Jun 08, 2023  
2009-2010 Graduate Catalog 
2009-2010 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Regulations


Academic regulations and degree requirements are defined for each degree program. Please consult the individual program pages , as well as the Student Handbook for your chosen program, to determine specific program requirements. Program-specific academic regulations may include: conditions for admission to candidacy, comprehensive examinations, projects, thesis, non-thesis, foreign language proficiency, and other proficiencies.

Information about specific degree requirements may include a summary of procedures, timeline, and the minimum credits to be earned for the degree. Students in a particular graduate program may also be required to take coursework above the minimum. The general information below pertains to all graduate degree programs.

Grading System

The grades which may be assigned to graduate credit courses are as follows:

Letter Meaning Grade Points Per Sem Hr
A Commendable 4
B Average 3
C Marginal 2
F Failure 0
P Passing *
I Incomplete *
IP Grade Pending *
S Satisfactory *
U Unsatisfactory *
AU Audit, no credit *
W Withdrawal *

Grade Pending. An IP is assigned only for thesis or project research or similar courses to indicate that a grade is pending until the sequence of courses is completed. A grade of “S” or “U” is then assigned to each course by the instructor.

Graduate credit accepted in fulfillment of the requirements for a graduate degree must not average lower than 3.0, and a student granted a grade of “F” or “U” will receive no credit toward the degree. Course work reported “Incomplete” must be completed within the student’s next term of enrollment, not to exceed a year. Any extension of this period must be approved by the Registrar and the School of Graduate Studies and Research.

Grade Appeal Policy

  1. Statement of Purpose
    The purpose of the grade appeal process is to provide a mechanism for students to appeal a final course grade that was given for permissible or arbitrary reasons. Students who believe their final course grade was assigned by criteria other than those applying to other students, included in the course syllabus or other than announced in advance in their class will be able to file a grade appeal. The grade appeal policy only applies to the appeal of a final course grade and not individual graded assignments. The procedure outlined here in section IV is not intended to be used to review the judgment of an instructor in assessing the quality of a student’s work.
    There shall be one policy for the appeal of a final course grade. All graduate students will follow this policy when appealing a final course grade.
  2. Responsibility of Faculty and Students.
    1. Faculty Responsibility. Faculty members set evaluation standards for the courses they teach and use 
      these standards in determining the grades on individual assignments and final course grades. Faculty 
      members are responsible for including information in their course syllabi about all course requirements, all assignments/activities that will be graded, the method that will be used to evaluate each assignment, and the grading scale that will be used to determine the final grade. The course syllabi should be distributed to each student enrolled in a class. In the event that an individual faculty member decides to make changes in the course requirements and in methods and standards for evaluating a particular course, this information shall be shared in writing and orally with all students in the class prior to making an assignment. Faculty members are responsible for using previously established standards to grade all course assignments regardless of a student’s race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation, disability, veteran status, or other personal characteristics. Faculty members are required to explain to the student how contested grades were determined.
    2. Student Responsibility. The act of registering confirms an implicit declaration of the student’s acceptance of university regulations and course requirements. Failure to abide by university regulations will subject the student to appropriate disciplinary action. The university also expects the student to obey the law, to show respect for properly constituted authority, to perform contractual obligations, to maintain absolute integrity and a high standard of individual honor in scholastic work, and to maintain conduct appropriate for a community of scholars. Students are responsible for being aware of all university policies regarding academic integrity issues as published in the graduate catalog.
  3. Permissible Grounds for Grade Appeal.
    The final course grade was
    1. assigned in a manner not consistent with published standards and procedures; or
    2. based upon the student’s race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, disability, veteran status or sexual orientation; or
    3. assigned because of personal malice towards the student; or the result of an error in calculating or recording grades.

