The page uses Browser Access Keys to help with keyboard navigation. Click to learn moreSkip to Navigation

Different browsers use different keystrokes to activate accesskey shortcuts. Please reference the following list to use access keys on your system.

Alt and the accesskey, for Internet Explorer on Windows
Shift and Alt and the accesskey, for Firefox on Windows
Shift and Esc and the accesskey, for Windows or Mac
Ctrl and the accesskey, for the following browsers on a Mac: Internet Explorer 5.2, Safari 1.2, Firefox, Mozilla, Netscape 6+.

We use the following access keys on our gateway

n Skip to Navigation
k Accesskeys description
h Help
   
2015 - 2016 Graduate Catalog
College of William & Mary
   
 
  Nov 21, 2017
 
 
    
2015 - 2016 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

SMS: Academic & General Policies


» SMS Home   » Policies   » Departments   » Course Descriptions   »Faculty  


General Statements of Policy

All students enrolled at William & Mary, including students of the School of Marine Science, are bound by the regulations noted within the W&M Student Handbook. The College reserves the right to make changes in the procedures and regulations contained within the Handbook at any time. The Handbook contains important information about the College’s expectations regarding student conduct, student rights and responsibilities, and relevant processes and procedures to address alleged misconduct. The Honor Code and its procedures are also included in the Handbook.

The W&M Student Handbook is available at: http://www.wm.edu/offices/deanofstudents/services/studentconduct/studenthandbook/

Any SMS student seeking to raise a specific concern or discuss a problem regarding graduate studies in the School of Marine Science may contact the Associate Dean of Academic Studies at (804) 684-7105. General queries and questions about the SMS academic programs should be sent to AD-AS@vims.edu.

Academic Standing & Satisfactory Progress

Admission to the SMS graduate program implies a significant commitment on the part of the student, the student’s advisor and the department, as well as VIMS and the SMS. To remain in good academic standing a student must maintain a cumulative GPA of B or better (≥ 3.0) with no core course grade lower than B-, and no grade lower than C-.  In addition, the student must continue to make satisfactory progress as defined by College degree requirements and regulations of the School of Marine Science.

The Academic Status and Degrees Committee, SMS Registrar, and the Associate Dean of Academic Studies regularly review student transcripts and milestone progress to ensure the timely completion of degree requirements at the individual and School of Marine Science levels. A student who fails to remain in good academic standing may lose funding or be terminated from the degree program.

The performance of graduate students in courses, on comprehensive and qualifying examinations, progress in research, and the acceptability of the thesis or dissertation submitted, must be based on objective, ethical, and professional criteria.

Satisfactory Progress: Student progress within the degree programs of the SMS is guided by milestones, which specify how long a student has to complete each degree requirement.  Failure to meet major milestones (Qualifying Examination, Comprehensive Examination, Graduation) or complete coursework as specified is evidence that a student is not making satisfactory progress in the program and may result in loss of funding, academic probation, or dismissal from the program. 

In addition to the program milestones, the research progress of each student shall be monitored by the student’s advisor and committee.  This evaluation shall consider the overall progress of the student toward his or her research goals. The advisor and student’s committee have an obligation to give ample warning to a student who appears unable to complete his or her program of study in a timely fashion.  In the event that a student’s advisor and committee feel that the student is not making satisfactory progress, they will notify the student, the Associate Dean of Academic Studies, and the department chair in writing and meet with the student to design a remediation plan that includes a well-defined timeline.  The student will have normally one semester to show progress toward meeting the requirements of the remediation plan to remain in their degree program.

