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Guide for Graduate Students

Master of Arts in History

The program
Application
Admission requirements
Advising
Nature of course offerings
Requirements and restrictions
Grades
Time limitation
Thesis
Comprehensive examination
Statement of intent to graduate
Timetable for M.A. program

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M.A. Program Grades


The University of Memphis uses a four-point grading system. For most substantial courses students receive one of the following grades: A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, or F. Grades used to postpone or suspend course completion include I (incomplete), IP (In Progress) and W (withdrawn). For thesis credits, Directed Readings, and courses that do not count toward the degree, such as Independent Readings and Colloquium for Graduate Assistants, students may potentially receive an S (satisfactory), U (unsatisfactory), or IP (in progress), but not an I. All other courses receive a letter grade or an I for incomplete. However, an S or U is virtually always given for courses that do not count toward the degree, since it is not intended for the student to register for it again (see below). IP is the normal grade for thesis credits before the semester of completion. After the student defends the thesis successfully and receives an S for the final semester, the university automatically changes the all dissertation grades of IP to S. The points awarded for each credit of a plus/minus grade are: A+=4.00, A=4.00, A-=3.84, B+=3.33, B=3.00, B-=2.67, C+=2.33, C= 2.00, C-=1.67, D+=1.33, D=1.00, F=0.00. No more than 7 hours of C work (C, C+, or C-) and no hours of D or F work will count toward degree requirements, but all C’s, D’s and F’s will be calculated in the total grade point average.

If your instructor does not remove an incomplete (I) within 90 days from the end of the term in which you got it (see University Calendars) the I will automatically become an F, regardless of whether or not you are enrolled. The instructor may grant extensions of 45 days if sufficient extenuating circumstances exist. If not removed before the end of the 45-day extension, the I grade will automatically become an F. It is very difficult to get a grade changed after it is entered, so be sure to meet the deadline or get an extension approved.

You should be aware that if the instructor gives you an IP in a Directed Readings course or a course that does not count toward the degree, you must register (and pay) for the same number of credits in the same course for the next semester. After all work is completed, you will receive credit for the first course only. If you get an IP for thesis credit (the normal grade until your final semester), you only have to sign up for one credit or more for each successive semester, and after you defend your thesis you will receive credit for all the thesis credits you took, up to the required nine. You do not have to register for thesis credit, or for another course in which you got an IP, in the summer.

Graduate students must maintain a cumulative 3.00 (B) average. The Graduate School places any graduate student whose cumulative GPA drops below 3.00 on probation. Two consecutive semesters on probation will result in suspension, unless the department recommends otherwise and only if the Dean of the Graduate School accepts our recommendation.

Grades for graduate work have a different meaning than those for other degrees. This department, in accord with most other programs, has adopted the following definition of the grades for all history graduate students:

A+: Work that approaches the quality of professional scholarship.

A: Outstanding, excellent work: demonstrates the potential for professional quality work.

A-: Very good work. High quality performance, but falls short of excellence.

B+: Good work. Solid effort, shows potential for higher achievement.

B: Needs improvement: Reflects serious effort, but raises doubts about the potential for achieving professional quality, so students should consult with professors about how to improve their work, especially if they would like to enter a Ph.D. program.

B-: Marginal. A few positive qualities, but plagued by serious problems that must be immediately addressed.

C+ and below: unacceptable; does not count toward the degree.

This grading scale means that if you are interested in pursuing a Ph.D. after you complete your M.A., you should not be receiving grades lower than B+ on a regular basis and should have mostly A’s. If you are not doing this, it means that your professors believe that you lack the potential to produce professional quality work or are not putting forward the necessary effort. If you are considering going on to the Ph.D. program, you should read the section below, about the Ph.D. Comprehensive Examination and take steps in each of your M.A. classes to produce the document that we ask all Ph.D. students to prepare in preparation for the exam.

The Graduate School will certify students when they meet all requirements, including the removal of all I and IP grades. Students who have an I or IP in the semester in which they expect to graduate will not be able to graduate until the next term.

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Last Updated: 3/12/14