2016-2017 Graduate Course Catalog 
    Jul 25, 2024  
2016-2017 Graduate Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Rules

Academic Record

Academic Status

Academic Actions



Degree and Certificate Programs

These rules and regulations are based on the requirements of the Graduate School. Departments, schools, and colleges may have additional rules that apply, that may be more restrictive.  Academic rules and regulations for the College of Law  may be found on their website.  The general rules contained in the Undergraduate Academic Rules and Regulations also apply to graduate students. 

Additional Sources for Information

There are a number of other sources for information and rules that are important for students. They include, but are not limited to, the following:

Syracuse University Policies
Financial Aid Home 
Student Handbook
SU Abroad
Tuition, Fees & Related Policies

Academic Record

19.0 Advanced Credit Examinations

Graduate students who wish to obtain credit toward advanced degrees for knowledge in a field essential to their programs of study but acquired by means that preclude formal transfer to Syracuse University may petition for an Advanced Credit examination in a course or courses covering the relevant area of study. The petition requesting an Advanced Credit examination must state the basis for the belief that the student has attained competence at the graduate level in the specified academic area and be accompanied by a statement from the student’s department supporting the petition and accepting responsibility for preparing and administering the examination. The minimum passing grade for a graduate Advanced Credit Exam is B.

20.0 Transfer Credit

At the graduate level, schools/colleges and departments may assess and accept credit

  • earned at another regionally accredited graduate school in the United States or at an institution equivalently recognized in another country;
  • earned in a course in which the grade earned was at least a B. Coursework completed on a pass/fail basis is not eligible for transfer, unless approved by both the academic unit chair and the dean of the Graduate School; and
  • that is an integral part of the degree program.   

Transfer credit should be evaluated and posted no later than the end of the semester preceding the semester in which coursework for the degree will be completed. All coursework applied toward a degree must comply with all time limitations. 

A maximum of 30 percent of credits counted toward a master’s degree at Syracuse University may be transferred from another institution provided that the credits are an integral part of the degree program. Transfer credit can comprise no more than 50 percent of the doctoral coursework. This rule does not apply to dual degree programs and to degree programs that are offered jointly with another university. 

A maximum of three credits from a combination of transfer and/or external examinations/extra-institutional and experiential learning will be accepted toward a C.A.S.  Exceptions may be granted by petition to the dean of the Graduate School.

School/College Rules

Information Studies

A minimum grade of B is required in any transferred course, and credits from courses transferred must have been earned within seven (7) years of when the student is going to graduate with their iSchool degree. 


If international students have a non-STEM visa coming into a STEM program at the School, or are transferring into a program with a higher or lower number of credits needed to graduate, the student must notify the Slutzker Center for International Services so that the Center can report the facts of the student’s present situation to US Immigration for potential visa adjustment.


Students may transfer a maximum of six credits of elective courses into the M.S. program in information management, or the M.S. program in Library and Information Science, from outside of the School or University.


Students may transfer up to a maximum total of 15 credits from certain institutions to the M.S. program in information management as follows:

From the National Defense University.

From the University of Virginia School of Continuing and Professional Studies Certificate in Cybersecurity Management.

From the US Army Signal Center School.


Students may transfer a maximum of six credits of elective courses into their M.B.A. or M.S. program from another AACSB-accredited business school. Students must file a petition and receive approval prior to taking the course. Grades from these courses will not be transferred, nor will they count toward the GPA. A grade of B or better is required in the transfer course.


Up to 12 credits from Tsinghua University may be applied to the executive master of public administration.

Public Communications

A maximum of 20 percent of credits counted toward any master’s degrees in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications may be transferred: advertising; arts journalism; broadcast and digital journalism; communications management; documentary film and history; magazine, newspaper & online journalism; media management; photography; public relations; and television, radio & film.


21.0 Graduate Students Taking Undergraduate-Level Courses

Prior to registration, graduate students may petition to register for an undergraduate-level course, with the exception of PED courses, which do not require a petition. An undergraduate course taken by a graduate student appears on the graduate section of the transcript.  The course counts toward overall credit and GPA calculations on the transcript, unless flagged to remove it from calculation. However, an undergraduate-level course does not fulfill graduate degree requirements.

22.0 Restricted Graduate Credit

Restricted graduate credit is credit earned at the graduate level by students who aren’t matriculated in a graduate program. Restricted credit must be converted to graduate credit in order to be included in a graduate degree or certificate program. All coursework taken as a non-matriculated student automatically calculates toward the graduate GPA unless a petition to flag the courses is submitted to and approved by the department chair of student’s program after matriculation in a degree or certificate program.

