Academic Degrees and Certificates
Bridgewater State University offers many of master’s degree programs designed to advance the education of those students who already hold a bachelor’s degree. These programs include:
- Master of Arts (MA)
- Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)
- Master of Business Administration (MBA)
- Master of Education (MEd)
- Master of Public Administration (MPA)
- Master of Science (MS)
- Master of Science in Accountancy (MSA)
- Master of Social Work (MSW)
- Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS)/Education Specialist
BSU also offers several graduate certificate programs designed to provide students who already hold a bachelor’s degree with advanced skills in a particular subject. Some graduate certificates are also pathways into graduate degree programs. Additional information about all programs may be found at https://www.bridgew.edu/majors-and-minors/graduate.
Academic Programs and DGCE Chairs
All graduate programs are managed within their respective academic departments by a faculty member who also serves as a program coordinator. This faculty member is identified as a Division of Graduate and Continuing Education (DGCE) Chair and is the student’s first point of contact for questions about their program as well as the policies and procedures noted within this catalog.
In most graduate programs, graduate students must take a comprehensive examination that reflects the full range of knowledge and skills involved in their programs. The comprehensive examination is based upon the student’s major area of study, as well as related areas, and may include knowledge learned while completing research or a thesis. Students must give evidence that they can integrate information and ideas from the various areas in which they have studied. The comprehensive examination may be written, oral, and/or Web-based, as determined by the student’s department.
To be eligible for a comprehensive examination, students should be near completion of the course work specified by their major academic department. Students must have a minimum 3.0 GPA or satisfactory academic standing or progress to sit for the examination.
Students who plan to take the comprehensive examination must file an Exit Requirement Request Form. This form may be accessed through the student portal and found on the Printable Forms page of the Office of Graduate Student Services Website. There is a nonrefundable comprehensive examination fee of $60 for Master’s degree candidates and $75 for CAGS candidates charged to the student’s account.
Ordinarily, comprehensive examinations are given during the months of November and March/April. The academic departments set the specific date of the comprehensive examination. The completed forms with necessary signatures must be filed in the Office of Graduate Student Services in the College of Graduate Studies (Maxwell Library 021) on or before the appropriate application deadlines:
October 1 – For November comprehensive examinations
February 1 – For March/April comprehensive examinations
All students who take the comprehensive examination will receive unofficial notification of results from the DGCE Chair and will receive a copy of their official results from the College of Graduate Studies by mail in a timely fashion.
Students who fail the comprehensive examination shall be given one additional opportunity to pass. Students should meet immediately with their faculty advisor or designated personnel to review the outcomes. Prescribed programs of study should be designed to help students prepare for the second examination. After students have made substantial progress in the additional work prescribed by the department, students will be allowed to retake the comprehensive examination and will be required to reapply. Students who fail a second comprehensive examination are subject to academic dismissal.
Directed Study or Independent Study
Graduate students are permitted to undertake a Directed Study XXXX 503 (1-3 credits) and XXXX 603
(3 credits) when they desire to study selected topics in their field. Enrollment in directed study is limited to students who have been accepted into a graduate program at BSU and who have completed a minimum of 15 approved graduate credits. Students must take these courses under the supervision of a faculty member. A directed study may not be used to substitute for courses that are required in the program or to study topics that are covered in required or elective courses in the program.
An independent study is designed for graduate students who must complete a specific BSU course as part of their program requirements. Students will work independently to fulfill all course requirements as outlined in the BSU catalog and as specified by the faculty supervisor.
Enrollment in a directed study or independent study requires arrangements to be made prior to the time of registration with all forms completed and on file at the appropriate departmental office. The required form may be accessed through the student portal and found on the Printable Forms page of the Office of Graduate Student Services Website.
Some graduate programs require students to compile a portfolio of completed work as an exit requirement of the program. Details on this requirement as well as what should be included in the portfolio will be provided by the graduate program faculty.
A graduate program may require enrollment in a research course XXXX 502 or PSYC 504 for psychology. These courses ordinarily culminate in a thesis. Consent of department and a formal application is required. See the Thesis policy below for further information.
A number of departments require or recommend theses in their degree programs. Theses, which represent original research in disciplines, are especially recommended if students have future doctoral plans. At the same time, a thesis allows a graduate student, working closely with their thesis committee, to spend serious academic time researching a narrowly focused topic in depth and produce an original text of publishable quality.
