Graduate Studies

Academic Guidelines and Graduate School Policies (excerpted from 2015-2016 Graduate Catalog)

PDF version of Graduate Catalog

 Academic Integrity Policy

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 ensure that the academic work of all students will be fairly evaluated, the University strongly condemns academic dishonesty. Please refer to the complete policy at wiu.edu/policies/acintegrity.php.

 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 (failure to meet the academic requirement of the course), FN (failure because the student never attended/accessed/participated), FW (failure because the student stopped attending class or completing coursework), U (unsatisfactory), I (incomplete), 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, FN, and FW 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 minimum grade point average of 3.0 (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 D or below may be used to satisfy degree requirements.

A course may not be used to satisfy the requirements of more than one degree unless the student is enrolled in an integrated baccalaureate/master’s degree program.

A graduate degree in a program requiring 30 to 46 semester hours will not be awarded to a student who earns grades of C, D, F, FN, FW, or U in more than six semester hours of graduate work, including any grades that are subsequently replaced using the grade replacement policy. A graduate degree in a program requiring 47 or more semester hours will not be awarded to a student who earns grades of C, D, F, FN, FW, or U in more than nine semester hours of graduate work, including any grades that are subsequently replaced using the grade replacement policy, with the exception of the Counseling program. The Counseling program allows no more than six semester hours of grades C, D, F, FN, FW, or U, including any grades that are subsequently replaced using the grade replacement policy. With the approval of the departmental graduate committee, courses that are outdated (more than 6 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 Workload for Graduate Students (Recommended)

Graduate students should be aware that academic excellence and scholastic achievement usually require a significant investment of time in study, research, and out-of-class projects. Students should expect that the academic workload at the graduate level per semester hour exceeds that of the undergraduate level per semester hour. Students should plan coursework accordingly with their academic advisor. Workload expectations are an estimate of the amount of work needed for an average student to be successful in graduate coursework. Course grades are based on the quality of the work submitted, not on hours of effort. Workload expectations per semester hour do not vary with the method of delivery of the course or the length of the academic term.

  1. In general, students should plan to devote between 4–6 hours outside of class for each hour in class. Thus, students with a 9–semester–hour course load should schedule between 36-54 hours weekly for completing outside-of-class reading, study, and homework assignments.
  2. It is recommended that full-time students (taking 9 or more semester hours) not work more than 20 hours per week (on or off campus, including assistantship hours).
  3. For 400G-level courses, workload expectations and learning objectives will differ for students enrolled for graduate credit vs. undergraduate credit.

Recommended Course Load if Working

Students who are employed (on or off campus, including assistantship hours) should discuss this with their advisor during coursework planning and consider reducing their course loads (semester hours), depending upon their study habits, learning abilities, time management skills, other commitments, and course work requirements. To determine the course load that is most appropriate for you, please refer to the recommendations indicated below:

  • Working more than 40 hrs per week: 3-4 semester hours
  • Working 30-40 hrs per week: 3-6 semester hours
  • Working 13-20 hrs per week: 6-9 semester hours

 Admission to Candidacy and Degree Plans

Doctorate

Admission to candidacy in a doctoral program occurs when a student has completed all of the requirements for the degree up to and including qualifying assessment; the student is said to be a candidate for the doctoral degree at this time.

Prior to the completion of 21 semester hours of graduate work at the University, the student must file the Graduate Degree Plan. The Graduate Degree Plan form can be obtained from the School of Graduate Studies or online at wiu.edu/grad.The completed degree plan should be filed with the chair of the departmental graduate committee who will then forward the document for approval to the School of Graduate Studies.

Once a student's Graduate Degree Plan has been approved by the graduate school, changes in the degree program can only be made by petition. Petition forms may be obtained in the School of Graduate Studies or online at wiu.edu/grad and, upon completion, 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 from the School of Graduate Studies to use the original Graduate Degree Plan.

Master’s and Specialist

Prior to the completion of 21 semester hours of graduate work at the University, 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 or online at wiu.edu/grad.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 coursework. Approval of the degree plan signifies admission to degree candidacy.

