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Academic Policies & Regulations (2002-2003)

Academic Guidelines and Regulations

Academic Requirements and Satisfactory Progress

The passing grades in graduate courses are A, B, C, and S (satisfactory). Courses with the grades of D, F, U (unsatisfactory), I (incomplete), or W (withdrawal), X (audit), or XU (unsatisfactory audit) cannot be used to satisfy any of the requirements of a graduate degree. Students may not enroll in graduate courses on a pass/fail basis. Grade points are determined by equating the grade for each semester hour as follows: A with 4, B with 3, C with 2, D with 1, and F with 0. The average is computed by dividing the total number of grade points earned by the total number of graduate credits attempted. Hours for grades of S and U are not considered in calculating a GPA. (Grades of S and U are only awarded in a limited number of courses; courses for which S and U grades apply are noted in departmental course offerings.) An audited course may not be repeated for credit. Courses taken for undergraduate credit may not be repeated for graduate credit.

Admission to candidacy for a degree and the awarding of such a degree depends upon the maintenance of a grade point average of B or higher in all graduate work attempted. No substitutions may be made on the degree plan for courses in which the student earns grades below B. No course for which a student has received a grade of C or better may be repeated for credit unless the course is more than six years old. No course for which a student has received a grade of D or less may be used to satisfy degree requirements.

A course may not be used to satisfy the requirements of more than one degree.

A graduate degree will not be awarded to a student who earns grades of C or lower in more than six semester hours of graduate-level work in a program requiring 30 to 46 semester hours, or more than nine semester hours of such work in a program which requires 47 or more hours. With the approval of the departmental graduate committee, courses which are outdated, that is, are more than six years old, will not be counted against the maximum allowable hours of grades of C or lower once an extension of time has been granted.

Academic Dishonesty

Western Illinois University is dedicated to the discovery and communication of knowledge. The University can best function and accomplish its objectives in an atmosphere where high ethical standards prevail. For this reason, and to insure that the academic work of all students will be fairly evaluated, the University strongly condemns academic dishonesty. The most prevalent forms of academic dishonesty are cheating and plagiarism. Dishonesty of any kind with respect to examinations, course assignments, alteration of records, or illegal possession of examinations shall be considered cheating. It is the responsibility of the student to not only abstain from cheating, but also to avoid making it possible for others to cheat. Any student who knowingly helps another student cheat is as guilty of cheating as the student he or she assists.

The submission of the work of someone else as one's own constitutes plagiarism. Academic honesty requires that ideas or materials taken from another course for use as a course paper or project be fully acknowledged. Plagiarism is a very serious offense in whatever form it may appear, be it submission of an entire article falsely represented as the student's own, the inclusion within a piece of the student's writing of an idea for which the student does not provide sufficient documentation, or the inclusion of a documented idea not sufficiently assimilated into the student's language and style.

Contact the School of Graduate Studies ( for information on penalties for academic dishonesty and the University's appeal procedure for students charged with academic dishonesty

Admission to Candidacy

After at least nine semester hours of graduate work at the University have been completed and before the completion of 15 semester hours, the student must apply for candidacy for the graduate degree. Application forms, titled Graduate Degree Plan, can be obtained from the School of Graduate Studies. The completed Graduate Degree Plan should be filed with the chair of the departmental graduate committee who will then forward the application for approval to the School of Graduate Studies. All academic deficiencies must be removed before the student is admitted to candidacy and the student must have at least a 3.0 grade point average on all graduate course work.

In determining the student's qualifications for candidacy, the graduate school may take into consideration the student's graduate and undergraduate record and the rating on the Graduate Record Examination or other standardized tests. After weighing all relevant factors, the graduate school may: (a) approve the application, (b) defer action until certain specified requirements are met, or (c) refuse the applicant's request.

Once a student's Graduate Degree Plan has been approved by the graduate school, changes in this degree program can only be made by petition. Petition forms may be obtained in the School of Graduate Studies, and, upon completion, they are submitted to that office. A student who re-enters the University after an absence of three or more years, excluding summer sessions, must re-submit his or her Graduate Degree Plan based on the current catalog unless permission is obtained from the dean of the college in which he or she is enrolled and the School of Graduate Studies to use the original Graduate Degree Plan.

