Aug 09, 2022  
ARCHIVED 2005-2006 Graduate Catalog 
ARCHIVED 2005-2006 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Regulations

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Course and Grade Policies


Courses listed in this catalog are open to graduate students only. At least half of the credit hours applied toward a master’s degree must be from those courses numbered 600 and above. It is expected that courses applicable toward the education specialist and the doctorate degree will be numbered 600 or above.

Course Loads

The maximum full-time course load for graduate students is fifteen hours per semester. The minimum full-time load per semester is nine hours. The normal maximum load for graduate assistants is twelve hours per semester. Load limitations during summer school are listed in the Summer School Catalog.

Students employed full-time are limited to six hours per semester and twelve semester hours for the academic year. Any exceptions to these rules must be approved by the department and the dean of Research and Graduate Studies.

Class Attendance. Graduate students are expected to attend all class meetings. Specific attendance regulations are announced by the instructor.

Grading System

The grades which may be assigned to graduate credit courses are as follows:

Grade   Interpretation  

Quality Points
Per Hour

  Grade   Interpretation  

Quality Points
Per Hour




















  Grade Pending  
















Incomplete Grades. Instructors may give an incomplete grade when students are unable to complete a course for nonacademic reasons. An incomplete is not a satisfactory grade and may lead to an academic warning. All incomplete grades must be removed and a grade of A, B, C, F, S, or U must be submitted to the registrar by the last day of classes in the next semester, excluding the summer, an F being automatic if the student has not completed the coursework. A student may not register for the course again until the incomplete has been removed. All incomplete grades in courses taken as part of the degree program must be removed before graduation.

A grade of incomplete will be awarded only when there is a reasonable prospect that the student can pass the course by making up the work missed. The instructor is required to send to the department head a list of the conditions for removing the grade of incomplete. If the instructor is no longer in the employ of the university, the department head will remove the grade of incomplete upon completion of the stated requirements.

Grade Pending. An IP is assigned only for thesis research or similar courses to indicate that a grade is pending until the sequence of courses is completed. A grade of A, B, C, F, S, or U is then assigned to each course by the instructor.

Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Grading. The use of S/U (pass/fail) grading is limited to selected courses in which standard or traditional grading is rendered difficult by the nature and purpose of the courses. The courses are identified in the master class schedule and in the course descriptions in this catalog. S (satisfactory) and U (unsatisfactory) are the only grades assigned in courses approved for pass/fail grading.

Withdrawal Grade Policy. A student, after consultation with the academic advisor, may withdraw from any course prior to the expiration of one-third of the total class time and receive a W grade to designate that the course was dropped.

If a student drops a course or withdraws from the university for other than health, medical, or legal reasons after one-third of the total class time has elapsed, an F, W, or I will be assigned by the instructor. A W grade will be assigned if the student is passing, or if the student’s progress has not been evaluated. An I grade will be assigned if the instructor agrees that there is a reasonable prospect that the work can be made up and agrees to allow the student to do so. A grade of F will be assigned if the student is failing at the time of withdrawal. Instructors are encouraged to give examinations or have some form of evaluation in their courses during the first one-third of the term.

Any time a student is forced to withdraw from the university during a term for health, medical, or legal reasons which are verified in writing, a grade of W will be assigned in all courses for which the student is registered. Students who withdraw during a term should secure a withdrawal form from the office of the associate vice chancellor for student affairs. Policies pertaining to indebtedness and refunds in the event of withdrawal from the university are stated in the fees section of this catalog.

Audit. A graduate student may audit a course if space is available and if prior permission of the instructor, the advisor, the head of the department offering the course, and the dean of Research and Graduate Studies has been obtained. A completed course audit form must be submitted. No credit is earned for auditing, but the audited course must not add hours in excess of the student’s maximum load. An auditor’s participation in class activities is optional with the instructor. Change from audit to credit or from credit to audit is permissible only during the regular schedule change period. An audited course will be noted on the student’s transcript.

Final Grade Changes. When a grade other than incomplete has been reported officially by an instructor at the end of a term, the grade will be recorded by the registrar and can be changed only if an error has been made in estimating or reporting the grade. The instructor will, with the approval of the department head, report the error in writing to his/her dean with a recommendation about the action to be taken. Only the instructor has the right to change the grade in a course except as provided in the incomplete grade policy.

