About Graduate School

STATEMENT OF MISSION

St. Mary's as a Catholic Marianist University, fosters the formation of people in faith and educates leaders for the common good through community, integrated liberal arts and professional education, and academic excellence.

Graduate education is especially crucial to our society because it is at the pinnacle of all education, cultural, economic and political development. Graduate education influences the world in far reaching ways due to the basic research conducted by its faculty and students. The quality of our civilization and its continuity, and the witness of the Catholic Marianist tradition, depends upon its highest intellectual achievements gained through graduate education. At St. Mary's we insure that graduate education is strong, vibrant, and healthy – capable of discharging its mission of intellectual development and leadership.

As the Graduate School of a Catholic Marianist university, this school strives to integrate a rigorous intellectual experience, a zeal for the search for knowledge and truth, and a commitment to leadership and service.

Institutional Memberships

Association of Texas Graduate Schools
Conference of Southern Graduate Schools
American Bar Association
Association of American Law Schools
The National Catholic Educational Association
American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
American Association of Higher Education
American Association of University Women
American Council on Education
American Schools of Oriental Research
Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities
Association of Governing Boards of Colleges and Universities
Association of Texas Colleges and Universities
College Board
Council for Higher Education Accreditation
Greater San Aantonio Chamber of Commerce
Higher Education Council of San Antonio
Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities
Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas
International Association of Counseling Services
National Association of Colleges and Universities
National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities
National Association of Schools of Music
North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce
National Catholic Educational Association
National Collegiate Athletic Association
National Collegiate Honors Council
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
Texas Campus Compact
Texas Humanities Alliance
World Affairs Council of San Antonio

GRADUATE SCHOOL GOVERNANCE

All matters of the Graduate School are under the authority of the Graduate Council of which the Dean of the Graduate School is Chairperson. The faculty of the Graduate School consists of University faculty members who teach at the undergraduate and graduate level. Most of these faculty members are housed in the constituent undergraduate schools and function under the shared authority and in cooperation with the undergraduate schools and deans and the Graduate School and Graduate Dean.

GRADUATE EDUCATION

Definition

The words graduate and undergraduate are universal terms that are not always well defined. The aim of undergraduate instruction is to give the student knowledge of the history, tradition, and values of a particular society. The intent is to make the recipient a literate and articulate participant in the life of the nation and the world. Included in such instruction are the basic skills of communication and computation by which one functions effectively as an educated and responsible citizen and steward of the nation as well as of the world.

Graduate education is at a level of complexity and generalization that extends the knowledge and intellectual maturity of the student. Graduate study requires students to analyze, explore, question, reconsider, and synthesize old and new knowledge and skills. It affords a greater depth, intensity, specialized skills, and sense of creative independence that allows the graduate to practice in and contribute to a profession or field of scholarship.

Admission to graduate programs is more selective, class size is smaller, and the lecture is often replaced by seminar and laboratory. The learning experience is more self-directed and interactive between faculty and students, and among the students themselves. Faculty members are often more experienced and more highly specialized.

Master's degree programs provide an understanding of the subject matter, bibliography, and theory and methodology of the field. They also provide an understanding of research and the manner in which research is conducted. A non-research-oriented professional master's degree requires an understanding of the accepted professional practices in the field. Finally, master's programs provide a means for the candidates to demonstrate the knowledge and skills acquired.

A doctoral degree program, in addition to the skills of a master's candidate, provides a period of residency, substantial mastery of the subject matter, theory, bibliography, research and methodology of a significant part of the field. A dissertation evidences competence in the special language, other and independent research skills competence in pursuit of the doctoral degree. The dissertation must augment or reinterpret the knowledge of the field. Finally, the doctoral program provides a means for the candidate to demonstrate the knowledge and skills acquired.

Goals and Objectives

Students completing a graduate degree at St. Mary's University will have achieved the following goals and objectives:
  1. Graduates will have completed courses characterized by advanced disciplinary content and intellectual rigor.
  2. Graduates will demonstrate currency in the discipline.
  3. Graduates will be able to demonstrate mastery of specified knowledge and skills that includes an integration of knowledge and disciplinary specialization.
  4. Graduates will comprehend the discipline and understand research that aids in actual practice of the education acquired.
  5. Graduates will understand how knowledge is created and how to experiment and discover new knowledge.
  6. Graduates will demonstrate mastery of how to think, act, and perform independently in their discipline.
  7. Graduates will have acquired a broad, coherent, academic experience.
  8. Graduates will be able to apply knowledge learned in course work.
  9. Graduates will be able to demonstrate mastery of communication skills in a manner appropriate to their degree and discipline.
  10. Graduates will be able to execute practices and skills associated with their degree.
  11. Graduates will be able to demonstrate breadth of knowledge in the discipline, depth in specific areas, and the ability to integrate what has been learned.

