Jul 22, 2024  
2021-22 Catalog 
2021-22 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Graduate Studies

Application Information: 541-552-6411

Students pursuing graduate studies at SOU may choose between several master’s degree program, some of which include professional licensing, or a certificate program.

Individuals who wish to enroll in a master’s degree or licensing program must first be admitted to SOU through the Office of Admissions. Students should contact Admissions for filing deadlines, registration categories, and fee requirements. Each graduate program is administered by its respective academic program. Students should also contact the specific graduate program coordinator or the Graduate Studies office to receive an overview of the program and the application process.

Those who would like to take graduate courses but have not been admitted to the Graduate Studies Program and to a master’s degree or graduate licensing program may enroll in the University as a postbaccalaureate student, a postbaccalaureate nongraduate student seeking reserved graduate credit, or a nonadmitted graduate student. Those interested should consult the Office of Admissions for more details. Not all postbaccalaureate programs give graduate credit coursework. Students should contact a graduate advisor in the program of interest. (Please see Postbaccalaureate Admission, Graduate Student Admission and Enrollment as a Nonadmitted Student, and Reserved Graduate Credit.)

Distinguishing Master of Arts or Master of Science Degrees

The master of arts and master of science degrees differ only in the foreign language requirement. To receive an MA degree, students must demonstrate fluency in a second language. U.S. students who have completed two years of study in one foreign language at an accredited college or university automatically meet the second language requirement for the MA degree.

Master’s Degree Programs

Each master’s degree program at SOU may have specific requirements for admission in addition to the requirements of SOU Admissions.

Specialized Master’s Degrees and Licensing Programs

Some graduate degree programs at SOU may lead to the master of arts or the master of science degree or to licensure, preparing participants for professional advancement related to a specific field of inquiry. These programs consist of a strong subject matter preparation in a major area at the graduate level. The specific objectives of these master’s degrees are to expose students to current information and practices in a career field and to provide students with opportunities to develop high levels of skill and depth of knowledge that combine theory and experience in a field of study relevant to the demands of civic responsibility and professional life in a globalized and multicultural world.

Master’s Degrees Offered


Master of Business Administration, MBA  

Master in Management, MiM - SOU & UG Dual Degree  

Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Master in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC), MS/MA  


Master of Arts in Teaching Program (MAT)  

Education, MA or MS 
Special Education Program (MAT)  

Environmental Education

Environmental Education, MS  

Foreign Language

French Language Teaching, MA  

Spanish Language Teaching, MA  

Interdisciplinary Studies

Master in Interdisciplinary Studies  


Master of Music: Performance  

Outdoor Adventure Leadership

Master of Outdoor Adventure and Expedition Leadership  


Master of Theatre Studies in Production and Design  

Licensing Programs

SOU also offers graduate-level licensing programs; all are in the field of education. The aim of these licensure programs is to provide participants with practical training and to certify professional competence beyond that which can be earned in academically focused degree-granting programs. The following licensing programs are offered:


Oregon Teaching License 
Principal Administrator License  

Master’s Degree Program Procedures

Step One: Master’s Degree Admission Requirements

Students are strongly advised to speak with a graduate program coordinator or graduate advisor before submitting admission materials. The specifications listed here are the minimum requirements.

  1. Students must have completed any specific prerequisite coursework and any program requirements to pursue graduate work in the proposed academic area. Check with the program office for information.
  2. Each program requires a minimum GPA.  Please see the program’s section for details.
  3. Some programs require students to complete a preliminary entrance examination, usually the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Consult the program office for guidelines. Information bulletins and application forms for the GRE may be obtained from the Admissions Office.
  4. Students whose native language is not English must achieve a TOEFL iBT score of 76 or higher OR an IELTS score of 6.0 or higher before enrolling in graduate courses. (See Admission of International Students under Entering the University .)

To apply for graduate studies, students must apply both to SOU Admissions and to the specific graduate program.

