirements or prerequisites and must be repeated; will result in being placed on Scholastic Probation for the next nine hours of course work at the University. (Grade points: 1.00)
Indicates “pass” on the Pass-Fail system; awarded for the achievement of the minimal objectives of the course. (Grade points: “P” not counted in grade point average; “F” counts same as “F” grade below)
NOTE: The Pass-Fail option is available to graduate students only when the entire class is offered under this option.
Indicates incomplete work; used at the discretion of the faculty member when a student has reasons outside of their control for being unable to complete requirements on time. (Grade points: not counted in grade point average). At the time the grade of Incomplete is submitted, the faculty member selects a date by which the work must be completed. The date may be earlier than the standard date but may not be later than the end of term in which the standard date is included. If a specific date is not assigned by the faculty member, the standard date (six weeks into the next long term) will apply.
NOTE: Deadline for changing incomplete grades:
- “I” grade received in the fall term must be removed during the first six weeks of the spring term.
- “I” grade received in the spring term must be removed during the first six weeks of the fall term; however, in the case of those students who may be liable for academic discipline, the incomplete grade must be removed within the first six weeks of the summer term.
- “I” grades received in the summer term must be removed during the first six weeks of the fall term. A faculty member may request from the Registrar an extension of time for the removal of incomplete grades. Exceptions may not extend beyond the end of the term in which the incomplete is due to be completed. An incomplete grade which has not been removed within the allotted time automatically becomes an F. An “I” grade cannot be changed to AU, Q, W, WI or X.
NG (No grade) grading option for courses that are offerred for zero credits.
Indicates official withdrawal from a course during refund period. (Grade points: not counted in grade point average)
Indicates official withdrawal from a course after refund period. (Grade points: not counted in grade point average)
Note: Specified deadlines to drop classes for each session are listed on the narrative calendars posted on the Registrar’s website.
AU - Audit
Indicates non-credit. (Grade points: not counted in grade point average)
Indicates failure; removed from grade point average when course is successfully repeated; causes master’s and doctoral students to be placed on Enforced Scholastic Withdrawal. (Grade points: 0.00)
Indicates that the work of the course extends over more than one term. Given in approved practicum, internship, field experience, thesis or dissertation courses and replaced by the appropriate letter grade when the course is completed. The student will register for a minimum of one credit of courses that include selected issues, thesis or dissertation, or directed study each semester continuously until the coursework is completed. The grade for all semesters of the course will be the same. (Grade points: not counted in grade point average) This may also be used for mid-term grades for practica, internships or field experience.
Indicates the student was withdrawn from the class by action of the faculty member or administration. (Grade points: not counted in grade point average).
The WI is issued by the instructor when a student has ceased attending or has never attended a class. Faculty should not issue a WI grade until after consultation with the Office of Financial Aid and, when appropriate, the Athletic Department. Faculty will seek approval from their respective Dean for all WI grades.
Financial aid programs require that the University (Financial Aid Office) must report if a student has withdrawn from the University (no longer attending any of the classes for which registered). Faculty can assist in accomplishing this financial aid reporting as well as removing students from class rosters who are no longer or have never attended. The WI form (available thru the Registrar’s Office) has two options:
- STUDENT CAN BE REINSTATED TO CLASS. May be used up to two weeks prior to the last day to withdraw from the session. If this option is chosen by instructor, an email or letter will be sent to the student with copies to the instructor or adviser indicating that the instructor has submitted a WI form.
The student will be given a time frame in which they may:
- withdraw his/herself from the class
- contact the instructor and make arrangements to continue in the class. If the instructor allows the student to continue, the instructor must notify the Registrar’s Office by the last day of the time frame stated in the letter sent to the student to have the WI request canceled. If this notification is not received, the student will be dropped from the class.
- STUDENT CANNOT BE REINSTATED TO CLASS. If this option is chosen by instructor, the student is dropped immediately and student, instructor and adviser are notified of the withdrawal from class by the course instructor.
