2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
    
    May 28, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Graduate Admissions


Persons seeking admission to the School of Graduate Studies at SAU must submit an application, whether or not they intend to pursue a degree. The application for admission to the School of Graduate Studies may be completed online by visiting our website at www.saumag.edu/graduate. There is a $25 fee required to submit an application. After the deadline, the fee will increase to $100.

Admission to the School of Graduate Studies at SAU does not imply admission to a graduate degree program. Some graduate programs have additional admission requirements. Applicants must be in good standing with the institution they last attended (and eligible for re-admission) in order to be eligible for admission to Southern Arkansas University.

Applications must be submitted based on the following deadlines:

  • Fall semester: August 1
  • Spring semester: December 1
  • 1st Summer session: May 1
  • 2nd Summer session: June 1

All application materials are submitted to the graduate office. Admission status will be determined when all required materials (listed below) have been submitted. Students will be notified in writing when they have been admitted.

Unconditional Admission Status

Applicants may be admitted to the School of Graduate Studies on unconditional status if they earned a baccalaureate degree from an institutionally accredited college or university and meet the following minimum requirements:

  • A cumulative grade point average of 2.50 or above out of a 4.00 system or a 2.75 GPA on the last 60 hours of undergraduate work.
  • Application for admission to the School of Graduate Studies (www.saumag.edu/graduate).
  • Proof of immunizations (MMR).
  • Official transcript reflecting a bachelor’s or master’s degree sent directly from the college or university.

Conditional Admission Status

Applicants may be admitted on conditional status if they do not qualify for unconditional status because of GPA. The minimum requirements for conditional status are ALL of the following:

  • A cumulative grade point average of 2.2 or above out of a 4.00 system.
  • Application for admission to the School of Graduate Studies (www.saumag.edu/graduate).
  • Official transcript reflecting a bachelor’s or master’s degree sent directly from the college or university.
  • Proof of immunizations (MMR).

Some colleges/programs may not allow conditional status. Students on conditional status are limited to six hours per semester.

The conditional status will be removed after the student earns a minimum of 12 semester hours of graduate credit at Southern Arkansas University with a 3.0 GPA, no grade lower than a C, and not more than one course with a grade of C. If a student fails to meet the requirements for removal of conditional status after earning 12 hours of graduate credit, he/she will be denied continuance in graduate courses at SAU.

Transient Graduate Students

Graduate students at other institutions are eligible to take graduate courses at SAU with a letter of good standing from the current university’s Dean of Graduate Studies or Registrar (Note: If your current university will not supply this letter, an official current transcript will be accepted).

Transfer Students Admission

Transfer students must be in good standing with the institution they last attended in order to be eligible for admission to Southern Arkansas University.

  • Transfer students must fulfill all general admission requirements
  • Applicants with a cumulative graduate grade point average between 2.5 and 3.0 will be placed on academic probation.
  • Applicants with a cumulative graduate grade point average of 2.49 or below will not be admitted to Graduate School at Southern Arkansas University.
  • Transfer students with incomplete “I” grades on the transcript from a previous institution will not be accepted for admission.

Transfer of Credit

Graduate courses completed at an institutionally accredited college or university may be transferred to Southern Arkansas University and applied toward a graduate degree program, provided that all of the following criteria are met:

  • The graduate-level course is comparable to SAU graduate-level work
  • The student earned a grade of A or B in the course (or the equivalent if another grading system were used)
  • The course was not applied toward another degree
  • The advisor/program director approve the acceptance of the transfer course(s)

Institutional (formerly described as regional) accreditors:

  • Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
  • The Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSOC)
  • WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

For master’s degree programs, no more than 30% of the required credit hours for the degree can be transfer credits (e.g., a student in a 30-credit hour degree program may use no more than 9 transfer credit hours, a student in a 60-credit hour degree program may use no more than 18 transfer credit hours). Faculty of a particular graduate program may restrict the number of transfer hours permitted to a lower maximum than permitted by the general graduate school policy.

All transfer hours submitted for master’s degree program credit must have been completed no more than six years prior to the completion of the SAU graduate program. All transfer hours submitted for the doctoral degree program credit must have been completed no more than ten years prior to the completion of the SAU graduate program. Transfer credit is not allowed for a graduate certificate. Some programs in the College of Education will accept up to nine hours of credit from the American Council of Education (ACE).

A student wishing to transfer credits from other institutions must notify their advisor of their plan to transfer credits prior to registering for their first semester by submitting a Graduate Course Substitution Request Form (see www.saumag.edu/graduate). Also, the student must provide the advisor a course description or syllabus, and an official transcript from the transferring institution if the transcript is not on file with the registrar.

