Apr 25, 2024  
2012 - 2013 Graduate Catalog 
2012 - 2013 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Policies

Honor System

Radford University’s Honor System provides the foundation for a university community in which freedom, trust and respect can prevail. In accepting admission to Radford University, each student makes a commitment to support and uphold the Honor System without compromise or exception. Individuals have the responsibility to be honorable in their own conduct and to insist that other students act honorably.

Lying, cheating and stealing are considered to be acts of dishonor and will, therefore, cause a student to be subject to temporary or permanent suspension from the university community. Students who commit an honor violation or any members of the Radford University community who have knowledge that a student has committed an honor violation are expected to comply with the reporting procedures.

Class Attendance

All students are expected to attend classes on a regular basis. No absences of any nature will be construed as relieving the student from responsibility for the completion of all work assigned by the instructor.

A student registering late for a class will be responsible for all work assigned and material covered during the class sessions that were missed due to the late registration.

The first class meeting of an evening class, which meets one night per week for 14 weeks, represents about seven percent of the total class time; this first meeting is a regular class.

During the first week of each course, the instructor shall inform students of the attendance policies for the course. Class attendance policies are determined by the instructor and should allow for a reasonable number of absences which are required due to documented official university-sponsored activities, health problems and other emergencies. It is the student’s responsibility to make arrangements, which are acceptable to the instructor, to complete work missed during the student’s absence from class.

Official university-sponsored activities include, but are not limited to, those events which students attend as official delegates funded by the university or in which they represent a university-funded, all-campus organization, intercollegiate athletic team or performing group and academic course-related field trips in which participation is mandatory as approved by the appropriate academic dean.


Faculty Advisors

Academic advising is recognized by the university as important to the educational development of its students and as both a natural extension of teaching and an important professional obligation on the part of its faculty. Sound academic advice helps the student address not only simply course selection and scheduling but also what a well educated person should be and know.

Student’s Graduate Thesis or Dissertation Committee

The graduate thesis committee must be chaired by a full graduate faculty member within the student’s discipline and must consist of at least two additional graduate faculty members. Associate graduate faculty members may not chair but may serve on a thesis committee with the permission of the dean of the Graduate College. For further information about the composition and functions of the student’s graduate thesis committee, see “Dissertation, Master’s Thesis or Graduate Recital ” and “Comprehensive Examination .” Doctoral programs may have a different procedure and students should refer to their doctoral program handbook. See the Psy. D. website for detailed information on its comprehensive exam and dissertation.

Grading System

The quality of work completed is recognized by the assignment of grade points to various letter grades. The student’s academic standing depends upon the number of semester hours of work successfully completed and upon the number of grade points accumulated. Radford University uses a system in which grade points are assigned to grades as follows:

During spring 2010, the Graduate College adopted a +/- grading system. Professors may or may not choose to use the +/- grading system but must specify their choice in their course description.

  A = 4.0 points
  A- = 3.7 points
  B+ = 3.3 points
  B = 3.0 points
  B- = 2.7 points
  C = 2.0 points
  F = 0 points
A is given for superior work
A- is given for work that clearly exceeds expectations but is less than superior
B+ is given for work that is somewhat above expectations
B is given for work that meets expectations
B- is given for work that meets some expectations
C indicates work below expectations
F indicates failure and means the course must be taken again with a passing grade before credit is allowed
AU indicates the student audited the course
I indicates work is incomplete. See “Incomplete Grades  
IP indicates the course is in progress
NG indicates non-graded
NR indicates no grade was recorded by instructor
P indicates passed with satisfactory work of “B” or better
W indicates that a student withdrew, without penalty, from the course after schedule adjustment but before the end of the eighth week and that no credit was obtained

To complete a graduate degree program, the student must have a minimum 3.0 grade point average overall and in the program of study. Some programs may have more stringent requirements than those listed below; refer to the relevant program or departmental handbook.

  • Grades in non-Radford University transfer courses are not used in calculating grade point averages. Only courses graded “B” or higher can be transferred if approved by the program. Courses graded “B-” or lower will not be accepted for transfer credit.
  • Every course on the program of study must be completed with at least a grade of “C.”
  • Grades for non-transferrable courses from a former Radford University graduate program will not be included when calculating the GPA for a different Radford University graduate program in which a student has subsequently enrolled.
  • Course taken while an undergraduate at Radford University will not be included in the graduate GPA. However, undergraduate course(s) taken after matriculation to the Graduate College will appear on the graduate transcript.
  • Prior Radford University graduate coursework will not be included as part of the current graduate GPA at the discretion of an individual program if the following amount of time has elapsed: 6 years for the master’s and Educational Specialist or 8 years for the doctorate.

