May 18, 2024  
2023-2024 GRADUATE CATALOG 
    
2023-2024 GRADUATE CATALOG [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Regulations




Graduate and prospective graduate students are responsible for being thoroughly familiar with the rules, regulations, and degree requirements of the Graduate School and of the academic departments, as well as with the Code of Student Conduct. Catalog applies to where the courses originate, not where the students originate.

The Fogelman College of Business and Economics, the College of Education, and the Herff College of Engineering have additional college degree requirements. The Cecil Humphreys Law School has a separate catalog that applies only to law school students. Please see Degree Programs (All Programs)  for individual program requirements.

Course Numbering System

Only non-degree and fully admitted graduate students may enroll in and receive graduate credit for courses numbered according to the following system:

6000-6999: Courses equivalent to 4000 level senior courses for which a limited amount of graduate credit may be earned. Students will be expected to do more work, such as an additional paper or additional higher level readings, to receive graduate credit.

  • Students may not receive credit for a 6000 level course if they have credit at the 4000 level.
  • 6000 level courses must be taught by members of the Graduate Faculty.
  • No more than 15 post-baccalaureate hours of 6000 level courses may be applied to a doctoral degree.

7000-7999: Courses open primarily to master’s students and taught by members of the Graduate Faculty

8000-8999: Courses open primarily to post-master’s students and taught by members of the Graduate Faculty

9000: Dissertation, directed by a full member of the Graduate Faculty

Graduate Maximum Course Load and Time Status

The unit of credit at the University of Memphis is the semester hour. A semester hour is defined as the credit earned for the successful completion of one hour per week in class for one semester; or two to three hours per week of laboratory for one semester. (A course which gives three semester hours credit will normally meet for three lecture or recitation hours per week, or for two lecture or recitation hours and two-three laboratory hours per week; or for some other combination of these.) Each lecture hour presupposes a minimum of two hours preparation on the part of the student.

Graduate Course Load Limitations

Fifteen semester hours of coursework is the maximum load for students devoting full time to graduate study during regular sessions. The maximum total number of hours of graduate course work for which a graduate student may enroll during the Summer Session is 9.

Graduate Students and Time Status Definitions by Term

Graduate students who register for 9 or more hours for Spring and Fall in the academic year will be considered full-time students. Graduate students who register for 6 hours or more in the Summer will be considered full time. For financial aid and state reporting, full time status is 9 hours for Fall, Spring, and Summer for Graduate students. The table below shows the hour requirements for full time status by term and definition. See table below for more information on time status and usage. 

 

Financial Aid and State reporting - Full time Definition

University Definition of Full Time
(Time status in Banner)

Fall

 

Masters
Graduate Certificates
Pre-Comps

9

9

Spring

 

Masters
Graduate Certificates
Pre-Comps

9

9

Summer

 

Masters
Graduate Certificates
Pre-Comps

9

6

Late-Stage Doctoral Students and Time Status

Late-Stage doctoral students are students who have completed and passed their comprehensive exams. These students may enroll in only one dissertation hour and be considered full-time if they are working full time on their dissertations.  

Late-Stage students who are enrolled in less than 9 dissertation hours during a fall or a spring semester are still expected to be working at least half-time on their dissertation to qualify for full-time status and meet federal financial aid guidelines.  If you do not plan to work at least half-time on your dissertation, you must notify the graduate school. 

Audit Courses

Students who are admitted to the University of Memphis may register to audit a course with the prior approval of the instructor and the head of the academic unit or designate. Students enrolling on an audit basis do not receive academic credit for that course. Particularly in high-demand courses, academic units should make sure that students who need these courses for degree credit can be accommodated before they issue permits for audits. Audits should not be used simply as a vehicle for obtaining access to laboratory or studio facilities.

Auditors are not required to take examinations and do not receive a regular letter grade. The student and the instructor should reach a precise agreement as to the extent and nature of the students participation in the course, including class discussion, projects, and readings. Students auditing a course will receive “audit” (AU) on the transcript only if they have attended regularly and participated according to the prior agreement with the instructor.

A student may not change from a grade point basis to audit or from audit to a grade point basis after the last day to add classes for that session. Any questions concerning this policy should be referred to the colleges.

Fees for audits will be assessed on the same basis as fees for credit courses.

Attendance Policy

Requirements for attendance in any graduate course will be determined by the instructor and will be communicated in writing to students in the first class meeting.

Withdrawing from Classes After the Add/Drop Deadline

Courses may be added or dropped after initial registration for a limited time only. Refer to the Registrar’s Student Calendar for appropriate deadlines. Courses may be added late only upon approval of the instructor and the director of graduate studies in the student’s college. Students in the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders or College of Professional and Liberal Studies must obtain the approval of the director of graduate studies in those units.

Students may withdraw from courses after the drop date only when circumstances beyond the student’s control make it impossible to complete the semester. Two examples of such circumstances would be: extended personal illness or job relocation, both of which are identified as legitimate grounds for action. Also, late and retroactive drops or withdrawals will be processed for students for which a clerical error has been made (e.g., wrong section number) and for students who change from a thesis to a non-thesis master’s degree program (thesis courses 7996 or 7999). These cases must be verified by the departmental graduate coordinator. Late drops or withdrawals will not be approved in a situation in which a student might simply wish to avoid receiving an unsatisfactory grade. 

