Department of Philosophy
Graduate Student Handbook
The Graduate Faculty of the Department of Philosophy are qualified to teach courses for graduate credit and to serve as advisors and supervisors for graduate students. They are eligible to serve on the Graduate Committee as well as on research committees and doctoral committees for individual graduate students
Collectively, they elect the Director of Graduate Studies, the Graduate Admissions Officer, and the faculty members of the Graduate Committee from their membership. The M.A. Examination Committee is chosen from their membership annually by lot. They establish policies for the graduate program in philosophy. They review the progress of individual graduate students each semester. They may also serve as a court of final appeal within the department on certain decisions concerning graduate students.
The Graduate Admissions Officer, also called the “Graduate Recruiter”, acts as director of admissions for the Specialized M.A. and Ph.D. programs. Applicants should direct all communication and questions about their application for admission and assistance to the Recruiter. The Recruiter oversees advertising for the program, communicates with prospective graduate students, coordinates with the Graduate College to make sure applications are complete, and chairs meetings of the Graduate Committee concerned with admissions. The Recruiter may sometimes also be the Director of Graduate Studies.
The Director of Graduate Studies (called "Graduate Coordinator" by the Graduate College ) oversees the philosophy graduate program. Responsibilities are defined in the By-Laws and Policies document, which is available in the central office. The Director of Graduate Studies supervises the review of progress of each graduate student by the Graduate Faculty following each semester.
The Director of Graduate Studies will probably be your most important source of information and direction when you first enter the program: assisting you in scheduling classes, helping you to plan your tentative degree program, and suggesting faculty with whom you might work profitably. As you continue to progress through the program, some of these functions will be assumed by an assigned Mentor/Internship Supervisor/ Specialized M.A. Supervisor/Dissertation Supervisor who will be responsible for providing you with information about how to meet requirements. The Director of Graduate Studies is ultimately responsible for confirming that you have satisfied all the necessary requirements.
The Graduate Committee is the departmental committee specifically concerned with the graduate program. It is composed of 2-3 members of the Graduate Faculty elected by the Graduate Faculty and a student representative elected by the graduate students. Its responsibilities include(a) the periodic reviewing of the requirements of the M.A. and Ph.D. programs of the Department, (b) the periodic review and organization of all graduate curriculum offerings, (c) the formulation of proposals to add or delete courses, or make other modifications, (d) the review and updating of all catalogue copy pertaining to the Department's graduate program, (e) the formulation and recommendation of any policies concerning the professional activities and supervising of graduate teaching assistants, (f) the recruitment of qualified graduate students, (g) the recommendation of individuals to be given contracts as graduate assistants, (h) the formulation of policy recommendations on any matters concerning the rights and responsibilities of graduate students or graduate assistants, (i) the conducting of graduate comprehensive examinations, preliminary examinations, M.A. examinations, and so on, and (j) the certification of graduate students for graduation. The Graduate Committee decides upon admissions to the Specialized M.A. program and the Ph.D. program. It approves internship proposals. It appoints members of the Graduate Faculty to serve on Specialized M.A. Committees and doctoral Dissertation Committees. It can also approve substitutes for certain degree requirements on the recommendation of the Director of Graduate Studies.
During the first semester a student in the Ph.D. Program will be assigned by the Graduate Committee to a member of the Graduate Faculty who will serve as the student's advisor. Students in the Specialized M.A. Program are advised by their M.A. Supervisor.
The advisor will meet with the student to discuss his or her interests and goals and will offer advice to the student as to how to benefit from the program. This person will assist the student in registering for classes, in becoming familiar with the department faculty and resources and in answering questions the student may have about the University, the Bowling Green community and the Toledo area.
The initial advisor will also serve as the student's academic advisor for the first semester or until the student chooses another faculty member to serve as his or her advisor, or commences dissertation research under a Dissertation Supervisor.
Students who plan to do an internship should find a philosophy professor to serve as Internship Supervisor. Students need to begin working with their Supervisor about a year before they plan to commence the internship. The student's advisor will assist the student in identifying an appropriate individual to supervise the internship. The Internship Supervisor will assist the student with planning for the internship and with the philosophy course work necessary for the internship. These matters are discussed more fully above, under the heading “The Internship Option”.
Students in the Specialized M.A. Program form an MA Committee of at least two members, or have a committee assigned to them by the Graduate Director during their first semester in the program. One member of this committee is designated the student’s Specialized M.A. Supervisor. If the student chooses to do an internship, the M.A. Supervisor may serve as on-campus supervisor for the student's internship and as supervisor of the student's internship report or thesis.
The specific course of study required of each student, including the required Core courses and the choice of Core Supplement, must be approved both by the student’s MA Committee and the Departmental Graduate Committee. The M.A. committee supervises the student’s research during the M.A.
Once a student admitted to the Specialized M.A. Program becomes more familiar with the graduate faculty and with the resources of the department, he or she may decide to change the composition of the M.A. Committee or choose a different person to serve as M.A. Supervisor. If so, the student must recommend such changes to the Director of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Committee. The Graduate Committee will of course take student recommendations very seriously, but it may appoint one or more members to the research committee in addition to, or instead of, members recommended by the student (for example, in order to ensure a stronger or more balanced committee).
