Academic Policies :: Enrollment Status :: Participation and Contribution Policy :: Course Load :: Grading System :: Student Status Change :: Leave of Absence:: Withdrawal From College :: Re-Admission :: Policies Governing Academic Matters :: Academic Advising :: Grade of Incomplete:: Audit :: Independent Study:: Graduation:: Access to Student Records :: Withdrawal From Classes:: Academic Appeals :: Online Orientation
Students are responsible for knowing the academic requirements, policies and procedures presented in the Stephens College Graduate & Continuing Studies Catalog.
NEW STUDENTS entering Stephens College Graduate & Continuing Studies will be expected to meet the degree requirements in effect upon their initial course enrollment. For the CONTINUING STUDENT in Stephens College Graduate & Continuing Studies, this edition of the catalog replaces earlier catalogs for policies and procedures. Students should retain the copy of the catalog that lists the degree requirements at the time of their initial course enrollment. These are the requirements that the student will need to meet for graduation. Degree requirements may change during a student’s time.
The Stephens College Graduate & Continuing Studies Graduate Catalog will be updated online annually during the Summer semester. Stephens College reserves the right to change the curriculum, any provision, policy, procedure, requirement, regulation or fee at its own discretion subsequent to the publication of this catalog. Every effort will be made to keep the student informed of these changes.
Students are expected to enroll in a minimum of one course per semester (Fall, Spring and Summer) to maintain active student status. Students who do not enroll in courses for three successive semesters or one calendar year will be administratively withdrawn from the program. If necessary, students may arrange to take an official leave of absence. Leaves of absence are strongly encouraged since it ensures that the student continues in the catalog which they entered.
Participation and Contribution Policy
Stephens College emphasizes the importance of active participation in courses. Students must establish contact with the course instructor on the course start date. If the student does not submit assignments as directed, the instructor has the right to require the student to drop the course, or be awarded a failing grade at the end of the course unless an approved withdrawal is granted by the instructor.
Students are expected to regularly participate as directed by the instructor. Lack of participation from class for any reason does not exempt a student from completion of all work required for a course.
Instructors determine the participation and contribution policy for their classes. It is permissible to use participation and contribution as a factor in determining a student's grade and to lower the amount of credit awarded for a course.
A graduate student may enroll in a maximum of 12 credit hours for Fall and Spring semesters and 9 credit hours for summer semester. Full time equivalency is equal to 6 credit hours. A student can be enrolled in no more than 2 session courses concurrently. Students may request to enroll in additional credit hours by submitting a formal request (written letter) to the Director of Advising & Student Services, Graduate and Continuing Studies. Approval will be at the discretion of the Director of Advising & Student Services.
Grades and grade points are assigned on the following basis in the graduate programs:
A = 4.0
B = 3.0
S = Satisfactory
U = Unsatisfactory
I = incomplete
RE = no credit, no penalty, must re-enroll
F = 0.0
W = withdraw, no penalty
NC = not completed
Academic credit will be awarded only for grades of 3.0 (“B”) or better. Students who earn a grade below 3.0 must repeat the class to receive credit towards their degree. A grade of “F” will result in immediate dismissal from the program.
All degree requirements must be met within five (5) years following the date of enrollment in the first course of the graduate degree program. This time includes any leave of absences and terms the student does not take classes. Stephens College urges students to complete their graduate program in a timely manner. A lack of satisfactory progress toward completion of the degree, as determined by the student’s graduate program, can be considered grounds for dismissal.
Student Status Change
Students who have withdrawn, dropped a course/s or taken a leave of absence for more than one year may be required to meet degree requirements in effect at the time of readmission to Graduate & Continuing Studies. A student whose tuition account is in arrears more than three months may lose the right to continue in the program. If the student is readmitted, he or she may be required to meet new degree requirements, regardless of the amount of time the student was inactive. Students who are withdrawn from the program because their tuition account was sent to a collection agency may be required to meet new degree requirements upon re-entry, regardless of the amount of time the student was inactive.
