Jun 15, 2021  
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog 
    
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog

General Regulations



Current regulations and policies are updated annually and published in The Graduate School Policy and Procedures Manual. Upon enrollment, graduate students accept responsibility to remain current on policies and regulations set forth by their programs of study and The Graduate School. Further explanations and clarification are available from The Graduate School website.

Enrollment

Academic Load

Academic load guidelines apply to all categories of graduate students. The classification of students, i.e. full time, etc. accepted into graduate programs is often considered in determining payment deferment on undergraduate student loans, eligibility for insurance benefits, etc.

Status

Credit Hours

Full time

9 or more

Three-quarter time

6

Half time

5

Less than half time

4 or less

 

Faculty Advisers

All students admitted into to The Graduate School are assigned a faculty adviser. Graduate program directors or designated members of the graduate faculty serve as faculty advisers. After admission, students must meet with their advisers to select initial course work and plan their programs of study. Programs of study should be developed prior to initial registration.

Auditing Graduate Courses

Graduate students may not enroll in graduate courses required for their graduate program using the "audit" option. When a student audits a course, the initial registration for the course must be "audit." Course credit option may be changed from "audit" to "credit" or "credit" to "audit" prior to the add/drop deadline. Students are required to pay for courses taken as "audit." Audit courses cannot be paid for using any university sources of funding, such as assistantship funding.

Leave From Study / Continuous Enrollment

All students enrolled in graduate degree programs must enroll each fall and spring semester for a minimum of one graduate credit hour. This registration must continue with no breaks in enrollment from the first graduate program course to graduation. Students are not required to register for any courses during summer session unless required by their program.

It is preferable that students enroll in courses relevant to their graduate program to facilitate timely completion. If it is not possible to do so, however, students may enroll in a one-credit hour leave of absence course, GRAD 597. The tuition for this course is $50.00. No grade will be assigned for this course.

GRAD 597. Leave from Study. 1 credit.
To remain in good standing in their program, all graduate students must maintain continuous enrollment each semester in their program from entry until graduation. This course allows those students who are not intending to register for any other courses during the current semester to continue in their program in good standing. Course may be repeated as needed. Credits earned in GRAD 597 cannot count towards completion of any degree program.

Students should consult with the program advisor prior to enrolling in GRAD 597.

Exception from the Continuous Enrollment Requirement

It is possible to receive an exemption from the continuous enrollment requirement. There are two possible types of exemption from the continuous enrollment requirement:

  1. Leave of Absence: The Office of the Dean of Students may grant a temporary leave of absence to students who demonstrate sufficient cause to justify such a leave. Students who feel their circumstances justify a leave should contact the Office of the Dean of Students to discuss the possibility of a leave of absence, the consequences of interrupting their program of study and the conditions that will need to be satisfied to return to the university. The Office of the Dean of Students is responsible for granting these leaves. The Office of the Dean of Students works with the graduate program director and The Graduate School when determining if and when a student on leave can return to the university.
    Whenever possible, students should discuss with their adviser and/or program director the impact a leave of absence would have on their ability to eventually complete their program of study. In some programs, it may be difficult or impossible for a student to complete their program of study when they do not continue with their cohort.
  2. Planned Leave of Absence: Occasionally, students may not be expected to enroll in courses every semester because of the design of their academic program. Examples include programs designed for working professionals that may only offer classes during summer sessions or some programs offered online. The Dean of The Graduate School approves the offering of courses in these special formats, and students enrolled in these special format programs may be exempt from the continuous enrollment requirement. Students enrolled in these special format programs must complete all degree requirements within the time limits established by The Graduate School.

Except for extenuating circumstances requiring approval from the Dean of The Graduate School, time spent in on-leave status will be included in all time limits pertaining to the student's degree program.

Students in on-leave status may not:

  • use any university facilities
  • make demands upon faculty time
  • receive a fellowship or financial aid

A graduate student who takes an unapproved break in enrollment by failing to maintain continuous enrollment or by failing to obtain a Leave of Absence will relinquish his or her graduate standing in the university. Students who wish to be reinstated will be required to file an Application for Graduate Admission and pay the application fee.

Permission to Take a Course at Another University After Enrollment

This policy defines the circumstances regarding permission to take courses at another university after enrolling in a graduate program at JMU. With prior permission of the student's advisor, graduate program director, academic unit head and the Graduate School, students enrolled in a graduate program may take graduate courses at another accredited institution. Without prior approval, JMU will not guarantee that courses will transfer.

It is the student's responsibility to request transfer credit for such courses upon completion and to have official transcripts submitted to The Graduate School office. Transfer credit forms are available at The Graduate School office or online at http://www.jmu.edu/grad/current-students/graduate-forms.shtml. Refer to the Transfer of Credit policy.

Students who take their last courses to fulfill their programs of study at institutions other than JMU cannot graduate during that semester unless prior approval is obtained through the Dean of The Graduate School. Students must be enrolled at JMU during the semester they graduate.

Withdrawal from Courses

A student may terminate enrollment in a course by withdrawing from the course after the drop deadline. A student who withdraws from a course will receive a grade of "W" for the course, and this grade will be recorded (and remain) on the student's transcript regardless of the status of the student in the course at the time of the withdrawal.

In extraordinary situations, a student who becomes unable to complete some course requirements after the course adjustment deadline (typically during the thirteenth week of a regular semester class – see term calendar for exact date) may request a grade of "WP" (Withdrawn Passing) or "WF" (Withdrawn Failing) from the instructor. A student should not assume that a late withdrawal will be provided by the instructor. There is no obligation for the instructor to assign a "WP" or "WF" grade. If appropriate, the instructor determines the form (e.g., verbal, written) and timing of requests for a "WP" or "WF" grade. The student must ensure that the request is made in an appropriate manner and at an appropriate time. In response to such a request, the instructor may choose to record a grade of "WP" or "WF" but is not obligated to do so (and may record any grade other than "W"). The course instructor may also suggest that the student contact the Office of the Dean of Students about withdrawing from the university. Withdrawing from a course will not result in a tuition reduction.

