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Academic Policies and Procedures

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General Regulations

Current regulations and policies are updated annually and published in The Graduate School Policy and Procedures Manual. Upon enrollment, graduate students accept responsibility to remain current on policies and regulations set forth by their programs of study and The Graduate School. Further explanations and clarification are available from The Graduate School website.

Academic Standing and Continued Enrollment

Academic Classification

The classification of students, i.e., full time, etc. in graduate programs is often considered in determining payment deferment on undergraduate student loans, eligibility for insurance benefits, etc.

Classification/Academic Loads

Status

Credit Hours

Full time

9 or more

Three-quarter time

6

Half time

5

Less than half time

4 or less

Continuous Enrollment

All students enrolled in graduate degree programs must enroll each regular semester for a minimum of one graduate credit hour. This registration must continue with no breaks from enrollment in the first graduate program course to graduation. This policy does not include summer sessions.

It is preferable that students enroll in courses relevant to their graduate program to facilitate timely completion. If it is not possible to do so, however, The Graduate School has established a one-credit continuous enrollment course, GRAD 597. The tuition for this course is $50.00. No grade will be assigned for this course.

GRAD 597. Continuance. 1 credit.

To remain in good standing in their program, all graduate students must maintain continuous enrollment each semester in their program from entry until graduation. This course allows those students who are not intending to register for any other courses during the current semester to continue in their program in good standing. Course may be repeated as needed.

The following are circumstances for which GRAD 597 is not appropriate:

  • During the graduation semester. A student cannot use GRAD 597 as the enrollment requirement during the semester he or she is scheduled to graduate. All graduate students must be enrolled in a course required for their program of study during the semester they are scheduled to graduate.
  • If a student's graduation must be delayed while he or she completes a dissertation or thesis, the student should register for thesis or dissertation continuance rather than GRAD 597.
  • If a student’s graduation must be delayed because he or she received an "I" in a course, the student will not officially graduate until the course is completed. Because all course work must be completed by the final date of the student's graduation semester, a student failing to meet the deadline will not officially graduate until the following semester. The solution existing in the first example applies. Students must register for at least one hour of thesis or dissertation continuance, comprehensive continuance, reading and research, or other course option appropriate to their program of study.

Exemption from the Continuous Enrollment Requirement

It is possible to receive an exemption from the continuous enrollment requirement. There are two possible types of exemption from the continuous enrollment requirement:

  • Leave of Absence: The Office of the Dean of Students may grant a temporary leave of absence to students who demonstrate sufficient cause to justify such a leave. Students who feel their circumstances justify a leave should contact the Office of the Dean of Students to discuss the possibility of a leave of absence, the consequences of interrupting their program of study and the conditions that will need to be satisfied to return to the university. The Office of the Dean of Students is responsible for granting these leaves. The Office of the Dean of Students works with the graduate program director and The Graduate School when determining if and when a student on leave can return to the university.
  • Whenever possible, students should discuss with their adviser and/or program director the impact a leave of absence would have on their ability to eventually complete their program of study.  In some programs, it may be difficult or impossible for a student to complete their program of study when they do not continue with their cohort.
  • Planned Leave of Absence: Occasionally, students may not be expected to enroll in courses every semester because of the design of their academic program.  Examples include programs designed for working professionals that may only offer classes during summer sessions or some programs offered online.  The Dean of The Graduate School approves the offering of courses in these special formats, and students enrolled in these special format programs may be automatically exempt from the continuous enrollment requirement. Students enrolled in these special format programs must complete all degree requirements within the time limits established by The Graduate School.

Except for extenuating circumstances requiring approval from the Dean of The Graduate School, time spent in on-leave status will be included in all time limits pertaining to the student's degree program.

Students in on-leave status may not:

  • use any university facilities
  • make demands upon faculty time
  • receive a fellowship or financial aid

A graduate student who takes an unapproved break in enrollment by failing to maintain continuous enrollment or by failing to obtain a Leave of Absence will relinquish his or her graduate standing in the university. Students who wish to be reinstated will be required to file an Application for Graduate Admission and pay the application fee.

Course Completion Deadline

All course work must be completed by the final date of the student's final semester. Students failing to meet the deadline will have their names removed from the current graduation list and they must reapply to graduate. Consult the calendar online at http://www.jmu.edu/registrar or this catalog for exact dates.

Registration

Semester course listings are available on the university’s internet-accessible information system at https://mymadison.jmu.edu/. The university expects all students to register on the dates indicated in the registration calendar. 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.

