2024-2026 Catalog

Graduate Studies

Dickinson State University invites application for admission to Graduate Studies from individuals holding baccalaureate degrees from a regionally accredited institution in the United States or with equivalent preparation acquired in another country.

Graduate Courses: Dickinson State University courses numbered 501 and above may be taken for graduate credit. Derived from the U.S. Department of Education regulations, the definition of a credit hour is based on direct faculty instruction - contact hours, plus independent (out-of-class) work. While variability among and between courses is anticipated, in general, graduate-level students are expected to spend 3-4 hours outside of class for each hour spent in class. That said, historically and philosophically the emphasis in graduate education has been and is predicated on subject-matter mastery—meaning that, to a degree, the appropriate amount of time (hours) spent by a student out-of-class is determined by the student’s ability to demonstrate mastery to the satisfaction of the professor.

Graduate Course Content Criteria: The following criteria (derived based on a review of graduate program best-practice exemplars) are put forth to provide guidance to graduate-level course preparation and delivery.

Course content should be intellectually challenging to graduate students.

Graduate-level subject matter should emphasize the literature of the discipline(s) and/or be drawn from relevant research and scholarly activity.

Graduate courses should build on previous discipline-specific knowledge, skills, abilities and experiences.

Graduate Policies and Procedures

The following academic policies guide decision-making of the Graduate Council. These policies establish minimum standards and qualifications, which program requirements may exceed. The Graduate Council will review and make recommendations for modification in these policies when appropriate.

Graduate Faculty

Graduate Faculty includes faculty or staff with full graduate status (voting), the Director of Graduate Studies (voting), faculty holding associate graduate faculty status (voting), and the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs (non-voting).

The Director of Graduate Studies will schedule meetings at least once fall and spring semester and/or as needed, and distribute the agenda one week prior to any meeting. All members may recommend items for the agenda and participate in discussion. Voting members shall make decisions. The members in attendance at the meeting shall constitute a quorum. A simple majority vote of those in attendance is necessary for action on a motion.

The unit Graduate Studies Council represents Graduate Faculty members.

The Graduate Council

a. Duties

The graduate council derives its powers from the Constitution of the Dickinson State University Faculty Senate. Policies of the Faculty Senate Constitution and Graduate Council regulate all    matters affecting graduate education. The Graduate Council is the graduate unit policymaking body. 

The purpose of Graduate Council is to promote graduate education at DSU. To this end, the Graduate Council will:

  1. recommend addition or termination of courses and program concentrations,
  2. determine standards and policies for selection and evaluation of graduate faculty and graduate instruction
  3. determine standards and policies for selection, retention, and graduation of graduate students
  4. act upon appeal by petition of graduate standards and policies by faculty and students
  5. and assure uniform application of the standards and polices. 

b. Membership:

The Graduate Council shall include the following voting (full) graduate faculty members: two faculty from each school that houses graduate degrees, two at large, and the Director of      Graduate Studies. The Director of Graduate Studies will serve as the chairperson of the Graduate Studies Council.

The Faculty Senate will select members of the Graduate Council. Members will be selected every two years, with staggering terms for the representatives from the schools that house graduate degrees and the two at-large positions. In the event that a member cannot complete a term, the regular process of appointment or nomination and election shall serve to replace that person. Members may serve multiple consecutive terms.

Graduate Faculty Status

Graduate faculty status recognizes a faculty member's teaching and research qualifications that enable him or her to conduct graduate level instruction and to supervise and direct graduate student research and scholarship. The expectation is that graduate faculty members shall contribute to the advancement of knowledge, the practice of teaching, and service to the institution and discipline. There are two levels of graduate faculty status: Full and Associate.

Full graduate faculty status may be granted to full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty or academic staff members holding a doctoral degree, or another degree nationally recognized as the terminal degree in that discipline. In addition to academic preparation, faculty holding full graduate faculty status shall demonstrate a record of ongoing scholarly activity. Full members of the graduate faculty may teach graduate courses in their areas of specialization, be assigned as advisors to graduate students, serve on graduate and student committees, chair student capstone committees, and participate as voting members of the graduate faculty.