After completing his or her course requirements, the student will work under the direction of a Dissertation Supervisor and Research Committee, who are appointed by the Graduate Committee in consultation with the student. The student makes recommendations regarding the composition of the Committee and regarding the Supervisor to the Director of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Committee. The Graduate Committee will of course take student recommendations very seriously, but it may appoint one or more members to the research committee in addition to, or instead of, members recommended by the student (for example, in order to ensure a stronger or more balanced committee).
The duties of the Supervisor are enumerated in sections of the Graduate Catalog. The Preliminary Examination is directed and evaluated by the student's supervisor and research committee. The supervisor and research committee must also approve the student's internship proposal, if the student does an internship at this stage of the program. In conducting the Preliminary Examination, the Ph.D. Committee is augmented by a member of the graduate faculty of another department appointed by the Dean of the Graduate College , with approval of the Director of Graduate Studies. (The student’s faculty supervisor, in consultation with the student, can make recommendations to the Graduate Dean concerning the external examiners; however, the Dean is under no obligation to follow this recommendation.)
The Dissertation Committee oversees all stages of the doctoral dissertation, including approval of the dissertation topic and prospectus, approval of candidacy for the Ph.D. degree, and the writing and oral defense of the dissertation.
The members of the doctoral committee, including the supervisor, are appointed by the Graduate Committee, augmented by an external examiner appointed by the Dean of the Graduate College . Typically there will be a significant overlap of membership with the Ph.D. Research Committee.
The department has instituted an internal grading system which allows for +'s and -'s to be given to graduate students in order to facilitate the making of fine distinctions. Thus, students who are B+ or A- students can be graded as such although the actual grades recorded on their university transcripts will be either B or A. Internal grades will be recorded in an internal transcript. Such a system allows the faculty to make better comparative evaluations of the performances of students which will be useful then in following their progress through the program and in writing letters of recommendation.
After completion of each class, the instructor files an internal grade form with the Graduate Secretary, who records the internal grade on the student’s internal transcript, and gives the student a copy of the internal grade form. Faculty typically write comments about the student’s performance on the internal grade form. be useful then in following their progress through the program and in writing letters of recommendation. An A+ is awarded in a graduate course only if the student's work is, in the opinion of the instructor, of extraordinary worth and publishable.
After completion of each class, the instructor files an internal grade form with the Graduate Secretary, who records the internal grade on the student’s internal transcript, and gives the student a copy of the internal grade form. Faculty typically write comments about the student’s performance on the internal grade form.
The grades awarded in each graduate course are collected and circulated to every member of the Graduate Faculty prior to the meeting of the Graduate Faculty for purposes of review.
The policy of the Graduate College is that Incompletes (INC grades) may be given in graduate courses “only when the student can document serious contingencies that prevent completion of the course requirements.”
It is departmental policy that when an Incomplete (INC grade) is given in a graduate course, the instructor will establish a specific deadline no later than the deadline set by the Graduate College and inform the Graduate Director and the student of the deadline.
Students are advised that a deadline is established by the Graduate College for the removal of an INC and substitution of a letter or S/U grade.
Extensions of the Graduate College deadline are granted only in exceptional circumstances and for serious documented reasons. Graduate College and departmental regulations require that extensions of the deadline be given only with the consent of all four of (1) the professor, (2) the Director of Graduate Studies, (3) the Graduate Committee, and (4) the Graduate Dean or the Dean’s designate. The student must petition the Graduate Committee for an extension at least one week prior to the expiration of the deadline and, if the petition is approved in the department, must petition the Graduate Dean prior to the expiration of the deadline.
Each graduate student is reviewed by the philosophy Graduate Faculty each semester. Normally, the fall semester review will take place early in the spring semester, the spring semester review early in the fall. The procedures set forth below are to be used in an effort to determine if the student is making satisfactory progress towards his or her degree.
Normal progress is determined by (a) completion of at least 12 hours of graduate study each semester, with a GPA of at least B-, (b) maintenance of a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 (for M.A. program students) or 3.25 (for Ph.D. program students), (c) significant progress towards completion of the degree requirements, (d) favorable reports from the student's advisor or supervisor and (where relevant) M.A. committee or research/dissertation committee, and (e) in the case of graduate assistants, successful completion of assistantship responsibilities.
Evidence of lack of normal progress typically includes (a) grades of C+ or below, (b) incompletes, (c) a cumulative GPA below the minimum for the desired degree, (d) failure to complete degree and department requirements at a reasonable pace, (e) significantly unfavorable reports from the student's advisor or supervisor and (where relevant) M.A. committee or research/doctoral committee or (f) in the case of graduate assistants, failure to successfully complete assistantship responsibilities.
At the end of each semester, the Director of Graduate Studies will collect all of the grades received by graduate students and will convene the graduate faculty for recommendations regarding the alternatives (1-4) below.