Withdrawal from a Graduate Program

Withdrawal from a graduate program is the equivalent of withdrawal from the university.

The Office of the Dean of Students must approve such withdrawal requests, set the official withdrawal date and notify other university offices of the withdrawal. Strict compliance with this requirement is mandatory. Students who withdraw without receiving official approval will receive a grade of "F" for all courses in which they are enrolled.

A student who voluntarily withdraws from his or her graduate program without receiving official approval will receive a grade of "F" for all courses in which he or she is enrolled. A student voluntarily withdrawing with official approval will receive a grade of "W," "WP" or "WF" in all courses. A grade of "W" will be assigned to students who withdraw from a course after the add/drop deadline but before the end of the course adjustment deadline. A grade of "WP" or "WF" (according to the status of the student at the time of withdrawal) will be assigned to students who withdraw after the course adjustment deadline at the discretion of the instructor.

Students who withdraw from their graduate program will be responsible for tuition as determined by the Office of the Registrar and may be subject to a change in their financial aid status. For more information, see the section of the catalog on "Withdrawal Refunds."

No adjustment in charges will be made unless the withdrawal form is received by the Office of Student Withdrawal within 30 days after the student leaves the campus or does not attend classes.

Military Service

Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountablity Act of 2014

James Madison University complies with veteran student regulations regarding tuition rates. The following individuals shall be charged a rate of tuition not to exceed the in-state rate for tuition and fees purposes:

A Veteran using educational assistance under either chapter 30 (Montgomery G.I. Bill – Active Duty Program) or chapter 33 (Post-9/11 G.I. Bill), of title 38, United States Code, who lives in the Commonwealth of Virginia while attending a school located in the Commonwealth of Virginia (regardless of his/her formal State of residence) and enrolls in the school within three years of discharge from a period of active duty service of 90 days or more.

Anyone using transferred Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits (38 U.S.C. § 3319) who lives in the Commonwealth of Virginia while attending a school located in the Commonwealth of Virginia (regardless of his/her formal State of residence) and enrolls in the school within three years of the transferor's discharge from a period of active duty service of 90 days or more.

Anyone described above while he or she remains continuously enrolled (other than during regularly scheduled breaks between courses, semesters, or terms) at the same institution. The person so described must have enrolled in the institution prior to the expiration of the three-year period following discharge or release as described above and must be using educational benefits under either chapter 30, chapter 33, or chapter 31 of title 38, United States Code.

Anyone using transferred Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits (38 U.S.C. § 3319) who lives in the Commonwealth of Virginia while attending a school located in the Commonwealth of Virginia (regardless of his/her formal State of residence) and the transferor is a member of the uniformed service who is serving on active duty.

A spouse or child using benefits under the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship (38 U.S.C. § 3311(b)(9)) who lives in the Commonwealth of Virginia while attending a school located in the Commonwealth of Virginia (regardless of his/her formal State of residence).

An individual using educational assistance under chapter 31, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) who lives in the Commonwealth of Virginia while attending a school located in the Commonwealth of Virginia (regardless of his/her formal State of residence) effective for courses, semesters, or terms beginning after March 1, 2019.

The in-state tuition provisions do not apply to those individuals on active duty using benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill and Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty.

Visit the GI Bill website for more information regarding the Choice Act.

Veterans Educational Benefits Grievance Procedures

The Virginia State Approving Agency (SAA), is the approving authority of education and training programs in Virginia. SAA investigates complaints of GI Bill beneficiaries. While most complaints should initially follow the school grievance policy, if the situation cannot be resolved at the school, the beneficiary should contact the SAA office via email saa@dvs.virginia.gov.

Section 103 Policy

In accordance with Section 103 of the Veterans Benefits and Transition Act of 2018, James Madison University has adopted the following policy for compliance, effective August 1, 2019:

James Madison University will allow an individual to attend and participate in a course of education if the individual provides a Certificate of Eligibility under Chapter 31 or Chapter 33. The individual is permitted to attend the course beginning the date the student provides the Certificate of Eligibility until the earlier date VA provides payment to the school or 90 days after the school certifies tuition and fees. James Madison University will not impose any penalty, including late fees, denial or access to classes, libraries or facilities, or require the student to borrow additional funds due to the inability to meet his or her financial obligations to the institution as a result of delayed payments for education assistance under Chapter 31 or Chapter 33. This policy only pertains to the VA payment of the tuition, comprehensive fee and individual course fees that are paid directly to the university. All other charges on a student's account, including but not limited to out-of-state tuition difference, remaining percentage of in-state tuition if not 100% eligible for Post 9/11, room rent, meal plan, parking fines and/or health center charges are required to be paid upfront by the student by the University Business Office deadline each semester. Late fees and holds may be assessed for these charges.

Section 103 allows the university to require additional actions in order to qualify for this policy. James Madison University requires Chapter 31 and Chapter 33 eligible students to submit their JMU Request for Veterans Educational Benefits form by the first Friday of the semester to the School Certifying Official to avoid a hold or late fee on the account for the VA issued tuition/fee payment.  Additional documents – Student Agreement form, Certificate of Eligibility – are also required for first time benefit users at James Madison University.

