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Policies & Procedures

For the Master's in STEM Education

The days scheduled for registration each semester will be announced at the beginning of each academic year. To obtain a list of the dates, contact the Registrar's Office or go on-line to the College website where calendars are published. In order that class work may be started promptly, all graduate students should plan to register on those announced days.

Students should meet with their advisor prior to the actual registration day to plan programs of study. Planning should include careful attention to degree requirements, course prerequisites, appropriate undergraduate background, and course scheduling. Students should plan schedules carefully to minimize dropping and adding courses at the beginning of the semester.

No new student may register until the record of previous work has been received and approved. The registration process includes the completion of all registration forms showing the schedule of classes approved by the student's advisor and the clearing of all accounts by the Business Office.

Late Registration
Students may not register for a given semester after three hours of class instruction have been held.

Transcript Fee
Official copies of student transcripts can be obtained from the Registrar's Office at a cost of $5.00.

Transfer of Credit
Catawba College will accept a maximum of six semester hours of graduate credit towards a degree program from another regionally accredited institution. Transfer credit will be given only for graduate courses approved for the student's program in which grades of B or better were earned. No undergraduate course credits will be counted in the total requirements for the degree program. However, in some cases, appropriate undergraduate course credits may be accepted to meet prerequisite requirements.

Regularly enrolled graduate students at Catawba College who plan to take courses at other institutions must have these courses approved by the Director of the Graduate Program before beginning the courses. Such courses taken without prior approval may not be accepted for credit.

Credit by Examination
Under unusual circumstances, a student may petition the Graduate Council for permission to meet a degree requirement by examination.

Dropping and Adding Courses
Courses may be added during a designated period at the beginning of each term, pending proper approval and payment of stated fees. A student may not enter a class after it has met more than three hours.

A student may withdraw from a course with a grade of W up to the date posted in the academic calendar. Courses dropped after that time except for reasons of health or other reasons approved by the Director of the Graduate Program will result in a grade of F.

Repeating of Courses
A course for which unsatisfactory credit was received may be taken a second time at Catawba College. Credit by examination may not be used for this purpose. The higher grade achieved by the student is the grade used for calculating the grade point average. All courses attempted and grades earned appear on the permanent record. Courses for which C or F was earned at Catawba College may not be repeated elsewhere for credit toward a degree at Catawba College.

Student Progress
Traditional grades are given at the completion of each course. The instructor of each course is expected to develop appropriate standards for the course. The following grades are used to report and record the level of student academic achievement:


Grade Points Per Semester Hour


4.0 (Clearly Superior Achievement )






3.0 (Above Average Performance)






2.0 (Average Performance)




0.0 (Failure to achieve minimum competency; no credit given)




Satisfactory (equivalent to "C" or better)


Marginal (equivalent to "D," used only on progress reports)


Unsatisfactory (equivalent to F )



* Not used in computation of GPA

In this system, each semester hour passed has a grade point value equated to the letter grade. Thus a student who earns an A in a three-semester-hour course earns 12 grade points for that course whereas an A- would yield 11.1 grade points (3 semester hours X 3.7 grade points) in the same course.

The cumulative grade point average (GPA) is obtained by dividing the total semester hours attempted into the total grade points earned. The grades of I, S, U, and W are not used in this calculation. Semester and cumulative grade point averages are indicated on the grade report at the end of each semester.

The grade of I may be given when a student, because of extenuating circumstances, is unable to complete a course in a particular semester. The student must complete the work within 40 calendar days of the next regular (non-summer) date of registration after the end of the semester in which the I grade was earned. Otherwise, the grade of I automatically becomes an F. Exemption may be granted upon petition to the Graduate Council before the 40 calendar-day deadline.

The grades of S and U are used as final grades in the Action Research courses, the Graduate Capstone, internship, and independent study.

Academic records may be withheld for failure to satisfy financial or other responsibilities.

Student Retention
A graduate student must satisfactorily complete 11 courses or 33 semester hours of credit will be required for the Master's degree. A 3.0 grade point average is required. No more than two courses with a grade of C will be counted toward the degree.

A student will become ineligible to continue in the graduate program if 1) grades of F are received in any two courses; 2) grades of C are received in any three courses; 3) a grade of F is received in one course and grades of C are received in two other courses; or 4) a 3.0 average is not achieved within the11 courses required for graduation.

A student dismissed for academic reasons may apply for readmission on a provisional basis after one calendar year has elapsed. Withdrawal from a program shall not be considered complete until all student financial accounts have been cleared.

Academic Load
The graduate program at Catawba College is designed for the student who is currently employed in a full-time teaching or school related position. During the academic year, students will enroll for two courses. Normally, a student can expect to complete all degree requirements during a two-year period.

Appeal of Grades
Any complaint involving a course grade must first be appealed to the professor assigning the grade. If the complaint is not resolved at that level, the student may appeal to the Graduate Council for a hearing.