Leave of Absence
Students may request a leave of absence (LOA) for up to one calendar year. The request must be sent to the Director Advising & Student Services. All courses currently in progress must be completed or dropped prior to the start of the leave of absence and payments on outstanding account balances with Stephens College must be continued. Leaves of absence are strongly encouraged since it ensures that the student continues in the catalog which they entered. Students may not enroll in Stephens College courses while on a leave of absence. At the end of the leave of absence, the student should work with their academic advisor to enroll in classes.
Withdrawal From College
Students may withdraw from Graduate & Continuing Studies by declaring this intention in writing to the Director Advising & Student Services and submitting the appropriate drop form for any courses in progress. At that time, the student is withdrawn from all academic work in progress. Tuition refund policies apply as outlined in the catalog. Students who have withdrawn may re-gain active status by following the procedures stated in the Readmission policy.
Students may be administratively withdrawn from the program for the following reasons:
- Lack of current mailing and e-mail address
- Lack of course registration to maintain active status
- Lack of academic progress (See Maintaining Active Student Status and Academic Probation)
- No communication from the student for more than one year
- Failure to pay tuition and fees
A student who has been withdrawn may become active by reapplying for readmission. A student who has been withdrawn from the program because of financial difficulties with the College must pay their account in full prior to re-entry. A student whose tuition account is in arrears more than three months may lose the right to continue in the program. If the student is readmitted, the student may be required to meet degree requirements outlined in that current year’s catalog. If a student is withdrawn from the program because their tuition account was sent to a collection agency, the student may be readmitted upon full payment of the delinquent account.
Students wishing to re-enter into active student status after withdrawal must submit a written request to the Director of Recruitment, Graduate & Continuing Studies. Students must pay a readmission fee, complete the application for readmission, order all transcripts from institutions attended since last enrolled at Stephens College, and submit an essay explaining the reasons why they are prepared to continue their degree. They must enroll in a minimum of 3 credit hours for the next academic semester. Students who are readmitted must enter the College and program under the academic requirements in effect at that time. All student applications for re-admission will be reviewed by the Dean Graduate & Continuing Studies, and students may be denied re-entry into the Graduate & Continuing Studies program. Persons applying for re-admission will be informed of their status in writing.
Policies Governing Academic Matters
Academic honesty must be paramount in a community devoted to learning and the exchange of educational information.
Stephens College is a community of scholars committed to truth. The validity of a Stephens College degree depends upon the integrity of the work that it represents. Academic dishonesty violates the ethical standards of our community and stunts students’ intellectual and personal development. Stephens has therefore adopted an academic dishonesty policy that imposes penalties for students who commit acts of academic dishonesty.
Academic dishonesty includes but is not limited to the following:
- Committing plagiarism. Plagiarism means presenting another person’s work as one’s own. The work in question could be research data, a text of any kind, a performance, musical composition, design, work of visual art, photograph, film, video, choreography, or any other type of intellectual property, whether copyrighted or not. This includes buying another person’s work from any source and presenting it as one’s own.
- Cheating. Cheating means engaging in any dishonest behavior on examinations, tests, quizzes, assignments, or any other academic activity. This includes use or attempted use of unauthorized assistance, collaboration (unless expressly permitted by the instructor), and unauthorized possession of examinations or other academic materials belonging to a member of the college faculty or staff.
- Engaging in activities that disadvantage another student, including destruction, defacement, alteration or unauthorized removal of resource materials, or sabotaging another student’s work.
- Turning in substantially the same work for more than one course (unless expressly permitted by the instructors).
- Misrepresenting oneself or one’s circumstances in order to obtain an advantage in academic activities.
- Using copyrighted material without obtaining the appropriate rights or permissions. The material in question could be a computer program, a text of any kind, a performance, musical composition, design, and work of visual art, photograph, film, video, choreography, or any other type of copyrighted material.
- Fabricating or falsifying any data, information, or citation in an academic activity.
- Aiding another student in any act of academic dishonesty.
The procedures to be followed in cases of academic dishonesty are outlined below.
- An instructor suspecting academic dishonesty will first make a concerted effort to confer with the student.
- If, after conferring with the student, or attempting to confer with the student, the instructor is convinced the student is not guilty of academic dishonesty, the matter will be dropped.
