Probation, Suspension, and Dismissal
Good Academic Standing
Any student who maintains a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average (GPA) in graduate courses will be in good academic standing. (As noted in the catalog, some programs may have more stringent expectations.) Undergraduate courses may not be taken to correct a GPA deficiency.
Grades of “C”
Only two course grades of “C” will be allowed to count towards the completion of any graduate degree or certificate. (“Course” include courses attempted at Radford University while classified as a graduate student, including graduate courses, graduate supporting coursework, and courses taken as a non-degree student.) When a student earns their first course grade of “C” or lower, they will be contacted by the Graduate College. When a student earns a second course grade of “C” or lower, the will be contacted by the Graduate College and informed of the consequences for earning a third “C”. When a student earns a third course grade of “C” or lower, they will be suspended. (See “Suspension.”) A student who earns four course grades of “C” or lower will be dismissed from the Graduate College. (See “Dismissal.”) Some programs have more stringent “C” limitations, which are noted in their respective sections in this catalog. However, students in the MS in Physician Assistant Program are permitted to have more than two course grades of “C”. (See the program entry for “MS, Physician Assistant.”)
Once a student has completed 9 credit hours (or 6 credit hours for certificate, Fast Track, and non-degree students), and their cumulative GPA is at least a 2.0 but less than a 3.0, they will be placed on academic probation until they return to good academic standing. (See “Return to Good Academic Standing.”) While on academic probation, a student will be restricted to enrolling in no more than 12 credit hours of coursework in any given semester or combination of semesters until they return to good academic standing. Some programs may have more stringent thresholds for academic probation. Probation thresholds for the MS in Physician Assistant Program differ. (See the program entry to “MS, Physician Assistant.”)
A student may be placed on academic probation up to two times: A student who has been placed on probation but eventually returns to good academic standing will be placed on probation again if the student’s cumulative GPA falls between a 2.0 and 3.0 a second time. If a student’s academic record warrants being placed on probation for a third time, they will not be placed on probation but instead will be dismissed from the Graduate College. (See “Dismissal.”)
Return to Good Academic Standing
Once on academic probation, in order to return to good academic standing, a student must earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 within the first 12 graduate credit hours attempted after being placed on probation. A student who does not earn at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA within 12 credit hours or who cannot achieve a 3.0 cumulative GPA within 12 credit hours will be suspended from the Graduate College. (See “Suspension”.) However, if the student is enrolled in a program that does not permit suspension, they will be dismissed from the Graduate College. (See “Dismissal.”)
A student will be suspended from the Graduate College under any one of the following conditions:
(1) The student is placed on probation but cannot mathematically achieve a 3.0 cumulative GPA within 12 credits.
(2) After being placed on probation, the student completes 12 credit hours but does not achieve a 3.0 cumulative GPA.
(3) The student earns a third course grade of “C” or lower.
If a student is suspended from the Graduate College, they may not resume graduate studies at Radford until at least 8 months (or four successive, 7-week sessions for Fast Track students) have elapsed. (For instance, if a student in a non-Fast Track program is suspended at the end of Fall semester, they may not resume study until the next Fall semester.) No suspension period will last for more than 2 calendar years. Return after suspension is not automatic and suspended students must petition to resume their studies. (See “Return After Suspension.”)
Return After Suspension
To return after the suspension period, a student must submit a “Petition to Return After Suspension” form to the Graduate College for review. The form must be accompanied by the following:
- A letter from the student addressing why the seek to return, and why they believe they are ready to do so.
- A plan of study, developed in consultation with the student’s graduate program coordinator and/or graduate advisor, that (1) accounts for at least the next 12 credits of the students’ expected enrollment, and (2) outlines how the student will return to good standing (i.e., the support they will seek, etc.). If warranted, this plan of study also must include the expected time table for retaking course(s) in which a grade of “C” or lower has been earned.
- Signature of the graduate program coordinator of the student’s primary graduate program
- Signature of the department chair or a graduate faculty member in the student’s primary graduate program.
The dean of the Graduate College has the final authority to allow a suspended student to return to academic studies; however, the dean will consult with the graduate program in making a decision. If a suspended student is not approved to return, they will be dismissed from the Graduate College. (See “Dismissal.”) If a suspended student is approved to return, they are restricted to enrolling in no more than 12 credit hours in their first semester after returning, and they must enroll in the courses specified in their approved plan of study. Upon completing 12 credit hours, the student must have earned a 3.0 cumulative GPA to return to good academic standing; if good academic standing is not achieved within the first 12 credit hours after the student has returned from suspension, the student will be dismissed from the Graduate College (See “Dismissal.”)
Dismissal for Academic Performance
A student will be dismissed from the Graduate College under any one of the following conditions:
(1) The student warrants being placed on academic probation for a third time.
(2) The student fails to achieve good academic standing after being placed on probation, and the student is enrolled in a program that does not permit suspension.