Course work required for completion of degree programs is listed in this catalog under the title “Degree Requirements.”  Students pursing degrees are expected to work with their adviser and program director to develop a plan of study that is consistent with the degree requirements for their program and the student’s professional interests. Note that some courses are intended to be taken in a certain sequence, and many courses are not offered every semester, so students should seek advice as they plan their academic program.

Students are responsible for selecting and registering for courses that will help them make progress toward the completion of their degrees.  If a student wishes to take a course that is not listed as a degree requirement in the catalog, formal permission is required for this course to count as part of their program of study or substitute for a another requirement. 

Students may register for additional courses that are not required for completion of their degree.  Permission of the instructor or program offering the course may be required to enroll in some of these courses.  These additional courses may include undergraduate courses and/or graduate courses offered for students in other programs or departments.  However, enrollment in these extra courses will not contribute to the completion of a graduate program unless formal permission has been granted for a particular course to count in this way.  Note that undergraduate courses can be required prerequisites, but they cannot count toward a graduate degree and graduate students may not be able to receive financial aid for the completion of undergraduate courses. Graduate assistantships will not cover tuition for undergraduate courses.

Courses completed prior to enrollment in a particular degree program will not count toward that degree program until the student is admitted to that program and unless the relevant program director approves the transfer of prior course work, including courses completed at JMU.  Under no circumstances will more than one-half of the total graduate credits required for completion of a program be considered for transfer/inclusion in the student’s program of study. This includes any hours taken at JMU prior to acceptance. Students may not transfer course work to their current degree program that was previously used to earn an awarded degree or certificate program.

Advising

Faculty Advisers

All students admitted into The Graduate School are assigned faculty advisers. Graduate program directors or designated members of the graduate faculty serve as faculty advisers.

After admission, students must meet with their advisers to select initial course work and plan their programs of study. Programs of study should be developed prior to initial registration.

Catalog of Record

Students are generally subject to the curricular and graduation requirements contained in the graduate catalog in effect upon or subsequent to their enrollment at JMU, with approval of the students' program and The Graduate School. At the discretion of their academic unit heads, students who leave and re-enter the university after an absence of a semester or more will be subject to the catalog in effect at the time of their re-entry or the catalog used by the majority of students with whom they will graduate.

Aging Credit

Graduate students are expected to complete all program and degree requirements within six years (for master's degree) or eight years (for doctoral degree) of their original entry date to JMU or previous higher educational institution(s). Additional standards may apply in programs leading to licensure or certification. Students may submit a written petition through their adviser, graduate program director and academic unit head to the dean of The Graduate School to receive extensions of time in the event of extenuating circumstances. Such requests must be received at least one month prior to the end of the student’s original six- or eight-year time limit.

Changes in Requirements

James Madison University is a progressive educational institution, and its offerings and requirements in the graduate catalog are under continual examination and revision. Revisions often affect currently enrolled students. Although the university attempts to alert students to these revisions through the academic advising process, individual reports of academic progress and various campus publications, responsibility for meeting all curricular and other graduation requirements rests with the students, who are encouraged to consult regularly with their program advisers.

Changes to Policies and Programs of The Graduate School

It is the responsibility of each student to become and remain aware of all applicable requirements and provisions that may apply to the student.

It is the prerogative of each academic unit to make changes in programs at any time prior to graduation. Students typically complete the program requirements as described in the catalog of the year in which they entered their program. Students who do not conform to their catalog must complete a program of study, which is developed and approved by their advisers and submitted to The Graduate School.

Exceptions to Regulations

Exceptions to any of the published rules and regulations cited within the Graduate Catalog must be requested by petition to The Graduate School. Such petitions must be submitted in writing by the student's adviser or graduate program director to the dean of The Graduate School and must detail the regulation and justify completely the exception being requested.

Comprehensive Assessment Procedure

A formal assessment of mastery designed to appraise the student's competence is required of each JMU student in order to complete his or her program of graduate study. Although the formal assessment typically takes the form of a comprehensive exam, other formal assessment formats may be acceptable as determined by the graduate program.

The format and timing of this assessment is at the discretion of the graduate program, provided it fairly and adequately documents the knowledge and skills the student has acquired. The nature of the comprehensive assessment should accurately reflect the content of the student's academic program. The assessment should require the integration and synthesis of what has been learned by the student. The student must demonstrate a breadth of knowledge in the discipline and depth in specific content areas to be determined by the graduate program faculty.

Comprehensive Assessment Committees

Each graduate program must have a comprehensive assessment committee for the program and/or for the individual student. Individual student comprehensive committees are selected by the student in consultation with and subsequently approved by the graduate program director and/or program adviser. Each comprehensive assessment committee must consist of at least three JMU graduate faculty members with the background and interest necessary to evaluate the mastery of the student. At least two members must be from the student's graduate program.