Many departments have specific thesis guidelines. All graduate students writing master’s theses also must adhere to the following college-wide policy:
- All graduate students who write a master’s thesis must have a thesis committee, consisting of a thesis committee chairperson and two faculty readers. The thesis committee must be approved by the DGCE Chair.
- Students writing a thesis must submit a Thesis Proposal Form, with a detailed proposal and signatures of the thesis chairperson, the two faculty readers, the DGCE Chair, and the dean of the College of Graduate Studies. This form may be accessed through the student portal and found on the Printable Forms page of the Office of Graduate Student Services Website.
- This form must be completed and signed in order for students to register for the appropriate research course, which is always the departmental XXXX 502 or PSYC 504 Research course.
- The number of credits awarded for the research may vary, and students may repeat the course until a maximum of nine credits in a MA program or six credits in a MAT, MEd, MPA, MS or CAGS program are earned toward the minimum credit requirements for the degree or certificate.
- After obtaining the necessary signatures, the student then takes the thesis proposal form to the Registrar’s Office to register for the course.
- Students who have registered for the Research course and do not complete their thesis in a semester will receive an incomplete, which will be changed to a letter grade by the thesis committee chairperson once the thesis is completed.
- When the thesis is written and fully approved by the three members of the thesis committee, the chairperson and readers sign the “approval page” of the thesis, which is placed in the text of the manuscript.
- The thesis committee chairperson will acquaint the graduate student with the manuscript form and style used in their respective disciplines; graduate students writing theses should examine recent theses in their academic departments to see the form and style of the manuscripts.
- Once successfully defended, students must provide the College of Graduate Studies with a copy of their approved thesis. They must complete and submit the Graduate Thesis Submission and Payment Form which may be accessed through the student portal and found on the Printable Forms page of the Office of Graduate Student Services Website.
- Students are to attach one approved hard copy of the thesis which will be bound by the Maxwell Library for the official archive. They must also submit one approved digital surrogate submitted on a USB flash drive for digital storage and access on the university’s online repository, the BSU Virtual Commons.
- Bound copies will be mailed or made available for pick up at the Maxwell Library.
- Students will be charged for each additional bound print copy.
- Theses must be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies before students are approved for graduation.
- The Maxwell Library, which will catalog all theses, acts as the official archive for all theses written as part of graduate degree programs at Bridgewater State University.
Statute of Limitations
All graduate program requirements, including all exit requirements, must be completed within six years of the date of the student’s first course in the program.
If graduate students cannot complete degree requirements within the six-year limit because of extraordinary circumstances, they must submit a Petition to Accept Courses Beyond the Statute of Limitations form. This form may be accessed through the student portal and found on the Printable Forms page of the Office of Graduate Student Services Website.
Institutions of higher education are dedicated to the pursuit of truth. In this pursuit, academic honesty is of fundamental importance. Bridgewater State University faculty, students, administrators and staff all have a responsibility to demonstrate and safeguard academic integrity as one of the university’s most essential institutional values.
When students, faculty, administrators and staff follow and support academic integrity values, teaching and learning can proceed in an environment of trust and respect. When such standards are violated, teaching and learning are impaired. Therefore, the best interests of the university community require that cases of alleged violations of academic integrity be addressed seriously and equitably.
Students are admitted to Bridgewater State University with the expectation that they will accept and abide by the standards of conduct and scholarship established by the faculty, administration and student governing boards. The university reserves the right to require students to withdraw who do not maintain acceptable academic standing. The university also reserves the right to dismiss, with due process, students who do not meet the requirements of conduct and order, or whose behavior is inconsistent with the standards of the university.
The full policy and process may be found at Academic Integrity Policy .
Make-up Tests and Examinations
The procedure for making up an examination held during the semester is determined by the individual instructor or the department. If a student misses an examination, it is the student’s responsibility to notify the instructor immediately so that alternative arrangements may be made.
The privilege of making up a final examination will be granted only when the cause has been the serious illness of the student or a member of his or her immediate family. All such excuses must be documented by a medical doctor and submitted to the instructor of the course.
The minimum standard for satisfactory work is a 3.0 overall grade point average (GPA). Graduate students must make satisfactory progress toward completion of their degree and certificate programs within the university’s statute of limitations. All graduate program requirements, including all exit requirements must be completed within six years of the date of the student’s first course in the program.
Students who are not making such progress are subject to separation from their program(s). Students should be aware that eligibility for some sources of financial aid, graduate assistantships, graduate fellowships, and/or health insurance may be affected.