In determining the student's qualifications for candidacy, 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 or online at wiu.edu/grad and, upon completion, 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 from the School of Graduate Studies to use the original Graduate Degree Plan.

 Application for Graduation and Commencement

All students must file a formal application for graduation. Deadlines for submitting the application for graduation are as follows: spring semester, March 10; summer session, June 10; and fall semester, October 10. Applications received after these dates will be automatically moved to the next semester. The graduation application form can be found at wiu.edu/grad.

Degrees are conferred in December, May, and August. Commencement ceremonies are held in May (Macomb and Quad Cities campuses) and December (Macomb campus only). Students wishing to attend commencement must indicate this on the application for graduation. All students completing graduation requirements will be issued a diploma.

 Catalog Use

A student who re-enters the University after an absence of three or more years, excluding summer sessions, 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.

 Change of Grade

When an error has been made in computing a 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 no 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.

Change of Status or Program

Should a student wish to change from his/her current graduate status to become a non-degree, degree-seeking, second bachelor’s, or post-baccalaureate certificate student, the Change of Status form (wiu.edu/grad/changestatus) must be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies. If changing to a different degree program, the student must also submit any required admission documents (wiu.edu/grad/apchecklist) before admission consideration will be given.

 Continuous Enrollment in Thesis, Dissertation or Exit Option

Most students, both full- and part-time, prefer to pursue an advanced degree by taking classes continuously (e.g., at least one course every fall and spring semester until completion). Thus, it is important that students file degree plans in a timely manner and, for those who interrupt their program of study, to note the maximum time period allowed for fulfilling all requirements for the degree sought. (See section entitled “Time to Complete Degree/Revalidation of Courses.”) 

Once a student has begun work on a thesis, dissertation, or other exit option, it is expected that such work should progress continuously through each regular academic semester. A student working on an exit option should enroll in the course(s) for which academic credit is given for that option. Once all other degree requirements as stipulated on the degree plan are met, students who have an incomplete grade in exit option courses must maintain their enrollment with the University in order to make use of academic and non-academic services (e.g., laboratories, library, faculty access). Enrollment must be maintained every semester during which a student is continuing to complete an exit option. Students enrolling in no other credit hours who have not completed exit option requirements in their program must enroll in UNIV 695 (maximum 1 s.h. per semester) until a final grade is received for the exit option activity and the degree is completed, or the time period to complete the degree is exceeded. The requirement for continuous registration does not apply during a summer term. (See Educational Leadership department for policies on continual enrollment for the Ed.D. degree.) Students must complete a Request to Enroll in UNIV 695, Continuing Enrollment, and submit the form to the School of Graduate Studies to request initial registration for UNIV 695.

Students seeking an exception to this policy should submit a petition to the School of Graduate Studies.

 Failure to Register for UNIV 695: After the student has requested registration for one semester of UNIV 695, the Office of the Registrar will automatically register and assess tuition and fees for each semester of UNIV 695 until continuous registration is interrupted. Continuous registration is interrupted by completion of the degree, non-payment of the tuition bill, or expiration of the time limit to complete the program of study. All students who meet the criteria delineated in this policy must initiate continuous enrollment registration through the School of Graduate Studies or petition for a leave of absence from the University. Any student who fails to initiate registration or interrupts continuous registration without obtaining a leave of absence from the School of Graduate Studies must enroll in one credit hour of UNIV 695 for each of the delinquent semesters upon re-enrollment and/or reinstatement, or as a condition of having the degree conferred. Any student requesting reinstatement in a degree program must submit an online application for re-admission to the School of Graduate Studies.

 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 as stated in the University catalog and course syllabus for all courses he/she plans to take. Instructors may withdraw a student who does not meet course prerequisites/corequisites at any time from course registration through the 100% refund/credit period by sending the student written notification (e-mail or letter) with a copy to the Registrar. The written notification must include the reason why the student is being withdrawn from the course and must allow the student five working days to respond to the instructor to determine if the prerequisites/corequisites have been or will be satisfied. After the five working days, unless otherwise notified by the instructor, the Registrar will drop the course from the student’s schedule and send an updated schedule confirmation. Departments have the opportunity to designate specific course sections as having enforced prerequisites. During registration, these courses will be identified on STARS and students who do not meet the requirements will be deleted prior to the first day of class.