3. If, after conferring with the student, the instructor is convinced the student is guilty of academic dishonesty, the instructor will impose the penalty or penalties specified in the course syllabus. If the instructor has not stated a penalty or penalties in the syllabus, the penalty will be no more severe than a grade of failure or no credit for the assignment in question. If the instructor imposes a failing grade for the course, the student will not be allowed to withdraw to avoid the penalty. The instructor is required to report all acts of academic dishonesty to the office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA). The report will be forwarded to the Graduate Council. A record of every incident of academic dishonesty will be retained in the office of the VPAA.
4. If the student chooses to appeal the instructor’s decision she/he may request a hearing before the Graduate Council by delivering a written request and all supporting evidence to the office of the VPAA within ten (10) days of notification of the instructor’s decision. Pending the outcome of the hearing the student should continue to attend the class.
5. Having received a request for a hearing from the office of the VPAA, the chair of the Graduate Council will, in a timely manner, convene the council for the hearing. The council chair will notify the student and the instructor of the time and place of the hearing at least three (3) days prior. The student and the instructor have the right to appear in person in front of the council at the hearing. If he or she considers it advisable, the council chair may invite other individuals to take part in the hearing. The hearing will provide a fair opportunity for both the student and the instructor to present fully the specific details of the case. Upon conclusion of the hearing, the Graduate Council will rule by vote in closed session. The Council will notify the student, the student’s academic advisor and instructor of its decision in writing. The written notification will clearly outline the consequences of subsequent instances of academic dishonesty by the student. The Graduate Council may decide:
• To confirm the instructor’s finding and impose the penalty or penalties specified in the course syllabus, or
• To confirm the instructor’s finding and in consultation with the instructor, impose a different penalty, or
• To reverse the instructor’s finding, impose no penalty and direct the instructor to impose no penalty.
6. In addition to the hearings described above, the Graduate Council will separately review all cases in which a student is guilty of academic dishonesty on more than one occasion. In these cases, the Council may recommend to the Vice President for Academic Affairs that the student be placed on disciplinary probation, be suspended from the College, or be expelled from the College.
7. In cases of academic dishonesty that affect a degree already conferred, the Graduate Council will make a recommendation to the President of the College regarding renovation of the degree.
8. All decisions of the Graduate Council are final.
Falsification of College Records
Falsification of College records or of records provided to the College is grounds for disciplinary action. Failure to declare college credit attempted or earned elsewhere is considered falsification of records. Incidents will be reported to the Graduate Council, which will follow the same procedures outlined for academic dishonesty.
Code of Conduct (Adopted September 1, 2011)
The Stephens College learning community embraces the free exchange of ideas and opinions with civility and respect. Students and faculty have a shared responsibility to embrace the pursuit of learning and to foster a commitment to academic integrity. All members of the campus community also share an obligation to challenge obstacles to that pursuit and remedy violations of that commitment.
All students and faculty have the right to a learning environment free of verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, harassment, and other conduct that threatens or endangers the physical or mental health or safety of any member of the college community. Class discussions, both in the classroom and via electronic learning engagement tools should be free of excessive sarcasm, bullying, caustic or aggressive language, or disrespect in tone/words. Students in online courses are to construct their written communication carefully, being aware of challenges such as perceptions and interpretations of others.
Should a course instructor believe a student is in violation of this code of conduct, the instructor will immediately notify the student as well as remove him/her from the classroom or virtual collaboration area.
FIRST OFFENSE: The instructor and student should clarify the conduct within a reasonable time frame and the student will be issued a warning. The program chair will be notified and documentation of the warning will be placed in the student’s file.
SUBSEQUENT OFFENSES: The instructor will contact the program chair and determine appropriate sanctions and next steps within a reasonable time frame. The chair may consult with the Vice President of Academic Affairs. Sanctions may include a two – ten day removal from classes/collaboration areas, resubmitting the code of conduct policy agreement, completing an assignment related to the code of conduct, removal from the class and/or removal from the program. The sanction/s should reflect the level of violation and the number of times the student has violated the code. Communication with the student should be in writing and a copy placed in the student’s file.
Any academic work, including participation or assignment submission, missed as a result of the removal may not be made up by the student.
Students who feel their instructors are in violation of the code of conduct have the responsibility to contact the program chair and/or the Vice President of Academic Affairs in a timely manner.