Pass-Fail Courses

All courses taken at Radford University while classified as a graduate student, except those in which a grade of “P” is obtained, will be used in calculation of the grade point average. The total number of hours attempted, excluding those in courses graded on a pass/fail basis, is divided into the number of grade points obtained in order to arrive at the grade point average. Any pass/fail course in which an “F” is assigned will be calculated in the student’s overall grade point average.

A minimum of 80 percent of the required courses on a student’s program of study must be taken for a grade and a maximum of 20 percent can be taken as pass/fail. Practica and internships are exceptions to this rule. If a combination of thesis, dissertation, practica and/or internship exceeds 20 percent of the student’s program of study, the student must take the rest of his/her coursework for a grade. No course taken pass/fail for which a letter grade can be assigned is acceptable unless recommended by a faculty member and supported by the department chair and approved by the dean of the Graduate College.

Repetition of Courses

If a student repeats for credit a course in which a “C” or an “F” was obtained both the original grade and hours attempted and the subsequent grade and hours attempted will be used in the calculation of a grade point average. No more than six credits of coursework may be repeated in this way. Courses taken in which a “B” or “A” was obtained may not be taken a second time for credit.

Incomplete Grades

At the faculty member’s discretion, the letter “I” may be entered on the student’s transcript for a course whenever some portion of the required work has not been completed by the end of the semester. A written statement of the requirements for removal of the grade of “I” must be signed by the faculty member and student and filed in the office of the chairperson of the department in which the course is taught, with a copy submitted to the registrar along with the faculty member’s grade sheet. A student cannot graduate with an incomplete on his or her record, including an “I” or “IP” (see below for use of the “IP” grade) in a required course, a supporting or deficiency course, an undergraduate course or an elective.

The grade of “I” will automatically revert to a grade of “F” if not satisfactorily removed according to the following schedule:

Latest Date for Removal

Fall: End of the last day of classes for the spring semester
Spring: End of the last day of classes for the fall semester
Summer: End of the last day of classes for the fall semester

A grade of “IP” (In Progress) will be used for a thesis, graduate recital, practicum, internship or dissertation in which case the supervising professor determines whether an exception is warranted and has the option of specifying the length of time the student has to complete the work.

Once the grade of “I” and/or “IP” is placed on the transcript, it remains on the transcript until it is replaced by the appropriate grade when all course requirements are completed or when the deadline for completion has passed.

Except for a thesis, directed study, graduate recital, practicum, internship or dissertation, a student cannot re-enroll for a course for which an “I” or “IP” is recorded on the transcript. A degree cannot be awarded to students with Incompletes on their records.

See here  for information regarding continuous enrollment.

Full-Time Status

The normal full-time load for a graduate student is nine graduate hours per semester, with a maximum of 14. A student may enroll in 15 graduate credit hours, but no more, without permission only if one or more of those credits involves a local field placement. A graduate student who is employed full-time or part-time must realize that an excessive course load might well result in substandard performance in academics and on the job.

Summer Sessions

Any graduate student who enrolls in six or more semester hours of credit during Summer Session III or a combination totaling six semester hours of enrollment in the Maymester, Summer Session I, Summer Session II and Summer Session III, will be considered a full-time student.

A graduate student may enroll for a maximum of 14 semester hours of credit using any combination of enrollments in the summer sessions.

Grade Changes/Corrections

Students who feel they received a grade in error should contact the appropriate faculty member. If the faculty confirms that an error has indeed been made, then the faculty member must process a grade change form and submit it to the Office of the Registrar no later than one year after the submission of the original grade (excluding Incompletes).

Grade Appeals

Students wishing to appeal grades received in courses should refer to the Graduate Grade Appeal Procedures and associated forms posted on the Graduate College website at www.radford.edu/gradcollege under the “Forms and Policies” tab.

Grievance Procedure

For concerns other than grade appeals, students wishing to initiate the grievance process should refer to the Graduate Grievance Procedures and associated forms posted on the Graduate College website at www.radford.edu/gradcollege under the “Forms and Policies” tab.

Practicum/Internship Approval

Programs will monitor and regulate admission into all programmatic field experiences. Students must have prior written approval of the program coordinator/director before they are permitted to register for any field experience.

Graduate programs in which students are required to participate in a practical experience, including internships, practica, clinical courses, student teaching and fieldwork shall:

  1. Provide written information to potential students about the qualities of character and interpersonal skills that are normally expected in order to complete the program successfully;
  2. Identify (when feasible) potential problems the student may have in a practical experience prior to engaging in the experience, make those concerns known to the student and make appropriate recommendations to the student;
  3. Provide the following: a) written criteria for entry into a practical experience and procedures for implementation of those criteria; b) performance standards during the experience; c) circumstances under which the student may be withdrawn from or denied entry to the experience; and d) processes including appeals, which regulate such withdrawals. Individual programs may set their own standards for ethical or professional behavior based upon state, professional organization, college or accreditation criteria. These standards must be communicated to students upon entry into the program.