 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 for graduate credit to be earned for these 400-level courses, work additional 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.

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 are outside the existing traditional curriculum structure. Faculty may propose new and innovative courses (475G/675) for presentation to students on a trial basis. 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 program.

Overseas Study 679, a course available to all departments, facilitates the registration and tracking of students who enroll for study outside the U.S. Prerequisites for this course are approved by the study abroad coordinator and the department chairperson. No more than six semester hours of Overseas Study 679 may be applied to a graduate degree.

Only doctoral students are eligible to enroll in courses numbered 700 and above.

 Document Policies

A transcript of a student's record received by WIU from another university or college will not be forwarded to a third institution. The student should request another transcript from the original institution.

Admission test scores for the GRE, GMAT, and MAT are not forwarded to another university. The student should request test scores directly from Educational Testing Service (GRE or GMAT) or Pearson Education Incorporated (MAT).

  Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (Notification to Students) Policy

Western Illinois University, in full compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, shall make educational records available to students upon request. Likewise, in accordance with the law, individually identifiable educational records will not be released to other than authorized individuals without written consent of the student. Students have the right to file complaints with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Office concerning alleged failures by the institution to comply with the Act.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) afford students certain rights with respect to their education records. (An “eligible student” under FERPA is a student who is 18 years of age or older or who attends a postsecondary institution.) These rights include:

1. The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days after the day Western Illinois University receives a request for access. A student should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate official, a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. The school official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the school official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.

2. The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the student believes is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.

A student who wishes to ask the school to amend a record should write the school official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed, and specify why it should be changed.

If the school decides not to amend the record as requested, the school will notify the student in writing of the decision and of the student’s right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.

3. The right to provide written consent before the university discloses personally identifiable information (PII) from the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.

The school discloses education records without a student’s prior written consent under the FERPA exception for disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by Western Illinois University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person serving on the board of trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee. A school official also may include a volunteer or contractor outside of Western Illinois University who performs an institutional service or function for which the school would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of the school with respect to the use and maintenance of PII from education records, such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent or a student who is volunteering to assist another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for Western Illinois University.

Upon request, the school also discloses education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll. The Access to and Release of Student Information Policy (wiu.edu/policies) includes additional disclosures that are permitted by FERPA without prior written consent.

4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Western Illinois University to comply with the requirements by FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC  20202 

Western Illinois University considers the following categories to be directory information, and, as such, may release it to any or all inquirers in such forms as news releases, directories, or computer address lists:

  1. the student's name,
  2. school and home address,
  3. WIU email address,
  4. telephone number,
  5. major field of study,
  6. dates of attendance,
  7. full- or part-time status,
  8. classification,
  9. degrees, honors, and awards received (including Dean's List) and date granted,
  10. anticipated graduation date,
  11. most recent previous educational agency or institution attended,
  12. participation in officially recognized activities and sports, and,
  13. for members of athletic teams, weight and height.

Students who do not wish this information to be released may prevent such release by submitting an Exclusion of Directory Information Form to the Office of the Registrar, Sherman Hall 110. The request for exclusion of directory information will be honored indefinitely; however, it does not affect directory information already published or released. By requesting exclusion of directory information, students should be aware that all future requests for this information by anyone other than school officials with legitimate educational interests will be refused.

 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 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 a period of time as designated by departmental policy.

 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 Policy

The purpose of the grade appeal policy is to ensure 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 discuss the matter privately with the professor involved by the end of the second week of the regular semester (fall or spring) following the term in which the student received the grade in question. Grade appeal hearings are normally heard during the fall/spring semesters, unless all parties agree to an earlier hearing. In the event the student is unable to contact the professor by the beginning of the third week of the regular semester, the student should contact the department chairperson in order to set up a meeting with the faculty member (or to meet with the department chairperson if the faculty member is no longer on campus). The complete grade appeal process can be found at wiu.edu/policies/gradeapp.php.

 Graduate Committees–Departmental

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 or assigned academic advisor. Graduate committees have general supervision over the work of their department's degree students. Until the Departmental Graduate Committee assigns the student to an advisor, the committee assumes responsibility for the student's general orientation and program of study.

