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. In addition to the grades listed above and ‘W’, the symbols ‘G’ and ‘I’ are used on the academic transcript. ‘G’ is 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/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’ 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 graduate director and the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research.
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 timeline 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 in a program, a student must make satisfactory progress toward the degree, as defined by the Committee on Graduate Studies (COGS) and the regulations of the student’s department/program. If the faculty of a department/program determines that satisfactory progress is not being made, a student may be required to withdraw due to academic deficiency.
Time Limits for Degrees and Extensions
Students should complete their thesis/dissertation within a specified time limit. The time allowed is defined in this catalog in the section ‘Requirements for Degrees’, with further information provided in the individual program descriptions. A student who will be unable to meet this deadline must file for an extension before his or her time has expired. It is the students’ responsibility to discuss this matter with their advisor and graduate director and to be aware of the relevant deadlines. Extensions will be granted for a period of approximately one year from the date of expiration as determined by the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research and COGS (Committee on Graduate Studies). If the student’s time expires during the months of June through November, the student must file for an extension before the time expires or by November 15th (whichever is earlier) for the December graduation of the following year. If the student’s time expires during the months of December through May, the student must file for an extension before the time expires or by April 15th (whichever is earlier) for the May graduation of the following year. Any subsequent extension that is approved will begin on the day after the previous extension expires.
A first extension request must include a written justification from the student, with supporting letters from the student’s advisor and graduate director. A first extension request is filed with the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research. The Dean’s decision is reported to COGS. Students may appeal a negative decision to COGS. All subsequent extension requests are filed with the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research who will direct them to COGS, which will make the decision. The request must include all of the material from previous extensions, updated letters of support from the student’s advisor and graduate director, a summary of the current state of the student’s thesis/dissertation, and a plan for its completion. Extension decisions by COGS are final.
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 Director of Graduate Studies. Students must consult their department/program policy to determine whether leave can be granted for extenuating circumstances such as personal situations that temporarily interfere with the student’s ability to continue, pregnancy, or extensive employment. Medical leaves of absences or medical withdrawal [due to physical or psychiatric conditions] should be requested through the Dean of Students office (see Medical Withdrawals/Leaves of Absence below).
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/leave of absence if the student elects to do so, but might also be taken as a non-medical leave of absence (see above). Medical withdrawals/leaves of absence are handled through the Dean of Students Office. Readmission after a medical withdrawal/leave of absence requires clearance from the Medical Review Committee as well as permission from the student’s academic program. For details, call the Dean of Students Office at (757) 221-2510 and request the Graduate Medical Withdrawals (Full Semester Withdrawal) information sheet. Please note that the graduate policy differs from the undergraduate policy, hence the requestor should specifically ask for the graduate information sheet.
Notice of Candidacy for Graduation
Candidates for advanced degrees must submit a Notice of Candidacy for Graduation to the University Registrar by its deadline date which can be found in the College Calendar. Once the student determines that they are unable to complete requirements by the specified graduation date, they must cancel the notice as soon as possible and resubmit for another graduation date.
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 acknowledgement; 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 acknowledgement 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.
1United States. Office of Research Integrity. “Guidelines for Institutions and Whistleblowers: Responding to Possible Retaliation Against Whistleblowers in Extramural Research.” 1995. 1 June 2008.
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.
Institutional and Federal Compliance Requirements for Research/Teaching
Under Federal Regulations, certain classes of activity require formal review BEFORE they may be undertaken by employees or students of the College. This is true whether or not these regulated activities are funded by external money, whether or not they are performed as part of normal instruction in a classroom, lab, or practicum, whether or not they are performed on the College’s grounds, and regardless of whether they are part of a formal research program or simply 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 (including survey research or questionnaires);
- work that uses or produces radioactive materials;
- work that involves the use and care of vertebrate animals; and
- work that involves recombinant DNA, or infectious agents, or direct or indirect contact with wild-caught animals that may harbor infectious agents, or any human fluid or tissue.
By law, reviews of work in any of the four categories above must be performed by duly constituted committees appointed by, and reporting to, senior administrators of the College. To enable these reviews, investigators must submit proposals to perform work involving these regulated activities. The proposals must describe the detailed, step-by-step protocols and procedures that will be used in the performance of the work. These protocols must also be updated once each year to permit continuation of the work (annual renewals are not automatic). Additionally, please note that this sort of review is required for some survey work that may be done year-after-year in scheduled classes or laboratories. 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.
Every A&S graduate student must provide a Compliance Committee form (not inserted into the thesis or dissertation) submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies and Research with the final original and two copies of the thesis or dissertation. The Compliance Committee form must be signed by the student and the faculty research advisor, certifying that either (1) the research does not involve the above types of research, or (2) the research has been approved by the appropriate W&M compliance committee(s).
If the graduate student’s research involves the above types of activities, the final original and two copies of the thesis or dissertation must include a completed Compliance page template.
Submission of Theses and Dissertations
The copies must be prepared in accordance with ‘Physical Standards for Theses and Dissertations,’ which is available from the Graduate Studies office and on the web at http://www.wm.edu/as/graduate/studentresources/physicalstandards/index.php. Before inspection and approval of the final manuscripts at the Office of Graduate Studies and Research, all fees must be paid to the University Cashier. Students should consult the University Cashier or the Office of Graduate Studies and Research to determine the amount of current fees. A copy of the paid University Cashier receipt must be delivered with the three original bind-ready manuscripts to the Office of Graduate Studies and Research.
Required Fees (fee amounts are subject to change)
Prepared theses and dissertations must be brought, not mailed, to the Office of Graduate Studies and Research, Stetson House, 232 Jamestown Road, for final review and approval. Manuscripts must be delivered no later than 4:00 p.m. by the deadline date listed in the College Calendar for the semester of graduation. If a student cannot deliver his/her own work, then the student must arrange for someone else to deliver the manuscript by the deadline. Students are cautioned to consult their advisors well in advance to arrange a schedule that will allow submission of the thesis/dissertation by the deadline. Exceptions to the published deadline dates are allowed only with the approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research. Exception requests must be submitted to the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research at least three working days prior to the published deadline dates.
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.