Change of Grade

When an error has been made in computing the student's final grade, the reported grade may be changed by the instructor. The student may initiate the procedure for the change by contacting the instructor. The change should be reported to the School of Graduate Studies not later than the end of the third week of the next semester. The form for requesting a change of grade can be obtained from the department chair. The department chair and academic dean countersign the form for information purposes only and forward it to the School of Graduate Studies. After the change of grade has been approved by the School of Graduate Studies, copies will be sent to the Office of the Registrar.

Courses and Credit Requirements

Courses numbered 500 and above are graduate courses. Only those advanced undergraduate courses on the 400-level listed in this catalog may be taken for graduate credit. In order that graduate credit may be earned for these 400-level courses, work in addition to that which is done for undergraduate credit must be completed. No more than one-half of the semester hours counted for the graduate degree may be earned in courses below the 500 level. No more than six semester hours of credit earned in a combination of 475G and 675 may be used in any graduate degree program.

Specific credit requirements for the completion of degrees are listed under each graduate program description. Hours earned in courses taken to satisfy deficiencies in the undergraduate program are not counted toward the total degree requirements.

Following each course title in the ensuing pages, the number in parentheses represents the credit allotment for the course in terms of semester hours.

Western Illinois University offers students and faculty the opportunity to explore experiments in learning which lie outside the existing traditional curriculum structure. Faculty may propose new and innovative courses (475G/675) for presentation to students on a trial basis with a minimum of the regular approval procedure, thereby permitting an experimental period for refinement before the course is proposed through regular channels for approval. The appropriate department chairperson should be contacted for additional information about experimental courses. Course content taken under experimental course numbers (475G/675) may not be repeated. No more than six semester hours of credit earned in a combination of 475G and 675 may be used in any graduate degree plan.

Overseas Study 679 is a course available to all departments which facilitates the registration and tracking of students who enroll for study outside the U.S. Prerequisites for this course are approval of the study abroad coordinator and the department chairperson.

Final Examinations

Each candidate for a graduate degree may be required to take a final oral and/or written examination. It may be required by the department or departments involved (see the relevant departmental section), or by the Graduate Council in special cases.

If the examining committee decides that the student has failed to pass the written and/or oral examination, it makes one of three possible decisions: (a) the candidate should not receive the graduate degree, (b) the candidate should be required to take additional courses before appearing for re-examination, or (c) the candidate should be re-examined after an interval of at least three months

Full-time/Part-time Enrollment

Full-time enrollment is nine semester hours of credit during any regular semester (fall or spring) or six semester hours of credit during the summer term. The maximum load for a graduate student during any regular semester (fall or spring) is 15 semester hours or nine semester hours during the summer term. Exceptions may be permitted by the School of Graduate Studies.

Grade Appeals

The purpose of the grade appeal policy is to assure that grades represent a fair and consistent evaluation of student performance.

A graduate student who believes he/she was unjustly evaluated in a course must submit a written request for a grade appeal no later than the end of the third week of the semester following the term in which the student received the grade in question.

The grade appeal process can be found in the academic departmental office, the School of Graduate Studies, or at

Incomplete Grade Policy

A temporary grade of I (incomplete) indicates that the student has been unable to complete course work due to circumstances beyond his or her control. With the assignment of a grade of I, the student and faculty member will agree, in writing, upon the criteria and deadline for completion of course work.

Repeatable Courses

Courses may not be repeated for credit unless the catalog course description specifies that the course is repeatable. This is not to be confused with retaking a previously passed course.

Repeating Failed Courses

A student may repeat any credit course in which a failing grade (F) was received. Both the failing grade and the grade earned by repeating the course will appear on the transcript and will be used to calculate the student's grade point average.

Retaking Passed Courses

If a student retakes a previously passed course, he or she may do so subject to the following conditions:

  1. All grades received for each course retaken will appear separately on the transcript in addition to the original grade.
  2. No honor points or credit toward graduation may be received for retaking a previously passed course.
  3. Tuition and fees must be paid for all courses retaken.
  4. The student must properly register to retake a course during registration or preregistration.

Previously passed courses are those for which any of the following grades have been received: A, B, C, D, S. If a course graded S is retaken, the second grade (assuming successful completion) will also be an S since only S and U grades can be given for such courses. For all other previously passed courses, the grade on the transcript will reflect what the student has achieved by taking the course a second time.

