Degree Requirements

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Teachers College Policy Library

Degree Requirements

Owner: Vice Provost for Student Affairs

URL: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/policylibrary/Degree Requirements

Teachers College, Columbia University offers courses of study leading to the following degrees: Master of Arts (M.A.), Master of Education (Ed.M.), Master of Science (M.S.), Doctor of Education (Ed.D.), Doctor of Education in the College Teaching of an Academic Subject (Ed.D.C.T.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). This policy presents an overview of degree requirements, as well as how the College determines that students have met requirements.

1.    Definitions

2.    General Degree Requirements and Graduation

3.    Department- and Program-Specific Requirements

4.    Degree Audit System

 

1. Definitions

Advisor: Member of the instructional staff or faculty who provides academic guidance to students and has authority to recommend students to the Faculty for award of a degree.

Breadth Requirement: The requirement for most master’s programs that students take course work outside of their major programs. Also known as the Foundations Requirement. All M.A., M.S., and Ed.M. students must complete a minimum of 6 points out of program at TC.  The advisor and student will determine how the points can be reached.  

Degree application: The process by which students request that advisors and the Registrar review their academic progress and consider them for the award of a degree on a particular graduation date.

Degree audit: A report that compares individual students’ progress against degree requirements.

Degree audit system: A computerized system that serves as the primary repository of academic requirements for degrees and that generates degree audit reports.

Degree requirement: Any condition that students must meet in order for the Faculty to recommend them for the award of a particular degree. Degree requirements refer to successful completion of any of the following: graduate-credit courses, master’s theses or integrative projects, dissertation proposals, and dissertations. Degree requirements may also include the stipulation that students complete degrees within particular time frames (e.g., the five-year period of candidacy for masters degrees).

Graduate Courses in other University Divisions:   Most Columbia University courses numbered 4000 and above are considered graduate-level courses. However,  4000-level History courses are not considered graduate-level.  Barnard College courses are not graduate courses.

Graduation: The conferral of degrees upon successful completion of all degree requirements. Degrees and certificates are awarded only in October, February, and May. Degrees are formally conferred by the President of the University at the annual Commencement in May.

2. General Degree Requirements and Graduation

The minimum requirements for degrees established by the College and University are given below. Students may not be enrolled concurrently in degree programs in two different institutions; students may not be in two different degree programs or areas of specialization or schools at Teachers College or Columbia University.

2.1. General Residence

For each degree, a candidate must register for and earn a minimum of thirty semester hours of acceptable graduate credits. The candidate must register for course work through Teachers College and remain matriculated in each degree program for at least two academic terms. Living on campus is not required.

The chart below shows minimum residency and point requirements for multiple degrees. It is possible that students will need to take more than the minimum point requirements to earn multiple degrees.  In addition to satisfying residency requirements, a student must meet all general degree requirements for each degree as outlined in this policy and by the academic department. Consult with the Office of the Registrar for more specific information.

 

Minimum Points

Minimum TC Credit

Maximum Transfer Credit

Two Degrees at Teachers College 

M.A./M.S. and M.A./M.S.

60*

60*

0

M.A./M.S. and Ed.M.

60

45

15

Ed.M. and Ed.M.

90

60

30

M.A./M.S. and Ph.D.

75

45

30

M.A./M.S. and Ed.D.

90

45

45

Ed.M. and Ph.D.

75

45

30

Ed.M. and Ed.D.

90

45

45

Three Degrees at Teachers College

M.A./M.S., M.A./M.S., and Ed.M.

90

75

15

M.A./M.S., Ed.M., and Ed.M.

90

90

0

M.A./M.S., M.A./M.S., and Ed.D.

90

75

15

M.A./M.S., M.A./M.S., and Ph.D.

75

75

0

M.A./M.S., Ed.M. and Ph.D.

75

60

15

M.A./M.S., Ed.M. and Ed.D.

90

60

30

Ed.M., Ed.M., and Ed.D.

90

90

0

Four Degrees at Teachers College

M.A./M.S., M.A./M.S., Ed.M., and Ed.D./Ph.D.

120

120

0

M.A./M.S., Ed.M., Ed.M., and Ed.D./or Ph.D.