Any graduate student whose overall grade point average (GPA) falls below 3.0 will be notified by letter from the dean of the College of Graduate Studies that they are on academic probation with copies to their advisor and DGCE Chair. This letter informs students that they should be mindful that their GPA has fallen below a 3.0 and that they should discuss the matter and possible strategies for improvement with their advisor.
If a student’s overall GPA remains below a 3.0 for two consecutive semesters, their academic progress is in jeopardy. The student is subject to academic review by the dean of the College of Graduate Studies and the DGCE Chair. Together, they will make the decision whether to have the student remain on probation or be academically dismissed. The College of Graduate Studies makes every attempt to support students in their pursuit of a graduate education; however, students who have consecutive GPAs below 3.0 may result in academic dismissal. Students who wish to take courses in the future must reapply to the College of Graduate Studies. All instructions and forms may be found at https://www.bridgew.edu/admissions/graduate/apply.
Admission/Readmission after Academic Dismissal
Academically dismissed graduate students must wait one semester (i.e., fall or spring) before applying for admission to another graduate program or readmission to their current program.
If a student is readmitted into their current program, the grades and credits earned prior to dismissal will be included in the calculation of their grade point average and in the determination of academic standing. Therefore, the student’s transcript will include all graduate level courses completed at BSU, regardless of the current program of study.
If a student is accepted into a new program, the grades and credits earned in the previous program from which the student was dismissed will be included in the calculation of their grade point average and in the determination of academic standing in the new program. Therefore, the student’s transcript will include all graduate level courses completed at BSU, regardless of the current program of study.
Graduate students who are pursuing a degree or certificate are assigned to an advisor in the student’s area of study. Students should work closely with their advisor in selecting courses and reviewing degree requirements. Students’ academic and professional backgrounds and objectives are to be considered and discussed during the planning and development of a program of graduate study.
All non-degree students should consult with department’s DGCE Chair for course advisement.
Graduate Advisor Change
Students seeking to change their advisor must complete the Change of Advisor Request form. This form may be accessed through the student portal and found on the Printable Forms page of the Office of Graduate Student Services Website.
Graduate students who experience problems in meeting standards in graduate policies, including academic dismissal, performance or other academic issues, may petition to have the matter considered first through the established appeal processes of their academic program and/or department. This process does not apply to cases of academic dishonesty; students should refer to the Academic Integrity Policy for additional information.
If a student feels that an issue is not satisfactorily resolved within their program or department, the student may initiate a formal appeal to the dean of the College of Graduate Studies if there is a valid basis and substantial evidence. The responsibility for developing and presenting the case for the appeal rests with the student. The appeal should include all pertinent facts including but not limited to: a statement of the grounds for the appeal; the desired outcome from the appeal; summary and documentation of the appeal; name(s) of the faculty and/or administrator(s) involved in the appeal as well as their responses and decisions; and supporting documentation.
- The student must submit a formal appeal in writing to the dean of the College of Graduate Studies within 30 calendar days of the occurrence that caused the appeal. Appeals made outside of this time period will not be considered by any university body.
- The dean will render a decision within 10 calendar days of receipt of the appeal and notify the student and appropriate parties in writing with rationale for the decision included in the notification.
- If dissatisfied, the student may submit an appeal within seven calendar days to the Graduate Education Council (GEC) via a written request to the dean of the College of Graduate Studies. (The GEC consists of representatives from the university’s graduate faculty, administrators and graduate student body.)
- The appeal must include all documentation and communication related to the appeal and will be reviewed by the GEC at the next regularly scheduled meeting during the fall and spring semesters. The GEC does not meet over the summer.
- The student may attend the committee meeting with an advisor or a faculty representative (and who is not a relative) during the discussion of the appeal to serve in an advisory role. Invited persons may not participate in the discussion. A final decision shall be rendered within seven calendar days of the meeting and notification to the student and appropriate parties will be sent in writing by the chairperson of the GEC with the rationale for the decision included in the notification. This decision is not subject to further appeal.
All appeal documentation will be kept on file as part of the student’s record in accordance with the Commonwealth records retention policy unless the matter resulted in dismissal. In such instances, the records will be kept permanently.
One of the cornerstones of BSU’s educational mission is the promotion of student engagement with faculty to improve the quality, depth and breadth of learning. Regular communication between students and faculty is crucial to achieving that goal.