 Incomplete Grade Policy

A temporary grade of “I” (incomplete) indicates that the student has been unable to complete coursework due to circumstances beyond his or her control. A request for an incomplete grade at the graduate level may be approved at the discretion of the faculty member. Students failing to complete the required coursework within one year will receive a grade of “F.” Faculty members may approve an extension of time for the incomplete. Some academic departments have automatically extended their capstone/exit option courses (i.e. thesis, applied project, etc.) and students should contact their academic advisor to identify courses with automatic extensions already in place. Completion of a graduate degree will not be allowed with incomplete grades posted Fall 2006 or after on the transcript.

 Integrated Baccalaureate and Master’s Degree Programs

An integrated baccalaureate and master’s degree program provides the opportunity for outstanding undergraduates to earn both degrees in five years. Typically, a baccalaureate degree requires four years to complete and a master’s degree requires an additional two years. However, the integrated degree programs are intended to be accomplished over a period of five years. In addition to allowing students to earn both degrees a year early, the integrated program may include additional opportunities to participate in a variety of experiential educational activities, such as a master’s project or thesis.

Please go to Integrated Programs for details and program offerings.

 Oral English Proficiency Appeal

Students who have complaints concerning the oral English proficiency of faculty providing classroom instruction should contact the department chairperson or the immediate supervisor of the appropriate faculty member. The complaint should be as specific as possible and should include a written summary.

All complaints shall be investigated by the department chairperson including, but not limited to, classroom visitation. If the department chairperson finds the faculty member's oral English proficiency is satisfactory, he/she will so notify the student.

Students may appeal the department chairperson's satisfactory evaluation of oral English proficiency to the appropriate dean who shall investigate the complaint. If the dean finds the faculty member's oral English proficiency is satisfactory, the dean will so notify the student. In the event of such a finding, the decision of the dean shall be final.

If the department chairperson or dean finds the faculty member's oral English proficiency is unsatisfactory, a recommendation shall be submitted to the Academic Vice President for consideration. The Academic Vice President will notify the student and the faculty member of his/her decision.

At all levels of this procedure, the student's identity will remain confidential.

 Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Programs

Western Illinois University offers post-baccalaureate certificates in several disciplines. Please refer to the appropriate section at the back of the catalog for details and program offerings.

 Repeatable Courses

Some courses are designated in the catalog description as repeatable for credit. These courses are not eligible for grade replacement.

Repeating a Course for Grade Replacement

If a graduate course not designated in the catalog as repeatable for credit is retaken, the following policy regarding repeating a course for grade replacement will apply:

  1. A student must petition the School of Graduate Studies for permission to repeat a course before the beginning date of the course in which a grade was earned previously in order for this policy to apply to that course.
  2. The repeated course must be taken from Western Illinois University.
  3. A course may not be repeated more than one time (taking it a maximum of two times). In addition, no more than 6 total credit hours of graduate-level work may be repeated under this policy in a program requiring 30–46 semester hours. No more than 9 total credit hours of graduate-level work may be repeated under this policy in a program requiring 47 or more hours, with the exception of the Counseling program, which allows no more than 6 semester hours of grades to be replaced. Subsequent attempts to repeat a course will not result in credit or honor point replacement.
  4. Credit and applicable honor points will be awarded only once, the final time, for a repeated course. Only the grade for the most recent class will be used for the grade point average calculation.
  5. All prior enrollments and grades earned will remain on the permanent academic record and will carry an indicator that the course has been repeated.
  6. The semester hours from all graduate work in which grades C, D, F, FN, FW, or U were earned, including those that are subsequently replaced under this grade replacement policy, count toward the maximum number of allowable hours of C, D, F, FN, FW, or U that may be earned in graduate level work, as described in the “Academic Requirements and Satisfactory Progress” section of this catalog.
  7. This policy does not supersede the policies on Incompletes or Withdrawals.
  8. Once the degree is conferred and a student has graduated, no coursework toward that degree may be subsequently repeated under the provisions of this policy.
  9. The student may not replace a grade of “F” under this policy if the student was assigned the grade as a result of an Academic Integrity violation. If the course is retaken, 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.
  10. This policy may not be used to replace a grade on a comprehensive exam, or an exit option course such as a dissertation, thesis, or project.

