Grading and Quality Points
The grades A, B, C, D, P (in certain courses), 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 classes and was passing at the time that the course was dropped. For each semester credit in a course in which a student is graded quality points are awarded as shown on the following table:
||A = 4
||B+ = 3.3
||C+ = 2.3
||D+ = 1.3
||A- = 3.7
||B = 3.0
||C = 2.0
||D = 1.0
||B- = 2.7
||C- = 1.7
||D- = 0.7
P carries credit but is not included in a student's quality point average. A course graded C-, D+, D, D-, or F is included in the student's quality point average but carries no credit towards the graduate degree.
A grade of I on the transcript 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 reverts to 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 student's graduate director and the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research. A degree will not be conferred if an incomplete (I) grade is on the student's record.
G also indicates a deferred grade reserved for circumstances where there is a delay in awarding a final grade that is not caused by the student. The situation is typically structural, as when a student is researching and writing his or her thesis or dissertation. The grade G is temporarily assigned until the semester when the work is complete. The G is not used as an alternative to I, which is used 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.
O indicates a student has successfully audited a course, and a U is an unsuccessful audit. Neither grade carries any credit.
A student who receives a grade of C+ (2.3) or lower in a course may repeat that course one time for credit, upon approval of both the instructor of the course and the graduate director for the student's program. When such a repeat attempt is approved, the grades for both attempts will count in the cumulative GPA, but only the most recent attempt will count toward the degree.
Grade Review Policy
A student who believes that a final course grade has been unfairly assigned may request a review of the grade within the first six weeks of the next regular semester following that in which the grade was assigned (but see "Grade Review Policy in Case of Withdrawal below"). This review shall normally be completed by the end of that semester.
The student shall confer with the instructor of the course to discuss the grade. The student may wish to ask about such matters as the particular strengths and weaknesses of his or her course work, the general grade scale utilized by the instructor, and the relative ranking of the student's work in the class as a whole.
If the issue remains unresolved the student may, within the first six weeks of the next academic semester for which the grade was received, present a written statement requesting a further review and giving a full explanation of the reasons for the request. The written statement shall be sent to the instructor, the graduate director, and the chair of the department/program in which the course was taught, and the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research shall be notified. If the course is cross-listed in two or more departments/programs, the chair of the faculty member's home department will be the one to receive the written statement. If the grade in question was given by the department chair or program director, the student will ask the Dean of Arts & Sciences to appoint another faculty member of the department/program to oversee the further review process. Unless the chair or director (or faculty member appointed by the Dean, in cases where the grade in question was given by the chair or director) decides the student's case is wholly without merit, he or she will discuss the matter with the instructor and seek to resolve the issue. This part of the review process should be completed within three weeks of receipt of the written statement by the student.
If the student is not satisfied with the outcome of the above procedure, he or she may appeal to the Dean. Unless the Dean decides the student's case is wholly without merit, he or she will ask the chair or director (or faculty member appointed by the Dean, in cases where the grade in question was given by the chair or director) to appoint a committee of at least three faculty members of the department/program who will review all relevant and available materials supplied by the student, the instructor, or other individuals. Both the student and the instructor have the right to meet with the committee.
After reviewing the matter, the committee shall decide if it believes the grade should be changed, and if so, what the proper grade should be. It shall inform the instructor and the student of its conclusions in writing and, if it believes the grade should be changed, recommend that the instructor change the grade accordingly.
If the instructor refuses to accept the committee's recommendation and the committee believes that the faculty member is acting inappropriately in assigning the grade, the committee may appeal to the Dean of Arts & Sciences. The Dean's decision to accept or reject the committee's recommendation shall be final.
Grade Review Policy in the Case of Withdrawal
In the case when an Arts and Sciences graduate student's grade(s) will result in withdrawal due to academic deficiency as specified by the regulations of the student's department/program, a review of the grade (see Grade Review Policy above) may be requested in writing by the student only within the week following the grading deadline for the semester when the grade was assigned or the submission of the grade by the instructor, whichever is later. The grade review must be completed prior to the first class day of the spring term (for review of fall grades submitted in the fall term), the first class day of the first summer session (for review of spring grades submitted in the spring term), or the first class day of the fall term (for review of summer grades submitted in the summer term). In the case of an Incomplete that is later changed to a grade, the grade review must be completed within two weeks of the grade review request. The time-line for the grade review will be shortened as needed to complete the grade review on schedule. The student will be withdrawn if the grade review does not result in a change of grade.