GI Bill Advertising Statement

This institution is approved to offer GI Bill® educational benefits by the Virginia State Approving Agency

Class Registration for Active Duty Students

James Madison University supports active duty students in the armed forces by providing assistance with class registration when necessary and by request. Active duty students needing assistance should provide a copy of their active duty orders to the Office of the Registrar prior to the first day of class to qualify for assistance under this policy.  The Office of the Registrar will serve as an additional resource for the student and the academic unit(s) to assist with the creation of an appropriate class schedule to ensure the service member remains on track to degree completion in a timely manner.   

Short Term Military Leave

For Mobilizations and Activations of One Day to Three Weeks

Faculty members are expected to make reasonable academic accommodations or opportunities for students to complete course assignments and/or exams without penalty to the course grade for class absence(s) or missed deadlines due to mandatory military training or obligations. Students will provide faculty members with official military documentation (paper, electronic orders or a unit's memorandum) with as much advance notification as possible for absences that will result from temporal responsibilities of their military obligations. For time-sensitive state or federal emergencies/activations where written documentation may not be available until the end of the obligation, the student is responsible for securing those orders to provide to faculty members upon return to the university. For active duty deployments that exceed three weeks, students should refer to the university policy for "Students Called to Active Duty" on the registrar's website.

Support for Armed Services Active Duty

Relief, Refund, and Reinstatement Tuition Guidelines

James Madison University supports students called to active duty in the armed services by providing for tuition relief and refunds, and for reinstatement of students whose documented service in the uniformed services has required their sudden withdrawal or prolonged absence from their enrollment in the institution. Included is service in the uniformed services whether voluntary or involuntary on active duty in the Armed Forces, including such service by a member of the National Guard or Reserve. When a JMU student is under call or ordered to active duty for a period of more than 30 days, the following provisions will apply.

Tuition Charges and Student Account Balances

If an enrolled student is deployed to active duty military service during the semester, the student can:

Drop all classes and all tuition charges will be waived with:

  • Personal payments refunded
  • Financial aid adjusted as required
  • Financial aid refunds repaid by student if appropriate

Maintain all or part of enrollment with:

  • Tuition adjusted accordingly
  • Financial aid adjusted as required
  • Financial aid refunds repaid by student if appropriate

If there are unpaid student account balances at time of deployment, the university will work with individual students on payment arrangements. No collection actions will occur during deployment; however, student must resolve any unpaid balances prior to subsequent enrollment.

Room and Board

If an enrolled student is deployed to active duty military service during the semester, the student's dining and residence hall contract will be adjusted as follows:

Board fees will be prorated from the dining hall opening date.

A per diem refund of the room rent will be issued based on the student's official check-out date.

Textbooks

When a student is called to active duty, a full refund for textbooks purchased for the semester in progress is available through the university bookstore by presenting the textbooks and a copy of the applicable military orders.

Deposits

For new students enrolling in the physician assistant studies program (M.P.A.S.), political science with a concentration in European Union policy studies (M.A.), or Spanish Language and Culture for Educators (M.Ed.), an enrollment deposit is required to confirm their acceptance of the offer of admission. If a student is deployed to active duty military service before beginning the planned semester of enrollment, the deposit will be refunded.

For returning students, deposits made with the intent of securing facilities or services in a future session will be refunded in full.

Academic Credit
  • If an enrolled student is deployed to active duty military service during the semester, the student will have three options concerning grades assigned for the semester in  which the call to active duty occurs.
  • If the student leaves at any time during the semester and elects to receive a full tuition refund, no notation of courses or grades will be recorded on the student's transcript.
  • If the student elects to receive an "I" (Incomplete), the regulation regarding conversion of an "I" to "F" grade will be suspended until the student returns to campus. Should the student not return to JMU, the "I" will revert to a "W" (Withdrawal).
  • If the student leaves at a point in the semester after which a significant amount of work has been completed, the student may request the assignment of a grade for work completed. This option requires joint agreement of the student and faculty member(s).

Military Service Reinstatement

General Reinstatement

To re-enter the university following a Leave of Absence, returning students must meet the following criteria:

  • Were a graduate student when the student withdrew from the program and the university.
  • Were enrolled for at least one graded semester at JMU (including withdrawals.)
  • Left JMU and the graduate program in good standing.
  • Are within the time limit for completion of the graduate program (six years for master's or Ed.S level; eight years for doctoral level), which includes courses taken when students first began the program.

Students who have been absent for two or more calendar years are eligible for re-entry if (1) they return to the university after a cumulative absence of not more than five years, and (2) they provide notice of intent to return to the university not later than three years after the completion of the period of service. (Exceptions to these time periods may be found in the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) of 2008.) 

Students must submit the Graduate Student Intent to Enroll form as well as proof of military service such as the DD-214 to The Graduate School.

Reinstatement to a Specific Graduate Program

Decisions regarding re-entry to a graduate program following a Leave of Absence are at the discretion of the graduate program.

When a graduate student who has left the university for military service wishes to return to the same program at the university after an absence of more than two years, the course work taken prior to withdrawal must be reviewed by the graduate program director or academic unit head prior to the student's re-enrollment. This counseling is required to assure that the previously completed course work is current and applicable to the program. The director or AUH will assist the student in developing an appropriate academic plan for degree completion.

Steps to request re-entry to a graduate program:

  • Complete the Graduate Student Intent to Enroll form
  • Obtain the approval and signature of the graduate program director
  • Submit the signed form to The Graduate School

 Timeframe in which to submit a request for re-entry: 

Semester For Return

Re-entry Request Due

Fall

March 1 - August 1

Spring

November 1- December 15

Summer

March 1 - April 15

Deferral of Enrollment

If a graduate student has been admitted to James Madison University and is called to active military duty before enrolling, the student may request a deferral of admission using the process below.

