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Academic Policies and Procedures: P-W

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Publisher: JMU Academic Affairs
MSC 8002, Harrisonburg, VA 22807

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Prerequisite and Eligibility Requirements
Students should consult the appropriate catalog to determine prerequisite or eligibility requirements for course selections. Without special permission, students cannot take for credit a course for which the prerequisite has not been met or for which they are not eligible. In addition, students cannot take for credit a course that is a prerequisite to a course they have already taken.

Many courses require other courses as prerequisites. Students should be aware that a course in which they receive a grade of “D” or “D+” probably does not adequately prepare them to take a course which requires the first as a prerequisite. Before continuing on to a succeeding course, students should discuss their level of preparation with the professor of the second course and decide whether or not they need to retake the first course to improve their understanding as well as their grade.

Back to top of page Re-entry to the University
Degree-seeking students who have not attended JMU for one or more semesters and who wish to return to their studies at JMU are classified as re-entry students. The re-entry process is contingent upon the student’s length of absence and academic standing at the time of departure. To avoid delays in registration, the Intent to Enroll Form (for students who have been absent from JMU for less than two years) or the Office of Admissions Re-entry Form (for students who have been absent for two or more years) must be submitted by the indicated deadline for the anticipated semester of return. The Intent to Enroll form is available on the Web at http://www.jmu.edu/registrar/forms.shtml.

The Re-entry Form is available on the Web at http://www.jmu.edu/admissions/apply/PDF/reentry.pdf. All registration holds must be cleared before the student will be eligible to register.

Deadlines for Submission of Intent to Enroll and Re-entry Forms:

  • Fall Semester: July 1
  • Spring Semester: November 1
  • Summer Session: April 1
  Re-entry After Absence of Less Than Two Calendary Years
Students in Good Standing
Students who left the university in good standing and who have been absent for one semester or more without declaring a formal leave of absence must submit an Intent to Enroll Form to the Office of the Registrar. Students in good standing who have declared a formal leave of absence for non-medical reasons will be automatically activated and eligible to register for the stated semester of return without further action on their part (provided there is resolution of outstanding registration holds). Activation for students who take a leave of absence for documented medical or mental health reasons will be contingent on receipt of a letter from the attending physician indicating the student is able to attend classes. This letter must be received in the Office of the Registrar by the deadlines indicated in the table above.

Students on Probation
Students who left the university on academic probation, and who have been absent for one semester or more, must submit an Intent to Enroll Form directly to the Director of Academic Student Services, MSC 7503. A personal statement citing the reason for departure and interim activities must accompany the form. Re-entry and continued enrollment are not guaranteed, but are contingent upon review by an academic review committee chaired by the Director of Academic Student Services. Such review may result in denial or conditional re-entry.

Students on Suspension
Students who are placed on a first academic suspension may follow the appeal process stated in their suspension notification or apply for re-entry after the suspension period. A personal statement citing the reason for departure and interim activities must accompany all Intent to Enroll Forms. Students must submit all documents to the Director of Academic Student Services, MSC 7503. Re-entry and continued enrollment are not guaranteed but contingent upon review by an academic review committee chaired by the Director of Academic Student Services. Such review may result in denial or conditional re-entry.

With prior approval from the dean of the major college and the Office of the Registrar, a suspended student may choose to take courses at another institution. Course work completed during the period of suspension may be considered as part of the criteria for re-entry, but courses taken at another institution cannot be used to raise the grade point average at JMU, nor will the courses automatically transfer to JMU.

A maximum of 12 semester hours will be accepted as transfer credits. These hours will be considered once the student has been readmitted and has earned a minimum semester grade point average of 2.0 in at least 12 credit hours attempted during the semester of return.

  Re-entry After Second Suspension or Absence Exceeding Two Calendar Years
Students who are eligible to apply for re-entry after an absence of two or more calendar years, regardless of their academic standing at the time of departure, must apply for readmission through the Office of Admissions. Readmission is not automatic but subject to committee review of the application, the personal statement citing the reason for absence and evaluation of work completed at JMU as well as work completed at other institutions during the student’s absence from JMU.

If a degree-seeking student leaves James Madison University after earning a portion of General Education credits and earns an approved Virginia Community College System (VCCS) Associate Degree, JMU will accept it in fulfillment of General Education requirements. Students who earn the approved degree while on academic suspension status from James Madison University are only eligible to re-enter James Madison University by agreeing to apply for the Transfer Equivalent Option upon their approved return to James Madison University.