Associate graduate faculty status may be granted: 

  1. to adjunct faculty who meet the academic qualifications required for Full status,
  2. to administrators or staff with appropriate academic qualifications as required for Full status,
  3. to faculty who hold a masters or a specialist degree from a nationally recognized program in a subject area that would qualify him/her to teach selected courses in that subject at the graduate level. Such special expertise shall be documented and accompanied by a letter of support from the unit administrator.

Associate members of the graduate faculty may include adjunct instructors. Associate members of the graduate faculty may teach graduate courses in their degree or specialized areas of expertise, advise graduate students, serve on student committees, and participate as non-voting members of the graduate faculty. Associate members who chair student committees must have another committee member with Full status who agrees to serve as administrative co-chair.

Approval, Evaluation, and Continuation in Status

Approval procedures for Full and Associate graduate faculty includes:

  1. The faculty, staff, or unit administrator completes the Recommendation for Appointment to Graduate Faculty form.
  2. The form shall be submitted through, and must be approved by, the administrator(s) of the unit involved. Additional materials for Associate members should be included.
  3. The Chair of the Graduate Council, acting for the Graduate Council and in accordance with the regulations promulgated by that body, must also approve the application.
  4. Associate graduate faculty will be reappointed yearly, based on recommendation from the faculty's unit administrator(s).
  5. The Director of Graduate Studies will notify the faculty member, Dean, and Provost of the Council's action.

Graduate faculty are evaluated through the campus process required of all faculty. Faculty evaluation is the responsibility of the faculty member's unit administrator. This administrator recommends initial appointment to graduate faculty status and monitors continued faculty adherence to the criteria. The dean of the academic unit will review faculty following the annual evaluation procedures, and will submit to the Director of Graduate Studies a recommendation for continuance or discontinuance of full graduate faculty status. Course evaluation is the responsibility of the Director of Graduate Studies and will be conducted for all courses.

Faculty members may appeal decisions on their status through the process described in the Faculty Handbook II-30 Faculty Personnel Policies and Procedures and ND State Board of Higher Education (SBHE) policies found in the Faculty Handbook, Appendix 11-E.2a.

  Program and Course Adoption, Assessment, Revision, Termination

Continuous updating of graduate curricula is essential to maintaining a high-quality program. The curricular modification process from academic division/school, graduate council, curriculum committee, faculty senate, and if necessary, SBHE, ESPB, CAEP, IACBE, and HLC will be followed.

Program Adoption

Structured curriculum, which results in new options, certificates, concentrations, or degrees, is subject to review and approval. The academic unit sponsoring the program prepares a Program Request addressing objectives, relation to unit and university mission, population served, admission requirements, course requirements, impact on degree programs, and start date.  If the program involves courses from two or more schools, all academic units involved must receive notification of the request.

The Director of Graduate Studies presents the program request to the Graduate Council, which may seek additional or related information if helpful for its review. If approved by the Graduate Council, the program request will follow DSU curriculum change procedures and policies. If a program requires approval of external organizations, the academic unit and the Director of Graduate Studies will prepare and submit necessary materials.

Course and Program Revision

Faculty will continuously assess content, structure, and continued viability of the courses offered in the program, and make changes as the field necessitates. The assessment may lead to revision, or termination of a course, program part, or program. Initiation of action may be by graduate faculty, division dean or the Office of Graduate Studies. The Director of Graduate Studies will refer revisions to the Graduate Council. Curricular changes will follow DSU curriculum change procedures and policies.

Course Numbering:

501-599 are reserved for master's level course work and enrollment is restricted to graduate students.