120

120

0

 

 

 

 

 

* Plus an essay or 32 points without an essay for each degree.

Note: If you received a Professional Diploma from Teachers College, please check with the Registrar for minimum requirements.

2.2. Academic Performance

The Faculty of the College requires that all students maintain acceptable grades as well as satisfactory progress in the completion of degree requirements. Some departments specify an overall minimum grade average (see specific department statements). If satisfactory progress as defined by the department is not maintained, a student may be dismissed from the program. Any department judging a student to be performing below expectations is authorized by the Faculty to require additional coursework as a means to evaluate the student’s continued participation in the degree program or enrollment at the College. A student whose academic performance in coursework or in other requirements is seriously below the level required for successful completion of a degree may be denied permission for continued enrollment at the College on the initiative of the Department in which the student is enrolled. There is no formal appeal from such a decision, but the student may consult with the Ombuds officer.

Any student receiving eight or more points in grades of C- or lower is not permitted to continue registration at the College in any capacity and may not receive a degree or diploma. Petitions for exception to this policy may be submitted, in writing, to the Registrar with a written recommendation from the department in which the student was last enrolled. Such petitions will be submitted to a faculty committee for review and decision.

2.3. Statement on Academic Conduct

Teachers College expects members of the College community to observe traditional norms of scholarly discourse, academic integrity, and fairness. All members of the College community are expected to exhibit the high level of personal integrity which society must demand of professionals.

Decisions regarding academic evaluation in all aspects of students’ work at the College, including coursework, certification examinations, clinical or field experiences, and preparation of dissertations, are within sole jurisdiction of faculty members concerned, including, as appropriate, the department or program staff members. Disciplinary actions (e.g., reprimand, suspension, or dismissal) in cases of academic misconduct can be imposed by the academic program or department as described in the Student Conduct Code, www.tc.edu/policylibrary/student-conduct-code.

2.4. General Candidacy Requirements

Students who have not registered for courses within the last five years and who wish to pursue the completion of a degree must re-apply for admission and be accepted into a degree program. This applies even if they wish to resume a course of study leading to the degree program to which they had originally received admission. Applications for re-admission may be obtained from the Office of Admission. Applications for re-admission follow the same processes and standards as those for initial admission. Students subsequently readmitted to a degree program must meet degree requirements current at the time of re-admission.

All Teachers College programs that offer academic credit are graduate-level programs, and all require completion of a baccalaureate degree prior to attendance at Teachers College.  Students may not enroll in a Teachers College program that offers academic credits until the Office of Admission has received official transcripts indicating a conferred baccalaureate degree or its equivalent. In addition, the Office of Admission must receive official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions where a student has earned academic credit prior to the first semester of enrollment. Questions regarding which transcripts are required should be addressed to the Office of Admission. 

2.5.  Requirements for Master’s Degrees (Master of Arts, Master of Science, and Master of Education)

In order to pursue requirements for a master’s degree at Teachers College, candidates first must be formally admitted to a master’s degree program by the Office of Admission.

The period of candidacy for the degrees of Master of Arts, Master of Science, and Master of Education is limited to five years. Every candidate for the Master of Arts, Master of Science, and Master of Education must complete at least 16 points through Teachers College during the final five-year period prior to the award of the degree so as to meet recency requirements.

A candidate may petition the Registrar for an extension of time for adequate reasons if the student has been in attendance in the degree program within the last five years. In such cases, an extension must be recommended by the major advisor and approved by the Registrar. Upon approval, all current degree requirements including the departmental integrative project must be completed. Candidates may obtain petition forms from the Registrar’s web site: www.tc.edu/registrar .

2.5.1. Master of Arts (M.A.)

The M.A. is granted upon the satisfactory completion of no less than 30 points and a formal essay; 32 points and an departmental integrative project; or 32 points and completion of a departmental comprehensive examination. At least 20 points must be earned in Teachers College courses. The remaining credits must be completed through Teachers College registration, in Teachers College courses or in graduate courses in other University Divisions

The program of study for the M.A. must include a minimum of 12 points in major field courses, the exact requirement to be determined by the program and in consultation with the major advisor. Transfer credit may not be used to meet this minimum.  Students must also meet the breadth requirement: They must complete a minimum of 6 points out of program at TC. Students and their advisors will determine how to meet the 6-credit minimum.   In addition, students must complete a formal essay, comprehensive examination, or integrative project. Electives are chosen in consultation with the major advisor.