If the grade(s) will result in withdrawal due to academic deficiency and the student is receiving an assistantship or fellowship that is administered through the Office of Graduate Studies and Research, it is the responsibility of the department/program to request that the payments be terminated by the Office of Graduate Studies and Research at the end of the pay period during which the grading deadline fell or during which the deficient semester grade(s) were submitted by the instructor, whichever is later. Submission of a grade review request will not affect termination of the stipend. If the grade review results in a change of grade and consequently the student is not withdrawn, the assistantship or fellowship will be reinstated in full to include any payments not made after the original grade was received.
If the grades(s) will result in withdrawal due to academic deficiency and the student is receiving payment of tuition through the Office of Graduate Studies and Research, the tuition payment for the subsequent term will be withheld or rescinded. Submission of a grade review request will not affect termination of the tuition payment. If the grade review results in a change of grade and consequently the student is not withdrawn, the tuition payment will be reinstated in full.
To continue as a full-time graduate student, you will need to meet these minimal requirements.
Cumulative Graduate Degree Credits
- Only W&M credit will count in determining whether students are meeting Continuance Standards.
- Students whose GPA falls below 3.0 in any semester will be placed on Academic Warning and receive a letter from the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research.
- Students whose academic work falls below the minimum GPA and/or earned credit Continuance Standard will be placed on Academic Probation for the following semester and receive a letter from the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research.
- Students on Academic Probation will not be removed from Academic Probation until they achieve a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.
- Students who are on Academic Probation may not receive any Incompletes for coursework during the semester(s) of probation.
- While on Academic Probation, students must earn a 3.0 semester GPA or better and pass at least six graduate credits. Failure to do so will result in Academic Suspension.
- Those suspended for academic deficiencies are not in good standing with the College and are not automatically eligible for readmission. The Office of Graduate Studies and Research will not process an application for readmission from a student who has been suspended unless the student has been reinstated to good standing by the Arts & Sciences Committee on Graduate Studies.
- An Arts & Sciences graduate student may petition the Arts & Sciences Committee on Graduate Studies for an individual exception to the above Continuance Standards. Petition approval is not automatic and is generally given only when circumstances are extraordinary. If the request is related to a physical or mental health condition, the student must first complete a Medical Review Committee petition and submit it to the Office of the Dean of Students. (The Medical Review Committee Petition form is available on the web at http://www.wm.edu/offices/deanofstudents/topicforms/index.php.) The Arts & Sciences Committee on Graduate Studies will include the recommendation made by the Medical Review Committee when reviewing an individual exception to the above Continuance Standards.
- Coursework taken elsewhere while not in good standing will not be accepted for transfer at the College.
In addition to satisfying the Continuance Standards, at a minimum, a student must also make satisfactory progress toward the degree, as defined by the Commitee on Graduate Studies (COGS) and the regulations of the student's department/program.
Time Limits for Degrees and Extensions
A graduate student in Arts & Sciences is required to complete the degree requirements for the degree program to which they were admitted by the deadline specified in the letter of admission they received from the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research. The deadline will be established in accordance with the Requirements for Degrees . The deadline for completing the degree program may be extended as follows:
1. A student in good academic standing may request a leave of absence, including a leave for military service. See either Leaves of Abscence (Non-Medical) or Medical Withdrawals/Leaves of Abscence.
2. A student in good academic standing may request one extension of the degree limit for a definite, stated period of time (up to one year), when extenuating circumstances warrant. Working with their advisor and the graduate director for their degree program, a student petitioning for an extension must document progress towards their degree and provide a plan for completing their degree requirements during the term of the extension period. In addition, a student must complete the Extension Request Form, secure a supporting letter from their primary advisor, and receive approval from the graduate director of the program to which the student was admitted, after which the graduate director is required to forward the petition to the Committee on Graduate Studies, which then will review the request and vote whether to approve. Ordinarily, an extension of the degree time limit may not be renewed.
Upon return from a leave of absence, or approval of an extension request, the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research will send the student a letter confirming the new deadline for the completion of all degree requirements.
In the event a student fails to complete the degree requirements by the stated deadline, the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research will consult with the graduate director of the program to which the student was admitted. Unless the student is otherwise in good standing and has made good progress as measured against the plan the student provided as one of the requirements for a petition to request an extension, the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research will withdraw the student from the program, and notify the student of the action.