Course Grades

A - Excellent, 4 honor points per credit hour

B - Above average, 3 honor points per credit hour

C - Average, 2 honor points per credit hour

D - Below average, 1 honor point per credit hour

F - Failing, 0 honor point per credit hour, grade/course not acceptable toward graduation

I - Incomplete, not computed into grade point average until final grade awarded

W - No grade, student withdrew

S - Successfully completed

U - Unsuccessful attempt

AU - Audit

Course Credit

Course credit is credit granted toward meeting prerequisite or required program course requirements for courses successfully completed at DSU. 

Transfer course credit is credit toward meeting prerequisite or required program course requirements for courses taken at another regionally accredited institution. A maximum of nine (9) semester hours may be utilized for completion of program requirements.

Admission Requirements

Required Procedures for Degree Seeking Applicants

The following must be submitted by degree seeking applicant:

  1. Completed application.
  2. Applicants must pay the $35.00 application processing fee. The fee may be paid in-person or online.
  3. Official transcripts from all institutions attended. One transcript must show the applicant was awarded a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution. Official transcripts (transcripts having an appropriate seal or stamp) showing that student was awarded a baccalaureate degree must be received by the Office of Admissions before the application is considered complete. Official records of all graduate work must be received by the Office of Admissions to be considered for credit towards an MAT, MAEL, or ME degree.
  4. A written statement of purpose in light of applicant’s philosophy including a description of applicant’s preparation and interest in the field of education, athletic educational leadership or entrepreneurship.

Additional Admission Requirements for the Master of Entrepreneurship Program

  1. Applicants must submit two letters of reference in support of their admission to the program. Reference letters should be from prior academic advisors, faculty, professional colleagues, or supervisors who can attest to the individual’s ability to succeed within a rigorous academic environment.
  2. Applicants are required to complete the SoBE ME Peregrine Entrance Examination. To ensure student success within the ME program, students that do not meet the baseline score will be required to complete academic leveling courses in the four fundamental content areas of accounting, finance, management, and marketing.  Academic leveling courses are abbreviated, intensive study, on average one week in length per course, in the content area and can be completed feasibly before full admission is granted.

Minimum Qualifications for Degree Seeking Admission Status

  1. A regionally accredited institution must grant the bachelor degree.
  2. Degree seeking applicants must have an overall undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale to attain full standing in the program. Applicants whose last degree completed is a graduate degree may be admitted in full standing if the final GPA of that degree is at least 3.0 or equivalent. If applicants have taken any graduate course, the graduate GPA must be at least 3.0 (See also provisional admission criteria below). 
  3. The applicant must have adequate preparation in the field relevant to the degree being sought and must show potential to undertake advanced study and research as evidenced by academic performance and experience.
  4. International students must meet the admission requirements for International students listed below.

Required Procedures for Non-Degree Seeking Applicants

Non-degree seeking applicants must submit the following:

  1. Completed application.
  2. Applicants must pay the $35.00 application processing fee. The fee may be paid in-person or online.
  3. No more than nine (9) credits taken under the non-degree status with a grade of B or higher can be transferred to any official program of study should there be, at any future date, a decision to change status to be a degree-seeking student.
  4. Non-Degree admission requires a minimum 2.50 grade point average (GPA) on a 4.00 scale. The method of calculating an Admission GPA is based on the last 60+/- semester undergraduate credits (90+/- quarter credits), using complete semesters (quarters). Applicants with a GPA below 2.50 may be admitted based on documented potential.

Minimum Qualifications for Non-Degree Seeking Admission Status

  1. Non-degree applicants must have a bachelor degree granted by a regionally accredited institution.
  2. Applicants must have adequate preparation in the field relevant to the degree being sought. In courses with limited enrollment, preference will be given to degree-seeking students.