Back to top of page Registration
Semester course listings are available on the university’s internet accessible information system at http://ecampus.jmu.edu. The university expects all students to register on the dates indicated in the registration calendar. A late registration fee is charged for registration after the first day of classes, and there is no reduction in other fees.

Credit is not allowed in any course for which the student is not duly registered, and registration is not complete until all fees for the semester have been paid.

Back to top of page Student Assessment
JMU requires students to take a series of student outcomes assessments prior to their graduation. These assessments are held at three stages of students’ academic careers, including:
  • as entering first-year students
  • at the mid-undergraduate point when they have earned 45 to 70 credit hours, typically the sophomore year
  • as graduating seniors in their academic major(s)
Testing at the first two stages occurs on scheduled Assessment Days in the fall and spring semesters. During these assessments, students are tested on their knowledge in one of the general education areas of history, science, mathematics and fine arts. In addition, students may also complete tests measuring critical thinking, cultural knowledge, and intellectual and personal development.

Testing of seniors in their major(s) occurs on the spring Assessment Day or is embedded in academic unit courses. The university encourages students to review program requirements for further details.

The information gained during assessment makes it possible to compare students who have completed course work in certain areas to those who have not. Transfer students’ scores are compared with the scores of students who began their studies at JMU. In addition, assessment in the majors allows programs to determine if the majors are achieving the goals and objectives the academic units have specified.

JMU does not report individual student scores; the university does, however, report aggregated test results to measure how programs and services contribute to student learning and development and for student progression based on competency attainment in selected programs. Assessment results are reported within JMU and to external audiences. Internally, group-level assessment results are shared with faculty committees and administrators across the campus to improve university programs. Externally, JMU releases findings on how students perform in general education areas. This information is used to compare the overall performance of JMU students to students from other universities in Virginia. As a result, each student has an impact on these overall scores. The Center for Assessment and Research Studies administers assessment days and works with faculty for assessment of all academic majors and student affairs programs.

Back to top of page Semester Honors List
To qualify for the honor of being placed on the President’s List, a student must earn a grade point average of 3.900 or above and carry a course load of at least twelve graded credit hours (i.e., exclusive of credit hours taken on a credit/no credit basis).

To qualify for the Dean’s list, a student must meet the President’s List requirement for course load and earn a grade point average of 3.500-3.899.

Back to top of page Student Teaching
Student teaching should be a full-time experience. Only in exceptional cases will additional course work be approved during the student teaching period.

Moreover, student teachers cannot expect to work or participate in excessive extracurricular activities during their student teaching period as any interference with student teaching might lower the quality of the individual’s performance. Students with problems or special needs must contact the Office of Teacher Education Services. All student teaching grades are assigned on a credit/no-credit basis.

Back to top of page Transcript
The permanent academic record or transcript is the official record of a student’s grades earned to date, and it includes the date of graduation, degree received and date of withdrawal or dismissal. Official transcripts and other documents with the university seal attached are not released to the student; rather, the Office of the Registrar mails them directly to another college or authorized agency.

The Office of the Registrar may release a student’s transcript upon receipt of a written request from the student or former student and for authorized research purposes.

Back to top of page Transfer Equivalent Policy for Readmitted Students
A student who returns to JMU after a separation of two calendar years and who maintains a minimum 2.0 GPA for 12 credit hours earned at JMU after her/his return is eligible to apply for the transfer equivalent policy. This policy allows a student a quality point status equivalent to that of a transfer student admitted to the university: The student’s new GPA will initially be that earned in the 12 credit hours taken upon readmission. In order to exercise this option, the student must request in writing the approval of the appropriate college dean and the Office of the Registrar. The following regulations govern this option.
  • The option must be exercised immediately after completing 12 credit hours upon his/her return to JMU.
  • A student with outstanding “I” grades is not eligible to apply.
  • A student who leaves the university while in good standing is not eligible to apply.
  • Consultation with the dean of the college in which the student is majoring is required.
  • All grades will remain a part of the transcript.
  • An eligible student will receive degree credit for only those courses for which grades of “C” or better were earned prior to readmission.
  • Quality points earned for any course completed prior to readmission will not count in determining the student’s new cumulative grade point average.
  • A student whose application for the transfer equivalent policy has been approved may request that credit hours for pre-approved courses taken at another institution be transferred to JMU. The request will be reviewed by the office of the major college dean and the Office of the Registrar.
  • The option will be extended only once during the student’s enrollment at JMU.
A student interested in this option must re-apply to the university through the Office of Admission according to established deadlines.