Students are responsible for satisfactory attendance in each course for which they are registered. Satisfactory attendance shall be determined by the instructor within the context of this policy statement. The approval of excused absences and the assignment of make-up work are the prerogative of the course instructor. The university’s health service does not make judgments about whether a student can attend class except in rare cases when attendance would be harmful to the student’s health or the health of others. In general, students will be excused without penalty for reasons such as illness, participation in official university events, personal emergencies, and religious holidays. Students should consult with faculty members in advance of any absence whenever feasible.
NOTE: If a student fails to attend the first three class hours of a course, the instructor has the option of dropping the student from the course.
Attendance and Census Process
Additionally, per federal government guidelines (34 CFR 668.22), the university tracks and reports students who have stopped attending class and who have not officially withdrawn. In so doing, the last date of attendance or participation, as reported by the instructor, will be used as the course withdrawal date, and a symbol of “WA” (withdrawn due to lack of attendance) will be applied to a student’s record.
Students are notified in writing of this change in their registration status and have an opportunity to correct it, if it is an error, or to officially withdraw from the class. It is important to note that the “WA” status can be changed to a letter grade, including “F”, by the instructor. To ensure an official withdrawal (“W”) status, students must formally withdraw from the course or the university in accordance with university policy as noted elsewhere in this catalog.
Students are expected to take responsibility and officially withdraw from any course which they do not plan to complete. Refunds are determined by the length of the course and the date of withdrawal. Students should meet with a representative from the Students Accounts office to determine if any refund is available.
Class or Work Absence for Religious Observances
Bridgewater State University requires that faculty and staff excuse any student who is unable to attend classes or participate in any examination, study or work requirement because of religious observance. This requirement comes from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts General Law Chapter 151C, Section 2B which states:
“Any student in an educational or vocational training institution, other than a religious or denominational educational or vocational training institution, who is unable, because of his religious beliefs, to attend classes or to participate in any examination, study or work requirement on a particular day shall be excused from any such examination or study or work requirement, and shall be provided with an opportunity to make up such examination, study, or work requirement which he may have missed because of such absence on any particular day; provided, however, that such makeup examination or work shall not create an unreasonable burden upon such school. No fees of any kind shall be charged by the institution for making available to the said student such opportunity. No adverse or prejudicial effects shall result to any student because of his availing himself of the provisions of this section.”
Faculty can ascertain the dates of many religious holidays by consulting an interfaith calendar when planning their course syllabi. Such information is available to students as well and may be found at www.interfaith-calendar.org or at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Office of Religious and Spiritual Life Interfaith Calendar website.
It should be noted that these calendars are not exhaustive.
Students are required to notify instructors in advance that they will miss class in order to observe a religious holiday. They must do so in writing as early in the semester as possible, but no later than one week in advance of the absence, with the exception of holidays falling during the first week of the academic year. Students must also coordinate with their faculty on how to receive the critical information that is shared in the missed class (e.g., go to the faculty’s next office hours to discuss what happened, arranging to get notes from a classmate).
Faculty must accept a student’s assertion of the need to be absent from class for religious reasons. Massachusetts state law requires faculty to offer make-up assignments or exams that are held on religious holidays to any student who is absent for religious observance.
In the event of a dispute between a graduate student and a faculty member about the attendance policy, either party should contact the appropriate department chairperson. If the issue cannot be resolved by the department chairperson, either party should consult with the appropriate dean.
In the event of a dispute between a graduate student and the department chairperson about the attendance policy, either party should follow the established Student Appeals process outlined in this catalog.
Academic Credit Hour Definition
A graduate academic credit hour is equivalent to one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of three hours of out-of-class student work each week for approximately 15 weeks of each semester. Therefore, a three credit class has an expectation of approximately three hours of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of nine hours of out-of-class student work over that same time period. An equivalent amount of engagement is required for laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, web-based courses, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.
The College of Graduate Studies requires that degree-seeking graduate students maintain a high level of academic standing as they advance in their degree programs. The grading system for graduate students at Bridgewater State University is different from that of the undergraduate programs. Graduate course achievement will be rated A (4.0), A- (3.7), B+ (3.3), B (3.0), B- (2.7), C+ (2.3), C (2.0), C- (1.7), F (0), W (Withdrawn), IN (Incomplete) or AU (Audit). Some courses are graded on a P (Pass)/N (No Pass) basis. Refer to the Course Descriptions section in this catalog.
