Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York
 


Back to Policies and Procedures

6 Degree Requirements










6    DEGREE REQUIREMENTS                                                                    Back to Table of Contents

6.1 GENERAL REQUIREMENTS
6.2 TRANSFER OF CREDITS
6.3 LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS
6.4 COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATIONS
6.5 SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE AND PROGRESS
        6.5.1 ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE
        6.5.2 ACADEMIC PROGRESS
6.6 TIME LIMIT ON COMPLETION OF DEGREE
        6.6.1 DOCTORAL DEGREE
        6.6.2 MASTER’S DEGREE
        6.6.3 ADVANCED CERTIFICATE STUDENTS
        6.6.4 NON-ENROLLED MASTER’S AND PHD STUDENTS
6.7 COMMENCEMENT

Candidates for graduate degrees must satisfy the requirements of both the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the department/program. The general requirements are given below. These must be met unless the Dean grants an exemption to an individual student after consultation with the department chairperson/program director. Students should consult their individual department/program for specific requirements.

6.1 GENERAL REQUIREMENTS
For the doctoral degree, a minimum of sixty graduate credits plus the completion of a dissertation are normally required. Students possessing a master’s degree must apply for admission to the Ph.D. program and will be required to complete a minimum of thirty additional credits. For admission to a Ph.D. program, a master’s degree with a “B+” average is required. A “B+” average (or 3.5 cumulative GPA) must be maintained in doctoral coursework.

Many departments offer two options for the master’s degree. With departmental approval, candidates may elect to complete satisfactorily either twenty-four credits of course work and an approved thesis (with six credits of thesis research), or thirty credits without a thesis. A “B” average (or 3.0 cumulative GPA) must be maintained in courses taken for the master’s degree. Please refer to the Courses and Degree Requirements information for specific program requirements.

Students in Advanced Certificate programs must maintain a “B” average (or 3.0 cumulative GPA) in courses taken for the Advanced Certificate degree.

With authorization of the GSAS Dean, up to twelve credits of graduate work completed at Fordham may be applied to fulfill the requirements of degrees granted by two different Fordham Departments/Programs.

No more than twelve credits toward a degree may be taken during summer sessions, unless the student is registered for a special summer program.

The student submits a Waiver of Requirements form when courses from outside Fordham GSAS are being substituted for specific departmental/programmatic requirements.
TOP

6.2 TRANSFER OF CREDITS
Graduate work completed at other institutions during the five years prior to matriculation may be offered in partial fulfillment of course requirements, subject to the approval of the department chairperson/program director and the Dean. Not more than six credits will be accepted for any degree and must be a grade of “B” for the master’s degree or “B+” or better for the doctoral degree. No transfer credits will be approved until the student has successfully completed twelve credits of course work for the degree in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The student must meet the required Fordham grade point average for the degree at the time of transfer. Advanced credit does not exempt the student from any part of the comprehensive examination. Credits used for other degrees will not be accepted for transfer to Fordham (please see Waiver of Requirements in 6.1). Grades from transfer credits are not included in the calculation of the GPA.

The form entitled Transfer of Advanced Credit is available on the GSAS website, www.fordham.edu/gsas/forms. The student, in consultation with his/her advisor, completes the form and submits it to the chairperson/program director for approval. An official transcript must accompany the form. Once complete the form should be submitted to the Office of Academic Programs for approval.
TOP

6.3 LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS
All candidates for graduate degrees should consult their departments/programs regarding what language and/or skills requirements exist and how they are to be met. Generally, for the Ph.D., two modern languages, usually French and German or the equivalents are required. At the discretion of the department/program, and with the approval of the Dean, a student may be allowed to substitute necessary research skills, such as computer programming or statistics, for a second language. In some cases more than two languages may be required if deemed necessary for the student’s research.

In many cases, for the master’s degree, a reading knowledge of either French or German is required. Other languages may be substituted with the permission of the department chairperson/program director and the Dean if they are important to the student’s research.

Students are encouraged to fulfill language and other skill requirements as early as possible to enable them to use these skills in coursework and research. Language requirements must be fulfilled before the GSAS will certify comprehensive examination results. Language requirements satisfied at other institutions are usually not accepted. Special language courses are offered by the Modern Languages Department and the Classics Department. Such courses do not count as credit toward the fulfillment of degree requirements.

The Department of Modern Languages offers exams to fulfill some programs' language requirements (please consult with the department/program for guidelines). The exams will be offered the week before the beginning of fall and spring semesters and will be equivalet in difficultly to the final in the graduate language for reading courses (the one-semester "French for Reading." "Italian for Reading," and Spanish for Readjing" courses and the second-semester "German for Reading II"). The will also test students proficiency in reading primary and/or secondary sources in their professional fields. 

