2014-2015 Catalog

Academic Policies and Requirements - Graduate

Plan of Study

Each student recommended for admission to a degree or certificate program shall submit a signed copy of their plan of study to the appropriate academic dean for approval. The plan of study includes all degree requirements, including required and elective course work and independent research, along with other requirements, such as exams and assessments necessary to complete degree requirements. The plan of study may also include courses that are to be taken without program credit to remedy deficiencies or to satisfy prerequisites. The plan of study must be approved by the program director and the appropriate academic dean. Students are not formally accepted into a graduate program until the plan of study is approved and filed. Students are responsible for meeting all program requirements for the thesis, portfolio, comprehensive evaluation, or field project.

Grading System

Credit/No Credit

Graduate students are not permitted to take graduate courses for Credit/No Credit; however, they may take certain undergraduate prerequisite courses for Credit/No Credit with permission of their graduate advisor.

Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Grades

Graduate courses approved for a Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory (S/U) grade by the Graduate Committee require students to perform at the B level (3.00) or better to receive a grade of S. These courses shall be so labeled in the college catalog and bulletin. S/U grades are not included in calculating grade point average.

Incomplete Grades

An Incomplete will be given in place of a grade when the work of the semester has been passing but has not been completed because of illness or some other reason that, in the opinion of the instructor, justifies such a report. Graduate students who do not make up an Incomplete within three academic semesters must make a request in writing to their graduate program for permission to complete the course.

Failure in a Course

A course with a failing grade that has been retaken or replaced will be considered taken for No Credit and must remain on the student’s transcript. The most recent grade will be included in calculating the grade point average.

Repeating a Course

A course with a failing grade that has been retaken or replaced will be considered taken for No Credit but must remain on the student’s transcript. The most recent grade will be included in calculating the grade point average.

Withdrawal from a Course

Students may drop a course during the first two weeks of a semester (or during a corresponding time for summer sessions) without having any entry made on the permanent record. After that time, students will receive a grade of W and are financially responsible for the course.

Withdrawal from a course anytime after the last withdrawal date until the end of the course requires the approval of the instructor of the course. Approval is based on evidence of extenuating circumstances other than academic difficulty in the course.

Students who do not follow the official procedures, but stop attending classes, receive a grade based on the work completed as compared to the total course requirements.

Additional information on options and procedures for withdrawing from a course is available from the Records Office or the Office of Student Life.

Auditing a Course

To audit a course is to participate in a course without receiving credit for the course or having the grade point average affected. Auditing requires consent of the instructor and the appropriate department chair.

During the first two weeks of a semester, if registration for the course has not been closed, a course may be added for audit through regular Add/Drop procedures without a late registration fee charged. Conversely, during the first two weeks of the semester, a course that was audited may be dropped and added for credit with no late registration fee charged.

Under no circumstances will audited courses be counted for credit toward a degree.

Retention Requirements

Graduate students who earn a grade below B (3.00) in any course will have their status reviewed by the appropriate academic dean in consultation with the department. Such review may result in the student being placed on probation or dismissed. Students on probation must achieve grades of B (3.00) or better in graduate-level course work for the next 9 earned credits. Probation may also require the retaking of courses and the suspension of progress in the program until satisfactory performance is achieved. Students on probation will continue to be monitored until satisfactory performance in their graduate program is achieved. Failure to meet the conditions of probation will result in dismissal.

Residency Requirements

The master’s degree or graduate certificate may be earned either through full- or part-time study or by a combination of both. However, candidates must take at least four-fifths of the credits required for the degree at Rhode Island College. In the School of Social Work, graduate students must complete the second year on a full-time basis.

Transfer Credit

A candidate may request credit for work taken at other regionally accredited institutions of higher learning not exceeding one-fifth of the total credits in the program for the degree. In considering a request for transfer credit, the student’s advisor will review the program of study, carefully evaluate the relevance of the proposed courses to the plan of study, and consider the availability of courses to fulfill credit requirements. Transfer credit is granted only when approved by the student’s advisor, the program director, and the academic dean.

Normally, transfer credit must not exceed 6 credit hours of a candidate’s graduate program. However, upon the recommendation of the student’s program committee and upon the approval of the chair responsible for that program, the amount of credits transferred may be increased but may not exceed 20 percent of the total program. Credit is transferred only for graduate courses having minimum grades of B.

For additional information on transfer credits, changes in the plan of study and thesis, projects and comprehensive evaluations, see the Graduate Studies Policies and Procedures Manual at http://www.ric.edu/academics/pdf/GraduateStudiesManual.pdf.

Independent Study

Independent study, directed study, and certain research courses afford students the opportunity to pursue concentrated study in a selected topic under the supervision of a faculty member. Students enrolled in independent study are expected to observe time limits corresponding to semester limits unless specifically arranged by the instructor. A Request for Independent Study form signed by the instructor, department chair, program director, and the appropriate academic dean must be filed with the departmental office of the respective graduate program. Requests for an independent study should be made in the semester prior to the semester of the planned independent study. Independent study requests must be approved and fees paid before study is begun. Grades are reported for independent study in the same manner as for other courses.

Students who wish to register for credits that will be counted toward their degree but that will be earned through off-campus activities, such as research or independent study at a national laboratory, must list these activities as part of their plan of study and receive prior approval from their advisor and dean. Credits are calculated on the basis of 1 credit for three hours per week per semester and may not exceed the limits of full-time registration, namely 12 credit hours per semester and 6 per summer session.

Leave of Absence

Graduate students are expected to remain continuously enrolled until they have completed all requirements and have received their degrees. Graduate students who must leave the college for a period of one semester or more due to military service, prolonged illness, or other unusual circumstances, whether before or after they have completed the work prescribed in their plan of study, should apply for a leave of absence. The request should be made in writing to the appropriate academic dean. It should include an endorsement from the advisor and program director and should be sufficiently specific to enable the academic dean to determine whether the leave is warranted. A leave of absence, granted under such unusual circumstances, has the effect of suspending time limitations such as those for completion of the degree or for the removal of incomplete grades. Accordingly, a leave will be granted only for sufficient reason and only if it is to be for one year or less. Students may apply in writing for a maximum of one additional year if circumstances warrant.

Permanent withdrawal from a graduate program is a serious matter that deserves careful consideration by students in consultation with their advisor. If a leave of absence is not in the student’s best interest, the student should inform the dean responsible for the program in writing of the intention to terminate graduate status.

Time Limits

Students must complete their program of study within six years from the time of registration following acceptance to degree or certificate candidacy; otherwise, the candidacy will be terminated and the Records Office notified by the program director. An appeal for extension requires review by the appropriate program director, advisor, and academic dean. (Note: Credits seven years or older may no longer be counted in a student’s program, unless the department and the appropriate dean grant an exception.)