Date of withdrawal will be the date the WI is processed.
This grade may be used for any student enrolled, at any location and does not affect GPA. It will not count in the grade point average but the hours will count as attempted for academic and satisfactory academic progress, which may affect the financial aid eligibility. Once assigned, it cannot be reversed. It cannot be assigned once the term has been graded. It may be assigned on the final grade roster without completion of the WI form.
Grade Point Average
The grade point average is obtained by dividing the grade points earned by the grade point divisor. For more information on calculating a grade point average, visit My OLLU Portal. The cumulative grade point average used for most records is based on the total grade points earned from courses taken at OLLU within the academic program and credit accepted in transfer. Although faculty may at their discretion add pluses or minuses to letter grades, these distinctions are not calculated in the grade point average. A cumulative grade point average of 3.00 is required for graduate degrees.
To be classified as full-time, graduate students must be enrolled in a minimum of six semester hours for each fall or spring term; or a minimum of six semester hours in any summer session. For doctoral students enrolled in dissertation or internship hours, one semester hour will be considered full-time if they have been Advanced to Candidacy by the department and approved by the Office of Academic Affairs. If pursuing financial aid, see the Financial Aid Office section for enrollment eligibility requirements.
Graduate students will not be permitted to carry more than 16 semester hours of graduate work in any fall term or spring term, nor more than six hours during a summer session (Summer Session I or II. Excludes Summer Session III) or 12 semester hours for combination of summer I/summer II/summer III.
To maintain status for the F-1 visa, an international student in a graduate degree program must enroll in a minimum of six semester hours for each fall or spring; or a minimum of six semester hours in any summer session. No more than the equivalent of a three credit hour online/distance education class per session may be counted towards the “full course of study” requirement.
Academic programs may have additional requirements related to academic load. Consult the program-specific guidelines for descriptions of the academic load requirements.
Unless on approved Leave of Absence, all students in graduate degree programs must register continuously for a minimum of 1 graduate credit in their discipline or GRAD 8000 each Fall and Spring semester until their degree is granted or until their status as a credential-seeking graduate student is terminated. Graduate students must enroll for summer sessions only if required by their program or when completing degree requirements during the summer term.
Students must be registered for a minimum of 1 graduate credit in their discipline or GRAD 8000 in the semester in which the degree is conferred.
Leave of Absence Status
Our Lady of the Lake University recognizes the diverse circumstances and unpredictability of graduate students’ lives and will work in partnership with them to respond to unanticipated situations. Leave of Absence status is available to students who need to suspend their program of study for good cause. Students who desire a Leave of Absence may submit a request for authorized leave which has been signed and supported by their graduate program head, department chair and dean to the Office of Academic Affairs for approval. Leaves will not be granted retroactively. Exceptions to extend time for degree completion up to a maximum of one year may be considered in the request for Leave of Absence status. Students should understand that while on Leave of Absence they will not be allowed to use university resources or complete any degree requirement.
The entire program of work for the master’s degree must be completed within six years from the date of first registration. Time limit for the doctoral program is 10 years, except for the PhD in Social Work which is 5 years.
Continuation in a graduate program is contingent upon the following:
- Maintaining a 3.00 grade point average in all courses attempted at Our Lady of the Lake University.
- Progressing satisfactorily toward completion of educational objective (i.e., degree or certification).
Records of all graduate students registered for nine or more semester hours of work are reviewed for academic discipline at the end of each grading period. Records of part-time students are reviewed upon completion of nine semester hours. All courses, even if the courses were not completed, are considered in the nine semester hours. If a student’s disciplinary status is affected by the change of an “I” (incomplete) grade, the appropriate action is taken at the end of the term in which the grade change was made. Should a graduate student have a “D” grade or less than the 3.00 grade point average at any review point, the student will be placed on Scholastic Probation for the next nine hours of course work at the University. During that period, the student must do the following:
- Raise the overall grade point average to 3.00.