Non-graduate faculty members of the comprehensive assessment committee, which may include persons external to the university, must be approved by The Graduate School. Such members shall make up no more than one-third of the total committee membership. Graduate instructors may also be appointed to committees with the approval of The Graduate School when their expertise clearly qualifies them; however, their appointment must be in addition to the required number of graduate faculty members.

Graduate students may not serve on the comprehensive assessment committees. Only a graduate faculty member from the student's graduate program may chair a comprehensive assessment committee.

Comprehensive Assessment Procedure Failure

In the event a student fails the comprehensive evaluation, the student may request a re-examination. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, the re-examination must occur within six months of the date of failure. Only one re-examination will be allowed. Cases involving extenuating circumstances must be raised or supported by the graduate program faculty and presented in writing to the dean of the relevant college and the dean of The Graduate School for approval. If a student fails the second comprehensive assessment, his or her graduate program will be terminated.

Comprehensive Assessment Procedure Continuance

Students completing all degree requirements except the comprehensive assessment are required to enroll each semester until they have passed the comprehensive assessment. Students must register for comprehensive continuance credit hours during those semesters in which they are engaged in preparation for the comprehensive assessment. NOTE: The continuous enrollment course GRAD 597 cannot be used as a comprehensive continuance course. Credit hours for comprehensive continuance do not count toward graduate program requirements.

Confidentiality of Educational Records

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974

James Madison University adheres to and annually informs students of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended. This act, with which the institution intends to fully comply, was designated to protect the privacy of educational records. Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) students have certain rights with respect to their education records. These rights include:

  • The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day the university receives a request for access. The student should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic unit or other appropriate official written requests that identify the record(s) he or she wishes to inspect. The university official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the university official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
  • The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading. The student may ask the university to amend a record that he or she believes is inaccurate or misleading. The student should write the university official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record he or she wants changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the university decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the university will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
  • The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the university in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the university has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. Upon request, the university may disclose education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll. The following is considered "Directory Information" at James Madison University and may be made available to the general public unless the student notifies the Office of the Registrar in person or in writing within five days after the first day of class registration: Student's name, telephone numbers, addresses, place of birth, major and minor fields of study, college of major and year (first year, sophomore, etc.), enrollment status (full-time/part-time) including credit hours, dates of attendance, degree sought and time, degrees conferred, awards and honors conferred, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student, fraternity and/or sorority and educational societies.
  • The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by James Madison University to comply with the requirements of FERPA.

The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-4605

http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/reg/ferpa/index.html

For more detailed information, see Manual of Policies and ProceduresPolicy 2112, Student Privacy.

Course Levels

Course Numbering System

Courses numbered 500 through 900 are graduate courses and may be applied to a graduate program. Non-degree seeking students who have at least a bachelor's degree may enroll in graduate-level courses with prior written approval from the instructor.

Some programs use dual-numbered courses that allow both graduate and undergraduate students. For example, such courses may offer content concurrently on the 400 and 500 levels. In such instances, higher quality and/or additional work is required of the students enrolled at the graduate level in these courses. The additional demands required of graduate students in these dual-numbered courses are evident in the course syllabus and catalog description.

Course Level Requirements

All credits contained in the student's program leading to an advanced degree at JMU must be in courses designated for graduate students. At least one-half of the courses in the student's required plan of study must be at the 600 level or above. Only six hours of 501 workshop courses may be applied to a graduate degree program. Students should refer to their academic program for specific requirements.

Dissertation, Thesis and Ed.S. Research Project

Dissertation, Thesis and Ed. S. Research

A dissertation is required of all candidates for the Doctor of Audiology, Doctor of Psychology and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. A Doctor of Musical Arts Lecture Recital and Doctor of Musical Arts Document are required of all candidates for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree.

A thesis is required in several master's and Ed.S. programs. In other master's degree programs, a research project and the writing of a thesis is an option which may be elected by the student in consultation with and subsequently approved by his or her adviser. Graduate students are required to register for the minimum hours of thesis or dissertation credit required in their programs. Students must register for thesis or dissertation credit hours during those semesters in which they are engaged in the research or in the writing of the thesis or dissertation. NOTE: The continuous enrollment course GRAD 597 cannot be used as a thesis or dissertation continuance course.

Dissertation, Thesis and E.S. Research Project Requirements

The general requirements for the preparation of a thesis or dissertation or Ed.S. project pertain primarily to formatting and submission. These requirements provide a degree of uniformity and ensure that each thesis or dissertation is in a form suitable for archiving, is fully legible and can be preserved.