      Individual graded assignments that contribute to a final course grade are not subject to appeal unless it can be established that the grade for the individual assignment was given for one of the four permissible reasons cited and resulted in an unfair final grade.
  4. Grade Appeal Process
    There are three levels of the appeal process:
    1. Level 1-Appeal to the Instructor/faculty member
      As soon as possible but within 10 business days of the semester following the semester that the final grade was issued, the student must send in writing to the instructor his or her concerns and request discussion for resolution. Within 10 business days of receipt of the student request, the faculty member shall meet with the student and a written statement documenting the outcome of the meeting shall be sent to the department chair. Documents supporting the faculty member’s decision on the grade appeal should accompany the written statement.
    2. Level 2- Appeal to the Department Chair and Graduate Program Coordinator (GPC)
      If the issue is not mutually resolved at the faculty level, the student may submit a written statement to the Chair of the department, detailing their viewpoint or argument for a change of grade, specifically identifying and documenting the permissible ground(s) which the student believes affected the grade. For a grade appeal to be considered, at the time the appeal is first filed, it must be based upon one of the permissible grounds listed in Section III. The student cannot re-file or continue the same appeal using permissible grounds that were not presented at the faculty levelIn the event the Department Chair or GPC is the instructor, the appeal at this level must be submitted to the associate dean of the division and the other eligible department personnel. If the dean of the division is the instructor of the course, then the associate dean of Graduate Studies shall consider the appeal.

      Within five business days of receipt of an appeal, the Chair in conjunction with the GPC shall:
      1. Ensure that the student  has a copy of the Graduate School’s policy on Grade Appeal;
      2. Forward a copy of the student’s written complaint to the instructor and request any additional written documentation from the student and the faculty member regarding the permissible ground presented by the student.
      3. Confer with both parties, either separately or jointly to attempt to resolve the issue of the contested grade.

        The department chair in consultation with the GPC shall submit a written decision (based on provided evidence from the student and faculty) to the dean with a copy to the student. All associated documentation must be kept by the department chair until all levels of appeal have been exhausted. Documentation may be requested by the dean at Level 3 of the appeals process.
    3. Level 3- Appeal to the dean
      In the event that the student wishes to appeal the chair and GPC’s decision, the student must appeal within seven business days of the dated communication from the chair, to the dean of the College or School that houses the course indicating  that they wish to have their case heard by the School-wide or College-wide ad hoc committee. The appeal to the dean must be in writing.  The dean has the responsibility to determine if the presented evidence warrants the convening of the ad-hoc committee. If the evidence warrants the convening of the ad-hoc committee, the student will be notified of that decision. If it is not necessary, the dean will issue the final decision regarding the appeal. 

      The Ad Hoc Appeal committee guidelines are listed in Section V.  The committee shall commence deliberations within ten (10) class days of receipt of the appeal from the dean.  The committee shall conduct one or more meetings, and shall take one of the following actions:
      1. Request evidential documentation that was presented at previous appeal levels. 
      2. May conduct a hearing with individual or both parties whereby both parties will be allowed to call witnesses as approved by the Ad Hoc committee chair.

        At the conclusion of the appeals’ hearing, the Ad Hoc committee shall meet in executive session to deliberate under the following conditions:
        The committee shall
        1. limit its concern to the specific allegations on unfairness specified in the student’s written documentation;
        2. reach a final decision (by a simple majority vote of those present) that will either support or reject the original course grade.

          Within five (5) class days of the Committee’s decision, the committee chair shall forward the committee’s decision in writing with justification to the dean of the division. The dean of the division shall notify the final decision in writing to the student and copy the dean of Graduate School and Research, and the respective department chair.   If the decision is in favor of the student’s appeal, the department chair has the responsibility with the faculty to reassign the appropriate grade and submit the grade change to the appropriate university offices
  5. Creation and Composition of the Ad Hoc Appeal Committee
    An Ad Hoc committee will be composed of no less than three (3) full-time regular faculty members drawn from the entire School/College, a graduate student and a non-voting representative from administration. The university’s advocate for Adult and Graduate Students may be included in lieu of the graduate student. A quorum shall consist of three members of the committee.
  6. Finality of Appeal
    There shall be no further appeals beyond Level 3. However, students may request an appeal for examination because of non-compliance of procedural protocol. The student must present to the dean of Graduate Studies evidence that non-compliance of procedures as stated in the Appeals process compromised the final decision of the case.   This appeal on these grounds should be made to the dean of Graduate Studies within five business day of receipt of the final decision. The dean of Graduate Studies must verify that allegations of compromise are valid and thus, transfer the case to the sub-committee of the Graduate Council for review.   Procedural matters that are impacted by unavoidable time delays (i.e. school closing because of inclement weather; faculty illness) do not constitute valid reasons for non-compliance.
  7. Representation of Parties
    The appeals process is an internal University process and does not adhere to external legal interventions. Legal representation by faculty or student is not permitted during the appeals process.  A student may have a non-legal advisor in the hearing before the hearing panel.
  8. Compliance with Timelines
    The intent of this policy is to resolve all grade appeals in the semester immediately following the semester in which the grade was given. Failure by the student to comply with any of the scheduled timelines without justifiable excuse shall result in forfeiture of the right of appeal and dismissal of the appeal. A student may appeal to the next level of appeal if there is failure without justifiable excuse of any other person in the appeal process to comply with scheduled timelines. The presentation of an excuse shall be made to the appropriate dean of the school or college to which the appeal is filed
  9. Definitions
    1. Whenever business day is used in this document, it shall mean any day except Saturday, Sunday, or an institutional holiday.
    2. The delivery method may include: certified mail, registered mail, commercial service, personal delivery service, the university email accounts or hand-delivery by an employee or the student or his/her representative that obtains a signature. For email deliveries, the
    3. time and date stamp on the email shall serve in determining compliance with timelines.