Time to Complete Degree/Revalidation of Courses

The work required for a graduate degree must be completed within six consecutive calendar years. Students may petition the Graduate Council for an extension of time for outdated courses. Evidence must show that such courses have been revalidated by examination or some other means as determined by the department. Graduate courses with grades of C or lower may not be revalidated. With the approval of the departmental graduate committee, courses which are outdated, that is, are more than six years old, will not be included in the calculation of grade point average once an extension of time has been granted.

Transfer Credit

Transfer credits are approved by the School of Graduate Studies or the Graduate Council only after the student has been admitted to candidacy for a degree. Petitions for transfer of graduate credit must be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, and official transcripts recording the transfer courses must be sent directly from the registrar of that institution to the School of Graduate Studies. No course credit may be transferred unless the grade received was at least a B.

If approved by his or her department, a student may transfer a maximum of six semester hours of approved graduate credit from an accredited institution in a 30-hour degree program or nine semester hours in a degree program requiring 32 or more semester hours. Students may petition to the Graduate Council, with the approval of the adviser and the departmental graduate committee, for additional hours to be accepted from other accredited institutions.

Variable Credit Courses
Courses with a variable credit designation, (e.g., Music 590, Seminar in Music [1–3]), may be taken for a different number of credit hours. Students should consult the course instructor or the department offering the course to determine the number of semester hours for which they may register. A variable credit course cannot be taken again unless it is clearly designated as repeatable.

Graduate School Policies

Catalog Use

A student who re-enters the University after an absence of three or more years, excluding summer session, must meet the requirements of the current catalog unless he or she receives written approval from the dean of the college in which he or she is enrolled to continue under an earlier catalog. This written permission must be filed in the Office of Graduate Studies prior to the submission of a graduate degree plan

Course Prerequisites/Corequisites

Prerequisite: a course that must be completed prior to enrollment in a particular course. Prerequisite may also refer to acceptable class standing, prior academic standing, permission of instructor, departmentally determined competencies, or other departmental requirements.

Corequisite: a course that must be taken simultaneously with another course.

Note: It is the responsibility of the student to comply with the prerequisites/corequisites for a course that he/she plans to take. Instructors who place the appropriate information on the syllabus and emphasize it during the first three class periods, may exclude a student from the class who does not meet the prerequisites/corequisites by sending a note to the student with a copy to the registrar within the first two weeks of the term.

Graduate Committee

Each department offering graduate work as a field of specialization has a graduate committee. Shortly after the student has been admitted to the School of Graduate Studies, and prior to his or her first registration, the student must consult the chair of his or her graduate committee. These graduate committees have general supervision over the work of their department's degree students. Until the departmental graduate committee assigns the student to an adviser, the committee assumes responsibility for the student's general orientation and program of study.


To be considered a resident, an adult student must have been a bona fide resident of Illinois for a period of at least six consecutive months immediately preceding the beginning of any term for which the individual registers at the University. The student must continue to maintain a bona fide residence in Illinois. University housing is considered a bona fide residence.

Full-time graduate students at the main campus of Western Illinois University who are residents of Clark, Lewis, or Marion counties in Missouri or Scott, Muscatine, Louisa, Des Moines, or Lee counties in Iowa are considered in-state students for one year for tuition purposes. Such students must meet residency requirements to qualify for in-state tuition after the first year if enrollment exceeds eight hours per semester. This policy is reviewed annually and is subject to change without notice.

Student Responsibility

Students are responsible for knowing degree requirements and enrolling in courses that will enable them to complete their degree programs. It is also their responsibility to know the University regulations for the standard of work required to continue in the graduate school. Degree requirements are presented in this publication. Additional details about requirements and procedures are available from the School of Graduate Studies.

Withdrawal Policy

During the first nine weeks of a semester, a graduate student may withdraw from a regularly scheduled course without academic penalty. After the ninth week of the term, no withdrawals will be permitted except for total withdrawal from the University or by petition to the Graduate Council. At this time, a student who is passing will receive a W and a student who is failing will receive an F. Withdrawal dates for irregularly scheduled courses vary according to class meeting dates.


Application for Graduation

Candidates for graduation must complete the Application for Graduation form and submit it to the School of Graduate Studies at least eight weeks before the end of the student's final term. The Departmental Clearance form is due the day final grade reports are turned in. Both forms are available from the School of Graduate Studies.

Commencement and Conferring of Degrees

Degrees are conferred in December, May, and August. Commencement exercises are held in May and December. Students wishing to attend commencement exercises must indicate this on the application for graduation.

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