Courses and Certificates

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New Courses, Accelerated Courses, and Certificates

8.1 New Course/Accelerated Course Approval Procedures

New graduate courses and course changes must be submitted by the faculty member in charge to the academic unit curriculum committee for discussion and approval. The approved course is to be submitted via the online course approval form managed by the Office of the Registrar. A brief syllabus, grading criteria, and a reading list must accompany all new course requests. The syllabus should include the name of the graduate faculty member scheduled to teach the proposed course. The Dean of the Graduate College may discuss controversial cases with the Graduate Studies Committee before approval. The online form will be approved by the Dean of the Graduate College and submitted to the Office of the Registrar with copies to all signatories. Course marketing is the purview of the academic unit.

8.2 Policies and Procedures for Graduate Certificate Programs

  1. A Graduate Certificate Program (GCP) is defined as: "A group of typically three to five 400- and 500-level courses in a concentration within a department or program, organized with the objective of training students in a specific area of expertise." Typically, this certificate is a post-baccalaureate certificate program. A master's level certificate program requires the prior completion of the advanced degree credential.
  2. A GCP should be created within a department or program and approved therein. Specifics of the GCP should then be forwarded to the Graduate Studies Committee for approval.
  3. Admission to a GCP is limited to students who qualify as graduate non-degree (certificate) students with a bachelor's degree and a GPA of 2.5 or higher. Students with an applicable master's degree may be admitted to a GCP. The GRE is not a prerequisite, since it is not required of graduate non-degree students.
  4. Course requirements for a GCP are determined by the individual department or program, but must have a minimum of nine credit hours with at least one course at the 500-level. No more than 12 credit hours of 400-level courses can be included. It is strongly recommended that there be sufficient electives in a GCP to allow students to successfully complete the program. For example, four courses must be completed out of six or more courses. The time limit for completing a GCP is three years. No more than half the credits or courses may be specialized (topical) "accelerated courses." Transfer credits cannot be applied toward a graduate certificate. A GPA of 3.0 or greater in the certificate courses is required before a graduate certificate will be awarded. A student may be admitted to and earn more than one graduate certificate; however, a maximum of nine to twelve credit hours may be applied to a degree program when the student is admitted in this status.
  5. A Request for Certificate Form (Form G528) must be filed by certificate students delineating courses completed for a particular graduate certificate. This form serves to notify the department, and the Office of Graduate Academic Affairs, that the student has completed the program requirements, and also serves as a survey for self-assessment. The certificate will be issued by the Office of Graduate Academic Affairs. The student's transcript will show that a GCP has been completed.
  6. The Graduate College will keep track of the statistics on the students entering and completing various GCPs; however, gainful employment reporting is the responsibility of the Office of Financial Aid as required by the U.S. Department of Education and Higher Learning Commission.
  7. Marketing and publicity of GCPs will be done in a coordinated manner through the Office of Graduate Admission and the Office of Marketing and Communications. Inquiries can be directed to the Office of Graduate Admission and/or the academic unit offering the certificate.
  8. Completion of a GCP does not mean the student is admitted to an advanced degree program. The student must submit an online admission application and meet all requisite degree-seeking requirements.

8.3 Policies and Procedures for Graduate Accelerated Courses

  1. An accelerated course is defined as a graduate-level course offered in a shorter duration of time than a traditional semester, and must satisfy the lecture contact-time standard of fifteen 50-minute hours per semester credit-hour, excluding final exam time. These are generally "topical" accelerated courses, but may also be selectively chosen graduate courses that can be taught effectively in a compressed format.
  2. Any new topical accelerated course requires the standard course approval process and normal departmental review.
  3. To maintain pedagogic quality, accelerated courses should be no more than three credit hours.
  4. All graduate accelerated courses will be numbered 7xx to distinguish them from regular graduate courses.  
  5. No more than six credit hours of accelerated courses may be included in a master's degree program of studies. Accelerated courses can be selectively included in a Ph.D. program at a rate of six credit hours of accelerated courses per 32 course credit hours, subject to adviser and departmental approval.
  6. Accelerated courses should generally be scheduled during the intercession periods in the spring, summer, and fall.
  7. Accelerated courses offered during intersession periods should appear in the appropriate Schedule of Classes. A May accelerated course should be treated as a spring semester course to allow students to graduate in May. A June accelerated course should be treated as a summer course. An August accelerated course should be treated as a fall semester course. December and January accelerated courses should be considered as spring semester courses.
  8. Enrollment limitations should be determined by the department when scheduling the course with the Office of the Registrar.
  9. Instruction should be delivered by the typical departmental faculty assignment policy and procedure.
  10. An evaluation of the student's knowledge is required in graduate accelerated courses in the form of a final project or final examination.
  11. Grading must meet the same standards applied to regular graduate courses. Grades should be submitted as soon as possible after the final exam or project is completed.
  12. Self-assessment of accelerated courses is important to maintain quality. Student evaluations should be completed before the last class. A profile (histogram) of the grades given in the accelerated course should be kept by the department. This would provide a means to compare accelerated courses with regular courses, and allow quality review.
  13. Marketing and publicity is the responsibility of the academic unit. Inquiries can be directed to the academic unit offering the course.
  14. The Graduate Studies Committee stipulates the following regarding fees for accelerated courses offered for credit:
    • Fees should be the same for all departments
    • A surcharge to cover expenses should be included
    • Some portion of the income from the accelerated courses should be returned to the department as an incentive to offer accelerated courses

8.4 New Graduate Degree/Certificate Program Approval Procedure

A new program proposal must be submitted by a tenured or tenure-track faculty member using the online proposal form, reviewed and approved by the academic unit curriculum committee and the academic unit head before its submission to the Academic Curricula Manager for review. The Academic Curricula Manager will evaluate the program requirements and provide feedback as appropriate to the academic unit with suggested modifications as required. An approved proposal will move forward sequentially to the college dean, Graduate Studies Committee, and University Faculty Council for further academic review. The University Faculty Council may choose to bring controversial cases before the entire faculty (Mies Campus Faculty Meeting) for approval. Upon the University Faculty Council's final approval, the proposal will be submitted sequentially to the Provost, President, and Board of Trustees for final approval. 

The Office of Graduate Admission will market and advertise the program. New degree programs that are to be offered at remote sites will require the approval of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.