- Receive no grades of “D” or “F” in any course.
- Repeat any course in which a “D” was earned, when the course is next offered.
If these conditions are not met, the student will be placed on Enforced Scholastic Withdrawal from the University for at least one full term or two summer sessions.
Readmission to the program will be permitted only if it is recommended by the student’s adviser and the dean/director of the College or School. If student wishes to appeal immediately, the instructions below will apply. If student accepts the withdrawal, the student must contact the Office of Admissions to seek readmission.
A grade of “F” in a graduate course results in Enforced Scholastic Withdrawal without a prior period of Scholastic Probation and discontinuance in the program except upon special recommendation of the dean of the college or school. Academic deans/director may enforce a more stringent discipline policy in their respective academic programs.
Enforced Scholastic Withdrawal Appeal Process
- Student should submit a letter of appeal to the dean or director of the College/School of his/her program.
- The dean/director will convene a review committee which may include the student’s academic adviser to review the appeal.
- The dean/director’s office will notify the student in writing within 10 working days of the decision of the review committee.
- The dean/director’s office will notify the following:
- Student’s Academic Counselor
- Registrar’s Office
- Financial Aid Office
The student’s academic adviser will meet with the student to discuss any conditions or special requirements. The Registrar’s Office will make any official record changes needed and notify Residence Life in case the student is a resident student. The Financial Aid Office may have to adjust the student’s award.
Note: Financial Aid Satisfactory Progress and Academic Discipline are two separate processes. Exemption from one does not guarantee exemption from the other.
Student Academic Grievance
The University provides a uniform method by which students can pursue grievable issues. An academic grievance is an allegation that something has occurred that violates existing University policy or established practices, or is intrinsically wrong. Grievable issues include complaints about alleged violations of the institution’s academic policies (e.g., application of grading policies), about unfairness in the application of policies (e.g., accusation of plagiarism or cheating), or other academic matters. For other potential violations of student rights, students should consult with their adviser or Student Life.
Evaluation of a student’s academic performance in a course or program of the University, when conducted by a faculty member, is presumed to be valid unless there is proof that the evaluation was significantly and adversely affected by prejudice (bias against the student as an individual or as a member of a group or class) and/or capriciousness (unjustifiable deviation from generally acceptable academic standards or procedures, or from explicit understandings established for the course or through the course syllabus, which is the de facto contract for course objectives, requirements and expectations).
If a student has good reason to suspect that prejudice or capriciousness significantly and adversely affected an official final evaluation of performance in a course or program or the student is being treated in an arbitrary or capricious manner by a faculty member, the student should present this concern to the faculty member and request a reconsideration of the academic matter within 30 working days of the end of the term. The complete procedure on how to file a Student Academic Grievance is available in the Student’s Handbook or on the Office of Academic Affairs site in the OLLU Portal (https://myollu.ollusa.edu)
Financial Obligations and Tuition Refunds
A student who is delinquent or in default of payment(s) and/or returned check(s) due the University, may be withdrawn from the University in the term the delinquency or default occurs and cannot be readmitted for that term. A student who has been withdrawn from the University may be readmitted the following term if all payments due the University are paid and the student is otherwise eligible for readmission. Our Lady of the Lake University reserves the right to deny readmission based on students’ credit history with Our Lady of the Lake University. Transcripts are not issued to students who have not met all obligations to the University.
Refunds for tuition and fees in all cases are calculated from the date the properly completed withdrawal form is received in the Registrar’s Office, located in Walter Student Service Center, Room 104. Consideration cannot be given to the date the student ceased attending classes unless proper withdrawal procedures have been followed:
- Obtain proper form(s) from Registrar’s Office, located in Walter Student Service Center, Room 104
- Obtain signature of adviser
- Submit completed form(s) to Registrar for final processing
- San Antonio campus: submit to Registrar’s Office, located in Walter Student Service Center, Room 104
- The Houston campus: OLLU-The Woodlands, 3232 College Park Drive
- Rio Grande Valley and online students may submit the form by email to email@example.com
Application fees and advance tuition deposits for new students are not refundable. After the 100 percent refund period, all other fees are forfeited.