International Student Admission

In addition to all other required admission materials, the following must also be completed:

  1. Official academic transcript certifying a four-year baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university
    • All international credentials must be officially translated into English
    • All academic credentials must be either original records or certified copies of original records. Non-certified photocopies are not acceptable
    • DSU requires students seeking to have credits transfer use an independent evaluation from a NACES approved agency. NACES members are listed at www.naces.org/members.htm.
  2. Demonstrate Proficiency in the English Language by submitting one of the following:
    • (IBT) TOEFL score of 71 or higher (DSU accepts electronic versions of TOEFL directly from the company). Dickinson State University school code – 6477.
    • IELTS score of 6.0 or higher (Dickinson State University accepts electronic versions of IELTS directly from the company).
    • Pearson Test of English (PTE-A) score of 50 or higher
    • Michigan English Assessment Battery (MELAB) score of 55 or higher
    • SAT Writing sub-score of 430 or higher if taken before February 2016 or sub-score of 25 on Writing and Language Test if taken after February 2016. The SAT test format changed, nationally, in February 2016, which is why two different scores are provided. For the 2016-2017 academic year, test score from the old or new version of the SAT will be accepted.
    • Or any other acceptable demonstration of English proficiency approved by North Dakota University System Procedure 402.9.

If the international student has graduated from an accredited U.S. institution with a four-year baccalaureate degree, the Director of Graduate Studies, in partnership with the school, may waive the demonstration of proficiency in the English language as described above. Canadian students follow the Admission Requirements for resident degree seeking students and have an official transcript in English sent to DSU directly from the university attended.

Applicants denied admission may appeal by petition (see policy herein Due Process below).

 Student Admission Categories


The decision of admission to graduate student status at DSU is made by the Director of Graduate Studies in consultation with the program faculty. Application for admission should be made to the DSU Office of Admissions. The denial appeal process for the Master of Arts in Teaching program is described in the undergraduate handbook for Teacher Education. Applicants who are denied admission to the Master of Entrepreneurship may appeal to the Dean of the School of Business and Entrepreneurship in writing within 30 days of receiving this notice. Applicants who are denied admission to the Master of Education in Elementary Education or Master of Educational Leadership may appeal to the Dean of Education in writing within 30 days of receiving this notice.

The student may be admitted under one of the following admission categories:

Full Admission

After the required official documents have been received, evaluated, and a determination that the applicant has met all admission requirements had been made, this status will be granted by the Director of Graduate Studies.

Faculty make recommendations on all applications, and the final admission decision is the responsibility of the Director of Graduate Studies.

Full Admission may be granted only to degree seeking students.

Provisional Admission

  1. Students are admitted with provisional status when all requirements for admission are not met, or their GPA is below 3.0 but other materials show potential. Applicants with a GPA below 3.0 must submit scores from at least one examination such as the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), the Miller Analogies Test (MAT), Praxis I: Core Academic Skills for Educators (combined test - Master of Arts in Teaching) or National Teaching Board for Professional Standards (Master of Arts in Teaching). Scores will be used to assess students' previous educational achievement levels and/or to evaluate their potential for meeting the demands of coursework at the graduate level. For the AEL track, a letter of recommendation is required.
  2. Graduate faculty may make a recommendation to the Director of Graduate Studies for Provisional Admission. This recommendation must be accompanied by two letters of reference in support of student admission to the program and must include specific standards of performance that must be satisfied for change to full graduate status. Students admitted under Provisional status may not earn more than nine (9) semester hours of graduate credit in this status.

Students with full admission will be assigned provisional status if their cumulative grade point average drops below 3.0 after completing nine (9) semester hours.


Applicants who do not meet the standards for full or provisional admission will receive a denial of admission letter.  Denied applicants can appeal the decision. Appeals should be submitted to the Office of Admissions and include written rationale for the appeal and additional information not considered in the original application.  The appeal will be considered by the academic school and a written response will be sent.

Non-Degree Admission

Individuals who desire to pursue study beyond the baccalaureate degree for professional growth and improvement of skills but not to work toward an advanced degree objective may be admitted as non-degree graduate students under the following conditions: 

Non-degree seeking applicants must submit the following:

  1. Completed application.
  2. The applicant must hold a bachelor degree from a regionally accredited institution
  3. Applicants must pay the $35.00 application processing fee. The fee may be paid in-person or online.
  4. Students must have the prerequisite courses or background/experience necessary for the course or courses in which they desire to enroll. This may require consultation and approval from course instructors
  5. The applicant must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.

