ACADEMIC INFORMATION AND POLICIES
It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that courses taken meet degree requirements. Courses taken without a graduate program coordinator’s permission may not be approved for a degree program. All students accepted by the Office of Graduate Admissions must follow a program approved by a graduate program coordinator. Substitute courses may replace required courses only if approved by the appropriate graduate coordinator.
General Program Information
Students should be aware that additional requirements may be imposed for certification or licensure (even once a plan of study has been prepared) if such requirements are imposed by outside licensing or accrediting agencies. A plan of study may be subject to revision to reflect such additional requirements
For courses offered, consult the university website, using the Open/Close system, or contact the Office of Graduate Admissions at (203) 837-8243.
The school deans, in conjunction with graduate coordinators and the Associate Director of Graduate Admissions, reserve the right to make changes in faculty assignments and, if necessary, cancel announced courses. The deans also reserve the right to limit class size and to refuse registration when class limits have been reached.
Students are encouraged to register early – at least one month prior to the start of the semester or the summer session – to help ensure that the course(s) they plan to take will meet the minimal enrollment requirement and will actually be taught.
Student Independent Study (SIS)
The SIS provides an opportunity for matriculated students, with faculty sponsorship and approval of the graduate coordinator, to design and develop their own projects and learning experiences. Graduate students planning an SIS must complete the approval process by the last day of the drop/add registration period for a semester or term.
Occasionally, an academic department may offer an experimental course, labeled X98, to determine its value to the total departmental program or in response to a particular request from a group of students
Graduate students may register for classes in one of six ways:
Web: Matriculated graduate students who have a MyBanner Account are able to register via the web. Web registration is available to matriculated students only.
Email: Students may send an email to email@example.com
Online Registration Form: Current student may use the online registration form: https://www.wcsu.edu/graduate/forms/course-registration.asp
Fax: Students may register by fax, using the registration forms available on the website or at the Office of Graduate Admissions, Old Main, Room 101. The registration fax number is (203) 837-8326. No faxes will be accepted prior to midnight of the first day of registration. Any faxes received prior to that date will be processed at the end of the calendar day.
Mail: Students may mail their completed registration form to Office of Graduate Admissions, Western Connecticut State University, 181 White Street, Danbury, CT 06810
In Person: Students may register in person in the Office of Graduate Admissions, Old Main, Room 101.
To make satisfactory progress students must complete the required credits/semester hours within the time frame allowed for the degree.
Many graduate programs include one or two courses that must be taken after most other degree requirements are met. For example, in the M.S. in Education program, students opting for a non-thesis approach will register for ED 501 and ED 592 after completing at least 18 credits, including ED 500 and specific department requirements.
Students are advised to check with their graduate program coordinator to determine the specific requirement of their program.
Generally, no course may be taken for extra credit. The only exception to this rule may be made when the extra credit will complete a student’s degree requirements during the current semester or term. This exception is contingent upon the instructor’s willingness to arrange additional work whereby the student may earn one extra credit over and above that allowed for the regular class. In such instances, an additional tuition payment for the extra semester hour is required.
Registration for summer courses is ordinarily limited to two courses per session. Graduate students who wish to exceed that number must obtain permission from their graduate program coordinator or, if they have not yet been assigned a coordinator, from the Office of Graduate Admissions.
Only matriculated graduate students may earn credit for a Student Independent Study (SIS). Proposals for such study must be approved by the graduate coordinator before the last day of the add/drop registration period for the semester or term.
Graduate students may register to audit a class in the same way that they register to enroll. They receive no credit for an audited class but pay the same tuition as those who are taking the course for credit.
Withdrawal from a Course (and how it may affect your grade)
Students who find it necessary to drop a course must immediately notify the Office of Graduate Admissions in writing. An official form for this purpose may be obtained in the Office of Graduate Admissions. Failure to withdraw in writing will generate a grade of F for the course. Ordinarily, students do not withdraw from a course after mid-semester. It is not possible to withdraw by phone.
Students may withdraw from a full-semester course without penalty until the end of the tenth week of the semester.