Transfer credits will be accepted only from institutions that have accredited programs similar to those of SAU. Transfer credits will be posted on the SAU transcript; however, grades earned at other institutions will not be used to calculate a student’s cumulative grade point average. Students should be aware of the difference in quarter hours and semester hours. Quarter hours do not equate to semester hours.

If, after admission to an SAU master’s degree program of study, a student wishes to take a course at another institution to count toward program requirements at SAU, the student must secure, in advance of enrollment, advisor approval and submit an off-campus approval form to the School of Graduate Studies. Additionally, students who wish to take a course off-campus during the semester of graduation must submit a request to take off-campus courses during the semester of graduation form. Both forms can be found on our website www.saumag.edu/graduate.

Concurrent Graduate Enrollment for SAU Undergraduates

An undergraduate senior in the Colleges of Education, Liberal and Performing Arts, or Science and Engineering at Southern Arkansas University may request permission to enroll in a maximum of six hours of graduate coursework fall and spring semesters of the senior year. The student’s total course load (undergraduate and graduate) that semester may not exceed 18 hours. A student fulfilling the student teaching requirement is not permitted to take any additional coursework beyond the Student Teaching Block. The student must have a 3.0 cumulative grade point average and the written approval of the undergraduate advisor and the dean of the School of Graduate Studies. The permission form may be secured from the School of Graduate Studies. The approved form must be filed with the registrar prior to registration. The graduate courses may not be used to satisfy baccalaureate degree requirements, unless approved by the department chair, college dean, and the vice president for academic affairs.

An undergraduate senior in the College of Business at Southern Arkansas University may request permission to enroll in a maximum of six hours of graduate coursework per semester in their senior year. The student’s total course load (undergraduate and graduate) during those semesters may not exceed 18 hours. The student must have a 3.5 cumulative grade point average and the written approval of the MBA Director and the dean of the School of Graduate Studies. The permission form must be submitted by the advisor and approved by the dean prior to registration. The graduate courses may not be used to satisfy baccalaureate degree requirements, unless approved by the department chair, college dean, and the vice president for academic affairs.

Concurrent Graduate Enrollment for Non-SAU Undergraduates

Concurrent enrollment occurs when a student is enrolled as an undergraduate at one institution and at SAU as a graduate student. The Concurrent Enrollment Program is an opportunity for current undergraduates to get a head start on graduate school.

Who can apply?

If you are a student who:

  • Is a graduating senior currently enrolled in an institutionally accredited institution (referred to as home institution from this point forward)
  • Has a minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 on all undergraduate work attempted.
  • Is within 30 semester credit hours of completing bachelor’s degree requirements.

What are the requirements and rules of the program?

  • The student retains undergraduate status at the home institution until awarded their bachelor’s degree.
  • While in the Concurrent Enrollment Program, students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and remain in good academic standing at the home institution.
  • Students must enroll in at least one graduate level course (5000 level or above) in the admitted term.
  • Continuous enrollment is required. If a student sits out a semester, they will need to reapply to take courses concurrently.
  • Students cannot earn more than 6 graduate credit hours while concurrently enrolled.
  • Non-SAU students are required to submit a letter from the registrar of their home institution each term certifying the student is continuing to make satisfactory progress towards the bachelor’s degree.

How do I apply for Concurrent Admission?

Students who meet the above criteria as determined by the Southern Arkansas University must complete the following prior to the appropriate graduate school deadline:

  • Attain approval from the relevant SAU graduate program director using the Concurrent Enrollment form (for non-SAU students) at www.saumag.edu/graduate.
  • Complete an application for admission through SAU’s Graduate School website (along with payment of the application fee).
  • Submit a letter from the applicant’s registrar at the home institution certifying that the applicant is within 30 hours of completing the requirements for the bachelor’s degree, along with the applicant’s cumulative gpa.

What is required for official admission to a graduate degree program after graduation?

  • Official transcript reflecting a bachelor’s degree.
  • Any additional program admission requirements.

Workshop Credit

Students taking workshops for graduate credit are required to follow all graduate school admission procedures. Workshop students have a choice of continuing education credit through the Office of Continuing Education or graduate credit through the School of Graduate Studies. Students must complete all admission requirements before the workshop begins to receive graduate credit. Contact the School of Graduate Studies at (870) 235-4150 for help with the application process.

Re-Application Policy

Students who have not been enrolled in graduate school at SAU for one calendar year are required to re-apply for admission. The application fee, deadlines and current admission requirements apply. The application can be found on our website: www.saumag.edu/graduate.

Licensure Programs

Federal regulations require Southern Arkansas University to disclose whether its degree programs meet U.S. jurisdictions’ educational requirements for licensure (34 CFR 668.43(a)(6) & 34 CFR 668.72(n)).