- 1. Special commendation The student is making good progress, and his or her work is of superior quality.
- 2. Normal progress The student is making good progress in satisfying requirements for the degree.
- 3. Warning The student is not making normal progress in satisfying requirements for the degree and is warned concerning his or her status. His or her next evaluation must be improved or he or she may be dropped from the program. Students in the Ph.D. program who are not maintaining a cumulative GPA above 3.0 but below 3.25 may be warned that, unless there is marked improvement in the quality of their work, it is not reasonable for them to anticipate successful completion of the Ph.D. program even if they can expect to complete the M.A.
- 4. Drop The student has not made normal progress toward the M.A. or Ph.D. and shows little or no likelihood of doing so. The student will not be permitted to enroll in classes the following term.
If a student is being considered for actions 3 or 4 above, the Graduate Committee will forward all of the relevant data along with its recommendation to the student's advisor or supervisor prior to the meeting of the Graduate Faculty. The supervisor and Director of Graduate Studies will meet with the student before the faculty meeting to discuss the proposed action. The student may appeal the recommendation of the Graduate Committee. If the appeal is unsuccessful, the student's appeal is sent to the Graduate Faculty for consideration along with the Graduate Committee's recommendation. Although the student may elect to present his or her case to the Graduate Faculty, he or she will not normally be present at the deliberations. The Graduate Faculty shall discuss and vote on the recommendations of the Graduate Committee. The faculty's decision must be communicated in writing to the student.
(1) A student should try to resolve any academic problem or problem with grading with the instructor of his/her course before appealing to the Department.
(2) The Department shall designate a person or persons to receive grade and absence appeals and other academic grievances from students. These persons shall not be major departmental administrators; they may be either tenured or untenured faculty members.
(3) The role of the designated person(s) is to hear complaints, gather information, talk with both students and faculty, mediate disputes when possible, and/or identify appropriate channels for solving problems (whether within or outside the department).
(4) If the matter is not then mediated, the student shall state the full particulars of the appeal in writing and submit them to a standing committee composed of the Director of Graduate Studies and the Undergraduate Advisor. If the Undergraduate Advisor or Graduate Director is the instructor of the course in which the appeal is being made, the other committee member will select a replacement to serve on the committee. Notes shall be kept on proceedings at this level.
(5)If the matter is not resolved at the departmental level, the student is free, of course, to pursue the case at the Graduate College level.
(6) The department and college procedures will include a consideration of all of the facts in the case. If at either level the facts are deemed to support the student's appeal, moral suasionmay be brought to bear on the faculty member. If, on the other hand, either committee regards the findings as not supporting the appeal, that decision should be transmitted unequivocally to the student. However, the sole responsibility and authority for determining grade rests with the faculty member who assigned the grade.
(7) Grade changes can be made by a letter to the college from the instructor and either department or college committee. The procedure must be started by the end of the fifth week of the academic term following the issuance of the grade, with the exception that appeals concerning grades awarded or academic problems that arose in the Spring semester must be started by the end of the fifth week of the Fall semester. All actions for grade changes must be completed by the end of the semester in which the appeals procedure is begun.
Some students bring considerable philosophical background with them, which may make some core courses redundant with past academic training. They may find alternative offerings (including other graduate courses or directed readings) which can be reasonably construed as substitute means of meeting the same requirement (sometimes at a more advanced level given prior background or sometimes treating alternative subject matter within the same area of the discipline). They may find that a comparably balanced degree program leading more directly to the specialization of their choice can be built on the foundation of an equivalent but different course combination. Given all of this, a degree of flexibility is permitted in meeting the core course requirements.
Students entering the program with a master’s degree in philosophy may receive credit for up to one year of coursework (six four credit courses) upon approval by the Director of Graduate Studies. However, students exercising this option will receive up to one year less of assistantship funding than those who are required to complete all of the course requirements.
Any individual adjustments in the requirements must be approved officially by the department’s Graduate Committee and the Director of Graduate Studies.
The regulations governing the Ph.D. program and the Specialized M.A. program are to be administered flexibly, and with common sense, taking into account special circumstances but also taking into account that fairness requires consistency in the application of the rules.
Students are reminded that academic honesty is a central value of an academic community. Individuals are expected to do their own work and to acknowledge the work and input of others through appropriate bibliographic and footnote references. There is no place for plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty within our learning community. Any uncertainties about these matters should be discussed with the instructor prior to submission of work.
The BGSU Academic Honesty Policy allows instructors leeway in cases of academic dishonesty. Penalties can range from failure on the assignment to the recommendation of expulsion from the University. Because of the importance of academic honesty to higher education and the discipline, the Philosophy Department Graduate Faculty believes that in all but highly exceptional cases academic dishonesty should disqualify the offender from taking graduate courses or receiving an advanced degree. Thus, it is the view of the Graduate Faculty that, in the absence of highly extenuating circumstances, faculty should consider imposing the severest penalty (recommending expulsion from the University to the Graduate Dean) allowed under the Academic Honesty Policy.