Any request by a student for a change in a final grade must be submitted within 30 days of the mailing of the final grade report.

Grade Average for Graduation. An average of B (3.0 GPA) is required for all graduate degrees. Grades received in all graduate courses will be included in the graduate cumulative average.

Course Repeat Policy. A graduate student may repeat any course one time with the approval of the advisor, department head, and dean of Research and Graduate Studies. The original grade earned in the repeated course remains on the student’s transcript and is calculated in the student’s cumulative average.

Transcripts. Transcripts are furnished, either to the student or by mail, only after accounts are cleared and only upon the student’s written request, which must include the student’s signature and student identification number. Requests for transcripts should be addressed to the registrar. The university’s recommendation for teacher certification will be accompanied by a transcript. There is no charge for transcripts issued.

Academic Honesty Policy. Western Carolina University, as a community of scholarship, is also a community of honor. Faculty, staff, administrators, and students work together to achieve the highest standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is a serious offense at WCU because it threatens the quality of scholarship and defrauds those who depend on knowledge and integrity. Academic dishonesty includes:

  1. Cheating—intentionally using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, or study aids in any academic exercise.
  2. Fabrication—intentional falsification or invention of information or citation in an academic exercise.
  3. Plagiarism—intentionally or knowingly representing the words or ideas of someone else as one’s own in an academic exercise.
  4. Facilitation of academic dishonesty—intentionally or knowingly helping or attempting to help someone else to commit an act of academic dishonesty, such as knowingly allowing another to copy information during an examination or other academic exercise.

For specific information on procedures for cases involving allegations of academic dishonesty, see relevant sections in the Student Handbook.

Academic Dismissal. A student who accumulates three grades of C or any grade of F will automatically be dismissed from the Graduate School. A student who has been admitted provisionally and fails to meet the terms of the provisional admission will also be dismissed from the Graduate School. Once dismissed a student cannot register for graduate courses and may not be readmitted until the following spring or fall semester has elapsed. For readmission to the Graduate School, a student should petition in writing to the Dean of the Graduate School. A student may petition for readmission to the Graduate School only one time following the academic dismissal. Approval for readmission may be accompanied by additional requirements. Upon readmission the student must meet all requirements under the catalog in effect at the time of his/her readmission. A readmitted student who receives any additional grade of C or lower will be permanently dismissed.

Academic Appeal Procedure. Students who feel they have been treated unjustly by an instructor in any matter pertaining to academic work should appeal by taking the following steps:

  1. Appeal verbally to the instructor. An appeal concerning a final grade must be made within 35 days after the end of final exams.
  2. If the matter is not resolved satisfactorily, appeal verbally to the instructor’s department head.
  3. If the matter is not resolved satisfactorily, appeal in writing to the dean of the Graduate School. If the appeal involves a grade, a written appeal must be received in the Graduate School within thirty days of the final conference with the department head. Students should be aware that only the instructor can change a grade. Within 30 days of receipt of the written appeal, the graduate dean convenes a committee comprised of two graduate faculty and one graduate student. This committee hears the student appeal, and makes a recommendation to the dean, who rules on the student appeal.
  4. If the matter still cannot be resolved satisfactorily, the student may appeal to the provost, and finally to the chancellor.

A student who has been dismissed from the Graduate School for failure to meet the terms of provisional admission or for accumulation of excessive unsatisfactory grades will be notified by the dean of research and graduate studies. The student has two weeks from the date of the letter of notification of dismissal to appeal. The letter of appeal should be addressed to the dean of Research and Graduate Studies. The appeal will be considered by the Graduate Council, who will make a recommendation to the dean of Research and Graduate Studies. The student will be notified of the outcome of the appeal by the dean. If, after appealing to the graduate dean, the student is still dissatisfied or suitable action has not been taken, the student may appeal to the provost, and finally to the chancellor.

Credit Policies

Residence Requirement. At least 24 semester hours of a student’s work toward a degree must be earned in resident credit courses. All graduate programs in teacher education require a period of full-time resident study of at least one academic semester or one complete summer session. In lieu of resident study, the requirements may be met through an off-campus period of study that is equivalent to one semester or one complete summer session of work. The off-campus study must involve an organized group of graduate students pursuing a specific graduate program under the supervision and instruction of regular Western Carolina University graduate faculty.

