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Graduate Program Regulations and Procedures

Approved by the College of Engineering Graduate Affairs Committee December, 2001
 
Foreword
This document, adopted by the College of Engineering Graduate Affairs Committee, is intended for use by faculty and staff as a guide to graduate regulations and procedures. See the appropriate sections of the Graduate Bulletin under College of Engineering and Graduate School Admission Requirements and Procedures for additional information.  
 
No action or recommendation is final until required approvals have been obtained in writing and, in most cases, this means approval of the Dean of the Graduate School.  
 
A. Admissions Policy K. Change from Thesis to Non-Thesis Option
B. Requirements for Admission L. Change from Project to Course Option
C. Change of Status M. Comprehensive Examination
D. Graduate Transfer Credit N. Evaluation for Graduation
E. Appointment of Graduate Assistants O. Application for Graduate Faculty Membership
F. Change of Department/Program P. Administrative Appointments to Graduate Faculty
G. Project Procedures Q. Request for Curriculum Changes
H. Appointment of Thesis Committee R. College of Engineering Graduate Affairs Committee
I. Approval of Thesis Prospectus S. Deadlines
J. Approval of Thesis T. Appendix
 
 
d) Experience in having served on or chaired thesis/dissertation committees or directed other appropriate research, e.g., independent studies, grant participation, contract research, research courses taught, supervision of graduate assistants' research, and directed research projects.
1. Notice of actions on applications for admission comes from the Office of Admissions. Any correspondence between a student and faculty members, department chairs, and other administrative officers does not constitute nor does it imply admission to the Graduate School. Application forms and other materials should be requested from the Director of Admissions. International students should contact the Office of International Services.  
     
2.

The Admissions Office compiles the required documentation for admission and computes the undergraduate GPA. The file is then forwarded to the Director of Graduate Studies for distribution to the appropriate departmental Graduate Admissions Committee for review.

 
     
3.

The committee reviews the file and submits its recommendation to the Director of Graduate Studies (Graduate Admission Recommendation, Form EG 1).

 
     
4.

The Director of Graduate Studies' recommendation is forwarded with the file to the Graduate School.

 
     
5.

The Dean of the Graduate School makes the final admissions decision and returns the file to the Admissions Office.

 
     
6.

The Admissions Office notifies the applicant of the decision, makes up an advising file and forwards it to the Director of Graduate Studies for distribution to the appropriate department.

 
     
7.

The Department Graduate Coordinator is the student's initial advisor.

 
     
8. At the beginning of the first semester, international students, except those who have earned a bachelor’s or graduate degree at an accredited United States institution of higher learning are given a foreign language test by the University. Students with deficiencies in English skills as assessed by the test, will be required to take and successfully complete a special English Communication ESL course tailored to Engineering. This course will be in addition to other requirements for the degree.  
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  Please refer to the Graduate Bulletin for details.  
   
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1. Provisional to Regular Admission  
  a) After 9 semester hours of in-residence graduate study the student applies for Change of Status using the Recommendation for Change of Status (Form GS2A). Note that no more than 15 hours may be approved for change to regular admission.  
     
  b) The Director of Graduate Studies' recommendation is forwarded to the Graduate School.  
     
  c) The Dean of the Graduate School makes the final decision and notifies the University Registrar.  
     
  d) The approved form is returned to the Director of Graduate Studies for distribution to the appropriate department. The department notifies the student.  
     
  The following requirements are in addition to the Graduate School requirements for Change of Status:  
  e) Students required to complete additional undergraduate course work in partial fulfillment of the requirements to advance from Provisional Admission to Regular Admission must obtain a minimum grade point average of at least 3.00 on the total of all such required courses with a grade of at least C in each course.  
     
  f) The Department of Electrical Engineering requires all students to pass a qualifying examination to advance from Provisional to Regular Admission. This examination covers five areas (digital system design, linear systems theory, electronics, electromagnetics and energy conversion) from the field of electrical engineering. The examination must be taken prior to the semester in which the student registers for the 9th hour of course work toward the student's graduate degree program. The student will have two opportunities to pass the exam. A second failure of the exam results in dismissal from the program.  
     
