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Graduation Requirements

The GPNS has the following specific graduation requirements that must be met successfully two weeks prior to commencement:  

  1. Regular admission status.
  2. A minimum of 30 semester credit hours for the thesis option and 32 hours for the non-thesis option. A maximum of six (6) semester credit hours of course work at the grade of C may apply toward graduation.
  3. A cumulative graduate GPA of 3.0 or higher at graduation.
  4. A graduation planning sheet approved by the program department chair and the GPNS program director no later than the semester preceding the semester of graduation. (The deadline for submission is published in the CSU-Pueblo semester schedule of courses).  
  5. Completion of a thesis project and a thesis or a non-thesis internship project and an internship report. 
  6. A final comprehensive or oral examination in the major area of study, depending on thesis or non-thesis option choice. 
  7. A seminar (thesis or internship) presenting and defending the work done for the thesis or internship.
  8. Students may repeat thesis and internship project courses beyond the minimum hours required by a degree program. Satisfactory progress will be indicated by the grade S. Enrollment for thesis or internship credit is required for any academic term during which university resources (e.g. faculty time, computer use, library, etc.) are being used. A maximum of six (6) semester hours of thesis or four (4) hours of internship (for the non-thesis option) research will count toward meeting the graduation requirement.

Graduate Advising

The appropriate GPNS Program Director acts as the initial advisor when students begin the program. Students select a major professor and advisor from the tenure-track faculty in their area of study during the first semester in the program. Students admitted into the program under regular status are required to have a graduate committee no later than upon completion of 12 credit hours of study. The major professor and the GPNS Program Director will help the student select the remaining members of the graduate committee.

The graduate committee must consist of at least three (3) tenure-track faculty members. In addition to the major (research) advisor, two (2) other tenure-track faculty members are required. Two members of the committee must be tenure-track faculty from the department of the student's chosen emphasis area. One member of the committee may be from a department outside the student's emphasis area. Non-tenure track faculty from CSU-Pueblo or qualified individuals not from CSU-Pueblo may be chosen as a fourth member of the committee if desired (e.g. internship supervisor). The GPNS Program Director and the appropriate department chair must approve the composition of the graduate committee. Changes in membership in the graduate committee may be initiated by committee members wishing to withdraw themselves or by the student, but must be approved by the student's department chair and the Program Director.

The responsibilities of the graduate major professor and the graduate committee include advisement, approval of the degree plan, approval and execution of a thesis or internship topic and final document. Administration of the comprehensive or oral examination is the responsibility of the department chair. The comprehensive exam will consist of questions from program faculty, including but not limited to the graduate committee. These questions will relate to the coursework taken by the student in the degree plan. All these activities are approved by the department chair and the GPNS Program Director.

Course Loads

Graduate students enrolled in nine (9) or more hours shall be considered as full-time students (6 hours, summer); those enrolled for six (6) hours or less shall be considered as half-time students (3 hours, summer).

Time Limits

Courses completed six (6) or more years prior to graduation, either at CSU-Pueblo or at other institutions, will not be accepted as satisfying graduation requirements. Petitions for waiver of the six-year limitation may be submitted to the GPNS Program Director for consideration by the GPNS Advisory Board. The Board will accept such petitions only upon justification of unusual and extenuating circumstances. If the petition is approved by the GPNS Advisory Board, the GPNS Program Director will forward the approved petition to the Admissions Office.

Degree Plan

All degree-seeking graduate students are required to submit to the Admissions Office a degree plan approved by the graduate committee, the department chair, the dean of the College of Science and Mathematics and the GPNS Program Director. The degree plan should be submitted as early as possible but in no case not later than upon completion of 12 credit hours of study since any course taken prior to having an approved degree plan is subject to review for suitability in the program. Any changes in the degree plan must be approved by the major professor, the Department Chair and the GPNS Program Director, and submitted to the Admissions Office.

Undergraduate Courses

Although undergraduate classes do not apply toward a graduate degree, students admitted to graduate study may be required to complete some undergraduate prerequisite courses in addition to their graduate work. These would include required leveling courses.

Courses taken for undergraduate credit by a graduate student do not enter into the graduate grade-point computation. The program department chair may, however, stipulate a grade point to be achieved in these undergraduate courses.

Graduate programs may include courses that are dual numbered at senior (400) and graduate (500) levels. Students registered for graduate credit shall be required to perform at the graduate level. Dual listed courses taken for undergraduate credit will not apply toward a graduate program unless the student is enrolled in the three-plus-two program. Graduate students may not repeat for graduate credit a dual listed course that was taken in the undergraduate program.

Academic Standards

Graduate courses are graded in an alphabetical system with the following interpretation: 

A - Excellent performance 
B - Good performance 
C - Passing, but below expected performance 
D - Unsatisfactory performance 
F - Failing 
IN - Incomplete, no credit awarded 
IP - In Progress 
S - Satisfactory 
U - Unsatisfactory 
W - Withdrawal 
NC - No credit

Students may apply no more than six (6) semester hours of work with a grade of C toward graduation requirements. Grades of D, F, IN, U do not fulfill graduation requirements of graduate programs.

Graduate students may repeat a maximum of six (6) hours of graduate credit. Courses in which a grade of C or better was earned may not be repeated and no course may be repeated more than once. When a course is repeated, both the subsequent grade and the original grade are included in the student's graduate grade-point average; provided the student has requested a re-computation of grade-point average by the Registrar's Office.