Students who are interested in taking this exam should make an appointment with the department secretary, two weeks before the beginning of either the fall or spring semesters
. Exams will be corrected within two weeks and departments/programs will be notified of students' grades. In order to pass the exam thestudent will have to receive a grade of B.
TOP

6.4 COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATIONS
Most departments/programs require comprehensive examinations, written, oral or both, for both the master’s and doctoral degrees. Students should consult their department chairperson/program director to verify the dates on which comprehensive examinations are administered.

Applications for all comprehensive examinations must be approved in writing by the chairperson or program director two weeks prior to the examination. In order to qualify for comprehensive examinations, students must be in good academic standing with a GPA above the criteria for the degree (3.0 for master’s, 3.5 for doctoral). In addition, students must fulfill the language requirement and be in the process of completing or have completed required coursework for the degree before the comprehensive examinations will be certified. If the student takes the examination without meeting these prerequisites, the results will not be certified by the Dean or posted to the student’s official record.

If the student fails a master’s or doctoral comprehensiveexamination, the failure is not posted to the student’s final transcript. Students who fail the first examination may be permitted to take a second examination the following semester or later, with the recommendation of the department chairperson/program director and the approval of the Dean. Details for retaking comprehensive examinations, in whole or in part, should be discussed with the departmentchairperson/program director. Candidates taking comprehensive examinations for the second time pay the fee listed in the GSAS fee schedule. If the student fails to pass the comprehensive examination a second time, the student is not permitted to retake the examination and will be dismissed from the program.
TOP

6.5 SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE AND PROGRESS
The Dean reserves the right to review graduate students’ work and to drop those who are not meeting the academic standards from the rolls of the GSAS. Those students who do not meet the standards for satisfactory academic performance and progress are automatically placed on academic probation without notice. If the deficiency is not corrected, the Dean, in consultation with the chairperson or program director, will make a decision about dismissal. Lack of satisfactory academic performanace may affect a student's eligibility for need based financial aid.
TOP

6.5.1 ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE

Students who do not meet the minimal standards for academic performance are automatically placed on academic probation without notice. Minimal satisfactory academic performance is defined as having a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least a 3.00 (B average) in a master’s program and of at least 3.50 (B+ average) in a doctoral program. Any student, whether a candidate for a MA, MS or PhD, receiving any Universityfinancial aid, must also maintain a cumulative 3.5 GPA as a minimal requirement for continuation of the aid. Administrative “Fs” are computed as “Fs” (0.00) for the purpose of determining the grade point average.
Students who are below the required grade point average may not take the comprehensive examinations (either master’s or doctoral) without the Dean’s permission. If a student is below the minimal GPA, but still takes the exam, the results will not be certified by the Dean or posted to the student’s record.
TOP

6.5.2 ACADEMIC PROGRESS

Satisfactory academic progress is defined as completing at least one of the comprehensive examination or dissertation/thesis requirements each year after the semester in which coursework is completed. The requirements for master’s students include the comprehensive examination and the thesis or research paper for students taking that option. For doctoral students, requirements include, but are not limited to, the comprehensive examination, the dissertation proposal, dissertation chapters and the dissertation defense. Interim requirements for academic progress may be imposed by the department/program at any time.  Notwithstanding their academic performance or the time remaining for completion of degree requirements, students who do not make satisfactory progress toward a degree may be dropped from the rolls. Unsatisfactory progress may include an excessive number of withdrawals, incompletes, semesters on maintenance, leaves of absence or other delays in meeting the requirements for the degree.

Students who do not complete one requirement each year are automatically placed on academic probation without notice. Such students have the next semester to complete the requirement and to file a mandatory timetable for completing all remaining requirements. The timetable must include at least one deadline per semester (e.g. “complete Chapters 1 to 3 of the dissertation in Fall 2010 semester”). If the requirement is unmet by the end of the semester, or if the timetable deadlines are missed, the Dean, in consultation with the department/program, will make a decision about dismissal.

In addition, doctoral students who are not on academic probation as a result of the application of the previous rule, but have not secured approval of their dissertation proposal five semesters before the expiration of their time limit, are automatically placed on academic probation without notice. Such students have one semester to secure approval of the dissertation proposal and a timetable for completion of the dissertation. If they do not secure approval of the proposal and the timetable, the Dean, in consultation with the department/program, will make a decision about dismissal.

Please note that an individual student’s requirements for academic progress may be affected by the time remaining until the student reaches the time limit for degree completion.
TOP

6.6 TIME LIMIT ON COMPLETION OF DEGREE
Students must complete the requirements for their degree, including thesis or dissertation, in a timely and expeditious fashion. The number of years to degree is monitored by the New York State Department of Education and other institutions concerned with graduate programs and often is one indicator of the quality of a graduate program. Thus, the policies regarding time limit for completion of degrees have a serious and important academic purpose and are rigorously enforced.
TOP

6.6.1 DOCTORAL DEGREE

All requirements, including the successful defense and presentation of the dissertation, for the PhD, must be completed within eight years of the first semester of matriculation in the Graduate School. Students who are direct doctoral students and receive a master’s in curso from Fordham or students who complete a master’s degree and then continue directly into the doctoral program must complete all requirements within ten years of the first semester of study in the Graduate School. These time limits apply to all students regardless of full-time or part-time status.

