Graduate Program Matriculation Requirements
Students may enroll in a graduate program upon admission but once enrolled, they must stay in good standing academically to graduate with the M.S.E. or M.S. degree.
Students enrolled in graduate degree programs should make consistent progress towards their degree to complete the program according to the requirements under which they enrolled. If a student does not maintain continuous matriculation, the School of Engineering may require that the student meet the degree requirements enforced at the time of his or her last readmission.
When engaged in a thesis, students must officially register for at least 1 course every term (not including summer term), except that 1 term may be missed with prior approval of the Graduate Committee. Students must be enrolled in at least 1 hour of thesis research during the term in which their final thesis defense takes place. All work submitted for degree credit must be completed within 7 consecutive calendar years.
Most graduate students in the School of Engineering are part-time students. To qualify for full-time status, a graduate student must schedule at least 9 hours each term (summer term excepted). For financial aid purposes, graduate loads are considered full time if a student if enrolled in 9 or more credit hours; three-quarter time if a student is enrolled in 6-8 credit hours; half time if a student is enrolled in 4-5 credit hours; or quarter time if a student is enrolled in 1-3 credit hours.
Graduate students are expected to maintain at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average (GPA). Students in the 4+1 Integrated Degree Program must maintain at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average on all coursework which applies toward the M.S.E. degree. Any student earning a grade lower than a “B” will receive a warning. If a student earns a second grade lower than a “B,” he or she will be placed on academic probation. Students will be informed of requirements for retaining good academic standing. Failure to meet the requirements will result in the student being dismissed from the program. An S/U grade does not affect the GPA. No credit is awarded for any course in which a grade below “C” is earned. No more than two grades of “C” or “C+” in any combination may be applied toward a graduate degree. Graduate courses may not be repeated.
The grade of IC (incomplete) means the student is passing the class but some small part of the coursework remains incomplete because of illness or another valid reason that is satisfactory to the instructor.
The student should request the instructor to provide a written statement of work to be completed and the deadline by which it is due. Irrespective of the student’s enrollment status, the grade of IC will be valid for 1 calendar year in normal lecture or laboratory courses and in unstructured independent study courses. Within this period the student must complete the work or obtain an extension, approved by the instructor and Chair of the department for the course, stating the reason for the request and the length of time needed. Normally only 1 request for an extension for each grade of IC will be granted. If the work is not completed within 1 calendar year or by the deadline established in an extension, the IC grade will be changed to a grade of F.
Graduate degrees cannot be completed until all ABX, IC, and U grades have been converted to a passing letter grade (i.e., a C or better for courses with the A/F option and an S for courses only offered on the S/U grading option).
Under certain circumstances, students may receive transfer credit for graduate-level courses taken elsewhere. The student must have his or her previous institution supply an official transcript to the Graduate Programs office for this evaluation. Upon recommendation of the student’s graduate advisor, and approval of the program director, transfer credit may be awarded for courses of acceptable quality which form a logical part of the student’s graduate program. Such credit will be limited to 6 semester hours, and may substitute for no more than 2 courses.
Students enrolled in the Mercer School of Engineering graduate program who wish to attend graduate classes at another institution, and to transfer credit back to their graduate program here, should receive permission to take transient courses prior to enrolling at another institution. Otherwise, courses taken elsewhere may not count toward their Mercer degrees. Authority to take transient course work is granted through the dean’s office. The maximum number of transfer/transient credit may not exceed the University guidelines as specified in the “Graduate Studies” section of the Mercer University Macon Campus Catalog.
The following general requirements are common to all programs. Students must complete a minimum of 30 semester hours of course work and a minimum of 18 hours in discipline 12 of which must be at the 600 level. Students must also complete a minimum of 18 hours at the 600 level. An optional thesis or minor is also available. Specific course work requirements for graduation with the Master of Science and Master of Science in Engineering degree are established by the departments offering the program.
Students electing to complete a thesis must complete a minimum of 24 hours of course work and a minimum of 6 hours of research including a formal master’s thesis. The purpose of the thesis is to further the educational development of the student by requiring him or her to plan, conduct, and report an organized and systematic study which makes a contribution to the student’s field. The thesis must be directed by a fellow of the graduate faculty. A maximum of 6 hours of research may be counted toward the degree. Only grades of satisfactory or unsatisfactory will be assigned. Each student will work with a faculty advisor to develop a plan for the research that will satisfy the departmental requirements for the degree. A narrative description of the plan, approved by the faculty advisor, must be submitted to the program director during the academic term preceding the initiation of work on the research.
Students may do research “in absentia” provided:
- They have gained the written approval of their research committee and their department chair.
- They conform to the continuous enrollment guidelines. Payment of fees is the responsibility of the student regardless of sponsorship by his or her employer.
A thesis advisory committee is appointed by the graduate program director to each graduate student electing the thesis option. The committee has oversight responsibility for the student’s research. The committee shall meet all the following requirements:
- The committee shall consist of at least 3 members, one of whom must be from outside the home department.
- A majority of the committee shall be full-time faculty of the School of Engineering and full members of the Graduate Faculty.
- The committee chairperson appointment shall be a member of the graduate faculty.
- Individuals with relevant expertise who are not full-time members of the faculty may serve as members of the committee.
Students who expect to qualify for degrees must file a graduation application with the Office of the Registrar by the dates specified in the Academic Calendar. Students must complete all degree requirements prior to attending graduation ceremonies. There are no exceptions. The program director normally recommends to the Registrar the awarding of the Master’s degree to any candidate who:
- Has satisfied the requirements of the School of Engineering, and of the home department, with respect to course work and academic performance
- Has an overall grade point average of at least 3.0
- Has successfully completed the oral defense of any thesis
- Has received the final approval of any thesis from the appropriate review bodies
- Has submitted three unbound copies of any thesis with an abstract of not more than 300 words, certified for accuracy and proper format by the faculty advisor
- Will have completed all work submitted to satisfy the degree requirements within a period of not more than seven consecutive calendar years
- Is, at the time, a registered student in good standing.