Course Policies

Workshops

The number 598 following the departmental prefix indicates an "open" workshop that allows the departments to offer a variety of short-term seminars in specific subjects under this designation. Such workshops may or may not carry credit in a graduate degree program.

Course Credit by Examination

Credit by examination may not be taken for graduate course work.

Pass/Fail Grades

The pass/fail option is not available to graduate students for graduate or undergraduate courses.

Course Repeat Policy

Graduate students may repeat up to two courses, which are being applied to their degree. Courses may be repeated only once. Both grades earned for a course will remain on the student's record; however, the most recent grade (whether it is higher or lower) will be used in the GPA calculation.

This policy also applies to courses taken at the undergraduate level and applied to the graduate degree or certificate or teacher certification program, or taken as a prerequisite for the program.

Graduate-Level Course Numbering System

  • 500 - 600 series graduate-level courses
  • 700 - 800 series doctoral-level courses

Course numbering within a series is at the discretion of the department offering the course

Undergraduate Courses for Graduate Credit

Some departments have identified selected undergraduate courses that may be taken by graduate students (under departmental advisement) for graduate credit. No more than six credits of specifically designated 400-level courses may be applied to the awarding of the graduate degree. See departmental listings. All undergraduate credits, even those applied towards a graduate degree or certificate or certification program, will not be certified as graduate credit by the Office of Graduate Studies for any reason (e.g., notification to employer, or transfer of credits to another institution). Students must also file the proper form with the Office of Graduate Studies via the office's website.

Excused Absences Policy

I. Students participating in University-sanctioned events such as, but not limited to, the Marching Band and NCAA athletic events, will be granted an excused absence(s) by the respective faculty members for class periods missed. Students will be granted the privilege of taking, at an alternative time to be determined by the professor, scheduled examinations or quizzes that will be missed. The professor will designate such times prior to the event and the make up should be as soon as possible following the missed class. Professors can provide a fair alternative to taking the examination or quiz that will be missed. Students must recognize that some activities cannot be directly made up (e.g., a laboratory, group presentation, off-campus experience), and faculty will arrange a fair alternative to the missed work. Students must submit original documentation on University letterhead signed by the activity director, coach, or advisor detailing the specifics of the event in advance. Specific requirements include the following:

  1. Responsibility for meeting academic requirements rests with the student.
  2. Students are expected to notify their professors as soon as they know they will be missing class due to a University-sanctioned event.
  3. Students are expected to complete the work requirement for each class and turn in assignments due on days of the event prior to their due dates unless other arrangements are made with the professor.
  4. If a scheduled event is postponed or canceled, the student is expected to go to class.
  5. Students are not excused from classes for practice on nonevent days.

The following are specifics for the student athlete:

  1. The student athlete is expected, where possible, to schedule classes on days and at hours that do not conflict with athletic schedules.
  2. Athletes are not excused from classes for practice or training-room treatment on nongame days.

II. West Chester University recognizes required (non-voluntary) service in the United States military including the Pennsylvania National Guard as a legitimate reason to miss up to the equivalent of 2 weeks during a 15-week semester. Service members must submit a copy of their orders to the Registrar's Office. The Registrar's Office will communicate with respective faculty members and the student will be granted an excused absence(s) for the class periods missed. All points covered in part I of this policy including make-up work and specific requirements 1-4 also apply. Service members required to miss more than the equivalent of 2 weeks during a 15-week semester can withdraw from the term in a non-punitive manner in accordance with Pennsylvania state law. Students are expected to work closely with faculty and the Registrar’s Office to ensure their academic success. Students in programs with external accrediting bodies must also be aware that there may be attendance requirements that cannot be made up.

III. In the event of a student's unplanned medical emergency, including serious health conditions as outlined in the Family and Medical Leave Act, or the death of a student's immediate family member, faculty members are expected to provide, within reason, an opportunity for students to make up work. Students are responsible for providing proper documentation and will work with respective faculty members to make up course work as described in part I of this policy. Students are encouraged to contact the Assistant Dean of Students and refer to the website on Student Assistance for additional information.

IV. Consistent with guidelines set forth by the Family and Medical Leave Act, students who become parents of new children or have children with serious health conditions that require the student-parent to miss up to the equivalent of 2 weeks during a 15-week semester shall be given an excused absence for the courses that are missed. Students will work with respective faculty members to make up course work as described in part I of this policy. Students required to miss more than the equivalent of 2 weeks during a 15-week semester can withdraw from the term up until the term-withdraw deadline. Students required to miss more than one semester should also refer to Admissions policy on consecutive non-enrollment. Students are encouraged to contact the Assistant Dean of Students and refer to the website on Student Assistance for additional information.

V. West Chester University recognizes excused absences in accordance with federal and state legal statutes including but limited to compliance with jury duty, subpoenas, and notices of deposition. Such excused absences will be dealt with as described in part I of this policy. 

Closed Captioning Policy

West Chester University is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities as defined by Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.  Individuals with hearing deficits or other documented disabilities can contact the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (OSSD) to set up alternative forms of classroom assistance.

The University recognizes that the most efficient means of providing equal access to video media is through use of products with open or closed captioning and/or subtitles. When faculty utilizes essential video material, they should ascertain if a captioned version is available. If such a version is available, the faculty member is required to use it.