Late drops must be approved by the director of graduate studies in the student’s college. A benefits and Title IV funds for enrollment fees are subject to cancellation and immediate repayment if the recipient stops attending, whether or not the student has dropped a course. 

Withdrawal from the University During a Semester 

A graduate student may withdraw (drop all courses from which they enrolled during a specific semester) from the University after the specified drop date must seek approval from their program coordinator. Late withdrawals must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies in the student’s college and submitted to the Graduate School.  Failure to officially withdraw will result in grades of “F” for the courses in which the student is enrolled. 

Students enrolled on a non-degree basis must obtain the approval of the Dean of the Graduate School or approved designee. VA benefits and Title IV funds for enrollment fees are subject to cancellation and immediate repayment if the recipient stops attending, whether or not the student has withdrawn. 

Leave of Absence

Continuous enrollment is expected of all late stage (those working on dissertations, theses, or final projects) graduate students; however, in rare circumstances a student may need to petition for a leave of absence within the final stage (dissertation, thesis, final project) of their degree program when, due to hardships beyond their control, they cannot be continuously enrolled. Such circumstances can be related to military duty, medical or sudden job relocation. A petition form, with instructions, can be found here. Appropriate documentation must be provided by the student and approved by all signatories.

Grading System

The table below shows the grades that may be awarded with their quality points:

Plus/Minus Grading Scale
 

GRADE QUALITY POINTS GRADE QUALITY POINTS
A+ 4.00 C+ 2.33
A 4.00 C 2.00
A- 3.84 C- 1.67
B+ 3.33 D+ 1.33
B 3.00 D 1.00
B- 2.67 F 0.00

Grades used to postpone or suspend course completion include “I” (incomplete), “IP” (in progress), and “W” (withdrawn).

Independent studies or problems courses, directed readings, student teaching, workshops, practica, internships, theses, and dissertations should be graded “A-F, IP” or “S”,”U”, IP.” A grade of “S,”“U,” or “IP,” does not carry any quality points and is not included in computing GPA.

Incomplete: The grade “I” (Incomplete) may be assigned by the faculty member in any course other than those with “IP” grading in which the student is unable to complete the work due to extraordinary events beyond the individual’s control that are acceptable to the faculty member. The “I” may not be used to extend the term for students who complete the course with an unsatisfactory grade. Unless the student completes the requirements for removal of the “I” within the next major term (see chart below) from the end of the semester in which it was received (see the University Calendar), the “I” will change to an “F,” whether or not the student is enrolled.

Faculty and students with incompletes should always develop a completion plan, which may involve less time than allowed by policy.  The amount of time allowed by the faculty member should be realistic and based on the proportion of coursework that is incomplete (as well as being informed by the student circumstance that resulted in the ‘I’ grade).  If the student does not execute on the plan developed with the faculty member, then the grade change can be issued by the faculty from ‘I’ to whatever grade is appropriate at any time prior to the deadline.

The faculty member may grant an extension if sufficient extenuating circumstances exist. At the end of the extension period, the “I” grade will automatically revert to “F” if the student has not completed the requirements. The student will be certified for graduation only when all requirements are met, including the removal of “I” grades. If a student has an “I” in a course necessary to fulfill degree requirements in the semester in which he or she expects to graduate, the certification process and graduation will automatically be deferred to the next term.

Major Terms:

Student earns an I in Spring         

Students have until the last day of the Fall term to complete coursework (Summer is not a major term.)

Student earns an I in Summer     Students have until the last day of the Fall term to complete coursework
Student earns an I in Fall               Students have until the last day of the Spring term to complete coursework

In Progress: In some courses with “IP” (In Progress) grading, faculty members may assign “IP” to extend the time permitted for the completion of research or course requirements. A student awarded an “IP” grade must re-enroll in the course for the same number of hours to complete the work. Students must continuously re-enroll in thesis or dissertation courses but the hours may vary. The final grade will be submitted by the faculty member at the end of the term in which the work is completed.

Thesis/Dissertation Grading: The use of S, U, IP grading for theses and dissertations is different from its use for other courses. The grade of “S” is ONLY awarded when the student successfully defends the thesis or dissertation; the grade of “U” is awarded ONLY when the student fails to defend successfully. Otherwise, the grade of “IP” is awarded to indicate that the student is progressing in a timely manner. Students must enroll for at least 1 thesis or dissertation hour for each semester (except for summer sessions) that they are working on the thesis or dissertation.

Grade Point Average: Graduate students must maintain a minimum of a 3.0 GPA (“B”). Grades of “D” and “F” will not apply toward any graduate degree, but will be computed in the GPA. No more than 7 hours of “C-,” “C” or “C+” will be applied towards meeting degree requirements. Grades earned at another university will not be computed in the cumulative GPA. Grades in courses that are older than the time limitation set for completion of a given degree will be shown on the transcript.  With permission of the academic department, however, these grades will not be included in the computation of the GPA used for graduation. Only courses that have been validated will count toward the degree (see below for validation policy). The overall GPA required for graduation, computed on all graduate level courses completed whether or not they are listed on the candidacy form, must also be a minimum of 3.0.

Repetition of Courses: A graduate student may repeat a course to earn a higher grade only if the earned grade was a “U” or lower than a “B” (3.0). No course may be repeated more than once to improve the grade. Only the grade earned in the second attempt will be included in the computation of the cumulative grade point average using the grade change workflow process. A maximum of two courses may be repeated during the student’s total graduate career to improve a grade. However, if a student advances to a doctoral program and wishes to repeat a third course at the doctoral level, the student must seek approval from the director of graduate studies. Students should always check with their advisors before enrolling in a course a second time.After completion of the repeated course(s), students must go to their director of graduate studies or designee to get approval for grade replacement.

