The mission of the Office of Research and Graduate Studies is to support and promote the research, scholarly and creative activities of the Stephen F. Austin State University community while encouraging compliance and scholarly integrity. SFA seeks to afford qualified students the opportunity and a supportive environment in which to gain sufficient mastery of their chosen fields so, by virtue of their depth and breadth of knowledge and the extent of their expertise, they may contribute significantly to those fields.
Essential to the accomplishment of this mission is careful selection in the admission of students. Selective entrance requirements are partly for the maintenance of the high standards that characterize graduate students and partly for the benefit of the student who needs to determine early whether to undertake graduate work.
The Office of Research and Graduate Studies’ regulations in this bulletin are effective at the beginning of the fall semester 2022. The graduate degree requirements are governed by the bulletin in effect at the time of the student’s first enrollment in a graduate program or by any subsequent bulletin, whichever the student chooses, within a period of six consecutive years (see the statement on the limitation of time). Graduate Studies reserves the right to institute, during the time of a student’s work toward a degree, any new ruling that might be necessary. Although new policies usually are not retroactive, Graduate Studies reserves the right to make them so. In addition, the Board of Regents has authority to establish tuition and required fees within limits prescribed by the legislature. Students should be aware that these fees are subject to change.
The dean of the Office of Research and Graduate Studies and the deans of the colleges are responsible for the academic programs of all graduate students and for policies and standards formulated by the Graduate Council.
Additional policies and standards of graduate work, which do not conflict with general policies of the Office of Research and Graduate Studies and are approved by the Graduate Council, may be established by each department offering graduate work.
Each graduate student approved for work in a degree program is placed under the supervision of a faculty advisor or committee representing the major and, if applicable, minor departments. The major advisor or committee must approve the student’s program and administer the required examinations. The dean of the appropriate college and the chair of the major department are ex-officio members of each graduate student’s advisory committee.
List of Graduate Programs and Degrees
Stephen F. Austin State University is authorized by its Board of Regents to offer the terminal Doctor of Education, Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Fine Arts, as well as the Master of Arts, the Master of Business Administration, the Master of Education, the Master of Forestry, the Master of Interdisciplinary Studies, the Master of Music, the Master of Science in Nursing, the Master of Professional Accountancy, the Master of Public Administration, the Master of Science, Master of Arts in Teaching and the Master of Social Work.
At present, the university offers graduate majors in accounting, applied educational psychology, art, art education, athletic training, biology, business administration, cyber security, early childhood education, educational leadership, elementary education, English, environmental science, family nurse practitioner, forestry, general agriculture, geology, Hispanic studies, history, human sciences, interdisciplinary studies, kinesiology, mass communication, mathematical sciences, music, national security, natural and applied sciences, nurse education, professional counseling, psychology, public administration, resource communications, school mathematics teaching, school psychology, secondary education, social work, special education, speech-language pathology, student affairs and higher education, and teaching college social sciences. Minors are offered in many fields listed above and in geography, management, physics, sociology, spatial science, statistics and theatre.
The following is a list of master’s degrees and the majors with which they are conferred:
Master of Arts - applied educational psychology, art, art education, English, Hispanic studies, history, mass communication, national security, professional counseling, psychology, publishing, school psychology, student affairs and higher education, and teaching college social sciences
Master of Arts in Teaching - teaching
Master of Business Administration - business administration
Master of Education - early childhood education, educational leadership, elementary education, secondary education, special education, and teaching and learning
Master of Fine Arts - art
Master of Forestry - forestry
Master of Interdisciplinary Studies - interdisciplinary studies (it is the nature of the program to study in three or more academic disciplines)
Master of Music - music
Master of Professional Accountancy - accounting
Master of Public Administration - public administration
Master of Science - athletic training, biology, cyber security, environmental science, forestry, general agriculture, geology, human sciences, mathematical sciences, natural science, resource communications, school mathematics teaching, kinesiology and speech-language pathology
Master of Science in Nursing - family nurse practitioner and nurse education
Master of Social Work - social work
The following is a list of doctoral degrees and the majors with which they are conferred:
Doctor of Education - educational leadership
Doctor of Philosophy - forestry or school psychology
SFA offers online graduate degree programs, hybrid graduate courses and some programs at off-campus locations. Students interested in more information about these programs should contact the Office of Research and Graduate Studies or visit SFA Online.
Generally, courses available only for graduate credit are numbered in the 5000s, and courses available for doctoral credit are numbered in the 6000s. A graduate student takes all coursework at that level. A student must be admitted to the graduate school in order to enroll in any course taken for graduate credit.