Standards of Excellence

The following criteria are considered standards of excellence which are adhered to by graduate programs at St. Mary's University:
  1. Admission - Acceptance is limited to those with high promise for success in graduate study to ensure a high quality-learning environment.
  2. Level of Sophistication - Graduate courses are characterized by advanced disciplinary content and intellectual rigor. An appropriate number of graduate courses are offered to provide a balanced program. Students are required to have a significant percentage of graduate-level (distinct from combined undergraduate and graduate) courses in their degree programs.
  3. Continuity/Intensity - Graduate courses are offered frequently enough to allow students to proceed through their programs in a timely and efficient manner. The program has a critical mass of students enrolled, so that they are part of a coherent group of peers. Time limits are necessary for continuity of the graduate experience and to ensure that the student is current in the discipline when the degree is awarded.
  4. Core of Planned Course work - In a graduate program there is a core of planned course work appropriate to the major, as opposed to a mere collection of courses and credits. The program is coherent, to assure mastery of specified knowledge and skills through interrelated courses. The course work fosters an integration of knowledge as well as disciplinary specialization.
  5. Tool/Technique/Methodology Requirements - Components which enable students to acquire tools, techniques, or methodologies for the discipline are an important part of the program. These include statistics, computer technology, research methodology, and, in some instances, foreign languages. Their function is to help the student comprehend the discipline, understand research, and aid in actual practice of the education acquired.
  6. Research Component - Research is fundamental to graduate study. Students learn how new knowledge is created, how experimentation and discovery are carried out, and how to think, act, and perform independently in the discipline. Depending upon the program's applied orientation, the student can demonstrate mastery through research papers, literature reviews, artistic performance, oral and written presentations, or case studies.
  7. Extra-Disciplinary Experience - Some academic exposure outside of the immediate major or discipline is common. This is necessary when a single discipline does not convey all of the knowledge and experience an individual student may need from a Master's degree program. Accordingly, students may be given an opportunity to broaden the academic experience in a coherent way, through related course work outside the major and through other experiences such as internship or practica.
  8. Application of Knowledge - A graduate program requires the student to develop and demonstrate the ability to apply knowledge learned in course work. This is accomplished through examinations, field problems, theses, papers in lieu of theses, practica, internships or assistantships. An evaluation of the student's performance in these areas is a part of the student's permanent record.
  9. Communication Skills - Students demonstrate mastery of verbal and written communication in a manner appropriate to the degree and discipline. Such skills may be gained through study of specific concepts and methodology, written assignments, oral reports, and examinations. These skills are evaluated in the culminating experience.
  10. Culminating Experience - A capstone or integrating activity, such as an advanced seminar, thesis, recital, exhibit, practicum, or internship provides a culminating experience. This allows students to demonstrate the writing, organizational, and applied performance skills associated with the particular degree. It also provides a record of the student's achievement, which can be consulted for references and program evaluation.
  11. Comprehensive Examination - The graduate degree includes a comprehensive examination at the end of all course work for the degree. Students are required to demonstrate breadth of knowledge in the discipline, depth in specific areas, and the ability to integrate what has been learned. The examination is conducted in written and/or oral form.

PROGRAM AND CURRICULUM REVIEW

The Director of each graduate program (Graduate Program Director) represents the department and school that offer instruction in the applicable field of study. As such, the Director initiates changes to the program and curriculum as needed by recommending action to the Graduate Council. At least once every three years the Director coordinates a thorough review and evaluation of the program and curriculum with the department/school's graduate faculty. The review includes, but is not limited to, an evaluation of how the program contributes to the mission of the University and the Graduate School, and is consistent with other Graduate School standards and regulations, especially Graduate School Standards of Excellence, entrance standards, prerequisites, course content, grading standards, and comprehensive examinations. An annual outcomes assessment is part of this process. Finally, the review includes a statement of the strengths and weaknesses of the program. The Director submits an appropriate report and recommendations to the Graduate Dean. The Dean refers recommendations to the Graduate Council for action.