Students in this category are advised by the Director of Graduate Studies or their designee. Courses taken under the non-degree status do not guarantee admission into a graduate program. No more than nine (9) credits from courses numbered 501-599 may be taken under the non-degree status. Professional development graduate courses (numbered 2000) are not eligible for graduate degree programs, may be taken without formal admission to DSU, and are not limited to nine (9) credits.

Students enrolled with non-degree status may subsequently desire to be considered for admission to Graduate Studies to pursue an advanced degree. Such a change in status may be accomplished for a subsequent term by submitting a new application to the Office of Admissions as a degree-seeking student and completion of all other requirements. No more than nine (9) credits earned in the non-degree status may be used to fulfill graduate degree requirements if approved by graduate faculty, the dean, and the Director of Graduate Studies.

Accelerated Bachelor's/Master's (ABM) 4+1 degree program

The Accelerated Bachelor's/Master's (ABM) degree program allows exceptional undergraduate students at DSU an opportunity to complete the requirements for both the bachelor's and master's degrees at an accelerated pace. These students may double count up to 12 graduate-level credits and obtain a master's degree within 12 months of completing the bachelor's degree.

This degree program, therefore, provides an opportunity for the Dickinson State University to recruit high achieving undergraduates in their major and high achieving high school students to their graduate programs. The degree program may thus be advertised and used as a recruiting tool for prospective undergraduate students. High achieving high school students are identified as students who have a GPA of at least 3.0/4.0 and an ACT score of 22 or higher.  Admission is contingent on meeting eligibility requirements at the time of entering the graduate program.

Creating an Accelerated Bachelor's/Master's Program: Two Models

There are two options for creating ABM programs. The first option is a disciplinary model in which a bachelor's program and a master's program in the same school or in schools of closely related disciplines establish an ABM degree. For the disciplinary model, all applicable curricular approval procedures for catalog placement must be followed for any curriculum proposals that are related to the establishment of an ABM degree. 

The other option is to design a specialized plan between the student, the undergraduate school, and the graduate school for those cases in which a student is in a school that has not established a formal ABM program or is in a school in one discipline and wants to take a master's degree in a different discipline. For this option, an ABM arrangement must be made between the student and the dean of the undergraduate program, prior to and as part of the application process.

NOTE: The 4+1 ABM program is only available to students in schools/programs that have chosen to participate and create a 4+1 option.  Students interested in a cross-school ABM must first speak to, and request approval from the dean of their undergraduate program.  The decision whether to approve a student's request is entirely that of the Director of Graduate Studies with the support of the dean.

Admission to an ABM Program: Student eligibility requirements

NOTE: High achieving high school students successfully recruited to the 4+1 ABM program will be in an "identified" status within their undergraduate programs, and should be assigned an advisor familiar with the ABM program in their freshman year. Provided that the student maintains the necessary minimum GPA, the student's formal admission to the 4+1 ABM program will follow the process outlined below.

Students must meet all graduate admissions eligibility requirements. Students will not be required to prove English Language Proficiency a second time.

Students must have completed a minimum of 60 credits, including credits earned from advanced placement and dual credit. Students must apply before completion of the undergraduate degree.

Transfer students with a minimum of 60 credits-whether from the transfer institution alone or in combination with DSU credits-and a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0/4.0.

Students must have a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of

  • 3.0/4.0 at DSU at the time of admission into the ABM degree program
  • Individual schools may impose stricter minimum admission requirements

Accelerated Bachelor's/Master's Application:

A prospective student that meets the eligibility requirements above should schedule a meeting with his/her dean to develop a plan of work for his/her bachelor's and master's degree programs.

A Program of Study, signed by the applicant, the dean, and Director of Graduate Studies, must be submitted. If the student is in a specialized plan, the signature of the undergraduate advisor and undergraduate dean are also required.

