Graduate Academic Policies & Regulations
Academic Policies & Procedures
Policies and procedures for graduate students are devised to safeguard the integrity of the degree or certificate granted, to facilitate the student’s progress toward the degree, and to prevent delays and misunderstandings.
Each student is responsible for being thoroughly familiar with all policies and procedures and with the requirements of the specific program: degree, certificate, or certification. Updates to the printed catalog are available on the Web at www.arcadia.edu/catalog. If the student has any doubt or question about requirements or procedures, he or she should consult the Assistant Dean of the College of Graduate Studies for clarification.
Conferring of Degrees
Degrees are conferred at the completion of a program in May, August, and December. A formal Commencement exercise takes place in May. A Commencement exercise is held in February for students in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program. All students completing their degrees at any time during the academic year are invited to participate in the following May ceremony and will receive information regarding the Commencement ceremony from the Graduate Office. Information also is available online at www.arcadia.edu/commencement in early March and posted in the Blackboard communities. Attendance at Commencement is not mandatory.
Students are recognized at Commencement and honored by the University for having achieved academic excellence in their degree programs. Latin honors are not used in graduate study; instead students receive “With Distinction” on their records and diploma. Requirements for distinction are as follows:
A cumulative grade point average of 3.9 to 4.0 is required for programs in Business Administration, Counseling, Education, English/Creative Writing, Forensic Science, Health Education, Humanities, International Peace and Conflict Resolution, International Public Relations, Public Health, the Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy, and the Doctor of Education.
A cumulative grade point average of 3.7 to 4.0 is required in the Doctor of Physical Therapy, the Master of Science in Genetic Counseling, and the Master of Medical Science (Physician Assistant) degree programs.
Notification of Expected Completion of Degree Requirements
Students are responsible for notifying the Department of Graduate Studies of their expected date for completion of degree requirements. Forms are available online at www.arcadia.edu/gsforms. Forms are also available in Registrar’s Office (Taylor Hall, Room 103).
Petitions for Exceptions to Policies, Regulations or Requirements
Petitions for change of grades or any other course-related grievance will not be accepted after one calendar year from the time of the start of the course(s) in question, or after the completion of the program in which the student is matriculated, whichever date comes first.
The Grade Appeal process applies only to the final grade of a course. If a student believes that a final grade has been incorrectly determined, the student may appeal her or his grade, according to the following process.
The student should try to resolve the situation with the course instructor, within ten working days of receiving the final grade. If the dispute cannot be resolved, the student should file an appeal with the department chair or program director (if applicable), indicating in writing the grounds for the appeal; this appeal must be filed within ten working days of the course instructor’s decision. The program director or department chair will review relevant materials from the student and instructor, make a decision, and notify the student and instructor of the decision. If the dispute remains unresolved, the student should file an appeal with the dean of the college or school, indicating in writing the grounds for the appeal; this appeal must be filed within ten working days of the program director’s or department chair’s decision. The dean will review relevant materials from the student and instructor, as well as any additional information from the program director or department chair. The dean will then make a decision and notify the student, instructor, and department chair or program director of the decision.
Generally, the decision of the dean will be final. However, the student may choose to appeal to the Office of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies, if and only if, s/he is able to present substantial new evidence to support a claim of academic injustice. The student initiates the review by submitting a Request for Grade Review Form (available on the Graduate Studies web site) within ten working days of the dean’s decision. The Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies will refer the request to the Graduate Academic Standing and Appeal Committee, which is chaired by the Dean of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies, for review. The committee will consider all relevant materials in its review. Once the committee has met and made its determination, the student will be informed of its decision. The decision of the Graduate Academic Standing and Appeal Committee is final and there are no further steps for appeal.
Exemptions to Policies, Regulations, or Requirements
Students requesting exceptions to policies, regulations or requirements must write a clear and concise statement describing the requested exception, including evidence supported by a rationale. This request must be submitted to the Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies (Taylor Hall, Room 105) along with an “Exception to Policy” form signed by the student and the student’s faculty adviser. The Associate Dean responds to the petition and/or makes a determination to convene the Graduate Academic Standing and Petitions Committee to review the petition.
Code of Academic Responsibility
A code of academic responsibility guides the academic life of Arcadia University students. It is expected that each student will uphold the concept of academic integrity and will accept the responsibility for acting in accord with this concept. Refer to these publications for guidelines: Graduate Student Handbook and Departmental Handbooks.