23.0 Conversion to Graduate Credit

A student may apply to have up to 12 credits of restricted graduate credit converted to graduate credit if the student meets all of the following conditions:

  • becomes matriculated in a graduate degree or certificate program
  • overall average in all Syracuse University graduate work is at least 2.8
  • earned a B or better in each course
  • courses are part of a degree or certificate program approved by the student’s department
  • coursework has been completed within the time limit allowed for the degree

Restricted graduate credit earned during the term in which the student became matriculated in the Graduate School is converted automatically to graduate credit.

School/College Rules


In the higher education degree program, no more than six hours of restricted graduate credit may be converted to graduate credit. In all other graduate degree programs, no more than nine hours of restricted graduate credit may be converted to graduate credit.


No more than six credits of restricted credit may be converted to graduate credit.

24.0 Retaking Courses

Graduate Students may retake a course in which he/she earned a grade of C+, C, C- or F, with the approval of his/her department/college and the Graduate School. Graduate courses may be retaken only once. A repeated course replaces the original course on the student’s degree program of study, but both the original course and the repeated course will appear on the student’s transcript and both courses will calculate, unless the original course is flagged.

25.0 Flagging Courses

A student may petition his/her department/college to flag the following:

  • undergraduate or remedial courses that are not part of the student’s graduate program, such as English as a Second Language
  • courses taken while non-matriculated
  • when officially changing degree programs, courses that do not apply to the student’s new degree program under certain conditions.
  • when retaking a course in which the student earned a grade of C+, C, C- or F, with the approval of his/her department/college. Graduate courses may be retaken only once. (Note that unless flagging is requested, both the original course and the retaken course will be included in calculations.)

26.0 Grades

P/F (Pass/Fail)

Graduate students may only receive pass/fail grades for courses designated as pass/fail.

Academic Status

27.0 Minimum GPA to Continue Graduate Work

Graduate students must earn at least a 2.8 cumulative GPA in the first 30 credits of graduate study at Syracuse University.  The academic unit may cancel matriculation if this requirement is not met.

28.0 Student Status


A graduate student is considered full time under any one of the following conditions:

  • registered for full-time study (9 credits for fall, spring, or summer in a program approved by the student’s advisor)

  • holding an appointment as a graduate assistant or fellow and registered for the semester (fall and spring only)

  • registered for fewer than 9 credits but for at least 0 (zero) credits of thesis, dissertation, or degree in progress for the semester and engaged, at a level equivalent to full-time study in one or more of the following activities as certified by your program.

    • studying for preliminary, qualifying, or comprehensive exams
    • studying for a language or tool requirement
    • actively working on a thesis or dissertation 
    • an internship

If the student is not registered for any coursework, including registration for master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation credits, the student must be registered for GRD 998 Degree in Progress.

A law student is full-time if enrolled for 12 credits in a fall or spring semester. If matriculated in a joint/dual degree program that includes the J.D. degree, then the law requirement for full-time status takes precedence over the 9 credit criterion for full-time status as stated above.

*Syracuse University considers 9 credits per term to be full-time study for graduate study.  The New York State Education Department, based on NYS Education Law and the Regulations of the Education Commissioner, define full-time study to be 12 credits per semester for educational requirements for state academic awards and loans.

Part-Time (Fall, Spring, and Summer)

Graduate students who do not meet the requirements for full-time status are considered part time.

The maximum course load for graduate students is 15 credits each semester.  In some part-time programs the maximum course load may be lower.  Registration for additional credits requires a petition and approval of your academic department.

Graduate students may register for a maximum of 6 credits in a six-week session (with Maymester and Summer Session I considered as one session for this purpose), and a maximum of 12 credits in any summer.  In some full-time programs the maximum course load may be higher and in some part-time programs the maximum course load may be lower.  Registration for credits above the maximum set by your program requires a petition and approval of your academic department.

Academic Actions

29.0 Internal Transfer

Graduate students may change their degree program if the transfer is approved by the new program. Graduate students wishing to initiate any kind of change in degree program, whether transferring between programs or undertaking concurrent graduate degree programs, must consult their funding sources as to the effect the proposed change may have on their eligibility for continued funding. Internal transfer requests must be received before the financial drop deadline of the current term.

Degree and Certificate Programs

30.0 Graduate Degree and Certificate Programs

Master’s degree candidates must take at least 70 percent of Syracuse University credit hours for the degree. See “Calculation of Credit Hours Toward Degree Requirements” for school/college-specific exceptions.

Doctoral students must take at least 50 percent of coursework, exclusive of dissertation, in courses offered through a Syracuse University registered graduate degree program. Experiential learning credit and professional experience courses don’t count toward the residency requirement.

