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Graduate Academic Policies and Procedure

Graduate Academic Policies and Procedures

Academic Honesty

Matriculated vs. Non-Matriculated Students


Term Limit

Transfer Credit

Comprehensive Examination

Academic Standing

Independent Study


Leave of Absence


Grading System

Incomplete Grades

Withdrawal from Courses

Course Repeat

Change of Grade

Audit Grade for Graduate Courses

Pass/Fail Grades for Graduate Courses

Graduate Grade Appeal Procedure

Academic Dismissal Appeal Procedure

Non-Academic Appeal Procedure

Academic Honesty | Back to top We expect students to maintain standards of honesty and integrity in all aspects of their academic careers. Academic dishonesty violates the very nature of our academy. Its scope includes plagiarism, lying, tampering and falsifying reference materials, and theft. Plagiarism and cheating consist of any attempt by a student to represent the work of someone else as his or her own. It includes, but is not limited to submitting, copying, or substantially restating the work of another person or persons in an oral or written work without citing the appropriate source; collaborating with someone else in an academic endeavor without acknowledging that contribution; and copying the answers of another student in an examination. Worcester State College will not tolerate plagiarism or cheating in the classroom in any fashion. The penalties for academic deceit are severe and unawareness is not an acceptable justification. The instructor may fail the student or enforce another appropriate penalty concerning academic dishonesty. The official policies and procedures of the College's response to academic dishonesty are outlined in the Graduate Student Handbook, in the section "Worcester State College Student Code of Conduct and the Judicial System."Matriculated vs Non-Matriculated Status: A matriculated student is one who has been accepted into and is enrolled in a degree/licensure program at the College. Matriculated vs. Non-Matriculated Status | Back to top Non-Matriculated status indicates that a student has registered for and is taking a course(s) at the College without being formally accepted into a program. A graduate applicant is allowed to take courses prior to being accepted into a graduate degree program, but no more than 4 courses will be permitted to apply toward the master’s degree. Certain graduate programs require that students taking classes be matriculated students.

Residency | Back to top Residency: All candidates for the master’s degree must complete a minimum of 33 semester hours of credit, all of which must be earned exclusively in graduate-level courses.

Transfer Credit | Back to top Only credits for which students have earned a grade of "B-" or higher within a two-year period immediately prior to the effective term of admission are transferable from an accredited institution, including credits earned at Worcester State College. A maximum of 12 such graduate credits may be accepted. Acceptance of transfer credits is the responsibility of the full-time faculty in the relevant discipline in conjunction with the Graduate Education Council. In all instances, no more than 12 semester hours of credit may be earned at any institution other than Worcester State College. Term Limit | Back to top All requirements for a graduate program must be completed within six years of the effective term of admission to a program. Candidates eligible for graduation must signify their intention by completing and submitting an Intent-To-Graduate form and include a check for the $15.00 Commencement fee. The fee covers the cost of the diploma, invitations and other expenses associated with graduation. Deadlines for filing are: March 15 for a May graduation, June 15 for an August graduation, and October 15 for a December graduation. If candidates plan to participate in the May Commencement, they will need to complete a regalia order form and pay the cost of the cap, gown and hood. Both forms are available in the Graduate Office or candidates may request to have them mailed to them. Comprehensive Examination | Back to top To receive a Master of Science degree in Biotechnology, or Master of Education degree with a concentration in Health, History or English, a candidate is required to pass an oral or written comprehensive examination in his or her field of concentration. Refer to program descriptions in this catalog for additional information.

Academic Standing | Back to top Matriculated students will be dismissed from their graduate program if they do not maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0, or if they receive two grades of C+ or lower. In addition, grades below a B- are not acceptable for degree credit. Dismissal requires absence from the College for one semester, pending action on an appeal, if submitted. Independent Study | Back to top No more than three semester hours of credit in independent study may be applied to the satisfaction of requirements of any graduate degree program. Independent study contracts, available in the Office of Graduate Studies, must be completed and filed with the Registrar by the last day of registration for a semester. Independent studies are granted only in extenuating circumstances.