Code of Ethical/Professional Standards and Conduct
Graduate programs at Arcadia University prepare students to take positions of responsibility and leadership within their communities and professions. Many of the departments and programs require supervised off-campus clinical experience in which students are expected to conduct themselves as professionals-in-training. These programs represent professions that adhere to established standards of behavior and ethics. Arcadia University students are expected to adhere to those standards. Behavior in violation of ethical or professional standards of the field and/or Arcadia University constitutes grounds for immediate dismissal from the program. (Refer to the Graduate Student Handbook and departmental guidelines.)
Students are expected to abide by the regulations set forth by Arcadia University and the written policies and procedures of their respective departments. The University reserves the right to dismiss a student at any time for unsatisfactory academic performance or for conduct detrimental to the University or to the welfare of other students. Departments also reserve the right to dismiss a student if it is determined that a student’s conduct is unprofessional or is not consistent with the code of ethics of their intended profession.
A student may be dismissed from a program for the following reasons:
- A grade below “C” in a didactic course.
- A grade of “U” or below “C” in a clinical education experience.
- A grade below “B” in an Education Practicum, Fieldwork or culminating activity.
- Conduct detrimental to the University or to the welfare of other students.
- Conduct that violates the code of academic and/or professional ethics.
- Unsatisfactory GPA (Academic Standing)
- In addition to GPA, students also must be making adequate progress toward the degree to have satisfactory academic standing. Therefore, students who have an excessive number of course withdrawals for two consecutive semesters will have their records reviewed by the Committee on Academic Standing and Petition. Excessive number of course withdrawals is defined as 50 percent or greater of the student’s course load. After review, a student may be dismissed from the University if it is determined that he or she is not making adequate progress.
Fulfillment of Degree Requirements
Faculty advisers, and the Dean and staff of Graduate Studies are available to assist students. Procedures have been developed to check progress toward the degree. It is the student’s responsibility, however, to know the requirements for his or her degree and to fulfill them.
In addition to or independent of a master’s degree, students also may prepare for certification granted by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and/or the Pennsylvania State Board of Private Academic Schools. Arcadia Certificates are available in a variety of areas including Business, Education, Counseling Psychology, English and International Peace and Conflict Resolution.
Graduate Studies at Arcadia University are under the direction of the Graduate Academic Programs Committee, whose members are five elected faculty members, the Dean of Graduate Studies, and a minimum of one and not more than three students, selected to represent graduate students currently enrolled, and if possible, chosen from different components of graduate studies. A representative of the Vice President for Enrollment Management, the Registrar and the Associate Director of the Library serve ex officio. The student members may vote on matters of policy. The Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies serves as non-voting secretary. Meetings of the committee are open to others by invitation.
Degree Completion for Cohort Graduate Programs
- Doctor of Education in Special Education—three years plus extension for dissertation
- Doctor of Physical Therapy—two and one half years
- Master of Arts in International Peace and Conflict Resolution—two years; three years for part-time track
- Master of Business Administration—22 months
- Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing—two years
- Master of Medical Science (Physician Assistant)—two years; three years for dual degree and three-year track
- Master of Science in Forensic Science—two years
- Master of Science in Genetic Counseling—two years
Degree Completion for Graduate Programs with Rolling Admission
Six years from the first enrollment in coursework relating to the degree:
- Certificate of Advanced Study
- Master of Arts in Counseling
- Master of Arts in Education
- Master of Arts in English
- Master of Arts in Health Education
- Master of Arts in Humanities
- Master of Arts in International Public Relations
- Master of Education
- Master of Science in Health Education
- Master of Science in Public Health
- Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy
In all of the above programs, students may enroll on either a full-time or part-time basis. If they do not want to pursue a degree or certification, they may request permission to enroll as Special Status students.
Credit by Examination
Students are permitted to earn credit by examination for any undergraduate deficiencies they may have, but not for credit to be counted toward a graduate degree.
A letter grade system with pluses and minuses is used. The numerical values assigned are as follows:
- NR = Ongoing: a grade of NR in a practica or culminating activity must be converted to an earned grade one year from the date of registration. After one year, the NR becomes a W and the student must register again and pay full tuition.
- S = Satisfactory
- U = Unsatisfactory
- W = Withdrawal prior to seventh week of class
- WP = Withdraw passing—after the seventh week of class
- WF = Withdraw failing—after the seventh week of class
A cumulative grade point average of “B” (3.00) is required for admission to degree candidacy and for graduation in the following graduate programs: Business Administration, Counseling, Education, English, English/Creative Writing, Forensic Science, Health Education, Humanities, International Peace and Conflict Resolution, International Public Relations, and Public Health. A cumulative grade point average of “B–” (2.70) is required for graduation in the following programs: Doctor of Physical Therapy, Genetic Counseling and Medical Science (Physician Assistant).