A Program of Study, signed by the applicant, the dean, and Director of Graduate Studies, must be submitted. If the student is in a specialized plan, the signature of the undergraduate disciplinary advisor and undergraduate dean are also required.

The Program of Study must clearly indicate:

o   The courses (a maximum of 12 graduate credits) that will be double counted for both bachelor's and master's degrees. These courses will be taken prior to completing the bachelor's degree.

o   The courses that will be taken after being accepted into the graduate program. These courses will be taken after completing the bachelor's degree.

o   The graduation date for the master's degree that meets the time limit for the ABM program.

After review of the materials submitted by the dean, a letter of acceptance (or denial) to the master's program, contingent upon meeting the ABM requirements, is issued.

Applications accepted for admission to the Graduate Program will not be matriculated until completion of the bachelor's degree.

Requirements for Completion of the Accelerated Bachelor's/Master's Degree Program:

Students must complete the bachelor's degree prior to entering the master's program. Students in the ABM may not elect to bypass the bachelor's degree.

Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0/4.0 at DSU to remain eligible for the ABM degree program.

Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0/4.0 or better in the double counted graduate level courses.

Individual schools may impose stricter minimum GPA requirements.

 No more than twelve (12) credits of graduate work may be counted toward the requirements of both degrees.

For a 4+1 program, students must complete the master's degree within 12 months from the completion of the bachelor's and must apply for admission to the graduate program within 12 months of completion of the master's degree.

Continuing Eligibility for Accelerated Bachelor's/Master's Degree Programs:

If a student completes the bachelor's degree requirements with a cumulative GPA of less than 3.0/4.0, then they need program approval to continue to pursue the ABM degree program.

If a student becomes ineligible to participate in the ABM degree program, the dean of the Program must inform the student in writing of his/her ineligibility.

A student who is ineligible to participate in (or withdraws from) the ABM program, cannot double count any courses. The courses that were identified as double counted will remain on the undergraduate transcript only.

 Exceptions to the Accelerated Bachelor's/ Master's Degree Program Time Limits:

For those programs with a 4+1 structure, the dean may grant exception to the above time limits. Requests may be submitted formally and should explain the extenuating circumstances and provide a reasonable timeline for completing the work within the limits of the extension.


A student shall be permitted to register for graduate study only after formal admission. 

The student is responsible for adhering to all dates established by the Registrar, such as adding courses, dropping courses, paying tuition and fees, and withdrawing from course(s). 

It is the student's responsibility to inform the Registrar, Director of Graduate Studies, and advisor of any changes in student information or intentions. 

Students enrolled in at least six (6) graduate credit hours per semester are classified as full-time students for financial and institutional aid and extracurricular participation. Part-time is considered anything less than stated previously.

Program concentrations may set minimum course credit requirements for their graduate students so as to maintain academic standards and expected progress toward degree requirements.

Academic Standards: Credit, Continuous Enrollment, Leave of Absence, Reinstatement, Grades, Degree, Graduation

Once admitted the student is expected to maintain a high level of academic achievement and a strong continuous connection to his/her advisor, other students, and the program of study. The following policies support this goal. Any deviation must be appealed by a petition submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies.


The maximum per semester credit for a graduate student is nine semester hours for fall and spring (seven credits for summer term). Enrollment for additional credits (seven credit hours for summer term) requires the signature of the graduate advisor ( see Application for Excess Load form).

Once admitted, students may request a substitution for transfer of graduate credit earned at another regionally accredited institution. The course work must conform to the time limits and grade expectations for course work counted toward the degree at DSU. The substitution form is submitted to the advisor and Director of Graduate Studies who will process the request.

Credit counted toward the degree from DSU through transfer with a grade of B or better from other regionally accredited institutions may not exceed nine (9) credits required for the degree. The transfer of credit must be recommended by the student’s advisor and dean, and approved by the Director of Graduate Studies. Transfer work is included in the calculation of cumulative grade point average. 