Class Scheduling
Graduate classes normally are scheduled in the late afternoons or evenings during the academic year. Day classes are usually scheduled during the summer terms. Ordinarily, during the academic year, each class will meet for three hours one day a week. Summer courses usually cover three-week spans and usually meet for three hours each day.

Independent Study
Independent study is an approach to learning which serves as an alternative to regular classroom instruction. In certain situations, independent study may be an appropriate form of graduate level study. Permission to register for an Independent Study must be secured from the directing instructor and the Director of the Graduate Program. A member of the graduate faculty must agree to supervise this study. Prior to the granting of approval, a written plan must be submitted outlining the scope of the study and the desired outcomes. Upon approval, this proposal shall become a contract for the independent study.

Class Attendance
Regular class attendance is expected in all classes. Each faculty member shall set an attendance policy for each course and make this policy known to students in writing at the beginning of each course. The professor has no obligation to allow or to facilitate make up work for absences for which no valid reason exists.

Final examinations or culminating products of learning are a normal part of every course. A student who does not take the examination at the scheduled time will receive a failing grade in that subject unless excused by the instructor. In the event of an absence from an examination because of severe personal illness, death in the immediate family, or other legitimate reasons, the student will be given the opportunity to make up the examination.

**National Board Certification Credit
A graduate student who has successfully completed all requirements of the National Board Certification process in Mathematics or Science Early Adolescence or Adolescence and Young Adulthood may be eligible to receive three semester hours of graduate credit. These hours will be transfer credit substituted for an elective.

To receive graduate credit for National Board Certification, the graduate student must provide a copy of the dated "letter to the Candidate" sent by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) informing the candidate that he/she has met the standard for National Board Certification.

No graduate credit will be given for the completion of any part of the National Board process without certification. Catawba College will grant graduate credit for National Board Certification awarded within the five years preceding the graduate program, and that certification must be retained through completion of the master's program.

Action Research Report and Accompanying Multimedia Presentation
Action research is required of all students. In EDUC 5119 Action Research I: Middle Grades Mathematics, EDUC 5121 Action Research I: Secondary Mathematics, EDUC 5123 Action Research I: Middle Grades Science, or EDUC 5125 Action Research I: Secondary Science, students review the relevant literature and plan the intervention and how it will be assessed. In EDUC 5120 Action Research II: Middle Grades Mathematics, EDUC 5122 Action Research II: Secondary Mathematics, EDUC 5124 Action Research II: Middle Grades Science, or EDUC 5126 Action Research II: Secondary Science, students implement the intervention and analyze the results. In EDUC 5127 Graduate Capstone and Teacher Leadership, the Action Research Report, bundled with a multi-media presentation that summarizes the research, is presented to a learning community. Later, the research is reviewed by an evaluative panel of three (two graduate faculty members and one public school representative who holds a master’s degree or higher). During this evaluative review, the candidate has to demonstrate growth in professional dispositions. The Action Research Report, along with its accompanying multi-media presentation, is the evidence that the candidate has fulfilled North Carolina’s Standards for Graduate Teacher Candidates. This evidence is placed in Taskstream, a web-based archival system.

Application for admission to candidacy must be made upon completion of at least 18 semester hours and prior to implementing the action research project.

Application for Admission to Candidacy
Application for admission to candidacy must be made upon completion of at least 21 semester hours and prior to completing action research.

Application for the Degree
A student must apply for the Master of Education degree when registering for the final term of graduate study. Forms should be obtained from the Registrar.

Policy Regarding Graduation
The requirements for the master's degree are fulfilled upon the completion of the required coursework and the evaluation panel's approval of the Action Research Report and the accompanying multi-media presentation. Once both requirements are fulfilled, NCDPI will be informed that the graduate student qualifies for a graduate license.

A declaration of intent to graduate must be filed in the Registrar's Office by the announced filing deadline. The Registrar certifies the completion of all degree requirements. A graduate student anticipating graduation at the end of a particular semester who does not complete all work by the time grades are due must reapply for graduation at a later date and assume the financial responsibilities involved therein.

Commencement exercises are held once a year in May when degrees are conferred and diplomas are issued to those who have completed all degree requirements.

The diplomas of graduate students who complete their degree requirements during the summer or the fall terms will be dated and issued the following May. Permanent records (transcripts) will note the date of completion of all requirements until the degree is conferred, at which time the conferral date will be noted.

**Degree Completion
Graduate students must complete 33 semester hours of coursework required with a minimum 3.0 grade point average. Moreover, the candidate must successfully complete and defend their Action Research Report before an evaluation team. The Action Research Report and accompanying media presentation, the content paper and accompanying media presentation, and the self-evaluation of professional dispositions must be approved and archived on Taskstream.

Coursework counted toward the degree must be completed in five years, counting from the earliest course used for degree credit. For graduate credit to be awarded for National Board Certification, the certificate must have been awarded within the five years preceding the graduate program, and that certification must be retained through completion of the master's program. Any exceptions to these policies must be approved by the Graduate Council.

Application for admission to candidacy must be made upon completion of at least 21 semester hours and prior to completing action research.