Leaves of Absence (Non-Medical)
The Dean of Graduate Studies and Research may grant leaves of absence (non-medical), upon the recommendation of the student's advisor and student's graduate director. Medical leaves of absences or medical withdrawal (due to physical or psychiatric conditions) must be requested through the Dean of Students office; see Medical Withdrawals/Leaves of Absence.
Leaves of absence (non-medical) shall be granted for one semester or one year. A student who requests an extension of a current leave of absence shall have the request considered as a new request. Students approved for a leave of absence will have their time limit for degree completion requirement stopped for the duration of the approved leave period. Upon return from approved leave, the student's time limit to degree completion count will resume. While on an approved leave of absence, students remain in good standing but are not registered for courses or for continuous enrollment status. If you are a Virginia resident, you must submit an "Application for Virginia In-State Tuition Privileges" before you return to classes prior to registration, even if you have already submitted the application previously.
To request a leave of absence (non-medical), students will be required to complete and submit the Arts and Sciences Application for Leave of Absence Form to the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research at least 30 days prior to the leave request date. Students should consult with their department/program for additional information on post-leave stipend eligibility.
Medical Withdrawals/Leaves of Absence
A request for a medical withdrawal or a medical leave of absence for one or more semesters is appropriate in circumstances where a student has a serious physical or psychiatric condition that prevents him or her from being able to carry out his or her academic responsibilities. Maternity leave may be taken as a medical withdrawal/medical leave of absence if the student elects to do so, but may also be taken as a non-medical leave of absence; see Leaves of Absence (Non-Medical).
Medical withdrawals and medical leaves of absence are handled through the Dean of Students Office. Readmission after a medical withdrawal or a medical leave of absence requires clearance from the Medical Review Committee as well as permission from the student's academic program. Instructions and forms, as well as Medical Document Information, can be found at www.wm.edu/offices/deanofstudents/alpha_forms. Note that the medical withdrawal policy and forms for graduate students differs from the undergraduate policy, so be sure to follow the instructions for Medical Withdrawal - Graduate Students.
Notice of Candidacy for Graduation
Candidates for graduate degrees in Arts & Sciences must submit a Notice of Candidacy for Graduation form directly to the Office of the University Registrar by no later than the appropriate deadline found in the A&S Academic Calendar . If a student who has filed a Notice of Candidacy for Graduation form determines that they will be unable to complete all their degree requirements by the intended semester of Graduation, they must contact the Office of Graduate Studies and Research to request the new intended semester of graduation.
Academic Conduct in Scholarly Activity or Research
At the College of William & Mary, honesty and integrity of students and faculty members are paramount in the conduct and dissemination of research and scholarly and creative activity; this responsibility extends to documentation prepared for the purpose of securing assistance in the pursuit of scholarly activity or research. It is the particular responsibility of individual scholars and researchers to ensure that the quality of published works is maintained: products must be carefully reviewed prior to publication; the accomplishments of others must be recognized and cited; contributors must be given full acknowledgment; co-authorship must be conferred to those, and only those, who have made a significant contribution; and all (co-)authors must be willing and able to defend publicly their contribution to the published results.
Although it may be more specifically defined by the discipline and/or in the school or department, academic misconduct is broadly defined to include fraudulent behavior such as "fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, [misappropriation,] or other practices that seriously deviate from those that are commonly accepted within [the particular scholarly community] for proposing, conducting, or reporting research [or other scholarly endeavors]. It does not include honest error or honest differences in interpretations or judgments" of results of scholarly activity.1
- Falsification ranges from fabrication to deceptively selective reporting and includes the purposeful omission of conflicting data with the intent to condition or falsify results.
- Plagiarism and misappropriation involve willfully appropriating the ideas, methods, or written words of another, without acknowledgment and with the intention that they be taken as one's own work, as well as the unauthorized use of privileged information (such as information gained confidentially in peer review) or the submission of similar written work to more than one course without prior approval of the current instructor or both instructors for concurrent courses.
Academic misconduct also includes material failure to comply with legal requirements governing research, including requirements for the protection of researchers, human subjects, or the public, or for ensuring the welfare of laboratory animals.
1United States. Office of Research Integrity. "Guidelines for Institutions and Whistleblowers: Responding to Possible Retaliation Against Whistleblowers in Extramural Research." 1995. 1 June 2008.