If proper withdrawal procedures have been followed, tuition is adjusted according to the following schedule:
Fall / Spring
|1-5 days after start of session
|6-19 days after start of session
|20 plus days after start of session
|1-4 days after start of session
|5-6 days after start of session
|7 plus days after start of session
Weekends and Holidays are not included in calculation
|Fall / Spring
|1-8 days after start of session
|9-19 days after start of session
|20 plus days after start of session
|1-8 days after start of session
|9-19 days after start of session
|20 plus days after start of session
|1-8 days after start of session
|9 plus days after start of session
Weekends may or may not be included in calculation, depending on program, refer to posted calendars on the Registrar’s website www.ollusa.edu\registrar. Holidays are not included in calculation.
Classification of traditional/non-traditional is determined by program and number of weeks attending. Assistantships are rescinded at the time a student withdraws from the University.
Dropping/Withdrawing - Return of Title IV Funds for Financial Aid Recipients
Refer back to the Financial Aid section of the catalog.
Master’s degree programs may require that a candidate complete a special/capstone project, pass a comprehensive examiniation, and/or prepare a thesis in addition to the prescribed coursework. Please refer to the program descriptions to learn more about the program specific requirements.
The non-thesis option includes successful completion of prescribed coursework, a special/capstone project, or comprehensive examination. The comprehensive examination is intended to test the candidate’s ability to carry out a critical dialogue integrating and interpreting material in the major and supporting fields. The comprehensive examination of the field may be oral, written or both. This is administered at a time specified by the director of the program. Non-thesis master’s degree students may not have a formal examination; however, the committee must hold a ballot meeting, to determine if the student has satisfactorily met all of the program requirements.
A thesis is an original scholarly study which makes a significant contribution to the knowledge of the chosen discipline. Please refer to the specific program descriptions for information on the availability of the thesis option.Following program guidelines, students choosing the thesis option (when available) should request a thesis chairperson. Students may not register for thesis credit until approval of the the thesis chairperson is obtained. The student should follow the University’s guide for Writing Theses and Dissertations. If the thesis is not completed during the semester(s) in which they are enrolled in these course(s), students should continuously enroll a minimum of one thesis hour until the thesis is defended.
If the proposal research involves human participants, the student must obtain approval from the Institutional review Board (IRB) to assure that the rights of subjecgts are prtected. This approval must be obtained after the proposal is approved and before data are collected. IRB applications materials and instructions can be found on the OLLU Portal. If any protocol changes are made after initial IRB approval, those changes need approved by IRB.
Following departmental guidelines, a thesis chairperson member and a committee consisiting of two additional members will be formed. One committee member should be from the student’s program; the second committee member may be from the student’s program or from a field related to the research topic. The thesis chairperson and committee will monitor the research and writing of the thesis. The student should follow the University’s Guide for Writing Theses and Dissertations for the proposal and the final thesis.
The proposal is the contract between the student and the committee that serves as the guide to carrying out the research and writing of the thesis. When students finish writing their proposal, they must schedule and oral defense of the proposal with their thesis committee. The committee must approve the proposal before the student can begin to research and write the theis. If any modifications of the proposed research are needed after the proposal has been approved, they must be accepted by the thesis chairperson and submitted in writing to the committee members and approved by a majority.
When the thesis is written to the satisfaction of the student’s thesis committee chairperson, the student will distribute copies to the committee members and schedule a date of the oral thesis defense. The thesis chairperson must submit an announcemment of the public defense to the Communications and Marketing Departent for distribution to the Univeristy community at least 10 working days prior to the defense date. Final defenses will include a summary of the thesis research and findings to the committee. Committee members may ask students questions concerning any aspect of their completed thesis (which is suitable in format and content for submission to the library).