Students opting to prepare a formal essay should obtain instructions from the Office of the Registrar. The formal essay must demonstrate the student’s ability to select, organize, and present the results of professional investigation in the major field. The essay may consist of a body of work in a studio or performance area, demonstrating the design, preparation, and presentation of professional works appropriate to the major field. Documentation of such works may include photographs, color slides, TV tapes, film, recordings, or an approved computer software program. An original copy of the formal essay must be submitted to the Registrar no later than the deadline indicated in the Academic Calendar.  Approved essays are retained by library; integrative projects are maintained in the major department.

A candidate for an M.A. degree who has already earned an M.A. or M.S. degree at an earlier time must be admitted to the degree by the Office of Admission. Courses and the integrative project, comprehensive examination, or essay completed for the earlier M.A. or M.S. degree may not be applied toward the second. The same minimum point and breadth requirements apply. Consult departmental advisory statements for additional requirements.

2.5.2. Master of Science (M.S.)

The M.S. degree is granted upon the satisfactory completion of a minimum of 30 points and a formal essay; 32 points and a departmental integrative special project; or 32 points and a departmental comprehensive examination. At least 20 points must be earned in Teachers College courses. The remaining coursework must be completed, through Teachers College registration, in Teachers College courses or graduate courses in other University Division. 

The program for the M.S. degree must include at least 20 points in science courses and related technical fields. Transfer credit may not be used to meet this minimum.  Students must also meet the breadth requirement: They must complete a minimum of 6 points out of program at TC. Students and their advisors will determine how to meet the 6-credit minimum.  In addition, students must complete a formal essay, comprehensive examination, or an integrative project. Electives are chosen in consultation with the major advisor. Consult departmental advisory statements for additional requirements. 

A candidate for an M.S. degree who has already earned an M.A. or M.S. degree at an earlier time must be admitted to the degree by the Office of Admission. Courses and the integrative project, comprehensive examination, or essay completed for the earlier M.A. or M.S. degree may not be applied toward the second. The same minimum point and breadth requirements apply. Consult departmental advisory statements for additional requirements.

2.5.3. Master of Education (Ed.M.)

The Ed.M. degree is awarded upon satisfactory completion of a minimum of 60 points of graduate work. Thirty points must be completed under the auspices of Teachers College, including 18 points in Teachers College courses. A maximum of 30 points of graduate credit may be transferred from other recognized institutions. Candidates who have completed an M.A. or M.S. degree through Teachers College must register for a minimum of 45 points of the required 60 through Teachers College.

Candidates admitted to Ed.M. degree programs are required to complete the breadth requirement: They must complete a minimum of 6 points out of program at TC. Students and their advisors will determine how to meet the 6-credit minimum.  Equivalent out-of-program courses for which transfer credit has been granted may be substituted for Teachers College courses with the Registrar’s approval of a written petition. A formal essay, departmental comprehensive examination, or special departmental integrative project is also required. Consult departmental advisory statements for additional requirements.

2.5.4. Application for Master’s Degree or Certificate Award

Candidates for the degrees of Master of Arts, Master of Science, Master of Education, or certificates must file an application to graduate using the College’s degree audit system.

All courses, except those in which students are currently enrolled at the time of graduation application, must be completed before application. Degree applications are specific to particular degree dates, as shown on the Academic Calendar. Students who do not then earn the degree or certificate by the applicable degree date must file a Renewal of Application and pay a renewal fee for reconsideration of the award by a future degree date. See Academic Calendar for due dates.

2.6. Requirements for Doctoral Degrees (Doctor of Education and Doctor of Philosophy)

Teachers College offers programs of study leading to the Doctor of Education and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. The Office of the Registrar provides general information, administrative advice, and service to doctoral students and assists the doctoral committees in their supervision of candidates’ work. Requirements outlined below are described in further detail in the doctoral bulletins prepared for each degree type. Each student should obtain the appropriate bulletin through the Registrar’s Office website. Each student is responsible for fulfilling the stated requirements. Prospective doctoral students should consult a faculty advisor concerning programs offered, the degree most appropriate for specific goals, any departmental requirements for admission and programs of study, and application deadlines.