Withdrawals are recorded on the student’s transcript with the notation “W.” There is no penalty attached to this notation. Withdrawals after the tenth week of a course normally result in an automatic penalty of WF. Withdrawals through the tenth week are initiated by the student in the Office of Graduate Admissions. Later requests for withdrawal from a course without penalty are initiated through conference with the instructor.
State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement
The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) is an agreement among member states, districts and territories that establishes comparable national standards for interstate offering of postsecondary distance education courses and programs. It is intended to make it easier for students to take online courses offered by postsecondary institutions based in another state. SARA is overseen by a National Council and administered by four regional education compacts. The Connecticut Office of Higher Education became a member of SARA in 2017, thus allowing Western Connecticut State University to apply to be a member of SARA. This allows Western Connecticut State University to accept students from all SARA approved states.
Pursuant to federal regulations and the terms of SARA, the Office of Higher Education is responsible for the investigation and resolution of out-of-state students’ complaints against institutions of higher education based in Connecticut and offering distance education via SARA. Note that issues regarding student life, such as discipline, grading, etc., fall solely within the purview of the institution and are not generally investigated. Additionally, the Office of Higher Education does not investigate anonymous complaints or provide legal advice. Currently, SARA institutions are to:
- Apply the tuition refund policies of their home state to students located in other SARA states; and
- For students located in non-SARA states, follow any relevant tuition refund policies of those states.
Within two years of the incident complained of, out-of-state students enrolled in a Connecticut institution via SARA may file a complaint in accordance with the following steps:
- The student must attempt to resolve the complaint by exhausting the institution’s established internal grievance procedures. These are usually published in the institution’s catalog, student handbook and/or posted on the institution’s website. Absent extenuating circumstances, the Office of Higher Education will not investigate complaints filed by students who have not first sought a resolution with the institution.
- If all remedies at the institutional level have been exhausted and the complaint is not resolved, the student may file a complaint with the Office of Higher Education. To file a complaint, please follow these procedures. All documentation for review related to the complaint must be provided by the student as part of the filing.
- The Office of Higher Education will process the complaint and provide copies of all documents filed with the complaint to the institution. The institution has 20 days to respond. After receiving a response and conducting an investigation, the Office of Higher Education will issue a findings report to all parties. The findings report is final.
If a Connecticut student is enrolled in a distance education program offered by a SARA institution based in another state, the student should contact the portal agency in that state to pursue the complaint process. Connecticut students enrolled in Connecticut institutions must first exhaust an institution’s established internal grievance procedures, and then should contact the Office of Higher Education prior to filing a complaint.
All correspondence, including institutional applications and student complaints, should be sent via email or post to:
Office of Higher Education
450 Columbus Blvd, Suite 510
Hartford, CT 06105
Completion of Graduate Program
Graduate Degree Requirement
Satisfactory completion of all required courses, comprehensive exams, thesis projects, or dissertations as required by each graduate program.
Time to Complete Degree Requirements
With the exception of the Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program, all graduate programs must be completed within six years. Students in the M.B.A. program have eight years to complete their degree.
Awarding of Credit
Credit Hour: A semester hour of credit is an amount of work represented in intended learning outcome and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than
- one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work each week for approximately 15 weeks,
- or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time,
- or at least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph 1 of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other engaged academic time leading toward the award of credit hours.
Maintaining Matriculation **
Once a student has been admitted to a graduate program, the student must maintain his/her matriculation status. If a student is absent for three consecutive semesters, the student must reapply for admission to graduate studies. The student will be subject to any changes made in the program and may lose some courses due to the required time limit for completing a program. If a matriculated student will miss more than two consecutive semesters, s/he may avoid losing matriculation status by applying for a leave of absence from the program. The student will still be subject to the particular time limit for the program in which s/he is enrolled.
** Does not apply to matriculated students who cannot enroll because a course is not offered in a particular program.
Grade Point Average (GPA) Required for Graduation
A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 B is required for graduation.