Students who submit a thesis or dissertation or Ed.S. project in partial fulfillment of the requirement for a graduate degree at JMU should consult the JMU Graduate School Thesis and Dissertation Manual for detailed guidelines to submission. A general overview includes the following steps. Students should:

  • Consult their program requirements for guidelines on registering for their thesis and dissertation.
  • Select a graduate faculty member as committee chair.
  • Identify the remaining members of the committee with guidance from the committee chair.
  • Submit the Committee Approval form to The Graduate School.
  • Begin the project using the style guide recommended by their program.
  • Schedule an appointment with The Graduate School to review the format of their project.
  • Make necessary formatting changes.
  • Obtain approval signatures.
  • Submit online a final copy of their work and turn in approval sheets to The Graduate School.
  • Submit a copy online to the library.
  • Titles of dissertations will be printed in the graduation program if the information is received by the appropriate deadline. In addition, an electronic copy of each student's thesis or dissertation will be cataloged in JMU’s Scholarly Commons.

Dissertation, Thesis and Ed.S. Project Committees

Students pursuing degrees requiring completion of a thesis or dissertation or Ed.S. project must have a thesis, research project or dissertation committee to oversee progress toward the degree. Students should select a graduate faculty member from their graduate program to act as the director of the committee and select the remaining committee members with the guidance of their director.

The following govern the selection of committee members:

  • Each committee must consist of at least three approved members of the JMU graduate faculty. Full-time graduate faculty, graduate instructors, emeritus graduate faculty and adjunct graduate faculty may be selected to serve as members of the thesis, research project or dissertation committee. Only full-time graduate faculty participating in the student's program may direct or co-direct the committee.
  • At least two of the three committee members must routinely participate in the student's graduate program. The dean of The Graduate School must approve non-graduate faculty members for thesis, research project or dissertation committees.
  • Non-graduate faculty members shall make up no less than one-half of the total committee membership and may include persons external to the university.
  • The Committee Approval form must be completed and submitted to The Graduate School no later than the second week of the semester in which the student registers for dissertation or thesis.

Dissertation, Thesis and Ed.S. Research Project Continuance

The continuous enrollment course GRAD 597 cannot be used as a thesis, dissertation or research project continuance course.

Dissertation and Thesis Grading

Faculty will post a grade of "S" (Satisfactory) or "U" (Unsatisfactory) for a thesis, dissertation or research project for each semester in which the student is enrolled. Faculty and students may view this grade on MyMadison.

Doctoral Candidacy Request

Doctoral students are admitted into candidacy for their graduate degree once they have completed all required course work, passed their comprehensive examination and completed all conditions of the original admission into the individual's degree program. Once students have reached this point, the program director informs the dean of The Graduate School electronically or by letter. This confirmation of successful completion of the comprehensive examination is placed in the student's file, and he or she is considered a candidate for the doctoral degree. The student is then permitted to advance to completion of his or her dissertation and graduation.

General Review Process

Evaluation of a graduate student's progress is primarily dependent on the judgments of appropriate faculty members of the student's graduate program. The university, through The Graduate School, can define minimal entrance standards and can prescribe general rules governing eligibility for continuation. However, the crucial agency in graduate student evaluation is the graduate program in which the student's work is focused. Principal evaluators must be faculty members of the student's graduate program.

It is assumed that disputes over unsatisfactory progress will be informally discussed and reconciled at the program or academic unit level. Discussions of this type will commonly occur among the student, major professor and other faculty members in the graduate program.

Grade Review Procedures

Grade Change Review Procedure:  If a student disputes a grade for any other reason than error in grade assignment or calculation, the student can initiate a formal grade review process. The grade review process described below can also be initiated to dispute a failing assessment of any comprehensive activity, including but not limited to comprehensive examinations and thesis/dissertation defenses. To activate the grade review process, the student must follow these steps:

