Admission to Graduate Programs
The Office of Admissions is the primary point of contact for prospective students interested in all graduate programs. The Admissions Office has locations on both the Fredericksburg and the Stafford campuses. Prospective students should contact the admissions office to schedule individual interviews, attend information sessions, or request application materials. New students and students seeking readmission after an absence of three or more consecutive semesters must apply through the Admissions Office.
Specific admissions requirements for each graduate program are addressed separately in the sections of this catalog pertaining to each program.
For College of Business graduate programs, see the requirements beginning on page 34 (Master of Business Administration program), page 43 (Master of Science in Management Information Systems program), and page 49 (combined MBA/MSMIS program).
For College of Education graduate programs, see the separate admissions requirements for the following programs: the Master of Education Initial Licensure Five Year Pathways (beginning on page 58); the Master of Science in Elementary Education (page 67); the Master of Education Initial Licensure Post Baccalaureate Pathways (beginning on page 71); the Master of Education for professional development or added endorsement (beginning on page 89); or graduate endorsement and certificate programs (beginning on page 103).
Enrollment Policies and Procedures
Students may refer to the University’s Guide to Registration for information related to enrollment. They are also encouraged to review registration details online at www.umw.edu/registrar for the most up-to-date enrollment information.
Students may add courses during the official add period after the initial registration period. The official course-add period is published for fall, spring, and summer in the Guide to Registration.
Students may attend a course but receive no academic credit by completing the audit registration process and paying the appropriate fees. Auditing of courses is permitted in non-restricted courses on a space-available basis. Audit registration procedures, dates, and costs are available in the Office of Admissions and on the website for the Office of the Registrar at http://academics.umw.edu/registrar/.
Graduate student load definitions, as determined by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, are:
full time …………………………………………………………. 9 or more credits
part time ………………………………………………………… fewer than 9 credits
3/4 time …………………………………………………………. 6 credits
more than 1/4 but less than 1/2 time …………………. 3 credits
Students who have less than a cumulative 3.50 GPA in graduate work or less than a 3.50 GPA in graduate work for the most recently completed semester or summer session may register for a course load up to six credits per semester or summer session, including undergraduate foundation credits. To register for more than six credits, students must submit a written request, with sufficient justification for the overload, to the appropriate academic program director and the department chair. The request may require additional review by the dean. If the request is approved, the department chair grants permission in writing, and includes the number of credits approved.
Non-degree students pursuing admission to, and enrollment in, graduate course work must secure permission for enrollment from the appropriate academic program director and may not register for more than a total of six credits prior to enrolling in a degree program.
Students may drop courses before classes begin without financial or academic penalty. However, once classes begin, students may withdraw from courses based on the calendar included in the Guide to Registration. The amount of refund, if any, is based on the refund schedules published in the Guide to Registration. Nonattendance in a course does not constitute a course drop; a course drop is official only if the student has completed the course drop process through the Office of the Registrar.
Courses cannot be dropped after the published deadlines unless a student withdraws completely from the semester or summer session. Courses that are taught in short time frames or that have either beginning or ending dates different from the beginning or ending dates of the regular full academic semester or summer session have published drop/withdrawal guidelines specific to the dates of the course. Students who have completed and received a grade for the first eight-week session may withdrawal from a class by the published date but are ineligible to withdrawal from the entire semester. Students who drop all courses in which they are registered must withdraw from the University. Information on Voluntary Withdrawal is available in this section.
Instructors have the authority but are not required to initiate a drop for students during the first week of classes if the student does not attend:
• the first and second meetings of a class that meets three times per week.
• the first and second meetings of a class that meets two times per week.
• the first meeting of a class that meets once each week.
Students with a cumulative 3.50 grade point average (GPA) in graduate work or with a 3.50 GPA in graduate work for the most recently completed semester or summer session may register for a course load up to 12 credits per semester (not to exceed six credits per eight-week session) including undergraduate foundation credits. To register for more than 12 credits per semester or summer session, permission must be obtained – in writing – from the appropriate academic program director and the department chair.
