Graduate Bulletin 2020 -2021 
    Jul 25, 2024  
Graduate Bulletin 2020 -2021 [ARCHIVED BULLETIN]

General Academic Information

Programs Offered

The Graduate School at Columbia College currently awards the following credentials. The graduate faculty at Columbia College is committed to teaching excellence, the practical professional needs of students, and a specialized approach to research interests.

Masters Degrees Certificates
M.A. in Athletic Coaching Business Administration
M.A. in Criminal Justice Divergent Learning
M.A. in Healthcare Administration Organizational Leadership
M.A. in Organizational Leadership  
M.B. in Biology for Science Educators  
M.B.A. in Business Administration  
M.Ed. in Divergent Learning  
M.Ed. in Educational Administration and Leadership  
M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration  
M.Ed. in Trauma-Informed Education  

See individual program sections for additional information on specific programs.

J. Drake Edens Library

As the academic heart of the Columbia College campus, the J. Drake Edens Library provides professional guidance to students, faculty, and staff and houses materials to help students explore all aspects of the liberal arts. To support that research, the library maintains a core collection of books, periodicals, and media items.

The library provides students with access to tens of thousands of full-text articles through database subscriptions. Students can access these databases from anywhere by selecting the database, then entering their Columbia College email address and password. Students can receive help from librarians in selecting keywords, choosing databases, or trouble shooting technical issues by emailing

The Research and Instruction Librarians are eager to assist students, faculty, and staff with their research. The Reference Desk is located on the main floor, and librarians are available to help on an individual basis, including nights and weekends. Individual and group study rooms are available on the main and top floors of Edens Library. Computers are located near the Reference Desk, on the top floor, and in the Overton Media Center on the bottom floor.

On the lower level of Edens Library is Educational Technology. Educational Technology supports instruction at Columbia College through the use of technologies such as Google apps, SMART Boards, video editing, social media, and the campus’s online learning management system. Students, faculty, and staff are all welcome to make appointments to discuss the use of technology in the classroom. Educational Technology strives to enrich curriculum through new tech tools. Many helpful resources can be found through its social media channels on Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest.

AV Equipment Available for Use in the Media Center:

  • Macs
  • Multi-media PCs
  • Fax (local and 1-800 numbers only)
  • Eprint (black and color capability)
  • Scanner

AV Equipment Available for Loan/Checkout:

  • Digital camcorders w/ tripods
  • Flip video recorders w/ tripods
  • Digital audio recorders
  • Flash drives
  • Computer microphones
  • Headphones
  • Headsets
  • Webcams
  • Audiocassette tape recorders
  • Digital still cameras

It houses a collection of videos, DVDs and kits along with a state-of-the art twenty-five seat theater.

Email Usage

As a student you MUST utilize your Columbia College email account since all pertinent information from the program and college are communicated through this medium:

Definition of Semester Hour

Basic Definition: The semester hour, or credit hour, is the basis for all credit at Columbia College. One semester hour of credit is the equivalent of a traditional course with face-to-face meeting time of at least one academic hour (fifty minutes) per week for a full semester (15 weeks) with the expectation of an average of at least two academic hours of homework or out-of-class work per week for the full semester.

Classes with a traditional mode of delivery: Thus, a traditional three-semester-hour course meets 2.5 clock hours per week with an expectation of an average of 5 clock hours per week of out-of-class work. The face-to-face meetings for the last week of a semester in the Women’s College are replaced by a single extended class meeting time usually reserved for final examinations or projects.

Classes with a traditional mode of delivery meeting outside of the standard semesters: Classes during, for example, split-terms or summer sessions have the same amount of time devoted to face-to-face meetings as a full-semester class and meet the same objectives and outcomes as the comparable full-semester class.

Classes in the sciences and the arts: Science courses with laboratory components and arts courses with studio or applied components often have more face-to-face meeting time than would normally be the case for a course with the same number of semester hours. This increase in the instructional time may or may not result in a corresponding reduction in the expected out-of-class time, but in no case will the total expected time for the course be less than three academic hours per week for each semester hour of credit.

Service Learning classes: Since work on the service project in designated Service Learning courses is instructional in nature, those classes may replace up to one and one half academic hours of traditional face-to-face meeting time per week with at least two academic hours of on-site work at the service project per week. Additional time spent working or reflecting on the service project may be counted as part of the out-of-class work time for the class.