31.0 Master’s Degrees

Program of Study
A matriculated student who is studying for the master’s degree must satisfactorily complete a program of study of not less than 30 credits that is approved by the academic unit and filed with the Graduate School.

Time to Degree
Students must meet all requirements for the master’s degree within seven years from the time the student registers for the first course to be used in the master’s degree program. If a student does not meet this requirement, the student may petition his/her school/college for reinstatement of credits that were completed outside the seven-year timeframe. 

Comprehensive Examinations
The student’s school/college will determine the nature of any comprehensive examination or examinations that apply toward his/her master’s degree. Such exams may or may not be directly related to the content of particular courses that the student has taken.  

Oral Examination
An oral examination committee consists of four voting members that include a chairperson, thesis or area of study advisor, and other specialists in the subject area. The school/college will conduct the examination in the manner it considers most effective; the student should contact his/her department and school/college for specific procedures and guidelines. The committee chair will preside over the exam and ensure that department/school/college and Graduate School regulations and declared policies are followed.

The student’s oral examination committee will prepare a report that reflects one of the following statuses: pass; pass with minor revisions (generally editorial); pass with major revisions (substantive); not pass. You are entitled to an explanation from the committee concerning the results of the examination.

32.0 Doctoral Degrees

Requirements for the doctoral degree emphasize mastery of a field of knowledge, familiarity with allied areas, facility in the use of research techniques, and responsibility for the advancement of knowledge. The degree is given in recognition of high attainments in the student’s chosen field, as shown by the completion of specified courses and by the production of a dissertation demonstrating the ability to carry out independent investigation that advances knowledge in the field.

Program of Study
Each academic unit determines, consistent with its approved and registered curriculum, the number of coursework credits and the number of dissertation credits that will constitute the student’s program of study, including that portion of the work for the master’s that will form an integral part of the doctoral program. Minor courses included in the program of study should support the total program, rather than be restricted to academic unit boundaries. 

Qualifying Examinations
The student must pass a qualifying examination no later than the end of the term prior to the term in which the student expects to complete doctoral degree requirements. The qualifying exam will be set by the student’s academic unit, and may be in oral or written form, or both. The student must demonstrate acceptable competence in any required languages or research tools as designated by the student’s program before being admitted to the qualifying exam. If the results of this examination are unsatisfactory, the student may be granted a second exam after completing a semester of additional study.

Advancement to Candidacy/Time to degree
The student will be admitted to candidacy when he/she has completed all requirements for the degree except for the dissertation and the final oral exam. The maximum time allowed to reach candidacy status is seven years from the term the student matriculated into the doctoral program. The student’s department/college must notify the Graduate School when he/she has reached this status before the end of the term in which the status is effective. The maximum time for completion of a doctoral degree is five years from the end of the semester in which the student is admitted to candidacy.

Exceeding Time to Degree Requirements
If the student has exceeded the seven-year limit for achieving ABD status, the student must register for GRD 991, which requires a minimum of one credit hour per semester, each fall and spring semester until ABD status is achieved.  If the student fails to register for GRD 991, for a given term, the student will be withdrawn from the program.

If the student has exceeded the degree completion limit of five years after achieving ABD status, the student must register for GRD 991, which requires a minimum of one credit hour per semester, each fall and spring semester until the completion of the doctoral degree.  If the student fails to register for GRD 991, for a given term, the student will be withdrawn from the program.

Dissertation Advisor
A faculty member from the department or program will be identified as the student’s dissertation advisor. The dissertation advisor should be a Syracuse University tenured or tenure-track faculty member in the program of study of student’s dissertation. In exceptional cases, where faculty emeriti or others with outstanding qualifications in the student’s area of research will direct the dissertation, a member of the Syracuse University faculty from the department/college must jointly oversee the preparation of the student’s dissertation.

Oral Examination
The academic unit appoints a six-member oral examination committee, including a chair, at the recommendation of the student’s dissertation advisor, and with the concurrence of the Graduate School.

The committee chair:

  • should have an affinity for the field in which the dissertation was written;
  • represents the Dean of the Graduate School;
  • typically will be an Syracuse University tenured or tenure-track faculty member from outside the department or program in which the dissertation was written; and
  • alternatively, may be either a faculty emeritus or College of Law faculty member.

The student’s dissertation advisor will be a committee member. Other committee members should be tenured or tenure-track Syracuse University faculty members. One external member can be included, based on subject-matter expertise; however, this committee member cannot be a personal acquaintance. The student must petition to include more than one external committee member.