Policy on Disruptive Classroom Behavior

  1. Definition of disruptive classroom behavior
    1. Disruptive behavior is defined as an act that is disorderly, that might include but is not limited to that which disrespects, disrupts, harasses, coerces, or abuses, and/or might threaten or harm property or person, so that it interferes with an orderly classroom, teaching process, or learning function.
    2. Such behavior originates in a classroom, faculty member's office, or other site so long as it is related to the academic classroom or classroom function.
  2. Limitation of Policy
    1. This policy addresses only student classroom behavior as defined here. Nonacademic student behavior is addressed in the Student Code of Conduct and the Judicial Board process as outlined in the Ram's Eye View.
  3. Classroom Management
    1. This policy acknowledges the need for protection of academic freedom in the classroom, for faculty authority in classroom management, and for faculty and student safety in the classroom.
  4. Due Process
    1. This policy respects faculty and student rights to due process in any event emanating from disruptive student behavior in the classroom.

Process

  1. The first instance of disruptive behavior shall result in an immediate verbal warning by the faculty member. The faculty member shall advise the student of the existence of the Disruptive Classroom Behavior Policy and where it is published.
    Exception: A first instance in which disruptive behavior appears to compromise the safety of or is threatening to a faculty member or student(s) shall result in immediate removal of the student from the classroom by the faculty member. In the event of imminent danger to person or property, Public Safety will be called and immediate removal shall result. Extreme or severe behavior can result in removal from the course and not merely from the immediate class.
  2. A second instance of disruptive behavior shall result in the removal of the student from class for the remainder of the class period. The faculty member should log the behavior and the steps taken in writing.
  3. A third instance of disruptive behavior shall result in permanent removal of the student from the class.

Temporary Removal

  1. A student who has been asked to leave the classroom must meet with the faculty member prior to returning to the next class.
  2. A student may, as the result of removal from the classroom and having met or tried to meet with the faculty member without success, request a third party agreeable to both the faculty member and him/herself to assist in resolving his/her difference with the faculty member. He/she can do so by applying to the chairperson of the department in which the course in which the event occurred is housed.

Permanent Removal

  1. In the event of permanent removal from the class, the faculty member shall notify the chairperson of the department in which the course is housed, who shall then notify the dean of his/her college, the dean of students, and the chairperson of the student's major department.
  2. A student who has been permanently removed from the classroom shall be assigned a grade consistent with course requirements depending upon the point in the course at which the removal took place. A written statement of the reason for permanent removal shall be provided to the student by a review panel, in the event of an appeal by the student, or by the faculty member, in the event there has been no appeal. The review panel shall be the only venue for a hearing on permanent removal from the classroom.

Appeal Process

  1. The student may, within five University calendar days of removal, appeal permanent removal. That appeal shall be made to the review panel which shall be constituted and charged by the dean of the college, or his/her designee, in which the event occurred. The panel shall include an academic manager, a faculty member, and a student. It shall, within five University calendar days, conduct fact finding and make a written recommendation to the dean who shall provide copies to the faculty member and the student. Extension based on compelling circumstances may be granted by the dean or his/her designee.
  2. A student who appeals removal shall be given an opportunity to keep up with classroom assignments during the time it takes the review panel to reach its decision.
  3. In the event that the student's behavior was perceived as sufficiently threatening or severe, either party may invoke the right to a separate interview or may submit written testimony to allow for fact finding by the panel.

Auditors

Graduate students may declare "audit" status in a course through the end of the ninth week of class but may only audit one course per semester. Faculty may refuse to grant auditor status. Full-time graduate students have the privilege of auditing without additional charge, provided they obtain approval from the course instructor. Part-time students may audit, provided they obtain the instructor's approval, enroll in the course through the Office of the Registrar, 25 University Ave., and pay the regular course fees.

Credit is never given to auditors. The auditor status may not be changed after it has been declared. The grade of Audit (AU) is recorded on the student's transcript. An audited course will not fulfill any requirement toward graduation.

Undergraduates

An undergraduate who has completed 90 credits of undergraduate course work, is in the final year of work for the bachelor's degree, and has an overall grade point average of at least 3.0 may, with the permission of the Dean of Graduate Studies, enroll in up to six credits of graduate-level courses. Credits earned may be applied to a master's degree program subject to the approval of the major department. Students must also file the proper form with the Office of Graduate Studies via the office's website.

Transfer of Credits

Credits earned through previous graduate study at another college or university may transfer credit under certain circumstances. Application forms for transfer of credit may be obtained on the Office of Graduate Studies website. The following conditions are the minimum requirements for acceptance of transfer credit:

  1.  The credits must have been earned at an accredited graduate school.
  2. The courses taken must be approved by the department or program in which the applicant intends to enroll at West Chester and by the Dean of Graduate Studies.
  3. The maximum number of credits number of transfer credits that may be applied to a student's degree/program shall not exceed 30 percent of the total required.
  4. The grade earned for courses to be transferred must be B or better.
  5. An official transcript and a course catalog description or syllabus must be submitted.  Transcripts must be sent directly to the Office of Graduate Studies by the institution that granted the credits, and they must clearly indicate that the courses to be transferred are graduate courses for which graduate credit was given.
  6.  Current WCU students who wish to take course work at other institutions for credit at West Chester University must obtain approval from their chairperson or graduate coordinator and the Dean of Graduate Studies prior to enrollment.