Grade Changes: Grades properly issued in a course by the faculty member of record will not be altered except when an error was made in computation or reporting or as a result of a formal grade appeal. A grade other than “I” or “IP” may not be changed as a result of additional work after a grade has been submitted to the Office of the Registrar.

Expired Course Grade Removal

  • The request for expired course grade removal form is a plan of academic forgiveness which allows graduate students who previously experienced academic difficulty to improve their academic record upon returning to college after an extended absence. The process allows eligible students to resume study without being penalized for past unsatisfactory scholarship.
  • Courses eligible for the expired course removal process must be at least eight (8) consecutive calendar years old as a master’s degree student or at least ten (10) years old as a doctoral student. Any number of expired course grades are eligible for this program.
  • In consultation with their advisor, students will need to complete a Course Grade Removal from Cumulative GPA form, obtaining all required signatures.

Student Requirements

To be considered eligible a student must:

  • Be admitted as a degree-seeking student at the University of Memphis.
  • Submit a completed Course Grade Removal from Cumulative GPA form, containing all signatures noted on the form, to the Graduate School.
  • Students applying for expired course grade removal are not required to provide additional supporting documentation.

Terms

  • The student may be granted Expired Course Grade Removal only once during their graduate academic career.
  • Courses Grades Removed will remain on the student’s academic record although they will not be included in the calculation of the graduate student’s GPA. These courses will appear with an “Xin front of the grade on the transcript. Once a course grade is removed, this is not reversable.
  • This is independent of financial aid and scholarship regulations and requirements. The student should consult with other offices at the University of Memphis for proper guidance regarding federal, state, and institutional financial aid programs; collection of student fees and charges; payment plan options; scholarship eligibility; and/or educational benefits.

Students using this policy should understand that the original grades remain on the transcript but no longer count in the GPA.

Change of Major Grade Removal

This is a plan of academic forgiveness that allows graduate students with previous academic difficulty to improve their academic record when they change programs of study (majors or concentrations). This allows students to exclude a limited number of graduate courses in which they received a C or lower at the University of Memphis from their GPA calculation. It is intended to forgive grades of C or lower that do not apply to the new major.

Student Requirements

To be considered eligible, a student must:

  1. Be admitted as a degree-seeking student at the University of Memphis within their newly chosen major.
  2. Have an overall graduate level GPA of less than 3.0 (on academic probation) at the time of application for change of major grade removal.
  3. In consultation with their new academic advisor, submit an Academic Program Update Form specifying the old and new programs of study (major/concentration), first. The Course Grade Removal from Cumulative GPA form must be submitted next, no later than the end of the semester in which the student matriculates into the new program.
  4. Not have earned a graduate degree previously or have been granted a previous change of major grade removal.
  5. The student may apply to exclude 1/3 of the program coursework from the previous degree with grades of C or less from their GPA calculation (an “X” will appear in front of the excluded grades on the transcript). These courses must be required courses in the previous program of study (old major/concentration) and cannot be required for the new program of study (major/concentration). The fully completed Course Grade Removal from Cumulative GPA form should be submitted to the Graduate School for review. Graduate School staff will keep advisors from both programs informed of the status of the application and consult with them as needed. 

If the application is approved by Graduate School, to be granted change of major grade removal, a student must:

  1. Complete a minimum of 6 hours with a minimum GPA of 3.0 in courses that represent progress toward the new declared major/concentration. These courses must be completed within one academic semester of the application.
  2. Receive departmental approval and Graduate School approval in order to continue coursework in the new program while remaining on academic probation.
     

Terms

  1. This is not a substitute for repeating courses to replace grades and should only be used as a final option. The student may be granted change of major grade removal only once during their graduate career.
  2. Once a student has successfully fulfilled conditions for change of major grade removal, the GPA will then be re-calculated excluding the courses named in the application. Reminder: maximum of 1/3 of the old program of study (major/concentration) with grades of C or lower may be excluded; the courses may come from any semester or combination of semesters; most importantly, all courses excluded must be required courses in the previous program of study (old major/concentration) and cannot be required for the new program of study (major/concentration). These courses will appear with an “X” in front of the grade on the transcript. 
  3. Courses chosen under this policy will not count toward course repeat policy
  4. This is independent of financial aid and scholarship regulations and requirements. The student should consult with the Office of Financial Aid, University & Student Business Services, Scholarship Office, and/or Veterans Educational Benefits & Certification in the Office of Registrar at the University of Memphis for proper guidance regarding federal, state, and institutional financial aid programs; collection of student fees and charges; payment plan options; scholarship eligibility; and/or educational benefits.
  5. Students using this policy should understand that because the original grades remain on the transcript, they may be considered by other institutions when applying to graduate or professional school and by employers.

Credit by Exam

In cases where a student has current knowledge but has not earned credit for an appropriate course, an academic department may offer a student graduate credit by examination, subject to the following regulations. The Credit by Exam form can be opened through this link.

The following regulations govern the granting of credit by examination:

  • Students must be currently enrolled in a degree program (full-time or part-time) and must be in good academic standing.