Academic Probation

  1. A student with a cumulative grade point average less than a B will be placed on academic probation. In the case of a grade deficiency in a SMS core course, the student must make up the deficiency by retaking the course and passing with a grade of B- or better, by taking another course from the core group of Fundamentals courses (outside of specialty) or by taking an Advanced Principles core course (outside of specialty) which must also be passed with a grade of B- or better. Probation will last until a student’s cumulative average is raised to at least a B (3.0) and/or the core course requirement is satisfied, but will not exceed one calendar year. Failure to raise the cumulative grade average to B or address a core course grade deficiency within one calendar year will result in dismissal from the School of Marine Science. Reinstatement is possible only with the approval of the Academic Status and Degrees Committee and the Associate Dean of Academic Studies.
  2. A student receiving a grade of D or F will be placed on academic probation. Any student receiving more than one D or F will be dismissed from the degree program without appeal.
  3. A student is expected to complete all required SMS core courses with a grade of B- or better by the end of the second year following matriculation.  Significant deviations from this timeline may provide evidence of a lack of satisfactory progress in the degree program and could result in the student being placed on academic probation.
  4. A student who fails to complete the qualifying exam milestone within 6 months of the program due date for M.S. students, or 12 months of the program due date for Ph.D. students will be placed on academic probation. A student on academic probation will have one year to satisfy any outstanding milestone deficiencies in order to prevent automatic termination of the degree program.
  5. A student who fails to adhere to degree program milestones  may be placed on academic probation.

Academic Residency

To fulfill the full-time academic residency requirement of the SMS, students must:

  1. Successfully complete the core course requirements;
  2. Be a full-time student in academic standing for two consecutive semesters.

Appeals

Appeal of Dismissal Due to Academic Probation

Resulting from Low Grades, Core Course Deficiency: A student placed on academic probation due to low grades, GPA (< 3.0) or a core course grade deficiency as defined in the SMS Graduate Catalog is required to meet with the student’s academic advisor(s) and the department chair of the student’s home department to define a plan of remediation.  The department chair and advisor(s) will be notified by the SMS Graduate Registrar within 1 week following the grading deadline.  This meeting must be scheduled by the advisor from the student’s home department within two weeks following notification by the Registrar.  A student may not appeal academic probation; policies on Academic Probation are stated in the SMS: Academic & General Policies section of the SMS Graduate Catalog. If 12 months after being placed on probation the student has not made up deficiencies as stated in the remediation plan, the Registrar will submit an automatic appeal of dismissal consisting the student’s academic transcript, and any other pertinent documents to the SMS Academic Status and Degrees Committee for review.  The Academic Status and Degrees Committee will determine if the student is recommended for dismissal from the School of Marine Science and submit its recommendation to the Associate Dean of Academic Studies within two weeks of receipt of the appeal from the SMS Registrar. The Associate Dean of Academic Studies’ decision to accept or reject the committee’s recommendation shall be final and will normally be made within one week of receipt of the committee’s recommendation.

Resulting from Failure to Meet the Qualifying Exam Milestone: A student placed on academic probation due to failure to pass the qualifying exam within 6 months (M.S.) or 12 months (Ph.D.) of the milestone deadline (last day of month specified) as defined in the SMS Graduate Catalog is required to meet with the student’s academic advisor(s) and thesis committee to define a plan of remediation.  The committee and advisor(s) will be notified by the SMS Graduate Registrar within 1 week following the deadline.  This meeting must be scheduled by the student’s advisor within two weeks following notification by the Registrar.  A student may not appeal academic probation; policies on Academic Probation are stated in the Academic & General Policies section of the SMS Graduate Catalog.  If after 12 months the student remains on academic probation, the SMS Graduate Registrar will submit an automatic appeal of dismissal consisting of the student’s academic transcript, and any other pertinent documents to the SMS Academic Status and Degrees Committee for review.  The Academic Status and Degrees Committee will determine if the student is recommended for dismissal from the School of Marine Science and submit its recommendation to the Associate Dean of Academic Studies within two weeks of receipt of the appeal from the SMS Registrar. The Associate Dean of Academic Studies’ decision to accept or reject the committee’s recommendation shall be final and will normally be made within one week of receipt of the committee’s recommendation.

