MSU Dept of Sociology

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Standard of Work

In order to receive either an M.A. or Ph.D. degree, a student’s course grades must meet the following minimum standards.

  • An overall grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 (University Rule).
  • A GPA of at least 3.0 in courses given by the Sociology Department (Department Rule).
  • Grades less than 3.0 in no more than three of the courses required for the degree ( College of Social Science Rule ). This rule means the following:
  1. To receive an M.A. degree, a student may receive no more than three grades below 3.0;
  2. To receive a Ph.D. degree, a student may receive no more than three such grades in courses listed on his/her Guidance Committee Report .

Deferred grades may be given if work has been satisfactory, but has not been completed because of extenuating circumstances. Although the University allows up to two years for the completion of deferred work, this is a maximum and a shorter period can be imposed at the instructor’s option. If the course is at the 300 or 400 level, authorization for a deferred grade must be obtained from the Dean of the College in which the student is enrolled.

While the University allows up to two years for completing deferreals, we urge students to complete any deferred grades over the break immediately following the term in which the deferred was acquired. Experience shows that once a new term has begun, it is very hard to complete a deferred grade and the longer one retains it the more difficult it becomes to remove it. In addition, unfulfilled deferred grades delay one’s rate of progress in the graduate program and reduce one’s chances of obtaining financial aid.

Satisfactory grades in coursework are not, by themselves, sufficient demonstration of an ability to pursue scholarly work with the degree of competence and independence that will be required in one’s future teaching and research. Furthermore, obtaining the M.A. degree does not imply automatic admission to the Ph.D. program. The Master’s project committee has the responsibility of recommending termination or admission to the Ph.D. program upon completion of the Master’s degree requirements. Further discussion of the criteria and procedures involving termination from the program are given in Appendix C of the Graduate Student Manual.