  • The student must submit a request (i.e., letter or email) to the Graduate Program Director requesting a deferment. In the communication, the student should provide the reason for the request (call to active duty) and indicate the term he/she wishes to re-enroll (the term can be changed if needed).
  • The Graduate Program Director approves the deferment and informs the Director of Graduate Admissions that the deferment has been approved.
  • The Director of Graduate Admissions notifies the student that the request has been approved and informs the student to notify The Graduate School and their Graduate Program Director at least 30 days prior to the first class day of the return semester.
  • If the student's discharge from the service is delayed, the student contacts the Director of Graduate Admissions and requests an extension of his/her deferment. The Director of Graduate Admissions will approve the delay and inform the Graduate Program Director.
Documentation

Students should complete Withdrawal or Leave of Absence forms and include a copy of the applicable military orders to qualify for the considerations detailed in this policy.

The Withdrawal Process is appropriate for students who are enrolled in a semester, are deployed to active duty military service and must begin that duty before the current semester has ended. Withdrawal forms are available through the Office of the Dean of Students located in Madison Union, Room 300.

A Leave of Absence is appropriate for students who are deployed to active duty military service, but do not need to begin duty during a current semester; for example, if duty will begin during a future semester before classes begin. The Leave of Absence Form is available online.

Leave of Absence

A military leave of absence is granted to graduate students deployed for active military service. The graduate program director of the program in which the student is enrolled must request a military leave of absence for a student in a graduate program. The request must be approved by the dean of The Graduate School. Continuous enrollment is granted for a specified time period that may not exceed four semesters total, excluding summer session. Any extension of the approved continuous enrollment period must be requested by the student 30 days prior to the deadline and approved by the dean of The Graduate School.

When a student on leave plans to resume graduate study, he/she must inform the graduate program director and The Graduate School at least 30 days prior to the first class day of the return semester. All registration holds must be cleared before the student will be eligible to register.

In the case of a military leave of absence, the time clock related to the time limit for the completion of the degree (i.e., master's and educational specialist students must complete all degree requirements within six years; doctoral students must complete all degree requirements within eight years) will be stopped at the semester in which the leave begins. The time clock will resume upon the student's return to the program. While all academic credit, including transfer credits taken before enrollment in the graduate program, will remain on the graduate transcript, courses originally approved to be counted toward the degree program which now fall outside of the original time limit must be reviewed and approved by the program director in terms of content relevancy. In some cases, additional course work may be warranted due to outdated information.

Grading

Grading System

The following policy reflects the description and numerical value of letter grades assigned in graduate courses.

Letter Grade

Description

Numerical Value

A

Excellent

4.0

A-

 

3.7

B+

Very Good

3.3

B

Good

3.0

B-

 

2.7

C

Poor

2.0

F

Failure

0.0

I

Incomplete

 

 

 

 

W

Withdrawal

 

WP

Withdrawal while passing

 

WF

Withdrawal while failing

 

S/U

Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory

 

 

[Thesis/dissertation and selected other courses. See course descriptions.]

 

NC

No Credit

 

 
  • The +/- grading scale is optional for faculty; the course grading system must be stated in the course syllabus.
  • A grade point average is calculated by dividing the accumulated number of grade points earned by the accumulated number of credit hours attempted. All graduate credits attempted and all graduate grades earned, whether passing or failing, will be used to calculate a student's grade point average.
  • The student's grade point average appears on his or her transcript.
  • Students must take all courses on a letter grade ("A-F") or satisfactory/ unsatisfactory (S/U) basis, based on how the particular course was approved. Students do not have flexibility in choosing a grading option.
  • A grade of "W" will be assigned to students who withdraw from a course after the add/drop deadline but before the end of the course adjustment deadline.
  • A grade of "WP" or "WF" (according to the status of the student at the time of withdrawal) will be assigned to students who withdraw after the course adjustment deadline at the discretion of the instructor. The "WP" or "WF" will be recorded and remain on the student's transcript. Only the instructor can assign a "WP" or "WF."
  • If students have completed the maximum number of hours allowed by their program for thesis, dissertation or research project courses but have not completed the work, they will register for thesis, dissertation or research project continuance each semester while completing their research or writing. A grade of "NC" (no credit) will be automatically entered for continuance hours.
  • Students should keep in mind that earning a "B-" grade may bring the GPA below 3.0 and prevent the student from graduating.
  • In order to graduate, students must satisfy grade requirements specified by their individual academic program.

Grade Review

Evaluation of student work and assignment of grades on the basis of academic criteria are the responsibilities and prerogative of the faculty. The university and its faculty members also recognize that grading can be a subjective process and students may feel their grade has been inappropriately assigned. If such disagreements occur, students have a right to be fairly heard. The crucial agency in graduate student evaluation is the graduate program in which the student's work is focused. Principal evaluators must be faculty members of the student's graduate program.

It is assumed that disputes over unsatisfactory progress will be informally discussed and reconciled at the program or academic unit level. Discussions of this type will commonly occur among the student, major professor and other faculty members in the graduate program.

Incomplete Grades

The grade of "I" is used to indicate incomplete work in a course. Courses in which a student received a grade of "I" must be completed by the end of the next regular semester, or the grade is reported permanently as an "F" or "U" (depending on the grading scale used for the course). An extension will be granted upon request by the faculty member for only one additional semester.

Students should consult academic unit guidelines regarding such courses. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure grade changes are reported to the Office of the Registrar by the deadline. See the university calendar in the Graduate Catalog for the date by which grade changes must be submitted.

All course work must be completed by the course completion deadline of each student's final semester in order to be eligible for graduation. Students failing to meet the deadline will not be eligible to have their degree conferred that semester and will need to notify the Graduate School their anticipated graduation date needs to be delayed. Consult the calendar online at http://www.jmu.edu/registrar or the Graduate Catalog for exact dates.