  • Only courses with “fixed content” areas are eligible for credit by examination. (Independent study, individual directed research, special topics, workshops and individual project classes are not eligible).

  • Total credit-by-examination applied to a student’s degree program may not exceed nine (9) semester hours.

The student must follow these steps to obtain credit by examination:

  • Complete the electronic form noted above, which will trigger approval requests to respective academic department administration.  Once approval is obtained, an exam payment portal will be created for the student to complete payment.  Afterward, the student will be contacted by the academic department to schedule taking the exam.

  • When the exam is successfully taken as indicated by the student’s academic department chair, the Dean of the Graduate School (or designee) will authorize the posting of the credit to the student’s record.

  • The form of the examination, the method of administering it, and the time of examination are left to the discretion of colleges and academic units.

  • Instructions and explanations are embedded throughout the Credit by Exam system to guide student and academic department interaction within the Credit by Exam system.

  • To receive credit, the student’s examination grade should be equivalent to at least a “B” (3.0). Credit is indicated on the student’s record as “S” but is not figured in the GPA.

The only remedy to an unsuccessful credit-by-examination grade is to enroll in and complete the course.

Time Limitations and Course Validation

The University sets time limits on students to ensure that students have reasonably current knowledge in those courses that comprise the graduate program in which they are enrolled and for which a graduate degree is awarded. It also wants to ensure that students finish their chosen degree in a timely manner. For a master’s degree all coursework needs to be completed within eight years.  For a doctoral degree (and master’s degrees that require more than 36 hrs) all coursework needs to be completed within 10 years. When coursework taken is too old to be included in the graduate degree program, the academic unit in which the course was taken may allow the student to validate that coursework, subject to the following regulations:

  • Only students fully admitted to graduate programs and who are in good standing are eligible.
  • Only courses with fixed content are eligible for validation. (Independent study, research, special topics courses, and workshops are ineligible.)

The method of validation is left up to the department in which the course was offered and in which the student seeks a degree, but there are a variety of possible validation methods including:

  1. Passing an examination specifically on the material or requisite subset of the material covered by a given course.
  2. Passing a more advanced course in the same subject area that clearly utilizes and builds upon the work of the lower-level course.
  3. Passing a comprehensive examination in which the student demonstrates knowledge of the content of a course.
  4. Successfully defending a dissertation proposal in which the student demonstrates knowledge of the content of the course.
  5. Successfully defending a dissertation in which the student demonstrates knowledge of the content of the course.
  6. Teaching the given course or one that is closely and documentably comparable.
  7. Publishing scholarly research demonstrating substantial knowledge of the course content.
  8. Completion of an independent study or project(s) which demonstrates knowledge of the content of the course.
  9. Professional development activities and/or professional experiences that are documented by evidence such as samples of work-related projects relevant to course content with an explanation for how they are applied “on the job”.

The department also has the option of submitting a form to the graduate school to waive validation.

Validation or waiver of validation must be reported to the graduate school using the appropriate form. See forms on the Graduate School website page.

In circumstances where a student has expired coursework that occurred while pursuing one degree and is interested in using that coursework to finish a different University of Memphis degree the following validation process can be used:

  1. The student needs to document and explain how the University of Memphis expired coursework is relevant to the new degree program and get approval from the new degree program prior to the start of coursework to use those courses toward the new degree.
  2. The University of Memphis department in which the expired courses were taken reviews the student’s proposed use of expired coursework and either validates the course or certifies that there is no need to validate the courses. (see form above)

Once the course(s) is validated the student must complete the new degree within the limits set above.

Maximum Combined Credit Hours to Fulfill Degree Requirements

For graduate students, the maximum amount of combined hours of transfer credit, credit by examination, course validation and experiential learning credit used to fulfill degree requirements is two-thirds the number of hours required for the degree. 

A maximum of 15 credits may be transferred from certificate programs to non-related graduate degrees, subject to approval of the graduate program as well as the graduate school. Moreover, all credits from a certificate program may be transferred to a relevant graduate degree where the entire content of a given certificate could satisfy some of the requirements of a graduate degree. Students should consult the degree program department in advance to determine which of the certificate program credits are appropriate for transfer. 

The Graduate School sets minimum standards to which all the diverse graduate programs across the university must adhere. Individual colleges, schools, and graduate programs are encouraged to set more stringent requirements as necessary to meet their accreditation and student needs. 

For additional information about credit by examination procedures, contact the Graduate School Graduation Analyst or the Graduate School Office at 901.678.4212.

Shared Credits

This section pertains to credits shared between two UofM graduate programs. For credits transferred to a UofM degree program from another institution and recorded on the UofM transcript, please see the Transfer Credit section.

Graduate Certificate Programs

A maximum of 15 credits may be shared between a certificate program and a non-related graduate degree program, subject to approval of the graduate degree program as well as the Graduate School. Moreover, all credits from a certificate program may be shared with a relevant graduate degree program where the entire content of the certificate program can satisfy some of the requirements of the graduate degree program. Students should consult the degree program department in advance to determine which of the certificate program credits are appropriate for sharing.

Second (Combination) Master’s Degree

Students who have previously earned a master’s degree from The University of Memphis or are currently enrolled in one may share some courses while pursuing a second master’s with a different concentration, major, and/or degree. The second academic unit will determine whether any credit from the first degree will be accepted toward the second degree. The two programs may be pursued simultaneously or sequentially and must be completed within the appropriate time limit, starting with initial matriculation in the first program of study. Accordingly, course expirations and potential course validations should be considered.