(3) A student is suspended and fails to return to good academic standing within 12 credit hours.
(4) Two calendar years have elapsed since the student has been suspended.
(5) The student earns four grades of “C” or lower.
(6) The cumulative GPA falls below a 2.0
Dismissal results in the termination of one’s affiliation as a graduate student with the university.
Admission After Dismissal for Academic Performance
A student who has been dismissed for academic performance from the Graduate College may pursue graduate studies at the university after two calendar years. At that time, they will be eligible to apply and must pay the application fee, submit supplemental application materials, and be accepted in order to enroll in graduate courses. Some programs may choose not to admit graduate students who were previously dismissed by the Graduate College.
Program-Specific Dismissal Policies
Academic programs may choose to implement more stringent expectations and requirements with respect to the Graduate College’s probation, suspension, and academic dismissal policies. These exceptions must be reviewed and approved by the dean of the Graduate College before being adopted by the program; all approved departures from the Graduate College’s dismissal polices must be documented in the program’s and/or department’s student handbook.
Dismissal for Non-Grade Related Reasons
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 non-grade related dismissals must also 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.
Dissertation, Master’s Thesis or Graduate Recital
A thesis or graduate recital is required in all Master of Arts and Master of Fine 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/dissertation 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 or a closely related field 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 majority of the committee must hold full graduate faculty standing. 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 defense committee. Students must be on regular status.
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. 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/recital or dissertation 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 thesis/recital or dissertation 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 or dissertations grade will be recorded as “Pass” or “Fail.” Conventional letter grades are given for the graduate recital.
All requirements for a thesis/recital or dissertation 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.
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 available in the program section of this catalog.
Final Comprehensive Examination and/or Thesis/Dissertation
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 is required, it should be explicitly noted in the program section of the catalog. 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. The form must be requested at least five business days in advance of the examination date and must be returned to the Graduate College within 15 business days of the date of the examination by the advisor or a faculty designee.
At the start of the term in which any defense exam will be taken, the student is responsible for working with their advisor to establish a committee. Once the committee has been established the advisor or program coordinator will submit the information to the Graduate College.
In composing the membership of a comprehensive examination or thesis/dissertation committee the majority of the membership must be full members of the Graduate Faculty at the time of the examination. The majority of the membership must also be from the student’s home discipline.
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 and must sign the final defense report. 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 defense (if one is required) may request one additional re-examination. A new defense form must be requested from the Graduate College. The re-examination must be undertaken at least 30 calendar days after the initial exam was completed, unless permission has been obtained by the graduate dean. A student who fails to pass the 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.
All requirements for a certificate, master’s degree, or Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) degree must be completed within six years starting from the beginning of the semester in which the student completes graduate level courses. Neither Radford University courses nor transfer courses more than six years old at the time of graduation will be allowed as part of the hours required for graduation.
All requirements for the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) or a doctoral degree must be completed within eight years starting from the beginning of the semester in which the student completes graduate level courses. Neither Radford University courses nor transfer courses more than eight years old at the time of graduation will be allowed as part of the hours required for graduation for the MFA or a doctoral degree.
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 count any credits toward the new degree already applied toward an earlier degree, but must meet all requirements for the appropriate degree.
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.
Last Semester of Enrollment
- The student should submit an application to graduate no later than the second week of the semester in which he/she expects to graduate. Information about commencement will be sent after the completed application has been received by the Graduate College.
- The student should check that all necessary changes to his or her program have been approved.
- If a program requires a thesis/dissertation, the student should submit a preliminary draft of the thesis/dissertation to the Graduate College’s Copy Editor for initial review no later than the dates posted on the Graduate College’s website. For all terms, one copy of the completed thesis/dissertation must be submitted to the Graduate College’s Copy Editor through the Repository no later than the dates posted on the Graduate College’s website. See “Thesis Manual” and deadlines on the Graduate College website for complete instructions.
The advisor or program coordinator must request an approval form for the final comprehensive examination, thesis/ dissertation defense at least five days in advance of the examination date. The date of the defense must be specified on the form. The advisor is responsible for returning the signed form to the Graduate College no more than 15 business days after the defense.
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 in his or her graduate program. 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 for students in a certificate or master’s program, or eight years old for students in a doctoral program. Students who wish to move up a catalog year must have approval from the advisor or program coordinator/director. The Request for Program Changes form is available online at: www.radford.edu/content/grad/home/forms-policies/student-forms.html. 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 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 an official transcript issued by the Office of the Registrar that serves as confirmation that all degree requirements have been completed.
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 no more than six credit hours or two courses remain in the program of study and all program requirements (including the thesis proposal defense, if applicable) can be completed 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 with the exceptions as described above in order to participate in commencement ceremonies.
Applications to graduate and to participate in commencement must be approved by the program following the guidelines established by programs and department. All applications to graduate and to participate in commencement 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.