  • The student submits a Grade Review Form to the appropriate professor by Monday of the third full week of classes in the regular semester that follows the semester for which the contested grade was given. In the case of a comprehensive assessment review, the Grade Review Form is submitted to all members of the comprehensive exam committee. The student must attach a written explanation of reasons for the appeal, including any documentation relating to the disputed grade. Requests for review of spring semester or summer session grades must be initiated no later than the Monday of the third full week of classes in the subsequent fall semester.
  • The student meets with the course instructor by Friday of the third full week of classes to attempt to resolve the concern. In the case of a comprehensive assessment review, the student may pursue a resolution entirely through email correspondence or may elect to request a face-to-face meeting with the committee chair.
  • If the student and the course instructor (or committee chair) reach an agreement that the grade should be changed, the course instructor or committee chair changes the grade by submitting a Grade Change form to the appropriate academic unit head or graduate program director for that individual's signature. A copy of this signed Grade Change form will be forwarded to The Graduate School. For graduate students whose grade of "C," "U" or "F" is to be changed, notice of the grade change must be sent to The Graduate School before that change occurs.
  • If no resolution is reached, the instructor (or committee chair) signs the Grade Review form and records a written response on the reverse side of the form. The instructor (or committee chair) returns the original copy of this form to the student, retains a copy of the form for his or her personal records and forwards a copy to the relevant academic unit head or graduate program director by Friday of the fourth full week of classes.
  • The student must contact the relevant academic unit head or graduate program director by the Friday of the fifth full week of classes in order to request review of statement and response. In situations in which the academic unit head or graduate program director is a member of the comprehensive assessment review committee, an associate dean in the college will be identified by the college dean to serve in the appropriate role for this process.
  • The academic unit head or graduate director meets with the student and confers with the relevant course instructor (or committee chair).
  • The academic unit head or graduate program director signs the Grade Review form and records a written response on the reverse side of the form by Friday of the seventh full week of classes. The student receives the original copy of this form. The relevant course instructor receives a copy of the form and the sender retains a copy of the form.
  • If all involved parties agree that the grade should be changed, the course instructor or committee chair submits a Grade Change form to the academic unit head or graduate program director and the appropriate individual signs the form. A copy of the form will be forwarded to The Graduate School. Notice of the grade change must also be sent to The Graduate School before the grade change occurs for graduate students who have a grade of "C," "U" or "F" changed to some other grade.

After the review process outlined above has been completed, a student can also request that the form, documentation and responses be reviewed by the dean of the college in which the course was taught or the comprehensive assessment was administered. The college dean's responsibility is only to ascertain whether all parties have had an opportunity to present all relevant facts and have received a fair and impartial hearing at each level.

To enter this phase of the process, a student must follow this procedure:

  • The student contacts the dean by Friday of the eighth full week of classes and requests that the dean review the overall process.
  • The dean of the relevant college reviews the process to be sure the student and the instructor (committee) have had a fair hearing.
  • If the relevant college dean believes that due process was not followed during the review process, he or she consults with the relevant professor and academic unit head or graduate director to resolve the dispute.
  • The dean sends a written response to all involved parties by Friday of the 10th full week of classes. This written response is appended to the Grade Review form. The dean returns the original copy to the student, retains a copy and sends a copy to the relevant academic unit head or graduate director and the relevant instructor or committee chair.
  • If it is agreed that the student's grade should be changed, the relevant course instructor or committee chair submits a Grade Change form to the academic unit head or graduate director. The recipient then signs the form and forwards a copy to the dean. Notice of the grade change must also be sent to The Graduate School before the grade change occurs for graduate students who have a grade of "C," "U" or "F" changed to some other grade.

There is no further review beyond the dean of the relevant college. The entire process will not extend past the end of the semester following the contested grade with the exception of grades given for summer session courses.

Grading System

Letter Grade

Description

Numerical Value

A

Excellent

4.0

A-

3.7

B+

Very Good

3.3

B

Good

3.0

B-

2.7

C

Poor

2.0

F

Failure

0.0

I

Incomplete

 

W

Withdrawal

 

WP

Withdrawal while Passing

 

WF

Withdrawal while Failing

 

S/U

Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory

 

(Thesis/dissertation and selected other courses.
See course descriptions.)

 

NC

No credit

 

The +/- grading scale is optional for faculty; the course grading system must be stated in the course syllabus.

  • A grade point average is calculated by dividing the accumulated number of grade points earned by the accumulated number of credit hours attempted. All graduate credits attempted and all graduate grades earned, whether passing or failing, will be used to calculate a student's grade point average.
  • The grade point average appears on the student's transcript.
  • Students must take all courses on a letter grade ("A-F") or satisfactory/unsatisfactory (S/U) basis, based on how the particular course was approved. Students do not have flexibility in choosing a grading option.
  • A grade of "W" will be assigned to students who withdraw from a course after the add/drop deadline but before the end of the course adjustment deadline.
  • A grade of "WP" or "WF" (according to the status of the student at the time of withdrawal) will be assigned to students who withdraw after the course adjustment deadline at the discretion of the instructor. The "WP" or "WF" will be recorded and remain on the student's transcript. Only the instructor can assign a "WP" or "WF."
  • If students have completed the maximum number of hours allowed by their program for thesis, dissertation or research project courses but have not completed the work, they will register for thesis, dissertation or research project continuance each semester while completing their research or writing.
  • A grade of "NC" (no credit) will be automatically entered for continuance hours.
  • Students should keep in mind that earning a "B-" may bring the GPA below 3.0 and prevent students from graduating.
  • In order to graduate, students must satisfy grade requirements specified by their individual academic program.