The GPA is computed using quality points earned for graduate credit at Western Connecticut State University. Grades for courses accepted in transfer are not computed in the GPA. The Office of Graduate Admissions uses the following quality point system to compute the GPA:
|A = 4.00
||C = 2.00
||P = Pass (on Pass/Fail Option)
|A- = 3.67
||C- = 1.67
||FP = Fail (on Pass/Fail Option)
|B+ = 3.33
||D+ = 1.33
||AUD = Audit
|B = 3.00
||D = 1.00
||INC = Incomplete
|B- = 2.67
||D- = .67
||W = Officially Withdrawn
|C+ = 2.33
||F = 0.00
||WF = Withdrawn Failing
- Course grades of D+, D, D-, or F may not be counted toward a graduate degree; however, they are included in computation of the GPA.
- The grade WF is computed in the GPA. It carries academic penalty. This grade is received when a student stops attending class without officially withdrawing or withdraws without the instructor’s permission after the published date for withdrawing without penalty.
- The INC grade must be made up within a semester of the time the INC was recorded. If not completed within that time, the grade becomes an F unless the instructor recommends an extension of time for justifiable cause, the extension not to exceed one additional semester (fall, spring, or summer session). The only exception to this policy will be made for students making satisfactory progress while completing a thesis or research project. Such students are limited only by the time allowed to complete their degree.
- The grades P or FP are not computed in the GPA. A student may choose or change a choice of this option up to the final day of the drop/add registration period for a semester. The choice or change must be made in the Office of Graduate Admissions.
- Students who choose to audit (AUD) receive no grade and no academic credit for that course.
Application for Graduation Deadlines
All students who expect to complete degree requirements by the end of the next semester or summer session must apply in advance for graduation to allow for the necessary degree audit of their credentials. Application must be made by one of the following deadlines:
|* For August
||Apply by February 1.
|* For January
||Apply by October 1.
|* For May
||Apply by December 1.
Withdrawal/Leave of Absence from University
Students who may find it necessary to withdraw from their studies at the university permanently, or for a limited time, should follow the formal withdrawal or leave of absence procedure by completing a form obtained from the Office of Graduate Admissions. A leave of absence will permit a return to studies without formal reapplication for admission, usually after an absence of no more than two consecutive semesters. Students on leave of absence should keep in mind the need to maintain their matriculation status and time frame for completion of the degree.
Attendance and Examination Policies
Students are required to observe the attendance regulations announced by the instructors for those courses in which they are enrolled.
Final examinations (cumulative examinations) may be given only in the time period scheduled for such tests. Other types of tests may be given throughout the term so long as they are not final examinations.
Probation & Suspension
Excellence in performance is expected of students engaged in graduate study. The student who is unable to maintain a satisfactory grade point average may be asked to withdraw from graduate study.
Any graduate student whose cumulative graduate grade point average falls below 3.0 or “B” is automatically placed on academic probation (Exception: M.B.A. students; see policy below). If, at the end of the following semester of enrollment, the student’s cumulative grade point average increases but remains below 3.0, the student may be continued on terminal academic probation for a maximum of one additional semester. At the end of that semester, the student must have a 3.0 cumulative grade point average, or be dismissed from the division by the academic dean of the student’s academic discipline for unsatisfactory academic performance. Semesters include fall, spring and summer.
Any M.B.A. student whose grade point average falls below 3.0 or “B” will be notified at the end of the semester that they are on probation. If, after completing eight courses or 24 semester hours, a student’s grade point average remains below 3.0 or “B,” he/she will be dismissed from the M.B.A. program. If at any time after completing 24 semester hours, a student’s grade point average falls below 3.0 or “B” for two consecutive semesters, he/she will be dismissed from the M.B.A. program.
Grade Appeal Policy
Western Connecticut State University Student Handbook
When disagreements occur between student and instructor on the accuracy of a grade, the university regards it as important for the matter to be settled within a reasonable period of time. A specific procedure is in place that ensures students will get an impartial hearing of such a complaint.
Academic grading reflects careful and deliberate judgment by the course instructor. Academic evaluation of student performance requires expert consideration of cumulative information and is to some extent subjective.