Hybrid and online classes: If a hybrid or online class is also taught as a traditional class, then the non-traditional version of the class will be deemed to have the same number of semester hours as the traditional version of the class provided both versions require roughly the same work from the student and achieve the same objectives and outcomes regardless of the amount of face-to-face meeting time scheduled for the non-traditional version of the course. However, if there is no comparable traditional version of the class, the non-traditional course must include instructional time (which can be face-to-face meetings or online work) averaging at least one academic hour per week for a full semester (12.5 clock hours) for each semester hour of credit. There must also be the expectation for “homework” averaging two academic hours per week for a whole semester (25 clock hours) for each semester hour of credit. The syllabus for the course must specifically identify any work being counted towards the instructional time limit.

Internships: All of the work in an internship is both instructional and out-of-class in nature. Accordingly, internship students are expected to complete a minimum of 37.5 clock hours of work (three academic hours per week for a full semester) for each semester hour of credit. All internships must require a minimum of 30 on-site clock hours for each semester hour of credit. The remaining 7.5 clock hours per credit hour may consist of additional on-site time or off-site work consisting of one or more of the following: face-to-face meetings between student and instructor, preparation for on-site work, written assignments, or oral presentations. The internship form submitted for registration must include the total on-site hours required of the student and what time, if any, will be devoted to off-site work.

Independent studies and research or creative projects: As with internships, all of the work in these classes is both instructional and out-of-class in nature. Students in these classes are expected to complete 37.5 clock hours of work (three academic hours per week for a full semester) for each semester hour of credit. Face-to-face meeting time with the instructor may be counted towards the total work for the class. The independent study form submitted for registration must indicate the expected amount of work for each component of the class.


Each graduate degree student will be assigned an advisor from the graduate faculty who will maintain the student’s advisement file, advise with respect to course selection, and review in conference the student’s academic progress with appropriate regularity. The student, however, is responsible for meeting the requirements stated in the Bulletin.


The transcript of a student’s academic record will be released by the Office of the Registrar only upon receipt of the student’s written request. No transcript will be issued to a student who is indebted to the College. There is no charge for transcripts.

Registration and Enrollment


Registration is finalized in the Registrar’s Office. To be officially enrolled, a student must complete proper registration procedures as prescribed by the Registrar and must make satisfactory settlement with the Office of Tuition Accounts for all indebtedness to the College.

Change of Schedule

For a designated add/drop period between designated start dates and the end of late registration, a student may change her/his schedule with the permission of the faculty advisor, the instructors concerned, and the Registrar. These changes must be coordinated through the Director of Registration for the Graduate School.

Full-Time Students

A full-time student is defined as one enrolled in 9 semester hours during a term for a program that meets in person and 6 semester hours during a term for a program that meets only online.

Course Load

The maximum course load in the Graduate School is 12 semester hours for any term for a program that meets in person and 6 semester hours for any term for a program that meets only online, or up to 12 semester hours with approval of Program Director.

If a student, in any given 7 week graduate module, enrolls in six (6) semester hours, the student will not be allowed to enroll in additional semester hours in either online or campus offerings.

Class Attendance

Attending class is mandatory. Because there are limited class meetings and a great deal of material to cover, graduate students are expected to attend all classes, to be punctual, and to remain for the duration of the class.

Only one excused absence will be allowed in a course. An excused absence request must be submitted in writing to the instructor prior to the absence, unless there are extenuating circumstances. The instructor will confer with the program director if there are questions or concerns about an absence. If a graduate student is granted an excused absence, the graduate student will be required to complete additional work equivalent to the time missed from class. The instructor will assign this work. If makeup work is not completed by the end of the semester, it becomes an unexcused absence.

No unexcused absence is allowed. If a graduate student has an unexcused absence or misses a class without prior approval, he/she cannot receive credit for the course. If a graduate student has a second absence in the same course, he/she cannot receive credit for the course.

Course Withdrawals

Following the add/drop period, students may withdraw from courses by completing a Withdrawal Petition that is available from the Office of the Registrar. A grade of “WP” will be given for courses which are officially dropped on or before the date designated as the last day on which to drop a course without academic penalty as well as for courses dropped after this date because of medical reasons and family emergencies or by the judgment of the Office of the Provost. If a student withdraws after the designated date for reasons other than those just stated, a grade of “W” will be recorded. Failure to withdraw officially from a course may result in a final grade of “F.”

Withdrawal/Dismissal from College

Students retain the right to withdraw from their programs at any point during their degree work. In such cases, refunds are available only as described in “Financial Information ” section.

Students who find it necessary to discontinue their coursework during a session must complete a Withdrawal Petition, which is available from the Office of the Registrar. After obtaining the designated signatures, the student must return the form to the Director of Registration for the Graduate School. Failure to follow this procedure may result in the final grade of “F” for all courses being taken that session and may delay the processing of any future application for readmission to the program.

