Graduate Student Course Load
Graduate students may enroll for a maximum of twelve (12) hours of credit during each of the three semesters (Fall, Spring, and Summer) during the academic year. A one-credit-hour overload may be authorized by the program director of the student's major department. A graduate student will be considered full-time if enrolled for nine (9) or more hours of credit during each of the three semesters. Graduate Assistants will be considered full- time if carrying six (6) or more hours. Students receiving financial aid should check with the Financial Aid office for requirements necessary to be considered a full-time student. Permission to take more than the maximum loads stated above requires the written approval of the student's advisor, program director, and Graduate College Dean.
Change of Major
Subject to the approval of the advisor, current program director, new program director, and Dean of Graduate College a graduate student may be allowed to change their major or add an additional certificate or master’s degree.
Adding and Dropping Courses
Changes in the class schedule must be made on official forms available at the Registrar's Office, Suite 307, Brown Hall. Failure to follow the correct procedure for making changes in the class schedule may result in the grade of "F" being recorded for the courses involved. Deadlines for adding courses, dropping courses, or changing sections are listed in the graduate calendar in this catalog. Please note: A student accumulating an excessive number of unjustifiable absences in a course may be dropped from the course by the instructor with a grade of “WN.”
Repeating a Course
No graduate student may repeat a course for graduate credit except with the written permission of the advisor. The grade from such a repetition as well as the original grade will be counted in computing the grade point average.
To withdraw officially, the student must report to the Graduate College and the Office of the Registrar to complete a "Withdrawal Application." Failure to follow this procedure may result in a grade of "F" being recorded.
The deadline for officially withdrawing from the University with grades of "W" is the same as the last day for dropping courses. Withdrawing after this date, which is listed in the graduate calendar in this catalog, will result in grades of "F" being recorded for the semester/term. If circumstances justify special consideration, appeals should be directed to the Graduate College Dean.
Courses for Audit
Enrollment in courses for audit requires admission to graduate study at the University, approval of the Vice President for Academic Affairs and the instructor involved, and payment of the regular fee for the course. Audit will be on a "space-available" basis. Students auditing courses are subject to the same regulations as other students with regard to registration, but they do not take examinations nor receive credit for the course. Students may change from taking a course for credit to audit by following the procedure for adding and dropping courses.
Independent Study Courses
Independent study courses are intended for graduate students who have the interest and the ability to investigate a topic not covered in the graduate courses available in their major field of study. The topic, format, and specific requirements of each independent study project must be approved in writing by the supervising instructor, graduate advisor, program director, and Graduate College Dean prior to enrollment for independent study credit. The original copy of the independent study approval form will be kept in the student's file in the Registrar's Office as part of the student's official graduate record. A student may not enroll in an independent study course before completing twelve (12) hours of graduate credit.
Limit on Workshop and Independent Study Credit
No more than six (6) semester hours of graduate course work completed in workshops and/or independent study may be applied to the master's degree.
The letters A, B, C, D, F are used in grading to indicate the quality of a student's work: A - Excellent, B - Good, C - Fair, D - Unsatisfactory, and F - Failure. The letters AU, W, WN, R, CR, and I are also used: "AU" indicates that the student was enrolled in the course as an "auditor"; "W" is used to indicate that a course was dropped without penalty; "WN" is used to indicate withdrawn for unjustifiable absences/non-participation. The letter "R" indicates that the student registered for the master's thesis. The mark "R" gives neither credit nor grade points toward a graduate degree. The mark "CR" gives credit for hours only.
A final grade of “I” may be recorded for a student who has not completed all the requirements of a course only in situations where the student has an illness or other circumstances beyond the student’s control, and has completed seventy-five percent of the course requirements provided work already completed is of passing quality. If a grade of “I” is assigned, the instructor will set a reasonable time limit within the following semester in which the work must be completed. Beginning the first summer term, 1990, and thereafter, a grade of “I” will not be computed in the grade point average for the semester recorded; however, the “I” will be automatically changed to a grade of “F” for grade and grade point purposes at the end of the next regular semester (fall or spring) unless course requirements are completed and the final grade is reported before the end of the semester. A grade of “I” recorded prior to the first summer term, 1990, will be computed as an “F” for grade point purposes. No grade other than “I” may be changed after it is recorded except if an instructor finds that a grade has been erroneously recorded. The instructor may correct the grade by submitting a written request and explanation of the error to the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
If a student needs to repeat a course or a significant portion of a course, a "W" or "F" will be assigned according to regulations governing the assignments of such grades.