The unit of credit is the semester hour, defined as one class meeting per week (or its equivalent) for one semester of 15 weeks. Most courses meet three hours per week and have a credit value of three semester hours. For each hour in class, at least two hours of preparation are expected on the part of the student. Many students should spend more than this amount of time in study.
Master’s Degree Requirements
General requirements for the MA, MAT, MEd, MM and MS are shown below. Additional requirements for the Master of Science in natural science, the Master of Forestry, the Master of Science with majors in forestry or resource communications, the Master of Professional Accountancy, the Master of Public Administration, the Master of Social Work, the Master of Fine Arts, the Master of Business Administration, the Master of Science in speech-language pathology, and the Master of Interdisciplinary Studies are shown elsewhere in this bulletin. Students should consult with the graduate advisor in their program(s) to determine specific degree requirements.
- The master’s degree without a thesis requires a minimum of 30 semester hours (with some exceptions, which require 36 hours) of coursework. The master’s degree with thesis requires a minimum of 30 semester hours (with some exceptions, which require 36 hours), including six hours thesis.
- If a graduate minor and/or electives are approved, the graduate major is minimally 18 semester hours and must total more hours than does the minor. The graduate minor is minimally nine semester hours. A maximum of six semester hours may be in electives.
- Excluding the MBA, MSW and the MPA, to major the student must present an undergraduate background of a least 18 semester hours in that field or in closely related work.
- With the approval of the major department and of the academic dean, a student may transfer from another accredited graduate school up to six semester hours of graduate work toward a master’s degree with a thesis and up to 12 semester hours toward a nonthesis master’s degree. Transferred work must be completed with a grade of B or higher and will be accepted only for credit toward a graduate degree at SFA and not for purposes of raising the GPAs earned at SFA. The work must have been taken not earlier than six years prior to the student’s first graduate enrollment at SFA. Moreover, if the student fails to complete work on the graduate degree at SFA before the expiration of the six years, the work will not be applicable toward a degree here. The transcript must clearly show the course(s) to be transferred was (were) taken for graduate credit.
- Coursework used to satisfy requirements for a previous master’s degree, whether taken at SFA or elsewhere, may not be used to satisfy requirements for a second master’s degree at SFA.
- Under certain circumstances, an undergraduate student may simultaneously pursue work toward the bachelor’s and master’s degrees. See the Overlap Program elsewhere in this bulletin.
- To earn a graduate degree, a student must have graduate GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in both the major and overall. The computation of the overall GPA includes all courses in the major and minor and those elective courses selected to complete the degree requirements. In the case of repeated courses (a student may repeat a maximum of six semester hours of work to raise the GPA); the grade earned in the most recent enrollment will be used to calculate GPA as per university policy. No course with a grade below C can be used to satisfy degree requirements.
- Work offered for the master’s degree should be in courses numbered 5000 and higher.
- With the exception of the MFA, no more than two advanced graduate studies courses (5575 and 5576) or a total of eight hours may count toward any master’s degree without special permission of the academic dean.
- At least one-third of graduate semester hours must be completed in residence, including on-campus, off-campus, distance education, field-based, practicum, internship and thesis courses, and at least half of the work in the major and in the minor must be completed in residence.
- In addition to satisfying all coursework for the graduate degree, the student must satisfy all other requirements, including the final comprehensive examination or capstone course and, if applicable, the thesis.
- All work on a master’s degree must be completed within six years of the time the student first enrolls in graduate courses, whether the courses are taken here or elsewhere. For exceptions, see the statement in the “limitation of time” section.
Doctoral/Terminal Degree Requirements
There are currently five terminal degrees offered: Doctor of Education in educational leadership, Doctor of Philosophy in forestry, Doctor of Philosophy in school psychology, Master of Social Work and Master of Fine Arts. The requirements for admission, degree completion, dissertation, time limits, etc., can be found in this bulletin under the appropriate college.
Review of Doctoral Students’ Academic Progress
A formal review of each doctoral student’s academic progress will be conducted subsequent to three years of full-time enrollment by the appointed graduate advisor within the department and/or respective college. In all cases, the review process will be initiated within the program/department and follow the guidelines developed by the program/department. Each review will result in a progress profile to be shared with the student.
Accumulation of doctoral hours in excess of 99 while failing to complete the degree will require a termination review by the academic program/department. In the case when a student’s program is terminated, she/he may request a post-termination review to be conducted by the department chair, graduate program advisor and dean of the college. The post-termination review may result in a recommendation for reinstatement to the dean of the Office of Research and Graduate Studies. An appeal for reinstatement beyond the post-termination review may be made in writing to the Graduate Council. Doctoral hours in excess of 99 will result in out-of-state tuition rates.