Credit counted toward the degree from DSU must be completed within a seven (7) year time limit. The time begins with the beginning of the semester when the first course counted toward the degree is completed to the end of the semester when the last course counted toward the degree is completed. 

Credit counted toward the degree from DSU must have been earned from a U.S. or Canadian institution accredited to offer graduate courses and degrees. Credits from international institutions can be transferred only if approved through the DSU prescribed process for international course transfer evaluation. 

Credit counted toward the degree from DSU must be at the graduate level.

Credit counted toward the degree from DSU must not be continuing education, correspondence, workshop, or Pass/Fail Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory courses.

Credit counted toward the degree from DSU must not have been used to fulfill the requirements of a baccalaureate degree.

Continuous Enrollment

All enrolled students pursuing a master's degree will maintain continuous enrollment from matriculation until completion of all degree requirements. Continuous enrollment is defined as registration during each semester (fall, spring, and summer) of the academic year until the degree is attained or until status as a degree-seeking graduate student is terminated through an official University withdrawal. 

With continuous enrollment, graduate students will have "active" status until the degree is conferred and have the option of continuous access to University services and resources - such as financial aid, advisor assistance, and information resources - throughout their graduate careers.

Minimum registration: Unless on approved on-leave status, a student must be enrolled in a minimum of one semester hour each semester until his/her degree is granted or the student's status as a degree seeking student is terminated.

On-leave Status

On-leave status is available to students who need to suspend their program of study. On-leave status is granted in cases where the student demonstrates good cause (e.g. illness, temporary departure from the University for employment, military service, family issues, financial need, personal circumstances). A graduate student may request a maximum of three academic terms of leave including summer semester during the course of study for the degree. The time spent in approved on-leave status will be included in the seven-year time limit for completing requirements of the master's degree. The Director of Graduate Studies  will offer a leave of absence to eligible students.

A student with approved on-leave status is not required to pay tuition or fees or register for the one credit of continuous enrollment. On-leave status does not provide the student with University resources. Approval of the advisor, program administrator, and the Director of Graduate Studies are required. 

A student who does not enroll in a minimum of one semester hour or apply for and receive on-leave status fails to maintain continuous enrollment. Failing to maintain continuous enrollment through minimum credit registration or the on-leave status will cause the student to relinquish his or her graduate standing in the University.


A student who wishes to have graduate standing reinstated will be required to file a Graduate Readmission form. Acceptance back into the graduate program is not guaranteed. The reinstatement procedures are dictated by the period of absence from enrollment.

Six semesters or less (including summer): The student completes the Returning Student Application. 

More than six semesters (including summers): The student is considered a new applicant, and new supporting materials are required. The applicable standards are those in effect when the student applies for readmission. Coursework more than seven years old is not counted toward a graduate degree.


The following letter grades, quality level and points are used to calculate grade point averages. All quarter credit hours are converted to semester hours when calculating grade point averages:

Letter Significance Points
A Highest 4
B Second 3
C Third 2
D Lowest 1
F Failed 0

Graduate students must maintain an overall graduate GPA of 3.0. A student falling below this minimum after nine (9) semester hours will be placed on academic probation and assigned Provisional status.

Graduate students placed on academic probation and assigned Provisional status must raise their overall GPA to at least a 3.0 within the next nine (9) graduate credit hours taken; if not the student will be dismissed from the program/institution. 

The minimum passing grade for graduate credit is a 'C'. No more than six (6) semester hours of 'C' graded credit may be applied toward the degree. 

'D' graded graduate credit may not be applied toward the degree.

Any course previously taken for which the grade received was below a 'B' may be repeated once. All repeats will be recorded along with the initial attempt. If a course is repeated, the second grade is used to determine grade point average. A student who fails in the first course of sequence cannot take the following courses in that sequence until the course has been completed with a passing grade. 

Continuation in the program of study may be denied at any time during the program by not maintaining the University standard of scholarship, including academic integrity, and/or continuous enrollment. 

Only two (2) graduate courses, prerequisite and/or required, may be repeated to satisfy completion of the degree. 