Academic Probation and Suspension
Academic Probation. Means a student has not met the minimum threshold to be in good academic standing. It is intended as a corrective measure to help students improve their academic performance.
All students who receive one letter grade of “C” will be cautioned by the Graduate College. A student who receives a second “C” in their graduate curriculum must meet with their advisor and have their advisor/program director submit an approved academic plan to the Graduate College prior to registering for the subsequent semester. A student who has a semester grade point average below 3.0 must meet with their advisor and have their advisor/program director submit and approved academic plan to the Graduate College prior to registering for the following semester. Students who have received their second “C” or have a cumulative grade point average below 3.0 will have a registration hold placed on their account and will not be eligible to participate in early registration.
Students will have two semesters to bring their GPA up to a 3.0 higher failure to do so will result in Academic Suspension.
A student who is admitted conditionally or on a non-degree basis who has not yet completed twelve (12) semester hours and holds a less than a 3.0 grade point average will be subject to suspension from Graduate College.
Academic Suspension. Means the student is dismissed from their graduate program and may not enroll in any classes at ATU, earn credit at ATU, or receive financial aid at ATU during the suspension period or one calendar year. A student suspended from Graduate College may reapply for admission after one year. Reinstatement to the Graduate College will not necessarily mean reinstatement to a particular graduate program. Readmission does not reestablish financial aid eligibility, nor does it change the maximum timeframe for which a student's previous academic credits can be counted toward a graduate degree six (6) years.
Students who do not clear their conditional admission requirements or students who are unable to raise their GPA to a 3.0 after being on probation consecutively will be academically suspended.
A students' lack of Academic Progress may result in dismissal with no option to be reinstated.
Graduate Clemency Policy
In accordance with Act 1000 of 1991, a student who has previously attended Arkansas Tech University may apply to have the grades and credits earned for one or more consecutive semesters removed from his/her grade point average provided the following criteria are met.
A graduate student who has previously attended Arkansas Tech University and whose attendance has been interrupted for a period of at least one calendar year may qualify for academic clemency provided they were not found guilty of academic dishonesty. A graduate student may apply to have the graduate credits and grades earned at Arkansas Tech University prior to the separation removed from their grade point average for a maximum of two consecutive semesters.
Academic clemency may be granted only one time, is irreversible, and includes all credits earned during the semester/s for which it is requested. The student’s complete record will remain on the transcript with the added notation of “academic clemency granted” and the effective date. If the student and/or the Graduate Program Director elect to appeal the decision of the Graduate Council ad hoc clemency committee, their appeal should be submitted to the Dean of the Graduate College for review and final decision. Academic clemency does not restore eligibility for student financial aid, scholarships, or athletic eligibility nor does it change the six-year completion time-line.
Academic Dishonesty/Academic Misconduct
A university exists for the purpose of educating students and granting degrees to all students who complete graduation requirements. Therefore, ATU requires certain standards of academic integrity and conduct from all students. ATU expects an academic atmosphere to be maintained in all classes regardless of their format and delivery, such as in-person classrooms or online classroom settings. This atmosphere is created by both the professor and the students in order to enable all students enrolled in a class to reach their academic potential. All students, regardless of the format and delivery of their classes, are expected to: attend class (attendance policy is defined by the professor); conduct themselves in a non-disruptive manner; and refrain from cheating, plagiarism, or other unfair and dishonest practices. Students should also realize the class is under the control of the professor who will give students a statement of his or her class policies in a syllabus at the beginning of the semester.
Academic offenses involving dishonesty and misconduct are defined in the Definitions section below. These definitions are not all inclusive, and conduct not expressly set forth in the definitions may also be considered academic dishonesty or academic misconduct.
Academic Dishonesty. Academic dishonesty refers to the various categories of cheating and plagiarism in a class, regardless of the class format and delivery.