Policies specific to each program will be on file in the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Graduate College and in each department or program office. Students planning to take such courses should obtain a copy of the relevant program’s policies and procedures before registration in the course.

Degree Requirements

Doctoral Degree Requirements

See Psy.D. program here .
See D.N.P. program here .
See D.P.T. program here .

Minimum Degree Requirements
(Master’s and Ed.S.)

For all graduate degrees, at least 80 percent of the hours in the overall program must be in 600-, 700- or 800- level courses.

All degree programs require that the student complete a minimum of 30 or more semester hours of graduate-level work with at least a “B” average in the overall program and in all courses taken since admission.

At least two-thirds of the credits must consist of Radford University courses. Some programs may have additional credit hour requirements. A six-hour thesis, graduate recital or creative project is required for all Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts programs. A dissertation is required for the Doctor of Counseling Psychology degree and a capstone project is required for the Doctor of Nursing Practice; credit hours associated with each vary by program.

Specific requirements for each program are listed in the program section of this catalog.

Undergraduate Deficiencies

Students enrolled in a Master of Science in Education or Special Education degree program and who are also pursuing licensure to teach must meet academic requirements (content area courses among others) for the licensure endorsement area. This might require that they complete courses at the undergraduate level which would not count toward the master’s degree. Applicants must meet with the program coordinator to obtain a transcript analysis which outlines program and licensure requirements and lists course deficiencies. Students must complete all deficiencies prior to being admitted to the Teacher Education Program and to clinical field experiences.

After matriculation to the Graduate College, all work taken at Radford University to satisfy deficiencies will appear on the official transcript and will be calculated in the overall grade point average.

Program Requirements

All students enrolled in a degree program will, at the time of admission, familiarize themselves with the basic requirements of their program. Please check with the program coordinator/director for details. After nine credit hours have been completed, the student, in consultation with and approval from his or her advisor, must submit a formal program of study to the Graduate College that identifies the details of the student’s coursework.

Creating the program of study is the responsibility of the program in which the student is enrolled. The student must fulfill all the requirements of their appropriate degree program as published in the catalog. The year of the catalog being followed must be indicated on this form.

Changes to the program of study must be approved by the advisor or program coordinator/director. The Petition for Program Change is available online at www.radford.edu/gradcollege/, in the Graduate College and in most departmental offices.

Change of Program

Students who wish to change degree programs and students previously admitted as non-degree seeking who wish to enroll in a degree program must apply to the new program and pay the application fee.

Current degree-seeking students who wish to request a change in specialty area within a degree program or add a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate to a current degree shall not have to pay an additional fee.

Supporting Courses

The program of study must list all courses taken in support of the degree program as well as those courses not used as part of the degree program.

Supporting courses may be those needed to make up undergraduate deficiencies or graduate-level courses which the student and advisor feel may be beneficial but are not a necessary part of the regular program. An average of at least a “B” is required in supporting courses, as it is in all other courses taken by a graduate student. A grade of “C” or lower would count toward the two “C” rule even though the supporting course(s) are not part of the regular program. All work taken as supporting courses will appear on the official transcript and will be calculated in the overall grade point average.

Transfer of Credit; Off-Campus Credit

A maximum of one third of the total graduate hours in a program of study may be transferred from another RU program or an outside institution. Some programs may have more stringent requirements. Only credit for grades of “B” and above from a regionally-accredited institution or university may transfer. (Credit for grades of “B-” will not transfer.) Credits applied previously toward another degree cannot be transferred. All transfer credit must be approved by the student’s advisor after consultation with graduate faculty in the discipline involved and by the dean of the Graduate College.

Any student enrolled in a degree program at Radford University who wishes to take transferable graduate work as a transient student at another institution must secure approval from his or her advisor and from the dean of the Graduate College before such work is taken. Courses which will not be accepted for graduate credit by the institutions offering the courses will not be accepted by Radford University.

Continuous Enrollment

All graduate students are required to be registered for at least one graduate credit at Radford University during the semester they receive their degree from Radford University. Registration and tuition payment are required of all graduate students when using university facilities and/or faculty time. The minimum number of hours for registration is one. Registration allows use of services such as library checkout, access to faculty members for help with completion of requirements, laboratories, recreation facilities not open to the public and the graduate commencement ceremony.

