May 22, 2018  
2008-2010 Graduate Catalog 
2008-2010 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Policies


Academic procedures and policies are subject to change during the time a student is enrolled in the university. These changes are usually in course content, but may also involve the requirements in departmental majors. Any such changes are publicized to students via campus publications, advisors, or by the specific department involved.

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Academic Integrity


The value of a Slippery Rock University education is determined by the quality and character of Slippery Rock University students and graduates.

Therefore, students and student organizations are expected to uphold academic integrity.

  • All academic work, including, but not limited to, papers, computer programs, assignments, and tests, must consist of the students’ own work.
  • Students are expected to learn and practice proper techniques for accurately citing resource material.
  • Students are expected to be honest in all academic work, refraining from all forms of cheating.
  • Students are expected to function as learners, including, but not limited to, attending class regularly and completing all assignments and examinations.

Students charged with academic dishonesty will deal with either the director of judicial programs or the course instructor or both. If the instructor handles the matter, the instructor is to inform the department chairperson of the problem and its resolution. The department chairperson is to forward the information to the appropriate dean who will then inform the provost and vice president for academic affairs. If the instructor decides to refer the matter to the office of judicial programs, the director of judicial programs will begin institutional action through an investigation into the matter. If there is sufficient cause, students will be notified of the charges brought against them under the Code of Conduct. The student may then face judicial action, in addition to the instructor’s action, which may include a university hearing board that could lead to suspension or dismissal from the university.

Academic dishonesty may take many forms. Examples of academic dishonesty include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • buying, selling, or trading papers, projects, or other assignments;
  • using or attempting to use any unauthorized book, notes, or assistance from any person during a quiz or examination;
  • plagiarizing and/or submitting the work of another as your own;
  • fabricating information or citations;
  • facilitating dishonest acts of others pertaining to academic work
  • possessing unauthorized examinations;
  • submitting, without instructor permission, work previously used;
  • tampering with the academic work of another person;
  • ghosting-taking a quiz or exam in place of a student or having any person take a quiz or exam in your place;
  • any attempt to falsify an assigned grade or an examination, quiz, report, or program or in a grade book, document, or other record;
  • any attempt, or actual, computer program theft; illegal use of software; inappropriate use of the Internet, such as, but not limited to, illegal or unauthorized transmissions; or improper access to any computer system or account;
  • any attempt, or actual, collusion willfully giving or receiving unauthorized or unacknowledged assistance on any assignment (both parties to the collusion are considered responsible.)
  • forging a faculty member’s or administrator’s signature on any card, form or document.


Attendance Policy


Slippery Rock University does not have a university-wide class attendance policy. Faculty members determine attendance requirements for their classes.

These requirements will be given to students in writing during the first week of classes. Students are expected to attend all class sessions of courses for which they are registered.

Attendance may be required for class meetings or field trips outside the regular schedule if such activities are listed as required in a course description in the catalog and/or the course syllabi. Arrangements to make up work because of class absences are the students’ responsibility.


Academic Complaints


Students who want to file an appeal concerning their grades or any other academic matter should first contact the instructor. Barring resolution there, students should contact the graduate coordinator or appropriate departmental chairperson, then their academic college dean. Further appeal may be directed to the provost and vice president for academic affairs.


Course Information


500-Level Courses. A maximum of twelve 500-level course credits may be counted toward master’s degree requirements. Some departments/programs may choose to allow less than the maximum. Courses numbered below 500 do not bear graduate credit.

Course Changes. To add a course or withdraw from a course after registration, a student must file the appropriate card with the Office of Academic Records and Summer School. The card may be secured from the Office of Academic Records and Summer School, the student’s academic department or online. Failure to withdraw officially from a course will result in the assignment of a grade of “F”.

Dual-Numbered Courses. Graduate credit may not be earned in a dual-numbered course if undergraduate credit was earned in a course with the same title.

Student Load. Nine to 12 semester hours are usually considered a normal load for fulltime graduate students. Students who wish to carry more than 12 semester hours of credit require authorization from their graduate coordinator. A full-time graduate assistant must register for at least nine semester hours of graduate credit per semester. Requirements for Physical Therapy graduate assistants are different than those above. No graduate assistant is permitted a tuition waiver for more than 15 graduate credits per semester.