Permission may be granted to students for an overload if evidence is presented of strong academic achievement in the recent completion of graduate course work at a prior institution.
Students may officially change sections of a course during the add period (usually the initial week of the course) by dropping one section and adding the new section of the course in accordance with Office of the Registrar procedures. Attending the new section and not attending the old section does not constitute an official change of section. Section changes are official only if the student has completed the course change process. The official last day to change sections is published in the Guide to Registration.
The administrative withdrawal of a student from a given semester or summer session is an action required as a result of either a disciplinary or honor violation, or improper course enrollment as deemed by the University administration, and is not a voluntary action taken by the student. Such withdrawals may be noted on the student’s permanent record, including whether the student is eligible to return to study.
Regardless of the date, students who wish to drop all of their courses are voluntarily withdrawing from study for that semester or summer session. Such withdrawals must be completed by the last day of class for the semester or summer session. If students have received grades in a completed course, within the semester or summer session, they are not eligible to withdraw. In this case, students may drop courses registered for in the upcoming or current session; however, these students are subject to drop policies for the courses, and grades received for courses in completed sessions are recorded as part of the student’s permanent academic record.
Students must complete a withdrawal form and obtain the required approvals. Students are fully responsible for all outstanding charges on their account, and are not permitted to return to the University or register for courses until their account is cleared. A student who withdraws may return to study within three semesters, excluding summer, without applying for readmission to the University, if the student’s cumulative grade-point average is 3.0 or higher, the student’s account is in good standing, and all other obligations to the University have been met. If a student remains withdrawn for more than three semesters, excluding summer, the student must apply for readmission. Information on Readmission is available in the Academic Rules and Regulations section. Any refunds due at the time of withdrawal are based on the refund schedule for the period published in the Guide to Registration. Such withdrawals are noted on the student’s permanent record.
Military Activation and Withdrawal from the term
Students who are in military service (active duty, reserves, of National Guard) and will be unable to complete the courses in which they are enrolled because of a military deployment, mobilization, or change in duty assignment may withdraw from all courses as of the effective date on their military orders. Students should contact the Office of the Registrar in order to process the course withdrawals, and a copy of the military orders must be provided as documentation. Students withdrawing in this manner will receive a full refund of all tuition and fees and pro-rated refunds for dining or housing contracts. Textbooks purchased from the UMW Bookstore may be returned to the University Store for credit in accordance with the UMW textbook return policy. For withdrawals occurring beyond return policy end date, students should bring books to the Bookstore for the best available buyback prices.
Definitions Related to Enrollment and Registration
Corequisite and Prerequisite Courses
Corequisite courses are two or more courses that must be completed concurrently.
A course that is required to be completed before enrollment in another course is considered a prerequisite course. Prerequisite courses must be taken in the appropriate sequence to count toward graduation. No student may enroll in a course with prerequisites unless the prerequisite courses have been successfully completed, or waived by the program director. The appropriate department chair resolves prerequisite rule violations.
The course number is a four-letter discipline code plus a three-digit number delineating the course level. Courses numbered below the 100 level do not carry credit that may be applied to a degree. Lower level undergraduate courses are numbered in the 100s and 200s and are typically introductory courses requiring little or no prior study in the field. Upper level undergraduate courses are numbered in 300s and 400s and require some previous course work in the field or a level of competence in the subject. Courses offered at the 500 level are graduate-level courses. Courses that are numbered in the 800s and 900s are nondegree professional development courses either at the pre- or post-baccalaureate level. These courses cannot be used toward the completion of degree programs at the University.
Degree or certificate students may undertake a directed study for academic credit to investigate a topic that is not covered by course offerings. Permission for a directed study project is granted by the department chair, if there is an appropriate faculty member available to guide the student’s work. Students register for directed study projects with the Office of the Registrar by completing a directed study form signed by the supervising faculty member and the department chair. Nondegree-seeking students may not enroll in directed study.
