The institution structures its graduate curricula (1) to include knowledge of the literature of the discipline and (2) to ensure ongoing student engagement in research and/or appropriate professional practice and training experiences. (Graduate curriculum)
Judgment of Compliance
The graduate curriculum at Sam Houston State University (SHSU) is designed to ensure graduate students obtain knowledge of the literature and engagement in research and/or professional practice. The “Degree Requirements and Academic Guidelines” section of the Graduate Catalog informs prospective students of the nature of graduate studies:
Graduate programs are typically classified as either research or professional oriented programs. Research programs have a major research component. At the master’s level, the research component may be included in a series of courses, a research product, and/or a thesis. At the doctoral level, the research product is a dissertation. Professional programs (usually available only at the master’s level) may include an internship and/or a practicum in lieu of a research product.
Graduate studies tend to be more focused, provide greater depth of study within the chosen field, and foster independent learning. All of the graduate programs at Sam Houston State University require an assessment of knowledge retention toward the end of the academic program. The assessment may be incorporated as a comprehensive exam, in written and/or oral format, and/or a comprehensive capstone course .
The curriculum process ensures that new graduate courses and programs provide advanced study in the discipline, currency in the literature and research, and/or professional practice. The content of a proposed graduate program is created by the departmental faculty and subsequently reviewed by the departmental curriculum committee, college curriculum committee and dean, and university curriculum committee prior to submission to the Academic Affairs Council, the Provost, the President, the Board of Regents of The Texas State University System (TSUS), and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB). Any proposal for a new program is submitted using the THECB’s “New Program Request Form for Bachelor and Master’s Degrees” or following the format detailed in THECB rule 5.46 for doctoral programs  . The proposals for new programs require a description of the program, curriculum, and faculty.
All graduate programs require students to demonstrate knowledge of the literature and ensure ongoing student engagement in research and/or appropriate professional practice and training experiences through a combination of coursework, research projects, comprehensive exams, comprehensive capstone courses, portfolios, and theses or dissertations. As is supported by course descriptions and syllabi, all graduate programs have courses that promote knowledge of the literature and research. Sample syllabi are provided from programs in each college in the support documentation               . Additional syllabi and links to course descriptions may be accessed from the Faculty Credentials Roster. In addition, approximately 40% of the master’s programs at SHSU either require or provide the option for a thesis. All five of the doctoral programs require a dissertation. By the very nature of these requirements, students writing a thesis or dissertation must demonstrate knowledge of the literature and engage in research.
Further evidence that the graduate curriculum produces knowledge of the literature and research capabilities lies in the fact that many of graduate students present research or creative works at professional conferences, exhibitions, or community events each year. The Office of Graduate Studies sets as one of its objectives the promotion of student research . The Office of Graduate Studies provides travel funding for students presenting at professional meetings. Seventy-nine (79) students were funded in 2005-2006, 97 in 2006-2007, and 119 in 2007-2008 (as of July 7, 2008)   . The Office of Graduate Studies provided student travel funds totaling approximately $45,000 in 2005-2006, $74,000 in 2006-2007, and $107,000 in 2007-2008.
The Center for Research and Doctoral Studies in Educational Leadership and Sam Houston State University sponsor a Graduate Research Exchange each year where master’s and doctoral students may present their research and receive critiques. For the past decade, the Graduate Research Exchange has provided a venue for students to gain experience presenting their research in a mock professional presentation .
To ensure that students receive training from faculty who are proficient in the current literature and research, membership on the graduate faculty requires evidence of recent scholarship . The curriculum vitae for faculty nominated for membership on the graduate faculty are reviewed by the departmental chair, academic dean, the Graduate Council, comprised of faculty from each college, and the Dean of Graduate Studies.
All graduate programs at SHSU have a curriculum that ensures ongoing student engagement in research and/or appropriate professional practice and training experiences. Illustrations of how the curriculum addresses engagement in research are provided above. Many venues are used in the curriculum to address professional practice and training experiences including case studies, internships, and practicum experiences. Examples of professional practices and experiences include training at the Psychological Services Center for clinical psychology students , training in the Counseling Center for graduate students in the Counseling and Counselor Education programs , internships for students in the MPA program , the opportunity to work in a fully functioning national press preparing manuscripts for print for students in the English program , and internships in the program in Dietetics . Sample syllabi illustrating professional practice and/or training experience(s) are provided from programs in each college in the support documentation           . Additional syllabi and links to course descriptions may be accessed from the Faculty Credentials Roster.