To undertake a combination master’s program, admission must be obtained to both programs. An approved formal plan of study, including shared credit hours, must be developed upon admission and copies kept by all participating parties. (Consecutive programs do not require approval of shared courses by those overseeing the first program.) If approved, up to 20% of the total combined credit hours for the two programs or 15 credit hours (whichever is greater) may be shared. Students must pass separate comprehensive examinations.

Second (Combination) Doctoral Degree

Students who have previously earned a doctorate from The University of Memphis or are currently enrolled in one may share some courses while pursuing a second doctoral degree. The second academic unit will determine whether any credits from the first degree will be accepted toward the second degree. The two programs may be pursued simultaneously or sequentially and must be completed within the appropriate time limit, starting with initial matriculation in the first program of study. Accordingly, course expirations and potential course validations should be considered.

To undertake combination doctoral degrees, admission must first be obtained to both programs. An approved formal plan of study, including shared credit hours, must be developed upon admission and copies kept by all participating parties. (Consecutive programs do not require approval of shared courses by those overseeing the first program.) No more than 12 semester hours from one doctoral degree may be applied toward the other degree. Students must pass separate comprehensive examinations and successfully defend separate dissertations.

Transfer Credit

This section pertains to credits transferred to a UofM degree program from another institution and recorded on the UofM transcript. For credits shared between two UofM degree programs,
please see the Shared Credits section.

Credit towards a graduate degree or certificate does not transfer automatically. Graduate workcompleted at another institution can be accepted in a graduate program at the University if thework (1) is relevant to the graduate program at the University; (2) does not exceed the time
limitations set for the graduate program; and (3) is approved by the student’s Advisory Committee and the Graduate Program Director or Department Head. Courses proposed for transfer credit must have a minimum of 750 contact minutes for each semester credit. Thesis and Dissertation credits cannot be transferred.

Credit previously earned at another institution must be presented for evaluation before the student submits their candidacy form. Forms are available on-line or from the Provost’s Office. Only transcripts received directly from an issuing institution are considered official.Grades earned at another institution will not be computed in the University cumulative grade point average, nor will they be accepted for transfer unless they are “B” (3.00) or better.

Credits Transferred from an uncompleted degree

Transfer credit may be accepted from an uncompleted graduate degree or graduate certificate program for up to one-half the number of semester hours required for a master’s, post-master’s, or doctoral program at UofM. Up to six semester hours of transfer credit can be accepted toward a graduate certificate program at UofM. Students enrolled in a post-master’s program who have credit hours beyond the master’s degree from another institution may transfer up to one-half the number of semester hours required for the post-master’s program at UofM. Individual academic units may set more stringent limitations. Note, too, that doctoral students are required to complete their last 30 credit hours in residence at UofM; this may impact the number of hours that can be transferred.

Credits Transferred from a completed degree

Up to 15 semester hours of coursework may be transferred from a completed graduate degree or graduate certificate to a master’s, post-master’s, or doctoral program at UofM. For post-master’s programs of study, credits from a completed master’s degree are not considered to be transfer credits as they do not appear on the student’s transcripts. For these post-master’s programs of study, up to 15 semester hours of coursework beyond the master’s degree may be transferred toward the degree. Individual academic units may set more stringent limitations. Note, too, that doctoral students are required to complete their last 30 credit hours in residence at UofM; this may impact the number of hours that can be transferred.

Academic Performance Termination and Appeals

Students may be terminated from a graduate program based on: 1. academic or professional performance where termination from a graduate program does not terminate a student from the University and, therefore, students may be eligible to apply for alternative graduate programs; or 2. academic misconduct where students may be suspended or expelled from the University by virtue of an action of the Office of Student Accountability for conduct violations of the Student Code of Rights and Responsibilities. In such situations, suspension or expulsion from the University will result in automatic termination from the graduate program with no separate right of appeal.  Please see the Office of Student Accountability website for more details.

Academic Performance Termination Procedures

Graduate Students may be terminated from a program for academic performance concerns such as a second comprehensive examination failure, unsuccessful defense of thesis or dissertation, grades below standard, or a second consecutive semester on academic probation.  Students may also be terminated from a program by an action of a program retention committee or other program committee authorized to take action based on a student’s failure to meet the program’s published retention standards. All actions should be taken to assist the student to improve their performance before termination procedures are initiated. In the spirit of helping improve performance, the Advisor should inform the student of concerns about the student’s performance prior to initiation of the internal review process.  

If after following the internal process to improve performance and the college/school is progressing toward termination, the following procedures should be followed for notifying students of termination: 

  1. An internal group/panel should be assembled within a program to review the recommendation for termination.  The internal group/panel may include, but is not limited to, the following members: the Advisor, Graduate Coordinator, Department Chair, and/or an existing Program Retention Committee who will review the recommendation for termination. The exact composition of the internal group/panel is to be decided by each program.
  2. Programs/Colleges/Schools need to document the process using the Termination Form and retain supporting documentation that clearly demonstrates the need to terminate.
  3. If approved by the internal group/panel in #1 above, the Associate Dean / Director for Graduate Studies for the student’s College or School sends the completed Termination Form and supporting documentation to the Associate Dean of the Graduate School regarding the impending recommendation for termination.
  4. For procedural guidance, the Associate Dean of the Graduate School or designee reviews the recommended request for termination (The Termination Form) and provides procedural and policy-related feedback as warranted.
  5. The Dean of the School/College reviews and renders a final decision on the termination.  If the decision is to terminate, the Dean of the School/College sends a letter of termination to the student and copies the Advisor, the Graduate Coordinator, Department Chair, Associate Dean / Director for Graduate Studies, Dean of the Graduate School, and any other relevant party. 
  6. If a student is dismissed from a graduate program, he or she may be considered for a non-degree graduate program or they may apply to a different graduate program.  (If the student cannot maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA the student is not eligible for non-degree.