Though graduate students may earn less than a “B” in a course, the overall GPA must be a 3.0 at the time of graduation.
Some departments have additional grade requirements. Students should confer with their advisor and/or DGCE Chair for further information.
A student may audit (AU) a course to gain knowledge in a particular subject area without earning credit or a grade. Students auditing a course may attend and participate in classes, however they are exempt from examinations. The course is designated with “AU” and becomes part of the student’s permanent academic record. Audited courses will not be used to fulfill degree or graduation requirements.
Students must submit a completed Course Audit Request form before the close of the drop/add period. This form may be accessed through the student portal and found on the Printable Forms page of the Registrar’s Website. Paper copies of the forms are also available at the Registrar’s Office. Approval must be received from the instructor, and advisor and/or DGCE Chair.
A student who believes that their final grade reflects a mechanical error in calculation or that the grade was calculated in a manner inconsistent with the stated grading policy may appeal the grade. This process does not cover instances in which students have been assigned grades based on academic dishonesty, which is addressed in the Academic Integrity Policy .
Students and faculty should make every effort to resolve questions about grades without seeking a grade appeal. A grade appeal is a last resort and will be pursued only if there is a valid basis and substantial evidence. The responsibility for developing and presenting the case for changing a grade rests with the student making the appeal. The appeal should include all pertinent facts including but not limited to: a statement of the grounds for the appeal; the desired outcome from the appeal; summary and documentation of the appeal; name(s) of the faculty or administrator(s) involved in the appeal as well as their responses and decisions; and supporting documents.
The student may submit an appeal of the grade in question in writing to the instructor within the first two weeks of the semester following the posting of the final grade (for spring or summer grades, the following fall; for fall grades, the following spring). The instructor must respond in writing to the student within 14 calendar days of receiving the appeal. The notification should include the rationale for the decision.
If the matter is not resolved to the satisfaction of the student, the student may appeal in writing to the DGCE Chair within 14 calendar days of the receipt of the instructor’s decision. The DGCE Chair must respond in writing to the student within 14 calendar days of receiving the appeal. The notification should include the rationale for the decision. If the matter is not resolved to the satisfaction of the student, the student may appeal in writing to the dean of the College of Graduate Studies within 14 calendar days of the receipt of the DGCE Chair’s decision. The dean must respond in writing to the student within 14 calendar days of receiving the appeal. The notification should include the rationale for the decision.
If the matter is still not resolved to the satisfaction of the student and the student wishes to continue the appeal, the student may submit an appeal to the Graduate Education Council (GEC) via a written request to the dean of the College of Graduate Studies within 14 calendar days of the receipt of the dean’s decision. The appeal will be reviewed by the GEC at the next regularly scheduled meeting during the fall or spring semester. (The GEC does not meet over the summer.) The GEC consists of representatives from the university’s graduate faculty, administrators and graduate student body.
The student may attend the committee meeting with an advisor or a faculty representative (who is not a relative) during the discussion of the appeal. Invited persons may not participate in the discussion. A final decision will be rendered within 14 calendar days of the meeting and notification to the student and appropriate parties will be sent in writing by the chairperson of the GEC. The notification should include the rationale for the decision. This decision is not subject to further appeal.
An incomplete (IN/INC/IN.) may be given at the discretion of the instructor. The time by which missing work must be completed is also at the discretion of the instructor; however, this time period should not extend beyond the last day of classes of the academic semester following that in which the incomplete was earned. Courses that are not successfully completed by this deadline will automatically be changed to a grade of “F” (Failure) or “N” (No Pass). Candidates for graduation should note that all work must be completed and all incompletes changed to grades before degree conferral.
To request an extension of an incomplete, the student must contact their professor for their approval. If an extension is approved, the faculty member should contact the college dean of the course via email, who in turn notifies the Registrar’s Office and the dean of the College of Graduate Studies of the approval.
The College of Graduate Studies will allow graduate students, with advisor and DGCE Chair approval, to repeat only one graduate course for which they have received a grade of “B-” or less. Although all courses and grades will appear on the student’s transcript, credit for the course will be awarded only once unless otherwise stated in the university catalog. The repeated grade will replace the prior grade in the students’ GPA regardless of which grade is higher. Only courses taken at Bridgewater State University and repeated at Bridgewater will be eligible for use under this policy. Students are required to complete the Course Repeat Request form which can be found on the College of Graduate Studies intranet site.
