General Requirements for Graduate Degrees
To meet the general requirements for graduate degrees, the applicant must achieve regular admission status and must successfully complete the program of study required for the applicable degree.
Although a number of administrative and faculty advisors are ready to help the student in planning and checking the progress of the degree program, the final responsibility for completing all requirements for a degree rests with the student.
The student will complete the requirements of the graduate catalog in effect during the semester of first enrollment; however, the catalog used for degree requirements may not be more than six years old at the time of graduation. Normally, graduate students will not be permitted to apply graduate credit that is more than six years old at the time of graduation toward the degree requirements.
Master's degree candidates are required to fulfill the following general degree requirements:
- Be enrolled as a degree-seeking graduate student and, if applicable, admission to candidacy.
- Complete all requirements for the program of study, which shall include a minimum of 30 earned credit hours.
- Earn a minimum 3.0 grade-point average on all course work completed at Berry.
- Complete the Application for Graduation through the online Registrar's office form. A degree audit will be performed showing requirements met and requirements to be completed for the degree.
- Complete the request for oral examination, if applicable, one semester prior to the expected graduation date.
- Complete all assessment and examination requirements as required by the graduate program in your final semester of enrollment.
Superior; 4 grade points per hour of credit
3.7 grade points per hour of credit
3.3 grade points per hour of credit
Above average; 3 grade points per hour of credit
2.7 grade points per hour of credit
2.3 grade points per hour of credit
Average; 2 grade points per hour of credit
Failure; no grade points
Satisfactory; not averaged in grade points
Unsatisfactory; not averaged in grade points
Audit; no credit
Incomplete resulting from illness or emergency (see below).
Withdrew; no effect on grade points
Withdrew Failing; averaged in grade points
Withdrew from school for medical reasons; no effect on grade points
When a student has completed a substantial portion of the course requirements but is unable to complete the course, an Incomplete "I" grade may be assigned. The request should include a rationale for the request, a list of the work remaining to be completed, deadlines for completion of the work, and the grade the student should be assigned if the work is not completed. The instructor and the student must sign the Request for an Incomplete Grade form; in the event of an emergency or hospitalization where the student cannot personally request an Incomplete, the Provost's Office may initiate the request on behalf of the student and forward the request to the instructor.
Completed requests for Incomplete Grades must be submitted to the Registrar's office no later than the last day of the Final Exam period. Instructors must submit a Change of Grade form once the coursework is completed but no later than the end of the 12th week of the subsequent semester following submission of the "I" grade. Incompletes earned in the spring semester do not need to be completed in the summer term unless required by the Instructor. Failure to complete the necessary work by the deadline will result in the "I" grade being automatically changed to the grade listed on the Request for Incomplete Grade form. If no grade is listed on the form, an "F" grade will be assigned.
The Registrar will not accept incomplete grades that cannot be completed within the guidelines listed above.
Satisfactory Academic Progress
All graduate programs require the student to maintain a grade point average of 3.0 at Berry and overall. No credit toward the degree will be awarded for any grade below 2.0 (C).
Grades and credits earned at other institutions are not used in the calculations of the grade-point average required to remain in good academic standing. Therefore, work repeated at another institution cannot be used to improve the grade-point average at Berry College.
Academic Probation and Suspension
A degree-seeking student with a cumulative grade-point average in Berry College graduate course work below 3.0 will be placed on probation. Probation is a warning that results when a student's record calls into question his or her long-range chances for academic success and eventual graduation from the program. A student placed on probation may, with the approval of the director of the pertinent program, enroll in a maximum of two additional courses in an effort to attain the 3.0 average requirement. If the grade-point average requirement remains unfulfilled after the completion of the additional course(s), the student may be permanently suspended from the college for academic reasons.
Regardless of cumulative average and/or total number of hours earned, a student may be suspended and/or denied graduation when any of the following combinations of grades is earned: (1) three C's; (2) two C's and one F; or (3) two F's. All grades earned in graduate course work at Berry College, including both grades in the case of a repeated course, are used in determining whether any of the above combinations of grades has been earned.
If a grade of F is earned in a required course, that course must be repeated. If a grade of F is earned in an elective course, either that course may be repeated or another elective course may be completed. A course may be repeated only once.
A student who is suspended from any graduate program for any of the reasons stated above is not eligible to resume work in the same program at a later date.
Time Limit for Grade Changes
Non-Incomplete grades may not be challenged or changed after the end of the next semester in which the grade in question was earned; grades of students who have graduated may not be changed after the end of the term in which the student graduated.
Academic Appeals Process
Undergraduate students who wish to appeal an academic-related decision other than a grade should first consult with the professor of the course in which the issue has been raised. If the issue is not resolved at that consultation, the student may then appeal to the department chair and then, if the issue is not resolved, in writing to the dean of the appropriate school and then to the associate provost and/or provost. If the issue continues to be at question, the student may then appeal to a subcommittee consisting of equal numbers of faculty and students of Academic Council that will be convened by the provost or associate provost, and then to the president.
If the issue is program related, the student should consult first with the director of the department or office in which the issue has been raised. If the issue is not resolved at that consultation, the student may then appeal in writing to the appropriate school dean. If the issue is not resolved, then the student may appeal to the associate provost and/or provost. If the issue continues to be at question, the student may then appeal to a subcommittee consisting of equal numbers of faculty and students of Academic Council that will be convened by the provost or associate provost, and then to the president.
Student Complaint Policy
As an institution committed to students and open dialogue surrounding issues of concern to students, the college has implemented several policies to ensure student concerns are responded to quickly and fairly.
In addition to these policies, Berry College has a formal Student Complaint Policy. That policy is used in cases where there is no published policy/appeals process or in cases where a student has exhausted the published policy/ appeals process. This policy is designed:
- To ensure consistency in the handling of complaints,
- To provide a process for students to appeal when they believe the college did not follow a written process/policy,
- To provide a process for the resolution of complaints where no written process/policy exists,
- To track formal complaints and their resolution as required by federal regulation, and
- To help students learn how to advocate for themselves through formal processes.
Procedures for Submitting a Written Formal Student Complaint
Before filing a Student Complaint:
Berry College has several written appeals processes delineated in the Berry College Catalog, the VikingCode, and on the college website. In all cases, students should complete these processes prior to lodging a written complaint. Among the policies in place:
- The Berry College Catalog contains policies to address/appeal academic integrity violations, grade appeals, and general academic/course-related concerns or appeals.
- The Berry College Catalog contains policies regarding tuition charges and the payment of tuition, eligibility for and awarding of financial aid, and the refund of tuition and fees.
- The Viking Code contains policies to address/appeal student conduct violations and sanctions imposed through the judicial process.
- Berry College has a Title IX: Sexual Misconduct policy to address concerns related to sexual assault and sexual harassment. The policy is located on the Student Life website.
In most cases where there is not a written policy, concerns/complaints may be resolved by first meeting with the office, faculty, staff or student directly. If that is not possible or if that meeting does not resolve the complaint, students should meet with the supervisor of the office, faculty, or staff directly. Students should speak with the appropriate person(s) to seek resolution prior to lodging a written complaint.
Filing a Student Complaint
- All formal written complaints must be filed using the online Student Complaint Form, which may be accessed on VikingWeb, Student tab, under Forms and Reports. The Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs or the Dean of Academic Services are available to assist any student needing help submitting a complaint.
- All Student Complaint Forms and supporting documentation submitted through the online system will be routed to the appropriate vice president for review and investigation. Complaints not designated for a specific vice president will be sent to the chief of staff who will review the complaint and respond or forward it as necessary to the appropriate vice president for review and investigation. The vice president investigating the complaint may request additional documentation and personal visits with students, faculty, staff, and administrators.
- The appropriate vice president will respond to the complainant and strive to resolve the complaint within ten business days. The student will receive written communication of the resolution of the complaint.
- A student may appeal the decision of a vice president or chief of staff directly to the president by letter delivered to the office. The president will respond to the student in writing, normally within ten business days of receipt of the complaint. The decision of the president is final.
- All student complaints will be kept on file for four years.
Certain graduate courses may contain language in the course description that allows students to repeat them for credit; however, most courses may not be taken more than once for credit. For determining the cumulative grade point average, all attempts in a course will be counted.
The Berry College community affirms its support of academic integrity as reflecting founder Martha Berry's commitment to educating the head, heart, and hands, and as the foundation of college life and experience. We believe that mutual trust among Berry's students, faculty and staff is essential to the operation of the college and that all members of the Berry College community are responsible for working together to establish and uphold an environment conducive to honorable academic endeavor.
Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, the following: cheating, unauthorized collaboration, plagiarism, fabrication, multiple submissions, and aiding and abetting;
Cheating: using or providing unauthorized information or aids on any examination or other graded assignment; altering a graded work prior to its return to a faculty member; doing another's work or allowing another person to do one's work, and submitting it for grading;
Unauthorized Collaboration: working with another person on a project, assignment, examination, test or quiz, unless collaborative work has been stipulated by the instructor;
Plagiarism: submitting material that in part or whole is not one's own work without properly attributing the source(s) of its content;
Fabrication: inventing or falsifying information, data or citations; altering or creating any document or record affecting the grade or academic standing of oneself or others;
Multiple Submissions: submitting identical or substantially similar papers or course work for credit in more than one course without prior permission of the instructor(s);
Aiding and Abetting: providing material, information or other assistance which violates any of the above standards for academic integrity; providing false information in connection with any inquiry regarding academic integrity.
Where there is a suspected violation of academic integrity policy, the concerned faculty member should:
(a) discuss the suspected infraction directly with the student(s) involved. At the faculty member's or student's discretion, the school dean, department chair or faculty colleague may be present during this discussion as a witness;
(b) make copies of relevant materials before returning them to the student(s) for any approved amendment or revision;
(c) discuss the suspected infraction and the documented evidence with the department chair, dean or a colleague if collegial advice is desired. In all such cases, the privacy of the student(s) involved must be protected;
(d) make a decision based on the evidence and determine appropriate sanctions; sanctions may include warning the student, or reducing an assignment, exam or course grade; if sanctions are imposed, discuss these and the appeals process with the student;
(e) if a student is found to have violated academic integrity policy, notify the provost (or associate provost) in writing. This document should include:
- information about the course, the faculty involved, and the student(s) involved;
- the time and date of the incident, and a description of the incident and any evidence that indicates an infraction of academic integrity;
- any sanctions imposed by the faculty member in response to this incident; and
- a confirmation that the faculty member has discussed with the student the incident, any sanctions imposed, and the student's right to appeal the faculty member's decision.
Students seeking to appeal the sanction concerning academic integrity may appeal to a subcommittee consisting of equal numbers of faculty and students of the Graduate Council, which will be convened by the provost or associate provost.
Students who are sanctioned for violating academic integrity policy forfeit the right to withdraw from the class with a grade of "W."
A student enrolled in at least nine credit hours during a semester is regarded as a full-time student during that term. A student enrolled in one to eight credit hours is considered a part-time student. The maximum number of credit hours for which a graduate student may enroll is 12. It is recommended that a graduate student take no more than two courses if working full time.
Upon admission to graduate study, each student is assigned an academic advisor. The student has the responsibility to seek help from this advisor in planning a program of study. The student must meet with his or her advisor each term prior to registration. Once the student has been cleared by the advisor for registration, he or she will be eligible to register online using Viking Web. Online registration will be made available during the designated preregistration periods. Preregistered schedules for students who are not cleared for enrollment by the business services office by the fee-payment deadline will be dropped from their classes. A late fee will be charged to current students' account if the student registers outside of the designated preregistration period or if they must re-register for failure to pay their bill.
Dropping and Adding Courses
Students may change courses on-line during the first four days of each academic semester. At the end of the fourth day of the semester, any course for which a student is registered will count as hours attempted. If graduate courses do not meet within the first four days of the semester because the college is officially closed, students will be allowed to drop a class that meets after the first four days of the semester if they submit an add/drop form to the Registrar's office within 24 hours of the first scheduled class meeting.
A student who registers for a course but does not attend and does not process a "one-stop" form or course-withdrawal form with the registrar will receive a grade of F for that course. A student who registers for one course but attends or seeks credit for another course without processing a "one-stop" form within the time required will not receive credit for the course attended and may receive a grade of F in the original course for which he or she registered.
It is the responsibility of the student to submit forms to the Registrar's office, in all cases action will be taken based upon the date the form/request is received in the Registrar's office. Completed forms may be submitted in person, by mail, fax, or sent as an email attachment. Forms submitted to another office on campus are not considered to meet the deadline for withdrawal if they are not submitted to the Registrar by the deadlines listed on the college calendar.
Official Withdrawal from a Course
To withdraw from a course the student should meet with the director of the appropriate graduate program and then submit a completed add/drop form to the Registrar's office. If the withdrawal is made during the second through the fifth week of a fall or spring semester, or the published date of summer term, the student will receive a W on the course from which the withdrawal is made. After that period, the grade will be either W or WF, depending on whether the grade at the time of withdrawal is passing or failing. Only in unusual circumstances, however, will a student be permitted to withdraw from a course during the last three weeks of the semester, even if the grade in the course is passing. Failure to withdraw properly will result in the F grade.
Should a student officially withdraw or be suspended during the semester, the grade will be either W or WF, depending on whether the grade at the time of withdrawal is passing or failing. Grades recorded prior to the student's withdrawal from school will remain on the record. Withdrawal for medical reasons, as determined by the provost's office, will be indicated by the WS grade.
A student who drops all graduate courses during a semester is considered withdrawn from Berry College for that period. An application for readmission must be submitted before the student can enroll in subsequent semesters. Upon withdrawal, refunds will be determined based upon the refund policy listed in the catalog.
It is the responsibility of the student to submit forms to the Registrar's office, in all cases action will be taken based upon the date the form/request is submitted to the Registrar's office. Forms submitted to another office on campus are not considered to meet the deadline for withdrawal if they are not submitted to the Registrar by the deadlines listed on the college calendar.
Leave of Absence
There are situations such as medical or family emergencies when a student must withdraw from classes for a semester with every intention of returning the next semester. The student may, in these cases, request approval of a Leave of Absence that, if granted, would mean that he or she would not have to complete the withdrawal-from-the-institution process and then reapply for admission. In applying, the student will be asked to indicate the term of absence, the reason for the absence and to provide documentation of the reason stated so that the provost and/or associate provost may consider the request.
While students are encouraged to apply for the Leave of Absence prior to the beginning of a term or during the drop/add period, students must complete the Leave of Absence form and turn it in to the associate provost's office no later than the end of the automatic W withdrawal period, typically the fifth week of the regular fall or spring terms, for approval to be considered for the current term. Students who have begun coursework during the term and who receive permission for the leave after the drop/add period would be granted a W for all courses for which they are registered; these hours would count, however, as hours attempted.
In cases where a student needs to withdraw temporarily for medical reasons but anticipates returning in the next semester, the student may be granted a Medical Leave of Absence. The leave must be requested no later than the last day of the semester to withdraw with a W or WF grade, typically the twelfth week of the regular fall or spring semester. Upon receipt of appropriate medical documentation, students will be granted a WS for all courses for which they are registered; these hours would count, however, as hours attempted. Students who withdraw for medical reasons will be asked to provide documentation from the appropriate medical professionals regarding the student's readiness to return to a residential academic community.
A student approved for a Leave of Absence or Medical Leave of Absence will be eligible to preregister at the same time he or she would if enrolled at Berry and will, upon returning to the college, be coded as a current student. The student is responsible for meeting all fee deadlines, housing-application deadlines, etc., as is a student in residence.
A Leave of Absence will be granted for no more than one term in duration. If students must be gone from the institution longer than one term, they must formally withdraw and then reapply for admission.
Students should be advised that an approved Leave of Absence may affect the student's eligibility for financial aid and grants; students seeking approval of a Leave should consult with financial aid.
In accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, transcripts are issued only at the written request of the student. Telephone and faxed requests are not accepted. Transcripts may be requested in one of two ways: 1) Go to www.getmytranscript.com, and follow the directions to request a transcript, or 2) complete the transcript request and bring or mail it to the Registrar's Office with payment. Every attempt is made to honor requests within 48 hours of receipt. Individuals who order transcripts on line will receive email notification when Berry receives the request and then the transcript is mailed. Official transcripts are printed on blue safety paper. Currently enrolled students may print unofficial copies for their own use from VikingWeb. Official transcripts will not be issued for those who are delinquent in their financial obligations to the college.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
Access to Student Information
Under provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, students have the right of access to official records maintained on them by Berry College. A student may inspect and review her or his educational records by filing a written request with the registrar. Although access may be normally obtained without undue delay, officials are permitted a 45-day period within which to respond to any request. For further information, please refer to the student handbook, Viking Code.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, also provides that the following categories of information may be released by the college as public unless the student chooses to have the information withheld. Such information may be released routinely to certain inquirers and the news media unless the student requests in writing the fall semester of each year that this list be withheld. Directory information includes name, address (including home, residence hall and room number, and local off-campus address), current telephone listing, place of birth, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height (if a member of an athletic team), dates of attendance (including current classification and year, matriculation and withdrawal dates), degrees, awards and honors received, including dates granted, the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended, Berry e-mail address, status (full-time/part-time), and identification photograph.
Release of Information
Without the student's written consent, Berry College does not release confidential information to anyone other than Berry College personnel requiring information for the proper performance of their duties; organizations conducting studies for educational and governmental agencies; accrediting agencies; appropriate persons in case of health or safety emergencies; agencies or offices in connection with the student's application for or receipt of financial aid; governmental officials, as identified in Public Law 93-380; parents of dependent children, as defined in the Internal Revenue Code of 1954; and an appropriate official in response to a court order. Students who wish to release to parents routine grade reports or other official correspondence must complete a signed authorization form with the Office of the Registrar.
Librarians' professional ethics require that personally identifiable information about library users be kept confidential. This confidentiality applies to information sought or received; materials consulted, borrowed or acquired; and borrower-registration information.
Confidential records shall not be made available to any agency of state, federal or local government or any other person unless a court order requiring disclosure has been entered by a court of competent jurisdiction.
Berry College students are frequently featured in news releases, photographs, audiotapes and videotapes that may be distributed to the media or used in Berry publications, including Web sites. Students may be photographed or videotaped on campus or at college-related functions. The college has exclusive rights to these photographs/videotapes and may use them to promote the institution. Accomplishments of students may also be used to promote Berry College.
Students are asked to participate in assessment and feedback for the purpose of continuous improvement. These activities may include surveys, exit examinations, and other benchmarking or feedback tools. Berry takes this information seriously and uses it to improve curricula and other support services as well as to reward faculty and staff performance. The dean of academic services, in coordination with school deans, will notify students when these evaluations are to be completed. Informal feedback is encouraged at all times.
The Berry College Graduate Council is the graduate academic legislative body of the college. Members of the Graduate Council are appointed and/or elected from the graduate faculty, graduate students and appropriate college administrators.
The Graduate Council is responsible to the provost. Changes in policy proposed by the Graduate Council are subject to approval by the president or by the Berry College Board of Trustees if the policy concerns a jurisdictional area reserved by the board for its own action. With the exception of decisions made by the president, all academic decisions on graduate matters at Berry College that are within the jurisdiction of the Graduate Council are approved by the council or are subject to its approval. The decisions of the Graduate Council are final except that any decision of the council may be appealed to the provost, and, at the discretion of the provost, to the president.
The Graduate Council has responsibility for passing upon the acceptability of all graduate courses proposed by an academic department and all program requirements. The Graduate Council serves as the final appellate body considering matters related to admission, the grading system, grades awarded at Berry College, and other matters of an academic nature relative to graduate programs at Berry.
Graduate Advisory Council for Education
The Graduate Advisory Council for Education assists the Office of Graduate Studies in Education in its strategic planning by providing ideas and suggestions. It reviews issues related to the graduate programs to meet the needs of youngsters, teachers and the community. This council meets biannually and is composed of representatives from local school systems, personnel from regional agencies, area curriculum directors, alumni, faculty, staff and graduate students.
Graduate Advisory Council for Business
The Graduate Advisory Council for Business assists the Office of Graduate Studies in Business in continuously improving the delivery of quality advanced business education. Comprised of a variety of critical stakeholders, the council reviews opportunities and issues related to the program's mission, objectives, curricula and resource-development initiatives. The council, which is composed of leaders from profit and nonprofit organizations, alumni, faculty, staff and graduate students, meets biannually.