Schedule of Courses
The Office of the Registrar maintains the official listing of courses offered each fall, spring, and summer on its web site. All University courses adhere to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ accreditation guidelines and provide contact hours commensurate with the credits earned.
Confidentiality of Student Records
All student records maintained by University academic and administrative offices are confidential. Only such information that is necessary for appropriate business and academic procedures is maintained in the official student record. University officials may access student records for the purpose of conducting student business.
The University may release “Directory Information” as defined by the University under the authority of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), unless the student informs the University’s Office of the Registrar that all or part of such information should not be released without the student’s prior consent. Directory Information includes a student’s addresses (home, mailing, email), telephone numbers, class level, previous institution(s) attended, major fields of study, awards, honors (including Dean’s List and President’s List), degree(s) conferred (including dates), dates of attendance, past and present participation in officially recognized sports and activities, and physical factors (e.g., height and weight of athletes). A request to withhold Directory Information must be received in writing on an annual basis by the Office of the Registrar. A form is available for this purpose from the Office of the Registrar. If this form is not received in the Office of the Registrar by May 1 preceding the academic year, selected Directory Information will appear in the University’s telephone directory due to press deadlines. Note that “name” is not considered Directory Information and will appear in the telephone directory, along with the designation “Unlisted.”
Online learning creates a record of student activity; therefore, it is subject to FERPA privacy rights. Distance education courses are covered by FERPA in the same manner as any other courses.
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) records, as well as medical records, are not included in the category of information open to inspection; however, such records may be personally reviewed by a physician or other appropriate professional of the student’s choice.
Confidential records maintained by the director of disability services are open to inspection with limitations. Students may request a copy of disability documentation that is generated by the office, but may not request access to the director’s personal notes, to test protocols, or to information released by private practitioners or by other agencies. Disclosure related to the student’s disability is released neither to any faculty member nor to another University office without the student’s permission. With the student’s written permission, disability documentation generated by the Office of Disability Services may be released to any specified persons and agencies.
Custodians of educational records are not required to give access to financial records of parents or any information contained therein, nor are they required to give access to confidential letters and statements of recommendation that were placed in the educational records prior to January 1, 1975, or to which the student has waived the right of access.
Directory Information may not be provided to any individual, company or entity for commercial purposes unless the release of this information is specifically authorized by the student or approved in writing by the Office of the President.
The permanent record consists of the documents that are maintained for each student that must be kept in perpetuity either in hard copy or electronically. Examples include admission applications, any exception granted by the University, and records of disciplinary action. Letters of recommendation are excluded for undergraduate students but included in the records of graduate students. Students may view their permanent record, in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, by contacting the Office of the Registrar.
Verification of Enrollment
If there is a dispute between a student and a faculty member concerning a decision of the faculty member, every effort should be made by them to resolve the matter. If the disagreement cannot be resolved, the student may request a review of this decision no later than the end of the following semester, recognizing that the burden of proof is on the student. In such cases, the following procedure is to be followed:
The student will submit a written statement of the matter under dispute, with any supporting material, to the chairperson of the department of the faculty member concerned (or to the college dean, if the dispute is with the chairperson), with a copy sent to the faculty member.
1. Within seven (7) days, the chairperson will review the dispute, consulting with the faculty member and student concerned, with other department members as appropriate, and will attempt to settle the dispute. If agreement is reached at this level, the process ends.
2. If either party does not accept the recommendation of the chairperson, the chairperson will forward all material including his or her recommendation to the college dean.
3. The college dean will review the material submitted and will determine whether or not further consideration of the matter would be fruitful. If the decision is that it would not be fruitful, the college dean will render a final decision. If further consideration is needed, the matter will be referred to an academic review board to act as a conciliator between the student and the faculty member.