Auditing Graduate Courses

Graduate students may enroll in graduate courses using the "audit" option for elective courses only. These courses will not count as part of the student's program of study. Students must initially register for the course using the "audit" option. Under no circumstances may a course credit option be changed from "audit" to "credit" or "credit" to "audit." Students are required to pay for courses taken as "audit." Audit courses cannot be paid for using any university sources of funding, e.g., assistantship funding.

Credit By Examination

Credit by examination is an option that programs can include in their policies. Each program will use its own discretion in developing the form of the examination and in determining the procedure to be followed. A maximum of nine credit hours can be earned through credit by examination or transferred from institutions other than JMU, with no more than nine credit hours earned by a combination of exam or transfer.

Permission to take an examination for credit must be obtained from the head of an academic unit in which credit is sought. The cost for the exam will be $50 per credit hour attempted. Successfully earning credit by examination will result in a grade of "CR," with credit given, on the transcript.

Incomplete Grades

"I" is used to indicate incomplete work in a course. Courses in which a student received a grade of "I" must be completed by the end of the next regular semester or the grade is reported permanently as an "F."

Students should consult academic unit guidelines regarding such courses. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure grade changes are reported to the Office of the Registrar by the deadline. See the university calendar in this catalog for the date by which grade changes must be submitted.

All course work must be completed by the final date of the student's final semester. Students failing to meet the deadline will not graduate and will have their degrees dated the following semester. Consult the university calendar online at http://www.jmu.edu/registrar or in the front of this catalog for dates.

Satisfactory Progress

If, at any time, a graduate student fails to make satisfactory progress toward the degree, the student may be denied permission to continue in the program. Such a decision may be based on grades, grade point average, comprehensive examination, thesis or dissertation performance, or other factors relevant to the student’s academic program.  Recommendations regarding satisfactory progress may be made by the student's adviser, graduate program director, academic unit head or The Graduate School. Recommendations are referred to The Graduate School for final action.

Academic Warning

A graduate student will receive a notice of academic warning upon receiving a grade of "C" in any two graduate courses or if the student's grade point average falls below 3.0. This academic warning will be noted on the student's transcript. All credits attempted and all grades earned, whether passing or failing, will be used to calculate a student's grade point average.

Academic Dismissal

A student will be dismissed from the degree program if the student receives an "F" or "U" in any graduate course or the student receives a total of three "C" grades. A student dismissed from the degree program may not enroll in any graduate-level courses for a period of one year. Students who want to return to the university must re-apply and be re-accepted in the usual manner.

Graduation

The office of the dean of The Graduate School, assisted by the graduate faculty, have responsibility for final approval of graduate degrees to be awarded. It is the responsibility of each student to ensure that courses selected are acceptable to the program being pursued. A student cannot graduate with a GPA below 3.0. Students should keep in mind that earning a "B-" grade may bring the GPA below 3.0 and prevent the student from graduating.

Graduate Degree Completion Requirements

  • Complete all courses required for the intended degree. At least one-half of the courses in the student's required plan of study must be at the 600 level or above.
  • Be continuously enrolled in the graduate program from admission to graduation (unless specifically exempt).
  • Have satisfied any conditions of his or her admission, such as provisional or conditional admission.
  • Complete the graduate program with an appropriate GPA. The standard for graduation is a 3.0 or higher GPA.
  • Be enrolled in a course other than GRAD 597 during the semester in which he or she plans to graduate.
  • Complete all requirements of the graduate program and The Graduate School within six calendar years (master's and education specialist degrees) or eight years (doctoral degrees).
  • Successfully achieve doctoral candidacy (doctoral students only).
  • Successfully complete a comprehensive assessment or equivalent as determined by the individual graduate program. The graduate program must notify The Graduate School that the student has successfully completed the comprehensive assessment procedure.
  • Submit a thesis, dissertation or research project, if required by the academic program, to The Graduate School that meets the format requirements set forth in The Graduate School Thesis and Dissertation Manual.
  • Complete the minimum period of residency established by his or her program. While the traditional period of required residency is optimal, the technological revolution that facilitates distance learning of all varieties may not allow for the traditional approach to residency.

In addition to meeting the general completion requirements set forth by The Graduate School, each student must meet the graduation requirements of the individual graduate program.

Application for a Graduate Degree

Students must submit an application for graduation, available from The Graduate School website. Students are also responsible for consulting their advisers or The Graduate School website regarding deadlines for graduation.