Graduate students are expected to attend classes regularly. A student whose attendance in classes is deemed unsatisfactory by the instructor, the advisor, or the Dean of Graduate Studies may be excluded from a course, a final examination, or a graduate program.


Students admitted to a program of graduate study at Winston-Salem State University are assigned an academic advisor and/or advisory committee from the department or curriculum program in which the student plans to complete the major portion of their graduate work. Students are expected to meet with their advisors during the first semester of enrollment for the purpose of developing their plan of study. Changes in this program may be made only with the approval of the advisor and the Dean of Graduate Studies. Coursework taken without approval will not automatically be applied toward the degree.

Student Responsibilities

Graduate students are expected to monitor their own progress using the Plan of Study. They are to keep up-to-date records of the courses taken in their proposed programs and meet regularly with their advisor. Responsibility for meeting requirements of their programs rests with the students.

Admission to Candidacy

Admission to Candidacy for the graduate degree requires one semester of graduate study in the university. Admission to candidacy is contingent upon the recommendation of the applicant’s advisor and/or advisory committee.

Degree Time Limit

A graduate student has six calendar years to complete his or her degree program. The period begins with the student’s first term of work after formal admission to a degree–granting program. Work completed as a non–degree student does not initiate the six–year period for completing a degree program. Courses taken more than six calendar years prior to the admission of a student into a degree program at WSSU normally are not accepted for credit toward fulfilling the requirements of the student’s degree program. In some cases, however, with approval of the Graduate Program Coordinator and department chair/dean, a student may petition the Graduate School to accept for credit work that is more than six years old. When extenuating circumstances warrant, an extension of the time limit for completing a graduate program may be granted to a student upon his or her petition to the Graduate School. Such petitions must include an explanation and the endorsement of the Graduate Program Coordinator and departmental chair or dean.

Graduation Requirements

The Master’s Degree may be conferred upon a student who has successfully completed the program of work. Persons who wish to graduate in a certain term must: (1) apply for graduation and (2) have completed all graduation requirements by the specified dates for graduation in that term.

A graduate student’s grades cannot average lower than 3.00. No graduate course with a grade lower than “C” will be credited toward the master’s degree. All grades of “F” and “I”, which are in the approved graduate program of study, must be removed before completing an application for graduation.

Note:  While the maximum number of credit hours required to complete a master’s degree at Winston-Salem State University varies from program to program, the minimum number of credit hours required is 30.  Please consult your Graduate Program Coordinator and advisor when developing your Plan of Study.

Standards of Scholarship

In all work for a degree, a high level of scholarly performance is expected. The student is expected to demonstrate academic competence, intellectual honesty and responsibility, a willingness to do more than the minimum required, and the ability to think critically and constructively.

The following state statutes (North Carolina General Statute #14-118.2) address the issue of obtaining academic credit by fraudulent means.

  1. It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, corporation or association to assist any student, or advertise, offer or attempt to assist any student, in obtaining or in attempting to obtain, by fraudulent means, any academic credit, or any diploma, license or other instrument purporting to confer any literary, scientific, professional, technical or other degree in any course of study in any university, college, academy, or other educational institution. The activity prohibited by this subsection includes, but is not limited to, preparing or advertising, offering, or attempting to prepare a term paper, thesis, or dissertation for another and impersonating or advertising, offering or attempting to take an examination.
  2. Any person, firm, corporation or association violating any of the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500.00), imprisonment for not more than six months, or both. Provided, however, the provisions of this section shall not apply to the acts of one student in assisting another student as herein defined if the former is duly registered in an educational institution and is subject to the disciplinary authority thereof. (1963, c.781; 1969, c.1224, s.7.)

