Academic Regulations Master’s Programs

Full-Time Status

Full-time, degree-seeking, graduate students are defined as those taking nine (9) credit hours per semester. Prerequisite courses may be counted in the total for the calculation of full-time status. Students taking fewer than nine credit hours per semester are defined as part-time students.

Transfer Credits

While graduate students may transfer up to 12 credits, the remaining academic coursework must be completed through VWU. Acceptance of transfer graduate credits will be approved by the individual graduate degree programs and recorded on the student's transcript. The University’s MBA program permits the transfer of up to 12 credits. The MAEd program only accepts transfer credits under exceptional circumstances; transfer students should contact the MAEd Graduate Program Director for clarification in specific cases.

Graduation Requirements

Programs must impose on students the following minimum standards for graduation:

  1. Students must complete all requirements and coursework stipulated by the program prior to the deadlines specified for graduation, hold no grades of Incomplete, and be in good standing with the University.
  2. Students must have a cumulative GPA in program courses of at least 3.0.
  3. Students must complete program within 5 years from initial enrollment.
  4. Degree candidates must apply for graduation in the final semester of coursework. The candidate's application for graduation must be approved by the graduate program and the Registrar.

Registration and Attendance/Participation Policies

Registration: By the beginning of each term, students are required to formally register for classes. Currently enrolled students should register during advance registration for maximum opportunities to obtain a satisfactory class schedule. Late registration extends through the first five days of each term. Students should refer to the Registrar’s home page for registration information and for details concerning course offerings, procedures, and requirements.

Adding and Dropping Courses: Students may add or drop a course, or change a section of a course through WebAdvisor or by completing a Course Selection form at the Registrar’s Office. Students wishing to add a course after the first week of classes must have the approval of the professor and the Provost. The added course will increase the total hours in a student’s course load even though the student may have dropped another course (see “Withdrawal from Course”).

Dropping a course after the first week of classes does not reduce the total number of hours charged for the term. Drops after the first week of classes and prior to the automatic “WF” period (see Academic Calendar) result in a grade of W. From the beginning of the automatic “WF” period until the last day of classes for the semester, a drop will result in an automatic WF or WU. Exceptions to this policy may be made for students who withdraw from the University for reasons of documented illness. Students cannot evade the imposition of a course grade of F as the result of an Honor Code violation by withdrawing from the course.

Class Attendance/Participation Policy: The University expects students to attend all class meetings of courses in which they are enrolled; in the case of online courses, the University expects regular course participation, including logging in to the course’s Blackboard page several times each week. Each professor sets an attendance/participation policy and includes it in the course syllabus. Professors best understand the responsibilities of individual students in their courses; thus they have sole authority over course attendance/participation policies as they evaluate all excuses for absence and decide whether to permit students to make up work missed. Professors may request written confirmation of illness from the Health Services director or from a physician. They may request written confirmation of other significant reasons for absence from the Dean of Students.

Honor Code

As a liberal arts university, Virginia Wesleyan is committed to values of citizenship and social responsibility that are fundamental to a community of scholars. People who join this academic community agree to maintain academic honesty and, therefore, not to cheat, lie, falsify data or commit plagiarism or academic theft.

The purpose of the Honor Code at Virginia Wesleyan University is to foster an environment of learning based upon trustworthiness and willingness to assume personal responsibility for honorable behavior. Responsibility for safeguarding honor and trust belongs to the entire academic community; therefore, students need to assume increasing measures of accountability for honorable behavior in themselves and others as they advance academically.

Grading Policies

Grading System: Virginia Wesleyan University uses a 4.0 grading system. The table below lists the letter grades that professors use, the meaning of each letter grade, and the number of quality points that each grade represents. Quality points are used to determine a student’s grade point average (GPA). The procedure for calculating a GPA is described below, under “Grade Point Averages.”

Letter Grade

Meaning for Graduate Courses

Quality Points per Sem. Hr.

Used to Calculate GPA

A

Excellent work

4.00

Yes

A-

Good work, definitely above average

3.67

Yes

B+

Good work, somewhat above average

3.33

Yes

B

Average work

3.00

Yes

B-

 

2.67

Yes

C+

 

2.33

Yes

C

Below Average work

2.00

Yes

C-

 

1.67

Yes

D+

 

1.33

Yes

D

Substantially below average work

1.00

Yes

D-

Work meets minimum requirements for credit

0.67

Yes

F

Failure

0.00

Yes

WF

Withdrew while failing

0.00

Yes

W

Withdrew

0.00

No

I

Work that the instructor considers justifiably incomplete

0.00

No

Incomplete: An Incomplete is given at the discretion of the professor when circumstances beyond the control of the student prevent the completion of course requirements.