Institutional and Federal Compliance Requirements for Research/Teaching
Research compliance and safety is overseen by the Vice Provost for Research and Graduate/Professional Studies. Federal Regulations require formal review for certain classes of activity that lead to generalizable knowledge BEFORE employees or students begin work. Review is required whether these regulated activities are supported by external or internal funds, whether they are performed as independent or guided inquiries, or as part of normal instruction in a classroom, lab, or practicum, whether they are performed on or off College grounds, and whether they are part of a formal research program or undertaken as the result of academic curiosity on the part of a Professor or Student. Before graduate students can perform the following work for research/teaching, the faculty research advisor must submit a proposal to the appropriate W&M compliance committee(s) and receive written approval.
These classes of work include:
- work involving living human subjects leading to generalizable knowledge (including survey research or questionnaires);
- work that involves the use and care of vertebrate animals;
- work that uses or produces radioactive materials; and
- work that involves institutional bio-safety concerns such as:
- Recombinant DNA
- Work with any human fluid, tissue or infectious agent
- Research involving direct or indirect contact with wild-caught animals that may harbor infectious agents.
By law, proposed work in any of the four categories above must be reviewed by duly constituted committees appointed by and reporting to senior College administrators. Investigators must submit compliance proposals that include detailed, step‐by‐step procedures to be used in the research. Further, committee review is required for survey work that may be done year‐after‐year in scheduled classes or laboratories.
Annual renewals are not automatic. Researchers must update protocols annually in order to continue the work. Further, any revision in the authorized protocol during the period covered by the protocol must undergo additional review prior to implementation.
Detailed descriptions of the compliance committees, along with guidance for investigators, can be found on the College's Compliance website, located within myWM, https://my.wm.edu/cp/home/displaylogin, under the Self Service tab.
W&M policy mandates that those individuals who will perform, or intend to perform, a particular activity involving these regulated areas may not judge for themselves whether that activity is exempt from formal review. Therefore, whenever you have any doubt about whether your work might require review, the correct approaches are either to submit that work through the Protocol and Compliance Management electronic submission program, or to contact a Committee Chair to discuss it.
Submission of Theses and Dissertations
Theses and dissertations must be prepared in accordance with the document Physical Standards for Theses and Dissertations, published by the Office of Graduate Studies and Research and available on the web at http://www.wm.edu/as/graduate/studentresources/thesis-dissertations/index.php
Some overall guidance:
Deadlines and required processes for your Draft submission, Defense scheduling and Final submission:
- You must submit one complete draft of your thesis/dissertation to the W&M ETD Administrator for a format review, three weeks before the deadline for submitting final copies. Deadlines are posted to the Graduate Studies Events Calendar and described in the Graduate Studies weekly newsletter Did You Know That? Visit the W&M ETD Administrator website and create your personal account.
- Make sure you have completed and integrated all required pages into your document (consult the Physical Standards).
- The submission process will automatically convert your document to .pdf format.
- Staff members in the Office of Graduate Studies and Research will review your document's formatting and check for required pages. Usually you'll be contacted by e-mail within five business days, notifying you that (a) your draft is approved or (b) certain revisions are required. This review does not consider content, and you may continue editing content during the review stage.
- If revisions are made, re-submit your document to the W&M ETD Administrator website with any requested revisions. You will be notified via email once the review is complete.
NOTE: Changes to your submission may be made at any time to anything within the W&M ETD Administrator before the Final submission, except when ordering copies. Once submitted, payment additions cannot be made to the ETD submission.
Submitting your ETD will make it available through both the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global Database and the William & Mary Publish Electronic Theses and Dissertations Repository. When your ETD is available in William and Mary Publish, you will receive periodic email updates about how often it is being accessed and downloaded!
License and Embargo
- Your defense must be scheduled and completed at least one week before your final ETD submission, so that you have time to incorporate any changes or corrections suggested by members of your examination committee following your defense. Once your final ETD has been submitted, you can no longer make revisions to the version of record.
- Consult your advisor(s) well in advance to arrange a schedule that will allow you to submit your draft and final verson by the published deadlines for the term in which you have filed to graduate. Most advisor(s) and/or committee members spend time away from campus on travel for conferences, research, and so forth, so be sure to arrange all necessary meetings and your defense examination well in advance. On rare occasions, in extenuating circumstances, and only with the approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, exceptions to the published deadline might be allowed only if your Committee has approved your thesis or Dissertation and only for an additional 3 days beyond the published deadline.