2. Non-Degree to Provisional or Regular Admission  
  The student must submit a formal application through the Office of Admissions. See the appropriate section of the Graduate Bulletin under Categories of Admission for additional information.  
   
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1. The department recommends approval of transfer credit using the Graduate Transfer Credit Recommendation (Form GS15). Only grades of A or B may be accepted as transfer credit. A maximum of 9 semester hours of graduate credit obtained at another accredited institution may be approved after completion of a minimum of 9 semester hours of graduate credit at USA. Course work completed more than five years prior to the date for graduation may not be counted for degree credit. The Graduate Transfer Credit Recommendation is then forwarded to the Director of Graduate Studies for approval.  
     
2. The Director of Graduate Studies' recommendation is forwarded to the Graduate School.  
     
3. The Dean of the Graduate School makes the final decision and notifies the University Registrar.  
     
4. The approved form is returned to the Director of Graduate Studies for distribution to the appropriate department. The department notifies the student.  
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1.

The student submits an application to the department using the Application and Recommendation for Graduate Assistantship/Fellowship along with three letters of recommendation, transcript or grade report, and a copy of Standardized Test Scores (GRE or Fundamentals of Engineering Examination results).
Note: Student should contact references.

 
     
2. The Department Chair recommends appointment of the graduate assistant by submission of the Application for Graduate Assistantship/Fellowship, supporting documentation and a completed Academic Personnel Action Form to the Director of Graduate Studies for approval.
Note: Special policy for Provisional Students.
 
     
  The College of Engineering is allowed to award research assistantships to students who have not attained regular admission status under the following conditions and restrictions:  
  a) The student is in the first or second semester of graduate school in Engineering at the University of South Alabama.  
     
  b) The student has the necessary background to work on a specific externally funded research project and the assistantship will be supported by that externally funded research project. The research project director must write a memo to the graduate director to be forwarded to the Dean of Graduate Studies indicating the student has skills essential to the success of the project. The memo should also indicate the reason the student was admitted provisional (rather than regular) and why the particular deficiency should be overlooked.  
     
  c) The student will attain regular admission by the end of his or her second semester of graduate school in Engineering at the University of South Alabama.  
     
  d) In the event that the student does not attain regular admission status before the end of the second semester of graduate school the research assistantship will be immediately withdrawn.  
     
3. The Director of Graduate Studies' recommendation is forwarded with the required documentation to the Graduate School.  
     
4. The Dean of the Graduate School makes the final decision. A letter of appointment is sent to the student with copies to the Director of Graduate Studies for distribution to the appropriate department.  
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1. The student notifies in writing the appropriate department that he/she is applying for admission to another department/program.  
     
2. The student must apply for admission to the new department/program through the Office of Admissions or Office of International Services.  
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1. After the student achieves regular admission status and completes 12 semester hours of graduate credit, the student selects a project advisor.  
     
2. The student and advisor jointly select candidates for the project committee. The committee must be selected before the project proposal is prepared. The committee consists of the project advisor and a minimum of two additional graduate faculty members.  
     
3. The Department Chair recommends appointment of the project committee to the Director of Graduate Studies using form EG7.  
     
4. The Director of Graduate Studies returns the approved form EG7 to the appropriate department. The department notifies the committee members and the student.  
     
5. The student submits a project proposal to the project committee for approval the semester before registering for any project credit hours. The student is not allowed to register for project credit hours without an approved project proposal.  
     
6. The Department Chair approves the project proposal. The proposal is submitted with the Engineering Project Approval Form (EG4) to the Director of Graduate Studies for approval.  
     
7. The Director of Graduate Studies' recommendation is returned to the appropriate department with the project proposal and approved Engineering Project Approval Form (EG4). The department notifies the committee members and the student.  
     
8. The student completes the project as outlined in the approved project proposal.  
     
9. The first draft of the project report is to be delivered to the project advisor no later than four weeks before the last day of classes for the semester in which the student wishes to complete the project.  
     