The Application for Graduate Degree form must be approved by the student's adviser and the academic unit head or graduate program director. Students are responsible for obtaining all necessary signatures to complete the Application for Graduate Degree form. Students should complete all requirements of their catalog of record or complete a program of study. Students must complete all the conditions of the original admission in their degree program, e.g., conditional admission, at least one semester before they are scheduled to graduate before they can be permitted to graduate.

Only six credit hours of 501 workshop courses approved for inclusion in a graduate program may be applied toward a degree. If students plan to use transfer credits to fulfill degree requirements, these credits, along with official transcripts showing the credits and the transfer of credit form, must appear on the Application for a Graduate Degree form and be forwarded to The Graduate School.

Students completing a dissertation must submit the dissertation title to The Graduate School by the deadline set by The Graduate School for this information to be included in the commencement program.

Requirements for Graduation Semester Registration

All graduate students are required to be registered in a course other than GRAD 597 during the semester in which they receive their degree.

Attendance at Commencement

Students are expected to attend graduation exercises. A student unable to be present for the graduation exercises must notify The Graduate School no later than 15 working days before commencement.

Grievance Procedure for Students

This policy applies to student grievances against faculty that do not concern grades, discrimination or harassment. Policies for grievances concerning these matters are outlined elsewhere.

  • Each academic unit head will appoint an advisory committee made up of faculty and students from the academic unit that will hear grievances of students. The advisory committee may take any of the following actions:
  • Examine materials submitted by the student and the party grieved against ("respondent").
  • Interview the student and the respondent.
  • Interview any witnesses requested by the student, the respondent or the committee.
  • Request additional materials from any person or entity relevant to the charges.
  • Make a recommendation on the grievance to the academic unit head.
  • The academic unit head may accept the recommendation of the committee, reject the recommendation or partially accept and partially reject the recommendation. The academic unit head will take any action he or she deems appropriate on the grievance.
  • If either the student or the respondent is dissatisfied with the action taken by the academic unit head, the action may be appealed to the dean. The decision of the dean is final.
  • If the academic unit head is the party against whom the grievance is filed, the dean will receive the report of the committee and stand in the place of the head of the academic unit for the purpose of making the decision on the grievance. If the dean is the party against whom the grievance is filed, the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs will handle any appeal.

Following exhaustion of campus-based procedures, students may direct complaints to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. Additional information is available from their website at http://www.schev.edu/index/students-and-parents/resources/student-complaints.

Honor System

The academic program at JMU operates under an Honor System that dates back to the 1909-10 academic session. Students adopted the present Honor System in order to uphold individual and community integrity. Each student is expected to observe complete honesty in all academic matters and to report instances where another student has violated the Honor System.

A student Honor Council administers the Honor System, and every student who matriculates at the university, whether graduate or undergraduate, becomes a member of the Honor System. The university expects the cooperation of faculty members and administrators in upholding this Honor System. The Student Handbook provides full information on the Honor System, and the Honor Council office provides students with assistance in understanding Honor System policy. All incoming JMU students are required to complete an online Honor System Tutorial and test during their first semester.  The Honor Code Tutorial video, test information and test are available at http://www.jmu.edu/honor/test.shtml.

The Honor Council encourages all members of the JMU community to familiarize themselves with the Honor Code and Honor System procedures. The Honor Council office is located in Johnston Hall.

Inclement Weather or Emergency

When the university is closed due to inclement weather or other emergencies, all classes are cancelled. Policies regarding class cancellations are specified in the syllabus for each course.

Makeup Days for Classes

When it is necessary to cancel classes due to weather or other emergencies, faculty have several options for making up the missed instructional time.

  • Hold class at the regularly scheduled time on the official university make-up day, normally the Saturday immediately following the missed class.
  • Hold class at a time acceptable to all class members other than the regularly scheduled time or the official make-up day. Time and location will be arranged by the academic unit.
  • Accommodate the missed instructional time within remaining class meeting time.
  • Hold class through electronic means.

Misconduct in Research and Other Scholarly Work

Policy 2205, Misconduct in Research and Other Scholarly Work applies to all individuals involved in the performance of scholarly and creative activity and research conducted at JMU, whether performed under external or internal funding. It applies to all scientists, trainees, technicians and other staff members, students, fellows, guest researchers, or collaborators. Misconduct as defined under this policy means fabrication, falsification, plagiarism or other practices that seriously deviate from those that are commonly accepted within the scientific and academic community for proposing, conducting or reporting research. Misconduct by a student under this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including expulsion from the university, loss of fellowship or scholarship and potential criminal prosecution.

Transfer Credit

Students who wish to receive graduate credit for courses taken prior to entering a JMU graduate program must submit requests to their adviser during the first semester of enrollment. The Approval of Transfer Credit form is available online.

