Sep 16, 2021  
2021 - 2022 Graduate Catalog 
    
2021 - 2022 Graduate Catalog

A&S: Grading and Academic Progress



Grading and Quality Points

The grades A, B, C, D, F and either P, S or U (in certain courses) 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. A grade of I will convert to an F at the end of the semester after the class was taken if the postponed work has not been completed. A grade of I may only be extended under extraordinary circumstances and only with the consent of the instructor and the approval of the student’s Director of Graduate Studies and the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research. A degree can 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 their thesis or dissertation. The grade G is temporarily assigned until the semester when the work is completed. 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.

S indicates satisfactory performance for the term in 999, Continuous Enrollment. A grade of S carries no credit towards the graduate degree.

U indicates unsatisfactory performance for the term in either 700, Thesis, 710, Research Project, 800, Dissertation or 999, Continuous Enrollment. U also is used to indicate an unsuccessful audit.  A grade of U carries no credit towards the graduate degree.

O indicates a student has successfully audited a course, but carries no credit towards the graduate degree.

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 Procedures

A student who believes that a final course grade has been unfairly assigned may submit to the instructor a written request for a review of the grade within the first two weeks of the semester following the one in which the course was taken. Within two weeks of receiving a grade review request, the instructor will decide whether a grade change is warranted and may propose a new grade to the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research. If it is approved, the new grade will be entered on the student’s record. If the instructor determines that no grade change is warranted, the student may seek further review by filing a formal written statement requesting a grade review and giving a full explanation of the reasons for the request. The student must send the statement to the instructor and to the chair of the department or director of the program in which the course was taught within the first six weeks of the semester in which the grade review is initiated. Within two weeks of receiving the student’s statement, the chair of the department or director of the program in which the course was taught must decide whether a grade change is warranted and may propose a new grade to the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research. If it is approved, the new grade will be entered on the student’s record. If the student is not satisfied with the outcome of the chair’s or director’s review, the student may consult the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research within the first ten weeks of the semester in which the grade review is initiated. The decision by the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research will be final.

No grades will be changed more than one semester after initial issuance or after a student’s degree is conferred, whichever comes first.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory academic progress for a full-time graduate student in Arts & Sciences, as judged by the Faculty of Arts & Sciences, means that a student must meet the Continuance Requirement and may not have more than two grades of Incomplete (I) or one grade of Unsatisfactory (U) on their academic transcript. If a student does not satisfy these conditions, then they are making unsatisfactory academic progress and either will be placed on Academic Probation or will face Academic Suspension.

Satisfactory academic progress for a full-time graduate student in Arts & Science also is determined by the requirements and milestones defined in the student’s graduate program’s section in the Graduate Arts & Sciences Catalog.

Continuance Requirement

To continue as a full-time graduate student, a student must meet the following minimal requirement for cumulative graduate degree credit and cumulative grade point average (GPA).

After Semester

Cumulative Graduate Degree Credits

Cumulative G.P.A.

1

6

2.50

2

12

2.75

3

18

3.00

  • Only credits earned at William & Mary will count when determining whether students are meeting the Continuance Requirement.
  • Credit hours earned in graduate courses numbered 566, 666, 685, 695, 766, and 795 will not count when determining whether students are meeting the Continuance Requirement.
  • Students whose cumulative GPA falls below 3.0 in any semester will be issued an 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 Requirement will be placed on Academic Probation for the following semester and receive a letter from the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research.
  • While on Academic Probation for failing to meet the Continuance Requirement, students must earn a 3.0 semester GPA or better and pass at least six graduate credits per semester. Failure to do so will result in Academic Suspension.

Incomplete Grades

Graduate students in Arts & Sciences are expected to finish all courses for which they are registered by the close of each semester in which they are taking these classes.

  • Students who have two grades of Incomplete (I) on their William & Mary transcript at the close of any semester will be issued an Academic Warning and receive a letter from the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research.
  • Students who have more than two grades of Incomplete (I) on their William & Mary transcript at the close of any semester will be placed on Academic Probation for the following semester and receive a letter from the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research.
  • A grade of I will convert to an F at the end of the semester after the class was taken. A grade of I may be extended only under extraordinary circumstances and only with the consent of the instructor and the approval of the student’s Director of Graduate Studies and the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research.
  • Students who have more than two grades of Incomplete (I) on their William & Mary transcript that have not been resolved by the end of the semester after each class wastaken will be placed on Academic Suspension.