Apply online to SOU Admissions:

1. Submit the online application for admission as a Graduate/Postbaccalaureate student, along with the nonrefundable application fee. Applications are not accepted without the fee.

2. Submit official transcripts from all prior college and university course work to the Office of Admissions. (If you received an undergraduate degree from SOU, you do not need to request official transcripts be sent to the Office of Admissions.) Students must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, as defined by the American Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, or an advanced degree from an accredited college or university. (Copies of accreditation booklets may be reviewed in the Admissions Office.) Students who received a baccalaureate degree from a non-accredited institution may consult the Admissions Office regarding any special admissions policies that may apply.

3. Submit entrance exam scores to the Office of Admissions (if required). Contact your graduate program to inquire about entrance exam requirements. SOU’s Institutional Code is R4702.

4. When all required admission materials have been received by the Admissions Office, copies are forwarded to the graduate program. They are checked for completeness and to ensure that all admissions requirements are met.


Apply to the Graduate Program:

1. Each graduate program has its own set of materials and/or exams that are required for admission.

2. Contact the graduate program coordinator or consult the program’s website to determine what is required and to whom materials should be sent.

Admission Deadline for Master’s and Licensing Programs

Application procedures and deadlines vary across programs. Consult the graduate studies office for specific admission deadlines.

Formal Notification of Admission Decision

When the admission decision has been made, a letter of acceptance is sent by the graduate program coordinators. Students may then register for coursework, with guidance from their program advisor.

A formal letter is also sent to a student who is not accepted into a graduate program. If a student is not accepted into the graduate program but shows promise of success, the graduate program may recommend additional admission criteria. When the specified admission criteria have been met, the student should meet with the Program Coordinator to finalize admission. The program office then issues a letter regarding the student’s admission status.

Alternate Admission Procedure

Students who do not meet all requirements for graduate admission may apply for postbaccalaureate admission.

Financial Aid and Graduate Assistantships

Financial aid awards are affected by a student’s admission classification as a nonadmitted graduate, a postbaccalaureate nongraduate, a postbaccalaureate student, or a graduate master. Confer with the Financial Aid Office to determine the financial aid for the classification to which you are admitted.

Graduate assistantships are available in some academic programs and administrative units. To hold a graduate assistantship, students must gain regular admission to a master’s degree program. They must also have an approved master’s degree program on file no later than the fourth week of the initial term of appointment as a graduate assistant and must successfully follow all guidelines and procedures as defined in the General Regulations for Appointment of Graduate Assistants.

Step Two: Approval of Proposed Program

The student’s graduate program advisor is the student’s primary support during completion of the graduate program. The student should consult with the advisor about the program of study and should develop a proposed program of study and file it with the graduate program coordinator if required.  Check program for specific program requirements. These forms are available from the graduate coordinator or program advisor and must be approved by the student’s advisors, and the graduate coordinator. Students must submit this form before completing 18 credits. Any time a student’s program changes, they must submit an approved program change form provided by the program advisor.

Satisfactory Progress

Students in graduate degree programs are expected to make reasonable progress toward completion of the graduate degree. Graduate students who have not enrolled in the current academic year are notified during spring term by the graduate program coordinator that they must file an application for graduate study leave by the end of the term. Failure to file requires that the student reapply for admission to the graduate studies program and to the master’s degree program in order to continue degree studies and maintain financial aid.

This policy does not apply to graduate students in programs that operate in the summer only, the education master’s programs, or the summer institute for foreign language teachers.

Step Three: Midprogram Evaluation and Program Completion

Some SOU graduate programs require a midprogram evaluation. Consult the graduate program office for additional information regarding this requirement. Programs exempt from the midprogram evaluation include the Master in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) and Education Comprehensive Exam option.

Credits-in-Residency Requirement

Students must earn at least 30 quarter credits toward a master’s degree in residence at SOU. The last 9 credits of the program must be in residence unless a waiver is approved by the graduate coordinator and the Director of Graduate Studies.