The College reserves the right to dismiss students whose scholarship is not satisfactory and those who, for any other reason, are regarded as not in accord with the ideals and the standards that the College seeks to maintain. For information regarding refunds related to withdrawals, refer to the “Financial Information ” section.

Leave of Absence

It is important and assumed that both full-time and part-time students make regular progress toward their degrees and certificates, registering for one or more classes in each semester after beginning their programs. Students who do not enroll in any courses in a fall or spring semester will be assumed to have decided not to complete their program and will be placed in inactive status. Subsequent enrollment will require re-admission to the program.

Students in good standing with the College may ask to be placed on a leave of absence for one or two semesters by submitting the request in writing prior to the beginning of the term in which they do not plan to enroll. The request should be accompanied by a revised degree plan, signed by the advisor, and a statement from the Office of Financial Services that the student has no outstanding debt to the College. This packet should be turned in to the Provost’s office.

Requests for leave of absence status beyond the first request must be approved by the Graduate Council and should include compelling justification for the request. Students are reminded of the time limit policy indicating that the requirements for the master’s degree must be satisfied within five calendar years after the student reaches Degree Status.

Academic Credit

Graduate course work is offered at a substantially different level than undergraduate course work. Combined undergraduate/graduate courses must reflect substantial differences in expectation and content level to warrant graduate credit.

Independent Study

A Degree Status student may submit a proposal for an independent study as an alternative to an elective offered by the program. Independent study courses may be conducted by Columbia College faculty or by qualified persons outside of Columbia College, particularly in the student’s home community. The proposal should include a description of the proposed independent study, a discussion of why the student’s learning is better served by the independent study than by the electives being offered, a syllabus and assignments planned for the independent study, and, if the instructor is not a member of the Columbia College faculty, a curriculum vitae for the instructor. In the latter case, a Columbia College faculty member must be available and agreeable to being designated an instructor of record.

The application must be signed by the instructor and the faculty advisor and submitted to the program director for approval. The program director will then submit the application to the Provost for approval before registration. The application should be received a minimum of two months before the beginning of the semester. If the application is not acted on favorably, the student may choose to submit the matter to the Graduate Council for review. A student may accrue no more than 6 s.h. of credit through independent study.

Correspondence Courses

Any correspondence course offered for transfer from an accredited institution must be approved by the Program Director and the Provost.

Graduate Work at Other Institutions

Graduate work completed at other institutions may be accepted in partial fulfillment of the course requirements, subject to the approval of the student’s advisor, the program director, and the Registrar. All transfer credit must be submitted for approval prior to the admission deadline posted on the website. A student may incorporate no more than 9 s.h. from other institutions. If a student wishes to augment electives offered by the program with electives offered elsewhere, permission to do so must be obtained before registering for such credits, a grade of “B” or better must be obtained, and the total waiver of elective credits offered by Columbia College must be no more than six. Applications for permission to take transient work may be obtained from the Office of the Registrar. When concurrently enrolled in two institutions during the same semester, Columbia College regulations pertaining to maximum course load apply.

Credit for prior graduate work not previously approved is disallowed toward fulfillment of graduate program requirements. If a student feels special circumstances should allow for this policy being waived, she/he may submit a request for such an exemption in writing to the Graduate Council. Transfer credit for technology courses over five years old is not accepted by the Graduate School.

Once enrolled, a student in exceptional circumstances may be allowed to substitute courses covering equivalent content at another institution for required program courses, with the approval of the student’s advisor and the program director, and provided that the majority of the student’s work is taken at Columbia College.

Graduate Work in Other Columbia College Graduate Programs

Graduate work completed in other graduate programs at Columbia College may be accepted in partial fulfillment of the course requirements, subject to the approval of the student’s advisor and the program director. All such transfer credit for Columbia College graduate courses must be submitted for approval prior to a student’s beginning the Organizational Change and Leadership program. A student may substitute a graduate course in another Columbia College program for an Organizational Change and Leadership program course with the prior approval of the student’s advisor and the program director.

Exemption from Required Courses

The graduate program is designed to introduce the student to the field and to guide the student’s development through a sequenced and internally consistent set of courses. Generally, taking all required courses in the Columbia College program is preferred. To accommodate special circumstances, a student in the degree program may request exemption from selected course requirements based on significant professional experience, undergraduate coursework, or professional trainings which appear to duplicate the work of the required course. The student’s advisor and program director may approve the exemption of a student from a particular required course based on a “department exam” for the course prepared by department faculty. If the student obtains a satisfactory grade on this exam, the student may be exempt from the course requirement and may substitute a second elective for the required course.

