In addition to satisfying all degree requirements below, students should be familiar with the campus' Academic Policies and Procedures. Students are encouraged to consult with their academic advisor or the office of the registration and records if they have questions regarding any of the academic policies. Note: these policies may change from year to year and such changes apply to all future, current, continuing and returning students.
Certificate: Certificate programs meet specific, short-term training and educational needs of students by combining core and specialty courses into focused, flexible training packages that more immediately meet employment needs. If a student later decides to seek advanced education, many of the certificate courses may be combined with the advanced courses for associate of applied science degrees.
Associate of Arts in General Studies Degree: This degree is equivalent to the first two years of study at a four-year college/university and is transferable. The degree provides a general education core of courses to introduce students to a wide variety of knowledge, ensuring they have a breadth of educational experiences that will enable them to develop those traits and skills conducive to student success and lifelong learning. Refer to the specific degree program page for information.
Associate of Arts in Teaching Degree: Provides a common transfer curriculum for students seeking a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education as they transfer to one of several Missouri four-year institutions. Refer to the specific degree program page for information.
Associate of Science Degree (AS): A specialized degree intended to transfer into a pre-professional degree, the AS allows students to enter the workforce and/or transfer into a bachelor’s degree completion program. Refer to the specific degree program page for information.
Associate of Applied Science Degree (AAS): A specialized degree that is primarily an occupationally oriented degree, the AAS allows recipients of this degree to enter a particular job market. While not designed as transfer degrees, some AAS degrees can be used as the first two years of a Bachelor of Applied Science degree; however, students will need to take additional general education courses, as well as courses in the major field. Refer to the specific degree program page for information.
Dual Credit Program: Dual credit courses enable high school students to receive, simultaneously, both high school and college-level course credit. Missouri State University-West Plains has agreements with area high schools to provide high-performing high school students an affordable opportunity to experience high college-level courses. High school students interested in this option should contact their high-school counselor. Refer to "Dual Credit" for information.
Distance Learning: Opportunities for students to earn credit without traveling from their home area are available through distance learning technology. Students may receive courses from the West Plains campus sent to their home communities, be in a class on the West Plains campus that originates in another location, or take a course online. Refer to the specific degree program page for information.
Bachelor’s and master’s degrees:: Missouri State University-Springfield offers bachelor’s, master’s and specialist degree programs on the West Plains campus through the Missouri State Outreach program. By using interactive video and on-site instruction, entire degree programs can be completed on the Missouri State University-West Plains campus. Refer to the specific degree program page for information.
Components of a degree
It is the student's responsibility to become familiar with and meet all requirements for a specific degree. Advisors may be consulted for recommendations, but the student must monitor his/her own progress toward a degree.
In order to graduate, a student must:
- At the time of registration for the semester in which s/he intends to graduate, complete an application for graduation form online or in the registration and records office
- Take a Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiency (CAAP) test in the Capstone course
- If desired, arrange for caps, gowns, tassels, announcements, rings, etc., through the Drago College Store.
Before a student may graduate, an audit of the student's record will be made to verify graduation eligibility. A commencement ceremony is held each spring for students completing their degree during the prior fall semester, the current spring semester or the summer session that follows the spring semester during which an application to graduate has been submitted and approved. Students with a 2.0 GPA and completing the last six or fewer remaining degree requirements during the summer semester may apply to walk during the spring commencement ceremony. Students who wish to participate in the ceremony must apply through the registration and records office at the time of spring registration.
General Degree Requirements & Procedures
- Catalog of Graduation: Students shall satisfy the general education requirements in effect upon first enrollment at Missouri State University-West Plains. Other special degree requirements in effect at the time the student files a degree program shall be satisfied. If a student re-enrolls after an absence of one calendar year or more from Missouri State University-West Plains, requirements in effect in the catalog at the time of readmission must be satisfied. Missouri State University-West Plains dual enrollment/dual credit students will follow the catalog that is in effect upon first enrollment after high school graduation. Nondegree-seeking students shall satisfy the catalog requirements of the catalog in effect when they become degree-seeking students. When students change degree programs (e.g., from the AA in General Studies to the AS in Nursing), they shall satisfy the catalog in effect when the change becomes effective.
- Credits and Grade Point Average: A candidate for an associate degree is required to make at least a 2.00 grade point average on the degree requirements (excluding electives) and a 2.00 grade point average on all work attempted at Missouri State University-West Plains, as well as a 2.00 grade point average on all college work (Missouri State University-West Plains and transfer combined).
- Residence: To receive an associate degree from Missouri State University-West Plains, the student must complete at least 15 credits in residence on the West Plains campus, its extended campuses, or via online course offerings through Missouri State-West Plains. Appeals for exemption to this policy should be addressed to the dean of academic affairs.
- Time Limit: Students must complete their academic program at Missouri State University-West Plains within six years. Any student requiring more than six years to complete the degree must adopt the guidelines of the new catalog.