Incomplete work must be made up during the ensuing term, with summer counting as a term, so that a letter grade can be turned in to the Registrar no later than the last day of classes. Otherwise, a grade of Incomplete is recorded as a grade of F. Any exception to this policy requires the approval of the Provost prior to the stated deadline.

Grade Changes: A request for a grade change must be submitted by the faculty member to the Provost for approval. Any change of grade from a reassessment must be made within 12 months of the issuance of a grade.

Course Grade Appeal Process: A student who believes that he or she has received an unjust course grade may appeal the grade. The burden of proof of injustice rests with the student. A student pursuing an appeal must follow these steps:

  • First, the student must review the course syllabus for the grading policy and calculate a legitimate grade, based on all tests, papers, and other work graded by the faculty member during the semester.
  • If the student still believes the grade is in error, then no later than the end of the second week of the subsequent semester, summer not counting as a semester, the student must confer directly with the faculty member who assigned the grade, bringing to the meeting all graded work that was required for the course.
  • If after this meeting the student is still not satisfied with the faculty member’s decision, then no later than the end of the fifth week of the same semester, the student must prepare and send to the Provost a written appeal with all supporting evidence. At the same time, the student must send copies of all materials to the faculty member. After consultation with both the student and the faculty member, the Provost, if she or he believes the case so warrants, calls together the members of the department in which the course was taken. This process is intended to ensure fairness and to ensure that all supporting materials are seen by neutral parties. After this consultation with the Provost and the other members of the department, the faculty member makes the final determination.

Repeating a Course: Graduate students can retake at most 2 graduate level classes with a grade of C or lower, a maximum of one time, in order to correct the GPA.  Upon retaking the course, the new grade will replace the old grade. All previous grades for that course remain on the transcript, but only the most recent grade is used in computing the grade point average.

Grade Point Averages: A student’s graduate grade point average is computed on work taken at Virginia Wesleyan, exclusive of undergraduate prerequisite courses. A student’s grade point average is calculated by dividing the total number of quality points earned at Virginia Wesleyan by the total number of semester hours attempted at Virginia Wesleyan, including failures and withdrawal failures. A cumulative grade point average cannot be computed by averaging semester grade point averages.

Graduate Academic Standing Policy

Because a 3.0 cumulative graduate grade point average (GPA) is necessary for graduation, a GPA of 3.0 (B) or higher is required to remain in good academic standing, and a GPA below 3.0 is a warning that a student’s academic performance falls below acceptable standards.  A student with a GPA below 3.0 will be placed on academic probation and has the next 12 credit hours (including courses retaken to improve the GPA) to raise the GPA above 3.0, or they may be dismissed from the program. Students whose GPA falls substantially below 3.0 (see table below) may be suspended or dismissed, at the discretion of the Committee on Academic Standing.

Probation and Suspension Thresholds for Graduate Students who have completed at least 6 graduate semester hours at VWU.  


Cumulative   
GPA in Graduate Courses at VWU

Good Academic Standing

Academic Probation

Academic Suspension

Dismissal

3.0 and above

Automatic

 

 

2.60 - 2.99

 

Automatic

 

2.0 - 2.59

 

Automatic

Possible

Below 2.0

 

 

Automatic

Possible

Students who only take 3 graduate credit hours in their first academic mini-term (i.e., Fall 2, spring 2, summer session 5) are deferred from consideration by the Committee on Academic Standing until the end of the next full semester.  However, if their first graduate course grade is a C or lower, they will automatically be placed on academic probation.

Academic Suspension or Dismissal

Academic suspension is for 2 semesters, whereas dismissal is for a period of 5 years.  Because graduate programs must be completed within a period of 5 years, students who are dismissed would effectively have to start the graduate program over at that time if they choose to return.

A suspended student may not receive transfer credit for any course work taken at another institution while on suspension, unless approved in advance by the Dean of the University College.

Each student is responsible for being aware of his or her own academic standing relative to the University policy and is entitled to appeal the decision of the Academic Standing Committee. Letters of appeal should be directed to the committee chairperson located in the Registrar’s Office.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Standard for Financial Aid Eligibility

All continuing students must be making satisfactory academic progress to be considered for financial aid.  For Master’s Programs, a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 is required for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).

At the end of each semester, all students receiving financial aid are evaluated for satisfactory academic progress. Any student who is not maintaining satisfactory progress is automatically placed on probation and e-mailed a warning letter. A student who is not making satisfactory academic progress at the end of a warning period receives a letter indicating termination of financial aid for the following semester.

