Graduate work at Springfield College began in 1890 with the completion of the graduate requirements-one year of “advance work” plus a thesis-acceptable for a diploma. In 1905, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts authorized the College to grant the degrees of Master of Humanics and Master of Physical Education. In 1926, the College was granted the power to confer the Master of Education degree. The degree of Doctor of Physical Education and the Master of Science degree were approved by the Board of Collegiate Authority of Massachusetts in 1950. On January 13, 2006, the Chancellor of the Board of Higher Education approved the request to retitle the Doctor of Physical Education Degree to Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Physical Education. The Master of Social Work degree was approved in 1993. The Physical Therapy program transitioned to a Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.) curriculum in 2008. A Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degree program with concentrations in management and nonprofit management began offering courses in the summer of 2010. A Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in Counseling Psychology program began offering courses in Fall 2011.
While different departments offer and supervise graduate programs at Springfield College, coordination of these is effected through the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs along with the College’s general regulations, academic policies, and philosophy of education.
Graduate students are urged to familiarize themselves with the Student Handbook and Catalog.
The Master’s Degree
Upon the recommendation of the Department Chair, School Dean, and certified by the Registrar, the College authorizes the awarding of the Master’s degree to a student who has completed an approved program of studies with a B average or better (3.000).
At the start of or prior to the final term during which a student expects to complete requirements for the degree, he or she is required to file an application for degree in the Office of the Registrar.
The College grants the following master’s degrees: Master of Education (M.Ed.), Master of Science (M.S.), Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) and Master of Social Work (M.S.W). Students in all major fields, except social work and business administration, completing graduate requirements are eligible for the Master of Science or the Master of Education degree unless otherwise noted. Students in the social work program receive the Master of Social Work degree and students in the business administration program receive the Master of Business Administration degree.
The development of research skills and knowledge and engagement in research activities are an important component of the graduate experience at Springfield College. A student pursuing a masters degree must successfully complete Foundations and Methods of Research (RSCH 610) or its equivalent and a program-specific research endeavor that demonstrates the students understanding of the research process. Additional requirements for earning a master’s degree are outlined below.
The following pages contain information about these topics:
Degrees Granted at Springfield College
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I. The Master of Education degree
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Plan A requires successful completion of a minimum of thirty-two hours of graduate work and successful completion of a program-specific comprehensive culminating experience (exam, portfolio, presentation, etc.).
The research requirement under this plan, which is determined by the student’s specific program, consists of either an independent study (RSCH 618 or department-specific 692) research project (RSCH 626 or department-specific 626), research completed within a specific course or portfolio, or a combination of the research project and a related course.
II. The Master of Science degree
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This degree requires students to engage in a research process, as determined by their academic program, which includes a clearly defined problem statement and hypothesis or research question, and specific and systematic procedures for data collection and analysis, resulting in a verifiable conclusion. The MS may be earned under one of the three plans:
Plan B requires successful completion of all graduate work required by the student’s specific program and a master’s research thesis which culminates in an oral defense. The program requirements include a statistics course and six semester hours of credit for RSCH 612: Proposal Design (2 s.h.) and RSCH 635: Thesis (4 s.h.). The student is eligible to receive the Master of Science degree or may choose to receive the Master of Education or Master of Physical Education degree.
*Plan C requires successful completion of all graduate work required by the student’s specific program, and a minimum of eleven semester hours of graduate work in the research area, which includes the following courses:
- Foundations and methods of research (RSCH 610)
- Educational and psychological statistics I (RSCH 620) or Qualitative Research Methodology (RSCH 615)
- Proposal design (RSCH 612)
- Research project (RSCH 626 or DEPT 626)
The student is eligible to receive a Master of Science degree or may choose to receive a Master of Education.
* Not available to all programs.
Plan D is available only to students in the School of Professional and Continuing Studies. The thirty-six semester hour curriculum includes a twelve semester hour sequence of research project courses with a particular concentration. Students are required to study research methodology and demonstrate competencies related to the design, implementation, and evaluation of an action research project. The required research project culminates in a written research report, oral presentation and defense.
III. The Master of Social Work degree
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Plan E is available only to students in the School of Social Work. The sixty semester hour curriculum includes an eight semester hour sequence of courses in social work research:
MSSW 621, Social Work Research 1, Credits: 3; and
MSSW 622, Social Work Research 2, Single System Design, Credits: 2;
MSSW 625, Social Work Research 2, Program Evaluation, Credits: 2 and
MSSW 623, Social Work Research 3, Credits: 3
Advanced standing students are required to have completed the equivalent of MSSW 621 and MSSW 622 as a part of their previous study in an accredited Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program. These students are required to complete MSSW 623 (Qualitative Research).
MSW/JD Combined Degree students must enter the program having completed the equivalent of MSSW 621 (Introduction to Research). Students in this program must take either Social Work Practice 3, with Advanced Research in the Law as one of the electives in the law, or Social Work Research 3, with Law and Social Sciences as one of the electives in law.
IV. The Master of Business Administration degree
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The MBA requires 30 semester hours of graduate credit. Coursework will culminate in a Master of Business Administration degree with a concentration in either management or nonprofit management. All students will enroll in the seven core courses. The concentration courses are three in number. The management concentration is ideal for those students who are looking to work in the for-profit sector in the areas of manufacturing, marketing, finance, banking, insurance, and management. The nonprofit management concentration is for those who are interested in working in the nonprofit sector-in social services, the arts, recreation, education, healthcare, and youth development.
The MBA can be earned via three ways: one year, coursework only; two years, coursework plus corporate residency; or part-time. The corporate residency does not earn graduate credit.