Workshops. A maximum of six semester hours of credit earned in graduate workshops may be applied to degree requirements.

 Degree Completion

Master’s students must earn at least two-thirds of the credits meeting program requirements at SRU. This new policy will reduce the number of allowable transfer credits (currently 12) in any graduate program requiring fewer than 36 credits. Collaborative programs will be identified such that residency can be met consistent with the collaborative agreement.

DPT residency requirements are determined at the program level.


Drop, Add, Withdrawal


Open full-semester courses may be added during the first week of classes without professor approval. Students wishing to add courses during the second week of the semester must secure the professor’s permission on a yellow add card. Courses dropped during the first week of the semester will not be recorded on students’ permanent records unless they withdraw from all their classes, in which case grades of “W” will be awarded. Students may withdraw from full-semester classes with a grade of “W” between the second and tenth weeks of the semester. Students will not be permitted to withdraw from classes after the tenth week and will be held accountable and awarded a final grade for all coursework, exams and other work assigned during the final five weeks of the semester. For courses meeting fewer than 15 weeks, the withdrawal deadline is two-thirds of the way through the course’s beginning and ending dates.

Students desiring to add closed sections or courses for which they lack the appropriate pre/corequsites will have to secure the signature of the course’s professor.

Students may use yellow drop/add cards to drop classes anytime after they have registered until the end of the first week of the semester. After the first week of the semester, students must use blue withdrawal cards, which require the signature of the professor of the course and the student’s advisor.

Students who for exceptional reasons, are permitted to drop, add, or withdraw from classes after the university’s stated deadlines must receive their respective dean’s approval and will be charged $15 for each transaction.


Final Examinations


At the termination of each semester/session/term, all final examinations are administered during the time stipulated in the examination schedule in the online Schedule of Classes. The decision to give a final examination is the prerogative of each faculty member, but if a final examination is given, it is to be administered according to the time as stipulated in the examination schedule. The class will meet during the scheduled examination time whether or not an examination is given. The dean of the college must approve any exception to this policy.

Grade Appeal Policy

Procedure for Filing Grade Appeal

Academic Due Process Procedures
The purpose of the following procedure is to provide students with a system by which to grieve complaints of alleged academic injustice(s) relating to a final grade and/or professional responsibilities. Students should have protection through orderly procedures against unsubstantiated academic evaluation. Students who believe that their final course grade reflects unsubstantiated academic evaluation may initiate and pursue a grade change appeal in accordance with provisions of this document. At the same time, all academic rights and privileges of faculty members are to be honored in this process, which includes careful review of the course syllabus. Changes in final course grades will occur only when, as a result of this grade appeal process, there is clear evidence of unsubstantiated academic evaluation.

Since the grade process involves the instructor’s judgment of the academic performance of a student the only issue under consideration in the grade appeal process is whether or not the student can present clear evidence that the assignment of the grade was based on factors other than the academic judgment of the instructor.

Some examples of the basis for a legitimate disagreement could include, but not be limited to prejudiced, capricious, or unsubstantiated academic evaluation by the instructor:

  1. The instructor did not inform the student of the basis for calculation of grades.
  2. The instructor did not calculate the student’s grade in accordance with the instructor’s stated policy for calculating grades. Significant and unwarranted deviation from grading procedures and course outlines set at the beginning of the course (ordinarily during the first week of the course) or a grade assigned arbitrarily and capriciously on the basis of whim, impulse or caprice.
  3. There is an error in the computation of the grade that was not corrected.
  4. The student, through no fault of his or her own, was not provided with the same opportunity to complete the requirements for the course in terms, for example, of time, access to materials, or access to the instructor as the other students.

A student may not claim arbitrariness and capriciousness if he/she disagrees with the subjective professional evaluation of the instructor.

The following steps must be followed in the appeals procedure:

Informal Procedure:

  1. The student must discuss the final course grade, grading practices and assignments with the instructor who gave the final grade. This discussion may eliminate any misunderstandings over the assignment of the grade as relates to the course syllabus. This discussion must occur no later than 10 days after the beginning of the semester (not summer) following the issuance of the final grade.
  2. If the faculty member finds in the student’s favor, a grade change card is submitted with signatures and the appeal process is resolved.