- Constitution Study: No student may graduate without complying with the state law known as Senate Bill No. 4, 1947 (Mo. Rev. St. Sec. 170.011) which states students must be "given regular courses of instruction in the Constitution of the United States and of the State of Missouri, in American history including the study of American institutions." Students may meet this requirement by completing the American Studies requirements under General Education.
- Capstone Course and the Student Learning Portfolio: Effective fall 2005, all students must complete the appropriate capstone course for their degree program, take the Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiency (CAAP), and submit a portfolio of work for campus assessment as a condition for graduation. Although students will not earn points for completing the CAAP or the portfolio, participation in them is required. Failure to complete any of them will result in an automatic grade of 'F' in this course. If extenuating circumstances exist, students may apply for an incomplete. See the section on Incomplete Grades elsewhere in this catalog for more information.
A portfolio is an accumulation of significant work from your college career.
- Effective fall 2005, all first-time degree-seeking students are required to compile a portfolio to complete their degree programs;
- The portfolio will be introduced to students in IDS 110 or another course;
- Students should work with their faculty advisors within their degree programs to ensure they prepare the appropriate materials;
- The portfolio is a continuous project to be worked on throughout a student's educational experiences at Missouri State University-West Plains;
- The portfolio will be submitted in the capstone course. Portfolio guidelines for the various degree programs can be found in the IDS 110 text or obtained from the student's academic advisor.
The capstone course allows students to complete their general education with a course that brings their Missouri State University-West Plains educational experiences together.
- In this course, students will submit their program portfolio and draw upon a broad cross-section of their coursework to examine global issues.
- The capstone course also provides a place for students to participate in University assessment activities.
- The capstone course requirements can be met by taking one of several courses, but the Associate of Arts degree and some other degree programs require IDS 297 Topics in Globalization.
- Some AAS degrees, the AS in Nursing degree and the Darr Honors Program, have a different capstone requirement.
- Students should work with their faculty advisors and should consult degree descriptions in their academic catalog to determine which course and, in the event of multiple topics offered within a course, which topic is most appropriate for their academic and career goals.
Students must complete the CAAP test and the portfolio in order to complete the capstone course.
Students who fail to complete a capstone course will not be eligible for graduation until they have done so.
- Advisement: Each student is responsible for developing a program of study and for selecting courses that will meet the requirements for the student's chosen degree. First-time freshmen will be assigned an advisor as soon as they are admitted. Students should carefully review the requirements for degree completion prior to registering for each semester.
Philosophy of General Education
A University exists to serve both society and the student. It must foster and enrich the culture of society, as well as provide specific skills to the student. It must maintain and strengthen our democratic society and broaden the knowledge and experience of each student while enhancing the student's ability to think critically, make value judgments, and function competently in the wider world.
A University exists for the value of all knowledge – not only to teach knowledge but also to create new knowledge. The human spirit has a thirst for knowledge. A broad spectrum of knowledge frees us and empowers us – gives us the power to act effectively and achieve our purpose.
Perhaps at no time in history has the integration of the individual student into global society been more important than today. Students need both specific skills and a broad understanding of the important economic, scientific, philosophical, historical and literary trends of the day. Only with such a broad base of knowledge will students be successful.
The purpose of a general education core of courses is to introduce students to a wide variety of knowledge, a higher concept of knowledge, and to show them how to make it their own. Missouri State University-West Plains endorses the philosophy and purpose of a general education core required for each student completing an associate degree, ensuring that they have a breadth of educational experiences which will enable them to develop communication and critical thinking skills and to acquire knowledge (civic, historical, mathematical, scientific, literary, etc.) and value perspectives. The actual number of required hours of general education courses varies depending on the type of associate degree — Associate of Arts, Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science.
Students who have met all requirements may be awarded an additional associate degree in another field of study provided the following requirements are met:
- Must fulfill the general and specific requirements for the second degree.
- Must complete a minimum of 15 credit hours, which are directly applicable to the second degree and in addition to those presented for the first degree. Multiple use of Courses - Courses may be counted toward meeting the requirements in more than one area of the two degrees (for example, BMS 267 may be used to meet a specific requirement for the AS Nursing degree and four hours of electives on the AA General Studies degree) unless specifically prohibited by the academic departments and so stated in the catalog.
- Must graduate under the provisions of the Missouri State University-West Plains catalog in effect when the student files a degree program for a second degree.
- Must pay $20 second-degree graduation fee.
To ensure transferability of credits, students should obtain and study catalogs from the four-year colleges or universities to which they are considering transferring, including Missouri State University-Springfield. Students should follow the degree requirements of the senior institution.
Students who have not chosen a major should concentrate on general education requirements. Students should be aware certain majors require specific general education courses. For assistance in choosing a major, students should contact their advisors.
Effective fall 1995, credit hours earned at Missouri State University-West Plains will be considered as community college hours by most four-year senior institutions. Some four-year institutions will only accept 64 credit hours as transfer hours from two-year institutions. Some will accept more than 64 credit hours as transfer hours from two-year institutions. Check with the senior institution for specific questions regarding transferability.