At the conclusion of the defense, the Committee members vote “pass” or “fail” with a mjority of “pass” votes required for the theis to be accepted. The committee may recommend acceptance contingent on changes needed in the final copy. A student who fails the oral defense will be given one or more opportunities to defend the thesis, depending on program guidelines. The thesis chairperson must notify the Chief Academic Officer of date of subsequent defense date(s) at least two weeks prior to the date. The Chief Academic Officer will then appoint a faculty representative to monitor subsequent defenses(s). The outcome of the Thesis Defense will be recorded on the thesis title page.
In order to graduate in the semester in which the thesis is accepted, the student must submit the thesis, including the signatures of committee members on the title page, to ProQuest at least two weeks prior to the last day of class for that term.
Copies of the bound thesis will be provided to the student, the thesis chairperson, the program, and the Libary by the Office of Academic Affairs. The student may request additional bound copies through ProQuest.
Master’s Student Records
In adherence with FERPA, the academic unit is responsible to maintain and appropriately store complete records of student progress through their program of study.
Master of Fine Arts
The Master of Fine Arts offers students the opportunity to master advanced skills in creative and scholarly writing. The coursework culminates in a final project, a publishable quality thesis in the area of specialty. Students may choose to focus on one genre or may do a hybrid thesis containing works of two or more genres. In addition, each thesis will contain an extended theoretical essay that will provide an introduction to the creative work and will be an in-depth analysis of what works, writers, and theories influenced the student. This final project will represent an independent contribution to existing work in that area.
The MFA thesis consists of an original book-length, publishable quality, creative manuscript, either focusing on a particular literary genre or a hybrid of more than one genre. This manuscript should be prefaced by a 15-20 page Critical Preface. The critical preface is a self-critical, reflexive introduction to the thesis. It contains an analysis of the creative work and of those works—both theoretical and creative—which have influenced it. Students will discuss the specifics of the Critical Preface with their thesis chairperson. Although the thesis is completed during the last two semesters of graduate study, students should begin planning for the thesis as soon as possible. Before enrolling in ENGL 8391, the first of two 3-hour thesis courses, the student should submit a thesis proposal for approval by the Graduate Committee.
Following program guidelines, a chairperson and a committee consisting of two additional members formed. One committee member should be from the student’s program, the second committee member may be from the student’s program or from a field related to the research topic. The thesis chairperson and committee will monitor the research and writing of the thesis. If any modifications of the proposed research are needed, they must be accepted by the thesis chairperson and submitted in writing to the committee members and approved by a majority. The student should follow the University’s Guide for Writing Theses and Dissertations.
The student must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, have completed or be enrolled in all the required coursework, have met all admission contingencies, and be registered for a minimum of 2 (two) hours of thesis credit at the beginning of the semester in which the final defense is to be taken.
When the thesis is written to the satisfaction of the student’s thesis committee chairperson, the student will distribute copies to the committee members and schedule a date of the oral thesis defense. The thesis chairperson must submit an announcement of the public defense to the Communications and Marketing Department for distribution to the University community at least 10 working days prior to the defense date. Final defenses will include a summary of the thesis research and findings to the committee. Committee members may ask students questions concerning any aspect of their completed thesis (which is suitable in format and content for submission to the library).
At the conclustion of the defense, the Committee members vote “pass” or “fail” with a majority of “pass” votes required for the thesis to be accepted. The committee may recommend acceptance contingent on changes needed in the final copy. A student who fails the oral defense will be given one more opportunity to denfend the thesis. The thesis chairperson must notify the Chief Academic Officer of date of subsequent defense date(s) at least two weeks prior to the date. The Chief Academic Officer will then appoint a faculty represetative to monitor subsequent defense(s). The outcome of the Thesis Defense will be recorded on the thesis title page.