GRADUATE COUNCIL

Membership

The Graduate Council of St. Mary's University is the policy-making and legislative body within the Graduate School. It is composed of:
  1. Graduate Program Directors representing each of the departments that offer graduate degrees;
  2. Graduate Program Directors representing each approved interdepartmental degree;
  3. The Chairperson, the Dean of the Graduate School; and,
  4. The President and Provost who are ex officio members.
Each Graduate Program Director is nominated by the department chairperson after consultation with members of the department and with the approval of the Dean of the School in which the department is posited administratively and the Graduate Dean. Each Graduate Program Director of an interdepartmental degree is nominated by the department chair of the department providing the majority of course credits for the degree to the Dean of the Graduate School. After consultation with the dean of the faculty's home school the Dean of the Graduate School forwards the nomination to the Provost who then appoints.

Duties and Responsibilities

Besides including all duties and responsibilities by virtue of their membership on the Graduate Council as specified in the subsections below Graduate Program Directors shall more specifically be responsible for the following:
  1. Oversee program and curriculum review of their program.
  2. Administer all aspects of their program including:
    1. Student status,
    2. Faculty status,
    3. New budget requests,
    4. Initiation of grants or other funding requests,
    5. Student academic appeals,
    6. Recommendation of graduate assistantships,
    7. Approval of Distinguished Graduates.
  3. As members of the Graduate Council Graduate Directors are responsible for the following:
    1. Determine or approve graduate academic activity such as admission; status; change of status; graduate credit for academic work; admission to candidacy; committees for theses, dissertations, and general examinations; topics for theses and dissertations; and completion of degree requirements.
  4. Establish academic standards, policy, and regulations pertaining to graduate education:
    1. Establish minimum admission standards (not uniform); final approval of other admission requirements.
    2. Establish degree requirements (uniform); final approval of other degree requirements.
    3. Determine minimum standards for curricula/programs/graduate credit.
    4. Establish criteria for graduate faculty membership.
    5. Establish other Graduate School regulations and policies such as academic honesty, change in program, change of courses, course load, grades, incompletes, G-level courses, honors, independent studies, theses and dissertations, maintaining registration, probation and suspension, and human subjects research.
  5. Approve course offerings and changes to programs and curricula.
  6. Initial approval of new programs and degrees; recommend approval to Academic Council.
  7. Approve nominations for graduate faculty membership.
  8. Approve nominations of Graduate Program Directors.
  9. Perform program and curriculum review
  10. Create and execute strategic plans.
  11. Advise Dean of problems requiring special action.

Academic Accreditation

Accreditation is a status awarded to an educational institution or a program that has been found to meet or exceed stated standards of excellence and quality in educational practices. St. Mary’s University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award B.A., B.B.A., B.S., L.L.M., M.A., M.B.A., M.P.A., M.S., J.D., and Ph.D. degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of St. Mary’s University.

Contact the Commission on Colleges to file a public complaint against the University.

Specialized Accreditation

Business Administration

Bill Greehey School of Business: AACSB International – Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
Master of Business Administration (MBA): AACSB – International Association of Management Education

Counseling

Clinical Mental Health Counseling (M.A.): CACREP – Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs

Marriage and Family Therapy (M.A.): COAMFTE – Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education

Counselor Education and Supervision (Ph.D.): CACREP – Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs

Marriage and Family Therapy (Ph.D.): COAMFTE – Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education

Education

Catholic School Leadership (M.A.): Approved by The Texas State Board for Educator Certification

Education (M.A.): Approved by The Texas State Board for Educator Certification

Educational Leadership (M.A.): Approved by The Texas State Board for Educator Certification

Reading (M.A.): Approved by The Texas State Board for Educator Certification

Teacher Education Program: Approved by the Texas State Board for Educator Certification

B.A. Degree Program: Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music

Engineering

Computer Engineering (B.S.): Accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org

Electrical Engineering (B.S.): Accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org

Industrial Engineering (B.S.) : Accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org

Law

Juris Doctorate (J.D.): Approved by The American Bar Association

Institutional Memberships

The American Association of Higher Education
The American Association of University Women
The American Council on Education
The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
The American Bar Association
The American Schools of Oriental Research
The National Association of Schools of Music
The Association of American Colleges and Universities
The Association of American Law Schools
The Association of Governing Boards of Colleges and Universities
The Association of Texas Colleges and Universities
The Association of Texas Graduate Schools
The Conference of Southern Graduate Schools
The Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences
The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities
The International Association of Counseling Services
The Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas
The National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities
The National Catholic Educational Association
The Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities
The National Collegiate Honors Council
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
The Texas Humanities Alliance
Council of Undergraduate Research