If a student and instructor fail to resolve the grade dispute through informal means the student may request a formal grade appeal process by completing a Final Grade Appeal Form that may be obtained in the Office of Academic Records and Summer School.

Formal Procedure:

Step One - Instructor

The student must complete and submit the “student” portion of the Final Grade Appeal Form to the course instructor no later than 21 days after the beginning of the semester following the issuance of the final grade. The summer term does not constitute a semester.

  • The student must retain a copy of the Final Grade Appeal Form for his/her records and send a copy to the department chairperson (or substitute). The chairperson of the department evaluation committee shall substitute for the department chairperson IF the department chairperson was the instructor of the course in which the grade is being appealed.
  • The department chairperson (or substitute) is to confirm that the instructor is aware of the grade appeal and is to inquire as to the instructor’s planned response.
  • If the instructor decides that the final grade is correct, he/she must complete the “instructor” portion of the Final Grade Appeal Form, and return it to the student and send a copy to the chairperson (or substitute) within 14 days of receipt of the student’s appeal.
  • If an instructor fails to respond within the allotted time, the appeal shall move to step 2 below.

If a faculty member whose grade(s) are being appealed is no longer employed by the university or is unavailable due to a sabbatical, sick leave, or other reasons during the time period allotted for the appeal process, the appeal should be directed to the chair of the department’s evaluation committee for review.

Step Two - Department Chairperson (of the course instructor)

If the student wishes to appeal further, he/she must submit the original Final Grade Appeal Form (or copy if the instructor fails to respond as described in step 1 above) to the department chairperson (or substitute). This appeal must be submitted within 14 days of the dated instructor’s response, or if the instructor does not respond, within 28 days after the appeal was originally filed with the instructor. A copy of the Final Grade Appeal Form must be forwarded to the college dean of the instructor)

  • The department chairperson (or substitute) will review the appeal within 7 days.
  • Before the department chairperson (or substitute) determines if the student’s complaint provides evidence that the instructor’s assignment of the grade was based on factors other than the academic judgment of the instructor he/she will review the appeal with the instructor.
  • The chairperson (or substitute) may also conduct whatever informal investigation seems necessary and should attempt to achieve a negotiated settlement.
  • If the department chairperson (or substitute) determines the student’s evidence does not meet the criteria for a grade appeal, the chairperson (or substitute) will forward his/her decision on the grade appeal to the college dean.
  • A copy of the Final Grade Appeal Form must be forwarded to the student and the instructor.
  • If the department chairperson (or substitute) determines the student’s evidence does meet the criteria for a grade appeal, he/she will recommend in writing to the instructor a course of action to amend the grade.
  • The instructor must indicate on the Final Grade Appeal Form whether he/she agrees or disagrees with the chairperson’s recommendation, signs and returns the Final Grade Appeal Form to the chairperson within 7 days.
  • If the instructor amends the grade, a signed grade change card is submitted and the grade appeal is ended.
  • If the instructor does not agree to amend the grade or fails to respond in the allotted time, the chairperson (or substitute) submits the Final Grade Appeal Form to the college dean with his/her recommendation within 7 days. A copy of the recommendation must be forwarded to the student and the instructor.

Step Three - Dean (of the course instructor)

  • If the dean, upon review of the chairperson’s recommendation, also determines the student’s evidence does not meet the criteria for a grade appeal, the dean will complete and return the Grade Appeal Form to the student with a copy to the instructor and chairperson (or substitute) within 7 days. The grade appeal process ends.
  • If the dean, upon review of the chairperson’s recommendation, determines that the student’s evidence does meet the criteria for a grade appeal, the dean shall initiate a meeting with the faculty member. The dean shall review the appeal, can hear evidence by each side, and may collect further evidence as desirable.
  • If agreement cannot be reached, the dean will forward the Final Grade Appeal Form to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs within 7 days, with his/her recommendation that the grade appeal be referred to a Grade Appeal Board. A copy of the Final Grade Appeal Form must be forwarded to the student, instructor, and chairperson.

In each of the above statements, the chairperson of the department evaluation committee shall substitute for the department chairperson IF the department chairperson was the instructor of the course in which the grade is being appealed. Should the chair of the evaluation committee not be available, APSCUF will be consulted in the process in choosing the substitute.

Composition of Grade Appeal Board

  • Three faculty recommended by APSCUF. One from the academic department in which the course is taught. Not the instructor.
  • Two managers selected by the provost. One to be the dean of the college in which the course was taught.
  • One student recommended by Student Government Association. A senior major in the department in which the course is taught.
  • Normally, each Grade Appeal Board will be appointed to hear one appeal.
  • Those responsible for recommending board members should be sensitive to race and gender composition.
  • The provost will appoint each board and chairperson within the parameters above.

Grade Appeal Board Procedures

Each Grade Appeal Board is to determine its procedures for hearing the grade appeal. Normally, both the student and the instructor will be given an opportunity to state his/her case before the board.

Students who appeal a grade to a Grade Appeal Board are responsible for maintaining ALL written materials relevant to the appeal, such as papers, examinations, and completed assignments. Further, the appeals board must have access to appropriate documentation and academic records pertaining to the course grade in question.

Each appeals board will make its recommendation to the university president, who may accept or reject the recommendation.

Since the university president has the power and duty to direct the activities of the institution, nothing in this policy should be construed as to diminish that authority in any way.

After the appeals process is complete, the only record to be maintained will be the student’s final grade.


Grading System


The following grading system is used in graduate studies:
A - High quality graduate work
B - Satisfactory graduate work
C - Acceptable graduate work (cumulative grade average must be at least 3.000)
D - Unacceptable graduate work
I - Incomplete (becomes a “W” if not completed by faculty deadline. If no deadline is set by the professor, all incompletes must be completed within 12 months, except for thesis, or they will be changed to a “W”.
F - Failure
W - Withdrawal
P - Passing (In all programs except Physical Therapy, this is equivalent to a letter grade of “C” or better. In Physical Therapy, it is equivalent to a “B” or better.)
X - No grade given (becomes an “F” if not removed by the end of the student’s next semester of enrollment)

These grade symbols are translated into quality points as follows: each semester hour of credit with a grade of A counts four quality points; B, three points; C, two points; D, one point. Degree candidates must maintain a minimum cumulative quality point average of 3.000. Credits earned with less than a “C” grade cannot be accepted as satisfying any of the requirements for the master’s degree. Grades earned in all graduate courses taken at Slippery Rock University are used in the calculation of quality point average.

The formula for quality point calculation is as follows:

QPA = quality points earned divided by number of semester hours attempted. Graduate courses in which a letter grade of “C” or less was earned on the first attempt may be repeated. No course may be repeated more than once. Permission to repeat a course shall be granted with the approval of both the advisor and the graduate coordinator of the student’s program. A student may repeat a total of two courses during the six-year statute of limitations, and any repeat must occur within the six-year statue of limitations.

Any extensions of the time limit shall not entitle the student additional repeats. Course repeats in Physical Therapy are permitted only with approval of the dean of the college of health, environment and science. (When a student repeats a course, only the grade earned on the most recent attempt is used in the QPA calculation.) A grade of “I” is not a permanent grade. An incomplete grade for a course must be removed within one calendar year and an incomplete grade for thesis must be removed within the six- year statute of limitations. Unless the instructor has submitted a change of grade prior to the expiration of the specified time limit, the grade of “I” will automatically be converted to a grade of “W”. A grade of “I” for thesis will remain an “I” grade until the requirements are met and a grade change has been submitted.


Notice of Consumer Information Web Site and Annual Security Report


In accordance with the provisions of the Student Right to Know and Clery Acts, students are urged to access SRU’s Consumer Information Website (Including campus crime statistics, graduation rates, and Students Rights to Privacy.)


Notice Designating Directory Information


Slippery Rock University hereby designates the following student information as public or “Directory Information.” Such information may be disclosed without a student’s previous consent by the institution for any purpose, at its discretion.

  1. Name
  2. Addresses (local, permanent, and e-mail)
  3. Telephone number (local and permanent)
  4. Date and place of birth
  5. Program and concentration(s) and minor(s)
  6. Student activities, including athletics
  7. Weight and height (athletic teams)
  8. Dates of attendance
  9. Degrees and awards received
  10. Date of graduation
  11. All educational institutions previously attended
  12. Academic Awards/Scholarships
  13. Title of Master Thesis
  14. Number of credits (full- or part-time) for which a student is registered
  15. Pictures of students (for university use in publications, press releases, and advertisements)
  16. Class level
  17. Anticipated graduation date

Currently enrolled students have the opportunity to withhold disclosure of all 17 categories of information under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. The University will not partially withhold this information, so students are advised to think carefully before requesting non-disclosure. To withhold disclosure, written notification must be received in the Office of Academic Records and Summer School, Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, PA 16057 prior to the end of the second week of each semester/summer session. Forms requesting the withholding of “Directory Information” are available in the Office of Academic Records and Summer School, Room 107, Old Main.

Slippery Rock University assumes that failure on the part of any student to specifically request the withholding of “Directory Information” indicates individual approval for disclosures. Former students and alumni are not covered under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. As such, the University is not obligated to honor requests for non-disclosure from former students.

Note: Students requesting that “Directory Information” not be disclosed during their final semester of enrollment will have this information withheld indefinitely after leaving the University. Students are cautioned that making such a request may adversely impact future requests from potential employers, and other important individuals/organizations.


Probation and Suspension


A student is on academic probation whenever the cumulative quality point average for all graduate courses attempted at Slippery Rock University is less than 3.000. A student whose academic standing is unsatisfactory (less than 3.000) for two successive terms of registration (summers are included as “terms”), shall be suspended by their academic dean. A suspended student may petition their academic dean for readmission.


Registration Procedures


Any student who does not register for four consecutive regular semesters will become inactive. The student will require readmission to continue working on a graduate degree. During the inactive period, the statute of limitations will continue to be applied.

Repeat Policy

Effective May 2009, graduate students may repeat a single course only once. In addition, graduate students will be limited to a maximum of two repeats across their program. The most recent grade (regardless of whether it is higher or lower) will be the grade used in the student’s QPA calculation. Note: This is SRU’s current policy.

Senior Citizens


Senior citizens, (age 62 or older, who are receiving social security or equal retirement benefits) may take courses on an “audit” basis at no cost at Slippery Rock University on a space available basis. Senior citizens that take courses for credit will have their tuition waived but must pay all university fees. Senior citizens must provide proof of retirement, name, address, and social security number in order to complete registration. Senior citizens who are not working and do not recieve any form of social security/ retirement beneits may also participate in this program if specific conditions have been met. Senior citizens may register for classes beginning one week prior to the start of the semester/term. For more information contact the Office of Academic Records and Summer School, 724/738-2010.


Statute of Limitations


All requirements for the master’s degree must be completed within a six-year period commencing with the first graduate course taken at SRU. The student’s academic dean may extend this period upon written request from the student for justifiable reasons. This request must be supported by the graduate coordinator before submission to the academic dean. There will be an absolute limit of ten years from the date the student’s first graduate course is taken for all degree requirements to be met.


Student Responsibility


Graduate students are expected to know the requirements for their degree program. While academic advisors and faculty members will endeavor to aid students, the responsibility for compliance with regulations and requirements rests with the student.




Final copies of theses must be submitted in photo-ready typed format, using a letter quality typewriter or printer. Three bound copies of the thesis are minimal: two for the library and one for the department. Custom frequently dictates two additional copies: one for the thesis advisor and one for the student. The fees for binding and copying must be paid prior to or at the time an application for graduation is filed. Students should consult with their faculty advisor/graduate coordinator for official thesis style guides. An approval code from the Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects (IRB-PHS) is required before data collection involving human subjects may begin. Research protocol guidelines may be obtained from the chair of the IRB-PHS.




Students desiring transcripts of their graduate credits may obtain them by writing to the Office of Academic Records and Summer School. A fee of $3.00 is charged for each mailed or electronically sent transcript. Students requesting that a transcript  be faxed will be assessed a $5.00 fax transcript fee. Transcripts are typically processed in 24-48 hours. Students requesting “same day” service will be charged $10 per transcript ($12 per transcript if faxed). A complimentary copy of the transcript is sent to all students upon graduation. Checks for transcripts should be made payable to Slippery Rock University and should accompany the transcript request. Official transcripts include the student’s entire undergraduate and graduate record. Students may request to have only their entire SRU graduate record sent. Transcripts will not be processed for students who have any form of outstanding obligation to the university.