If a course(s) has been denied acceptance through the Petition to Accept Courses Beyond the Statute of Limitations, approval to repeat the course(s) must be obtained from the student’s advisor. The repeated grade will replace the prior grade in the students’ GPA regardless of which grade is higher. Only courses taken at Bridgewater State University and repeated at Bridgewater will be eligible for use under this policy.
All students are advised to review academic policies for their programs. Some programs have policies that are more restrictive than the general policy recorded here.
NOTE: Repeating courses taken in a previous semester may affect certain federal and state benefits, various financial aid programs, loans, scholarships, graduate assistantships/fellowships, and social security benefits, in addition to athletic eligibility and veteran’s benefits. Satisfactory academic progress requirements must be met for continued financial aid eligibility. Please call 508.531.1341 or see Financial Aid for further information regarding how repeating a course may impact financial aid.
Academic Requirements to Graduate
In order for students to complete a graduate degree program, they must satisfactorily complete all requirements (with a minimum overall GPA of 3.0). See the Academic Programs section of this catalog for graduation requirements of individual programs.
Please note: diplomas and transcripts will not be released unless all outstanding financial balances have been paid in full.
For additional information concerning graduation, see the Graduation Central Website.
Graduate Certificate Completion Application
Students who have completed all certificate program requirements are required to submit a Graduate Certificate Completion Application form. This form may be accessed through the student portal and found on the Printable Forms page of the Office of Graduate Student Services Website.
Graduation Application and Deadlines
Students who are nearing the completion of their graduate program requirements should review their degree audit with their advisor to ensure that they are ready for graduation.
If they are ready to graduate with a master’s degree or Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies (CAGS) either in December, May or August, then they should complete an Application to Graduate Form. This form may be accessed through the student portal and found on the Printable Forms page of the Office of Graduate Student Services Website.
A copy of their degree audit showing all program requirements as either “complete” or “in progress” must be included with the application for approval by the student’s advisor and DGCE Chair. The approved application packet is then submitted to the Office of Graduate Student Services in the College of Graduate Studies (Maxwell Library 021) no later than 5 pm on the appropriate application deadline noted below:
February 1 For May graduation
June 1 For August graduation
October 1 For December graduation
Failure to file a complete application before the deadline may postpone degree conferral. Questions regarding graduate commencement and requirements should be directed to the graduation coordinator in the College of Graduate Studies at 508.531.1100 or visit the Graduation Central Website.
Although graduate students have an annual commencement ceremony in May, the university has three graduation dates (December, May and August). Students graduating in December and August are encouraged to participate in the May commencement ceremony.
In order to participate in the graduate commencement ceremony, all required course work and exit requirements must be completed or meet the following criteria:
- A cumulative GPA (Grade Point Average) of 3.00 at the end of the fall semester.
- A maximum of six (6) credit hours to complete after the spring semester, but no later than August of that year.
- All other exit requirements must be met.
If these criteria are not met, a student who wishes to participate in the May commencement ceremony may submit a Commencement Participation Appeal online, available at the Graduation Central Website.
A hold may be placed on a student record for a variety of reasons: incomplete submission of required documents, outstanding balance, etc. The hold may prohibit registration, viewing grades, participating in commencement, obtaining transcripts, or receiving a diploma, depending on the type of hold.
Students may view the type of hold on their account by logging into InfoBear, clicking on the Student Records link under the Student tab, and then clicking on View Holds.
Catalog Year Change
Satisfactory completion of all requirements for a Master’s or CAGS degree are based on the catalog in effect upon matriculation. Students may change their catalog year in order to change program requirements by submitting a Change of Catalog Year Request. The catalog used, however, may be no earlier than the catalog in effect at the time of matriculation or, in the case of a change of program concentration, no earlier than the catalog in effect when the program concentration was formally declared.
Change of Program or Concentration
Students who wish to declare or change a specific program or concentration can do so by completing the Change of Program or Concentration Form. This form may be accessed through the student portal and found on the Printable Forms page of the Office of Graduate Student Services Website. Students looking to change to a new program will need to submit a new application online at www.bridgew.edu/apply and gain acceptance to the program.
Course Drops and Adds
Students may drop and add classes online through InfoBear. Alternatively, drop/add forms are available at the Registrar’s Office or at its Website during the drop/add period. It is advisable that students discuss changes in their schedule with their advisor or DGCE Chair prior to taking this action.
The Drop/Add schedule is as follows:
- The Drop/Add period for 15-week semester courses ends after the sixth weekday of the semester.
