Feb 29, 2020  
2015-16 Catalog 
2015-16 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Graduate Studies

Application Information: 541-552-6411

Students pursuing graduate studies at SOU may choose one of three types of degree programs: specialized master’s degrees, professional licenses, and college area master’s degrees. Requirements vary between 45 and 90 credits.

Individuals who wish to enroll in a master’s degree or licensing program must first be admitted to the Program of Graduate Studies 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 school, college, or department. Students should also contact the school or college dean’s office to receive an overview and application materials of a specific graduate program and to identify a departmental graduate program coordinator or a graduate program advisor.

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 the Graduate Studies Program.

Interdisciplinary Master’s Degrees

For master’s degrees that span more than one disciplinary area, SOU offers interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary degrees. 

Master’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies  

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 for Professionals

The following master’s degrees offered at SOU are designed for individuals pursuing professional advancement. They cover the specific fields of business management, applied computer science, teaching and educational administration, environmental education, foreign language education, music conducting, mental health counseling, and theatre studies in production and design.


Master of Business Administration, MBA  (Master of Business Administration Program)

Computer Science

   (Computer Science)


Master of Arts in Teaching Program (MAT)  (Education)

  • Early Childhood/Elementary
  • Elementary/Middle
  • Middle/High

Education (MEd) and Continuing License Program, MA or MS  (Education)
Special Education Program (MEd)  (Education)

Environmental Education

Environmental Education, MS  (Biology)

Foreign Language

French Language Teaching, MA  (Foreign Languages and Literatures)

Spanish Language Teaching, MA  (Foreign Languages and Literatures)


Master of Music: Performance  (Music)


Master in Mental Health Counseling (MHC), MS/MA  (Psychology)

Theatre Arts

Master of Theatre Studies in Production and Design  (MoTS, Theatre Arts)

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:


Initial Teaching License  (Education)
Continuing Teaching License  (Education)
Initial Administrator License (IAL) and Continuing Administrator License (CAL)  (Education)

Admission to a Master’s Degree Program

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 school or college dean’s office for information.
  2. All students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher in the last 90 quarter credits (60 semester credits) of undergraduate coursework.
  3. Some programs require students to complete a preliminary entrance examination, usually the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). A typical combined score for admitted students is 1500 with 500 on both the verbal and quantitative portions of the GRE. Some departments may require higher minimum GRE scores. Consult the school or college dean’s 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 Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of 540 or higher before enrolling in graduate courses. (See Admission of Foreign Students.)

To apply for graduate studies, students must submit a complete application packet.

A complete application to the Graduate Studies Program includes the following:

  1. The Application for New Student Graduate Admission to the Admissions Office, along with the nonrefundable application fee. Applications are not accepted without the fee. Some programs also require a separate application for that specific program.
  2. An official transcript from all institutions attended. 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 school or college dean regarding any special admissions policies that may apply.
  3. All required official entrance examination score reports.
  4. Three letters of recommendation from professors or other professional sources. These letters should speak to your ability to perform in graduate studies. Contact the school or college dean’s office for guidelines.
  5. Other requested documents sent to the Admissions Office (institutional code R4702). Consult the school or college dean’s office for additional admission requirements for specific programs.

All application materials (including a signed application form, admission fee, official transcripts from all institutions attended, official GRE score, three required letters of reference from professors, and a letter of intent or goal statement) must be on file in the Admissions Office by the designated deadline.

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

Admission Deadline for Master’s and Licensing Programs

Application procedures and deadlines vary across programs. Consult the school or college dean’s 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. The appropriate admission designation is coded into the computer system by the Admissions Office. Students may then register for coursework.

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 major department or the graduate program may recommend additional admission criteria. When the specified admission criteria have been met, the student may submit a Petition for Change of Status. This form is obtained from the graduate program coordinators. When the form is completed and signed, it is submitted to the graduate program coordinator. The dean’s 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 departments 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 first week of the initial term of appointment as a graduate assistant and must successfully pursue the program at a rate 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. With the help of these advisors, the student should immediately develop a proposed program of study and file it with the graduate program coordinator. These forms are available from the school or college graduate coordinator or program advisor and must be approved by the student’s advisors, the school or college graduate coordinator, and the school or college dean. Students must submit this form before completing 18 credits. Any time a student’s program changes, he or she must submit an approved program change form facilitated by the program advisor.

Academic Load

The maximum load for graduate students is 16 credits during a regular term and 15 credits during an eight-week Summer Session. Overload petitions must be approved by the student’s advisor and the school or college graduate coordinator. The form is filed with the graduate program coordinator or advisor and the Enrollment Services Center. There is a surcharge for each credit taken in excess of academic load regulations.