Thesis or Project

In many master’s degree programs, students be required to complete a thesis or project option. Any student who wishes to explore a thesis or project option should check with the graduate coordinator at the beginning of the program for information about the special procedures and regulations governing such an option.

In most programs, the student’s thesis or project committee must meet and approve the project proposal. This approved proposal must be on file with the graduate program coordinator before the irregular registration forms for thesis or project coursework are approved.

Students may use 6 to 12 credits, with a maximum of 3 credits from the support area, for the thesis or project. Those exercising this option must follow the format required by their programs. Students defend the thesis or project in an oral examination if required by their program.

Step Four: Application for Graduation

Students must submit the application for completion of a master’s degree form to the graduate coordinator no later than the first week of the quarter in which students plan to complete all requirements for the degree, including a comprehensive exam, if required, and the final defense of a project or thesis, if required. The graduate coordinator evaluates each student’s degree status and planned program of coursework. Students are then notified of any deficiencies that need to be corrected and the procedures for setting up a comprehensive examination.

Step Five: Final Steps to Degree Completion

Students approaching the completion of their graduate studies may be required to participate in a comprehensive coursework examination, a defense of their thesis or project, or both. These examinations may be written or oral. The comprehensive exam and the final defense may not be taken prior to the quarter during which coursework is completed.

Special degree completion requirements apply to students completing a thesis or project. These students should check with their graduate program coordinator or graduate advisor for details.

Comprehensive Examination and Thesis or Project Defense

Many master’s degree programs at SOU require that students pass a final comprehensive examination covering the required work for the master’s degree. The type of examination differs depending on the program and major; it may be written, oral, or a combination of both.

Students should check with their advisor regarding the particular defense requirements of the program. The student typically defends the project or thesis during the final quarter of coursework for the degree. However, in special instances, other arrangements may be made with permission from the graduate coordinator.

Retaking a Comprehensive Examination

If a student fails all or part of the comprehensive examination or the project or thesis defense, the examining committee specifies the conditions under which it may be retaken and notifies the graduate coordinator and Director of Graduate Studies of these conditions. Ordinarily, these exams may not be retaken until there has been sufficient time for additional study, reading, or mastery of subjects. A student may take these examinations a maximum of three times each. The graduate coordinator is notified each time the examination is retaken so preparations can be made and forms completed.

General Information

See the introductory section of the catalog for information on accreditation, fees and deposits, housing, financial aid, and student services.


In mid-April, the Office of the Registrar sends commencement information to students who have completed their degrees during the previous summer, fall, and winter quarters and to those who have been cleared by their graduate program office to complete requirements during spring quarter. Students scheduled to complete a degree during the post-commencement Summer Session or fall term may participate in the commencement ceremony if they have written verification of a completion date from their advisor and graduate program coordinator.

Student Handbooks

Detailed information on policies and procedures may be available in student handbooks provided by specific graduate programs or by the office of Graduate Studies. Contact the program coordinator for information and handbooks.

Program Regulations and Procedures

Student Responsibility

Graduate students are expected to know the requirements for the programs they undertake. While the University assists each student as much as possible, the responsibility for any error in enrollment or misinterpretation of rules rests with the student.

Student Conduct Code

Students are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the Code of Student Conduct.

Professional Ethics

Graduate students are expected to honor standards of ethical practice appropriate to academic life.

Individual graduate degree programs may have additional ethical guidelines. It is the student’s responsibility to be familiar with and abide by such guidelines. When a program’s faculty decide a student has failed to meet professional standards, they are responsible for identifying, remediating, or dismissing the student, except when the violation pertains to Title IX.  Suspected or confirmed violations of Title IX must be reported on SOU’s anonymous report located at the top of the SOU Cares page.