- The Drop/Add period for 7-week quarter courses ends after the third weekday of the quarter.
- The Drop/Add period for 5-week summer courses ends after the third weekday of the session.
- The Drop/Add period for 10-week summer courses ends after the fifth weekday of the session.
- The Drop/Add period for non-regular courses ends one weekday after the first class meeting.
However, students cannot add intensive – e.g., weekend or one-week – courses after the first class meeting.
Students will not be permitted to add or drop a course after these deadlines. If a student fails to drop a course appropriately, a grade of “F” will be entered on their academic record. This grade will be used in computing the GPA.
If a student needs to drop a course after these deadlines due to unforeseen circumstances or a major life event (e.g., sudden illness or accident, death in the family), they are strongly encouraged to discuss the schedule change with their instructor and advisor or DGCE Chair. They must also submit a written appeal with appropriate information to the dean of the College of Graduate Studies for permission to drop the course.
Please see Financial Aid for information regarding how schedule changes may impact financial aid.
Full-time graduate study for master’s degree and CAGS students is defined as being enrolled in nine or more graduate credits in a given semester. To be considered full-time, postbaccalaureate program students may be required to carry a course load of at least 12 credits each semester. The Advanced Postbaccalaureate (APB) program follows the same rules as the master’s degree and CAGS students.
Full-time graduate students may register for up to 15 credits during both the fall and spring semesters and up to 15 credits during the two summer sessions. Students wishing to register for more than the maximum credit load must receive permission in writing from their graduate advisor, the DGCE Chair and the College of Graduate Studies dean.
NOTE: Courses scheduled between the fall and spring semester (intersession courses) are considered part of the spring semester course load for graduate students. Please see Financial Aid for information regarding how schedule decisions may impact financial aid.
Preregistration is held for returning, degree-seeking and non-degree seeking graduate students in November for the spring semester and in April for the fall semester. Preregistration is available online or in person. Students will not be allowed to register for courses until all financial debts to the university are paid and health records are up to date.
Prior to each registration period, course listings, specific registration dates, and registration instructions as well as up-to-date information concerning course openings and prerequisites are available online through InfoBear under QuickLinks at the Bridgewater State University Website – www.bridgew.edu/infobear.
Prior to the registration period for the fall and spring semesters and summer sessions, students should refer to their degree audits which are available through InfoBear to ensure compliance with the graduate degree requirements. Graduate students are not required to have registration forms signed by their advisors; however, graduate students are strongly encouraged to consult their advisors on a regular basis regarding their course schedules. Additionally, all students are required to complete a Student Financial Responsibility Agreement (SFRA) via Infobear. This agreement outlines a student’s financial obligation at Bridgewater State University and must be completed each semester, prior to registering for classes.
Degree-seeking graduate students who register online will be billed for their tuition and fees by the Office of Student Accounts.
Graduate course work is offered on either a full- or part-time basis. Students should realize that it is not always possible to set an absolute deadline for completing a graduate program due to such factors as the university’s right to cancel any course for which there is insufficient enrollment and the need of the departments to offer courses on a rotating basis. The university and academic departments, however, make every effort to schedule courses in a timely manner.
Students may request a substitution of a required course in their program. Such requests should be discussed and approved by the student’s advisor and DGCE Chair before registration. Students must complete the Course Substitution Form which may be accessed through the student portal and found on the Printable Forms page of the Office of Graduate Student Services Website.
Students may request a waiver of a required course in their program only to the extent that the catalog identifies variable credit as meeting the program requirements. Such requests should be discussed and approved by the student’s advisor and DGCE Chair before registration. Students must complete the Course Waiver Form which may be accessed through the student portal and found on the Printable Forms page of the Office of Graduate Student Services Website.
Graduate and Undergraduate Credit
Courses at Bridgewater State University with 500- and 600-level numbers carry graduate credit and are typically open only to graduate students.
Undergraduate students may request to enroll in a 500-level course for graduate credit, or they may request that the course be applied to their undergraduate program. Approval is based upon the following criteria:
- Students must be seniors in their last semester of course work
- Students’ GPAs must be a 3.5 or higher
- Students’ written requests must be approved by the chair of the students’ major departments, appropriate college dean, and the dean of the College of Graduate Studies
If a student takes a graduate level course and it is applied toward an undergraduate degree, the course will always be considered an undergraduate level course. Please see Financial Aid guidelines.