The university recognizes that in rare instances there may be “palpable injustice(s)” in the determination of a final grade. Students may use the appeal process when they believe there is evidence to show that 1) a final grade was determined by methods and criteria different from those used for determining final grades for others in the same class or 2) the evaluation was made as the result of bias or caprice.
Student confers with instructor:
The student shall first confer with the instructor who awarded the grade no later than the end of the fourth week of the next regular semester. In the case of half-semester courses, students shall have the right to begin the appeal process at the conclusion of the course.
Written grievance to professor:
If no amicable settlement is reached, the student shall present the instructor with a WRITTEN copy of his/her grievance along with any supporting documentation which shall be considered confidential. The instructor shall respond in writing to the student within five working days. (It is suggested that students prepare a packet of information for the instructor, the chairperson and the dean).
Ability to choose a mentor/adviser:
Students, if they wish, shall have the right to choose a mentor/adviser for the purpose of guiding them through the appeal process. Students shall have the right to present their case at each stage of the appeal process. At the student’s request, the mentor/adviser may accompany the student to meetings related to the appeal process as an observer.
Written grievance to department chair:
If the student is not satisfied, the student, within five working days of receipt of the instructor’s response, may present the case in writing to the appropriate department chairperson who may effect a mutually agreed-upon settlement with the instructor. The department chairperson shall respond in writing to the student within five working days with a copy sent to the instructor.
Written grievance to academic dean:
If the student is not satisfied, the student may, within five working days of receipt of the department chairperson’s response, present the case in writing to the appropriate academic dean who may effect a mutually agreed-upon settlement with the instructor and department chairperson. The academic dean shall respond in writing to the student within ten (10) working days, with copies of the decision sent to the instructor and the department chairperson.
Written grievance submitted to university senate president by dean (for ad hoc committee):
If the student is not satisfied, the student may ask, within five working days of receiving the dean’s decision, that the dean contact the president of the University Senate to convene the Ad Hoc Committee on Grade Appeals. The dean shall forward the request to the senate president within five working days of receipt. The dean shall also notify the Provost/Academic Vice President, in writing, that the senate is being asked to convene an ad hoc committee.
The Ad Hoc Committee on Grade Appeals shall be composed of three members of the instructional faculty in the ranks of tenured professor or tenured associate professor presently serving on the senate, selected in alphabetical order each time the committee is appointed.
The senate president shall appoint the ad hoc committee within five working days and shall notify the student and the instructor of that fact. The senate president shall not discuss the details of the case with the ad hoc committee. The ad hoc committee will convene within five working days. It is the responsibility of the student to present three copies of all material, including any additional material submitted later in the process and relevant to the case to the chair of the ad hoc committee.
Professor submits materials as requested by ad hoc committee:
The instructors shall submit such materials as requested by the committee and shall have the right to present their case at any stage of the appeal process. The committee shall consider the case and reach a decision within 15 working days of its convening by the senate president.
Committee Decisions and Next Steps:
Following its deliberations, the committee may deny the appeal, in which case the matter shall be closed.
If Palpable Injustice is Found:
If the committee finds that the grading constituted a palpable injustice, as defined above, the case shall be remanded to the instructor for reconsideration. If the instructor disagrees with the finding of the committee, the instructor shall inform the committee and the student within five working days of that fact.
Student Requests Committee to Recommend to Provost:
If the student disagrees with the grade change as effected or with the refusal by the instructor following the remand, the student shall request within five working days that the committee make a recommendation to the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs.
If either the student or the instructor has disagreed, the committee shall then forward its recommendation for a grade to the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs, who will implement the recommendation of the committee within five working days.
Action of the provost is final and binding upon all parties:
The action of the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs shall be final and binding upon all parties and shall be communicated by the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs to the student and the instructor.
Academic Honesty Policy
This is Western Connecticut State University’s policy on Academic Honesty.
2.1.1 Academic Honesty Code
A student has an obligation to demonstrate honesty in carrying out his/her academic assignments.