Deadlines for Submission of Re-entry Applications:

  • Fall Semester: July 1
  • Spring Semester: November 1
  • Summer Session: April 1
Back to top of page Transfer of Credit from Other Institutions
A student wishing to earn credits at another institution, either in the summer or during a regular session, must obtain permission from the Office of the Registrar in advance of taking courses from another institution. Following consultation with the head of the academic unit if necessary, the Office of the Registrar will make the determination concerning the course and its application toward a JMU degree.

For a student on academic suspension status, a maximum of 12 semester hours will be accepted as transfer credits. These hours will be considered once the student has been readmitted and has earned a minimum semester grade point average of 2.0 in at least 12 credit hours attempted during the semester of return.

The General Education program allows students to transfer credit for a particular course based on a comparison of course objectives and content at JMU with those at the other institution. Once students have enrolled for classes at JMU, however, they are expected to complete the General Education program here. The Dean of General Education, the Associate Dean of General Education or a Cluster Coordinator must approve any exception to this policy. After students have enrolled for classes, some restrictions will be applied to transferring in credit for the General Education program. These restrictions include the following policies:

  • Students will be allowed to transfer in no more than three courses for General Education credit.
  • No more than one transferred course may be applied to any one cluster.
  • Transfer credit will not be awarded for course offerings in Cluster Four, The American Experience (GHIST 225 and GPOSC 225) due to the content and unique features of these courses.
Special exceptions to these policies will be reviewed on an individual basis. Such exceptions may include those students who wish to participate in study abroad programs or other special circumstances.

The student is responsible for having an official transcript mailed to the Office of the Registrar when the work has been completed. Credit hours will be awarded for approved courses carrying a “C” or better grade (2.0 quality points). Grades for courses taken at another institution are not included in grade point average calculations although they will be used in determining graduation honors for eligible students.

Back to top of page Unit of Credit
The JMU academic calendar is based on the semester system. The unit of credit is the credit hour. A credit hour represents one 50-minute class period each week in the semester for lectures, or two 50-minute class periods for each week in the semester for laboratory or fieldwork.
Back to top of page Undergraduate Grading System
The university keeps a complete record of each student’s work and makes grades available to students through the online student information system (e-campus) at the end of each semester. Mid-semester grades in all courses are also made available through the online student information system (e-campus) to new first year students. Grades are not mailed to students.
Grade Quality Points Earned Per Credit Hour
A 4.00
A- 3.70
B+ 3.30
B 3.00
B- 2.70
C+ 2.30
C 2.00
C- 1.70
D+ 1.30
D 1.00
F 0
I (Incomplete) 0
CR (Credit for work which is at the 2.0 level or above) 0
NC (No credit awarded) 0
WP (Withdrawal while passing) 0
WF (Withdrawal while failing) 0
W (Withdrawal) 0
Letter grades and quality points express the academic achievement of a student in a specific course. The quality point values listed in the previous table are earned for each semester credit hour.

A course in which a grade of “F” is received does not result in earned credit hours, but does count as credit hours attempted in computing the grade point average. A course in which a grade of “WP” or “WF” is received neither results in earned credit hours nor counts as credit hours attempted in computing the grade point average.

The academic achievement of a student in a specific course is expressed by letters as in the following table.

Grade Description
A Superior
B Good
C Average
D Passing
F Failure
I Incomplete
CR Credit for average or better work
NC No credit awarded
WP Withdrawal while passing
WF Withdrawal while failing
W Withdrawal
In certain circumstances, a grade of “NP” (denoting that an irregularity has resulted in a “Not Processed” designation) or “I” (recorded by faculty and denoting incomplete work in a given course) will be given for a course. An “NP” or “I” grade will automatically be converted to a permanent “F” grade at the end of the next regular semester. It is imperative that a student receiving any “NP” grade contact the Office of the Registrar as soon as possible to make sure that appropriate action is taken to remedy the problem. Any student receiving an “I” grade should follow the university policy on incomplete grades.
  Grade Point Average
The university computes a student’s grade point average for any period by dividing the number of quality points earned during that period by the number of credit hours attempted during the same period. For instance, during a period in which a student attempts 16 credit hours and earns 40 quality points, the student’s GPA is 2.5.