A grade below “C” may not be applied toward a degree. Only 6 credits of “C” will count toward a degree in the following programs: Business Administration, Counseling, Education, English, English/Creative Writing, Forensic Science, Health Education, Humanities, International Peace and Conflict Resolution, International Public Relations, and Public Health. A student must petition to repeat a course; however, the original grade remains on the transcript. No more than two concentration courses may be repeated.
If a failing grade is received (“C–” or below), the course may be repeated one time only with the adviser’s permission.
A grade below “B–” is not permitted for Education Department courses required for certification, and students must obtain permission from their adviser to retake a certification course.
A grade of “B” or above is required to meet certification standards for the following courses:
- ED 470 Graduate Student Teaching Practicum, Early Childhood and Elementary
- ED 471 Graduate Student Teaching Practicum, Secondary
- ED 474 Graduate Student Teaching Practicum, Art Education
- ED 478 Graduate Student Teaching Practicum, Environmental Education
- ED 520B Intern Practicum
- ED 578 Experiential Workshop in the School Library
- ED 579 Practicum: School Librarian
- ED 583B Fieldwork
- ED 590 Fieldwork in Inclusive Education
- ED 592 Graduate Student Teaching Practicum: Special Education/Elementary
- ED 593 Fieldwork in Environmental Education
- ED 595 Literacy Seminar/Language and Literacy Project
- ED 597 Graduate Student Teaching Practicum: Special Education
- ED 600 Practicum: Supervision
- ED 639 Practicum: Principalship
- ED 649 Practicum: The Superintendency
NOTE: These policies also apply to non-degree-seeking graduate students enrolled in certification programs.
In circumstances such as illness or personal emergency, a grade of “I” (Incomplete) may be approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies if the student is unable to finish the course requirements by the end of the term but is passing the course. The outstanding work must be completed as soon as possible but no later than the end of the next semester. Students who have received an Incomplete grade must meet the conditions for its removal the semester following the original course enrollment or the date indicated on the official Incomplete card. If the Incomplete is not removed by the specified date, the default grade indicated on the Incomplete card will be recorded for the course. No more than two Incomplete grades may be received in a given semester, one of which must be removed before the student is allowed to enroll in more courses. Instructors must obtain an “Incomplete Grade Request” form from the Registrar’s Office and return it to the Dean of Graduate Studies for approval.
To continue in good academic standing, students in Business Administration, Counseling, Education, English, English/Creative Writing, Forensic Science, Health Education, Humanities, International Peace and Conflict Resolution, International Public Relations, Public Health, and Doctor of Education are expected to maintain a 3.0 cumulative grade point average. If the cumulative average falls below 3.0, the student is placed on probation and notified by the Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies, in writing, of the conditions that must be met in order to be removed from probation and continue in the program. If the cumulative average falls below 2.7, or if a student in good standing receives a grade of “C–” to “F,” the student may be dismissed from the program.
A student must be in good academic standing with a 3.0 cumulative average in order to apply for admission to degree candidacy. If, after admission to degree candidacy, the average falls below 3.0, but no lower than 2.75, the student may be placed on probation. If the average falls below 2.75, the student may be dismissed from the program. A cumulative grade point average of 3.0 is required for graduation.
Please refer to individual programs for additional policies on academic standing. To continue in good academic standing, students in Genetic Counseling, Medical Science (Physician Assistant), and Physical Therapy are expected to maintain a 2.7 cumulative grade point average. Please refer to the program listing for degree-specific academic requirements.
In addition to GPA, students also must be making adequate progress toward the degree to have satisfactory academic standing. Therefore, students who have an excessive number of course withdrawals for two consecutive semesters will have their records reviewed by the Committee on Academic Standing and Petition. Excessive number of course withdrawals is defined as 50 percent or greater of the student’s course load. After review, a student may be dismissed from the University if it is determined that he or she is not making adequate progress.
Students admitted to a degree program are expected to enroll continuously until the program is complete. For students in Counseling Psychology, Education, English, Health Education, Humanities and Public Health programs, continuous enrollment is defined as enrollment in both semesters of the regular academic year, or one semester of the academic year and one summer session, or both regular summer sessions.
Leave of Absence
A student who is unable to register for courses because of a serious illness, personal/professional reasons, extraordinary job requirements or military service may be granted a leave of absence without penalty.
The leave of absence is normally limited to one year. The student must inform the chair in writing of his/her intention. A leave of absence must be confirmed by the Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies.
Students with an absence of one year without an approved leave of absence or who extend leave beyond one year will be governed by new departmental/program guidelines upon their return to the program.
