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3.6.2 Graduate Curriculum

The institution structures its graduate curricula (1) to include knowledge of the literature of the discipline and (2) to ensure ongoing student engagement in research and/or appropriate professional practice and training experiences.

Judgment of Compliance

PVAMU SACS Accreditation - Judgement Compliance

Narrative of Compliance

The mission of the Graduate School at Prairie View A&M University is "to provide the administration for continued intellectual growth through advanced and specialized educational programs" [1]. The Graduate School’s mission supports the University’s mission [2] through commitment to advanced education through the master’s degree in education, engineering, computer science, natural sciences, nursing, juvenile justice, selected social sciences, agriculture, business and human sciences and doctoral degrees in education, engineering and juvenile justice. Graduate programs at the university foster knowledge of respective disciplines and the potential for contributions to a profession or field of study. The university’s research foci include extending knowledge in all disciplines offered and incorporating research-based experiences in the graduate students’ development [2].


The university structures its graduate curricula to include knowledge of the literature of the discipline and to ensure ongoing student engagement in research and/or appropriate professional practice and training experiences. All graduate students complete a core set of courses in their chosen discipline of at least nine semester credit hours at the master’s level to as many as thirty-six semester credit hours at the doctoral level [3]. The average core is twelve semester credit hours at the master's level and thirty semester credit hours for doctoral programs. Faculty in the discipline develop and prescribe the core to ensure knowledge of and fundamentals of research in the field. The core must be approved by the Graduate Council.


The Graduate Council follows all guidelines for recognition and classification of courses, and degree program offerings required by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) [4]. Following the Graduate Council approval, proposals are forwarded to the Texas A&M Board of Regents for review and approval. Proposals are then sent to the THECB where they are reviewed in accordance with THECB standards. The THECB examines whether the associated curriculum of new proposals is "up-to-date and consistent with current educational theory" and it ensures that "Professional programs and those resulting in licensure [are] designed to meet the standards of appropriate regulatory bodies" [5]. Before the THECB will approve a new doctoral program, a mandatory peer review and site visit is required [6]. All degree programs at Prairie View A&M University have been approved by the THECB and can be found on the THECB’s website in its list of approved programs [7].


All doctoral programs and many of the master's degrees at the University were implemented within the last eight years as part of the THECB 2000 Priority Plan [8] and have undergone extensive review. Most graduate programs for which accreditation is available are accredited by respective agencies, such as the National Architectural Accreditation Board, Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International, National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, State Board for Educator Certification, ABET, and the National League of Nursing Accrediting Commission, among others [9]. The standards set by these agencies help ensure students possess knowledge of the literature of the discipline and that they have ongoing engagement in research and/or appropriate professional practice and training experiences.


Graduate students must demonstrate research and critical thinking skills through successful academic performance throughout their matriculation and advancement to candidacy. The Graduate Student Degree Plan and Admission to Graduate Candidacy form assist advisors and the Graduate School to monitor student progress. A student petitions for Graduate Student Candidacy after successful completion of at least 12 semester credit hours of graduate-level coursework [10] [11]. An inventory of graduate courses is listed in the Graduate Catalog [12].


All programs require a minimum of six semester credit hours in research, thesis, theory, internship or practicum experience prior to graduation [3]. A typical curricular degree plan in the Graduate Catalog with the common core and research/resource requirements appears below. Degree concentration or degree requirements outside of the core also ensure breadth and depth of knowledge and further experiences in the field:


Master of Science in Agricultural Economics Program Requirements:
Common Core ....................................................................................................9 SCH
            AGHR 5353 Technological Change
            AGHR 5373 Seminar
            AGRO 5713 Biostatistics
Degree Concentration ...................................................................................... 18 SCH
            AGEC 5213 Land Use and Resource Management
            AGEC 5223 Farm and Ranch Management
            AGEC 5233 Price Analysis
            AGEC 5243 Agricultural Policy
            AGEC 5253 Marketing of Farm Products
            AGEC 5283 Agricultural Finance
Support Area Requirements ...............................................................................3 SCH
            ECON 5003 Concepts of Economic Analysis or MRKT 5003 Concepts of     Marketing
Research/Resource ...............................................................................................6 SCH
            Select from:
            AGRO 5783 Application of Biostatistics ................................................. 3 SCH
            AGEC 5263 Research Methods or HUSC 5343 Research Problems ....... 3 SCH
            AGHR 5303 Research or HUSC 5693 Thesis .......................................... 3 SCH
Total Degree Requirements ............................................................................... 36 SCH