- Cheating on an examination, quiz, or homework assignment involves any of several categories of dishonest Examples include but are not limited to: a) copying from an examination, quiz, or any other assignment of another student; b) utilizing notes, messages, or crib sheets in any format which gives the student extra help on an exam or quiz, and which were not approved by the professor of the class; c) obtaining advance copies of exams or quizzes by any means; d) hiring a substitute to take an exam or bribing any other individual to obtain exam or quiz questions; e) buying term papers or other assignments from the Internet or any other source; and f) using the same paper to fulfill requirements in several classes without the consent of the professors teaching those classes.
- Plagiarism is stealing the ideas or writing of another person and using them as one's This includes not only passages, but also sentences and phrases that are incorporated in the student's written work without acknowledgement to the true author. Any paper written by cutting and pasting from the Internet or any other source is plagiarized. Slight modifications in wording do not change the fact the sentence or phrase is plagiarized. Acknowledgment of the source of ideas must be made through a recognized footnoting or citation format. Plagiarism includes recasting the phrase or passage in the student's own words of another's ideas that are not considered common knowledge. Acknowledgment of source must be made in this case as well.
Academic Misconduct. Academic misconduct concerns a student's inappropriate behavior in a class regardless of the class format and delivery. Such behavior includes interacting with the professor and other students in a manner that disrupts the learning environment of a class. Examples include but are not limited to: a) engaging in a discussion with other students that is not beneficial to the class or acceptable to the professor; b) interrupting class unnecessarily; c) attempting to monopolize the professor's time and attention; d) being chronically late to the class; and e) failing to engage in a class in a manner that is required by the professor, such as chronically late submission of assignments. Misconduct also covers verbal or nonverbal harassment and threats in relation to classes. Student behavior must not infringe on the rights of other students or faculty during a class.
Academic Grievance/Appeals Procedures
Since charges of academic dishonesty may have serious consequences, a professor who
suspects a student of any category of academic dishonesty must
have facts and/or evidence to support the charge.
- The professor will meet with the student and present him or her with a written outline of the alleged academic dishonesty, the evidence supporting the charge, and the penalty. In circumstances that require a student to attend a meeting and the student cannot meet in person, such as with online distance courses, the meeting may take place via telephone or a technology-based format. Penalties for various levels of academic dishonesty vary from giving an F on a particular assignment, quiz or exam, to giving an F on a term paper or other written work, or giving the student an F or W for the course. The professor may also have different penalties for particular cases of academic dishonesty.
- The professor will notify his or her Department Head and graduate program director (or Graduate Dean if the professor is the Department Head or the graduate program director) of the charge, evidence, and penalty.
- If the student accused of academic dishonesty denies the charge or disagrees with the evidence presented by the professor, the student should make an appointment with the relevant Department Head and graduate program director (or the Graduate Dean if the professor is the Department Head or the graduate program director; in which case, skip step 4). The student may remain in the class during the appeal process.
- If the student is still dissatisfied after meeting with the Department Head and graduate program director, he or she should make an appointment to meet with the Graduate Dean who will seek resolution of the problem.
- If a resolution is not found, the Graduate Dean will refer the student to the Graduate Academic Appeals Committee (“Appeals Committee”), whose composition is described in the Appeals Procedures section below.
- The student should then submit a written appeal to the Chair of the Appeals Committee, or to an alternate member of the Appeals Committee who is not involved in the matter (“alternate member”) as described in the Appeals Procedures section below; and the Chair or an alternate member will select a Sub-Committee as described in the Appeals Procedures section below.
- If the Sub-Committee determines academic dishonesty has occurred, it will confirm the recommendation of the professor concerning the penalty. Such a decision will be given both to the Chair of the Appeals Committee or an alternate member and to the Graduate Dean. The student will be notified of the Sub-Committee's decision by the Chair of the Sub-Committee that sat for the appeal. The Chair of the Sub-Committee shall also notify the Vice President for Academic Affairs of the decision. The Vice President will review the case and forward the outcome to the Registrar after the appeal period described below in this section.
- The student shall have the right to appeal the decision of the Academic Appeals Sub-Committee by filing a Notice of Appeal. The only basis for appeal shall be: 1) Alleged failure of the Academic Appeals Sub-Committee to follow the procedures set forth in the Academic Dishonesty/Academic Misconduct policy, or 2) Consideration of new evidence that was not available at the time of the hearing before the Academic Appeals Sub-Committee. The appeal should be in writing and submitted to the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs within five (5) working/business days of receiving notification of the Sub-Committee's decision. The decision of the Vice President for Academic Affairs will be final.