The grade of "incomplete" may be negotiated with an instructor when the student has failed to meet a specific and important requirement in the course but has in other respects done passing work for the semester. The grade of incomplete must be removed during the regular semester following the term in which it was reported. If the deficiency is not made up within the specified time, the incomplete will revert to the grade earned at the time the incomplete was negotiated. An extension on the incomplete may be requested by the faculty member.


The graduate degree is a defined program of courses, research, or practice offered by a school, division, or multiple units that focuses on a field of study. Any deviation from the courses, research or practice must be appealed by petition through the advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies and acted on by the Graduate Council. 

All graduate degrees must require a minimum of 30 semester hours of graded courses, research, or practice. 

All courses, research, or practice applied toward the degree must be completed within seven (7) years. The time begins with the beginning of the semester when the first course counted toward the degree is completed to the end of the semester when the last course counted toward the degree is completed. 

It is DSU's responsibility to inform active and potential students of changes to the degree requirements. Students must be given sufficient notification so as to allow them to finish their program requirements. When this is not possible substitutions must be provided.


Graduation requirements are as follows:

Student must apply for graduation according to the dates established by DSU.

Student must successfully complete a minimum of 34 (MAT) 30 (MBA) 30 (ME), 34 (M.Ed) 30 (MSA) or 34 (M.Ed. Leadership) graduate semester hours in an approved plan of study to be eligible for graduation.

Student may not transfer more than nine (9) semester hours required for degree. 

Student must complete the degree requirements as specified by the program. 

Student must attain a minimum overall graduate grade point average of 3.0 with no more than two (2) course repeats. No course may be repeated more than once. 

The time elapsed from the beginning of the first course applied toward degree requirements to the degree awarded date will not exceed seven (7) years. 

Students must successfully complete a final comprehensive portfolio (MAT), and other program concentration requirements. 

MAT students must complete NDESPB Praxis requirements prior to the degree being conferred.

Due Process

Faculty may appeal graduate policy decisions through the existing DSU and SBHE policy and procedures. 

Applicants to a graduate academic program may appeal decisions on their admission status by petition. The petition will be obtained from the Director of Graduate Studies. The Director of Graduate Studies will process the petition with the Graduate Council and notify the applicant of the result in a timely manner. 

A graduate student may appeal a graduate policy by petition. The petition will be obtained from the Director of Graduate Studies and be submitted through the advisor. The Director of Graduate Studies will process the petition with the Graduate Council and notify the petitioner of the result in a timely manner.

Admission of Last-Semester Seniors

Seniors in residence at Dickinson State University may register for up to 9 graduate credits during the final year in which they will complete course work for a bachelor's degree at Dickinson State University. This option is reserved for outstanding seniors. This registration must be approved by the course instructor, the student's advisor, and the dean. The student's total per semester course load, including both graduate and undergraduate credits, may not exceed 16 credits, or 9 credits in the case of summer school. A senior selecting this option must file the Graduate Studies application from when they request permission to take a graduate-level course.

Admission Requirements for Professional Development/Continuing Education Students - P-12 Teachers

Dickinson State University recognizes the need for P-12 teachers to improve their professional capabilities. In most cases, the courses are workshops or short courses that can be taken in a compressed time period. These types of courses are "advanced" with respect to the students who enroll but are not courses that a particular discipline offers to a student with the goal of earning an advanced degree. Therefore, professional development/continuing education courses are offered through the DSU West River Teacher Center and are treated differently from Graduate Studies courses in the following respects:

  1. Students may enroll in professional development/continuing education courses without the necessity of meeting all Graduate Study admission requirements. However, they must hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution at the time they enter the course or receive special permission from the Dean of the College of Education, Business, and Applied Sciences 
  2. The credits earned will not count toward an advanced degree, nor may they be petitioned to count at a later date.
  3. There is no limit to the number of professional development/continuing education credits that a student may earn.
  4. All instructors of professional development/continuing education courses must have an advanced degree.