2.1.2 Faculty Responsibility
Faculty members are responsible for knowing the principles and procedures of the Academic Honesty Policy, and for enforcing the policy when academic honesty violations occur. Faculty members must also remind students of the Academic Honesty Policy and help them comply with it.
2.1.3 Student Responsibility
Students are responsible for maintaining the academic integrity of the university by following the Academic Honesty Policy. Students are responsible for doing their own work and avoiding all forms of academic dishonesty.
2.2 Academic Honesty Violation
The most common academic honesty violations are cheating and plagiarism. Cheating and plagiarism are complex issues, therefore we offer the following definitions.
Cheating includes, but is not limited to:
Submitting material that is not one’s own.
Using information or devices that are not allowed by the faculty member.
Obtaining and/or using unauthorized material.
Violating procedures prescribed to protect the integrity of a test, or other evaluation exercise.
Collaborating with others on assignments without the faculty member’s consent (not to be confused with tutoring in the university learning centers).
Cooperating with or helping another student to cheat.
Having another person take an examination in the student’s place.
Altering exam answers and requesting that the exam be regraded.
Communicating with any person during an exam, other than the faculty member or exam proctor.
Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to:
Directly quoting others without using quotation marks or indented format to identify them.
Using sources of information (published or unpublished) without identifying them. This can be one’s own past work.
Paraphrasing materials or ideas of others without identifying the sources.
2.3 Resolution of Academic Honesty Violations
A student involved in an academic honesty proceeding may continue to attend all classes until the matter is resolved.
2.3.1 Action Initiated by the Faculty Member
If a faculty member believes a student has committed an academic honesty violation, the faculty member should complete the Academic Honesty Report. The faculty member will request a meeting with the student within five university calendar days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays) to attempt to resolve the incident. As a result of this meeting, if the faculty member determines a violation has occurred, he or she should give the student a copy of two things: (a) this policy statement, and (b) the completed Academic Honesty Report. The faculty member retains a copy of the Academic Honesty Report of this incident, and forwards a copy of the Academic Honesty Report to the faculty member’s department chair, school dean, associate vice president for academic affairs, and dean of students. The faculty member may assign a penalty; see section 2.5 below. If the faculty member is unable to contact the student, or if the student fails to meet with the faculty member, the faculty member may assign the penalty. If a penalty is assigned, the faculty member will send the student a copy of this policy statement and a completed Academic Honesty Report. The faculty member will send these documents by registered mail to the student’s current mailing address on file with the university, and provide a copy to the faculty member’s department chair, school dean, associate vice president for academic affairs, and dean of students. The final grade for the course will not be recorded in the Registrar’s Office until all of the student’s rights to appeal have been exhausted.
2.3.2 Appeal Procedures
If the student does not admit responsibility for the incident or does not accept the penalty proposed by the faculty member, the student may appeal first to the faculty member’s department chair, then to the dean of the faculty member’s school, and then to the Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Grade Appeals. If the student does not appeal, the decision of the faculty member stands and a copy of the Academic Honesty Report will be forwarded by the faculty member’s department chair, school dean, associate vice president for academic affairs, and dean of students, where it will be filed for future reference.
184.108.40.206 Department Hearing
Within five university calendar days of the department chair’s notification to the student that a penalty has been assigned (within an academic long semester, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays), the student or the faculty member may submit a written appeal to the dean of the faculty member’s school. This meeting should take place within five university calendar days of the student’s request. As a result of this meeting, the department chair will complete an Academic Honesty Report and with the consent of the faculty member, affirm, deny, or modify the original penalty assigned by the faculty member. Within five university calendar days of the meeting, the department chair will forward copies of the completed Academic Honesty Report to the student, the faculty member, and the school dean, and the associate vice president for academic affairs, and the dean of students. Copies of the report will be sent by registered mail (with return receipt) to his/her current mailing address on file with the university. Within ten university calendar days of the department chair’s decision, the student or the faculty member may appeal the department chair’s decision to the dean of the faculty member’s school. If the decision is not appealed, the department chair will send a copy of the Academic Honesty Report to the faculty member’s school dean, and the associate vice president for academic affairs, and to the Office of the Dean of Students, where it will be filed for future reference.