- If the Sub-Committee determines academic dishonesty has not occurred or that the evidence is insufficient, the Chair of the Sub-Committee will forward all pertinent information to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The Vice President will confer with the Graduate Dean, and the relevant Department Head, graduate program director, and professor to facilitate the return of the student to class without penalty. The Department Head or graduate program director will notify the student of the decision.
Academic Misconduct Procedures
Please note that the procedures listed in this section do not apply to extreme incidents
of academic misconduct, such as verbal or physical abuse or
threats, which will be dealt with immediately by asking the student to leave the classroom. If the student refuses to leave the classroom, Public Safety
personnel will be called to remove the student, and the Dean of Students will also be informed of the behavior. For such extreme incidents of academic
misconduct in an online course, the student may be temporarily or permanently removed from the Blackboard course and the Dean of Students will
also be informed of the behavior.
- The professor of a class being disrupted by academic misconduct will speak with the disruptive student. Proper behavior and possible consequences for not modifying the behavior will be discussed with the student.
- If the student ignores the professor's requests to discuss the behavior, it will be considered that the student received an official warning that his or her classroom conduct is inappropriate. If the student continues the disruptive behavior, the professor will warn the student a second time to cease the behavior.
- If the student has refused to respond or has ignored the professor's first and second
warning, the student will be suspended on an interim basis, and notified of the suspension
from the professor of the class in which the warnings were given. Within two (2) working/business
days after the date of
the interim suspension, a notification will be sent by the professor to the Department Head, the graduate program director, and Graduate College, who will notify the Chair of the Appeals Committee or an alternate member who is not involved in the matter.
- An Appeals Sub-Committee will be appointed and a hearing will be conducted by the Sub-Committee within three (3) working/business days after the date of the notification to the Appeals Committee of the interim suspension.
- On the same date the notification of the interim suspension is sent to the Chair, or an alternate member of the Appeals Committee, the student will be advised by the Department Head or the graduate program director that he or she has the right to submit a written statement to the Sub-Committee addressing the alleged incident of academic misconduct. The student's written statement as well as the professor's written statement shall be submitted to the Chair of the Sub-Committee at least 24 hours prior to the hearing.
- The Sub-Committee will consider the written statements of the professor and the student involved in the alleged incident of academic misconduct. The Department Head or graduate program director will also provide a statement that the warning procedure has been followed and the student has been suspended on an interim basis from attending the particular class, pending the decision of the Sub-Committee. The Sub-Committee has the right to pursue further information from the professor, Department Head, program director, and student.
- If the Sub-Committee determines academic misconduct has occurred, it will confirm the recommendation of the professor concerning the penalty. Such a decision will be given both to the Chair of the Appeals Committee or an alternate member of the Appeals Committee and to the Graduate Dean. The student will be notified of the Sub-Committee's decision by the Chair of the Sub-Committee that sat for the appeal. The Chair of the Sub-Committee shall also notify the Vice President for Academic Affairs of the decision. The Vice President will review the case and forward the outcome to the Registrar after the appeal period described below in this section.
- The student shall have the right to appeal the decision of the Academic Appeals Sub-Committee by filing a Notice of Appeal. The only basis for appeal shall be: 1) Alleged failure of the Academic Appeals Sub-Committee to follow the procedures set forth in the Academic Dishonesty/Academic Misconduct policy, or 2) Consideration of new evidence that was not available at the time of the hearing before the Academic Appeals Sub-Committee. The appeal should be in writing and submitted to the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs within three (3) working/business days of receiving notification of the Sub-Committee's decision. The decision of the Vice President for Academic Affairs will be final.
- If the Sub-Committee determines academic misconduct has not occurred or the evidence is insufficient, the Sub-Committee will forward all pertinent information to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The Vice President will confer with the Graduate Dean, Department Head, graduate program director, and professor to determine the course of action to be followed and the status of the student in regard to the class in question. The Department Head or graduate program director will notify the student of the decision.