In order to graduate in the smester in which the thesis is accepted, the student must submit the thesis, including the signatures of committee members on the title page, to Proquest at least two weeks prior to the last day of class for that term.
Copies of the bound thesis will be provided to the student, the thesis chairperson, the pgrogram, and the Library by the Office of Academic Affairs. The student may request additonal bound copies through ProQuest.
Master of Fine Arts Student Records
In adherence with FERPA, the academic unit is responsible to maintain and appropriately store complete records of student progress through their program of study.
Admission to doctoral candidacy is a prerequisite to receiving any doctoral degree. To qualify for admission to doctoral candidacy, a student must:
- Be accepted and enrolled in a doctoral program offered by OLLU
- Have been continuously enrolled in the program without withdrawal, or have been readmitted to the program without condition
- Complete the departmental course work requirements except dissertation and/or internship courses withat a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better
- Pass the written and oral sections of the doctoral qualifying examination
The doctoral qualifying examination is designed to determine the fitness of the student for pursing a doctoral program in the field in which a degree is desired. The examination is intended to cover all major aspects of the field. Candidates in all doctoral programs must take both written and oral qualifying examinations.
Upon completion of the requirements listed above and any other program requirements as defined in the respective doctoral program handbook, it is the responsibility of the doctoral student to petition the program director to submit the Application for Advancement to Candidacy form that can be found on the Academic Affairs portal page.
Doctoral Candidacy Time Limit
The maximum number of years in candidacy is seven years following the completion of the doctoral candidacy examination. Students may submit a written appeal requesting a one-time extension of up to 12 months to the dean of the respective College/School. Written appeals must clearly state the extenuating circumstances justifying the need for an extension.
Successful Academic Progress in Candidacy
Doctoral candidates registered for dissertation/field research credit hours will be evaluated on a Pass/Fail (P/F) grading by their dissertation chair/adviser.
Financial Aid Eligibility
Students who have advanced to candidacy and register for one credit hour of dissertation or internship will be considered full-time and eligible to financial assistance accordingly.
All doctoral programs require that a candidate prepare a dissertation. The dissertation is a scholarly, original study that represents a significant contribution to the knowledge of the chosen field. Students should be continuously enrolled in a minimum of one dissertation hour after coursework is completed and until the semester in which the dissertation is defended.
1. Following departmental guidelines, a dissertation chairperson will be selected and a committee consisting of two additional members formed. The Dissertation Committee shall include at least two faculty members from the student’s department, with the student’s dissertation chairperson serving as Committee chairperson. The remaining member must have an earned doctorate in the specific area of inquiry of the dissertation. This individual may be chosen from the student’s department, the faculty of the University, or from outside the University, and must be approved by the dissertation chairperson.
2. Beginning in the semester the dissertation committee is formed, the student must register for dissertation credits following departmental guidelines. The student must enroll in a minimum of one semester hour of dissertation course credit each fall and spring semester until the dissertation is accepted. The dissertation chairperson and the program director must approve any exceptions.
3. The student will meet with committee members, either individually or collectively to review the dissertation proposal and set a date for the proposal defense.
4. At the proposal defense the committee members examine the student on the dissertation proposal and related topics. After the examination, a majority of “pass” votes (including a “pass” vote by the dissertation chairperson) by the committee is required to approve the proposal. Results of the examination will be recorded in the student’s file by the chairperson of the Dissertation Committee.
5. If the proposed research involves human participants, the student must obtain approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) to assure that the rights of subjects are protected. This approval must be obtained after the proposal is approved and before data are collected. IRB application materials and instructions can be found on the OLLU Portal.
6. The Dissertation Chairperson and committee will monitor the research and writing of the dissertation. If any modifications of the proposed research are needed, they must be accepted by the dissertation chairperson and submitted in writing to the Committee members and approved by a majority. The student should follow the University’s Guide for Writing Theses and Dissertations.