Certain designated 400-level courses may be taken for either graduate or undergraduate credit. The College of Graduate Studies guidelines for faculty teaching these courses indicate that advanced work must be required of graduate students taking 400-level courses. The guidelines recommend more rigorous examinations and preparation of longer, more sophisticated research papers, so that graduate students may take into account the different quantitative and qualitative standards associated with graduate study.
Program and Course Prerequisites
Program and course prerequisites may be required to ensure adequate preparation for graduate work in the area of study. In certain cases, program prerequisites may be fulfilled after the applicant’s acceptance by the College of Graduate Studies. Certain advanced graduate courses may require that students have completed specific prerequisite courses within the area of study.
Withdrawal from Courses
Students may withdraw from courses following the drop/add period if they submit a Course Withdrawal form to the Registrar’s Office by the appropriate semester deadline date, which is posted on the Registrar’s Office Website. If graduate students fall below full-time status after withdrawing from a course, they should be aware that eligibility for some sources of financial aid, assistantships/fellowships and health insurance may be affected.
No withdrawals will be permitted after the deadline unless students can demonstrate in writing to the dean of the College of Graduate Studies with documentation from the course instructor and DGCE Chair that extraordinary circumstances (e.g., sudden illness, a death in the family) have prevented them from withdrawing from the course by the published deadline. Medical withdrawal requests must also be submitted in writing with appropriate documentation to the director of Graduate Student Services in the College of Graduate Studies.
Course withdrawals will be indicated on the student’s transcripts with a “W” and will not affect the calculation of student’s grade point average.
Consult with the Office of Graduate Student Services at 508.531.1100 for more information about withdrawals after the deadline.
Withdrawal from the University
Students who decide to withdraw from a graduate program must notify the College of Graduate Studies of their intentions in writing as soon as possible. Students should also consult course withdrawal procedures and refund policies indicated elsewhere in the catalog. The Program Withdrawal Form may be accessed through the student portal and found on the Printable Forms page of the Office of Graduate Student Services Website.
While graduate students are required to be continually enrolled in order to maintain active student status, we realize that unexpected situations sometimes require taking an academic absence at some point in their graduate career. Previously enrolled graduate students who have not enrolled in a course at Bridgewater State University for one academic year or longer (i.e., three consecutive terms inclusive of summer session) are required to submit an application for reinstatement and be formally reinstated by the College of Graduate Studies. A student who has not been enrolled for at least six years must reapply to the program.
A transcript is a cumulative, permanent record of a student’s grades and degrees earned at Bridgewater State University. Students may request a copy of an official transcript online or from the Registrar’s Office. Current students can access their unofficial transcripts through InfoBear. See the Registrar’s Office website for details.
Transfer credit at the graduate level is defined by Bridgewater State University as appropriate graduate-level courses taken at an accredited institution other than Bridgewater State University prior to or after acceptance to a Bridgewater State University graduate program.
Not more than six graduate credits, taken both prior to and after acceptance, can be transferred from other accredited graduate schools. Rather than enrolling in graduate courses at other institutions, matriculated students should make every attempt to enroll in Bridgewater State University graduate courses which will assist them in successfully completing their graduate programs. It does not include prerequisites. Program exceptions are noted in the appropriate department sections of this catalog.
Approval of transfer credit is subject to the following conditions: 1) that not more than six credits being transferred are from an accredited institution other than Bridgewater State University; 2) that a grade of “B” or better has been earned in all courses being transferred; 3) that courses being transferred have not been used to fulfill the requirements of another degree at any institution and 4) that graduate transfer credits may not be more than six years old at the time program requirements are completed.
Bridgewater State University does not accept credits for courses completed at non-accredited institutions.
All courses to be used as transfer credit in a graduate degree program must have the approval of the student’s advisor and DGCE Chair prior to submitting for final approval to the dean of the College of Graduate Studies. An official transcript of courses taken at another accredited institution must be submitted for approval with the Transfer Credit Request form which can be found on the College of Graduate Studies intranet website. A copy of the course syllabus and/or course descriptions may be requested. Students are strongly urged to process the form for transfer credit early in their graduate degree program.
Transfer Credit – Graduate Certificate Programs
Given the limited number of courses required in graduate certificate programs, students enrolled in a graduate certificate program at Bridgewater State University cannot transfer courses from other institutions, with the exception of the Teaching English to Students of Other Languages (TESOL) certificate program. Students enrolled in the TESOL program may transfer one three-credit course from another institution.