Students who believe extenuating circumstances led to their unsatisfactory progress may appeal their warning period by writing a letter of appeal to the Financial Aid Committee, c/o the Financial Aid Office. The letter must explain why the student was unable to meet the minimum standards (i.e. illness, death in the immediate family, serious injury) and outline a plan for achieving those standards in the future. The Financial Aid Committee will review the case and notify the student of its decision in a timely manner.

Graduate Academic Support

Academic Alert System: The University has established the Academic Alert System to identify students experiencing academic difficulty and to provide appropriate counseling, tutorial, and advising services to enable such students to succeed in their coursework. The purpose of the system is to help every student achieve success, and the reporting and record keeping are strictly non-punitive. A faculty or staff member who has direct knowledge of the student’s situation may file an online report to the manager of Academic Alert, who then links the student to appropriate personnel who can address the student’s needs.
The Academic Alert System notifies affected course instructors, counselors, faculty advisors, and support staff of the record of institutional intervention on a need-to-know basis. Sharing of Academic Alert information beyond those faculty and staff with a direct interest in an individual student’s case is subject to the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Hofheimer Library: The library is at the heart of the Virginia Wesleyan campus. It provides the highest quality resources and services to meet the research and information needs of students, faculty, and staff. The library boasts over 200,000 books as well as eBooks, movies, a 3-D printer and other media and resources. Virginia Wesleyan students and faculty can access online scholarly journals and electronic books through the library’s website from both on and off campus. Librarians are available to help students navigate the complexities of research and friendly staff assist students with using the library and its services. Research librarians and library staff provide assistance by phone, text, chat, email, online tutorials, or in person.

The Learning Center: Through the Learning Center, Virginia Wesleyan offers a variety of services to support students in their academic work. Support includes tutoring for specific courses, writing support, and the Smartutoring system. Services are available free of charge to all students. The Center also determines and helps coordinate accommodations for students with disabilities or special needs.

Accommodations for Students with Special Needs: Virginia Wesleyan recognizes and is sensitive to the needs of students with disabilities. In keeping with the Americans with Disability Act (and its revised version) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the University provides academic accommodations and services for students with disabilities through the Learning Center’s Disability Services Office. The staff verifies documentation, determines eligibility for accommodations, evaluates student’s needs, helps to arrange accommodations, and encourages communication between students and instructors. If a student hopes to receive accommodations, they are required to disclose their disability to the Disability Services staff and provide documentation of their disability. Students may call, email, or visit the Learning Center to arrange an appointment to begin the process of receiving Disability Services.

Career Development and Internship Program (CDIP): CDIP helps students to explore major and career options, to gain professional experience while still a student, and to search for employment.

Wesleyan Engaged: Wesleyan Engaged nurtures partnerships with civic organizations in order to facilitate meaningful student volunteer activities, to promote the growth of faculty-led service learning courses, and to improve the Hampton Roads community and beyond.

Women’s Resource Center: The Women’s Resource Office (WRC) exists as a place of support, service, and education for all students, faculty, staff, and community members.

Student Rights and Responsibilities: Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974

All educational records of students enrolled at the University are maintained in accordance with the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as Amended. The Act was designed to protect the privacy of educational records, to establish the right of students to inspect and review their educational records, and to provide guidelines for the correction of inaccurate or misleading data through informal and formal hearings.

Student consent is required for the release of records covered by the Act to outside parties (i.e., prospective employers), except for those agencies entitled to access under the provisions of the Act (i.e., University personnel with a legitimate educational interest, federal education and auditing officials, federal and state law enforcement and judicial officials, and requests related to the application for or receipt of financial assistance).

Any other access must have written authorization from the student, with the exception of certain “directory information,” which includes the name, address, and telephone number of the student, e-mail address, major field of study, dates of attendance, degrees, awards and honors received (including dates), photographic view or electronic images, and the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended.

Student Complaints

Virginia Wesleyan University has a comprehensive set of policies, programs, and procedures for responding to student complaints. Each year, the Faculty Assembly elects a faculty member to serve as Community Advocate and the Student Government Association elects a Student Advocate. The individuals in these positions respond to student questions regarding the organizational structure of the University and offer guidance on whom to contact to address questions or concerns. The Vice President for Student Affairs, or designee, is responsible for responding to student complaints and/or letters of concern from students and parents regarding matters of campus life. These complaints are maintained electronically by the Vice President for Student Affairs. The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, in a similar manner, addresses questions and concerns regarding the academic program. Records of these complaints are maintained in the Vice President for Academic Affair’s Office. In cases involving a staff member, and when the situation warrants, the Director of Human Resources will be informed and consulted, and records will be maintained accordingly. Responses to complaints will be managed in a prompt and efficient manner and in a fashion that will best address the issue presented. In most cases, a response will be provided within seven days from the receipt of the concern. In some cases, students may pursue the grade review process adopted by the Faculty Assembly, and that process shall begin with a letter written to the Provost by the concerned student. Letters written by students may also become part of the information utilized by the Community Arbitration System for alleged violations of University regulations, and by the Honor Council in cases involving alleged infractions of the University’s Honor Code.