Transfer Credit. Policies regarding transfer credit vary according to the graduate program. Up to six semester hours of graduate credit with grades of B or better may be transferred from other regionally accredited graduate schools. Students must transfer credit from both special and nondegree status if they intend to count such credit toward their degree. Depending on the graduate program, students may transfer six to twelve semester hours of graduate credit earned at WCU with grades of B or better from special or nondegree status. Students should consult with the academic advisor to determine the specific number of transfer hours allowed in a program. Courses used toward a prior degree may not be transferred into a degree program. Requests for transfer of credit already earned are made as soon as is feasible when the student is accepted into degree status. Forms for the transfer of credit are available from the Graduate School. Courses accepted for transfer credit must (l) be appropriate to the student’s program and be approved by the student’s advisor, (2) be completed within the six-year limit for course work applicable toward the degree, and (3) have been offered by a regionally accredited institution for graduate credit.

Graduate students who have been admitted to Graduate School may enroll at other regionally accredited graduate-level institutions for coursework which is applicable to their programs provided they have obtained advance permission from their advisor(s) and the dean of Research and Graduate Studies. Forms are available from the Graduate School. Such course work cannot exceed the six-hour maximum for transfer credit. Students should note that while courses may be transferred into a degree program, grades earned at other institutions are not transferred and therefore are not counted toward a student’s GPA.

Experiential Credit. The university does not grant graduate academic credit for the life experiences of students. A policy has been established to award credit, up to a maximum of twenty percent of a graduate degree, for experiential courses. Experiential courses have been defined by the university as structured, preplanned, experiential-learning opportunities for which credit toward a degree may be earned through regular enrollment in established university courses. Experiential courses are required by some, but not by all, graduate programs.

External Instruction Courses. Western Carolina University has guidelines for enrolling students in external instruction courses/programs. External instruction programs are defined as instruction received at a site(s) to which the student is sent by the enrolling institution to participate in instructional activities. Encompassed in the scope of external instruction are programs referred to as cooperative programs, practical training, independent study, and open-circuit televised instruction which meet the following guidelines:

  1. All courses are bona fide: approved by all required college, university, state, regional, and national regulatory agencies. Courses are also approved to meet all licensure and licensing requirements.
  2. All courses are an integral part of the student’s program; credit will apply toward graduation and/or will be required for a particular degree program.
  3. All courses are appropriately rigorous with assigned credit proportionate to the amount of instructor involvement and control (assigned credit is determined by university and state requirements).
  4. The university/college has an agreement on file with specific work sites assuring that the experiences will provide opportunities for application of the knowledge, skills, and competencies gained from on-campus academic programs.
  5. All courses have regularly employed faculty members responsible for all students participating in external instruction courses.

Continuing Education Units (CEU) Credit. Courses in which CEUs are earned are not accepted for undergraduate or graduate credit, and regular credit courses offered by the university are not available for CEU credit. Students interested in CEUs should contact the Division of Distance and Continuing Education for information about special programs and courses suited to their needs.

Time Limitation. Work to be applied toward any master’s or education specialist degree must have been completed within six years immediately preceding the completion of requirements for the degree. Graduate credits to be accepted in transfer must have been earned within the six-year period. Students in the Ed.D. program must complete all degree requirements within five years of admission to candidacy. Any extension of time beyond these limits must have the approval of the student’s advisor, the head of the department of the student’s major, and the dean of Research and Graduate Studies.

In-Service Education Program

The university provides graduate courses in a number of locations throughout the state so that students may continue their studies and at the same time carry out job-related responsibilities. Within specified limits, credit earned in these courses may be included in programs of study leading to many of the degrees offered by the Graduate School. Students planning to register for in-service courses should consult with their advisors, the department heads, or the Graduate School to ascertain if the courses are approved for inclusion in a program of study for a graduate degree. No student will be allowed to count more than six semester hours of extension credit toward a degree.

Student Academic Record Policy

The university is in compliance with the appropriate portions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 and recognizes the rights of students to inspect their educational records, ask for interpretation of entries, and request correction of errors. The full statement about records maintained and policies concerning them is available from the Registrar and in the WCU Programs in Asheville Office.