Degree Progress

Transfer Credit

Students who wish to receive graduate credit for courses taken prior to entering a JMU graduate program must submit requests to their adviser during the first semester of enrollment. The Approval of Transfer Credit form is available online at http://www.jmu.edu/grad/current-students/graduate-forms.shtml.

A grade of "B" or better must be earned in courses requested for transfer credit. Courses taken for pass/fail or satisfactory/unsatisfactory grades will not be accepted for transfer graduate credit. An official transcript showing the credits approved for transfer must be forwarded to The Graduate School.

Under no circumstances will more than one-half of the total graduate credits required for completion of a program be considered for transfer/inclusion in the student's program of study. This includes any hours taken at JMU prior to acceptance. In the case of variable credit programs, the one-half maximum transfer hours allowed will be calculated based on the minimum number of hours required for the degree. Students may not transfer in more than 9 credit hours from institutions other than JMU.

Transfer credit applications must be approved by the student's adviser, graduate program director, and the dean of The Graduate School. Exceptions to the policy may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Course work taken while an undergraduate financial aid recipient at JMU will not be transferred to the graduate transcript if fewer than 12 undergraduate credits remain on the transcript during the term in which the course(s) requested for transfer was taken.

It is the student's responsibility to furnish evidence that any course presented for transfer of credit is applicable to a comparable degree at the accredited institution where the course was taken. If the necessary information is not on the official transcript, it must be obtained in writing from the appropriate dean of the institution where the course work was earned. In all cases, courses considered for transfer of credit must be applicable to a comparable degree at JMU. Courses that are not intended by the institution offering them to be part of a degree program, such as extension and in-service courses, are not acceptable for transfer to JMU.

Credits earned to complete a previous graduate degree may not be applied to a second graduate program at JMU at the same degree level. However, previously earned graduate credit earned as a part of a master's degree program from an accredited institution may be counted toward the degree requirements of a higher level degree, such as the Master of Fine Arts, Educational Specialist and doctoral degrees if the earned master's degree is not a requirement of admission. When a master's degree is required for admission to a degree program, credits from the original degree program may not be used to meet the degree requirements of the new program.

Academic work, including transfer credit, taken more than six years before the master's degree award date or eight years before the doctoral degree award date may not be used to satisfy the degree requirements. No transfer credit will be approved while a student is in provisional status.

Students must familiarize themselves with their specific program requirements as discussed in the academic sections of the Graduate Catalog. Individual programs will have detailed information relative to the acceptance of credit hours toward their degrees.

Students who wish to take a course at another university after enrollment at JMU need to review the policy on taking a course at another university after enrollment.

Permission to Take a Course at Another University After Enrollment

With prior permission of the student's advisor, graduate program director, academic unit head and the Graduate School, students enrolled in a graduate program may take graduate courses at another accredited institution. Without prior approval, JMU will not guarantee that courses will transfer.

It is the student's responsibility to request transfer credit for such courses upon completion and to have official transcripts submitted to The Graduate School office. Transfer credit forms are available at The Graduate School office or online at http://www.jmu.edu/grad/current-students/graduate-forms.shtml. Refer to the policy on transferring credit.

Students who take their last courses to fulfill their programs of study at institutions other than JMU cannot graduate during that semester unless prior approval is obtained through the Dean of The Graduate School. Students must be enrolled at JMU during the semester they graduate.

Honor System

JMU operates under an Honor System that dates back to the 1909-10 academic session. Students adopted the Honor System in order to uphold individual and community integrity. Each student is expected to observe complete honesty in all academic matters and to report instances where another student has violated the Honor System. A student Honor Council administers the Honor System, and every student who matriculates at the university, whether graduate or undergraduate, becomes a member of the Honor System. The university expects the cooperation of faculty members and administrators in upholding this Honor System. The Student Handbook provides full information on the Honor System, and the Honor Council office provides students with assistance in understanding Honor System policy.

The Honor Council encourages all members of the JMU community to familiarize themselves with the Honor Code and Honor System procedures. The Honor Council website is http://www.jmu.edu/honor/.

All incoming JMU students, including graduate students, are required to watch a web-video containing information about the JMU Honor Code. Students must then take a web-based test on the material at their convenience from any location. The test must be completed by the end of the student's first semester at JMU. The Honor Code Tutorial video, test information, and test are available at: http://www.jmu.edu/honor/test.shtml.

Students with documented disabilities which impact learning may contact the Office of Disability Services for assistance (http://www.jmu.edu/ods/).

Contacts are listed on the Honor Code website.

Misconduct in Research and Other Scholarsly Work 

University Policy 2250

Misconduct in research and other scholarly work applies to all individuals involved in the performance of scholarly and creative activity and research conducted at JMU, whether performed under external or internal funding. It applies to all scientists, trainees, technicians and other staff members, students, fellows, guest researchers, or collaborators. Misconduct as defined under this policy means fabrication, falsification, plagiarism or other practices that seriously deviate from those that are commonly accepted within the scientific and academic community for proposing, conducting or reporting research. Misconduct by a student under this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including expulsion from the university, loss of fellowship or scholarship and potential criminal prosecution.

Time Limitations

Master's and Educational Specialist Students

Master's and educational specialist students must complete all degree requirements within six years. Academic credit, including transfer credits taken before enrollment in the graduate program, that was completed more than six years before the date at which the master's or educational specialist degree is awarded, may not be used to satisfy the degree requirements. Students may submit a written petition through their adviser, graduate program director, and academic unit head to the dean of The Graduate School to receive extensions of time in the event of extenuating circumstances. Such requests must be received at least one month prior to the end of the student's original six-year time limit.