Unsatisfactory Grades

Graduate students in Arts & Sciences are expected to receive grades of G when registered for 700, Thesis; 710, Research Project; or 800, Dissertation. In these courses, the advisor assigns the grade of G when they assess that the student is making satisfactory progress on their research. Graduate students in Arts & Sciences are expected to receive grades of S when registered for GRAD 999, which is the grade the advisor assigns when they assess that the student is making satisfactory progress on their research. If the progress is unsatisfactory in any of these courses, the advisor assigns the grade of U.

  • Students who have received an Unsatisfactory grade (U) on their William & Mary transcript at the close of a semester will be issued an Academic Warning and receive a letter from the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research.
  • Students who have received an Unsatisfactory grade (U) on their William & Mary transcript for two consecutive semesters will be placed on Academic Probation for the following semester and receive a letter from the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research.
  • If a student has received an Unsatisfactory grade (U) on their William & Mary transcript for three consecutive semesters the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research will place the student on Academic Suspension, and notify the student of the action.

Academic Warning

An Academic Warning is issued when a review of a student’s academic performance finds that the student has barely met the faculty’s conditions for satisfactory academic progress.

Note that Academic Warning is not a punitive measure. The intent is to provide the student with the information they need in order to redirect their academic trajectory toward success in an effort to prevent the student from facing Academic Probation.

A student placed on Academic Warning remains eligible for financial aid.

Academic Probation

A student is placed on Academic Probation when a review of a student’s academic performance finds that the student does not meet the faculty’s conditions for satisfactory academic progress.

  • Students on Academic Probation who are receiving financial aid risk losing their financial aid. Funding for the first semester a student is on Academic Probation is at the discretion of the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, following consultation with the student’s Director of Graduate Studies. A student becomes ineligible for financial aid if they do not satisfy the Continuance Requirement and do not resolve all outstanding Incomplete grades after one semester on Academic Probation.
  • Students on Academic Probation will not be removed from Academic Probation until they achieve a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and resolve all outstanding Incomplete grades.
  • Students who are on Academic Probation may not receive any Incomplete grades for coursework during the semester(s) of probation or they will be placed on Academic Suspension.
  • Students who are on Academic Probation may not receive any Unsatisfactory grades for coursework during the semester(s) of probation or they will be placed on Academic Suspension.
  • Coursework taken elsewhere while not in good academic standing will not be accepted for transfer at William & Mary.

Academic Suspension

A student is placed on Academic Suspension when a review of a student’s academic performance finds that the student is not meeting the minimum requirements of their Academic Probation. An Academic Suspension constitutes a complete severance from William & Mary.

  • Students on Academic Suspension are ineligible for financial aid.
  • Students on Academic Suspension are not in good academic standing as defined by the faculty of Arts & Sciences 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.
  • Coursework taken elsewhere while not in good academic standing will not be accepted for transfer at William & Mary.

Reinstatement to Good Academic Standing

Students who have been academically suspended and are not in good academic standing with the university, but who wish to seek reenrollment to William & Mary, must submit a petition  for reinstatement to good standing to the Arts & Sciences Committee on Graduate Studies. Petitions should be made in advance of the semester of intended return (July 15 for Fall, November 15 for Spring, or April 15 for Summer). For information on specific procedures, contact the Office of Graduate Studies and Research. Reinstatement to good standing and reenrollment to the university are not automatic, but at the end of certain specified periods the student is eligible to seek these considerations from the Arts & Sciences Committee on Graduate Studies and the Office of Graduate Studies and Research, respectively. A student who is suspended in January for failing to make satisfactory academic progress may apply no earlier than April of the same year for reinstatement and reenrollment for Fall. A student who is suspended in May is eligible to apply no earlier than October for reinstatement and reenrollment to be effective in the Spring semester. It is extremely unlikely that a student who is suspended twice from the university for failing to make satisfactory academic progress will ever be reinstated to good standing.

Petition for an Exception to Academic Probation or Academic Suspension

An Arts & Sciences graduate student may petition the Arts & Sciences Committee on Graduate Studies for an individual exception to the Academic Probation or Academic Suspension. Petition approval is not automatic and is generally given only under extraordinary circumstances. 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. In such cases, the Arts & Sciences Committee on Graduate Studies will include the recommendation made by the Medical Review Committee when reviewing an individual exception to placing a student on Academic Probation or Academic Suspension.

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:

  • A student in good academic standing may request a leave of absence, including a leave for military service.  See Leaves of Absence/Withdrawal.
  • 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 Arts & Sciences 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 suspend 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 suspended 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. 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 Graduation Term, they must contact the Office of Graduate Studies and Research to request a new Graduation Term.

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 university 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 William & Mary 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 university 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 Universities Compliance website, located within myW&M, 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.