Nov 12, 2019  
2018 - 2019 Graduate Catalog 
    
2018 - 2019 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

A&S: Grading and Academic Progress



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 William & Mary 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.

Grading and Repeated Courses

A William & Mary graduate student who receives a grade of C+ (2.3) or lower in an Arts & Sciences graduate 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.

A William & Mary undergraduate student who receives a grade of B- (2.7) or lower in an Arts & Sciences graduate course taken for graduate degree credit may repeat that course one time for credit. There are two options:
1. The course can be repeated as an undergraduate student at William & Mary, after securing the required approvals for earning graduate degree credit. If so, the program's graduate committee and the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research may choose to accept either the most recent grade or to calculate the student's graduate quality point average and graduate cumulative grade point average at William & Mary using both the original grade and the grade earned in the repeated course.

2. If the student subsequently matriculates into the graduate program which offered the course, the student may repeat the course with the permission of the program's graduate committee and the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research. The grade earned after retaking the course as a graduate student will be the grade used to determine if the course can be used to satisfy graduate degree requirements. The original attempt to take the course as an undergraduate for graduate degree credit will show up on the graduate transcript with the grade received; however, the grade earned for the original attempt will not be used to calculate the student's graduate quality point average and graduate cumulative grade point average as an Arts & Sciences graduate student. Credits can be considered for acceptance only for courses in which the student received a grade of B or higher.  See the section on Grading and Repeated Courses for information on repeating an Arts & Sciences graduate course to earn graduate degree credit in Arts & Sciences.

 

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.

Continuance Requirement

To continue as a full-time graduate student, you will need to meet these minimal requirements.

After Semester

Cumulative Graduate Degree Credits

Cumulative G.P.A.

1

6

2.50

2

12

2.75

3

18

3.00

 

  • 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 William & Mary 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 William & Mary.

Satisfactory Progress

In addition to satisfying the Continuance Standards, at a minimum, a student must also make satisfactory progress toward the degree, as defined by the Committee 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 Leaves of Absence/Withdrawal.

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/Withdrawals

Students may request either a medical or non-medical leave of absence for either one semester or one year.  A leave of absence may not exceed one year and may not be repeated.  Under extraordinary circumstances, a student may petition the Arts & Sciences Committee on Graduate Studies for an exception. If a student does not return to their graduate program after their approved leave, the student will be withdrawn from their graduate program by the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research.  However, students may petition the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research for readmission to their graduate program when ready to return.  Students should consult with the Director of Graduate Studies for their program in advance of submitting a request to determine the best course of action for them under the circumstances.  If a student is receiving financial aid (e.g., a Graduate Assistantship or a Research Assistantship), the student should consult with both their advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies for their program regarding their eligibility for financial aid upon return from an approved leave.

Medical leaves are handled by the Dean of Students Office, which also handles medical withdrawals.  Students must submit a petition to the Dean of Students Office for consideration by the Medical Review Committee.  Documentation from a health care provider is required to support the request and should be submitted directly to the Dean of Students Office.  Readmission after a medical leave of absence or a medical withdrawal also requires clearance from the Medical Review Committee, as well as permission from both the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research and the student's academic program. Note that the medical leave, medical withdrawal, and medical clearance policies and forms for graduate students differ from those for undergraduate students.

Non-medical leaves of absence are handled by the Office of Graduate Studies and Research, which also handles non-medical withdrawals. To request a non-medical leave of absence, a student must submit a Non-Medical Leave of Absence form, which must be approved by the student's advisor, the Director of Graduate Studies for their program, and the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research.  To request a non-medical withdrawal, a student must submit a Student Withdrawal from Program form, which must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies for the student's program and the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research.

Students approved for a leave of absence, whether medical or non-medical, will have their time-to-degree completion clock suspended for the duration of the approved leave period (i.e., for either one semester or one year). Upon return from approved leave, the student's time-to-degree completion clock will resume. While on an approved leave of absence, students remain in good academic standing but are not registered for courses or for continuous enrollment status. If you are a Virginia resident, you must submit an Application to determine Physical Residency and In-State Tuition Eligibility before you return to classes prior to registration, even if you had previously submitted this application.

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 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 documents prepared as reports,or as proposals for funding, or other support. It is the responsibility of scholars to ensure that the quality of published works is high, that careful citation credits prior work and related contributions, and that the accomplishments of co-authors and other colleagues are given full acknowledgment.  Co-authorship must be conferred only to those who have made significant, identifiable contributions. All authors must be willing and able to defend publicly those contributions.

In general, academic misconduct does not include honest error or honest differences in interpretations or judgments" of results of scholarly activity.1 Deception, misappropriation of intellectual property, and other deeds that seriously deviate from commonly accepted practices for proposing, conducting, or reporting research within a given community of scholars, is grounds for disciplinary action. Although academic misconduct is well-defined for some disciplines or within certain schools or departments, it is generally defined to include fraudulent behavior, especially "fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism".               

  • Fabrication is the creation, invention and reporting of results in the absence of experiments, computations, or other efforts to support such results.
  • Falsification is the unwarranted alteration of results, to include deceptive or selective reporting, purposeful omission of conflicting data, or other such actions intended to deceive.  
  • 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. Plagiarism includes the unauthorized use of privileged information, such as information gained confidentially in peer review, or other confidential circumstances. Self-plagiarism includes duplicate publication without proper citation, or the submission of substantially identical or similar written work for credit or payment. This applies to submission of highly similar work for credit in more than one course without prior approval of the current instructor or without agreement of both instructors for concurrent courses.

Research misconduct may also include 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:

  1. work involving living human subjects leading to generalizable knowledge (including survey research or questionnaires);
  2. work that involves the use and care of vertebrate animals;
  3. work that uses or produces radioactive materials; and
  4. 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, under the Self Service tab.

William & Mary 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.

Conferral of Degrees

William & Mary 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 & Research has thirty (30) days from the actual date of degree conferral to submit final paperwork to the University Registrar for degree certification. Diplomas are issued approximately fifteen (15) days after degree certification.