A student whose status is deactivated, but later is reactivated through reapplication to The Graduate School, may not count the six-year time limit as beginning on the date of reactivation.

Doctoral Students

Doctoral students must complete all degree requirements within eight years. Academic work, including transfer credits taken before enrollment in the graduate program, that was completed more than eight years before the date at which the doctoral degree is awarded, may not be used to satisfy the degree requirements. Students may submit a written petition through their adviser, graduate program director, and academic unit head to The Graduate School to receive extensions of time in the event of extenuating circumstances. Such requests must be received at least one month prior to the end of the student's original eight-year time limit.

A student whose status is deactivated, but later is reactivated through reapplication to The Graduate School, may not count the eight-year time limit as beginning on the date of reactivation.

Grade Review

Evaluation of a graduate student's progress is primarily dependent on the judgments of appropriate faculty members of the student's graduate program. The university, through The Graduate School, can define minimal entrance standards and prescribe general rules governing eligibility for continuation. However, the crucial agency in graduate student evaluation is the graduate program in which the student's work is focused. Principal evaluators must be faculty members of the student's graduate program.

It is assumed that disputes over unsatisfactory progress will be informally discussed and reconciled at the program or academic unit level. Discussions of this type will commonly occur among the student, major professor and other faculty members in the graduate program.

Course Numbering System

This policy defines the procedure for assigning course numbers to graduate courses. Courses numbered 500-700 are typically reserved for master's-level study, while numbers above 701 are used for doctoral-level courses.

Some course numbers are reserved for certain types of courses.

  • XXX 698 as Comprehensive Continuance
  • XXX 699 as Thesis Continuance
  • XXX 700 as Thesis or Thesis Research
  • XXX 899 as Dissertation Continuance
  • XXX 900 as Dissertation

Non degree-seeking students may enroll in graduate-level courses with prior written approval from the instructor.

Course Level Requirements

All credits contained in the student's program leading to an advanced degree at JMU must be in courses designated for graduate students, i.e. 500 or above. Students should refer to their academic program for specific requirements. Only six hours of 501 workshop courses may be applied to a master's degree program.

Dual-Level Courses

Programs may develop dual-level courses, in which graduate and undergraduate students attend the same course meeting. Such courses may offer content concurrently on the 400 and 500 levels. Courses offered at dual levels may be no more than one course level apart, with the exception of performance courses in music. No undergraduate courses numbered below 400 may be taught as dual-level courses.

In dual-level courses, the graduate-level offering must be more advanced and challenging than the corresponding undergraduate version of the course. Dual-level courses may have the same course title; however, course descriptions and outcomes must differ, clarifying the more rigorous learning objectives of the graduate-level offerings. Assignments in dual-level courses should possess a higher level of demand and requirements in the graduate level course and have a grading methodology/rubric that corresponds to the advanced expectations.

Syllabi for dual-level courses must be unique for each level of the course, and clearly demonstrate the differences between undergraduate and graduate versions of courses with respect to their descriptions, learning objectives, assignments, and grading methodologies/rubrics. It is the responsibility of the academic unit head to review dual-level syllabi for adherence to this policy. Graduate course syllabi may be collected by The Graduate School for review.

In the development of a dual-level courses, academic units should propose the undergraduate and graduate level offerings as separate courses. Both versions of a duel-level course may be offered concurrently, by the same faculty member, in the same time and place as long as students follow their separate undergraduate- and graduate-level syllabi.

Courses Offered in Non-Traditional Formats

Courses may be offered in non-traditional formats as long as the competencies developed from the course are as least as great as when the course is offered in a traditional format.

Courses offered in non-traditional formats, e.g., concentrated or abbreviated time periods, must be designed to ensure an opportunity for preparation, reflection and analysis concerning the subject matter. At least one calendar week of reflection and analysis should be provided to students for each semester hour, or equivalent quarter hours, of graduate credit awarded. Graduate faculty must demonstrate that students completing these programs or courses have acquired equivalent levels of knowledge and competencies to those acquired in traditional formats.

Degree Conferral Deadlines

Graduation requirements must be completed by specific deadlines.

Degrees are awarded based on the conferral dates for the semester in which a student completes all of their graduation requirements. In order to graduate in any given semester, the student must complete all graduation requirements by the course completion deadline of that semester. Students failing to meet the deadline will not be eligible to have their degree conferred that semester and will need to notify the Graduate School their anticipated graduation date needs to be delayed. Consult the calendar online at http://www.jmu.edu/registrar or the Graduate Catalog for exact dates.

Credit by Examination

Credit by examination is available at the discretion of the graduate program. Graduate programs can award credit by examination. Programs offering credit by examination must include policies and procedures for this option in their formal policies document or student handbook. Each program can use its own discretion in developing the form of the examination and in determining the procedure to be followed. A maximum of nine credit hours can be earned through credit by examination (or transferred from institutions other than JMU), with no more than nine total credit hours earned by a combination of exam or transfer.

Permission to take an examination for credit must be obtained from the head of an academic unit in which credit is sought. The cost for the exam will be $50 per credit hour attempted. Successfully earning credit by examination will result in a grade of "CR," with credit given, on the transcript.

Unsatisfactory Progress

If a graduate student fails to make satisfactory progress toward the degree, the student may be denied permission to continue in the program. Such a decision may be reached by the student's major adviser, academic unit head, or graduate program director and will be referred to The Graduate School for final action.

A student will be dismissed from the degree program or provisional admission status will be revoked if the student receives an "F" or "U" in any graduate course or a total of three "C" grades in his or her graduate program. A student dismissed from the degree program may not enroll in any graduate-level courses for a period of one year. Students who want to return to the university must re-apply and be re-accepted in the usual manner.