Appeal of Dismissal Due to Failure to Meet the Graduation Deadline Following Maximum Time Extension

A student who fails to meet the graduation milestone must apply for an extension to the Academic Status and Degrees Committee.  The milestone for graduation is 36 months for a M.S. student and 48-72 months for Ph.D. students (read more ). Adequate justification for the extension is required, as is the approval of the student’s advisor and committee members. In addition, the student and student’s advisor may be required to meet with the Associate Dean of Academic Studies to discuss reasons for delay and remediation plans. If an extension is recommended by the Academic Status and Degrees Committee and approved by the Associate Dean of Academic Studies, the student must complete all requirements for the degree program within a maximum of one year for the M.S. or two years for the Ph.D.  Students who exceed the first extension may continue in the degree program with the recommendation of the Academic Status and Degrees Committee and the approval of the Associate Dean of Academic Studies, but will be required to cover their own tuition costs out of pocket (i.e., grant or contract funds, or other institutional support, regardless of source, may not be used).  A student who exceeds the graduation milestone by 2 years for M.S., or 3 years for Ph.D., will be terminated from the degree program. A student who exceeds the time limit for degree completion and who has not been granted a time extension will not be permitted to register in the School of Marine Science.

If after time extensions totaling 2 years for the M.S. program or 3 years for the Ph.D. program the student has not completed all degree requirements for graduation, the SMS Graduate Registrar will submit an automatic appeal of dismissal consisting of the student’s academic transcript, and any other pertinent documents to the SMS Academic Status and Degrees Committee for review.  The Academic Status and Degrees Committee will determine if the student is recommended for dismissal from the School of Marine Science and submit its recommendation to the Associate Dean of Academic Studies within two weeks of receipt of the appeal from the SMS Registrar. The Associate Dean of Academic Studies’ decision to accept or reject the committee’s recommendation shall be final and will normally be made within one week of receipt of the committee’s recommendation.

Appeal of a Grade

If a student feels that a grade has been incorrectly assigned, the student should discuss the matter with the instructor.  If discussion between the instructor and the student cannot resolve the issue, the student may appeal to the Associate Dean who will attempt to reconcile the matter.  A grade appeal must be made by the student as soon as possible but no later than the end of the student’s subsequent term of enrollment after the grade in question has been assigned.

Appeal of Non-Approval of Thesis or Dissertation by Advisory Committee

Unanimous committee approval is necessary for satisfactory completion of a student’s thesis or dissertation defense and final version of the thesis or dissertation. In the event that unanimity has not been achieved following the defense or after at least the second reading of a revised thesis or dissertation by one dissenting committee member, the student may appeal to the Academic Status and Degrees Committee for an independent review.  The Academic Status and Degrees Committee may, at their discretion, appoint an independent reader from the SMS faculty to render a substitute opinion which, if in agreement with the majority, will signify the acceptance and permit the independent reader to sign the approval form(s) in lieu of the dissenting committee member.  Only one substitution of approval shall be permitted through appeal to the Academic Status and Degrees Committee.

Auditing a Course

Any graduate student may register to audit a graduate or undergraduate course with permission of the instructor, the student’s advisor and the Associate Dean of Academic Studies. An audit form is required and may be obtained from the SMS Registrar. Before beginning the audit, the student and the instructor must agree on what is required for the audit to be successful. The audited course is listed on the student’s official transcript as either a grade of ‘O’ for a successful audit, or ‘U’ for an unsuccessful audit.

Core Course Exemption

With the exception of MSCI 503 , students who have had comparable course work elsewhere may petition for exemption from any of the SMS core courses. The application for core course exemption must be approved by the core instructor(s) of the SMS course for which exemption is sought. Prior to consulting the core instructor, the student must attach the following to the application for exemption: (1) a syllabus of the student’s applicable prior course work and (2) a transcript showing the grade/credits of the student’s prior course work. The SMS instructor must indicate on the application that he/she has reviewed the student’sprevious studies and is satisfied that those studies are sufficient to permit exemption from the applicable core course. The application and attachments must be submitted in entirety to the Academic Status and Degrees Committee, in care of the SMS Registrar (Registrar@vims.edu). Credits for exempted courses will not be  transferred to a student’s record until the student petitions the Academic Status and Degrees Committee for credit transfer and the Associate Dean of Academic Studies approves the request. There are no exemptions from MSCI 503 .