10. No later than three weeks before the last day of classes, the student, in consultation with the project advisor and project committee members, schedules the project oral defense. At least two weeks must be allowed between scheduling the oral defense and the oral defense itself.  
     
11. The project advisor notifies the Director of Graduate Studies a minimum of two weeks prior to the project oral defense by Form EG6.  
     
12. The Director of Graduate Studies notifies all faculty in the College.  
     
13. The student refines the project report until it is in final draft form. A copy of the report in final draft form is made available to each member of the project committee to review no later than two weeks before the last day of classes. At least one week must be allowed between the delivery of the report to committee members and the oral defense of the project.  
   
14. The oral defense of the project is held no later than one week before the last day of classes. The student then secures approval signatures for the project which include the project advisor, members of the project committee, chair of the department and Director of Graduate Studies for the College of Engineering.
 
     
15. The student delivers one bound copy of the project report to the major department and one bound copy to the project advisor. The binding must be plastic comb binding or better and must provide for the student's name to be printed on the spine.  
     
16. After all approval signatures have been obtained and the bound copies of the project delivered, the project advisor assigns a grade to the project.  
     
17. The project advisor sends a memorandum to the Director of Graduate Studies listing the semesters in which the student has completed project hours, the grade assigned for each of those semesters and the final grade for the project. This memorandum must be received one day before the last day of classes for the semester.  
     
18. The Director of Graduate Studies sends a memorandum to the Office of the Registrar stating the project grades for the current and previous semesters. back to top
   
 
     
1. After the student achieves regular admission status and completes 12 semester hours of graduate credit, the student selects a thesis advisor.  
     
2. The student and advisor jointly select candidates for the thesis committee. The committee must be selected before the thesis prospectus is prepared. The committee consists of the committee chair and a minimum of two additional members one of which must be from outside the student's department. All committee members must be members of the graduate faculty.  
     
3. The department Chair or Graduate Coordinator recommends appointment of a thesis committee by using the Appointment for Thesis Committee (Form GS11). The completed form is forwarded to the Director of Graduate Studies for approval.  
     
4. The Director of Graduate Studies' recommendation is forwarded to the Graduate School.  
     
5. The Dean of the Graduate School makes the final decision and notifies the University Registrar.  
     
6. The approved form is returned to the Director of Graduate Studies for distribution to the appropriate department. The department notifies the committee members and the student.  
     
7. The thesis committee may be changed by filing a new Appointment for Thesis Committee (Form GS11) with explanation.  
  Note: See the appropriate sections of the Graduate Bulletin under Guidelines for Theses and Dissertations and the Graduate School Policy for Formation of Graduate Thesis Committees.  
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1. The student prepares a thesis prospectus under the direction of the thesis committee. The committee approves the prospectus.  
     
2. The Department Chair approves the thesis prospectus which is forwarded to the Director of Graduate Studies for approval.  
     
3. The Director of Graduate Studies returns the approved thesis prospectus to the appropriate department. The department notifies the committee members and the student.  
     
4. The thesis prospectus must be approved the semester before registering for any thesis credit hours. The student is not allowed to register for thesis credit hours without an approved prospectus.  
     
  Note: The Dean of the Graduate School is the appointing authority for thesis committees. Once the committee and the thesis prospectus have been approved the student is allowed to enroll for 599 Thesis credit with permission of the thesis committee chair.  
     
  Note: A Manual for the Preparation of Graduate Theses and Dissertations is a guide for the preparation of the prospectus and thesis. The manual is available in the campus bookstore. This manual is essential for all students preparing a thesis.  
   
 
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1. The student completes the research as outlined in the approved thesis prospectus and completes the first draft of the thesis. The first draft must be delivered to the thesis advisor no later than four weeks before the graduate school final thesis deadline for the semester in which the student wishes to graduate. The graduate school final thesis deadline is published in the Graduate Bulletin and the schedule of classes.  
     
2. No later than three weeks before the graduate school final thesis deadline, the student schedules the oral thesis defense. This is done in consultation with the thesis advisor and the thesis committee members. At least two weeks must be allowed between scheduling the oral defense and the oral defense itself.  
     