Some academic programs are designed to prepare students for a career in a licensed profession upon completion of the program. A professional license is typically required for graduates of these programs to practice and/or gain employment in these fields.

Each state and territory have different professional licensure and certification requirements. Other licensure requirements may include professional examinations, background checks, years of work experience, fingerprinting requirements, etc.

Prospective and current students should also keep in mind that licensing and authorization requirements vary by state and that relocating during the course of a program to another state could impact whether they can continue in the course, meet the eligibility requirements of that state, and/or receive financial aid funding. Students considering relocation during their academic program are encouraged to communicate with the program advisor to check for authorization and licensure eligibility requirements.

Note: For specific information, see: https://web.saumag.edu/academics/professional-license-disclosure/

International Students Admissions

International students who wish to gain admission to the graduate school must provide, in addition to the requirements to the School of Graduate Studies, the following:

  1. Official transcripts indicating that the student has completed a baccalaureate degree (and master’s degree for doctoral program admission). Verification of the degree and cumulative grade point average may be necessary if the student’s degree is from a college or university outside of the United States.
  2. Evidence of the ability to read, write, speak, and understand English at a level sufficient to enable the student to profit from graduate courses.

    International students who have graduated with a G.E.D. in the United States or a degree (high school, bachelor’s, or master’s degree) from an accredited school in the United States or another English-speaking country must meet the same admission requirements as U.S. students. Other English-speaking countries include Anguilla, Antigua/Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, British Guyana, Cameroon (West/English-speaking), Canada (except Quebec), Cayman Islands, Dominica, Falkland Islands, Fiji, Ghana, Grenada, Guam, Guyana, Ireland, Jamaica/other West Indies, Liberia, Montserrat, New Zealand, South Africa (English schools), St. Helena, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Trinidad-Tobago, Turks and Caicos Isles, United Kingdom, and the Virgin Islands.

    For other international students, the English language requirement of SAU will be met when the applicant has submitted proof of ONE of the following:
    • A score of 79 or higher on the Internet TOEFL.
    • A score of 550 or higher on the written TOEFL.
    • A score of 173 or higher on the computerized TOEFL.
    • A score of Band 6/6.5 (overall) on the IELTS (International English Language Testing System).
    • Completion of Level 112 at an ELS Language Center or its equivalent.
    • Duolingo score of 100 or higher.
  3. An affidavit of support showing sufficient funds to pay tuition, fees, and room and board. In addition, the student should have enough financial resources to buy books, medical insurance, and personal items.
  4. When officially admitted to Southern Arkansas University, an international student will receive a Form I-20. This form should be taken to the U.S. consulate to apply for a student visa.
  5. The completed Application for Admission to the School of Graduate Studies and the other listed requirements must reach SAU by the deadlines stated on the website.
  6. Proof of medical insurance OR purchase medical insurance prior to registration for classes.
  7. An application fee of $90 (non-refundable) must accompany the application.

Policy on Evaluation of Transcripts for International Students

Exceptions to the Requirement for External Transcript Evaluation

In cases where international applicants have completed their coursework at non-U.S. universities very familiar to the faculty in a given program, external transcript evaluation may be waived if the following conditions are met:

  1. The request for waiver is approved by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs after consultation with the Dean of the Graduate School and the Dean of the appropriate college.
  2. Sealed transcripts which have not been altered in any fashion are sent to the International Student Office.
  3. The evaluation of each transcript is conducted by the appropriate department chair and/or program director, or the department chair’s designee(s). Designees must be fully qualified to review academic transcripts; such designees must be full-time employees of SAU. No current SAU students may participate in the process of evaluating transcripts.
  4. The chair of the appropriate department is responsible for informing the International Student Office in writing of the results of each evaluation.
  5. The internal evaluation will only apply to admissions decisions and does not include evaluation for transfer credit.

Full-time Requirements for International Graduate Students in F-1 Status

Full-time Status

Students must maintain full-time enrollment and normal full-time progress toward their degree as defined below:

For graduate students, six (6) credit hours or more are considered full-time in a regular academic semester. Please consult the Office of International Student Services and an academic advisor to determine the precise requirements of your program.

Exceptions:

  1. An F-1 student at an academic institution is considered to be in full-time status during the summer vacation if the student is eligible and intends to register for the next fall term (if they attended the previous semester full-time).
  2. The student has a medical reason for needing to be registered less than full-time and has a written medical excuse.
  3. A student in the final semester of course work is permitted to take only the number of credits required to complete the degree objective, even if it is less than the full-time course load.
  4. Graduate students are considered full-time if they are taking fewer than six credits if their academic advisor certifies that there are no other courses available on their plan of study during a particular semester.
  5. The Department of Homeland Security permits only one distance learning course (three credits) per semester to be credited towards full-time requirements.