NOTE: Original signatures will be required on all required forms and documents
The submission of your Final is described in 2 steps:
1) The following forms, in hard copy, must be submitted with original signatures to the Office of Graduate Studies and Research at Stetson House by the Final deadline:
- Compliance Committee Form
- Recommendation Forms for Theses/Dissertations
- Approval Page
- Survey of Earned Doctorates (doctoral candidates only)
Each of these bulleted items is discussed below.
Compliance Committee Form. Every A&S graduate student must provide a Compliance Committee form as a separate form (not inserted into the thesis or dissertation) to the Office of Graduate Studies and Research when the final thesis or dissertation is submitted. The form must be signed by you and your faculty research advisor, certifying either (a) the research does not require approval by a compliance committee or (b) the research has been approved by the appropriate W&M compliance committee(s). If the research requires such approval, a Compliance Page must be included in your thesis/dissertation and follow the template (see Physical Standards).
Recommendation Forms for Thesis/Dissertation. If for some reason a committee member is not available to sign your Thesis Recommendation Form or Recommendation and Defense of Dissertation Form, that committee member should send an e-mail message to the Office of Graduate Studies and Research, which will allow a proxy signature. If your program's Director of Graduate Studies is a member of your thesis/dissertation committee, is the committee chair, or is out of town, the Department Chair/Program Director should serve as the proxy. The proxy should sign his/her name followed by "for (committee member)".
Approval Page. The Approval Page must be approved for format and signed by the student and each individual committee member and submitted as part of the thesis/dissertation. If a committee member is not available to sign the Approval Page at the close of a successful defense examination, then that committee member should send an e-mail message, as soon as possible after the defense, to the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research confirming that in their view the defense examination was a success and requesting that a proxy signature be accepted on their behalf. The Director of Graduate Studies for your program should serve as the proxy. However, if your program's Director of Graduate Studies is a member of your thesis or dissertation committee or is out of town, then your Department Chair or Program Director should serve as the proxy. The proxy should sign his or her name followed by "for (committee member)". Please note that the committee chair may not serve as the proxy. See the Physical Standards for templates of the Approval Page. Please note: After your Defense this signed page must be inserted into your final submission of your Thesis or Dissertation to the W&M ETD Administrator website.
Survey of Earned Doctorates for Dissertations Certificate. Doctoral candidates must complete this survey. Please visit the Survey of Earned Doctorates website and complete the form electronically. You will be asked to provide your name, institution, department, graduation month and year, and an e-mail address. After registering you can advance directly to the survey. After submitting the survey you will receive a Certificate of Completion via email. Print a copy for your records, and provide one copy to the Office of Graduate Studies and Research by final submission of your thesis/dissertation.
2) All Arts and Sciences graduate students submit their Final thesis/dissertation electronically online through the W&M ETD Administrator website.
This submission must include:
- The Approved Draft.
- This must include the Approval page, signed by the student and all committee members.
- Be sure this is inserted in sequential order into the final document.
NOTE: After the student submits their Final, they will receive an email confirming receipt and informing them they will receive notification of delivery to ProQuest.
Print Copies of your Thesis or Dissertation
The College will not bind personal copies of your thesis or dissertation. You will have an option to order a bound copy when you submit your final draft to the William & Mary ETD Administrator website. If you choose not to order one at the time of submission, it is your responsibility to find an outside vendor if you choose to have a personal copy bound later.
Students need to review the A&S Academic Calendar for the intended semester of graduation to ensure that all deadlines are met. Students are required to consult their advisors well in advance of their defense examination to arrange a schedule that will allow submission of a complete draft of their thesis or dissertation for a format review, as well as submission of the final thesis or dissertation, by the published deadlines. Students must defend their thesis or dissertation on or before the last day of classes for the intended semester of graduation. Exceptions to the published deadline dates may be possible, but only with the prior approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research. Any exception request must be submitted to the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research at least three (3) business days prior to the published deadline.
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 at, and invited to attend, the following May ceremony. The Office of Graduate Studies and Research has thirty (30) days from the actual date of degree conferral to submit final paperwork to the College Registrar for degree certification. Diplomas are issued approximately fifteen (15) days after degree certification.