3. The thesis advisor notifies the Director of Graduate Studies a minimum of two weeks prior to the defense by Form EG6.  
     
4. The Director of Graduate Studies notifies the Graduate School, all faculty in the College and Deans of other colleges.  
     
5. The student refines the thesis until it is in final draft form. A copy of the thesis in final draft form is made available for each member of the thesis committee to review. At least one week must be allowed between the delivery of the thesis to committee members and the oral defense of the thesis.  
     
6. The oral defense must be completed one week before the manuscripts first submission to the graduate school.  
     
7. Following the oral defense, the student's thesis committee and Department Chair approve the thesis. The thesis and approval sheet are forwarded to the Director of Graduate Studies for approval of the first submission of the thesis. The deadline for this submission is two weeks before the final thesis submission deadline published in the Graduate Bulletin.  
     
  The thesis must have been reviewed by the thesis committee and accepted as "final", as indicated by a copy of the approval sheet with signatures of the committee members.  
     
  The review provided by the Graduate School encompasses only margins, pagination, format, content arrangement and consistency for conformance with standards set forth in the Guide for Preparing Theses and Dissertations. Content and quality of the document are left up t      
9. The thesis committee chair assigns a grade for thesis research to be submitted to the University Records Office. Students must be registered for at least one thesis credit hour during the semester they intend to obtain final thesis approval.  
     
10. The Dean of the Graduate School gives final thesis approval. The University Records Office, Director of Graduate Studies, major department and the thesis committee chair are notified of completion of degree requirements for the student.  
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1. If a student wishes to change from thesis to non-thesis option, after a thesis committee has been appointed, a formal request must be submitted using the Change from Thesis to Non-thesis Option (Form GS14). Thesis hours will be assigned a grade of WD. This request must be recommended for approval by the thesis committee chair and department chair and forwarded to the Director of Graduate Studies for recommendation.  
     
2. The Director of Graduate Studies' recommendation is forwarded to the Graduate School.  
     
3. The Dean of the Graduate School makes the final decision and notifies the University Registrar.  
     
4. The approved form is returned to the Director of Graduate Studies for distribution to the appropriate department. The department notifies thesis committee members and the student.  
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1. If a student wishes to change from the Project to the Course Option, after the Project Committee has been appointed, a formal request must be submitted using the Change from Project to Course Option (Form EG-8). This request must be recommended for approval by the Project Committee chair and the department chair and forwarded to the Director of Graduate Studies for approval.  
     
2. If the approval is given by the Director of Graduate Studies, he will send a copy of Form EG-8 to the Registrar requesting withdrawal (WD) from the Project (594) hours that the student may have in progress.  
     
3. The approval form is returned to the department. The department notifies the committee members and the student.  
   
 
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1. The department submits the recommendation for appointment of an examining committee by using the Comprehensive Examination Committee Appointment (GS 9), to the Director of Graduate Studies for approval. The request must be submitted a minimum of two weeks prior to the date of the examination.  
     
2. The Director of Graduate Studies' recommendation is forwarded to the Graduate School.  
     
3. The Dean of the Graduate School approves the committee appointment. The approved form is returned to the Director of Graduate Studies for distribution. The appropriate department notifies the committee members and the student.  
     
4. The examining committee administers and evaluates the examination. The Graduate School is notified of the results by resubmission of the original Examination Committee Appointment (GS 9) signed by the examining committee.  
     
5. The Dean of the Graduate School notifies the University Registrar. The original form is returned to the Director of Graduate Studies for distribution to the appropriate department. The department notifies the student and files the approved form in the student file.  
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1. The student applies for graduation at the University Registrar's Office prior to the published deadline for degree application. This deadline is normally near the beginning of the semester prior to the semester of graduation.  
     
2. The Registrar notifies the College of Engineering, the Director of Graduate Studies and the department, by memorandum, of the Candidates for Graduation. The Graduation Check-sheet and study plan are approved by the student's faculty advisor.  
     