Course Loads - Masters Level
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While graduate students register for varying numbers of academic credit depending upon circumstances, the majority of students register for ten to fourteen credit hours per semester. A student may carry no more than thirty-six semester hours of graduate credit during one year. However, if a program includes undergraduate prerequisites, the total number of semester hours during the year may reach forty. Credit for all skills and techniques courses will be included in the determination of this total number of semester hours. Where the course load for a semester exceeds eighteen semester hours, students are obliged to complete a form, available at the Registrar’s Office; obtain the recommendation of their major advisor and department chair, and receive authorization from their school dean prior to registration.
It is the responsibility of graduate students to identify the subject for the thesis and to prepare, in proposal form, the plan with which they expect to investigate the problem. All students are expected to write their research in the field of their graduate major. All students who do a thesis are required to satisfactorily complete a statistics course (RSCH 620). The Department Chair or Program Coordinator appoints a thesis committee to guide the student and to pass judgment on the merits of the thesis. A student’s thesis proposal will not be accepted nor will a committee be appointed if the student’s academic index is below 3.000.
The following schedule is to be followed by graduate students completing theses:
- The first complete draft of the thesis must be submitted to the student’s committee no later than eight weeks before graduation. Three copies must be provided, one for each member of the committee.
- The final draft of the thesis must be completed, approved, typed in final form, and received by the Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs ready for binding no later than six weeks before graduation.
- Students who do not meet this time schedule will not receive their diplomas until a later graduation date.
(For Plan B students)
The oral examination is administered to graduate students who have completed the thesis requirements. It cannot be taken any later than five weeks prior to graduation. The examination focuses on a critical review of the student’s research and includes any aspect of the student’s major field (and related fields) about which the examiners wish to raise questions. The examining committee consists of the student’s thesis committee plus one other faculty member appointed by the Department Chair or Program Coordinator. The graduate student must provide the fourth member with either a copy or an abstract of the thesis at least one week before the scheduled date of the oral examination.
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(For Plan A students)
For those students completing the requirements for the Plan A master’s degree, a written examination of a minimum of three hours on the major field is required, unless other evaluative procedures have been approved. Students will not be permitted to register for and take the comprehensive examination unless their cumulative index is 3.000 or higher at the beginning of the semester in which the comprehensive examination occurs. All students who intend to take the Comprehensive Examination must notify their departmental office at least four weeks prior to the examination, indicating their area of concentration.
A student who fails the comprehensive examination may request to take it a second time, subject to approval by the major advisor. Any student failing the master’s comprehensive examination twice will no longer be considered a degree student. These students may not select an alternate plan leading to the master’s degree.
The length of time needed to complete requirements for the master’s degree depends on several factors: the nature of the undergraduate preparation, the quality of achievement in graduate courses, the professional purposes of the student, and the amount of fieldwork or part-time employment carried. The minimum time for graduate students who have a good background in undergraduate preparation is one academic year, with at least thirty-two semester hours of credit. If a candidate lacks certain prerequisites in his or her undergraduate background, the candidate must complete those specified prerequisites according to prescription (with or without graduate credit). This may result in an extension of the time necessary for the completion of the program.
Work for the degree must be completed within five years from the time of initial registration for graduate courses at Springfield College. In exceptional cases, the time limit may be extended by the Office of Academic Affairs following a petition by the graduate student and with the recommendation of the dean of the students program, prior to the end of the five-year period. In such instances, the student’s original program is subject to reexamination and additional requirements may be imposed. For additional information regarding time limits, refer to the Transfer Credit policy.
All masters programs must contain a minimum of fifteen semester hours of 600-level courses. Additional hours at this level are required in some major fields.
The Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study
Students who have obtained the master’s degree may pursue degree programs in several graduate areas of specialization that lead to a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study. The emphasis in this program is on the enrichment and advancement of the student’s preparation through research, supervised clinical experience, independent study, or further specialization. While this program is usually terminal, part or all of the credit earned may be used toward the doctorate when applicable.
Each program is planned on an individual basis with an awareness of the student’s objectives and previous preparation, but all programs include a minimum of thirty-two hours of graduate course credit, of which a minimum of twenty must be in 600-level courses. Students are required to have a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.000 or better. All graduate-level courses for which a student is enrolled are included in the computation of the student’s academic GPA.
When a student’s area of specialization is different from that in which he or she received the master’s degree, the requirements for the Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study may total more than thirty-two semester hours beyond the master’s degree. In such an instance the student is expected to complete such courses as are necessary to establish the master’s degree equivalent in the new specialization, in addition to the minimum of thirty-two hours of the Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study.
A maximum of six hours of credit may be transferred from another approved institution. However, under special circumstances, wherein certain courses not offered at Springfield College are needed in the student’s program, a maximum of twelve semester hours may be transferred, provided such work is relevant and necessary for the students Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study program, is completed beyond the master’s degree, and is recommended by the students major advisor and approved by the Department Chair or Program Coordinator.
A time limit of five years from the initial registration within the Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study program is allowed for the completion of all requirements for the degree. All courses accepted for transfer credit must be completed during the five-year period of the student’s candidacy for the Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study. For additional information regarding time limits, refer to Transfer Credit policies.
All students interested in enrolling in any of the programs leading to the Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study at Springfield College must submit a formal application. The application form may be obtained from the Graduate Admissions Office. Admission to some of these programs presupposes experience related to the field of study.
Springfield College offers a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in the following degree programs. Refer to the specific section for more information.
- Athletic Counseling - CAGS
- Industrial and Organizational Psychology - CAGS
- Clinical Mental Health Counseling - CAGS
- Physical Education - CAGS
- School Counseling - CAGS
- Special Education - CAGS