Candidacy for the graduate degree may be denied, suspended, or revoked should it be established that an individual has become a discredit to his or her peers by dishonoring the profession through any flagrant violation of the ethics of scholarship and higher learning.

Course Exclusions

Course-Related Requirements

Only 500-level courses count toward a master’s degree.

Workshop Credit and Practicum

A maximum of 9 hours of workshop or practicum credit may be included in a graduate program and only with advisor consent.

Credit by Examination, In-Service, Professional Growth Courses, and Continuing Professional Education

Graduate credit by examination, in-service, professional growth courses, and continuing professional education courses are not acceptable in graduate programs.

Prior and Transfer Credit Limitations

A student may include only 16 quarter credits of approved graduate coursework taken prior to regular admission to a master’s degree program at the University. This limitation applies to coursework taken at Southern Oregon University and coursework transferred from other institutions. Such courses must be appropriate for the master’s degree program to which the student is admitted and must be approved by the major advisor and graduate program coordinator. All transfer credit must be supported by official transcripts sent directly from the school of origin to Admissions.  Acceptance of any transfer credit is the prerogative of the degree-granting institution.

Time Limitation and Outdated Courses

All courses included in the SOU program for a master’s degree must be seven years old or less at the time the degree is completed. However, with the approval of the Office of Graduate Studies, up to 12 credits of courses over seven years old but less than ten years old at degree completion may be included if they have been updated and validated by the academic program. Upon program completion, courses taken ten years ago or longer must be replaced even if they have previously been updated. Forms for course updates are available from the graduate coordinator.

Open-Numbered Graduate Courses

No more than 21 credits of open-numbered courses may be included in a 45-credit program. Open-numbered courses do not have a catalog description; they include the following: 501, 504, 505, 506, 507, 508, 509, and 510 Special Topics. Thesis (503) is not considered an open-numbered course.

Graduate Council

The mission of the Graduate Council is to support and advise graduate studies and their constituents at SOU. The policies and procedures of the graduate programs at SOU are established and periodically reviewed by the Faculty Senate on recommendations of the Graduate Council, which comprises faculty, students, and administrators.

Graduate Faculty

Composition of the Graduate Faculty

The president, provost, and associate provost are sui generis members of the graduate faculty. Qualified faculty and professionals are eligible for nomination to the graduate faculty by the program chair or coordinator, with final approval by the director of Graduate Studies, and may serve indefinitely in the capacity of Graduate Faculty, or for five years in the capacity of Associate Graduate Faculty or Adjunct Graduate Faculty. Nominations to the graduate faculty are submitted by program chairs to the Director of Graduate Studies for review and approval. Those decisions are sent to the Chair of the Graduate Council for notification of the Council and then to Faculty Senate for ratification.

Graduate Faculty

All full-time faculty with the academic rank of professor, associate professor, assistant professor, or senior instructor I or senior instructor II who have a terminal degree or equivalent in their discipline and have demonstrated a continuing commitment to scholarship and professional growth are eligible for appointment to the graduate faculty. A Graduate Faculty member may teach a range of graduate classes in the graduate program and may serve as either a chair or a committee member of a thesis or other graduate committee.

Associate Graduate Faculty

Part-time faculty, and regular faculty who are not appointed as Graduate Faculty, may be nominated to serve as Associate Graduate Faculty. Associate Graduate Faculty members may teach specific graduate classes and may serve as members of a thesis or graduate committee, but they may not chair a thesis or graduate committee. Associate Graduate Faculty appointments are for five years and are renewable.

Adjunct Graduate Faculty

Professional and other subject matter experts who are not members of the faculty and are drawn from the community or an educational, industrial, or governmental institution to temporarily assist an academic program in meeting its teaching needs may be named members of the Adjunct Graduate Faculty. They may serve as guest lecturers or instructors in graduate classes or as thesis or graduate committee members, but they may not chair a thesis or graduate committee. Adjunct Graduate Faculty appointments are for five years and are renewable.