Graduate Appeals Committee for Grade and Academic Performance Retention Appeals

Any graduate student has the right to appeal grade and retention decisions made by the academic department, program, or college/school in the implementation of University policy.

NOTES:

  1. “Business days” excludes Saturday, Sunday, and administrative holidays.
  2. The summer sessions are considered as one term for appeal purposes.
  3. The Graduate Appeals Committee shall be composed of a chair (who is non-voting), seven members, and three alternates constituted as follows:

The chair is designated by the Dean of the Graduate School who is non-voting and selected from the graduate faculty; two committee member and one alternate are selected from the graduate faculty by the Dean of the Graduate School; two committee members and two alternates are selected from the graduate faculty by the University Council for Graduate Studies; three student members and one alternate are selected by the Dean of the Graduate School. 

Requirements of being on graduate appeals committee:

  1. Must be available during the Summer semester. 
  2. Those who are connected to the student’s department must recuse themselves from participating in the appeals process.

Grade Appeals

This appeal procedure provides any graduate student at The University of Memphis with a clearly defined avenue for appealing the assignment of a course grade that the student believes was based on arbitrary or other reasons not related to academic performance. All cases alleged to be based on prejudice or discrimination will be referred to Office of Institutional Equity.  In all cases, the student shall have the burden of proof with respect to the allegations in the appeal and in the request for a hearing. 

The student must initiate the appeal process within 20 class days after the start of the following semester. If the instructor, chair, and dean or designee (individual or committee) fail to respond to the student’s appeal within the time limits, the Graduate Appeals Committee shall act on the student’s appeal. The procedure is terminated if the student and the instructor agree on the grade. If neither the student nor the instructor appeals a decision within the appropriate time limit, the disposition of the appeal made in the previous step shall be final.

A written record of all decisions shall be kept with the file at all steps in the process. Copies of all correspondence and records shall be retained in the office in which the appeal is finally resolved. The original documents shall be forwarded to the Graduate School for filing.

All parties must carefully adhere to the following procedure, observing the deadlines.

Step 1

Time Limitation: Early enough to meet the deadline in Step 2.

The student shall first consult with the instructor in an effort to provide a satisfactory resolution of the appeal. If for any reason the faculty is unresponsive or unavailable, proceed to Step 2. If agreement is reached between the student and faculty, the appeal process ends.

Step 2

Time Limitation: Twenty class days into the following semester.

If the appeal is not resolved in Step 1, the student must complete a Graduate Appeal Form (available in PDF format on the Graduate School’s Resources page or in the Graduate School). This form, accompanied by a written statement detailing the factual basis of the faculty’s written rebuttal gathered by the chair or equivalent, shall be taken by the student to the chair of the department in which the course was taken. The written appeal must be received by the chair within 20 class days from the start of the following semester. The department chair shall then address the appeal in consultation with the faculty and the student within 20 class days of the date of submission of the written appeal. If the faculty is unavailable, the chair should proceed with the appeal. The chair must provide a written rationale for any decision made, which shall become part of the file. 

If the department chair was the faculty of the course involved in the appeal, or if for any reason the chair disqualifies themselves, the student may proceed to Step 3. 

The chair is empowered to change the grade if they find that the original grade was based arbitrary or other reason not related to academic performance. The chair shall notify both the student and the faculty in writing of the action taken. Either the student or the faculty may request a copy of the full file in order to appeal the chair’s decision within five (5) class days of decision notification by filing a written request for a hearing before the dean of the college (or their designee). 

Step 3

Time limitation: Within five (5) class days after Step 2.

If the appeal cannot be resolved at the level of Step 2 within the prescribed 20 class days, the student or the faculty has five (5) class days of decision notification to request in writing (with a copy to the Graduate School) that the chair forward the appeal to the dean of the college (or their designee). The chair shall provide the dean or designee with the Graduate Appeal Form, the chair’s written rationale, a copy of all correspondence and decisions, along with other records pertaining to the appeal. 

The dean or designee should resolve the grade appeal within 20 class days. If the dean or designee finds that the request lacks merit, they shall notify the student, the faculty, and the chair in writing; the grade shall remain as recorded. The dean is empowered to change the grade if they find that the original grade was based arbitrary or other reason not related to academic performance.  The dean must provide a written rationale for any decision made, which shall become part of the file. 

Either the student or the faculty may appeal the dean’s decision within five (5) class days of decision notification by filing a written request for a hearing before the Graduate Appeals Committee with the Dean of the Graduate School or designee. This request must be accompanied by the Graduate Grade Appeal Form, a copy of all correspondence, including the dean’s written decision, and other records pertaining to the appeal. 

Step 4

Time limitation: Within five (5) class days after Step 3.