Degree Program Time Extension

A student who fails to meet the graduation milestone must apply for an extension to the Academic Status and Degrees Committee.  The milestone for graduation is 36 months for a M.S. student and 48-72 months for Ph.D. students (read more ). Adequate justification for the extension is required, as is the permission of the student’s advisor and committee members. In addition, the student and student’s advisor may be required to meet with the Associate Dean of Academic Studies to discuss reasons for delay and remediation plans. If an extension is recommended by the Academic Status and Degrees Committee and approved by the Associate Dean of Academic Studies, the student must complete all requirements for the degree program within a maximum of one year for the M.S. or two years for the Ph.D. Students who exceed the first extension may continue in the degree program with the recommendation of the Academic Status and Degrees Committee and the approval of the Associate Dean of Academic Studies, but will be required to cover their own tuition costs out of pocket (i.e., grant or contract funds, or other institutional support, regardless of source, may not be used).  A student who exceeds the graduation milestone by 2 years for M.S., or 3 years for Ph.D., will be terminated from the degree program. A student who exceeds the time limit for degree completion and who has not been granted a time extension will not be permitted to register in the School of Marine Science.

Grading and Quality Points

The grades A, B, C, P (pass, in certain courses), D and F are used to indicate the quality of work in a course.  Also used are ‘+’ and ‘-’ notations, except that there is no ‘A+’.  ‘W’ indicates that a student withdrew from the College before the end of the ninth week of classes or dropped a course between the end of the ninth week of classes and the last day of class and was passing at the time that the course was dropped.   

For each semester credit in a course in which a student is graded A, 4 quality points are awarded; A-, 3.7; B+, 3.3; B, 3; B-, 2.7; C+, 2.3; C, 2; C-, 1.7; D+, 1.3; D, 1.0; D-, 0.7. P carries credit but is not included in a student’s quality point average.  A course graded D+, D, D-, or F is included in the student’s quality point average but carries no credit towards the graduate degree.

In addition to the grades A, B, C, P, D, F, and W, the symbols ‘G’ and ‘I’ are used on grade reports and in the College records. ‘G’ is given to work in progress towards M.S. (MSCI 599 ) or Ph.D. (MSCI 699 ) research, since there is insufficient evidence upon which to base a grade. The ‘G’ is not used as an alternative to ‘I’ when the student is the cause for the non-completion. Unlike the deferred grade ‘I’, ‘G’ does not automatically revert to ‘F’ after one semester. 

‘I’ indicates that because of illness or other major extenuating circumstances the student has postponed, with the explicit consent of the instructor, the completion of certain required work. ‘I’ automatically becomes ‘F’ at the end of the next semester if the postponed work has not been completed, unless the instructor requests an extension for another semester. An ‘I’ may not be extended more than once without the approval of the SMS Associate Dean of Academic Studies.

Graduation

Filing for Graduation

Students filing for graduation must complete an Online Graduation Application in Banner. Instructions are found at: http://www.wm.edu/offices/registrar/graduation/onlinegraduation.

There is a one-time graduation fee, currently $75.00, payable for the initial filing date. Only first-time filers can use the on-line filing process. If a student is unable to complete the requirements for graduation by the date specified, he/she must notify the SMS Registrar and complete a paper form to re-file for a new graduation date. There is no graduation fee charge for re-filing.

Submission of Theses and Dissertations

All graduating students are required to submit copies of their theses or dissertations, ready for binding, to both the Swem and Hargis Libraries no later than 5:00 p.m. on the deadline date listed in the calendar in this catalog. A receipt of payment of binding fees from the SMS Cashier also must be presented to the respective libraries. One copy of the thesis or dissertation is required for archiving in Swem Library and two copies for Hargis Library. Additional copies will be required for advisors and personal use.

In addition, each graduating student must deposit an electronic (PDF) copy of his/her thesis or dissertation with the Hargis Library. Authors will retain all copyrights for their work.