A student’s cumulative GPA is computed by dividing the total number of quality points earned at JMU by the total number of credit hours attempted at JMU.

Except as set forth under the Graduation with Honors policy, all references to grade point average denote the grade point average derived from course work taken at JMU.

  Quality Points
The grade of “B” in a three credit-hour course earns nine quality points; the grade of “C” in the same course would earn six quality points.

The following do not affect quality points earned, credit hours attempted or GPA:

  • Grades received at other institutions (except when used in determining graduation honors for eligible students).
  • Audited courses.
  • “I,” “CR,” “NC,” “W,” “WP” or “WF” grades.
  Incomplete Grades
The “I” symbol is used to indicate incomplete work in a given course and is awarded only when a student is unable to complete course work because of illness or another equally compelling reason.

Courses in which a student receives a grade of “I” must be completed by the end of the next regular semester, or the grade is recorded permanently as “F.” (See the University Calendar for the dates by which grade changes must be reported to the Office of the Registrar.) A student seeking a grade of “I” must make that request to the relevant faculty member before the end of the semester in which that course is taking place.

  Repeating Courses
A student may repeat any of the courses that he or she has taken at JMU. All grades will be included when calculating the student’s grade point average. There are, however, certain exceptions to this rule.

Students may elect to repeat up to two courses during their enrollment at JMU on a “repeat forgiveness” basis. As a result of the “repeat forgiveness” option, the university will exclude the previous grade and credit hours earned for the repeated course when it calculates the student’s cumulative GPA and earned credit hours total, regardless of whether the previous grade was higher or lower than the repeat attempt. Both grades will appear on the transcript. The student must either declare the “repeat forgiveness” option at registration or complete the appropriate adjustment form prior to the end of the course adjustment period. A student may not exercise the repeat/forgiveness option for courses in which that student was assigned a grade as a result of an Honor Code violation.

All grades will appear on the student’s transcript, but a course that has been repeated will only be counted once toward satisfying graduation requirements.

Back to top of page Withdrawal from the University
Students withdraw from the university when their enrollment is terminated before these students have completed the semester for which they registered. Students who decide to withdraw during the first three weeks of the semester must complete the Cancellation/Non-Returning Notice available at http://www.jmu.edu/registrar/forms.shtml and submit it to the Office of the Registrar. Students desiring to withdraw after the third week of the semester must contact the JMU Ombudsperson at (540) 568-2804.

The JMU Ombudsperson must approve such withdrawal requests, set the official withdrawal date and notify other university offices of the withdrawal. Strict compliance with this requirement is mandatory. Students who withdraw without receiving official approval will receive a grade of “F” for all courses in which they are enrolled.

Students who withdraw with official approval will receive grades based upon the following criteria:

  • Students who withdraw from the university before the end of the course adjustment period will receive a grade of “W” in all their courses.
  • Students who withdraw from the university for medical or mental health reasons will receive a grade of “W” in all courses and will receive a prorated refund for tuition, room and board, and fees. A letter from the attending physician must support a medical withdrawal. Re-entry to the university is contingent on receipt of a letter from the attending physician, and this letter must clearly indicate that the student is able to attend classes. Students who receive a mental health withdrawal for psychological reasons must also be absent from the university for a period of at least 90 days. Supporting documentation for the student’s return to the university must be received at least 30 days before re-entry. Students must have been in counseling to be eligible for a mental health withdrawal.
  • Students who withdraw from the university because of documented extenuating circumstances after the end of the course adjustment period will receive a grade of “W” in all their courses.
  • Students who withdraw from the university after the end of the course adjustment period, and who do not have documented extenuating circumstances that justify their withdrawal, will receive a grade of “W” in courses they are passing at the time of the withdrawal and a grade of “F” in courses they are failing at the time of withdrawal. These students will not receive a tuition or housing refund. Individual faculty members determine whether or not a student is passing a course.
Nondegree-seeking special students enrolled in an on- or off-campus course must also withdraw from the university by securing a Withdrawal Application form from the JMU Ombudsperson. This form must be completed and returned to the JMU Ombudsperson, who will process the official withdrawal. Any adjustment in charges will be calculated from the last date of attendance.

No adjustment in charges will be made unless the withdrawal form is received by the JMU Ombudsperson within 30 days after the student leaves the campus or does not attend classes.

Adjustments will not include nonrefundable fees or charges. Students whose connection with the university terminates as a result of disciplinary actions or enforced withdrawal will receive a prorated refund of all fees except room charges.