Procedures:

If a student has to take less than the number of credits normally considered full-time in a particular semester, they must have on file a Request for Reduced Enrollment Form (signed by their academic advisor) at the Office of International Student Services (ISS). This form should be turned in ONLY to the ISS Office. The ISS Office Director must also approve in advance all forms before any student is authorized to enroll for fewer than the number of credits normally considered full-time, or to drop below full-time or withdraw from SAU during the course of a semester.

Attendance:

All international students are expected to attend classes beginning with the first day of the semester. A student may be dropped from a class for excessive absences at the request of the instructor (see class attendance policy). Should this happen, the student will not be eligible for a Request for Reduced Enrollment Form.

Ed.D. Admission Requirements

The Southern Arkansas University Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Rural and Diverse Educational Leadership terminal degree program is designed for professionals who are effective leaders and value diversity. The program provides doctoral-level training for building- and district-level administrators; two- and four-year college teachers and administrators; and community and government leaders with professional interests in primary, secondary, and/or higher education including economic factors, public health issues, and the impact on learning of local, regional, and state government policies. The program emphasizes the challenges and opportunities facing educators and leaders serving rural and diverse populations. The program takes an integrative approach to educational leadership, recognizing educators in rural and diverse communities must possess a depth of understanding of factors shaping students in rural schools, colleges, and communities.

Admission criteria help ensure students are able to excel and maximize growth as an educational leader. Applications are received between July 1 and February 1 prior to selection of each fall cohort.

Ed.D. Admission Requirements:

  • There is no standardized test (GRE, MAT) required for applicants who are United States citizens.
  • Applicants must be in good standing with the institution they last attended (and eligible for re-admission) in order to be eligible for admission to Southern Arkansas University.
  • Prospective students must submit an application through the online admission portal found on the website at www.saumag.edu/graduate. There is a $100 fee required to submit an application. Applications are accepted from July 1 to February 1 only. All application supporting documents must be submitted prior to February 1. Late or incomplete applications and supporting documents will not be accepted.
  • Students will not be admitted on a conditional or part-time basis.
  • Submit official transcripts* reflecting a master’s degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25 from institutionally accredited college or university.
  • Two recommendations must be received through the online admission portal. Letters will address applicant’s professional and academic experiences, leadership capacity, and potential for scholarly research and writing. Prospective students must submit contact information for references early enough to ensure recommendation letters are uploaded to the portal prior to February 1.
  • Submit professional resume or curriculum vitae.
  • Submit statement of purpose expressing applicant’s professional trajectory, career goals, the value of rural and diverse educational experiences in life, and reasons for pursing a doctoral degree at this time. The statement of purpose will be evaluated as a writing sample.
  • Upon request, complete an online interview with program faculty and/or staff.
  • International students must meet additional requirements as described in the Southern Arkansas University Graduate Catalog and at web.saumag.edu/international.
  • If admitted, additional coursework may be required for the following reasons: a) Students seeking licensure b) Students not having a master’s degree in the field of education c) Academic deficiencies as determined by the advising committee.
  • Superintendency Leadership Focus Area (K-12) applicants seeking district-level licensure must, at the time of application, be a licensed building-level administrator with at least one year of experience as a building-level administrator. Documentation of licensure(s) must be uploaded as supporting documents prior to February 1.

Note: Admission requirements are subject to change based on state licensure requirements for district-level administrators.

*Official transcripts must be mailed to School of Graduate Studies, 100 East University, MSC 9302, Magnolia, AR 71753 or sent electronically from the prior university via Parchment, SPEEDE, or National Student Clearinghouse to gradstudies@saumag.edu.

The Ed.D. Program admits students through a competitive process based on holistic admission criteria. Holistic review considers a broad range of candidate qualities including personal attributes and experiences. Holistic review is a growing strategy for widening the evidence base graduate schools consider when evaluating a candidate for admission. [For more information on holistic admission, see Kent, J.D., and McCarthy, M.T. (2016). Holistic Review in Graduate Admissions: A Report from the Council of Graduate Schools. Washington, DC: Council of Graduate Schools.

Applicants will be notified of admission decisions by May 1. At the time of notification, doctoral students will be admitted to both the School of Graduate Studies and the Doctor of Education in Rural and Diverse Educational Leadership Program.

Ed.D. Application Checklist:

  • Apply online July 1 through February 1
  • $100 application fee (paid online)
  • Official transcripts of all previous college work
  • Upload resume or curriculum vitae
  • Provide contact information for two references
  • Submit statement of purpose
  • Upon request, complete interview
  • Provide appropriate licensure documentation
  • International students require additional documentation as outlined in the Graduate Catalog