To remain in good academic standing, a graduate student's GPA must remain at 3.00 or better. If a graduate GPA falls below 3.0, he/she will be placed on probation. Students on probation have one semester to show progress toward good standing. Probationary students with 12 or more semester hours of graduate work will be suspended whenever progress toward good standing is not demonstrated, or whenever the graduate GPA falls below 2.50.

A student may appeal suspension by submitting a written petition to the GPNS Program Director. This petition must provide a justification for continued registration. The Program Director shall forward a recommendation through the appropriate chair, the dean, and the Admissions Office to the Office of the Provost. The Provost or the Provost's designee shall make a decision on the appeal and inform the student of that decision. Decisions of the Provost are final.

Thesis or Internship Project

The GPNS degree programs requires students to choose an option of either a thesis or an internship project. Each student must submit a proposal for a research or internship project. The proposal must define the topic of study and outline the procedures to be used and the scope of the project. The proposal must have the written approval of all the members of the student's graduate committee, the Dean and the GPNS Director. 

The research or internship proposal must be filed with the program director as soon as possible after the degree plan is filed and before completion of the second semester of coursework.

Thesis Instructions

Those students who will be writing a thesis in partial fulfillment of the graduation requirements must submit the thesis to the graduate committee at least two (2) weeks prior to the anticipated date of oral defense of thesis research (4 weeks prior to commencement). The oral defense of the thesis must be completed two (2) weeks prior to commencement.

After the student's graduate committee has approved the thesis, the student must submit five (5) official copies of the approved thesis to the University Library for binding through the GPNS Program Director. The student will pay the library for the binding cost (based on the fee schedule maintained by the library) of the five required copies plus any additional copy bindings requested by the student. The bound thesis will be distributed to each of the following: one to the GPNS Program Director, two to the University Library, one to the graduate committee chair, and one to the department.

The final thesis report and official copies must:

  1. Contain a certificate of acceptance.
  2. Contain a title page.
  3. Contain an abstract page.
  4. Conform to the style and form approved by the program department and outlined in the thesis plan (speak with the Program Director for current requirements).
  5. Be printed on high quality, pH neutral paper with a minimum of 25% rag content (Gilbert Bond, which is available at the CSU-Pueblo bookstore, is recommended).
  6. Contain no erasures.
  7. Be bound.
  8. A copy of the thesis on a CD is also required.

The five (5) university bound copies of the thesis must be of high-quality printing and must use a paper of the same quality as the original and include color pages where appropriate. Other copies of the thesis may be duplicated in any manner the student desires.

It is imperative that the utmost care be taken in the preparation of the final copy of the thesis. The completion of the thesis, including typing and duplication, is the sole responsibility of the student.

The thesis abstract should consist of no more than one page and should include:

  1. Title
  2. Purpose of Study
  3. Research Materials and Methods
  4. Significant Results
  5. Summary and Conclusions

An approved thesis abstract must be submitted to the GPNS Program Director at least five (5) days prior to commencement.

Oral Defense of Thesis Research

Upon completion of a thesis, an oral defense must be scheduled to occur two (2) weeks prior to commencement. Application for the oral defense is made to the GPNS Program Director through the major professor. The day and time for the oral exam are scheduled by the major professor after prior approval by the graduate committee and the Program Director.

A report of the outcome of the oral defense must be filed by the GPNS program director with the Admissions Office. The report must be signed by all members of the student's graduate committee. Students must pass the oral defense to complete their program requirements successfully.

Graduate Non-Thesis Internship Instructions

A graduate internship will be required of all students opting for the non-thesis program format. Each student will be placed with a local, state, or federal agency, or a non-profit research or educational organization, or a private business or corporation. The student will conduct a specified series of tasks appropriate to his/ her research interests and background. Calculation of semester credits will be on the following basis; Four semester credit hours will be awarded for 180 actual clock hours (1 semester credit hour for 45 clock hours).

A final internship report will document the activities of the student relative to his/her investigation, and will be written using current acceptable format for scientific publications and reports. Although the report need not be as formal as a thesis, it must be typed in an acceptable format and include a title page comparable to the thesis format, must document all internship activities, and must be written in a scientific format. Consult with the GPNS Program Director.

The report should include the purpose of the study or project, limitations, the procedures used, sources of data, a summary section with conclusions, and literature cited. The internship report must be approved by all members of the student's graduate committee, the department chair and the GPNS Program Director; the final report should be submitted to the graduate committee for approval at least two (2) weeks prior to the anticipated date of comprehensive examinations. 

Comprehensive Examinations for the Non-Thesis Option

The GPNS graduate program requires a final comprehensive examination at the completion of course work and the graduate internship for the non-thesis option. Scheduling is made through the major professor, the department chair, and the GPNS Program Director. The department chair determines the major subject elements of the final examination, based on student's coursework, getting input from program faculty. Students who fail the comprehensive examination may retake the examination once. A re-examination cannot be scheduled in the same semester as the original examination. Comprehensive exams must be completed two (2) weeks prior to commencement. A report of the outcome of the comprehensive examination must be filed by the GPNS program director with the Admissions Office. The report must be signed by all members of the student's graduate committee and the department chair.​​​​​​

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