4. If the college dean determines that further consideration is needed, the matter will be referred to an academic review board. The dean of the college in which the faculty member is housed will determine the makeup of the academic review board.
5. The academic review board will hear the evidence of both the student and the faculty member on the matter and, within two weeks of being convened, communicate its recommendation to the college dean with copies to the student, faculty member and chairperson involved.
6. The college dean will then render a decision, which will be final.
7. Either party may appeal the dean’s decision on procedural grounds only by submitting, within within seven (7) days, a written appeal to the Provost outlining the specific procedural irregularities being alleged to have occurred during the review of the academic dispute. The Provost will determine whether or not a procedural review is warranted, who should be requested to undertake that review, and the timeline for completing the procedural review and reporting to the Provost. The appeal process is completed with the Provost’s decision.
8. If a student believes the faculty member has committed a breach of professional ethics, this concern should be conveyed in writing to the chairperson or to the college dean. If the concern involves the college dean, the matter should be conveyed in writing to the Provost.
Academic Rules and Regulations
Grades in Foundation Courses. Academic performance in undergraduate foundation courses is rated according to the following system:
A 4.00 quality points
A- 3.70 quality points
B+ 3.30 quality points
B 3.00 quality points
B- 2.70 quality points
C+ 2.30 quality points
C 2.00 quality points
C- 1.70 quality points
D+ 1.30 quality points
D 1.00 quality points
F 0.00 quality points
Grades in Graduate Courses. Academic performance in graduate courses is rated according to the following system:
The following grades carry 0.00 quality points: W (Course Withdrawal), I (Incomplete), G (Delayed Grade), and TR (Transfer Credit). Note: The MBA, MSMIS, and MBA-MSMIS Dual Degree programs do not use C-, D+, or D to evaluate student academic performance.
Incomplete grade. Incomplete grades are issued on a case-by-case basis when students cannot complete the assigned work or final examination for a particular course due to unforeseen circumstances, e.g., illness, natural disaster, or family catastrophe. A grade of I is issued in lieu of an actual grade for the course. To secure permission for an incomplete grade, the student and faculty member must file an Incomplete Grade Contract clearly stating the reason for the incomplete, the work to be completed, and the due date. Supporting documentation may be required. The Incomplete Grade Contract must be approved by the appropriate program director and filed with the Office of Advising Services and the Office of the Registrar. If appropriate, students must drop any subsequent course for which the incomplete course is a prerequisite. Students must complete the course work by the end of the following semester or summer session, whether enrolled in University course work or not, or by the specified contract date. A grade of F will be applied automatically to the course after the completion deadline has passed if the student fails to complete the work or the faculty member submits no other grade.
Students who are in military service (active duty, reserves, of National Guard) may request an incomplete grade for military deployment, mobilizations, or duty changes occurring in the final three (3) weeks of the course. A copy of the military orders must be provided to the Office of Academic Services as documentation. The deadline for removing an incomplete given on the basis of military service is last day of the semester following the one in which the incomplete was given. Every effort will be made to work with the student and the faculty member to facilitate completion of the incomplete. Should military service commitments prevent the student from fulfilling the requirements for removal of the incomplete, a grade of W will replace the incomplete.
Exams: Final examinations and other culminating assignments are scheduled at the end of each course regardless of the course length. Students who fail to take a required final examination or who fail to submit a final culminating assignment have not completed the course requirements and, therefore, fail the course. In accordance with Honor Council procedures, a student is required to pledge to disclose neither the contents nor the form of any examination until after the conclusion of the examination period.
Illness or Emergencies During the Examination Period: Any illness or emergency that prevents a student from taking a scheduled final examination should be reported to the Office of Advising Services prior to the examination. The student should provide his/her name, the title of the course, name of the instructor, and time of the examination. The Office of Advising Services will notify the instructor, and it is then the student’s responsibility to contact the instructor to arrange a make-up examination. If a make-up exam cannot be arranged prior to the grade submission deadline, the student must notify the Office of Advising Services.
