Academic Policies for Graduate Studies

Academic Dishonesty, Misconduct, Discipline Code

Graduate students neither lose the rights nor escape the responsibilities of citizenship through enrollment at FSU. It is expected that Graduate students will conduct themselves profes­sionally and honorably throughout their association with FSU. It is the student’s responsibility to be familiar with the FSU Student Handbook, which details student rights, responsibilities, and ex­pected conduct; rules and regulations of FSU; and procedures for grievance, appeals, due process, and other policies and procedures not included in this document. In addition, students are expected to exemplify and adhere to the codes of conduct prescribed by the professional organization in their field of study. Students who fail to adhere to the above standards are subject to dismissal from graduate programs at Fairmont State University.

Degree Requirements

  • Achievement of a 3.0 grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) in all courses taken in Graduate Studies.
  • Completion of the degree program within a seven-year period. Courses in which the student was enrolled over six years prior to the time of completion of all degree requirements may not be accepted as part of a degree program. Exceptions to this time limit must be specifically petitioned to the Graduate Program Coordinator with approval by the Director of Graduate Studies.
  • Satisfactory completion of a written comprehensive examination in the major field (when required).
  • Satisfactory completion of a final oral examination (when required).
  • Completion and approval of the thesis or individual research project (when required). (See the Graduate Program Director for thesis guidelines).
  • Satisfaction of the foreign language or research tool requirement (when required).

A full-time student is defined as one enrolled in at least nine (9) se­mester hours of graduate work during a Fall or Spring Semester. In the summer, full-time is six (6) hours per term. Anything less than stated previously is considered part-time.

Change of Program

The Graduate Program Director of the “new” program and the Director of Graduate Studies must approve a change of major application.

Concurrent or Additional Master’s Degree

University policy permits students to obtain more than one master’s degree. In these cases, a separate application is required for each program. Each application must be accompanied by payment of a nonrefundable application fee.

A student desiring to obtain more than one master’s degree must successfully complete sufficient additional credit hours to constitute seventy-five percent (75%) of the credit hours required by each additional master’s degree program. An individual graduate unit may require a higher percentage of credit to be earned under its direction.

Course Duplication, Repeating a Course

With the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Program Director, a student may enroll in a course a second time and have it counted as part of the semester load. Both course grades will be included on the transcript and counted toward the student’s GPA. If a student earns a D or F in a course required in the degree program, the course must be repeated and a grade of “C or above” earned. A course may be repeated only once.

Course Numbering System

Graduate courses will have a 5000 number or a 6000 number. Only graduate students, as defined by previous categories, may enroll in 6000 level courses.


Written comprehensive examinations and/or oral examinations may be required in graduate programs. The final comprehensive examination must be passed no later than three weeks before commencement. The oral examination over the thesis or research project is conducted under the direction of the student’s Advisor or the Graduate Program Director and must be completed successfully no later than three weeks before commencement.

Graduation Checklist

Students may graduate at the end of Fall or Spring term. The Graduation Checklist should be completed the semester before the student expects to complete degree require­ments. This form certifies that all requirements have been or will be fulfilled by the graduation date, and it must be approved and signed by your Graduate Advisor, Program Director and the Director of Graduate Studies. Timely submission of the Graduation Checklist is es­sential.

Graduation Requirements and Policies

Fairmont State University graduate programs generally require a minimum of 36 graduate credit hours and a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

Incomplete Grades

An incomplete grade of “I” must be requested by the student and is only given when the instructor deems that circumstances beyond the student’s control prevented timely completion of course require­ments.  A written contract, signed by the instructor and student, shall set the dates and conditions for completing the course requirements.  An incomplete grade of “I” is a temporary grade and must be removed within two calendar years.  If no grade change is made by the instructor prior to the end of the two-year period, the temporary grade of “I” will be changed to the permanent failing grade of “F”.  Students with excessive incompletes may be restricted in the number of hours they may take in a subsequent semester.

Maximum Semester Load

The maximum course load for graduate students during Fall and Spring Semesters is twelve (12) hours per term. The maximum load for any one summer term is six (6) hours.

Academic Standing Policies

Every graduate student at Fairmont State University must meet the following academic standards:

  1. Maintain an overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher in order to qualify for graduation.
  2. Earn a grade of C or higher in all graduate courses, elective or required.*
    • All grades earned will remain on the official transcript and will be used in the calculation of the student's overall grade point average.
    • A graduate student who earns a grade of D or F in any graduate course must repeat the course.  Under extenuating circumstances, and with approval from his or her graduate program director and academic dean, a student may be permitted to substitute another course for the course in which the D or F was earned.
    • A student may earn only two grades of C in all graduate courses, and remain eligible for graduation.
    • A student who earns more than two Cs must consult with his or her graduate program director and academic dean to determine an acceptable remedy.
  3. Failure to maintain an overall 3.0 GPA will result in academic probation or suspension depending upon the student's academic performance and standing.


  • Probation - Graduate students who do not maintain at least a 3.0 cu­mulative GPA (B average) on all courses in the program of study are on academic probation at the end of the semester during which their GPA falls below 3.0.  For part-time students, “next enroll­ment period” may, if approved by the Program Direc­tor, be defined as the next 3-12 hours in the program of study.
  • Suspension - A graduate student who has been placed on probation and who fails to raise his/her GPA cumulative to at least 3.0 during the next enrollment period will be placed on academic suspension. Suspended students must “sit out” one academic term prior to re-enrolling. Suspended students will be limited to enrolling on a part-time basis until their GPA reaches a 3.0.
  • Dismissal - Students who have not acquired a cumulative GPA of 3.0 after the completion of 24 semester hours in the Degree Plan will be dismissed. Graduate programs may require that their students meet additional standards with regard to probation, suspension and dismissal.

Residency Requirement

Candidates for the Master’s Degree, in general, complete thirty (30) semester hours of Fairmont State University graduate courses within the Degree Plan.  In any case, the last eighteen (18) semester hours of graduate credit must be earned at Fairmont State University.

Rule Changes

The Graduate program reserves the right to change any of its rules, regulations or requirements without notice.

Special Courses

Many programs will offer Workshop, Special Topic and Directed Study courses. A Master’s Degree may not include more than six (6) hours of these special courses.

Time Limit for Degree Completion

All course work applied toward a degree must be completed within a period of seven years, including transfer courses. The period begins the semester the first course in the Degree Plan is taken and concludes with the semester the last course or require­ment is completed.

A course taken more than seven years previously must be revalidated if it is to be used towards meeting degree requirements. Revalidation can be accomplished by submitting the following information for approval to the program director:

  • A letter from the course instructor listing the criteria used to revalidate the course material.
  • A copy of the student’s performance on the student’s revalidation examination.
  • A letter from the college or school Graduate Program Director and/or Dean supporting the revalidation.

Transfer of Graduate Credits

With the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Program Director, a student may transfer up to twelve semester hours of graduate work completed at another accredited institution and apply these toward a graduate degree. Courses without letter grades (graded credit, satisfactory, pass) must be accompanied by official evidence that such grades equated to a B or better at the institution at which they were earned. A minimum grade of B and “pass/satisfactory” may be transferred. Students may use the Appeal Process to have additional courses transferred.

Waiver of Regulations

Graduate students have the right to file a petition for waiver or exemption from any academic regulation of graduate programs. Petitions for waivers and exemptions are considered by the Gradu­ate Program Director and the Graduate Studies Council, which makes recommendations to the Director of Gradu­ate Studies.