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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.

(Information below is submit to change with the most recently published Graduate Bulletin)

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 six semester hours of credit earned 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

All students auditing a course will pay the regular course audit fee as shown under the heading "Fees and Expenses".  No credit will be awarded for courses audited.  Audited courses will be counted as part of the stated maximum load for a semester of term.  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 AU should be entered on the student's permanent record.  Permission of professor is required for audit.

Attendance Policy

There is no formal attendance policy for graduate level courses as class attendance is a critical component of learning and students are expected to attend and participate fully in all scheduled class meetings and activities.  Any attendance policy is established by the faculty of record for a given class.  Students who do not attend traditional classes or participate in online courses during the first eleven class days of a fall or spring semester, or the first five class days of a five week term, will be assigned a grade of WN - withdrawal for non-attnedance, and are withdrawn from the class.  The WN grade does not impact GPA calculation.  Students who initiate attendance but discontinue attendance or completion of assignments without officially dropping a class are assigned a grade of FN - failure for non-attendance.  The FN grade is equivalent to a grade of F for calculating GPA and academic standing. Academic standing, not attendance, determines whether or not the student is eligible for continued enrollment (see probation, suspension and readmission of suspended students).

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

Students have access to view official grades at the end of each semester and each summer term in which they are enrolled.  Arkansas State University is on a four-point grading system.  The grading system includes permanent letter grades and grad point values as follows:







for outstanding achievement




for less than outstanding but demonstrating better performance than the normal competency required for satisfactory progress toward graduation




for performance that demonstrates the normal competency required for satisfactory progress toward graduation




for performance that does not meet minimum course requirements and for which no degree credit is justified




for satisfactory performance




not requiring letter grades



no credit

for not meeting minimum degree credit standards for courses not requiring letter grades


In addition to the grades listed above, the grading system utilizes the following:







for meeting all course requirements except taking examinations and completing written papers



In progress

Thesis and Dissertation only




for students’ inability to complete all course requirements for reasons beyond their control. (An incomplete grade not removed within one semester will be recorded as an F.)




for dropping an individual course OR for complete withdrawal from the university



administrative drop

dropped for non-attendance during the first eleven days of class




failure to attend and not withdraw from the University


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.  Grades of P, CR, and NC are not assigned grade points, and hours associated with these grades are not used in computing grade point averages.

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.

NOTE:  Any "Grade Change Report" form will be accepted only if submitted prior to the close of the semester immediately following the one in which the original grade was recorded.  However, the "WN" grade may not be appealed.

Eligibility for Degree

A cumulative graduate GPA of 3.00 or higher on all coursework used toward the graduate degree is required and a cumulative graduate GPA of 3.00 or higher on all coursework taken from the academic college of the graduate degree sought is required before a graduate degree can be awarded.


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


Any graduate student who receives a grade of "F" in any graduate-level course will be ineligible to register for further graduate work.  A grade of "I" will be converted to "F" if it is not removed before the last day to withdraw during the next semester in which the student is enrolled at the university or within one calendar year if the student does not enroll.

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 (Other Than Only Enrolled Course)

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.  Students enrolled in only one course cannot drop that course, rather they must withdraw from the university.

Withdrawal from the University (Including Dropping Only Enrolled Course)

Students withdrawing from the university during a session must obtain a withdrawal card from Advisement Services.  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 or the full summer term (which includes May and August interim) 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 full-time.  Graduate students enrolled in an accelerated on-line program are considered full-time when enrolled in at least three graduate hours.

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 submit an intent to graduate notification and pay the graduation fee at the time they enroll for the final registration period before completing all requirements for the degree, except those students who expect to complete the requirements for the degree during the second summer term must submit an intent not later that the registration date for the first summer term.  If the student is unable to graduate at the end of the semester for which application has been made, a new intent to graduate notification and fee must be submitted if the degree is not completed in the term within which the original application was filed.  Acceptance of candidates' intentions will be determined by the students' advisers and the graduate dean.

Theses and Dissertations

Some graduate programs require a thesis or dissertation, in others they are optional.  Students who are writing theses or dissertations must form a committee and have their thesis or dissertation proposals approved at least one semester before they defend thesis or dissertations.  A student will not be permitted to register for thesis or dissertation hours until the Graduate School has received Committee and Proposal Approval forms from the student's department.

Approval of Thesis or Dissertation Research by the IRB and Other Research Compliance Committees

Under federal regulation, all institutions receiving funds from any of 16 federal agencies, including USDA, NASA, NSF, EPA, Department of Education, and NIH, are required to establish institutional review boards to monitor all funded research involving humans.  Human research is defined as any systematic activity involving the collection and/or analysis of data on human subjects for the purpose of advancing generalizable knowledge, unless this activity is specifically exempted by current federal regulations.  It is the policy of this university to apply the regulations to all research and research related activities, funded or not, which involve humans.  Thesis or dissertation research involving human subjects is included.  Copies of the Arkansas State University Institutional Review Board Information Packet are available in the Office of Research and Technology Transfer.

Research involving live animals, hazardous materials, recombinant DNA, or radioactive materials may also require approval by the appropriate compliance committee.  Contact the Research Compliance Officer in the Office of Research and Technology Transfer for additional information.

Time to Degree

The time allowed for completion of the master's degree is six years, exclusive of time spent in the armed forces of the University States.  Graduate work completed prior to six years from the students' date of completion of the degree cannot be used to satisfy degree requirements.  Transfer credit taken prior to admission at Arkansas State University will be included in the six year limit.