Tuition and applicable fees must be paid for all courses retaken. Students should be aware that many graduate and professional schools recalculate grade point averages taking into account every grade that appears on the transcript. Students who are receiving financial aid must consider the impact of repeating classes on their eligibility for financial aid for future semesters.

Courses taken prior to Fall 1978 are not eligible to be repeated for grade replacement.

 Research – Human Subjects

Any research that involves human subjects, whether funded or not, that is undertaken by WIU faculty, academic staff, or students, or supported by Western Illinois University, must be conducted ethically and is subject to the Institutional Review Board (IRB) policies on human subjects research.

Research conducted as part of a classroom assignment must adhere to the “Best Practices in Non-Reviewable, Classroom-Based Research” listed in the WIU IRB Policy and Procedures for Human Subjects Research, Revised November 2014. Human subjects research as defined by the Common Rule is:

  • “Research,” as defined by DHHS, is a systematic investigation, including research development, testing, and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge.
  • “Research,” as defined by FDA, means any experiment that involves a test article and one or more human subjects.

If a research protocol meets either of these definitions, it must be reviewed by the WIU IRB prior to the research being conducted. Additional information can be found at wiu.edu/sponsored_projects/compliance/index.php.

 Residency

To be considered a resident, an adult student must be a bona fide resident of Illinois. In the case of adult students who reside with their parent(s), the student will be considered a resident if one of the parents has established and is maintaining a bona fide residence in Illinois.

Students residing in Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin will be assessed the in-state rate for tuition.

This policy is reviewed annually and is subject to change without notice. For the complete policy, refer to the Residency Status Regulations at wiu.edu/board_of_trustees/regulations/residency.php.

 Retaking Failed Courses

A student may repeat any credit course in which a failing grade (F, FN, or FW) was received. If the student successfully petitions to the School of Graduate Studies to repeat this course for grade replacement, that policy will apply. Otherwise, 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 successfully petitions to the School of Graduate Studies to repeat a passed course for grade replacement, that policy will apply. Otherwise, if a student decides that his/her mastery of a previously passed course will be improved by retaking the 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, or 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.

 Right of Academic Appeal

Graduate students have the right to appeal the implementation of any University regulation that relates to admission, academic standards, assistantships, or graduation by submitting a petition form(wiu.edu/grad/petition)to the Graduate Council. Such appeals must be based upon the existence of unusual or extenuating circumstances that have prevented the student from achieving the normal University standard, and evidence of these unusual or extenuating circumstances must be presented with the appeal. Such appeals must be submitted to the Graduate School. The appeal process can be found at wiu.edu/grad.

 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 each student’s responsibility to know the University regulations for the standard of work required to continue in graduate school. Degree requirements are presented in this publication. Additional details about requirements and procedures are available from the School of Graduate Studies or at wiu.edu/grad

 Thesis/Dissertation Committees

The thesis committee shall be comprised of a minimum of three departmental faculty, of which one shall serve as chair. The chair must be a full member of the graduate faculty. Other committee members must be full or associate members of the graduate faculty. Additional graduate faculty can be added to the committee per departmental policy.

The dissertation committee composition is defined by each individual doctoral program. Contact the appropriate departmental chair/program director to determine membership rules for dissertation committees.

Thesis/Dissertation committees must be approved by the School of Graduate Studies. Committee Approval forms can be found at wiu.edu/graduate_studies/current_students.

 Thesis/Dissertation Preparation

WIU theses and dissertations reflect on the student, the department, and the University. Thus, it is in all our interests that they are of the highest quality and format. Format, style, method of presenting bibliographies, etc., vary among departments depending on the subject matter and field of the thesis/dissertation. In spite of the differences, however, some uniformity is expected in all theses/dissertations submitted. Guidelines for thesis/dissertation preparation can be found at wiu.edu/graduate_studies/thesis_and_dissertation/.