Withdrawal from the University
A student who plans to withdraw from a program for personal reasons should consult with his or her adviser. If the student intends to withdraw, he or she should notify the Program Director and the Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies, in writing, of intent to withdraw. The student may reapply within two years of that withdrawal by following the readmission procedure described below. Please refer to program listings for program-specific requirements.Please refer to program listings for program-specific requirements.
Admission to Degree Candidacy
Upon completion of 15 semester hours of credit, students who want to be admitted to degree candidacy must make formal application. Students admitted to Arcadia University with transfer credits accepted toward the degree must make this application after completing 15 semester hours of Arcadia University credit. (The application form is available online at www.arcadia.edu/gsforms and in the Office of the College of Graduate Studies, and the Registrar’s Office.)
In addition to being in good academic standing, a student must obtain his or her adviser’s signature and submit the application to the Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies. Students in Business Administration, English/Creative Writing, Forensic Science, Genetic Counseling, Medical Science (Physician Assistant), Physical Therapy and the Doctor of Education programs are not required to apply for degree candidacy.
Students in a master’s program in Education, English and Humanities must have completed the foundation course requirements before being admitted to degree candidacy. Students in a master’s program in Counseling must have completed 18 credits of specific courses indicated on the degree candidacy application form before being admitted to degree candidacy.
Changes in Degree Requirements
In an effort to keep Arcadia graduate programs current, changes in degree requirements may occur after students have begun their program of studies. In this case, students would be expected to fulfill the new requirements unless doing so causes undue hardship, that is, postpones graduation, requires credits beyond those required for a specified program, or prevents enrollment in a course especially needed by the student. Changes and updates are available at www.arcadia.edu/catalog.
Transfer to a New Degree Program or Concentration
A change of concentration in a Master of Education (M.Ed.) program or a Master of Arts in Education (M.A.Ed.) program does not require re-application. A Change of Status form must be submitted to the Associate Dean for approval. Forms are available at www.arcadia.edu/gsforms, in the Graduate Studies Office and the Registrar’s Office. Any change of status must be approved by the Assistant Dean.
To be considered for a change of status into the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology, Master of Arts in English, Master of Arts in Health Education, Master of Arts in Humanities, Master of Science in Health Education and Master of Science in Public Health, students must submit program-specific materials as indicated in the admissions section of the intended program. When all required materials have been received in the College of Graduate Studies, the file will be sent to the appropriate department for review. An application fee is not required if the student is currently enrolled. Credits earned in the original program may apply to the new program if, in the opinion of the faculty adviser, they are appropriate to the new degree.
Change of Status does not apply to master’s programs in Business Administration, Forensic Science, Genetic Counseling, International Peace and Conflict Resolution, Medical Science (Physician Assistant); or to doctoral programs in Physical Therapy and Special Education.
The culminating activity provides a means of synthesizing the knowledge and skills acquired throughout the program. This requirement may take a variety of forms, depending on the degree or concentration within the degree. A comprehensive examination (oral or written); fieldwork or internship; practicum (student teaching), clinical experience, research and thesis; final seminar, master’s paper, professional portfolio, or capstone course.
The culminating activity is arranged in consultation with the adviser. Students earning a Master of Education degree (M.Ed.) or Master of Arts in Education degree (M.A.Ed.) are required to take ED599 Master's Thesis as the culminating activity for the degree.
A grade of “B” or above is required for the culminating activity for any graduate degree.
Only matriculated students may register for independent research or for thesis. Up to 9 credits of a combination of independent research and thesis may be applied toward a degree.
Students in the master’s programs may elect to write a thesis for 6 credits toward the degree. Students should consult with their advisers to determine whether a thesis is required for their program.
The manual of style to be followed is determined by the department.
To register for thesis, students must submit an approved copy of the thesis proposal with their registration form.
To register for thesis, a student must submit an approved copy of the thesis proposal to the Graduate Office.
Students who do not complete the thesis or master’s project at the end of their coursework, or at the end of the semester or session in which they are enrolled in a departmental thesis or culminating project course, are required to enroll in an ongoing one credit thesis writing course until all work is completed and approved. A fee equivalent to 1 graduate credit for a 3-credit culminating master’s project and 2 graduate credits for a 6-credit culminating thesis will be assessed for each semester or part thereof during which the thesis or capstone project is incomplete. (For these purposes, all the summer sessions together will count as one semester.)
Most departments offer a 3-credit course titled “589/689 Independent Research” that offers matriculated students an opportunity to undertake an individual project supervised by a faculty member. Students must have had formal coursework and/or experience in the area of study, have completed at least two graduate courses in the department at Arcadia University, and have a definite topic or project in mind. Students may ask a faculty member in the department to supervise the study or ask the department chair to suggest an appropriate faculty member. The independent research form must be signed by the chair of the department and contain the name of the supervising faculty member.