Students who are not currently registered for any coursework and who have completed all coursework but have other outstanding degree requirements (e.g., comprehensive examination, thesis, removal of an “I” or “IP” grade), are required to register for a continuous enrollment course each semester (GRAD 799), including summer, until they have met the outstanding requirement(s). This course carries no credit hour production and does not count toward degree requirements. This course option is also available to those admitted students who are not enrolled in a given semester but who wish to use university facilities and services during that time. The Continuous Enrollment form is available online or in the Graduate College Office in Lucas Hall. Approval of the professor of record and the dean of the Graduate College is required prior to registration.

Correspondence Credit

No correspondence credit, wherever earned, can be applied toward any graduate degree awarded at Radford University.

500-Level Courses

Faculty teaching graduate students in 500-level courses must require additional work of these students if the course is being taken for graduate credit. The nature of this work will vary but must be substantial and reflective of graduate level effort. The student is responsible for informing the instructor if the course is being taken for graduate credit. For a student to receive graduate credit for a course, the instructor must hold graduate faculty status. Doctoral students may not enroll for graduate credit in any course lower than the 600 level.

Graduate Credit for Radford University Seniors

Seniors at Radford University with an overall grade point average at Radford of 3.00 or better may be permitted to take up to six credit hours of graduate-level courses during their final year of undergraduate work. Students have the option of counting the course(s) toward their undergraduate degree or toward a graduate degree, if all admission requirements are met. Graduate courses taken to meet baccalaureate requirements may not be used toward a graduate degree, except in approved accelerated bachelor’s/master’s programs (see below).

Undergraduate students who wish to take courses for graduate credit must receive specific approval from the instructor and the dean of the Graduate College. Request forms are available in the Graduate College Office in Lucas Hall. If a graduate course taken as an RU undergraduate is transferred from the undergraduate to the graduate transcript, the student will be charged for the differential between the undergraduate and current graduate tuition rates upon matriculation to the Graduate College.

Accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s Programs

Students accepted for approved bachelor’s/master’s accelerated programs may take up to 12 graduate credits and these may count toward both the bachelor’s and master’s degrees. To be eligible for participation in an accelerated degree program, students must have completed at least 60 undergraduate credits and have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00. Individual departments may impose stricter admission requirements. Admission and completion requirements for specific accelerated degree programs are described in the catalog.

The objective of accelerated bachelor’s/master’s degree programs is to provide a means by which exceptional undergraduate students at Radford University may efficiently complete the requirements for both the baccalaureate and master’s degrees.

Eligibility: Students must have completed a minimum of 60 undergraduate credit hours and have at least 24 credits remaining in their undergraduate programs. Transfer students must have completed a minimum of two semesters as a full-time student at Radford University, a minimum of 24 hours. Students must have a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.00.

Application to an Accelerated Bachelor’s/ Master’s Degree Program: A prospective student should set up a meeting with the graduate program coordinator to review the requirements for an accelerated bachelor’s/master’s degree program. Students applying to an accelerated program must submit the following:

  • Application for accelerated bachelor’s/master’s programs;
  • Official transcripts of any courses taken at a college or university other than Radford University;
  • Application for Graduate Admission form;
  • $50.00 non-refundable application fee;
  • Appropriate test scores, if required by the graduate degree program to which the prospective student is applying. If scores are required, they must be submitted no later than the second week of the term in which conferral of the bachelor’s degree is anticipated;
  • Any other materials required by the graduate program to which the applicant is seeking admission.

Upon review of the materials, a letter of acceptance (or denial) to the master’s program, contingent on meeting the accelerated requirements and completing the bachelor’s degree, will be sent to the student.

Participation and Graduation: Students must complete the bachelor’s degree prior to entering the master’s program. Students in an accelerated program may not elect to bypass the baccalaureate degree. Students must receive a grade of “B” or better in the double-counted graduate level courses. Courses with a grade of “B-” or below cannot be double-counted between the two degrees. No more than 12 hours of graduate work may be counted toward the requirements of both degrees. Students must complete the master’s degree within six (6) years of the start of their first graduate course. If the master’s program is not completed within these time limits, none of the graduate courses taken as an undergraduate will be counted toward the master’s degree. Permission to pursue an accelerated degree program does not guarantee admission to the Graduate College. Admission is contingent on meeting current eligibility requirements of the graduate program.

Withdrawal/Ineligibility: A student may at any time withdraw from an approved accelerated program by informing the graduate program coordinator in writing. A copy of the withdrawal letter must be sent to the Graduate College. If a student completes the baccalaureate degree requirements with an accumulated GPA of less than 3.0, then he/she is no longer eligible to pursue the accelerated program. Individual programs may have higher requirements and a failure to meet these requirements will make a student ineligible to participate in the accelerated program. A student who does not follow the approved accelerated degree requirements may become ineligible to participate in the accelerated program. A student who is ineligible to participate in (or withdraws from) the accelerated program cannot double-count any courses for both bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Withdrawal Procedures

Withdrawal from One or More But Not All Courses

A graduate student may complete a withdrawal form in the Office of the Registrar or notify the Office of the Registrar in writing or via email that he or she wishes to withdraw from one or more (but not all) classes. The withdrawal is not complete until the Office of the Registrar has been notified and confirms the withdrawal.

Students must contact the Student Accounts Office in Heth Hall to initiate a request for a refund of tuition if they drop a class or classes prior to the census date and if the reduced class load qualifies them for a tuition refund.

A graduate student who drops a class prior to the conclusion of schedule adjustment will receive no grade. A student who withdraws from class after schedule adjustment but before the end of the eighth week of the semester (or 60 percent of the total class meetings of a summer session or any other non-traditional course, whichever comes first) will receive a grade of “W.” Students may not withdraw from individual classes following the end of the eighth week of the semester.

A graduate student may not withdraw from more than three graduate classes during their Radford University career. Anything beyond the third withdrawal results in an automatic “F.”

Withdrawal from the University
(All Courses)

A graduate student withdrawing from all courses during a given semester must contact the Office of the Registrar in Heth Hall in writing or via email. The registrar must confirm receipt of the notice. This process must be followed to ensure the student will receive any eligible refunds and the appropriate grades for the semester.

Students who withdraw from the university before the end of the tenth day of classes (census date) will receive no grade. A student who withdraws from the university (all classes) after the census date, but prior to the end of the eighth week of the semester (60 percent of summer session) will receive a grade of “W’” in all classes. Withdrawals from the university after the eighth week will result in an automatic grade of “F” in all classes.

A graduate student may withdraw from the university only once during his or her RU academic career. (Cancelling enrollment to the university prior to the census date or receiving a medical withdrawal does not count as a withdrawal from the university.) Exceptions will be granted by the dean of the Graduate College or by the vice president for student affairs.

Withdrawal from a Degree Program

Graduate students who wish to withdraw from a degree program at Radford University must submit a letter in writing to the Graduate Admissions Manager, Box 6928, Radford University, Radford, VA 24142. The manager will confirm receipt of the notice. If a student withdraws from a degree program, s/he must reapply and be accepted in the original or in another degree program in order to resume studies.

Withdrawal from Off-Campus Course

Students who register for off-campus courses must adhere to published withdrawal policies and procedures as outlined above.

Exceptions to Withdrawal Procedures

Exceptions to the withdrawal procedures may be granted upon recommendation of the Office of the Vice President for Students Affairs in cases of documented medical or other non-academic reasons.

Leave Of Absence

Students have six years to complete a master’s degree and eight years to complete a doctoral degree. Taking a leave of absence for any length of time does not extend these time frames. Graduate students are granted a leave of absence by their program and are subject to the policies and procedures of the Graduate Catalog of the year of their original admission or a subsequent catalog as long as it is within six or eight years of enrolling in a master’s or doctoral program, respectively. Programs have the discretion to reject courses that are less than the stated time frame.

Retention Policies

Good Standing

Any student who maintains a minimum grade point average of 3.00 in graduate courses will be in good standing. Undergraduate courses may not be taken to correct a grade point average deficiency. Programs may also have more stringent rules for remaining in degree programs.

Probation and Dismissal

If at any point a student earns a cumulative grade point average below 2.00, the student will be dismissed from the Graduate College. If a student is dismissed from a program she or he may not enroll again in the Graduate College until two academic years have passed. She/he must pay the application fee and be accepted. A program may be more, but not less stringent than the Graduate College in its application policies and it may choose the option of no reinstatement. If a program’s readmission policies are more stringent than those of the Graduate College, they must be documented in the program’s or department’s student handbook.

If at any point after a student has completed 9 credit hours in his or her program of study and the student’s cumulative grade point average is at least a 2.00 but less than a 3.0,  he or she will be placed on probation. Some programs have more stringent requirements for remaining in degree programs. A student who is on probation may take no more than nine semester hours of coursework in a given term.

To return to good standing, a student must have earned a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 within the first 9 graduate credit hours attempted after being placed on probation. A student who does not meet the minimum cumulative grade point average in that time period will be dismissed from the Graduate College. A student who has been on probation and then reinstated may again be on probation if the student’s grade point average again falls below 3.00.

A student who receives more than two grades of “C” or lower in any work attempted at Radford University shall be dismissed. This includes graduate or undergraduate supporting coursework and courses taken as a non-degree seeking student. Programs may be more but not less stringent than this criterion. All program- specific dismissal policies must be reviewed and approved by the dean of the Graduate College before adoption by a program.

Dismissal from a program based on non-grade related reasons not covered under the Radford University Code of Student Conduct shall be program specific. Each program’s criteria for dismissal must be communicated in the program’s or department’s student handbook along with the appeals process. If a program chooses to dismiss a student, the Graduate College, upon receipt of notification from the program, shall issue a formal letter of dismissal if the student does not appeal within the prescribed time frame or if the appeal is unsuccessful.

Directed Study

The directed study is a course designed by the student after thorough consultation with the professor who will supervise the study. Before registering for a directed study, the student must submit a written proposal for approval by the supervising professor, advisor, department chairperson and the Graduate College.

It is required that students have earned at least nine semester hours, be on regular status and have an approved program of study prior to enrolling in directed study courses.

A directed study cannot be used to replace a required course in a graduate program of study. Non-degree seeking students may not take a directed study course.

The directed study will be graded on an A/F basis.

A single directed study can carry from one to four semester hours of credit. A maximum of six semester hours of credit in directed studies can be used toward graduation in a degree program; program requirements may limit the student to fewer than six hours of directed study.

Students electing to do a thesis as part of their degree requirements may take up to four hours of directed study as part of the degree program.

The proposal should be submitted to the Graduate College at least two weeks prior to registration.

Dissertation, Master’s Thesis or Graduate Recital

A thesis or graduate recital is required in all Master of Arts programs. It can be an elective or a requirement in a Master of Science program, at the option of the department. For dissertations, students should see their program handbook.

When a thesis or dissertation topic has been established, the student should submit a Request for Convening of Thesis/Dissertation Advisory Committee form to the Graduate College in order to register for thesis/dissertation credit. Standards and criteria for approval of the request are established by the student’s thesis/dissertation advisor. Programs and/or thesis advisors may require a written proposal prior to signing the Request for Convening of Thesis/Dissertation Advisory Committee form. Students should check with their individual departments for specific prerequisites.

A student cannot register for thesis hours until the Request for Convening of Thesis/Dissertation Advisory Committee form has been reviewed and approved by: 1) the thesis/dissertation advisor (who is in the student’s program and has full graduate faculty status), 2) a minimum of two additional committee members with graduate faculty status, 3) the department chair or graduate program director and 4) the Graduate College. A copy of this form may be downloaded online at http://www.radford.edu/gradcollege.

All members of the committee must have graduate faculty status. Faculty with associate graduate faculty status may not chair, but may serve on the committee with the permission of the dean of the Graduate College. Students must be on regular status and have an approved program of study on file.

It is recommended that the student establish the thesis/dissertation topic and begin work on the proposal as early as possible. The Thesis/Dissertation Proposal Defense form is an agreement with the student and signifies that if the work described within an approved proposal is accomplished to a quality acceptable to the committee, the committee will honor it as a satisfactory thesis/dissertation.

Basic style guidelines required for all theses and dissertations can be obtained online at: www.radford.edu/gradcollege or from the Graduate College Office in Lucas Hall. Program specific guidelines must fall within the Graduate College guidelines and are available in the department or program student handbook.

Students who plan to do a thesis or graduate recital are advised to begin serious planning of this work during the first semester of enrollment as a graduate student. Past experiences have shown that it is very difficult for a student to do a respectable job on the dissertation, thesis or recital if all work is concentrated in the last semester before graduation.

It is important that the student doing a dissertation, thesis or recital choose the committee before beginning work, and that the committee members are kept informed of the student’s progress in the preparation of the dissertation, thesis or recital.

The thesis grade will be recorded as “Pass” or “Fail.” Conventional letter grades are given for the graduate recital.

All requirements for the thesis must be completed within the time frame by which the degree must be completed; six academic years for a master’s or eight academic years for a doctorate.


Three graduate awards – one each for the outstanding research thesis, the outstanding creative project and for an exemplary performance – are given each year at the spring commencement/hooding ceremony to students who completed their graduate degrees during the past academic year. A faculty committee designates the recipients of these awards from nominees selected by each college. A cash award and a plaque are given to each student, and a commemorative plaque is given to the faculty advisor of each award-winning thesis or project.

Preliminary Master’s Comprehensive Examination

In addition to the final comprehensive examination given during the last semester of enrollment, the graduate faculty in each program have the option of requiring a preliminary comprehensive examination to be administered sometime before completion of three-fourths of the master’s degree program. This preliminary examination would be designed to measure the student’s competence in the discipline. If a particular program requires such a preliminary examination, information is given in the program section of this catalog.

Final Comprehensive Examination and/or Thesis/Dissertation Defense

Standards and criteria for all degree requirements, including comprehensive exams (if applicable), should be established by individual graduate programs and these degree requirements should be consistent with their discipline standards and/or accrediting requirements. If a comprehensive examination and or thesis/dissertation defense is required, it should be explicitly noted in the program section of the catalog and on the program of study. Program coordinators should provide specific procedural details in writing to students. The format of the examination is determined by the program. It should be taken during the last semester of the student’s graduate program and should be scheduled by the student and the advisor to be taken at least two weeks before graduation. The student must have at least a “B” average in the program of study and overall at the time of application for the examination. The necessary examination form is available in the Graduate College Office in Lucas Hall. The form must be requested at least five university business days in advance of the examination date and must be returned to the Graduate College within 15 days of the date of the examination by the advisor or a faculty designee.

At the start of the term in which any comprehensive exam will be taken, a form that establishes membership of the advisory committee must be submitted to the Graduate College.

In composing the membership of a comprehensive examination committee, the majority of the membership must be full members of the Graduate Faculty at the time of the examination.

The student, in consultation with the advisor, can suggest the names of faculty to serve on the committee. An associate graduate faculty member may serve on the committee with the permission of the graduate dean, and must sign the report of the final comprehensive exam. She or he may not chair the committee. A majority of the committee must recommend “satisfactory” in order for the student to pass.

A candidate who fails the examination or thesis/dissertation defense (if one is required) may request one additional re-examination. A new examination form must be requested from the graduate college. A student who fails to pass the examination or thesis/dissertation defense on the second attempt will be dropped from the degree program.

Students should note specific program requirements for the final comprehensive examination, thesis defense, or its equivalent in the program description section of this catalog. Doctoral examinations may vary so students should see their program handbook.

Online Defense of Comprehensive Exam, Thesis, Dissertation, or Capstone Project

At the program’s discretion, an oral defense of the final dissertation, thesis, comprehensive examination, or capstone project may be conducted via audio-visual conferencing. Students should see the program or departmental handbook for details.

All sites must use compatible technology, and all participants must be visible to each other throughout the remote defense.

Materials for the remote defense (e.g., PPT or Prezi handouts) must be distributed to all committee members prior to the defense.

No recording of the remote defense will be acceptable.

Each department will have its own confidential protocol for voting on the outcome of the remote defense and conveying the results to the Graduate College.

The department will be responsible for all costs associated with the remote participation technologies and procedures.

Time Limit

All requirements for the master’s degree or Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) degree must be completed within six academic years. Neither Radford University courses nor transfer courses more than six academic years old at the time of graduation will be allowed as part of the hours for graduation. All requirements for a doctoral degree must be completed within eight years. Neither Radford University courses nor transfer courses more than eight academic years old at the time of graduation will be allowed as part of the hours for graduation for a doctorate. At the discretion of the degree program, one or more courses that may fall within the time limit for any program may not necessarily be accepted.

Second Master’s Degree

Students will not be allowed to enroll in a graduate program leading to a master’s degree in a field in which they already hold a graduate degree. A student pursuing a second master’s degree in a new field may not count any credits toward the new degree already applied toward an earlier degree, but must meet all requirements for the appropriate degree.

Auditing Courses

Students may audit courses on a space available basis with written permission of the instructor and the department chairperson. Students who audit a course may not transfer to regular status in the course after the census date. Auditing students are expected to attend class on the same basis as a regular student. The instructor may delete from the roster any auditing student who does not meet course requirements.

Records and Reports of Students Grades as filed with the Office of the Registrar are final, except where an error of judgment has occurred or an error has been made in computation or transcription. Students may electronically access grades at the end of a semester or term. A transcript is the official record, compiled by the Office of the Registrar, of a student’s academic career. For each semester or summer term, the transcript shows the courses, credits and grades; semester or summer term grade point average; and notice of good standing, academic probation, suspension or withdrawal. Transfer credit also is recorded, but without grades.

The completed transcript records the degree and program as appropriate, final cumulative grade point average and the date the degree was conferred.

Transcripts are issued upon the receipt of a signed, written request. There is no charge for this service. There is a limit of 10 transcripts issued per request, unless otherwise approved by the registrar.

Student Record Policy
(Confidentiality of Student Records)

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

Radford University student record policies and practices are in full compliance with state and federal laws (FERPA). The university will not release information about a student from records, except directory information, to people (including parents) other than a specified list of exceptions without obtaining the written consent of the student.

Upon request, the university will grant students who are or have been in attendance access to their educational records, except those excluded by law, and will provide an opportunity for a hearing to challenge such records.

University and federal law does permit the university to release information it has identified as directory information with respect to each student unless the student informs the university that any and all information designated should not be released without the student’s prior consent. Forms to request a restricted release of directory information are available online and should be filed at the Office of the Registrar. While the university understands that there are sometimes very legitimate reasons why a student may want to restrict their directory information, please note that placing a restriction on the release of a student’s information means that RU personnel cannot even acknowledge the existence of the student to a third party. This may cause the student and their parents some inconvenience related to the verification of enrollment and/or graduation for insurance and loan deferment purposes.

Radford University has identified the following as directory information:

  • Student’s name, date-of-birth, local and home address, phone listing and e-mail address
  • Whether a student is currently enrolled
  • Major field of study
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • Weight and height of members of athletic teams
  • Dates of attendance
  • Degrees and awards received

Students should report any change of name, address, or marital status to the Office of the Registrar so their university records can be corrected.

A full statement of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and information explaining how students may exercise the rights accorded them by this policy are posted to the RU website and are available from the Office of the University Registrar and the Dean of Students Office. The restriction on the release of non-directory information does not apply to university officials or to designated persons or agencies operating on behalf of the university. For example, faculty, advisors and academic support staff may access non-directory information needed to perform their official responsibilities. Selected individuals or agencies operating for the university, such as the National Student Clearinghouse, may have access to academic records to verify enrollments and degrees. The university may disclose records to state agencies for the purpose of program review and evaluation.

If a student has a complaint about the university’s compliance with state or federal laws concerning student records, the student is encouraged to register that complaint with a university official. While most concerns can and will be addressed promptly by the university, students may file complaints with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the university to comply with the requirements of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

Graduation Policy

A currently enrolled full-time student may meet the graduation requirements listed in the Radford University Graduate Catalog in effect at the time of the student’s initial enrollment at Radford. Or, the individual may elect to meet the requirements in any subsequent catalog published between enrollment and graduation as long as the catalog is no more than six years old. A student may not follow requirements for graduation listed in a catalog in effect prior to the student’s enrollment at Radford.

Application for Degree

Each candidate for an advanced degree must apply for the degree through the Graduate College by the census date of the expected term of graduation according to deadlines specified online. Unless the necessary forms are filled out by the student by the stated deadline, graduation may be delayed.

Commencement Exercises

Commencement exercises are conducted at the end of the fall and spring semesters and are open to degree-seeking students only. Students completing degree requirements are urged to attend. Extenuating circumstances may justify absence from these ceremonies. Diplomas will be mailed to students completing degree requirements. However, it is the official transcript issued by the Office of the Registrar that serves as confirmation that degree requirements have been completed.

Participation in Commencement

Radford University restricts participation in graduation exercises to those degree seeking students who will complete their degree requirements by the time of commencement. Students may participate in Spring commencement and hooding if they have no more than 6 credit hours or two courses remaining in their program of study and can complete all program requirements (including the thesis proposal defense, if applicable) during the immediately subsequent summer sessions (Maymester, Summer I, II, or III). Students in programs that require an extended off-campus internship may participate if all other conditions for participation have been met and the dates and location of the internship have been arranged. Individual programs may have more stringent requirements, as specified in the program sections of the Graduate Catalog.

M.A. students lacking only the hours of thesis credit may participate only after submitting the Thesis Proposal Defense form. All other students must have completed all degree requirements e exam or its equivalent in order to participate in commencement ceremonies.

All students who matriculated in any year prior to 2011 - 2012 should be allowed to walk in spring commencements even if they are lacking comprehensive examinations  and up to 6 credits of coursework in the summer to complete the program of study.

Applications to graduate and to participate in commencement must be approved by the program following the guidelines established by programs and department. They must be submitted to the Graduate College by the census date of the expected term of graduation.

Participation in commencement does not guarantee that the diploma and a final official transcript will be issued.

Exception to Academic Policies

The Radford University Graduate Catalog is the basic authority for academic requirements at Radford University. All students are expected to follow the catalog in the pursuit of their degrees. On rare occasions, extraordinary circumstances may justify minor departures from catalog requirements. A graduate student who needs to petition for an exception to academic policy must complete the Graduate Student Academic Petition form in consultation with his/her advisor, available online or in the Graduate College office, and submit to the Graduate College for consideration. Note that academic dismissal (i.e., a GPA less than 2.0 or earning more than two grades of “C” or lower), the minimum hours required for program completion, or a minimum GPA less than 3.0 may not be petitioned.