Attendance: Class attendance is a primary responsibility of students, and regular and punctual class attendance is expected. While an occasional absence may be unavoidable, the student is responsible and accountable for any work missed, including tests, quizzes, assignments, and announcements made in any missed classes. It is entirely at the discretion of the faculty whether to allow students who are absent to make up any missed work. Class participation may in itself be a criterion for grading; failure to participate due to being absent can be expected to affect a student’s grade in the course.
Grade Change: Instructors may submit grade changes for students who have submitted work after completing the course requirements, for a miscalculation resulting in an inappropriate grade, or to correct an error. Instructors may submit changes only during the term immediately following the term during which the grade was assigned. The associate vice president for academic affairs or the associate dean of advising services must approve all grade changes. Grades will not be changed after a degree has been conferred or a certificate has been awarded.
Grade Type Change: Instructors may submit grade changes for the removal of a G grade (grade delayed), for a miscalculation resulting in an inappropriate grade, or to correct an error. Instructors may submit changes only during the term immediately following the term during which the grade was assigned. The dean of the college in which the course was taken must approve the grade change. Grades will not be changed after a degree has been conferred or a certificate has been awarded.
Transcripts: The transcript is the student’s official academic record and is maintained by the Office of the Registrar. Transcripts list: (1) only those courses that students have registered for and completed, including courses from which the student has withdrawn; (2) transferred course work; and (3) related comments such as honors notations, graduation dates, or probation/suspension notices. Students may request transcripts of their academic records from the Office of the Registrar only in writing and with signed authorization by the student. Facsimile requests can be honored. Official transcripts may not be released for students who have financial obligations to the University.
Non-degree status: Students who enroll in courses but have not been accepted into any degree or certificate program are defined as non-degree students. The same academic rules, regulations, and procedures that govern degree students also govern non-degree students. All credits earned by a student in any certificate program or in a non-degree status may be applied toward a degree program if the courses qualify as degree requirements or electives.
Non-degree graduate students may complete a maximum of six graduate credits, with approval from the program director. Such students are required to provide transcripts showing completion of a baccalaureate degree from a regionally-accredited college or university prior to obtaining non-degree status.
Reenrollment, Readmission, and Leave of Absence Policies: All degree-seeking students in good academic standing who enroll each semester, without interruption, are considered continuing students. Students maintain reenrollment status by completing advance registration each semester.
Graduate degree students who do not enroll for three consecutive semesters, excluding summers, must apply for readmission through the Office of Admissions. Students who are readmitted are subject to the degree requirements in effect at the time of readmission.
Degree students who interrupt their program of study, either by withdrawing during a semester or summer session or by not enrolling at the University for a semester or summer session, but who wish to return after a given period of time away, must request an official Leave of Absence prior to the beginning of the first semester or summer session of absence or at the time of withdrawal by contacting the Office of the Registrar. Degree students who do not attend classes at the University, and for a specific period of time attend courses at another institution, also must request a Leave of Absence to remain on active status in their degree program.
A graduate degree student on Leave of Absence who reenrolls within one semester or summer session after the approved Leave of Absence will be permitted to complete the degree program and satisfy the requirements in effect when the student began.
Graduate students who do not request a Leave of Absence and return within three consecutive semesters will be required to comply with any changes in academic regulations and degree requirements made during their absence. Additionally, those graduate students not on an Official Leave of Absence may be subject to review by the appropriate graduate program Continuance Committee and may have additional requirements set for reenrollment by the appropriate graduate program Continuance Committee.
Reinstatement of Students Returning from Military Service: Students who withdrew from the University as a result of military deployment, mobilizations, or duty changes are entitled to return without having to re-qualify for admission so long as the student (a) returns after a cumulative absence of no more than five years, and (b) notifies the Office of Admissions of the intent to return to the University not later than three (3) years after the completion of the military service obligation. The student must provide the Office of Admissions with a copy of the military orders to substantiate the end of duty date.