Attendance | Back to top

Because each class meeting constitutes a substantial portion of the work in an evening or summer course, students are expected to attend all scheduled class meetings. If absent for any valid reason, the student should inform the instructor and arrange to make up classwork and assignments.

Leave of Absence | Back to top Matriculated students may request a leave of absence for up to one year by completing a leave of absence request form available in the Office of Graduate Studies. In extenuating circumstances, at the discretion of the Dean of Graduate and Continuing Education, a student may be granted an extension. Approved leave time is not counted against allowable program length. Transcripts | Back to top Official transcripts of course work taken at Worcester State College may be obtained by eligible students from the Office of the Registrar with the completion of a form available for that purpose, or by writing the request. Requests must include name while attending, current name if different, Social Security number and/or student ID number, last date of attendance and whether or not the student was officially accepted into a program. Transcripts are $2.00 per copy; "rush" transcripts are $4.00 per copy. Payment must accompany the request in the form of a check made payable to Worcester State College. Grading System | Back to top The grading system for graduate studies employs the letter grades A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, U (Work performed as unsatisfactory, no credit), W (withdrawn), and I (incomplete).

Incomplete Grades | Back to top When circumstances prevent a student from completing a course on time (e.g., illness), the student is responsible for requesting an "incomplete." The professor may grant an incomplete provided the student had completed a substantial portion of the course requirements. The student must make arrangements with the professor to complete the course within six weeks of the beginning of the next semester. The official calendar for the year indicates the date to resolve incompletes from the previous term. If the requirements are not met within the appropriate period, the incomplete will automatically become a "U," and is so recorded on the student’s permanent record. An extension of an incomplete for one semester may be granted if circumstances still prevent the student from completing the course. In such cases, the student is responsible for obtaining the approval of the professor who must notify the Registrar in writing of his/her approval prior to the end of the initial six week period. With regard to the extension of an incomplete grade, the required course work must be completed by the student prior to the beginning of the final examination period of the semester immediately following the one in which the incomplete was originally issued. The instructor will then have five working days within which to submit a final grade to the Registrar. Withdrawal from Courses | Back to top Official notice of withdrawal from a course must be made on a form available at the Registrar’s Office. The official date of withdrawal is that on which the completed form is received by the Registrar’s Office. The deadline for withdrawal from a course is indicated in the official calendar. A grade of "W" will be recorded in each case of a withdrawal from a course. Failure to attend

class meetings does not constitute official withdrawal from a course, and a student who merely ceases attending will receive the grade of "U." Course Repeat | Back to top Students who wish to repeat a course must file a course repeat form. These forms are available in the Graduate Studies Office (G105). Only the higher of the two grades is computed in the cumulative GPA. A course may be repeated only once. Both the old and the new grade will appear on the transcript. Change of Grade | Back to top Once a grade has been posted to a student’s transcript, that grade may be changed if, and only if, an error has been made in the calculation or transcription of the original grade. Under no circumstances will a change in grade for a student be allowed because of the submission of additional work after the course has ended. No grade change may be made after the conclusion of the semester following the semester in which the grade was originally submitted. Audit Grade for Graduate Courses | Back to top Audit grades for graduate courses will satisfy the needs of the following students:

• Professionals interested in taking courses to learn the latest information in the field, and who are not interested in graduate credit or a graduate degree. • Students who wish to test the likelihood of continuing in a particular field of study. • Teachers and other professionals who are interested in re-certification or in meeting licensing requirements and wish Professional Development Points(PDPs) or Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and not graduate credit. The following rules apply: • The cost of an audited course will be the same as the cost of a credit bearing course. • Students will have to declare at registration that audit is their choice; they will not be able to switch to credit-bearing status after registration. • Similarly, students cannot switch from credit-bearing to audit status after registration. • Audit will not be possible in practicum or internship courses, or in any courses where the instructor deems participation, such as group or team work, essential for the success of the course. • Students who audit a course are governed by the same attendance policies as apply to the enrolled students in that course. • Students may repeat any course for credit they have audited.