Students with Grievance Regarding Accessibility. On occasion a Virginia Wesleyan University student with a documented disability may have a concern or dispute with regard to reasonable accommodation(s) in courses, or else the presence of barriers in attitude, architecture, or communication. If such a concern arises, it is the student’s responsibility to present his or her concern to the appropriate faculty or staff member who is involved and request a timely response. The faculty or staff member should listen, give serious attention to the complainant’s concern, and attempt to resolve it in a mutually satisfactory way or refer the student to an appropriate office on campus. If the concern cannot be resolved in this manner, it is the student’s responsibility to report the unresolved situation to the Student Disabilities Coordinator. If the concern can still not be resolved, the Student Disabilities Coordinator will forward the concern to the chair of the Disability Awareness Committee, who will direct a grievance subcommittee to review the concern and determine appropriate action within a reasonable amount of time. Matters involving the academic program, curriculum, and faculty members will be reviewed with the Provost beforehand. If the concern involves the Student Disabilities Coordinator, the student should contact the Director of Human Resources directly.

Other Graduate Academic Policies

Name Changes: Accuracy in record keeping is of the utmost importance in the Registrar’s Office as the staff strives to protect the privacy of students’ academic records. Students with name changes should notify the office at once by bringing an original birth certificate, marriage certificate, or court order. Name changes affect only the last name; whereas the first and middle names given at birth remain the same, except in cases of a court-ordered change.

Non-Resident Credit: While a student is enrolled at Virginia Wesleyan, no credit is awarded for courses taken at another college unless the student obtains permission from the Registrar’s Office prior to registering for such courses.

Catalog of Entry: Students who have left the University for a time, have not earned additional credit, and have been readmitted to Virginia Wesleyan may choose to satisfy either the requirements listed in the catalog that was current at the time they first enrolled in the University or the requirements that are in effect at the time of their application for graduation. Students who have left the University and earned additional credit prior to readmission to Virginia Wesleyan must satisfy the requirements listed in the catalog at the time of their application for graduation.

Withdrawal and Readmission to the University: A student who wishes voluntarily to withdraw from the University during a given term is not considered officially withdrawn until he or she notifies the Registrar in writing of this intention and completes an official withdrawal form. Assigned grades of W or WF are determined by the date of withdrawal and the discretion of the professor. Any course registrations for the semester following the withdrawal are deleted. If a student fails to register for two consecutive major semesters by the last date for late registration, he or she is assumed to have withdrawn from the University.

A student who needs to withdraw for medical reasons during a given semester will be required to provide medical documentation and a letter which addresses the following: the specific nature of the illness, the approximate date of the onset of the illness, the date at which the doctor first diagnosed the illness, and how the illness and treatment precluded one’s ability to engage in studies.

A student who withdraws and desires to return to the University must reapply to the Office of Enrollment Services for consideration by the Committee on Academic Standing.

A student who has been academically dismissed may apply for readmission once, and only after meeting the criteria as outlined in the Selective Retention Policy.

Non-discrimination Policy: Virginia Wesleyan University admits students of any race, religion, color, creed, gender, national and ethnic origin age, marital status, covered veteran status, handicap, sexual orientation, or any other legally protected status to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the University. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, creed, gender, national or ethnic origin, age, marital status, covered veteran status, handicap, gender identity, sexual orientation, or any other legally protected status in administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other University-administered programs.

Disclaimer: The catalog is offered as a guide, not as a contract. It is not intended to and does not contain all policies and regulations that relate to students.  Additional Policies can be found in the University Catalog. The University reserves the right to make alterations in programs, course offerings, policies, and fees without prior notice.

This catalog is published by Virginia Wesleyan University and contains information concerning campus life, academic policies, program and course offerings, and career preparation.  Additional information can be found in the Student Handbook, which is available to admitted students through the University Portal. Students are expected to familiarize themselves with the academic policies contained in the catalog. Failure to do so does not excuse students from the requirements and regulations described herein.