3. The department forwards the Graduation Check-sheet and study plan to the Director of Graduate Studies for approval.  
     
4. The Director of Graduate Studies approves the evaluation and forwards it to the University Registrar. Copies are retained by the College of Engineering and the appropriate department.  
     
 
     
  e) Current and continuing interest in research as evidenced by scholarly activity, usually resulting in peer-reviewed publication (e.g., three refereed publications/activities in the field within the past five years).  
     
2. Associate members are appointed for three-year terms. The minimal criteria for appointment are:  
  a) An academic appointment at the rank of Assistant Professor or higher.  
     
  b) Normally, the terminal degree appropriate to the field.  
     
  c) Evidence of scholarly/professional activities.  
     
  d) Demonstrated competence in teaching at the upper-division and/or graduate level.  
     
  e) The recommendation of a majority of graduate faculty in the appropriate department.  
     
3. The faculty member applies for graduate faculty status using the Request for Appointment to USA Graduate Faculty (Form 1A)  
     
4. The Department Chair's recommendation (and recommendation of the department graduate faculty for associate member applications) is forwarded to the Director of Graduate Studies for approval.  
     
5. The Director of Graduate Studies' recommendation is forwarded to the Dean of the College of Engineering for approval.  
     
6. The approved form is returned to the Director of Graduate Studies to be forwarded to the Dean of the Graduate School.  
     
7. The Dean of the Graduate School presents the application to the Graduate Council for its recommendation.  
     
8. The Dean of the Graduate School approves the application and forwards it to the Vice President for Academic Affairs.  
     
9. The Vice President for Academic Affairs approves and forwards the application to the President.  
     
10. The President approves the appointment and notifies the Dean of the Graduate School.  
     
11. The Graduate Dean notifies the Dean of the College, the Director of Graduate Studies, the Department Chair and the faculty member.  
   
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1. Administrative appointments are made to the Graduate Faculty for a specified period of time. The minimal criteria for appointment are:  
  a) Terminal degree or special expertise relevant to serving on a thesis/dissertation committee or teaching a graduate course.  
     
  b) Recommendation of majority of graduate faculty in appropriate department.  
     
  c) The appointment will be for a specified period of time.  
     
2. An administrative appointment to the Graduate Faculty is initiated by sending a memorandum to the Director of Graduate Studies which:  
  a) Lists the terminal degree and/or special expertise of the individual that will benefit the graduate program, thesis or project.  
     
  b) States the specific purpose of the administrative appointment.  
     
  c) States that the majority of the graduate faculty in the department recommends the administrative appointment.  
     
  d) Specifics the time duration of the appointment.  
     
  e) Includes a copy of the individual's Curriculum Vita.  
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1. The department submits curriculum action forms as needed. A cover sheet including the information outlined on Form GS 13, and a syllabus not to exceed three pages is forwarded to the Graduate Affairs Committee for review.  
     
2. The Graduate Affairs Committee forwards the forms to the Dean of the College of Engineering with recommendation.  
     
3. The Dean of the College of Engineering presents the curriculum changes to the Engineering Faculty for a vote.  
     
4. The Dean of the College of Engineering approves the changes and forwards the forms to the Graduate School.  
     
5. The Dean of the Graduate School presents the changes to the Graduate Council for its recommendation.  
     
6. The Dean of the Graduate School approves the request and forwards it to the Vice President for Academic Affairs.  
     
7. The Vice President for Academic Affairs approves the request and notifies the University Registrar, the Dean of the Graduate School and the Dean of the College of Engineering.  
     
8. The department makes appropriate changes in the Graduate Bulletin.  
   
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  For convenience the appropriate section of the College of Engineering By-laws is reproduced below.  
     
  The Graduate Affairs Committee shall consist of the Graduate Coordinator elected from each department and the Director of Graduate Studies for the College. In addition, ex-officio (non-voting) members will include a representative from the office of the Dean of Engineering, the College of Engineering representative to the University Graduate Council, and one graduate student. The Director of Graduate Studies for the College will chair this committee. College Graduate Coordinators may be elected to more than two consecutive terms for the purposes of this committee.  
     
