Characteristics of Graduate Study

The Sage Graduate Schools Curriculum Committee requires that graduate courses exhibit the following characteristics categorized by content, role of the instructor, and role of the student.


  • An emphasis on theory and the translation of theory into practice.
  • A greater reliance on the development of critical evaluation skills through analysis of research literature.
  • The range of content covered addresses the depth and complexity of recent developments in the field at a substantial, professional level.

Role of the Instructor

  • The role of the instructor goes beyond that of a conveyor of information.
  • The instructor of a graduate course develops a learning environment that allows students to construct their own knowledge and understanding.
  • Graduate courses rely on interactive, collaborative problem solving to a greater extent, allowing students the opportunity to integrate and apply what is learned to relevant and current situations.

Role of the Student

  • Graduate students are expected to assume responsibility for their own learning.
  • Graduate students are presumed to have knowledge based in the discipline that prepares them for independent pursuit of knowledge, expertise and skills.
  • Graduate students are expected to be proficient in written and spoken communication.

Class Attendance

Prompt attendance at all academic appointments (classes, lectures, conferences, and examinations) is an essential part of the educational plan for degree programs and is expected of students. In the event of a class absence, it is the student’s responsibility to contact the instructor directly, by phone or e-mail. The responsibility for work missed because of absence rests entirely upon the student.