The written request for a hearing before the Graduate Appeals Committee should state the factual basis for the appeal of the results of Step 3. All supporting documents, including the Graduate Grade Appeal Form, should be included at the time of submission. 

The Dean of the Graduate School (or their designee) shall forward the request to the chair of the Graduate Appeals Committee. The chair shall subsequently distribute copies of the request to the members of the committee for consideration. If the Committee finds the student’s or the faculty’s request merits a hearing, the Committee shall notify the student, the faculty, the chair, and the college dean of the date, time, and the location of the hearing. If the Committee finds that the request does not merit a hearing, the student, the faculty, the chair, and the dean shall be so notified in writing. The hearing may be attended remotely using available technology. 

The Graduate Appeals Committee should resolve the appeal within twenty (20) class days. To hold a hearing, the seven (7) members of the Committee (or appropriate alternates) must be present. The faculty and student will present their cases at the hearing in each other’s presence. If a majority of the Committee agrees that the grade should be changed because it was based arbitrary or other reason not related to academic performance, the Committee shall notify the Dean of the Graduate School, who shall be empowered to change the grade without the consent of the faculty, the chair, or the college dean. Otherwise, the grade shall remain as recorded. The decision of the Committee shall be communicated to all parties in writing. The decision of the Graduate Appeals Committee shall be final. 

The appeals procedure is not complete until all appropriate records are forwarded to the Graduate School Office. At this time, the Dean of the Graduate School shall notify the Office of the Registrar, Corrections, of any grade change. A copy of the Graduate Appeals Form shall become a part of the student’s file. A permanent record of all grade appeals reviewed by the Appeals Committee shall be maintained in the Graduate School. 

 Academic Performance Retention Appeals

Any action related to the retention standards of the program for which the student is terminated from their graduate program may be appealed by the student pursuant to this policy. Reasons for appealing include:  (a) New information, not available at the time of termination recommendation, has become available which would substantially alter the outcome of the termination decision, (b) The academic department or college/school failed to conduct the termination process fairly or violated its procedures in such a way as to disadvantage the terminated student, (c) The decision of the academic department or college/ school is arbitrary in relation to academic and professional performance requirements of the student’s academic program.   Appeals and time limits below are to be followed, and hearings on appeals convened only during periods in which the academic units of the University are in session. 

Step 1

A. Time Limitation: Five (5) business days following the date the termination notice was received.
The student may file a written appeal with the Dean’s office of the College/School in which the student is enrolled using the Retention Appeal Form provided by the Graduate School.  In the written appeal statement, the student must clearly state the reasons why the decision is being appealed, the facts and circumstances supporting the appeal reason, and the remedy or remedies requested.  This appeal statement will become the only basis for all further consideration of the appeal. See guidance on how students should document their appeal in the Retention Appeals Form. 

B. Time Limitation: Ten (10) business days following receipt of the appeal.
In considering the appeal, the Dean or Dean’s designee of the College/School may meet with the graduate program director, the student’s advisor, the Associate Dean / Director of Graduate Studies, and the student, as necessary.  The Dean or Dean’s designee of the College/School will notify the student in writing of the Dean’s or Dean’s designee’s decision and reasons supporting the decision.  If the Dean or Dean’s designee upholds the termination decision, the decision will become final unless the student appeals under the Step 2 provisions within the prescribed timeframe.

 

Step 2

A. Time Limitation: Five (5) business days following Step 1. 
The student may appeal the Dean’s or Dean’s designee decision by filing, with the Associate Dean of the Graduate School or designee, a request for a hearing before the University Graduate Appeals Committee. The written request for a hearing must state the reason why the student believes the Dean’s decision was in error and provide a copy of all documents submitted to the Dean in Step 1. Upon receipt of a Step 2 appeal, the Associate Dean of the Graduate School or designee will notify the graduate program and request a response to the appeal, including copies of correspondence and any other supporting documentation that led to the dismissal, to be provided within five (5) days.

B. Time Limitation: Five (5) business days following the receipt of the appeal materials by the Graduate School.
The Associate Dean of the Graduate School or designee shall forward the appeal and all documentation to the chair of the Graduate Appeals Committee for distribution to the members of the Committee for consideration. 

C.Time Limitation: Five (5) business days following the receipt of the appeal materials by the Committee.
If the Graduate Appeals Committee finds that the appeal does not merit a hearing, the student’s appeal is denied, and all concerned parties shall be notified by the Associate Dean of the Graduate School or designee. 

D.Time Limitation: Twenty (20) business days following the receipt of the appeal materials by the Committee.If the Committee finds the  merits a hearing, the Committee shall notify the Associate Dean of the Graduate School or designee. The Associate Dean of the Graduate School or designee will then notify the student, department chair, and college Associate Dean / Director of Graduate Studies and will provide information regarding the hearing process, including the option of the student bringing an advisor to the hearing and the ability to meet online if remote access is needed. A hearing will be scheduled in which the student, department chair (or designee), and Associate Dean / Director of Graduate Studies (or their designees) are invited to present their cases before the Graduate s Committee. All efforts will be made to schedule the hearing at a mutually agreeable time and within a reasonable time after receipt of the appeal, but no later than twenty (20) business days after receipt of the appeal absent extenuating circumstances.

E.Time Limitation: Five (5) business days following the hearing.
The Graduate Appeals Committee will report their decision to the Associate Dean of the Graduate School or designee who will notify the student, department chair, and Associate Dean / Director of Graduate Studies in writing.