Prior to the exam, the Graduate School must verify that the student has been admitted to candidacy, and that all supporting documentation has been filed. The student’s dissertation advisor and academic unit will determine the scheduling of the exam with the approval of the Graduate School.  Each school/college is free to conduct oral exams in the manner considered to be most effective.

The chair of the oral examination committee has several responsibilities:

  • Represent the Dean of the Graduate School.
  • Preside over the exam and ensure that academic unit and Graduate School policies and regulations are followed.
  • Advise the committee as to general exam and questioning procedures.
  • Participate in the questioning of the candidate.
  • Vote on the outcome, and secure the committee’s vote.
  • Submit a written report to the Dean of the Graduate School that includes:
    • the result of the vote, with signatures of approval and appropriate comments;
    • comments on the quality of the examination; and
    • recommendations for any procedural improvements.

Further oral exam considerations:

  • Exam time and place are publicly announced; graduate students and faculty are encouraged to attend and participate, but will not be allowed to vote.
  • If a committee member must be absent from the oral defense:
    • that committee member must submit questions and/or comments in writing to the chair in advance; and
    • the Graduate School must approve any committee substitutions after the exam has been scheduled, or if more than one committee member will be absent.

Voting and results:

  • Voting will be held in executive session of the committee.
  • All committee members, including the chair, vote equally.
  • In order to pass the exam, a majority of the committee must vote favorably; members may make their approval conditional on changes to the dissertation.
  • The committee’s report will recommend one of the following outcomes:
    • pass
    • pass with minor revisions (generally editorial)
    • pass with major revisions (substantive)
    • not pass

The student is entitled to an explanation from the committee concerning the outcome of the defense.

33.0 Certificate Programs

Certificates of Advanced Study (C.A.S.) (excluding programs registered as preparing individuals for a teaching certificate, educational leadership certificate, or a professional license issue by the State Education Department):  A matriculated student who is studying for a C.A.S. must satisfactorily complete a program of study of not less than 12 credits that is approved by the academic unit and filed with the Graduate Degree Certification Office. C.A.S. programs may be part of an existing degree program or a stand-alone program of study.

Eligibility requirement:  To be awarded a C.A.S., a student must be matriculated in the certificate program for at least one semester.  Matriculation may not be backdated.

34.0 Counting Credits Toward Multiple Degrees and/or Programs

NYSED limits the counting of credits toward multiple degrees and/or programs to protect the academic integrity of each degree and/or program. When a student is counting credits towards multiple degrees and/or programs, in the same or closely related field(s) and the coursework makes up an integral part of the degrees and/or programs, the following restrictions apply: 

The student must be admitted to the degree program in each of the awarding department/college.

In no instance shall course credit be counted more than twice in satisfaction of the requirements for multiple degrees and/or programs.

In order to earn two or more degrees and/or programs (including Certificates of Advanced Study (C.A.S), you must earn a minimum of 80 percent of the combined total of SU credits normally required for each of the degrees.  However, in cases where the C.A.S. curriculum is embedded within another degree program, credit from the C.A.S. may be counted in its entirety for the C.A.S. and other degree. Similarly, if the Master’s curriculum is in the same field as the doctoral degree, the credits for the Master’s degree may be counted in their entirety towards the doctoral degree.


Two 12-credit C.A.S may not be awarded for less than 21 credits (i.e. only one three credit course can be shared between the two C.A.S.).

Two 30-credit Master’s degrees will not be awarded for fewer than 51 credits (i.e. up to nine credits can be shared between the two Master’s degrees).

Three 30-credit Master’s degrees will not be awarded for fewer than 75 credits.

Note:  These restrictions do not apply to joint/dual programs with the College of Law or the Master of Philosophy degrees.

SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and Syracuse University concurrent study 

Syracuse University and SUNY ESF have agreements that encourage concurrent master’s study in environmental science and forestry with Syracuse University degree work in public communications, law, management, public administration, and certain education programs.  Other Syracuse University fields may also qualify.  Students should contact the school/college, the Graduate School and SUNY ESF for specific requirements and procedures regarding concurrent degree work and counting of credits.

35.0 Diplomas and Certificates

Reference general academic rule section Diplomas and Certificates.

Graduate diplomas:

  • display the degree title;
  • list major, except when already included in the degree title, e.g., Master of Social Work; and
  • are signed by the Chancellor, and the Dean(s) of the student’s school(s)/college(s).

Certificates of Advanced Study:

  • display the certificate title (i.e., Certificate of Advanced Study);
  • list the area of study; and
  • are signed by the Chancellor, and the Dean(s) of the school(s)/college(s) that award the C.A.S.