Appeal of an Academic Course Grade
The assessment of the quality of a student’s academic performance is solely and properly one of the major responsibilities of university faculty members. A grade appeal is not appropriate when a student simply disagrees with the faculty member’s judgment about the quality of the student’s work. Grade appeals should be based on problems of process and not on differences in opinion concerning academic performance. A student who is uncertain about whether or not a grade should be appealed or who needs additional information about the grade appeal process can contact the department head’s office (or dean’s office should the instructor be the department head). This policy is implemented within the college that administratively houses the department through which the course was offered, irrespective of a student’s major or class standing.
Appeal of Academic Dishonesty/Misconduct
The Graduate Academic Appeals Committee is an official committee of ATU and will be formed each academic year as a pool of qualified faculty and students to hear graduate student academic dishonesty and academic misconduct appeals.
Appeal of an Academic Graduate Program Dismissal
Appeal of a program dismissal must be made by the student directly affected and must be made immediately, within 10 calendar days, following the departmental decision to the department head.
Candidates for the Master of Education in Educational Leadership, School Counseling and Leadership, and Teaching, Learning and Leadership, and candidates for the Educational Specialist in Educational Leadership are required to submit a portfolio for completion of requirements of the degree demonstrating evidence of the candidate's competencies required by the specific program standards. A satisfactory portfolio is a requirement for completion of the program.
The candidate must enroll in two (2) hours of portfolio study after completion of 28 hours of course work. The portfolio is to be completed at the end of course work during the last semester of enrollment.
Incompletion of Capstone Projects
Students enrolling in capstone projects such as the project in educational research, the liberal arts project, or thesis research maybe given a grade of "R" if requirements are not completed by the end of the semester. The grades of "R" or "CR" do not affect hours or grade point. Students receiving the grade of "R" will be required to enroll in the course the following semester(s) until the requirements are completed. The grade of "CR" gives credit only for the hours enrolled.
Candidates who prepare a thesis in partial fulfillment of the requirement for a master's degree must exhibit the capabilities of gathering, organizing, evaluating, and reporting data which are pertinent to the topic of investigation.
The candidate's thesis committee will be appointed by the program director in consultation with the student's department head which will include at least one other qualified member of the graduate faculty. In addition to the regular graduate faculty members, a person having no official relationship with ATU may be appointed to serve with prior approval of the graduate faculty in the program. The program director will have final approval of the dissertation chair and committee. Total composition of all thesis/dissertation committees shall be reviewed and approved by the Graduate Dean.
Once the general area of research is determined through conference with the advisor(s), the student begins the process necessary for preparation of the thesis. Under the direction of the committee, the student prepares and submits a Topic Approval Request for approval by the Dean of Graduate College via the program director along with IRB approval letter (if applicable). The Topic Approval Request form is found under Student Resources at Thesis Topic Approval Form. All thesis must be written in accordance with the guidelines set forth in the thesis writing guide "Thesis Preparation Guide." This guide may be obtained at the Graduate College website under Student Resources.
The thesis may be started at any time after the student has been admitted to candidacy for the degree. However, the thesis committee must receive the thesis by October 1, if graduating in the fall term, and by March 1 if graduating in the spring term. An oral defense, conducted by the thesis committee, of the thesis is required. The Dean of Graduate College will be notified by the committee, in writing, when the student has passed the oral defense. The oral defense of the thesis must be passed at least three (3) weeks before the degree is conferred.
The thesis, in its defended and committee approved form, along with corresponding Graduate College forms must be electronically submitted to the Graduate College via the Online Research Commons @ATU no later than two (2) weeks prior to the date of graduation; if revisions are required graduation may be deferred to the following semester.
Students working on thesis and other master's projects beyond the term in which coursework for the degree has been completed, will be required to enroll in at least one (1) hour of coursework each ensuing semester until all requirements for the degree have been met. Students who fail to continuously enroll will be dropped from the master's program.
The grade for the course will generally be CR (Credit) or NC (No Credit), with the understanding the person(s) supervising the thesis or project can assign a letter grade to explicitly indicate a student is making good (A or B) or unsatisfactory (C or lower) progress toward graduation.
A student who has been dropped for failure to continuously enroll as stipulated by this policy (excluding summer, unless the student is planning to graduate in the summer) may be readmitted to a master's program by reapplying to Graduate College with written approval of the person(s) supervising the thesis or project and the Program Director. Readmitted students will be required to reapply for graduation and enroll in a number of hours of coursework equal to the number of semesters that have lapsed since the last time they were enrolled, up to a maximum of three (3) hours.