Students who receive two "C" grades in graduate courses or a GPA that is below 3.0 will be placed on academic warning and will receive written notification of this status. Academic warning will be noted on the student's transcript. All graduate credits attempted and all grades earned, whether passing or failing, will be used to calculate a student's grade point average. Undergraduate course performance is not considered.

Academic Warning

A graduate student will receive a notice of academic warning upon receiving a grade of "C" in any two graduate courses or if the student's grade point average falls below 3.0. This academic warning will be noted on the student's transcript. All graduate credits attempted and all grades earned, whether passing or failing, will be used to calculate a student's grade point average.

Changes in The Graduate School Policies and Procedures

The graduate degree requirements set the minimum standards acceptable by The Graduate School. The university endeavors to provide note of any change, through the advising process, or through other means of communications; however, it is the responsibility of each individual student to become and remain aware of all applicable requirements and provisions that may apply to the student.

It is the responsibility of each student to become and remain aware of all applicable requirements and provisions that may apply to the student.

It is the prerogative of each academic unit to make changes in programs at any time prior to graduation. Students complete the program requirements as described in the catalog of the year in which they entered unless their program director completes a Change of Catalog Requirement Year Form. Students who do not conform to their catalog must complete a program of study, which is developed and approved by their advisers and submitted to The Graduate School.

Exceptions to Regulations

Exceptions to any of the published rules and regulations cited within the Graduate Catalog must be requested by petition to The Graduate School. Such petitions must be submitted in writing by the student's adviser or graduate program director and must detail the regulation and justify completely the exception being requested.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)

James Madison University adheres to and annually informs students of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended. This act, with which the institution intends to fully comply, was designated to protect the privacy of educational records. Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) students have certain rights with respect to their education records. These rights include:

  • The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day the university receives a request for access. The student should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic unit or other appropriate official written requests that identify the record(s) he or she wishes to inspect. The university official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the university official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
  • The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading. The student may ask the university to amend a record that he or she believes is inaccurate or misleading. The student should write the university official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record he or she wants changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the university decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the university will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
  • The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the university in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the university has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. Upon request, the university may disclose education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll. The following is considered "Directory Information" at James Madison University and may be made available to the general public unless the student notifies the Office of the Registrar in person or in writing within five days after the first day of class registration: Student's name, telephone numbers, addresses, place of birth, major and minor fields of study, college of major and year (first year, sophomore, etc.), enrollment status (full-time/part-time) including credit hours, dates of attendance, degree sought and time, degrees conferred, awards and honors conferred, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student, fraternity and/or sorority and educational societies.
  • The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by James Madison University to comply with the requirements of FERPA.

The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:

Family Policy Compliance Office

U.S. Department of Education

400 Maryland Avenue, SW

Washington, D.C. 20202-4605

http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/reg/ferpa/index.html

For more detailed information, see Manual of Policies and Procedures, Policy 2112, Student Privacy.

Doctoral Candidacy Request

Students pursing doctoral degrees must be approved for admittance into doctoral candidacy. Doctoral students are admitted into candidacy for their graduate degree once they have completed all required course work, passed their comprehensive assessment and completed all conditions of the original admission into the individual's degree program. After all of these conditions are met, the program director informs The Graduate School electronically or by letter stating that the student is approved for doctoral candidacy. This letter is placed in the student's file. The student is then permitted to pursue and complete their dissertation.

Assessment

Comprehensive Assessment

Each graduate-degree-seeking student must complete a formal assessment of mastery designed to appraise the student's competence. Although the formal assessment typically takes the form of a comprehensive exam, other formal assessment formats may be acceptable as determined by the graduate program and approved by the Graduate Council.

The format and timing of this assessment is at the discretion of the graduate program, provided it fairly and adequately documents the knowledge and skills the student has acquired. The nature of the comprehensive assessment should accurately reflect the educational objectives of the student's academic program. The assessment should require the integration and synthesis of what has been learned by the student. The student must demonstrate a breadth of knowledge in the discipline and depth in specific content areas to be determined by the graduate program faculty.

Comprehensive Assessment Committees

When comprehensive assessment is conducted by a committee, graduate programs may employ a comprehensive assessment committee for the program and/or for the individual student. Individual student comprehensive committees are approved by, the graduate program director and/or program adviser. Each comprehensive assessment committee must consist of at least three members, and at least two must be JMU graduate faculty members from the student's graduate program who have the background necessary to evaluate the mastery of the student. The committee must be chaired by a graduate faculty member from the student's graduate program.

With the approval of the Graduate School, comprehensive assessment committees may include individuals who are not graduate faculty members including graduate instructors and persons external to the university who have the appropriate expertise. Such members shall make up no more than one-third of the total committee membership.

Graduate students may not serve on comprehensive assessment committees.

Comprehensive Assessment Failure and Continuance

Successful completion of the comprehensive assessment is necessary for a student to earn their graduate degree.

In the event a student fails the comprehensive evaluation, the student may request a re-examination. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, the re-examination must occur within six months of the date of failure. Only one re-examination will be allowed. Cases involving extenuating circumstances must be raised or supported by the graduate program faculty and presented in writing to both the dean of the relevant college and the dean of The Graduate School for approval. If a student fails the second comprehensive assessment, they will be dismissed from their graduate program. Results are notated on the transcript. Students who do not agree with the Comprehensive Assessment outcome may file a grievance.

Comprehensive Assessment Continuance

Students completing all degree requirements except the comprehensive assessment are required to enroll each semester until they have passed the comprehensive assessment. Students must register for comprehensive continuance credit hours during those semesters in which they are engaged in preparation for the comprehensive assessment. Comprehensive continuance credit courses are typically numbered 698,798 or 898. Students are responsible for tuition charges per credit hour associated with the course. Students will be assigned a grade of NC for the continuance course. Credit hours for comprehensive continuance do not count toward graduate program requirements.