A grade of "B" or better must be earned in courses requested for transfer credit. Courses taken for pass/fail or satisfactory/unsatisfactory grades will not be accepted for transfer graduate credit. An official transcript showing the credits approved for transfer must be forwarded to The Graduate School.

Students may not transfer in more than nine credit hours from institutions other than JMU. Under no circumstances will more than one-half of the total graduate credits required for completion of a program be considered for transfer/inclusion in the student's program of study. This includes any hours taken at JMU prior to acceptance. In the case of variable credit programs, the one-half maximum transfer hours allowed will be calculated based on the minimum number of hours required for the degree.

Transfer credit applications must be approved by the student's adviser, academic unit head and the dean of The Graduate School. Exceptions to the policy may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Credits earned to complete a previous graduate degree may not be applied to a second graduate program at JMU at the same degree level. However, previously earned graduate credit earned as a part of a master's degree program from an accredited institution may be counted toward the degree requirements of a higher level degree, such as the Master of Fine Arts, Educational Specialist and doctoral degrees. Academic work, including transfer credit, taken more than six years before the master's degree award date or eight years before the doctoral degree award date may not be used to satisfy the degree requirements. No transfer credit will be approved while a student is in provisional status.

Students must familiarize themselves with their specific program requirements as discussed in the academic sections of this catalog. Individual programs will have detailed information relative to the acceptance of credit hours toward their degrees.

Permission to Take a Course at Another University After Enrollment

Students enrolled in a graduate program may take graduate courses at another accredited institution. While prior approval is not required, students should secure permission from their adviser, academic unit head, graduate director and The Graduate School to ensure that the course will transfer to JMU.

It is the student's responsibility to request transfer credit for such courses upon completion and to have official transcripts submitted to The Graduate School office. Transfer credit forms are available at The Graduate School office or online.

Students who take their last courses to fulfill their programs of study at institutions other than JMU cannot graduate during that semester. Students must be enrolled at JMU during the semester they graduate.

Withdrawal

Withdrawal from Courses

A student may terminate enrollment in a course by withdrawing from the course after the drop deadline. A student who withdraws from a course will receive a grade of "W" for the course, and this grade will be recorded (and remain) on the student's transcript regardless of the status of the student in the course at the time of the withdrawal.

In extraordinary situations, a student who becomes unable to complete some course requirements after the course adjustment deadline (typically during the thirteenth week of a regular semester class – see term calendar for exact date) may request a grade of "WP" (Withdrawn Passing) or "WF" (Withdrawn Failing) from the instructor. A student should not assume that a late withdrawal will be provided by the instructor. There is no obligation for the instructor to assign a "WP" or "WF" grade. If appropriate, the instructor determines the form (e.g., verbal, written) and timing of requests for a "WP" or "WF" grade. The student must ensure that the request is made in an appropriate manner and at an appropriate time. In response to such a request, the instructor may choose to record a grade of "WP" or "WF" but is not obligated to do so (and may record any grade other than "W"). The course instructor may also suggest that the student contact the Office of the Dean of Students about withdrawing from the university. Withdrawing from a course will not result in a tuition reduction.

Students considering withdrawing from a course should be aware that graduate and professional schools and future employers might hold differing opinions on a student's withdrawal from a course. For this reason, a student should withdraw from a course only after serious consideration.

Withdrawal from the University or a Graduate Program

The Office of the Dean of Students 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.

A student who voluntarily withdraws from his or her graduate program without receiving official approval will receive a grade of "F" for all courses in which he or she is enrolled. A student voluntarily withdrawing with official approval will receive a grade of "W," "WP" or "WF" in all courses. A grade of "W" will be assigned to students who withdraw from a course after the add/drop deadline but before the end of the course adjustment deadline. A grade of "WP" or "WF" (according to the status of the student at the time of withdrawal) will be assigned to students who withdraw after the course adjustment deadline at the discretion of the instructor.

It may also be necessary for a graduate student to withdraw due to extenuating circumstances. Withdrawal for extenuating circumstances must be approved by the student's graduate director and the dean of The Graduate School. A student who withdraws because of extenuating circumstances will also receive a grade of "W," "WP" or "WF" in all courses.

Students who withdraw from their graduate program will be responsible for tuition as determined by the Office of the Registrar and may be subject to a change in their financial aid status. For more information, see the section of the catalog on "Withdrawal Refunds."

Non degree-seeking students enrolled in an on- or off-campus course must also withdraw from the university by securing a Withdrawal Application form from the Office of the Dean of Students. This form must be completed and returned to the Office of the Dean of Students, which 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 Office of the Dean of Students within 30 days after the student leaves the campus or does not attend classes.

Withdrawal from a graduate program is the equivalent of withdrawal from the university.