Satisfactory Progress

Students in specialized, licensing, and school or college area 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. Students readmitted into the same program are not limited to the 15-credit maximum requirement for newly admitted students.

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

Step Three: Midprogram Evaluation and Program Completion

Most of the SOU graduate programs require a midprogram evaluation. Students should have a midprogram evaluation meeting as soon as possible after completing 18 credits (and no later than after completing 24 credits) to guarantee that all credits count toward their program. Appropriate forms and additional information are available from the graduate program coordinators.

Programs exempt from the midprogram evaluation include the Master in Mental Health Counseling (MHC), Master in Management (MiM), 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 school or college dean. Graduate credit for a course taught by an instructor in Continuing Education who has been approved in advance by the school or college dean or director is accepted as residence credit. Refer to Course Exclusions below for further information.

Thesis or Project

In many master’s degree programs, students may elect 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.

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 outlined in the Style Manual for Theses and Projects, available from the University Bookstore. Students defend the thesis or project in an oral examination.

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 and the final defense of a project or thesis. The school or college graduate coordinator evaluates each student’s degree status and planned program of coursework. Students are then notified by mail 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. Frequently, the comprehensive examination is based on a focused bibliography that reflects the program coursework. Or it may support the final project or thesis and is accomplished before completing the project or thesis.

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 school or college graduate coordinator and school or college dean.

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 school or college dean 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 the school or college dean’s 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 Graduate Council. Contact the program coordinator or the dean’s office 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.

Right of Appeal

If the student elects to make an appeal, the Appeals Committee shall include the following individuals: the student’s advisor; the department chair, school or college dean, or school or college graduate coordinator; and the Graduate Council chair. In the case of a professional breach of ethics, an appeal is handled within the department according to established procedures.

Students may exercise their right of appeal for charges of violations through procedures outlined in the Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook.

Student Conduct Code

Students are expected to conduct themselves in a mature, professional, and civil manner and must abide by the Proscribed Conduct guidelines listed under Student Responsibilities on the SOU Web site.

Professional Ethics

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

The Graduate Council considers the following to be examples of flagrant violations: cheating, plagiarism, forgery, physical abuse or threat of physical abuse against University personnel, theft of University property, and unauthorized entry into or use of SOU-controlled property.

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 department’s faculty decide a student has failed to meet professional standards, they are responsible for identifying, remediating, or dismissing the student. Each department has an established procedure for handling such issues.

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.
The master’s degree programs in elementary education and secondary education require students to earn at least 24 credits in courses restricted to graduate students.

Workshop Credit and Practicum

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

Extension Credit and Other Forms of Nontraditional Coursework

Extension credit and other forms of nontraditional coursework (e.g., online courses and two-way television) may be included in a graduate program only with advisor consent.

Correspondence Courses

Correspondence study may not be used in a master’s degree program.

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 school or college area graduate programs.

Prior and Transfer Credit Limitations

A student may include only 15 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, the school or college graduate coordinator, and the school or college dean. No more than 6 quarter credits of prior or transfer credit may be from a previous master’s program. All transfer credit must be supported by official transcripts sent directly from the school of origin to the Office of 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 department and approved by the school or college dean. 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 or school or college dean’s office.

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, associate provost, and school or college deans are sui generis members of the graduate faculty. Qualified faculty and professionals are eligible for nomination to the graduate faculty by the department chair, with final approval by the dean, and may serve in the capacity of Graduate Faculty, Associate Graduate Faculty, or Adjunct Graduate Faculty. Appointments to the graduate faculty are submitted by the dean to the chair of the graduate council for review by the council and ratification by the faculty senate.

Graduate Faculty

All full-time faculty with the academic rank of professor, associate professor, assistant professor, instructor, or senior instructor 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.  Graduate Faculty appointments may be withdrawn by the chair upon approval of the School or College Dean, the Graduate Council, and the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Associate Graduate Faculty

Visiting professors appointed to the faculty, part-time faculty, and regular faculty who are not appointed as graduate faculty may be invited to serve as associate graduate faculty. Associate graduate faculty members may teach in specific graduate programs upon approval of the chair and notification of the Graduate Council. Associate Graduate Faculty 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.  For purposes of graduate faculty roles, emeritus faculty will hold Associate Graduate Faculty status.

Adjunct Graduate Faculty

Professional and other subject matter experts who are not members of the faculty may be named members of the adjunct graduate faculty and may serve as guest lecturers or instructors in specific graduate classes upon approval of the chair and notification of the Graduate Council. Adjunct Graduate Faculty may serve as thesis or graduate committee members. Adjunct Graduate Faculty appointments are for five years and are renewable.