Ph.D. students must submit to Swem Library one additional copy of their dissertation abstract for UMI Dissertation Publishing. This may be the abstract prepared by the student for his/her dissertation, however, the abstract for UMI should not be numbered. At the bottom of the last page of the abstract for UMI, the author’s full name, name of school or department, name of college, the advisor’s name, and the advisor’s title should be centered on separate lines. The additional abstract and the student’s Agreement Form will be submitted to ProQuest’s UMI Dissertation Publishing for production of an archival microform copy and inclusion in the ProQuest dissertation database.

Conferral of Degrees

The College confers degrees in August, January and May of each year. The commencement ceremony is in May. Degree recipients of the previous August and January are recognized and invited to attend the May ceremony. Students who will complete requirements in August rather than May may participate in the  spring commencement with permission of the Associate Dean of Academic Studies and the Vice President for Student Affairs.

Leave of Absence

Under unusual circumstances, and following consultation with a student’s advisor, the Associate Dean of Academic Studies may grant a leave of absence. An approved leave of absence is limited to a maximum of one calendar year during the student’s degree program, and relieves the student of the obligation of paying tuition. It is understood that a student on leave of absence is not present on campus, not receiving financial support and not drawing upon campus resources. A student must terminate the leave of absence and be a registered student in the semester in which his/her degree requirements are completed or in which he/she graduates. 

The milestone timeline and time limit for degree completion requirements will be stopped for a student with an approved leave of absence. Upon return from approved leave, the student’s milestone timeline and time limit to degree completion will resume.

Registration

Full-time students: All continuing full-time degree-seeking students who have not been granted leave must register for a minimum of nine credit hours each semester, and a minimum of two credit hours during the summer session. The exception is students who have been granted Research Graduate (RG) status.  Full-time enrollment during the summer is defined as three credit hours in any combination of summer terms, and enrollment at the level of two credit hours is considered half-time.  A student must be registered in the semester during which he or she intends to graduate. After having achieved candidacy, a student may be eligible for one semester (M.S. students) or two semesters (Ph.D. students) of Research Graduate Status , depending on availability of funds and approval of the Associate Dean of Academic Studies.

Note: Only students enrolled full-time during the academic year are eligible for the college-endorsed Student Health Plan (see www.wm.edu/offices/healthcenter/studentinsurance). Full-time students are eligible to access services at the Student Health Center during the fall and spring semester. The Student Health Center fee for the summer sessions is optional; you must pay it separately to use the health center over the summer (see www.wm.edu/offices/healthcenter/fees-and-charges).

Off-site students: Off-site degree-seeking students are defined as those who do not receive any funding (assistantship, fellowship, workship) or make use of on-site resources of VIMS or the W&M campus in Williamsburg.  Students who have achieved candidacy and completed course and research requirements are allowed to finish their degree programs in a special part-time registration status. An off-site student pays for one credit at the out-of-state rate or three credits at the in-state rate during fall and spring semesters, based on his/her domicile status. Students enrolled for the summer are required to register for a minimum of two credit hours during the summer session. 

Employment: Students who decide to take a job before completing the degree, or those employed at the time they enter the graduate program, are required to meet milestones and complete all requirements for graduation within the same time limits given for M.S and Ph.D. students. The same degree program milestones and SMS rules and regulations apply unless permission to change degree program milestones has been recommended by the Academic Status and Degrees Committee and approved by the Associate Dean of Academic Studies. 

VIMS and W&M Employees: Employees of VIMS or W&M are eligible for the W&M Tuition Waiver Program and may take up to two classes each term, not to exceed four classes per year.  Each course may not exceed 4 credit hours, for a total of 16 credits hours per year.  Employees who wish to take SMS courses must be approved by the Associate Dean of Academic Studies.  Upon approval, employees must submit a completed VIMS/SMS non-degree-seeking student application along with written approval from the SMS course instructor(s) to the SMS Graduate Registrar prior to course registration.