As a formal research paper, the dissertation should reveal the candidate is able to produce original research that meets the professional standards of the discipline. Preparation for writing a dissertation should include careful and wide reading of professional journals and texts of involved disciplines, including the most recent scholarly work in the academic field. Students must exhibit capabilities of gathering, organizing, evaluating, and reporting data which are pertinent to the topic of investigation, as well as exhibiting their ability to use technology appropriate to the discipline.
Dissertation Committee Composition
The graduate student who plans to write a dissertation is responsible for determining the content area of the projected study in consultation with the dissertation chair. The dissertation chair must have doctoral faculty status and expertise in the selected topic area. Together they will decide upon the other members of the dissertation committee, which will include at least one other qualified member of the graduate faculty. In addition to the regular graduate faculty members, a person having no official relationship with ATU may be appointed to serve with prior approval of the graduate faculty in the program. The program director will have final approval of the dissertation chair and committee. Total composition of all thesis/ dissertation committees shall be reviewed and approved by the Graduate Dean.
If more than three members are appointed to the dissertation committee, a majority of the members must hold regular graduate faculty status. A Graduate Faculty member holding non-regular graduate faculty status may serve on a dissertation committee, with prior approval of the program director and written approval by the Graduate College dean.
If a dissertation committee makes a change in its membership, a “Dissertation Committee Member Change” form must be submitted to the Graduate College dean for approval.
Responsibilities of the Dissertation Committee
The committee will approve the dissertation proposal, and ensure particulars of the proposal are carried out. Other responsibilities include: reading the dissertation for content, style, and standard English usage; ensuring mechanics are followed according to departmental and university guidelines; affirming proper research techniques are followed, an in-depth review of the literature is completed, and the conclusions reached are both legitimate and supported by data; and ensuring plagiarism does not occur. The committee should make certain the dissertation is of quality and reflects high standards of scholarly writing. The dissertation committee chair is responsible for the initial reading and initial corrections of the student’s paper. The chair is then responsible for submitting the dissertation to the committee members for their review. Please use the “Graduate College Dissertation Timeline” that governs this process. The committee and chair will meet with the student as needed during the time the student is engaged in the Dissertation process.
Dissertation Committee Appointment Form
Students must submit a “Dissertation Committee Appointment Form” with all Committee Members signatures to the Graduate College dean for final approval of the dissertation committee. The form is available on the Graduate College website.
Dissertation Proposal Defense Form
A dissertation proposal must be prepared and defended by the student and approved by the dissertation committee before work on the dissertation continues. A “Dissertation Proposal Defense Form” is available on the Graduate College website. After the dissertation proposal has been defended successfully and signed by the dissertation committee and the program director, it is then submitted to the Graduate College dean for final approval. After the oral defense, the student may make no change to the dissertation, unless authorized by the dissertation committee.
Request to Schedule Dissertation Defense Form
The dissertation student and their committee chair must work together to determine a date and time to schedule the dissertation defense. A “Request to Schedule Dissertation Defense Form” is available on the Graduate College website. The form must be signed by the dissertation committee and the program director, it is then submitted to the Graduate College dean for final approval.
Dissertation Defense Final Report
An oral defense of the dissertation is required. It will be conducted by the dissertation committee, which will then notify the Graduate College dean, in writing, the student has passed the final oral defense. The “Dissertation Defense Final Report” form is available on the Graduate College webpage. The oral defense of the dissertation be successfully completed at least six (6) weeks before the degree is conferred for fall or spring graduates. After the oral defense, the student may make no changes to the dissertation, unless authorized by the Dissertation Committee.
The dissertation committee, program director, Graduate College reader, and Graduate College dean must approve the dissertation before it is reproduced in its final form.
Credits and Grades
A grade of R is given on all dissertation enrollments until the dissertation is accepted, and then appropriate credit is granted. The mark R gives neither credit nor grade points toward a graduate degree. The mark CR gives credit for hours only. Departments may choose to assign a letter grade or only give credit for hours.
While every effort will be made to conform to catalog announcements, the University reserves the right to adapt its program as may be necessary.
Please refer to the section entitled Graduation Requirements for information pertaining to candidacy, application for graduation, payment of graduation fees, and other graduation requirements.