To be considered for this exemption, a student must request exemption from a course before the student begins the master’s program and must take the department exam no later than the end of classes for the first semester of graduate work. A student may not transfer or substitute credit for undergraduate courses, work experience, or professional trainings for graduate credit. A student may transfer graduate credit and receive exemptions for no more than a combined total of nine hours coursework in the master’s program.

Non-Program Status Restrictions

A graduate student may apply no more than 12 graduate hours earned as a non-program status student at Columbia College toward the degree program. Exception: Students transferring from the Columbia College Certificate in Divergent Learning to the M.Ed. degree in Divergent Learning may request to incorporate any graduate work completed at Columbia College and no more than 9 semester hours from other institutions. Such incorporations must be requested prior to the admission deadline posted on the website.


Grading System

The Graduate School grading system is as follows:

A Excellent 4 grade points per semester hour
B+ Very Good 3.5 grade points per semester hour
B Satisfactory 3 grade points per semester hour
C Below Average 2 grade points per semester hour
F Failure 0 grade points per semester hour

INC - Incomplete - A relatively small part of the semester’s work remains undone. The hours do not count in computing the GPA. It is the student’s responsibility to remove the incomplete.
WD - Withdrawn
NC - Non Credit (Audit)
NG - No Grade
S/U - Applies to courses taken on a pass/fail basis (Students may not elect to take courses on a pass/fail basis. This grade applies only to practica and theses). An “S” indicates performance commensurate with standards for a grade of “B” or higher.

Grade Changes

The instructor, the program director, and the Provost each must approve all grade changes. Work done after the conclusion of the semester cannot affect the final grade in a course. Grade changes made after the end of the regular semester following the original grading period must be approved by the Graduate Council.

Incomplete Graduate Coursework

The grade of incomplete may be given for incomplete work for any graduate course in which work remains undone and the student is unable to fulfill all requirements because of circumstances beyond her/his control. This grade is not given in lieu of unsatisfactory or failing grades (for completed courses) with an opportunity of improving the grade later. The grade of incomplete is received and recorded only by the following procedure:

A grade of INC may be given only at the end of the course. The following are appropriate reasons for giving an incomplete:

  1. The student is ill and this can be satisfactorily documented.
  2. There is a death or illness in the student’s family and this can be satisfactorily documented.
  3. The student had to participate in an internship and was unable to complete some course work.
  4. Extenuating circumstances, such as deployment, call to service in state or national emergencies.

The steps below will be adhered to when granting an incomplete:

  1. A student may request an incomplete no later than the last day of class. Any appropriate documentation must be supplied within five business days of the request.
  2. The student must have completed approximately 50% of the course to be eligible for an incomplete.
  3. Using the appropriate incomplete form, the instructor will contract with the student for a deadline to clear an incomplete, which must be completed by the end of the following semester. If no grade is submitted by the given deadline, the Registrar’s Office will contact the instructor for a final grade. If no grade is submitted, the incomplete will be changed to an F.
  4. If a faculty member becomes ill, dies, or leaves the institution, then any final decisions about grades will be determined by the program.
  5. When incompletes are completed, the action appropriate for the student’s standing becomes effective as soon as possible: Academic Honors, Warning, Probation, etc.

In no case will a student be allowed to register for courses in a future semester if she/he holds incompletes in more than two courses. Students who utilize financial aid are also advised to check with the Office of Financial Aid to determine the effect of incompletes (or withdrawals) on financial aid eligibility (see “Financial Information ” section).

Repeated Courses

A student will be allowed to repeat a course only if, in the judgment of the program director, the student is capable of improving her/his academic performance during the re-taking of the course.

If a student receives a grade of failure or withdrawn and is given permission to repeat that course, then, upon satisfactory completion of the course, the first attempt– and only the first attempt–will not be considered in determining the cumulative GPA. When a student repeats a course for which credit has been earned, the repeated course is counted only once in determining the total number of semester hours attempted. The highest grade earned on a repeated course determines the number of grade points earned. All courses attempted appear on the student’s permanent record. Repeated courses are included in the semester hour load and are subject to the usual fee assessments.

No credit may be earned in another institution on a course previously graded as incomplete, failed, or withdrawn at Columbia College.