The original thesis/dissertation will be permanently housed in the University Archives and cataloged so that it will be available to researchers. A copy of the thesis will be available via interlibrary loan upon request.

Deadline for submission is the Friday before finals week in the spring and fall semesters and the Friday before the final week of the summer session. Theses and dissertations submitted after this date will be considered for the next semester. More information can be found at wiu.edu/graduate_studies/thesis_and_dissertation.

 Time to Complete Degree/Revalidation of Courses

The work required for a graduate degree must be completed within six consecutive calendar years for master’s and specialist students and eight consecutive calendar years for doctoral students, including transfer courses. 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. Transfer courses must be revalidated by instructors from the credit-granting institution. Graduate courses with grades of C or lower may not be revalidated. With the approval of the departmental graduate committee, courses that are outdated (more than six years old for master’s and specialist degrees or more than eight years old for doctoral degrees) 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 degree plan has been approved. 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 advisor and the departmental graduate committee, for additional hours to be accepted from other accredited institutions. Coursework that was used to meet degree requirements for a master’s degree at a different institution will not be allowed to transfer to Western Illinois University.

 Undergraduate Enrollment in Graduate-Level Courses

Under certain circumstances, an undergraduate student may enroll in graduate-level courses for either graduate or undergraduate credit. Regulations governing graduate course offerings for undergraduate credit are as follows:

  1.  The student must be of senior classification and in good academic standing.
  2.  The student must apply to take the course for undergraduate credit through the Office of the Registrar, Sherman 110, prior to enrolling in the course. A form, requiring the signatures of the advisor and the Registrar, must be completed by the student (wiu.edu/registrar/forms).
  3.  The student must satisfy the prerequisites of the course.
  4.  No more than nine semester hours of graduate-level courses (numbered 500 and above) may be taken for undergraduate credit.
  5.  These courses may not be used for a future graduate program unless approved as a bridge course for integrated degree programs.

Regulations governing graduate course offerings for graduate credit are as follows:

  1. The student must be of senior classification.
  2.  The student must fulfill prerequisites of the course.
  3.  The student must apply to take the course for graduate credit through the Office of the Registrar, Sherman 110. A form, requiring the signatures of designated authorities in the offices of the Registrar and Graduate Studies, must be completed by the student (wiu.edu/registrar/forms). The request form must be filed in the Graduate School prior to enrolling in the course.
  4.  The student must file a graduation application in the Office of the Registrar and an application for admission to the School of Graduates Studies prior to enrolling in graduate-level courses for graduate credit.
  5.  The student must have a grade point average of 3.0 or better if the student is a first-semester senior and must meet admission requirements to graduate school if the student is a second-semester senior.
  6.  The student may enroll in a maximum of three graduate-level courses for graduate credit unless an exception is made by the designated authority in the Graduate School.

Regulations regarding bridge course offerings for integrated degree programs are as follows:

  1. The student must be of senior classification and have filed an application for graduation in the Office of the Registrar.
  2.  The student must have fulfilled all prerequisites for the course.
  3.  The student must have applied to the School of Graduate Studies and have been accepted into an integrated degree program.
  4.  A form must be completed by the student (wiu.edu/registrar/forms). This form requires the signatures of the undergraduate academic advisor, the graduate department chairperson, and designated authorities in the offices of the Registrar and Graduates Studies.
  5.  The completed form must be filed in the School of Graduate Studies prior to enrolling in the course for bridge (“B”) credit.

 Variable Credit Courses

Courses with a variable credit designation (e.g., Music 599, Seminar in Music [1–3, repeatable to 6]) 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.

 Withdrawal Policy

A symbol of “W” on a student transcript indicates official withdrawal from a course. A student may withdraw from a course during the first 10 weeks of a semester. After the first 10 weeks, individual courses may not be dropped. For academic courses of an irregular length, the withdrawal date shall be 0.6 of the length of the course. Once final examinations have begun, a student may not withdraw from that term except for exceptional and documented reasons.

It is the student’s responsibility to withdraw from a class using their STARS account. Any request for a late withdrawal must be submitted in writing with appropriate supporting documentation to the Graduate Council.

The full policy may be found online at wiu.edu/policies/withdraw.php.