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Academic Policies

The Graduate School academic policies are listed below, for more information regarding our policies, view your specific Graduate Bulletin.

Graduate Student Advisor

Notification of admission to the Graduate School will include assignment of an advisor. Graduate advisors are responsible for the following:

  • Helping students plan a unified and balanced program of graduate work adapted to the students’ particular interests, needs, and abilities, and directed toward the student's field of specialization or advising on nondegree\status matters.
  • Recommending students for admission to candidacy for the degree for degree seeking students.

Graduate Courses and Credit

Graduate credit will be given only for courses described in this bulletin under the heading Graduate Course Descriptions. Master’s degree candidates must complete a minimum of 18 semester hours in courses numbered at the 6000 level. For master’s degrees requiring more than 30 hours, at least 50 percent of the credit hours must be completed at the 6000 level. A course completed at the 4000 level for undergraduate credit cannot be taken again at the 5000 level for graduate credit. No more than three semester hours of credit earned through independent study may be applied toward a graduate degree. Graduate students enrolled in courses numbered 5000 through 5999 must do special work in addition to that required of undergraduates in the courses numbered 4000 through 4999. A masters degree program traditionally consists of courses numbered 5000 and 6000. Courses numbered 7000 and above are normally reserved for specialist and doctoral programs. Check the particular degree program section for program specific restrictions or deviations.

Special Studies Courses

Special courses of study may, upon request, be organized in any college at any level of study to meet the needs of interested groups. The second digit of the course numbers for such courses, which must be approved through normal university curriculum channels, will always be 9. The letter prefix will show the department offering the course, the first digit will indicate the level of study, and the last digit will show the hours of credit. Credit earned in some special studies courses may not be applicable toward a degree.

Auditing Courses

Except for graduate assistants, students enrolled in a minimum of 12 semester hours during a semester will be permitted to audit a maximum of three semester hours without charge. All other students auditing a course will pay the regular course audit fee as shown under the heading Fees and Expenses. Only those persons who have been admitted to the Graduate School are eligible to audit a graduate course. Auditors are expected to meet all requirements for a course other than taking examinations and completing formal written papers. The names of those persons registered to audit a course will appear on the class roster, and at the end of the enrollment period the professor will determine whether the audit designation should be entered on the student’s permanent record. Permission of professor is required for audit.

Transfer Credit

Subject to the approval of the student's adviser and the graduate dean, a student who has a "B" grade average or above in graduate work from another approved institution may be permitted to transfer a maximum of nine semester hours of credit. Only work with "B" or better grades earned at an accredited graduate school and acceptable toward a graduate degree at that institution will be considered for transfer. No correspondence courses may be transferred.

Grading System

The letters, A, B, C, F, P, I, and CR are used in grading, indicating the following qualities:

  • A: Excellent, B: Good, C: Fair, F: Failure
  • P: Pass, I: Incomplete
  • CR: Credit Awarded, NC: No Credit (thesis/dissertation work)

For the purpose of computing cumulative and collective grade averages, grade points are assigned as follows:

  • A: 4, B: 3, C: 2, F: 0

Students’ grade point averages are computed by multiplying the number of hours credit of each grade by the grade points assigned to that grade and dividing the sum of these several products by the total number of hours in which the students were enrolled.

Except in the case of dissertation, thesis, creative thesis, exhibition thesis, or field study, an incomplete grade not removed within one semester unless extenuating circumstances are provided in writing to the Graduate School, will be recorded as “F.” 

No grade below “C” will be accepted for graduate credit.


Any graduate student whose cumulative GPA on all courses taken for graduate credit falls below 3.00 will be placed on probation. Students may remove probation by raising their cumulative GPA to 3.00 or better. Failure to make a grade of "B" or better in each course taken while on probation will result in suspension from further graduate work if the student's cumulative GPA continues below 3.00. A graduate student on probation may not hold an assistantship and is not eligible for candidacy or graduation.