2.6.1. Doctor of Education (Ed.D./Ed.D.C.T.)

The Ed.D. degree emphasizes broad preparation for advanced professional responsibilities through a program of extensive study in a specialized branch of the field of education or area of instruction. The minimum requirements include satisfactory completion of a planned program of 90 points of graduate coursework beyond the baccalaureate degree (at least 45 points of which must be taken through Teachers College registration); satisfactory performance on a departmental certification examination; and the preparation and defense of a dissertation.  Some fields of study have additional requirements; consult departmental statements or faculty advisors.

Special programs for persons preparing for college teaching of an academic subject (Ed.D.C.T.) are offered in several departments. The programs emphasize broad preparation in the candidate’s major field, specialized competence in a limited area within that field, and an understanding of the broader problems of education, especially at the college level. The minimum requirements are the same as those for the Ed.D, but some fields of specialization have additional requirements such as an examination in a foreign language or in mathematical statistics. Consult departmental statements or faculty advisors.

Ed.D. candidates must be in continuous enrollment for a minimum of 3 Teachers College points or the dissertation advisement course in each fall and spring term following departmental recommendation for certification or approval of the dissertation proposal in a departmental hearing, whichever comes first. The obligation to register continuously ends after the dissertation has received final approval.

2.6.2. Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

The Ph.D. degree emphasizes research and intensive specialization in a field of scholarship. Under an agreement with Columbia University, Teachers College offers programs leading to the Ph.D. degree in designated fields in which the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences does not offer programs, namely in education, including education in the substantive disciplines and certain applied areas of psychology.

The minimum requirements for the Ph.D. include submission of a program plan of study and satisfactory completion of a planned program of 75 graduate points beyond the baccalaureate; satisfactory performance on foreign language examinations (for certain programs) and on a departmental certification examination; and preparation and defense of a research dissertation. Some fields of specialization have additional requirements; consult departmental statements or faculty advisors.  A maximum of 30 points of relevant courses at other recognized graduate schools or 45 points in another Faculty of Columbia University may be accepted toward the minimum point requirement. Each degree candidate must satisfy departmental requirements for the award of the M.Phil. degree prior to continuing in the Ph.D. program. A Ph.D. candidate must complete all requirements for the degree in not more than seven years or six years for those who have received an applicable master’s degree or 30 points of advanced standing. Degree requirements are specified in the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy Bulletin, available on the Office of the Registrar website.

Continuous Registration Requirement for Ph.D. Programs: Ph.D. candidates must register continuously each fall and spring term until all degree requirements are met unless granted a leave of absence. In addition, following enrollment in the department’s designated dissertation seminar course(s) or following the term in which the dissertation proposal was approved, whichever comes first, candidates must fulfill the continuous registration requirement by registering for doctoral dissertation advisement each fall and spring term. Finally, registration for TI 8900, Dissertation Defense: Ph.D., is required for the term in which the oral defense is held. The obligation to register for dissertation advisement ends after the dissertation has received final approval.

A candidate who expects to interrupt study for any reason should consult the Office of the Registrar so as to avoid the risk of severing connection with the program.

3. Department- and Program-Specific Degree Requirements

In addition to College-wide requirements, TC academic departments and programs have specific requirements for students at each degree level. These requirements can include certain courses, examinations, essays, or projects that apply only to students in particular major fields. These requirements may exceed but may not fall short of the minimum College-wide requirements described in this policy.  Students must meet all relevant department and program requirements.

4. Degree Audit System

The College’s degree audit system serves as the official repository of degree requirements. The Registrar’s Office will maintain this system based on information in the online academic catalog and departmental program guides. Proposed changes to program- or department-specific requirements must be initiated by members of the faculty and approved by the respective academic department before the Registrar updates the system. Depending on the proposed change, faculty sponsors may need FEC-APS and/or New York State Department of Education approval before the College can make the change.

Advisors and the Registrar’s Office will use the degree audit system to certify completion of degree requirements. Requests for exceptions to these requirements must be initiated by members of program faculty.

Updated: September 2017