Course Loads and Course of Study

An appropriate course load is dependent upon two factors: the scholastic ability of the student as reflected by his/her academic history and the time available for study. A course load of nine semester hours constitutes a normal full semester program for a graduate student. This is lower than the normal undergraduate load because of the extensive reading, independent thinking, and individual research required of graduate students.

The maximum course load during a four-, five- or six-week term of the summer session is six (6) semester hours, and graduate students may not earn more than 12 semester hours for an entire summer.

Nine (9) hours constitutes a full load for a graduate assistant, and a graduate assistant must register for at least six graduate-level semester hours during each semester.

Course Substitutions and Waivers

Only under exceptional circumstances will substitutions for or exemption from the prescribed courses in a curriculum be permitted. To substitute or waive a course, students must submit a request on the appropriate form to the advisor. The form must be approved by the department chair of the discipline in which the student is seeking a degree and forwarded to the appropriate dean of the college or school offering the program and to the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research. Only requests for academically defensible substitutions or waivers accompanied by justifications for the exceptions will be considered.

Credit by Examination

Upon the recommendation of a graduate student’s committee and with the approval of the department chair in which it is listed, a student may challenge a course in which he or she has not previously been enrolled by demonstrating proficiency or competence. Grades are not recorded for credit earned in this manner. Anyone seeking to pursue credit through demonstrated proficiency or competence examination must be a candidate for a degree at Winston-Salem State University.

Independent Study and Selected Topics

With the approval of the instructor, the department chair, the dean of the college or school, and the Dean of Graduate Studies as appropriate to the degree program, graduate students who have been admitted to candidacy may register for independent study in their major fields. Students registered for independent study must be scheduled for regular conference periods. Not more than 25% of the student’s degree program may be taken in combination of selected topics and independent studies. Anyone seeking to pursue independent study must be a candidate for a degree at Winston-Salem State University.


The following administrative policy governs internships:

(1) An applicant for an internship must be working within a reasonable distance of the university as defined by the academic departments; (2) the intern must work under a fully licensed supervisor; (3) the supervisor must express a willingness to supervise the work and provide the experiences necessary for the intern.

Continuous Registration for Thesis/Projects

Students in graduate degree programs are required to maintain continuous registration during the fall and spring semesters for thesis or project until the work is completed. Students must consult with their graduate program regarding the requirements for summer enrollment. Continuous registration begins the semester that approval for the thesis or project is received. Students who exceed the required number of hours without completing their work should register for their departmental 9999 course until the thesis or project is completed. International students on F-1 visa status must remain continuously enrolled until the thesis or project is completed.

Thesis Defense Requirements

Graduate students who are required to write a thesis, or students who choose a thesis option, must defend the thesis. The student has two attempts to pass the defense. If the first attempt is  failed, the student must consult with the thesis committee and prepare for a second defense during the next semester. Students who are not prepared for the second defense must petition the dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Research for an extension in the thesis defense. Guidelines for the preparation of the thesis or project are available from the School of Graduate Studies and Research and on the Graduate School website.

 Leave of Absence Policy

Graduate students may request a leave of absence from Winston-Salem State University one semester in a calendar year (fall, spring, or summer) and maintain continuous status. The request must not exceed two consecutive academic semesters.  The maximum amount of leave permitted per graduate program is four semesters. A leave of absence does not extend the maximum time permitted for the completion of degree requirements, and a leave cannot be taken while students are on extension of the six-year time limit.

Students who are absent for one or more semesters or required summer session(s) without an approved leave of absence must apply for readmission through The Graduate School, after receiving the endorsement of the Graduate Program Coordinator and the Admissions Committee. Students in planned summer-only programs of study should maintain annual summer session patterns of enrollment and course completion throughout the program of study for the degree.

Leaves of absence may be granted for a variety of reasons including extracurricular educational activities, illness, study-abroad opportunities, and other personal circumstances. Students should submit requests for a leave of absence in writing to their Graduate Program Coordinator, who will forward the request to The Graduate School with the department’s recommendation. All requests for leaves of absence will be considered on a case by case basis in The Graduate School. Under normal circumstances, time devoted to a leave of absence will count toward the authorized time limit for completion of degree requirements at Winston-Salem State University. Students with special circumstances should consult with the Graduate Program Coordinator to discuss options available for revising the time frame needed to complete their plan of study. Maternity, paternity or military obligations do not count towards the six-year time limit for degree completion.