The continuous enrollment course GRAD 597 cannot be used as a comprehensive continuance course.

Culminating Scholarly Documents

Culminating Scholarly Document (Dissertation, Thesis, and Final Document) Requirements

Thesis and dissertation projects must conform to the expectations of academic programs and The Graduate School.

All doctoral programs must require students to complete a dissertation or final document. Many master's programs require a thesis or final document to be formally submitted to The Graduate School. Graduate students must register for the minimum hours of scholarly document credit required by their program of study and they must register for scholarly document credit hours during those semesters in which they are engaged in research or in writing.

If students have completed the maximum number of hours allowed by their program for scholarly document, but have not completed the final document, they must register for at least one hour of Thesis Continuance, Dissertation Continuance or Project Continuance each semester while they are completing their project.

The continuous enrollment course GRAD 597 cannot be used as a thesis or dissertation continuance course. Theses, dissertations and culminating scholarly documents must be submitted according to the published guidelines of The Graduate School to ensure that each document is in a form suitable for archiving, is fully legible and can be preserved. Students who submit a scholarly document in partial fulfillment of the requirement for a graduate degree at JMU should consult the JMU Graduate School Scholarly Document Manual for detailed guidelines to submission.

Credit Hour Maximums for Scholarly Document Courses

In graduate programs requiring a thesis, dissertation or other scholarly document for degree completion, students may enroll in a maximum of 18 credit hours of scholarly document courses. Student who need additional time to complete their scholarly document should take a one-credit continuance course until they are prepared to satisfy their degree requirement.

Justification is required for special circumstances that require enrollment in more than 18 credit hours of a scholarly document course. To register for credit hours beyond 18 in a scholarly document course or combined courses, the graduate program director must complete a Scholarly Document Credit Hour Maximum Exception Form and submit it to the Dean of the Graduate School prior to students' registration. The approved form will become part of students' graduate records.

Culminating Scholarly Document Committees

Students pursuing degrees requiring completion of a culminating scholarly document must have a committee to oversee progress. Students should select a graduate faculty member from their graduate program to act as the director of the committee and select the remaining committee members with the guidance of their director.

The following govern the selection of committee members:

  • Each committee must consist of at least three approved members of the JMU graduate faculty. Full-time graduate faculty, graduate instructors, emeritus graduate faculty and adjunct graduate faculty may be selected to serve as committee members. A full-time graduate faculty member who participates in the student's program must direct or co-direct the committee.
  • At least two of the three committee members must routinely participate in the student's graduate program.
  • Non-graduate faculty members shall make up no more than one-half of the total committee membership and may include persons external to the university.
  • The Committee Approval form must be completed and submitted to The Graduate School by the date specified by the program and no later than the second week of the first semester in which the student enrolls in their scholarly document course.
  • The Dean of The Graduate School must approve committee membership.

Culminating Scholarly Document Grading

Faculty will post a grade of "S" (Satisfactory) or "U" (Unsatisfactory) for a thesis, dissertation or culminating scholarly document project for each semester in which the student is enrolled. A grade of "I" (Incomplete) is not permitted. Final approval of the scholarly document is recorded as a milestone on the student's transcript by The Graduate School.

Degree Completion

Graduate Degree Completion Requirements

The Graduate School, assisted by the graduate faculty, is responsible for final approval of graduate degrees to be awarded. It is the responsibility of each student to ensure that courses selected are acceptable to the program being pursued.

The Graduate School mandates the following general degree completion requirements in order for students to receive their graduate degrees. Each graduate student must:

  • Complete all courses required for the intended degree. Students should complete all requirements of their catalog of record and complete all courses specified on their approved Program of Study Form. At least one-half of the courses in the student's required plan of study must be at the 600-level or above.
  • Have satisfied any conditions of their admission. (Conditions of admission should be satisfied as soon as possible. For programs that are normally competed in 18 months or longer, students should complete all admission conditions at least one semester before they are scheduled to graduate.) The Graduate School must approve any delay in completion of admission requirements.
  • Complete the graduate program with a 3.0 or higher GPA.
  • Submit to The Graduate School Approval of Transfer Credit forms and official transcripts showing the earned credits.
  • Be enrolled in a course that fulfills degree requirements, continuance of comprehensive examinations, thesis or dissertation, or directed research, whichever is appropriate. GRAD 597, cannot be used to satisfy this requirement.
  • Complete all requirements of the graduate program and The Graduate School within six calendar years (master's and education specialist degrees) or eight years (doctoral degrees).
  • Successfully achieve doctoral candidacy (doctoral students only).
  • Successfully complete a comprehensive assessment or equivalent as determined by the individual graduate program. The graduate program must notify The Graduate School that the student has successfully completed the comprehensive assessment.
  • If required by the academic program, submit a culminating scholarly document to The Graduate School that meets the requirements set forth in The Graduate School the Scholarly Document Format Manual.

In addition to meeting the general completion requirements set forth by The Graduate School, each student must meet the graduation requirements of the individual graduate program.

Application for a Graduate/Doctoral Degree 

Students must apply to graduate. Students are also responsible for consulting their advisers or The Graduate School website regarding deadlines for completion and submission of all documents required for graduation. The application to graduate must be approved by the student's adviser and the academic unit head or graduate program director. Students are responsible for obtaining all necessary approvals.

Participation in Graduate Ceremony Prior to Completion of Requirements

Students who expect to complete all graduation requirements in August will be permitted to participate in the prior May graduation ceremony.