The Dean generally notifies students in their penultimate year that they are approaching the time limit and of the nature of the extension policy. The Dean’s office also generally informs students commencing their final academic year that they have only one year remaining before the expiration of their time limit.

Before the conclusion of their final academic year, students may apply for an extension to the time limit. Students should be aware that an initial or further extension to the time limit for degree completion will be granted only if, in the Dean’s judgment, there is sufficient evidence that the degree will be completed expeditiously and that the dissertation will be one of high merit. Except for compelling reasons, extensions beyond the time limit will not be granted to students who have not secured approval of a dissertation topic prior to expiration of the time limit or have otherwise not made substantial academic progress toward the degree.

A request for extension must be requested in writing and be directed through the department chairperson for the Dean’s approval, and must be approved in writing by the mentor, the readers and the department chairperson. As part of the request, a student must present the following items:

 A sufficient portion of the dissertation to permit an objective evaluation of the quality of the work. For the Humanities, a reasonable portion is one-half of the dissertation; for the sciences, research through the stage of the data collection should be presented.

 A timetable forcompleting the remaining portions of the dissertation.

 A plan for renewed demonstration of language/research competency (if needed for dissertation research) if it has been five or more years since such competency has been demonstrated.

 A timetable for re-taking and passing of the doctoral comprehensive examinations under the current format ifmore than five years have elapsed sinceany portion was successfully completed.

If the extension is approved, students must meet any other conditions imposed by the Dean and must maintain continuous enrollment until all requirements are completed. Failure to adhere to the approved timetable or to meet other conditions may result in disenrollment. Students may petition to have one or more of these requirements adapted to their particular situation. Departments have the right to review any course taken more than five years prior to the request for extension and to require that the student demonstrate current knowledge in that area.
TOP

6.6.2 MASTER’S DEGREE

All requirements for the master’s degree must be completed within five years of the first semester of study in the Graduate School. This time limit applies to both full-time and part-time students.

At the end of their third year, the Dean generally will notify students by correspondence that they are approaching the five-year time limit and of the nature of the extension policy. The Dean’s office, also, generally will inform students commencing their fifth academic year that they have only one year left.

Students who wish for an extension to the five-year time limit must apply before the conclusion of the fifth academic year. Such a request must be directed in writing through the department chairperson/program director for the approval of the Dean and must include a timetable approved by the chairperson/director. Students must demonstrate language competency if it has been three years or more since they demonstrated such competency. Students must re-take and pass comprehensive examinations under the current format if over three years have elapsed since any portion was passed. In nocase will an extension beyond ten years be granted.

For students seeking extension of the master’s degree time limit, departments have the right to review any course taken more than three years prior to the request for extension and require that the student demonstrate current knowledge in that area. Students must meet any other requirements imposed by the Dean after consultation with the department chairperson/program director, and must maintain continuous enrollment until all requirements are completed. Failure to adhere to the timetable or to meet other conditions could result in disenrollment.
TOP

6.6.3 ADVANCED CERTIFICATE STUDENTS
All requirements for the Advanced Certificate degree must be completed within three years of the first semester of study in the Graduate School. This time limit applies to both full-time and part-time students.
TOP

6.6.4 NON-ENROLLED MASTER’S AND PHD STUDENTS
Students who do not maintain continuous enrollment (see section 4.1), but who will exceed or have exceeded their degree time limit must apply for readmission. As part of this application, they must present a timetable for successfully completing all current degree requirements, re-taking expired courses, re-demonstrating language/research competency, re-taking comprehensive exams, and resubmitting the dissertation proposal. If permission to resume studies is granted, failure to adhere to this timetable could result in disenrollment.
TOP

6.7 COMMENCEMENT
Students who have completed all degree requirements in accordance with the guidelines outlined in this Guidebook and the GSAS Courses and Degree Requirements, are conferred with degrees by the University. Degrees are conferred in February, May and August on students who have completed their requirements in the Fall, Spring or Summer semesters, respectively. In order to graduate, a student must complete an online application for graduation, and submit it to Enrollment Services by the date indicated on the GSAS Academic Calendar. If the online application for graduation is not submitted by that date, or if the student does not complete pending requirements, the degree will be awarded the following semester. If this occurs, the student must register in the semester directly preceding the conferral of the degree, according to the continuous enrollment policy. Students who receive August degrees must be registered for the summer session immediately preceding the conferral of their degrees.

Commencement ceremonies are held each May. Students who receive their degrees anytime during the preceding academic year are invited to participate. Students who have submitted the online application for graduation on time will receive information about commencement and about obtaining the proper commencement apparel. Commencement ceremonies include the university commencement followed by diploma ceremonies for each school. During the GSAS diploma ceremony, diplomas are distributed to both master’s and doctoral degree candidates, and in addition, hoods are bestowed upon doctoral degree candidates.
TOP

 


Site  | Directories
Submit Search Request