A faculty or professional advising staff member shall be assigned to advise each degree-seeking student upon admission.
Grade of Incomplete
A student who completes most of the work in a course at a passing level, but is unable to complete the work on time due to extenuating circumstances, may speak with the instructor to see if receiving an Incomplete (I) mark is warranted. When an instructor grants an incomplete, one semester is allowed to complete the coursework, unless the instructor sets an earlier deadline. If the work is not submitted by the deadline, the grade automatically becomes an F. If unusual circumstances indicate the need, the instructor may grant one additional semester to complete the course. An incomplete does not affect the GPA in the semester it is assigned. Students who receive incompletes are ineligible for a dean’s list that semester.
Students may be asked to audit a course to refresh their knowledge and learn current trends if they completed a required course more than 5 years ago. Students who audit the course will not register or pay for the course. Students who are auditing are expected to:
1) Attend all class meetings and participate in discussions
2) Complete reading assignments
3) Complete minimal writing assignments to demonstrate understanding of the course material
Students who are auditing are not expected to take exams or complete large assignments. No grade will be assigned for students who audit, however, the instructor will confer with the Program Director regarding the students understanding of the course material.
The first priority of the Stephens College graduate programs is to assure overall student success and the integrity of these programs. Graduate students are expected to complete their coursework in a certain sequential manner in order to graduate on time. Courses are offered each semester that allow the graduate student to meet this graduation deadline.
Independent studies are defined as studies undertaken in a manner by which the student receives a project and readings, or other stated goals to complete, and works independently under the guidance of an instructor. Independent studies are considered exceptions to the plan of study offered at the graduate level. Independent studies will only be offered as an alternative if, through no fault of their own, there is no other way a graduate student can complete his or her work in a timely manner. A maximum of two independent studies will be granted to a graduate student during his/her program.
Students must first obtain permission from the instructor of the course they wish to take. They then must submit their request to the Graduate Program Director, along with a rationale for taking the course as an independent study. Finally the request must be approved by the Dean Graduate & Continuing Studies. The request can be denied for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to: insufficient evidence of an emergency situation, poor performance by the student in other classes, and instructor workload.
There are two categories of independent study that apply to graduate programs: reading and projects. A course delivered in either of the two formats must be accompanied by two copies of the syllabus (one for the Registrar and one for the Graduate & Continuing Studies office) that describes exactly what the student must accomplish to complete the course requirements.
Reading category is defined as "(those) which are available for topics not offered in the regular curriculum. The study includes assigned readings and at least one major research paper." These courses are numbered 598G Title of Course (e.g. 598G: Family and Community: Partners in Education).
Projects category is defined as "(those) which are available to document learning that takes place in study that culminates in a project. Readings and a paper may be required." These courses are numbered 599G: Title of Course (e.g. 599G: Managerial Economics).
The approved master's degree candidacy form, with the appropriate signatures must be on file with the Graduate & Continuing Studies office prior to graduation. A calendar of deadlines and a schedule of fees are available from the Graduate & Continuing Studies website. Commencement is held twice a year in May and December.
Access to Student Records
The Office of the Registrar maintains an official folder of academic information for all current students. A permanent academic record card that shows credit attempted and the resulting grade point average is on file. Students may review their academic records by showing appropriate identification.
Other records open to students include those maintained by the Office of Financial Aid and by the academic adviser. Students may not review financial information submitted by parents or confidential letters associated with admission, employment or job placement, nor may they see any material for which they waived the right to review. Any student who believes that inaccurate, misleading or otherwise inappropriate information may be in one of his or her record files may request a hearing with the Dean of Graduate & Continuing Studies.
Information about a student, other than directory information allowed by the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (as amended), will not be released without the student's written consent. A copy of the FERPA 1974 is available for review in the Graduate & Continuing Studies office.
The following directory-type information may be released about a student: name, e-mail address, home address, classification, major field of study, dates of attendance, degrees earned and honors received. A student who wishes to prevent the release of directory-type information must make the request in writing to the Director Advising & Student Services, Graduate & Continuing Studies, by September 15 each year.