 


At the doctoral level, all programs require a thesis, dissertation, or project report prior to completion, and an oral examination to defend research is required [13]. Coursework, thesis options, and comprehensive examinations also ensure ongoing student engagement in research and their field. Specific requirements for respective colleges are given below:


College of Agriculture and Human Sciences:
All degree programs in this College require a core of at least nine semester credit hours as well as six semester credit hours in research and resource. Each degree candidate is required to complete a course in research methods or research problems [3] and complete a thesis or master's project.


School of Architecture:
All degree programs in this College require a core of at least twenty-four semester credit hours. The master's degree in Architecture requires an internship experience in the field as well as a research seminar. The master's in community development requires a research course and several practicums in community development [3].


College of Art & Sciences:
All five degree programs in this College require a core of at least nine semester credit hours, while most have eighteen. Thesis or major projects are required for degrees in biology, chemistry, English, and mathematics [3].


College of Business:
The two degree programs in this College require a core of at least twenty-one semester credit hours. Each degree program requires theory courses and professional practice and training experiences consistent with the field. The MBA requires eighteen semester credit hours of prerequisites for its core [3].


College of Education:
All degree programs in this College require a core of at least twelve semester credit hours. Students are required to take at least one theory as well as a research course, and all master's of science degrees require a thesis while master's of education require a seminar project. The doctorate requires completion of a thirty semester credit hour core, twelve semester credits in research, and twelve semester credits in dissertation [3].


College of Engineering:

All degree programs in this College require a core of at least twelve semester credit hours. All master's degrees have a thesis and non-thesis option. The thesis option requires a thesis and thesis course while the non-thesis option requires a master's project and course. The doctorate requires a core of twenty-nine semester credit hours, including graduate seminars, and doctoral research and dissertation semester credit hours [3].


College of Juvenile Justice and Psychology:

All degree programs in this Collge require a core of at least twelve semester credit hours. A research methods course is required of all students, as is a thesis or comprehensive examination or dissertation, with the exception of the option for master's in juvenile forensic psychology, which allows an eighteen semester credit externship. This option requires course work in personality assessment and other areas as well as field work. The doctorate programs require dissertations. The PhD in clinical adolescent psychology also requires twelve semester credit hours in internship experiences [3].


College of Nursing:
All degree programs in this College require a core of at fourteen semester credit hours, including courses in theory and research. While the thesis option requires course in thesis proposal and thesis, the non thesis option requires a course in writing for publication and additional coursework [3].


Objectives, Outcomes, and Admission Standards
Program learning outcomes and objectives set by units offering post-baccalaureate degrees make priorities of knowledge of the literature of the discipline and ongoing student engagement in research and/or appropriate professional practice and training experiences. Sample objectives from programs in the College of Juvenile Justice and Psychology [14], the College of Nursing [15], the College of Engineering [16], and the College of Agriculture and Human Sciences [17] demonstrate the University’s commitment to enhancing students’ skills in respective areas and to preparing them to contribute to their field. The master of science degree in juvenile justice, for example, “Increase[s] students’ knowledge of theoretical explanations and the etiologies of delinquency and juvenile crime” and “Increase[s] students’ skills in how to conduct research and evaluate programs related to delinquency” [14]. The master of science degrees in the College of Nursing prepares students upon completion of the program, to “Use evidenced-based research to enhance nursing practice and promote healthy communities and diverse populations” and to “Integrate knowledge, theories and professional standards of nursing and related disciplines into advanced nursing society [15].


General admission requirements outlined in the catalog under “Graduate Admissions Requirement” set minimum standards for admission to post-baccalaureate degree programs. Respective units, however, determine specific admissions standards. For example, students admitted to the master’s program in Educational Leadership and Counseling must also have a “valid State of Texas Teaching Certificate and proof of three years teaching experience if the student is pursing the Educational Administration track” [18]. Admissions requirements for each unit can be found in the Graduate Catalog [19].


Supporting Documentation and Links


Comprehensive Standards 3.6.2

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