7. When the Chairperson has approved the dissertation for review, the student will distribute copies to all Committee members. Following departmental guidelines, when a majority of the Committee and/or program faculty have indicated to the Chairperson that the dissertation is an academically sound and defensible scholarly product by, a final dissertation defense meeting can be scheduled. The dissertation chair must submit an announcement of the public defense Communication and Marketing Department for distribution to the University community at least 10 working days prior to the defense date.
8. At the Dissertation Defense, the student presents a summary of the findings and is examined orally by the Committee. At the conclusion of the defense, the Committee members vote “pass” or “fail” with a majority of “pass” votes required for the dissertation to be accepted. The committee may recommend acceptance contingent on changes needed in the final copy. A student who fails the dissertation defense will be given one or more opportunities to defend the dissertation, according to program guidelines. The dissertation chair must notify the Chief Academic Officer of date of subsequent defense date(s) at least two weeks prior to the date. The Chief Academic Officer will then appoint a faculty representative to monitor subsequent defense(s). The outcome of the Dissertation Defense will be recorded by on the dissertation title page, copies of which are sent to Registrar to confirm completion of the dissertation requirement.
9. The dissertation must be completed and approved within the time-line set in advance by the program. The program director must approve exceptions.
10. In order to graduate in the semester in which the dissertation is accepted, the student must submit the dissertation, including the signatures of committee members on the title page to ProQuest at least two weeks prior to the last day of class for that term.
Copies of the bound thesis will be provided to the student, the dissertation chairperson, the program or department, and the Library by the Office of Academic Affairs. The student may request additional bound copies through ProQuest.
Guide for Writing Theses and Dissertations
1. Time New Roman or a similar 12-point font must be used. Script or ornamental fonts should not be used except for italic where conventionally appropriate.
2. Manuscript margins should be 1 1/2 inches left, 1-inch right, top, and bottom.
3. Double-space the manuscript throughout, except where single-spacing is conventional or needed to improve readability (e.g. in table titles and headings, figure captions, etc.).
4. Use the following order of material in the manuscript: title page (see sample appended), abstract, copyright page (if needed), table of contents, list of illustrations (if applicable), lists of tables (if applicable), preface (including acknowledgments), text of manuscript, appendices (if applicable), end-notes (if permitted by director), glossary (if applicable), bibliography or list of references, index (if applicable).
5. Preliminary sections of the manuscript (abstract through preface) should be paginated consecutively in lower-case Roman numbers. No number is placed on the title page, although it is counted as page i.
6. The main body of the manuscript, beginning with the first chapter, or its equivalent, (e.g., Introduction), is paginated in Arabic numerals. Pagination must be continuous from page number 1 through the last page. Major divisions should always begin on a new page with the heading centered and typed in all uppercased letters. On the first page of any major division (including preliminary pages), the page number should be centered horizontally approximately 3/4 inch from the bottom edge of the paper. On all other pages the number should be placed in the upper right corner.
7. Obtain written permission from the copyright holder for use of any copyrighted material, which exceeds the “fair use”, permitted by copyright law. The student should consult with his or her thesis or dissertation director if there is any doubt about what constitutes “fair use”.
8. In all matters not specified here, follow guidelines in the latest edition of the style sheet or publication manual designated by your college or school. For the College of Arts and Sciences, the designed manual is that of the Modern Language Association; for Sociology, the designated manual is the most recent Style Guide of the American Sociological Association, for all other programs the designated manual is the most recent edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.
Doctoral Student Records
In adherence with the federal Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA), the academic unit is responsible to maintain and appropriately store complete records of student progress through their program of study. The doctoral student files should include at a minimum the following documentation:
- Admissions documents
- Advancement to candidacy form
- IRB approval for dissertation research
- Documentation of passing qualifying exams, dissertation proposal defense
- Dissertation final defense