Auditing Graduate Courses

Auditing is considered the privilege to attend a class if space is available. The decision to allow auditing within the professional schools and graduate degree programs is the prerogative of the deans and the department chairs. Within those programs granting the auditing privilege, students must have the approval of the instructor and the appropriate department chair or dean prior to registering or adding the course(s) to their schedule. The student should consult the Office of the Registrar for auditing registration dates. The audit will be considered part of the student course load. Tuition, fees, and enrollment procedures are the same as for credit enrollment. Attendance, preparation, and participation in classroom discussions and activities are at the discretion of the instructor and the department. No credit is given, no examinations are required, and no grades are reported for audited courses. A formal record of the audit may be entered on the student’s transcript at the discretion of the instructor. The procedure for dropping an audit course is the same as for credit enrollments. A course audit may not be changed to graduate credit.

Electronic Mail Accounts

The university electronic mail account that is assigned to each active student is the primary official means for communicating with individual or groups of students. Official university communications include, but are not limited to, enrollment information, grade information, financial information and policy, and announcements, as well as individualized notices. This system affords an efficient method for official messages to be disseminated to both on-and off-campus students. It is the responsibility of each student to frequently access their WSSU electronic mail account as it may contain an official communication from the university.

Withdrawal Policy

Graduate students may find it necessary to withdraw from courses after the university’s course adjustment period (Registration/Add/Drop) each semester due to health, medical, legal, or administrative reasons. Withdrawal is not intended to be used to alleviate academic difficulty and the student is still responsible for any financial obligations incurred as a result of enrolling and/or withdrawing. 

A graduate student may officially withdraw from academic classes until the end of the ninth week of a fall or spring semester or the twelfth day of a summer school session (see Academic Calendar for the specific date each term) without academic penalty. The student will receive a grade of “W” (Withdrawal) for each course in which they were enrolled.   

Under extenuating circumstances (such as health, medical, psychological, legal, or administrative reasons), a student who officially withdraws from all academic classes after the withdrawal period may petition his or her department chair in writing with supporting document for a “W” (Withdrawal) grade. The “W” grade will be assigned for the course if the following conditions are met:

1.      The petition is received before the grade due date for that term, and

2.      The student is deemed to be passing at the time of the withdrawal by the course instructor, and

3.      The department chair approves of the petition.

The chairperson must notify the student within 10 business days of the department’s decision. Students can appeal the department chair’s ruling to the dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Research in writing within 10 days of receiving a response from the chairperson. The decision of the dean is final. All correspondence will be sent to the student’s permanent address (and/or the student’s university assigned email account) that is on file with the Registrar.

 Other policies governing graduate student withdrawals:

  • Students who leave the university and do not initiate the withdrawal process will be held accountable for all course work and will receive the earned grade at the end of the semester. Thus, a student who stops attending classes but who fails to withdraw may earn a grade of “F”. 
  • Students are responsible for all financial obligations owed to the university, the federal government, or a lender which may have been incurred during their enrollment (whether or not they officially withdraw). Students may be eligible for a partial refund of their tuition and fees if they withdraw within certain dates as indicated by the university’s refund policy. However, students may owe the university money because of refunds that the student received on the expectation that they would remain at the university for the entire semester. 
  • To officially withdrawal from the university, a student must meet with their graduate program coordinator or chairperson and submit to them a signed, completed withdrawal form. Should a student be so incapacitated that it is impossible to come to campus, they or their legal representative should contact the graduate coordinator to arrange to complete the withdrawal process. 
  • Withdrawals become effective on the date that the registrar records it in the graduate student’s record. 

Extension of Time

Course credits, including transfer credits, cannot be older than six years at the time of graduation. This policy is in place because of the university’s interest in a degree being current when it is awarded. Graduate students may apply for an extension of time if their coursework will exceed the six-year limit at the time of graduation. The Application for Extension of Time form is available on the Graduate Studies website.


Transfer Credits

Transfer of graduate level course work must be approved by the chair or other authorized departmental official and the School of Graduate Studies and Research. Please consult the Graduate Catalog to determine the transfer credit requirements for your chosen program.