  The functions of the Committee are:  
     
1. To make recommendations to the faculty concerning the establishment and abolition of:  
  a) All graduate courses and curricula offered by the College.  
     
  b) All graduate degrees and certificates offered by the College.  
     
  c) All administrative units of the College offering graduate programs.  
     
2. To conduct such investigations and appoint such sub-committees as are reasonably necessary to carry out its responsibilities under these By-Laws.  
     
3. To make recommendations on behalf of the College to the University Graduate Council for changes in the University graduate academic regulations and procedures.  
     
4. To make reviews as necessary of the admission and graduation policies of each of the graduate programs offered by the College and recommend changes or continuance of such policies.  
     
5. To interpret existing College graduate policies when necessary.  
     
6. To respond to concerns of the faculty expressed in writing to the committee regarding graduate affairs.
 
     
  In addition to the responsibilities outlined in the College of Engineering By Laws as outlined above, the Graduate Affairs Committee has responsibilities to:  
     
7. Review admission policies every three years. A written report is to be submitted to the Graduate School documenting the review.  
     
8. Review orientation and advisement programs each year. A written report is to be submitted to the Graduate School documenting the review.  
   
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  Deadlines for the Fall, Spring and Summer semester for the current academic year.  
  USA Academic Calendar  
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  USA Graduate School Handout 15  
  USA Graduate School Deadlines for Theses (Each Semester) 16  
  USA Graduate School Checksheet for Theses 17  
  USA Graduate School Current Graduate Faculty Status List 20  
  USA Graduate School Bylaws 33  
  USA Good Practice Guidelines 40  
  USA Graduate School Grievance Policy 44  
  USA Graduate School Policy & Procedure for Graduate Assistantships 45  
  Engineering Graduate Completion Deadlines for Fall Semester 50  
  Engineering Graduate Completion Deadlines for Spring Semester 51  
  Engineering Graduate Completion Deadlines for Summer Semester 52  
  USA Graduate School and Engineering Forms (Table of Contents) 53  
     
  List of forms in the Appendix  
     
 
IDENTIFIER
DESCRIPTION
EG1 - Departmental Graduate Admission Recommendation
EG2 - Study Plan
EG3 - College of Engineering Graduation Requirement Review
EG4 - Engineering Project Proposal Approval Form
EG5 - College of Engineering Graduate Admissions Flow Chart
EG6 - Notice of Scheduled Thesis/Project Defense
EG7 - College of Engineering Appointment of Graduate Faculty to a Project Committee
EG8 - Change From Project Option to Course Option
GS Form 1A - Request for Appointment to Membership on the USA Graduate Faculty
GS Form 1A - Request for Appointment to Full Membership on Graduate Faculty
GS Form 1A - Request for Appointment to Associate Membership on Graduate Faculty
  USA Graduate Faculty Review Form
GS Form 2A - USA Graduate School Recommendation for Change of Status- Provisional to Regular (Green)
GS Form 9 - USA Comprehensive Examination Committee Appointment Request and Evaluation Report (Yellow)
GS Form 11 - Appointment of Graduate Faculty to a Dissertation or Thesis Committee (Blue)
GS Form 13 - Cover-Sheet Format for Submission of Curriculum or Program Changes to the Graduate Curriculum Committee
GS Form 14 - USA Change form Thesis to Non-Thesis Option (Cream)
GS Form 15 - USA Graduate Transfer Credit Recommendation (Goldenrod)
Miscellaneous forms:
1. USA Application and Recommendation for Graduate Assistantship/Fellowship
  NOTE: Original of Graduate School forms (GS prefix) must be used. Similar forms produced on a photocopier or word processor are not acceptable to the Graduate School.
   
Graduate School Grievance Policy
The Graduate School Grievance Policy is identical to the policy for the undergraduate students. This policy can be found in Chapter 8 of the University of South Alabama Faculty handbook. It is also reprinted in the Lowdown publication distributed to students.

Verified 11-5-01
 
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