Only college personnel who have a direct educational interest in the student, or identified representatives of local, state and national governmental law agencies have access to non-directory information. Efforts will be made to notify the student when information is requested to comply with a judicial order or any lawful subpoena.
Upon written request and payment of necessary fees, the Registrar's Office will issue statements of academic standing and official transcripts for students in good financial standing. If a fee is required, the student will bear the costs.
Withdrawal from Classes
A graduate student may withdraw from a course according to the academic calendar posted on the website. The student must submit a drop form electronically via the Stephens College website. Students should refer to the current academic calendar for deadlines to receive refunds and/or a "W" on their transcript.
A student who does not give official notice of withdrawal will receive a grade of “F” that shall be recorded on the permanent record. The Graduate & Continuing Studies office will notify the instructor when a student withdraws officially.
Failure to begin or continue to attend classes does not constitute official notice of withdrawal.
Only final course grades may be appealed. A student who believes a final grade has been assigned incorrectly must correspond in writing with the instructor within two weeks after the receipt of the grade. Within one week of receiving this correspondence the instructor will set up a meeting with the student. The instructor may agree that a grade change is appropriate. If so, the instructor shall complete and sign a Change of Grade form, which will be signed by the Program Director and filed with the Registrar. The matter is then closed.
If a dispute about a grade cannot be resolved between the student and the instructor, then the student may appeal. The appeal procedure is as follows:
- Within one week of meeting with the instructor the student will submit the appeal in writing to the Program Director. In support of the appeal the student must provide objective evidence that the grade was assigned incorrectly. This evidence may take the form of the course syllabus, assignments, rubrics, photocopies of graded papers, quizzes, tests, and other work performed in the course. The Program Director will establish a time to meet with the student. The Program Director cannot change the grade but will discuss the student’s concerns and, failing resolution, will advise the student on further steps in the appeal procedure.
- Within one week of meeting with the Program Director, the student may write to the Dean of Graduate & Continuing Studies to pursue the appeal. The student must submit to the Dean objective evidence that the grade was assigned incorrectly. The Dean of Graduate & Continuing Studies shall convene an appeal panel of 3 members of the Graduate Council who are not faculty in the same program as the instructor involved in the appeal. The panel will examine the evidence provided and conclude its review within ten working days of its first meeting.
- The panel will submit its recommendation in writing to the student, instructor, Program Director and Dean of Graduate & Continuing Studies. The panel may:
- Recommend that the instructor change the grade
- Recommend that the instructor review the grade according to the criteria specified by the panel, or
- Dismiss the appeal
At this point the panel’s responsibilities are concluded. The panel is not empowered to change the grade. The grade that the course instructor assigned cannot be changed by anyone but that instructor.
- If, after considering the panel’s recommendation, the instructor wishes to change the grade, the instructor will complete and sign a Change of Grade form, which will be signed by the Program Director and filed with the Registrar. The Program Director will advise the student of a change in grade, if any. This will conclude the appeal procedure; no further review is available.
- The grade appeal will be considered confidential, and only those directly involved in the appeal procedure will be provided with information concerning the appeal.
- If the student chooses to make the appeal panel’s written recommendation a part of her/his permanent file, the student should instruct the Dean of Graduate & Continuing Studies (or her/his designee) to convey the panel’s recommendation to the Registrar.
Suspension or Expulsion
If the student is suspended or expelled and wishes to appeal, the student may consult with the Registrar and submit a written appeal to the Graduate Council. The Graduate Council shall review the appeal letter and contact the student if necessary. The Graduate Council shall rule on this appeal and its decision shall be provided to the student in writing. This decision is final.
Waive of Academic/Degree Requirement
A student who believes that a degree requirement should be waived in his or her case has the right to make this request to the Program Director. The Program Director’s decision is final.
Online Orientation Session
Flexibility and quality are the hallmarks of the Stephens College Graduate & Continuing Studies program. In an effort to stand by our mission and to assist new students in making a successful transition into college, Stephens requires that all new students complete a one hour online orientation during the first four weeks of classes.
As part of the orientation, students will complete comprehensive assignments designed to familiarize them with all aspects of Blackboard as well as Stephens College policies and procedures as outlined in the graduate catalog.
Tuition and Fees
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