Up to 20% of the credit hours in a master’s degree program may be earned in a different but regionally accredited institution.


Number of Transfer Hours Allowed from Other Accredited Institutions

For a 30-33 hour graduate program only 6 semester hours are allowed.
For a 36-39 hour graduate program only 7 semester hours are allowed.
For a 42 hour graduate program only 8 semester hours are allowed.
For a 45-48 hour graduate program only 9 semester hours are allowed.
For a 51-54 hour graduate program only 10 semester hours are allowed.
For a 57 hour graduate program only 11 semester hours are allowed.
For a 60 hour graduate program only 12 semester hours are allowed.

Transfer credits from other universities over five years old will not be accepted toward a degree program at WSSU. All course content over six years old must be recertified in a manner established by the program and approved by the Graduate Council. Such methods of recertification may include but are not limited to completion of additional coursework, comprehensive examinations of the current program content, evidence of continuing professional education, additional research papers, or reports related to the current program content. A letter describing the method(s) of recertification must be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies and Research at the time of the request for program extension. The outcome(s) of the recertification must also be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies and Research prior to student graduation or any additional requests for extensions. All requests for extensions must be made by the program as soon as it becomes evident the student will not finish all requirements within the six-year time limit.

Academic Regulations

Credits accepted for transfer must have been graded A or B, and be determined by the faculty to be pertinent to the WSSU degree program into which the student is matriculating. The remaining hours must be earned in residence.

General rules governing transfer credit are as follows:

  1. Credits gained in correspondence courses, if acceptable, must be appropriately documented according to accreditation criteria.
  2. Courses accepted for transfer are subject to the same time limitation as courses taken in residence—not older than six years at the time the degree is awarded.
  3. Courses in which transfer credit is accepted must be appropriate for the approved university program in which the student is enrolled.
  4. Winston-Salem State University is not obligated to accept any credit from another institution. To obtain approval to take a course at another institution and receive transfer credit, a WSSU student must complete a Graduate Transfer Credit request form prior to taking the course and file it in the Graduate School and in the Registrar’s Office.
  5. Upon completion of the course(s) to be transferred, the student must request that an official transcript be mailed to the Graduate School. The Graduate Transfer Credit form for this purpose is available in the Graduate School.

Dropping a Course, Withdrawal and Suspension

A student may drop a course prior to mid-semester. Within the time limit specified by the calendar, a student is allowed to drop courses without either academic or financial penalty. Between week two and mid-semester, a student is allowed to drop courses without academic penalty. Note: there is no refund or adjustment of charges if a course is dropped after the first five days of classes. After mid-semester a course cannot be dropped except for exceptional circumstances and with the approval of the instructor, program coordinator, and department chair. A drop approved for exceptional circumstances will not be computed in the grade point average. A course not officially dropped will receive a grade of “F” or “U”; the “F” will be computed in the grade point average. The drop periods for the summer terms will be published in the summer school schedule of courses.

Withdrawal from the University

Department chairs and deans may initiate an administrative withdrawal of a student from classes based on the following criteria:

  • For face-to-face classes - the student has not attended class nor made contact with the instructor or department chair to explain the absence by the end of the first day the class meets or the student misses two consecutive classes and has not made contact with the instructor or department chair to explain the absence;
  • For a technology-delivered course - the student has not engaged the course material or made contact with the instructor to explain the absence by the first assessment;
  • The student has not met course prerequisites, co-requisites, or registration restrictions.

The department chair or dean will electronically notify the student that they are being withdrawn from the class and then follow the required procedures to notify the Registrar.  The Registrar will electronically notify the student when the withdrawal has been completed.

Students who have been administratively withdrawn from classes

  1. for failure to attend or notify the instructor and have evidence that they in fact were attending classes or had contacted the instructor or department chair to notify them of an absence (dated email will suffice) or;
  2. who were so incapacitated by illness or injury as to not be able to contact the university; or
  3. for not having the appropriate prerequisites;

have the right to appeal the withdrawal.  Students must appeal in writing and attach supporting documentation (email will suffice) within two business days of the withdrawal to the dean of the college or school where the course resides if the department chair initiated the withdrawal or the provost if the dean initiated the withdrawal.  The dean or provost will make a decision within two business days and inform the student in writing (electronic notification is permissible followed by hard copy).  Only one level of appeal is allowed so decisions of the dean or provost (depending on where the appeal was made) are final.