Pass/Fail Grades for Graduate Courses | Back to top Although the Pass/Fail grade for graduate courses is not normally an option, there are three cases in which the option will be available:

1. For professionals returning for current information and not a degree, but who wish credit for personal or professional reasons. 2. At the discretion of the academic department, in courses such as practica or internships for which a supervising professional oversees the educational experience. 3. Courses offered with the Professional Development (PD) identifier are offered on a Pass/Fail basis and may not be used towards graduate degrees at Worcester State College.

A student who has elected the pass/fail option under one of the above three conditions may not at a later time convert the pass/fail grade to a specific letter grade.

Graduate Grade Appeal Procedure | Back to top Prior to invoking the use of the graduate grade appeal procedure, individuals should exhaust all informal means available to resolve questions concerning specific grades.

The graduate grade appeal procedure is designed to resolve questions regarding student grades when one or more of the following is at issue:

1) there is reason to believe that a mechanical error in calculating a grade has occurred; 2) there is reason to believe that a grade has been calculated in a manner which is inconsistent with the stated grading policy.

The appeal procedure may not be used to challenge a grade which results from a faculty member exercising usual and customary professional judgment in the evaluation of student work.

Step 1 Within ten working days of the availability of the grade in question, the student shall request in writing a meeting with the instructor. In the case of an end-of-semester grade, the student shall request such a meeting no later than ten working days after the beginning of the next semester. The instructor shall arrange to meet with the student within ten working days of the receipt of the request.

Step 2 If the matter is not resolved to the satisfaction of the student at Step 1, then, within ten working days of the meeting in Step 1, the student shall file a written request to review the matter with the appropriate Department Chair.

Step 3 If, within ten working days of the receipt of the request in Step 2, the Department Chair is unable to resolve the matter to the satisfaction of all parties, then either party may, within ten working days, file a written request to review the matter with the Dean of Graduate and Continuing Education.

Step 4 If, within ten working days of the receipt of the request in Step 3, the Dean of Graduate and Continuing Education is unable to resolve the matter to the satisfaction of all parties, then either party may, within ten working days, file a written request to review the matter with the Academic Vice President.

Step 5 Within ten working days of the receipt of the request in Step 4, the Academic Vice President shall inform the student, faculty member, Department Chair, and Dean of Graduate and Continuing Education of the results of the Vice President’s review. The appeal process ends at this point.

Academic Dismissal Appeal Procedure | Back to top If dismissed for academic deficiency, students may appeal for reinstatement. Appeals must be made in writing to the Chair of the Graduate Education Council, and must be submitted within ten working days following notification of dismissal. Students will be notified in writing of the decision of the Council.

1. A student’s written appeal to the Council must include: the student‘s name/Identification Number/program; a discussion of the circumstances contributing to the academic deficiency; and permission for Graduate Education Council to review academic records. 2. The Graduate Council will consider the appeal at its next schedule meeting. 3. In its written response to the student, the Council will outline the conditions rationale of its action: a) if the appeal is granted, Council will outline conditions of reinstatement and time frame for program continuation/ completion b) if the appeal is denied, the student is administratively withdrawn from the program; he/she may not re-apply to the same program; and cannot apply for re-admission to another program for l2 months. 4. A second dismissal for academic deficiency is not subject to appeal. 5. Evaluation of academic standing will take place after each semester/session Non-Academic Dismissal Appeal Procedure | Back to top After the Dean has sent the decision of the Graduate School as to dismissal for non-academic reasons, the student may appeal using the following process.

A student dismissed for non-academic reasons may appeal the decision of the Graduate School to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. This appeal must: a) Be in writing, b) Be submitted within 10 business days of receiving the Graduate School’s decision, c) The decision of the Vice President for Academic Affairs is final.

Address appeal to:

Vice President for Academic Affairs Worcester State College 486 Chandler Street Worcester, MA 01602


Last modified at 8/5/2009 10:15 AM  by Chhoeuk, Sopheap