Any graduate student who receives a grade of "F" in any graduate-level course will be ineligible to register for further graduate work.

Readmission of Suspended Students

After one regular semester or full summer in suspended status, students may be readmitted on probation, but only upon recommendation of their adviser and department chair and with the approval of the dean of the Graduate School. Readmission to Graduate School does not imply readmission to a particular degree program. The student must reapply to the program.

Dropping Individual Courses

The final date for dropping individual courses is the last day of the 10th week of classes in a semester, the 38th class day in a ten-week term (class that spans two five-week terms), the 26th class day in an eight-week term, the 17th class day in a five-week term, the 10th class day in a three-week term, and the sixth class day in a two-week term. Students who drop individual courses will receive a grade of W in the courses.

Withdrawal from the University

Students withdrawing from the university during a session must obtain a withdrawal card from the Counseling Center. Approval must be secured from the individuals and offices listed on the withdrawal card. This process must be completed two business days prior to the beginning of the final examination period in order to have the official date of withdrawal recorded on the permanent record. Grades earned in courses completed prior to official withdrawal from the university (i.e.,short courses) will not be affected by that withdrawal. Students who cease to attend classes without processing an official withdrawal automatically receive an F in all courses in which they were enrolled.

Graduate Student Load

The load of full-time graduate students may not exceed 15 semester hours, including any undergraduate courses, per regular semester and 14 semester hours cumulative over all summer terms without special overload permission. The total academic load resulting from concurrent enrollments at Arkansas State University and other institutions shall not exceed the maximum loads stated above. Nine graduate hours or more for Fall and Spring terms are considered full-time; six hours or more cumulative over all summer terms are considered fulltime.

Graduate Assistant Load

Master and Specialist level graduate assistants must complete a minimum of six hours of graduate credit during a regular semester and will not be permitted to enroll for more than 12 hours of credit including both graduate and undergraduate courses. Students enrolling for fewer than six hours of graduate credit in a regular semester are not eligible to hold a graduate assistantship. Graduate assistants will be permitted to enroll in a maximum of seven semester hours at the graduate level in a five-week summer term. They must complete at least three semester hours at the graduate level in the combined summer terms if they hold an assistantship during any summer term. All Doctoral level graduate assistants are required to take a minimum of nine credit hours during the regular semester and three credit hours during each summer term an assistantship is held.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate assistantships are available to a limited number of qualified applicants in all departments offering graduate degrees. Assistantships are available for both regular semesters and summer school. Application for an assistantship must be made through the chair of the department in which the student wishes to major. No application for assistantship will be considered unless the applicant has also applied for admission to the Graduate School. A graduate assistantship carries with it a waiver of out-of-state tuition. Doctoral graduate assistantship carries a tuition scholarship covering the cost of tuition. To be awarded an assistantship, a graduate student must have been admitted to a graduate degree program at Arkansas State. A graduate student whose GPA drops below 3.00 is placed on probation and is not eligible to hold a graduate assistantship. The master and specialist level assistantship will have a maximum time limit of five semesters. An exception is made for students admitted based on a bachelor's degree rather than a master's degree to the Ed.S. in Psychology and Counseling; these students will have a maximum time limit of eight semesters. Ed.D. and Ph.D. assistantships will have a maximum time limit of eight semesters.

Graduate School Appeals and Grievance Processes

Graduate student appeals and grievance processes are outlined in the ASU Student Handbook available in the Office of Student Affairs. All grievances should first be taken to the student's graduate adviser, who will inform the student of the correct procedures to follow. Following proper channels for appeals and grievances is essential to obtain a timely and efficient resolution.

Application for the Degree

All candidates are required to make formal application for the degree and pay the graduation fee at the time they enroll for the final registration period before completing all requirements for the degree, except that students who expect to complete the requirements for the degree during the second summer term must make application for the degree not later than the registration date for the first summer term. A new application must be filed if the degree is not completed in the term within which the original application was filed. Acceptance of candidates’ applications will be determined by the students’ advisers and the graduate dean.