Suspension and Dismissal

Winston-Salem State University reserves the right to exclude at any time a graduate student whose conduct is deemed improper or prejudicial to the best interest of the university. Graduate students who fail to maintain a cumulative grade average of at least 3.0 may not be permitted to re-register as degree candidates without the written recommendation of the Graduate Program Coordinator/Department Chair and the approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research. Degree candidacy is discontinued for the student who has received as many as three (3) marginal grades (“C”), and if a graduate student receives a grade of “F” or “U,” the student may not continue in graduate school unless the Graduate Program Coordinator/Department Chair submits in writing an acceptable recommendation to the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research. In no case may a graduate student be permitted to repeat more than one course to improve the grade, and the student who receives a second grade of “F” or “U” may not continue toward the graduate degree under any circumstances.

Repeat Rule

If a course grade has resulted in termination of enrollment, the student must appeal to be reinstated to repeat the course. A given course may be repeated one time only. Whenever a course is repeated, no additional hours attempted accrue, and the new grade replaces the previous grade in computing the grade point average and in the assignment of academic credit. The record of the first attempt will remain a part of the student’s permanent record and will count in the number of marginal (“C”) grades accumulated. Successfully repeating a course does not change the number of marginal (“C”) grades accumulated. Enrollment will be terminated if a student receives a grade of “U” or “F” in a repeated course.

Requirements for Readmission Following Suspension

When enrollment is terminated for academic reasons, students must appeal the suspension and be reinstated to continue their program of study. After notification of termination is received, the student initiates the appeal procedure by submitting a letter to the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research explaining any extenuating circumstances. The Graduate School will forward this letter to the student’s program for a recommendation.

The department/college will designate a readmission committee to consider the student’s appeal. The committee will be composed of faculty members other than the faculty member(s) who assigned the grade of “C” or “F” or “U” that resulted in the suspension. The readmission committee recommends to the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research that the student either be reinstated to or dropped from the program. The readmission committee makes a recommendation in each case on its individual merits. The Dean of Graduate Studies and Research will notify the student in writing of the decision.

Readmission After Academic Dismissal

A student who is dismissed for academic reasons will be eligible to submit a new application after two semesters or the equivalent and may be admitted only upon the recommendation of the specific Graduate Program Coordinator/Department Chair/Dean and with the approval of the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Research. While on academic dismissal, students are not eligible to take courses. Specific program requirements may supersede this policy statement.

Certificate Programs

Fully admitted students in Post-Baccalaureate, Certificate programs will become academically ineligible to continue in such or in other approved certificate program if the student:

  1. Receives a grade of U or F;
  2. Receives more than two (2) C grades; or
  3. Fails to maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0.

Denial of Enrollment

Winston-Salem State University reserves the right to deny the enrollment of any student, even though the student has met the minimum grade point average required, if it is apparent from the student’s academic record of required courses that the student will not be able to meet the graduation requirements.

Appeal Procedures

Any student or applicant may appeal any decision affecting his/her status as a graduate student. Initial appeals should be presented to the appropriate academic officials: for academic appeals, first, to the department chair, and then to the divisional dean if the chair’s decision is unsatisfactory to the student. The student’s final recourse for appeal is to submit a written petition to the Appeals Committee of the Graduate Council in care of Graduate Studies and Research. The petition shall briefly describe the facts that support his/her claim and the remedy being sought. The petition must be submitted within six calendar months of notification of the action being appealed. After receiving the petition, the chair of the Appeals Committee will schedule a hearing. A hearing will be held within 60 days of receipt of the written appeal.

Evidence will be received from the petitioner and other parties having information bearing on the appeal. The chair of the Appeals Committee shall report its decision on any appeals matter (a) directly to the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research and (b) to the Graduate Council at the first meeting following the hearing.

The Dean of Graduate Studies and Research shall advise the petitioner in writing of the decision of the Appeals Committee within 30 days after the end of the hearing. Questions about the procedure should be addressed to the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research.

Course grades are appealed through the program offering the course and then, if necessary, through the college in which the grade was assigned. Course grades may not be appealed to the Graduate Council.

Student Grievances

Graduate students have the right to have personal and academic concerns addressed by a Student Petitions Committee comprised of graduate students, faculty, and administrators. The appeals process includes personal grievances such as harassment by a university employee. Policies will be followed insofar as they are pertinent and appropriate to graduate students—including policies and information related to sexual and racial harassment, student conduct, off-campus speakers, and disabled students.

Course Enrollment for Faculty and Staff Members

Faculty and staff members who want to take graduate courses should refer to the Office of Human Resources for information regarding staff registration benefits. University employees who enroll for courses are subject to the academic policies, procedures and deadlines in effect for all graduate students.

Permission to Register for Graduate Credit

Senior undergraduates with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher must request permission to register for a graduate level course. Seniors must file a “Permission to Enroll in a Graduate Course” form with the School of Graduate Studies and Research ten (10) days before the beginning of the term of registration. Although an undergraduate student may take a graduate level course, the student is not guaranteed acceptance into the graduate program after completion of the baccalaureate degree.

Continuous Enrollment Policy

Graduate students enrolled in an advanced degree or graduate certificate program are required to be continuously enrolled, excluding summer sessions, until all requirements have been completed. For the term in which a degree is granted, graduate students must register for at least 1-3 graduate credits. If submitting a master’s degree thesis in this final term, registration must include at least 1 of the 3 credits as Thesis.

Various on-and off-campus agencies and offices have their own course-load requirements. Because the minimum registration requirements for the Graduate School may not satisfy some agency requirements, it is the student’s responsibility to register for the required number of credits.

International students should request information from the Office of International Programs about Immigration and Naturalization Service regulations and minimum credit requirements.

 Cross Listing of Undergraduate and Graduate Courses

The Graduate School requires that, if a graduate-level course is cross-listed with an undergraduate course, requirements be significantly different for graduate students enrolled in the same course. Therefore, it is the policy of Winston-Salem State University that syllabi for courses cross-listed at the undergraduate and graduate levels (courses in which both graduate and undergraduate students attend the same class but receive credit under different course numbers) clearly specify how the nature (quality and/or quantity) of the work expected of students and the criteria for evaluation of the work produced be commensurate with degree level.  Deans/Department Chairs/Graduate Program Coordinators are responsible for assuring that course syllabi within their programs satisfy this policy through timely audits of syllabi prior to distribution. 

In cross-listing undergraduate and graduate courses, the course requirements will specify any project and/or other activities required specifically of graduate students taking the course and the criteria by which student work will be judged that differentiates graduate-level from undergraduate level work. SACS Accreditation Standard 3.4.6 requires that institutions employ sound and acceptable practices for determining the amount and level of credit awarded for courses, regardless of format or delivery. There must be differences in expectations and assignments for graduate versus undergraduate credit. These courses will increase the enrollment significantly in programs where prerequisites are required prior to admission.

Current responsibility for preparation and review of syllabi content lies with the individual faculty member assigned to teach a course. Audits of the content of syllabi for a cross-listed course are necessary to assure compliance with policy. Deans/Department Chairs/Graduate Program Coordinators are responsible for assuring that such audits occur prior to distribution of the syllabi to students enrolled in cross-listed courses.  

No courses should be cross listed within the 1000-3000 range. No courses numbered below 4000 should be cross listed with graduate courses. The Graduate School should coordinate with the Departments on cross listed courses, and a mechanism should be established to verify that additional requirements for graduate students are significant and clearly specified. As will be published in the Graduate Catalog if approved, the course description for the graduate-level course should clearly explain the extra work (e.g., additional readings and papers) which will be required for a student to receive credit toward a graduate degree. The Course Approval Form, which must be approved by the Graduate School, should also include the justification for offering the undergraduate-level course and the graduate-level course as a cross listing, rather than as two separate courses. 

Official Method of Communication

The graduate school regards Winston-Salem State University assigned e-mail as an official method of communication with graduate students, staff and faculty. While e-mail is an official method of communication, it is not the only official method of communication and does not exclude alternate methods such as written or oral communications. Official university communications include, but are not limited to, enrollment information, grade information, financial information and policy, and announcements, as well as individualized notices. This system affords an efficient method for official messages to be disseminated to both on-and off-campus students. It is the responsibility of each student to frequently access their WSSU electronic mail account as it may contain an official communication from the university. All members of the university community must maintain good e-mail management habits and adhere to the standards of responsible use specified by WSSU if the institution is to maintain a quality, collaborative computing environment.