Changes in Registration

All changes in student schedules must be done in accordance with relevant deadlines as indicated in the Academic Calendar . Any changes requested after the close of registration require approval of the instructor(s) involved and the Associate Dean of Academic Studies. Students may not add courses after the last day for changes in registration. If a student drops a course or courses before add/drop ends, the course or courses dropped will be removed from the student’s record. If the student drops a course or courses after the add/drop period ends through the last day of classes, the grade of “W” or “F” will be awarded by the instructor in the course depending upon whether or not the student was passing at the time the course was dropped. A student may not drop a course after the last day of classes. If a student does not complete a course, the grade of “W” or “F” will be awarded by the instructor in the course, and with the approval of the Associate Dean of Academic Studies and the appropriate authorities at the College, depending upon whether or not the student was passing at the time the course ended.

A student wishing to withdraw from a course (or courses) because of medical reasons after the add/drop period ends may apply to the Associate Dean of Academic Studies for approval. If approved, a grade of “W” will appear on the transcript for each course.

Retaking a Course

In order for a core course to satisfy the core course requirements, a grade of B- or above must be earned in the course. A deficiency in a core course may be made up by:

  1. retaking the course and passing with a grade of B- or better;
  2. completing another course from the core group (outside of specialty) with a grade of B- or better;
  3. completing an Advanced Principles core course (outside of specialty) with a grade of B- or better.

In the case of non-core coursework, degree credit is granted only for coursework in which a student earns a grade of ‘C’ or above. A graduate student may repeat one course outside of the core curriculum in which a grade of ‘C’ or lower is received. When a course is repeated, both the initial and new grades earned are included in computations of quality point requirements.

Transfer of Academic Credit

On the recommendation of the Academic Status and Degrees Committee and the approval of the Associate Dean of Academic Studies, a student admitted to a degree program may apply up to 15 hours of graduate credit for graduate courses equivalent to the SMS core courses earned at another accredited institution. Credit may be transferred only for courses in which the student received a grade of ‘B’ or better and will not be counted in compiling his/her quality point average at William and Mary.

To petition for acceptance of transfer credits, the approved application must be submitted to the Academic Status and Degrees Committee in care of the SMS Registrar, (Registrar@vims.edu). The application must include documentation for the course(s) proposed to supplant the core course(s), and a statement from each School of Marine Science faculty teaching the course for which transfer credits are sought. The faculty member’s statement must indicate that he/she has reviewed the student’s previous studies and is satisfied that those studies are sufficient to permit acceptance of the applicable transfer credits.

Students may petition for up to six additional credit hours of graduate work not already applied toward another degree, but the total transfer credits cannot exceed 15 hours. The credits must have been earned in courses appropriate to the student’s program in the SMS and must fall within the time specified by the general college requirements for degrees.

Withdrawal from the Program

Withdrawal from the program constitutes termination of the student’s program of study in the School of Marine Science. Withdrawal may be voluntary on the part of the student or be imposed by the SMS for reasons of academic deficiency, failure to make satisfactory progress in research, or other reasons pursuant to the W&M Student Handbook and the W&M Honor Code (see section General Statements of Policy above). The Associate Dean of Academic Studies will place a student on a leave of absence for one semester if they fail to register for a regular semester (Fall or Spring) and have not requested a leave of absence or permission to withdraw. If the student has not applied for a leave of absence prior to the end of registration for the next regular semester, or if the Associate Dean of Academic Studies is not able to justify continuing the leave of absence, the student’s record will be marked “withdrawn unofficially.”

A student who withdraws from the College after the add/drop period, will be awarded a ‘W’ or ‘F’ by the faculty member teaching each course in progress at the time of withdrawal.

A student who withdraws from the program after the beginning of the school year should obtain appropriate faculty signatures on a Change in Graduate Student’s Registration form, a Withdrawal form and a Student Check-out Sheet. All forms should be returned to the Associate Dean of Academic Studies.

Reinstatement after Withdrawal

A student wishing to be considered for reinstatement after withdrawal must reapply to the School of Marine Science under the procedures in effect at the time of reapplication.