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Department of Educational Administration

Master's in Student Affairs Administration

Program Procedures


Upon admission to the Student Affairs Administration Master's degree program, students are assigned a faculty member who serves as their academic advisor. Students should arrange for a personal conference with their advisor to develop a program plan for the degree. Copies of this completed program plan will be provided to the student, the academic advisor, and the Student Affairs Office in the College of Education. It is in the student's interest to schedule the conference to develop their program plan early in the graduate studies after entry into the program, but definitely before completion of the first 15 credits. If the student does not do so, there is no guarantee that credit hours earned prior to the conference will be applicable to the requirements of the Student Affairs Administration Master's degree program. If, for whatever reason, the student wishes to change advisor during the course of the program, a Change of Advisor form (see forms section) must be filled out and submitted to the SAO.

Annual Review of Student Progress

Written evaluations shall be communicated to the graduate student at least once a year, and a copy of such evaluations shall be placed in the graduate student's file. A student whose performance does not meet the standards of quality will not be permitted to continue to enroll in the degree program, and appropriate action will be taken by the college, department or school.

The academic advisor and academic unit are jointly responsible for evaluating the student's competency (as indicated by, e.g., grades in core and other courses, portfolio development, and development of professional skills) and rate of progress (as indicated by, e.g., the number of courses for which grades have been assigned or deferred). See program form: Annual Evaluation of M.A. Students, EAD HALE Program.

Academic Standards

Michigan State University is committed to high academic standards and expects all Student Affairs Administration Master's students to excel in their programs of study.

Attendance: Regular attendance is expected. Instructors will inform the students of course attendance requirements and penalties that may be incurred as a result of failure to comply with these requirements.

Grades: A 3.0 cumulative grade-point average in the degree program is the minimum University standard. However, attainment of the minimum grade-point average is in itself an insufficient indicator of potential for success in other aspects of the program and the field. The grading system is as follows: 4.0, superior; 3.5, excellent; 3.0, good; 2.5, fair; 2.0 poor; 0/1.0/1.5, failure and in specific courses, P-N (Pass- No Grade). Once grades have been submitted in to the registrar's office, they may only be changed by the course instructor through written application. A student whose semester grade point falls below a 3.0 receives a written warning indicating unsatisfactory academic performance.

Academic Provisional Status and Probation: At times, students are admitted to the program on "academic probation" due to concerns with their prior record, usually related to low entering grade-point average and/or test scores. The terms of admission on provisional status are stipulated in the students' admission letter and are evaluated upon their completion. Students whose cumulative grade-point average falls below a 3.0 will be placed on academic probation the following semester. The student will work with her/his academic adviser to be restored to good standing. Students on academic probation should regularly meet with the academic adviser. Students shall have the right to appeal in accordance with the GSSR guidelines.

Incompletes, Defers, and Extensions

A student who, for compelling reasons, finds it necessary to postpone the submission of required course work may petition their instructor for the grade of Incomplete (I), Defer (DF), or Extension (ET). A form for this request must be completed by the instructor of the course and contain all information requested, including a description of the work the student will complete and the due date, which cannot be later than the date specified in the academic calendar. The form must be signed by the student, instructor, and department chair (or designee). The last day to request an incomplete and submit the form is indicated in the academic calendar.

The grade of I, DF, or ET shall remain on the student's transcript until a grade has been submitted by the instructor.

A grade of "I" or incomplete may be given after a student has satisfactorily completed 12 weeks of the course but is unable to complete the work within the allotted time period because of "illness or other compelling reason," and the professor believes that the student can complete the work without repeating the course. The work must be completed and a grade turned in no later than next academic term, whether or not the student is enrolled. (If the student does not enroll in subsequent semesters than s/he has up to a year to complete the course requirements.)

A grade of "DF" or Deferred may be given only to graduate students who are doing satisfactory work but cannot complete it because of reasons acceptable to the instructor. Deferred grades need to be resolved within two years, although the instructor may stipulate a shorter time frame.

If a student fails to submit the outstanding work to the registrar's office by the specified due date, the grade will be converted to the alternate letter grade previously submitted by the instructor or a "0". In special circumstances, the department chair has the authority to grant an extension for the submission of overdue work as long as it is agreeable to the instructor. This extension must be sent in writing.

Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution

Within the HALE Department, the guidelines for Graduate Student Appeals of Allegations of Academic Dishonesty (GSAAD) establishes the right of graduate students to appeal allegations of academic dishonesty. For complete listing of rights and responsibilities, please see Article 5 of the Graduate Student Rights and Responsibilities document at Michigan State University (GSRR) pertinent to the HALE Department by downloading the GSAAAD document. For a detailed explanation of grievance procedures, you may appeal allegations of academic dishonesty consulting the EAD Grievance Procedures.

Note: All students will have these and other documents on file in the HALE office. Students may, at any time, challenge the accuracy of the contents of their student files. This may be as simple as writing a letter to be put in the file.

Graduation Procedures

To avoid a last-minute problem in receiving your diploma, use this checklist to make sure that you have completed all of the requirements.

Complete an Application for Graduation. You can get one from the Registrar's Office, Room 150 Administration, in the current Schedule of Courses catalog, or on the Web by following the MSU Home Page to the Registrar's Office Forms.

Check your records, have you . . .

  • completed and passed all courses as outlined on your Program Plan (deferred grades, DF, are not acceptable)?
  • completed your portfolio?
  • ┬ápicked up a packet of forms for completing your thesis/ dissertation and a 2000-99 Formatting Guide from The Graduate School, 118 Linton Hall?
  • Schedule, complete, and pass your portfolio defense. Remember, you need to be enrolled during the semester in which you defend. A semester is defined as the first day of classes until, but not including, the first day of classes for the next semester.

If you complete the Application for Graduation (needed at the beginning of the semester of expected graduation), A Graduate Credit Statement and Final Certification for Degree form will be mailed to your department. The Graduate Secretary, Graduate Program Director, and/or Department Chair will complete the form verify that the above information is completed, make their recommendation, sign and forward the form to your college for signature. They in turn will forward the form to the Registrar's Office.

Here's what the Registrar's Office will do:

  1. Verify approval of the "Final Certification" form by department and college.
  2. Check your records for courses listed on the "Final Certification" form and their approved completion, including the required number of research credits.
  3. Check for any outstanding parking tickets, holds, or fees owed to the University.
  4. Check with The Graduate School to verify that your thesis/dissertation was submitted before the semester deadline.

Here's what you receive:

If everything has been completed and verified, you should be receiving a copy of your diploma and degree-granting transcript four weeks after the commencement ceremony. Congratulations!

If one of the items above was not completed, a letter will be sent to you, your college, and your department, which indicates the criteria not met. If you have any questions about this letter, you can contact your department.

You may apply for graduation online at:

Commencement information will be mailed to each degree candidate midway through their final semester. Commencements are held Fall and Spring semesters. Summer degree candidates may participate during the Fall or Spring ceremonies.

For further information, visit the Commencement and Ceremonial Events site.