220.127.116.11 Dean’s Review
Within five university calendar days of the department chair’s notification to the student that a penalty has been assigned (within an academic long semester, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays), the student or the faculty member may submit a written appeal to the dean of the faculty member’s school. This written appeal should ask the dean to review the department chair’s decision and explain why the student or faculty member believes that the department chair’s decision was wrong. Within ten university calendar days from the time the written appeal is received in the dean’s office, the dean will determine if the department chair’s action should be upheld or overturned and will communicate his/her decision in writing to the student by registered mail, and inform the faculty member, the department chair, the associate vice president for academic affairs, and the dean of students. Within ten university calendar days of the dean’s decision, the student or the faculty member may appeal the dean’s decision to the Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Grade Appeals (see page 45 of the 2018-2020 Undergraduate Catalog). If the decision is not appealed, the dean will send a copy of the Academic Honesty Report along with the results of the dean’s review of the report to the student, the faculty member, the associate vice president for academic affairs, and the office of the dean of students, where it will be filed for future reference. Students may still be subject to further disciplinary action by the university through the student code of conduct, administered by the dean of students (or his/her designee).
18.104.22.168 Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Grade Appeals
If the student or faculty member is not satisfied, he/she may ask, within five (5) university calendar days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays) of receiving the school dean’s decision, that the school dean contact the president of the university senate to convene the Ad Hoc Committee on Grade Appeals. The school dean shall forward the request (along with all relevant materials) to the senate president within five (5) university calendar days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays) of receipt. The dean also shall notify the Provost/V.P. for Academic Affairs, in writing that the senate is being asked to convene an ad hoc committee.
The Ad Hoc Committee on Grade Appeals shall be composed of three members of the instructional faculty in the ranks of tenured professor or tenured associate professor presently serving on the senate, selected in alphabetical order each time the committee is appointed.
The senate president shall appoint the ad hoc committee within five (5) university calendar days and shall notify the student and the faculty member of that fact. The senate president shall not discuss the details of the case with the ad hoc committee. The ad hoc committee will convene within five (5) university calendar days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays).
The committee shall consider the case and reach a decision within fifteen (15) university calendar days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays) of its convening by the senate president. Following its deliberations, the committee may deny, affirm or modify the appeal. The committee shall then forward its recommendation to the Provost/V.P. for Academic Affairs, who will implement the recommendation of the committee within five (5) university calendar days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays). The action of the Provost/V.P. for Academic Affairs shall be final and binding upon all parties, and shall be communicated by the Provost/V.P. for Academic Affairs to the student and the faculty member (with copies to the department chair, school dean, associate vice president for academic affairs, and dean of students).
2.4 Maintenance of Academic Honesty Reports
The Office of the Dean of Students will maintain a copy of each Academic Honesty Report filed on a student until that student’s graduation or permanent suspension of studies. Students will be assumed to have permanently suspended their studies at WCSU if they go five years without enrolling for any coursework. Faculty members or administrators investigating allegations of academic honesty violations may request that the Office of the Dean of Students release them any previous reports that have been filed on the student against whom the current allegations are being made.
The penalty for an academic honesty violation on a significant course requirement such as a final copy of a term paper/project or final examination shall be an “F” for the course. The penalty for academic honesty violations in other coursework will be left to the discretion of the faculty member and may be modified upon appeal. When an academic honesty violation includes flagrant behavior, such as having a substitute take an exam or stealing an exam, the faculty member also shall refer the matter to the Office of the Dean of Students for disciplinary action pursuant to the CSU Student Code of Conduct. The Office of the Dean of Students also may initiate disciplinary action against a student with repeated academic honesty violations.
3. REVIEW AND RESPONSIBILITIES
1-Provost/V.P. for Academic Affairs and V.P. for Student Affairs
Review: Every three years (and as needed)
Issue #1: 2006
Senate Approved as Revised: R-06-05-02
Administrative Approval: 9/6/06
To access all forms pertaining to the Academic Honesty Policy, visit the Web site at: