May 27, 2024  
2019 -2020 Graduate Catalog 
2019 -2020 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

General Information

Radford University is a comprehensive public university of more than 9,400 students that has received national recognition for many of its undergraduate and graduate academic programs, as well as its sustainability initiatives. Radford University serves the Commonwealth of Virginia and the nation through a wide range of academic, cultural, human service and research programs. Well known for its strong faculty/student bonds, innovative use of technology in the learning environment and vibrant student life on a beautiful 204-acre American classical campus, Radford University offers students many opportunities to get involved and succeed in and out of the classroom. The university offers 76-bachelor’s degree programs in 47 disciplines, three associate’s degrees, and six certificates at the undergraduate level; 27 master’s programs in 22 disciplines and six doctoral programs at the graduate level; 13 post-baccalaureate certificates and one post-master’s certificate. A Division I member of the NCAA and Big South Athletic Conference, Radford University competes in 16 men’s and women’s varsity athletics. With over 250 clubs and organizations, Radford University offers many opportunities for student engagement, leadership development and community service.

The College of Graduate Studies and Research offers programs of study at the master’s, specialist and doctoral levels. These programs provide advanced and specialized courses of study, supervised practicum experiences and opportunities for research. The university has an outstanding nationally recruited faculty, about 83 percent of whom hold doctorates or other terminal degrees in their teaching fields. While their primary focus is on the teaching and learning process, the faculty also is engaged in significant scholarly, creative, and public service activities.

Radford University is located in the city of Radford (population 17,658), 36 miles southwest of Roanoke, Va., on Route 11 and I-81 in the New River Valley, close to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. The university atmosphere is residential. Most students live in university residence halls or in private apartments and houses within walking distance of the campus. The university grounds and facilities are conveniently arranged, beautifully maintained and effectively designed to meet the academic, personal and extracurricular needs and interests of the students.

Radford University’s Mission

As a mid-sized, comprehensive public institution dedicated to the creation and dissemination of knowledge, Radford University empowers students from diverse backgrounds by providing transformative educational experiences, from the undergraduate to doctoral level, within and beyond the classroom.  As an inclusive university community, we specialize in cultivating relationships among students, faculty, staff, alumni and other partners, and in providing a culture of service, support and engagement.  We embrace innovation and tradition and instill students with purpose and the ability to think creatively and critically.  We provide an educational environment and the tools to address the social, economic and environmental issues confronting our region, nation and the world.

Radford University’s Vision

Radford University aspires to be the premier, innovative, student-centered university in the Commonwealth of Virginia and beyond with a keen focus on teaching, research and service.


Radford University was established by the General Assembly as the State Normal and Industrial School for Women in 1910 and has been in continuous session since its 1913 opening. The university became Radford State Teachers College in 1924 and was authorized to award the Bachelor of Arts degree in 1935. In 1944, the university was consolidated with the Virginia Polytechnic Institute as its Women’s Division and renamed Radford College. The General Assembly severed the formal affiliation of Radford College with Virginia Tech in 1964, and an autonomous administration was established for Radford College. The college also was authorized to grant the Master of Science degree. In 1972, after almost 60 years as an all-women’s college, Radford became coeducational and in 1979 was granted university status by the General Assembly.

Today, Radford University is a coeducational, comprehensive institution with undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs. In the last 20 years, enrollment has increased dramatically.

University Presidents

John Preston McConnell 1911-1937
David Wilbur Peters 1938-1951
Charles Knox Martin Jr. 1952-1972
     Chancellor 1972-1973
     President Emeritus 1973-1987
Donald Newton Dedmon 1972-1994
Douglas Covington 1995-2005
     President Emeritus 2005-2012
Penelope Ward Kyle 2005-2016
Brian O. Hemphill 2016-present

Radford University President
Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D.

The Campus

The university’s 191-acre campus is in a residential section of the city of Radford. Most of the university’s 20 administrative, academic and student service buildings and 15 residence halls are on two large quadrangles in a 76-acre area.

In fall 2016, the College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences (CHBS) proudly announced the opening of its new home. Designed by the Mosely Architects of Virginia Beach, the new 143,600-square-foot, $52.8 million academic building houses all of the college’s academic units as well as the Dean’s office and is the largest academic building on campus. The state-of-the-art space features a 90-seat tiered classroom, multiple collaborative learning spaces for student use, office space, integrated inquiry environments and the CHBS Advising Center. It also features a mock trial/moot courtroom, a television studio, a forensic laboratory, and an Emergency Management Center.

The new, $49 million, 114,000 square foot Center for the Sciences on the Radford University Campus is also now open.  Classes began in January 2016 in the building and it has been home to a number of special events and outreach efforts.

The student recreation and wellness center provides approximately 110,000 square feet of wellness, fitness, and recreation space in a visually open and expansive multi-height building.  Located between Hurlburt Hall and the Covington Center for the Visual & Performing Arts, the center includes a hardwood court area adaptive for basketball, volleyball and other intramural/sport activities. There is a fitness/wellness area that offers a variety of equipment and exercise options, including free weights and cardio areas.

Natural forest growth, unusual rock formations, the surrounding hills and the New River provide a scenic setting for the university. Radford is not completely immune to the extremes of summer and winter weather, but the climate is basically temperate, with hot days and cool nights in the summer and cool to cold weather in the winter. Fall and spring months in the Appalachian Highlands bring some of the most enjoyable weather to be found anywhere on the East Coast. Points of interest for the visitor to Radford and the surrounding areas include Claytor Lake and the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway. Claytor Lake, off Interstate 81 in Pulaski County, offers picnicking, camping, boating, swimming and hiking areas.

The Radford University Foundation owns a 376-acre tract of land known as the Selu Conservancy. The conservancy, which borders the Little River and is about 5 miles southeast of the campus, was received in two separate donations. John H. Bowles donated the original 185 acres in fall 1989; four additional members of the Bowles family donated 191 acres of adjacent land in spring 1991. Through various campus departments, students are able to use this continuous tract in studies of ecology and botany, mapping geological features, as a model in resource management and maintenance formation on actual building techniques as well as cultural and oral histories. In addition to its educational opportunities, the conservancy offers a glimpse of Southwest Virginia’s distinctive landscape and resources.

Facilities include conference and meeting facilities, which are uniquely designed as part of The Barn and Observatory at Selu. The Barn serves as a research center and observatory. The first floor is a science laboratory, and the second floor contains meeting rooms and classrooms. The Selu Observatory, which adjoins The Barn, is designed to resemble a silo. The Farmhouse at Selu is an authentic replica of a 1930s homestead. Reservations are required for use of the facilities at Selu Conservancy.

Highlander Theme

The influence of the Scottish immigrants, who settled Southwestern Virginia more than 300 years ago, is visible today in many areas of the university. These people were characterized by “firmness of decision, resourcefulness, ardor in friendship, love of country and a generous enthusiasm.” Radford’s athletic teams celebrate that heritage by proudly carrying the Highlander name into competition.

Accreditation and Memberships

Radford University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award baccalaureate, masters, educational specialist and doctorate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call (404) 679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Radford University.

Individual program accreditation has been granted to the following graduate programs:

  • Business Administration - by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), International
  • Counseling and Human Development (both concentrations) - by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
  • School of Teacher Education and Leadership - MS in Education (all concentrations); MS in Educational Leadership; MS in Literacy Education; and MS in Special Education - by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE)
  • Psychology: Psy.D. - by the American Psychological Association (APA)
  • Psychology: Ed.S. - by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)
  • Master of Fine Arts (both concentrations) - by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD)
  • MA/MS in Music (all concentrations) - by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM)
  • Communication Sciences and Disorders - by the Council of Academic Accreditation of the American Speech-language Hearing Association (CAA)
  • D.N.P. in Nursing Practice - by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Occupational Therapy - by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) for the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)
  • Physical Therapy - by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE)
  • Social Work - by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)

Radford University holds membership in the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the Virginia Association of Colleges, the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the National Commission on Accrediting, Inc., the Southern Regional Education Board Council of Collegiate Education for Nursing, the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools, the Council of Graduate Schools, the Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders, the Association for Continuing Higher Education and the North American Association of Summer Sessions.

Academic Year

The university year is divided into two semesters, August to December (fall semester) and January to May (spring semester), Wintermester, and five summer sessions. Students may enter the university at the opening of either semester or summer session, depending on the degree program. Students who wish to complete their academic careers as full-time students should refer to the program section of this handbook to determine the anticipated time frame.

Academic Organization

Academic Affairs at Radford University includes seven colleges: Artis College of Science and Technology , Davis College of Business and Economics , College of Education and Human Development , College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences Waldron College of Health and Human Services , College of Visual and Performing Arts  and the College of Graduate Studies and Research. The chief administrative officer of each college is its dean, who reports to the Provost.

Each academic department within a given college is responsible for the content and prerequisites of courses offered by the department and specifies the requirements for the department’s degree and certification programs. The chair is the chief administrative officer at the department level.

Extended Campus Programs

The university administers undergraduate and graduate programs at several remote sites, including the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon and the Roanoke Higher Education Center. The University also offers degree and certificate programs via online and hybrid formats. For specific information and assistance related to programs at extended campus locations, contact each office coordinator as follows:

Southwest Virginia Higher Education
Center (276) 619-4300
Roanoke Higher Education Center
(540) 767-6190

Non-Credit Programs

Staff members work in close collaboration with university faculty and external groups to design, promote and coordinate a wide array of professional development learning opportunities such as workshops, conferences and non-credit programs. These programs are offered with open enrollment, based upon the sponsor’s program format.

Non-Discrimination Policies

Radford University does not discriminate with regard to race, color, sex, sexual orientation, disability, age, veteran status, national origin, religion, or political affiliation in the administration of its educational programs, activities, admission or employment practices. Inquiries may be directed to the Interim Assistant Vice President for Human Resources at P.O. Box 6889, 314B Tyler Avenue. Telephone: voice, (540) 831-5008; hearing impaired, (540) 831-5128.

The university has adopted policies to provide for prompt and equitable resolution of discrimination complaints. The Discrimination Complaint Procedure describes the grievance procedure for individuals who have experienced discrimination. The Sexual Harassment Policy further defines sexual discrimination by including examples of sexual harassment and a statement concerning consensual relationships between university employees and students. The Accommodation Procedure for Individuals with Disabilities confirms the university’s commitment to providing accessibility to its programs, services and activities for individuals with disabilities who are otherwise qualified and entitled to a reasonable accommodation.

Individuals who believe they may have experienced discrimination, but are uncertain as to whether a complaint is justified or whether they wish to initiate a formal complaint may discuss their concerns confidentially and informally with the director of Human Resources. Students may also consult a staff member at Student Counseling Services or the Office of the Dean of Students.

Only acts of discrimination committed by university employees in connection with their university employment may be reviewed through these policies and procedures. The term “employee” refers to any faculty, staff or any student with a contractual employment agreement, for example, Graduate Teaching Assistants. In all cases of alleged sexual harassment in which the violation is committed by a student, status as a student is adjudicated by the university’s student conduct system. Violations of the policy prohibiting sexual harassment may lead to disciplinary actions, including warnings, suspension or termination of employment or academic status.

Copies of the complete policy statements including procedures for resolving complaints are available in the Office of the Dean of Students (for complaints against a student only), Student Counseling Services, and Department of Human Resources.

It is the policy of Radford University to admit students whose ability, preparation and character indicate potential for success in the programs of study offered.  Radford University does not discriminate in the administration of its educational programs, activities, admission or employment practices.