Academic Grievance Procedure

  1. The grievant has 45 days from the end of the academic term in which the grade was recorded to notify the Provost in writing of her/his intent to request a hearing before The Graduate Grievance Committee. Steps 1-4 of Section D must be followed before the student may submit a request for a hearing. Failure to follow the established procedure may result in the denial of the request.
    The procedures for all other academic grievances with the Graduate School are as follows:
  2.  All other academic issues must be submitted in writing to the Chair of the Graduate Council.
  3. The Judicial Coordinator administers issues involving the College’s Honor Code.
  4. The procedure for a grade grievance with the Graduate School is as follows:
    1. A student who feels that she/he has been unjustly evaluated by a professor must first contact that professor to discuss the complaint.
    2. If the matter remains unresolved, then the student and professor must confer with the Program Director of the specific graduate program within which the student is enrolled. If the professor is also the Program Director, then the student must submit a written petition to the division dean having jurisdiction over the graduate program.
    3. If the matter is not resolved, then the student must submit a written petition and pertinent documentation to the division dean having jurisdiction over the graduate program. The division head must schedule a meeting with the student and the professor. All documents to be considered must be made available to all parties prior to the meeting. After reviewing the petition and documentation and discussing the issue with the student and professor, the division dean must notify the student and the professor in writing of her/his decision.
    4. If the matter is yet unresolved, then the student must submit a written petition and documentation to the Provost who will convene a Graduate Grievance Committee. The Provost will make a copy of the written petition and documentation available to all members of the grievance committee prior to the meeting. The Grievance Committee is chaired by the Provost and consists of three members of the Graduate Council (only one may teach in the student’s academic program) and two students (only one may be enrolled in the complaining student’s academic program, and neither may be enrolled in the course in which the grade is being appealed) appointed by the Chair of the Graduate Council. The Provost has no vote in the Grievance Committee’s deliberations.
    5. The Provost must inform the student and the professor in writing of the Grievance Committee’s decision. This decision must be limited to the issue of the grade. If the grade is changed, the Provost must notify the Registrar’s Office.
    6. If this decision does not resolve the grievance, then the student may petition in writing to the Board of Trustees through the President of the College. The decision of the Board will be communicated in writing to the student and the professor.
    7. The student lodging the grievance action may ask another student, faculty member, or staff member to accompany her/him to any of the conferences or Grievance Committee meetings scheduled as part of the complaint process.

Academic Standing

All graduate students must maintain good academic standing throughout their graduate program at Columbia College. Grades of “C” are considered less than satisfactory. Failing grades are considered unsatisfactory: any failing grade will result in automatic dismissal from the program. Failing grades are “F” and “U.”

In order to maintain good standing in graduate programs, students must consistently do “B” quality work or above in coursework and maintain a cumulative 3.00 GPA. A student whose cumulative GPA falls below a 3.00 in any given semester is placed on academic probation. A student will be excluded for academic reasons if her/his cumulative GPA is less than 3.00 at the end of the following consecutive semester. Consecutive semesters are fall/spring/summer. The College requires a final cumulative GPA of at least 3.00 (“B”) for receiving the master’s degree.

Program Completion

Degree Requirements

The requirements for a Master of Arts in Athletic Coaching.  

The requirements for a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice.  

The requirements for a Master of Arts in Healthcare Administration.  

The requirements for a Master of Arts  and Graduate Certificate in Organizational Leadership .

The requirements for a Master of Biology for Science Educators.

The requirements for a Master  and Graduate Certificate of Business Administration .

The requirements for a Master of Education  and Graduate Certificate in Divergent Learning .

The requirements for a Master of Education in educational Administration and Leadership.

The requirements for a Master of Education in Higher Education Administration.  

The requirements for a Master of Education in Trauma-Informed Education.

Application for Degree

A student must file an application for degree with the Office of the Registrar. This form will be provided to you at the appropriate time prior to graduation.

A degree will not be conferred in absentia except with special permission of the major department head and the Provost. The student must file this request with the Provost not later than one month before the expected date of graduation.


The College requires a final cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 for a student to be eligible for graduation.

Graduation ceremonies for Graduate Students are held in the spring, summer, and fall immediately following the spring, summer, and fall semesters. The academic calendar contains the exact time and date. In the semester immediately preceding graduation, students receive a memo from the Provost’s Office with detailed instructions about the purchasing of caps and gowns and other logistical arrangements. As seating is limited, tickets for attendees are distributed to students based on the space available and the number of graduates. Students who cannot attend the ceremony can arrange to receive their diplomas in the mail.

Time Limit

All requirements for the master’s degree must be satisfied within five calendar years after the student reaches Degree Status. Students are responsible for meeting the requirements in effect at the time they are admitted into Degree Status.