Standards of Conduct

The university is committed to developing and maintaining the highest standards of scholarship and conduct. Therefore, all students are subject to the rules and regulations of the university. In accepting admission to Graduate School, students indicate their willingness to abide by university rules and regulations and acknowledge the right of the university to take appropriate disciplinary action, including suspension and/or expulsion, as may be deemed appropriate, for failure to abide by university rules and regulations. Rules related to student conduct and procedures for the resolution of cases may be found in the Code of Student Conduct available in the Student Handbook or on the World Wide Web at

Students registered in the Graduate School at Western Carolina University may not be enrolled simultaneously at another institution except in the case of transfer of credit or guest matriculant, which must be approved in advance by the dean of Research and Graduate Studies. Failure to comply with this policy may result in dismissal from the Graduate Scho

Code of Ethics

Graduate students are expected to be familiar with and to adhere to the professional and ethical guidelines appropriate to their area of study. Failure at any time to adhere to the guidelines may result in immediate dismissal from the Graduate School.

Policy on Illegal Drugs

  1. Purpose
    Western Carolina University is an academic community dedicated to the transmission and advancement of knowledge and understanding. The Board of Trustees is committed to the maintenance and protection of an environment in which students and faculty members may responsibly pursue these goals through teaching, learning, research, discussion, and publication, free from internal or external restraints that would unreasonably restrict their academic endeavors. Moreover, it is the obligation of all members of the university community—faculty, students, administrators, and other employees—to help maintain an environment where academic freedom flourishes and in which the rights of each member of the academic community are respected. The illegal use of and trafficking in drugs can jeopardize the welfare of members of this academic community. Accordingly, in an effort to responsibly address such threats to the integrity of the academic environment, the Board of Trustees adopts this policy.
  2. Applicable Policies, Practices, and Programs
    1. Education, Prevention, Counseling, and Rehabilitation
      1. Just as the primary purpose of Western Carolina University is education, so also the university’s major effort to address drug abuse should be educational in nature. The university shall maintain a comprehensive drug education program available to all members of the academic community (students, faculty, administration, and staff). The activities of the program shall be the responsibility of the Drug and Alcohol Education Task Force cochaired by the University addictions counselor and a faculty member and composed of faculty, staff, and students. The task force shall develop and coordinate an ongoing program available to all members of the academic community that:
        1. informs members of the academic community about the health hazards associated with drug abuse;
        2. emphasizes the incompatibility of drug abuse and maximum achievement of personal and educational goals;
        3. encourages members of the campus community to make use of available campus and community counseling, medical, and rehabilitation resources in dealing with drug abuse problems; and
        4. informs members of the academic community that they also may be subject to criminal prosecution for violating state laws relating to the illegal use, possession, delivery, sale, manufacture, or creation of controlled substances.
      2. WCU shall provide information about drug counseling and rehabilitation services to members of the university community, through campus-based programs for students and through community-based organizations for faculty, staff, and students. Persons who voluntarily avail themselves of university services shall be assured that applicable professional standards of confidentiality will be observed.
    2. Enforcement and Penalties
      1. Western Carolina University shall take all actions necessary, consistent with state and federal law and applicable university policy, to eliminate illegal drugs from the university community. The institutional policy on illegal drugs shall be publicized in catalogs and other relevant materials prepared for all enrolled and prospective students and in relevant materials distributed to faculty members, administrators, and other employees.
      2. Students, faculty members, administrators, and other employees are responsible, as citizens, for knowing about and complying with the provisions of North Carolina law that make it a crime to possess, sell, deliver, or manufacture those drugs designated collectively as “controlled substances” in Article 5 of Chapter 90 of the North Carolina General Statutes. Any member of the university community who violates that law is subject both to prosecution and punishment by the civil authorities and to disciplinary proceedings by the university. It is not “double jeopardy” for both the civil authorities and the university to proceed against and punish a person for the same specified conduct. The university shall initiate its own disciplinary proceeding against a student, faculty member, administrator, or other employee when the alleged conduct is deemed to affect the interests of the university.
      3. Penalties shall be imposed by the university in accordance with procedural safeguards applicable to disciplinary actions against students, faculty members, administrators, and other employees, and by regulations of the State Personnel Commission.*