F. Time Limitation: Five (5) business days following the Committee’s decision.
If the Graduate Appeals Committee finds that the student should be reinstated, it shall be empowered to reinstate the student. The Associate Dean of the Graduate School or designee will notify all concerned parties, including the student, their department, and the Associate Dean / Director of Graduate Studies in writing of the decision and reasons supporting the decision.  Reinstatements may be subject to conditions as imposed by the Graduate Appeals Committee, including participation in a remediation plan. 

G. If the student believes administrative or procedural oversights occurred during the appeal process that adversely affected the student’s case, the student can consult the Dean of the Graduate School who will confer with the Graduate Appeals Committee prior to their making a final decision.

H. The decision of the Graduate Appeals Committee will be final.

Academic Misconduct

Graduate students at the University of Memphis are expected to observe the regulations and policies that govern the behavior of students as members of this academic community. These regulations and policies are published in the Code of Student Rights & Responsibilities. In particular, graduate students should become familiar with the University’s policies on plagiarism in its various forms. Furthermore, term papers may not be used to meet the requirements of more than one course unless approved in advance by both instructors.

The University of Memphis Code of Student Rights & Responsibilities defines academic misconduct as all acts of cheating, plagiarism, forgery, and falsification.

The term plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, the use, by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the published or unpublished work of another person without full or clear acknowledgement. It also includes the unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another person or agency engaged in the selling of term papers or other academic materials.

Academic misconduct also includes furnishing false information to a University official, faculty member, or office; or the forgery, alteration, or misuse of any University document, record, or instrument of identification. The Office of Student Accountability addresses allegations of academic misconduct.

Academic Probation

A graduate student whose cumulative grade point average drops below 3.00 will be placed on probation. A second consecutive semester on probation can result in termination. Conditions under which continuation in the Graduate School beyond two consecutive semesters on probation will be granted must be recommended by the academic unit program directors/ coordinator of the program and approved by the director of graduate studies in the student’s college and the Dean of Graduate School. 

If, in the opinion of the academic unit, and the Graduate School, a degree-seeking student is not making satisfactory progress toward degree completion, the student may be dismissed from the degree program. If, in the opinion of the academic unit in which the student is enrolled in coursework, and the Graduate School, a non-degree-seeking student is not making satisfactory progress toward licensure, certification, or program admission, the student may be dismissed from their graduate program. 

Graduate Faculty

The University of Memphis maintains three levels of graduate faculty: full, associate, and external. Only full graduate faculty members may chair doctoral committees. Full or associate graduate faculty may chair master’s committees. Full members of the Graduate Faculty may direct dissertations and associate members may direct theses in an academic unit other than their own at the discretion of the graduate coordinator and/or the chair of that department. External  graduate faculty may be members of doctoral and master’s committees in their areas of expertise, but may not chair them. 

No more than one external  graduate faculty member may serve as a voting member of a student’s committee. Membership in the Graduate faculty is required in order to teach 6000 level graduate courses or above. An emeritus faculty member continues to serve as a dissertation chairman under the condition that the supervised dissertation has passed a proposal defense before the emeritus faculty member retires. 

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools requires that faculty teaching graduate and post-baccalaureate course work have an earned a doctoral or terminal degree in the teaching discipline or a related discipline. All departmental graduate coordinators should be members of the Graduate Faculty.

Additional information pertaining to application for graduate faculty status, including the Guidelines and Procedures for Graduate Faculty Status, is available on-line or can be obtained from the Graduate School.

Regulatory Issues

Human Subjects: All University of Memphis faculty, staff, or students who propose to engage in any research or scholarly activity involving the use of human subjects must have prior approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB). The IRB is responsible for safeguarding rights and welfare of all persons participating in research or scholarly projects, whether funded or non-funded. Human subjects means a living individual about whom an investigator (whether professional or student) conducting research obtains: (1) data through intervention or interaction with the individual, or (2) identifiable private information. Research means a systematic investigation, including research development, testing, and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge. For further information, contact the IRB coordinator in the Office of Research Support Services. 

Vertebrate Animals: All uses of vertebrate animals must receive prior approval from the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). 

Biohazards: Research involving recombinant DNA, radioisotopes, or other hazardous material must receive prior approval by the Institutional Biosafety Committee. 

Privacy Rights of Parents and Students

The University complies fully with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974. This act is designed to protect the privacy of educational records, to establish the right of students to inspect and review their educational records, and to provide guidelines for the correction of inaccurate or misleading data through informal and formal hearings. Students also have the right to file complaints with the FERPA Office concerning alleged failures by the institution to comply with the Act.

Schools may disclose, without consent, “directory” information such as a student’s name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. However, schools must tell parents and eligible students about directory information and allow parents and eligible students a reasonable amount of time to request that the school not disclose directory information about them. Schools must notify parents and eligible students annually of their rights under FERPA. The actual means of notification (special letter, inclusion in a PTA bulletin, student handbook, or newspaper article) is left to the discretion of each school.

For additional information, you may call 1-800-USA-LEARN (1-800-872-5327) (voice). Individuals who use TDD may call 1-800-437-0833.

Or you may contact us at the following address:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-8520

The provisions for the release of information about students and the rights of students and others to have access to the University of Memphis education records are published each semester in the online class listing. A copy of the Act and the University of Memphis Procedure may be reviewed in the offices of the Registrar or University Counsel.