      4. The penalties to be imposed by the university shall range from written warnings with probationary status to expulsions from enrollment and discharges from employment. However, the following minimum penalties shall be imposed for the particular offenses described.
  3. Trafficking in Illegal Drugs
    1. For the illegal manufacture, sale or delivery, or possession with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver, of any controlled substance identified in Schedule I, North Carolina General Statutes 90-90, or Schedule II, General Statutes 90-90 (including, but not limited to, heroin, mescaline, lysergic acid diethylamide, opium, cocaine, amphetamine, and methaqualine), any student shall be expelled and any faculty member, administrator, or other employee shall be discharged.
    2. For a first offense involving the illegal manufacture, sale or delivery, or possession with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver, of any controlled substance identified in Schedules III through VI, North Carolina General Statutes 90-91 through 90-94 (including but not limited to marijuana, pentobarbital, codeine), the minimum penalty shall be suspension from enrollment or from employment for a period of at least one semester or its equivalent. For a second offense, any student shall be expelled and any faculty member, administrator, or other employee shall be discharged.
  4. Illegal Possession of Drugs
    1. For a first offense involving the illegal possession of any controlled substance identified in Schedule I, N.C. General Statutes 90-89, or Schedule II, N.C. General Statutes 90-90, the minimum penalty shall be suspension from enrollment or from employment for a period of at least one semester or its equivalent.
    2. For a first offense involving the illegal possession of any controlled substance identified in Schedules III through VI, North Carolina General Statutes 90-91 through 90-94, the minimum penalty shall be probation, for a period to be determined on a case-by-case basis. A person on probation must agree to participate in a drug education and counseling program, consent to regular drug testing, and accept such other conditions and restrictions, including a program of community service, as the chancellor or the chancellor’s designee deems appropriate. Refusal or failure to abide by the terms of probation shall result in suspension from enrollment or from employment for any unexpired balance of the prescribed period of probation.
    3. For second or other subsequent offenses involving the illegal possession of controlled substances, progressively more severe penalties shall be imposed, including expulsion of the students and discharge of faculty members, administrators, or other employees.
  5. Suspension Pending Final Disposition
    When a student, faculty member, administrator, or other employee has been charged by the university with a violation of policies concerning illegal drugs, he or she may be suspended from enrollment or employment before initiation or completion of regular disciplinary proceedings if, assuming the truth of the charges, the chancellor or, in the chancellor’s absence, the chancellor’s designee concludes that the person’s continued presence within the university community would constitute a clear and immediate danger to the health or welfare of other members of the university community; provided, that if such a suspension is imposed, an appropriate hearing of the charges against the suspended person shall be held as promptly as possible thereafter.
  6. Compliance with Federal Drug-free Workplace Act of 1988 Pertaining to Employees
    1. As a condition of employment, an employee must abide by the terms of this policy and must notify his immediate supervisor at Western Carolina University of any criminal drug conviction occurring in the workplace no later than five days after that conviction.
    2. Western Carolina University will notify federal granting or contracting agencies within ten days after receiving notice that an employee directly engaged in a grant or contract has been convicted of a drug offense in the workplace.
    3. Western Carolina University will impose sanctions and/or require satisfactory participation in drug abuse or rehabilitation programs by an employee convicted of a drug-related violation in the workplace no later than thirty days after notice of said conviction.

* Rules of the State Personnel Commission govern disciplinary actions that may be taken against SPA employees; under current Commission policies, discharge rather than suspension is the applicable penalty for SPA employees in instances where this policy otherwise requires suspension.

Policy on Computer Abuse

The University provides computer access through the information technology division, college, and department computer systems. It is essential that computer systems be protected from misuse and unauthorized access subject to university policy and applicable state and federal laws. Computer abuse defined as, but not limited to, privacy issues, theft, vandalism, copyright issues, and harassment will be referred to the Office of the Chief Information Officer and/or college or department computer network and laboratory managers. Abuse involving theft or vandalism will also be reported to the director of the University Police Department. Penalties include, but are not necessarily limited to, suspension or revocation of computing privileges, reimbursement to the university for resources consumed, other legal action including action to recover damages, referral to law-enforcement authorities, and referral to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs for disciplinary action. In connection with inquiries into possible abuses, the university reserves the right to examine files, programs, passwords, accounting information, printouts, or other computing material without notice authorized only by the Chief Information Officer. See University Policy #52, Use of Computers and Data Communications online at