Attendance Policy

Regular classroom attendance is expected of all students and individual faculty may require class attendance. Course grades reflect not only performance on written assignments and exams, but also participation during class periods. As discussions cannot be reproduced, many times absences cannot truly be made up. Excessive absences therefore have a negative effect on the student’s learning and performance. Students are responsible for all class work, and a student who misses a class is expected to have the initiative necessary to cover properly the material missed. Students must meet all course deadlines and be present for all quizzes, tests, and examinations.

Syllabus information will include a statement of the attendance policy for each course and the effect of nonattendance on grades. Reasonable provisions should be made by the instructor for documented representation at University-sponsored athletic or academic functions, mandatory military training and documented illness. The granting of provisions for other documented absences is left to the discretion of the faculty member.

Due to the nature of asynchronous courses, students are expected to participate in class, but in formats that may not require attendance at regular intervals.

Extended illness. The student should notify the Office of Student Engagement and Enrollment Services when the student is going to be absent from classes for more than one week because of an illness. Student Engagement and Enrollment Services will notify the student’s course instructors of the absence on his or her behalf.

Class Attendance by Guests

Statement: The propriety for non-student presence in the classroom will vary dependent upon the nature of curricular offerings, dangers inherent to certain classrooms and labs, the optimum classroom environment for each class, and the preferences of each instructor. Guidelines specifying whether non-student guests will be permitted in the classroom, which are consistent with departmental policy, will be established for each class by the instructor and included in the syllabus for the course. These guidelines will apply to each site at which the class is offered.

Continuous Enrollment Policy

Master’s and Education Specialist Students. Students who have completed all course work but are working during a given semester to complete other outstanding degree requirements (e.g. comprehensive examination, thesis, removal of an I or II grade) or wish to use University facilities and/or consult with faculty must be registered for at least one credit during that semester. In addition, graduate students must be registered for at least one credit hour in the semester in which they graduate. The program designated 998 course or GRAD 998 may be used to fulfill this requirement.

Registration for the required program designated 998 course or GRAD 998 is subject to the normal fees and regulations of the University.

Doctoral Students After Advancement to Candidacy. After successful advancement to candidacy, all doctoral students are required to be registered for at least one graduate credit hour each term (fall, spring, and summer) until the degree is completed, including the semester in which they graduate. GRAD 999 or the program designated 999 course may be used to fulfill this requirement.  Failure to comply with this requirement will result in charges to the student’s account for one graduate credit hour plus required fees for each semester after advancement to candidacy. Students are not eligible for graduation until all charges are paid.

Master's Degree Seeking Students with Assistantship Appointments in Their Final Semester.  Master's students holding graduate teaching, research, or administrative assistantships who are in their final semester and who are within six hours of completing their degree requirements, may register for six or fewer graduate credit hours needed  for the completion of their degree.  Those who are completing a Master's Thesis or Master's Project but have not yet defended it, may register for one hour of graduate credit in their final semester.  Master's students are eligible for the reduced enrollment requirement for no more than one semester.

Additional Graduate Degrees Policy

Graduate students may pursue two graduate degrees concurrently at Old Dominion University, provided that they have been admitted to both degree programs.  Minimum credit requirements must be met for each graduate degree that is awarded.  In certain cases, students may request that graduate-level coursework used to fulfill requirements for the one graduate degree be applied to the other.  Prior approval of the graduate program directors and appropriate college deans is required.

Policy on Nondegree Credits to Complete a Degree

No more than 12 credit hours of graduate-level course work taken at Old Dominion University as a nondegree student may be applied toward a graduate degree or certificate. These 12 credit hours may include only coursework for which grades of B or higher are earned. These credit hours are in addition to the 12 credit hours that can be transferred from other institutions and through experiential learning.

Graduate Writing Proficiency

Each graduate department or program will develop specific policies and procedures for evaluating and, if necessary, upgrading student writing.

Graduate Pass/Fail

Master’s-level students may include pass/fail-graded experiences to fulfill a portion of their program requirements provided that they meet a University requirement of 24 credit hours of course work, of which at least 18 hours must be letter-graded course work, and any additional departmental or school requirements. The college, school and/or department administering the program shall determine which student course work shall be considered for pass/fail credit.

Doctoral students must take dissertation credit as pass/fail and may select from among the designated pass/fail-graded experiences a portion of their program requirements, provided that they take a minimum of 24 credit hours of letter-graded course work, of which at least 18 hours must be letter-graded course work, beyond the master’s degree, or equivalent, and meet any additional departmental or school requirements.

Deans may, at their discretion, designate courses as pass/fail, letter graded or both.

A student electing the pass/fail option for a particular course cannot change his or her registration and elect to take the course for grade point credit after the end of the “add” period. Similarly, courses cannot be elected as pass/fail after the end of the “add” period.

Readmission to the Institution Following Separation or Dismissal

Master's students readmitted to the University following six or more continuous years of separation or dismissal and education specialist or doctoral students readmitted to the University following eight or more years of separation and dismissal may apply to have all previous course grades and credits removed from the calculation of the GPA.

Students who wish to apply must complete and submit the appropriate form to the graduate program director.  The form must be signed and approved by the graduate program director, the department chair, and the college dean before it is submitted to the Office of the University Registrar.

If approved, all previous graduate courses and grades will remain on the transcript but will not be used in calculating the GPA for the new graduate degree program.

Change of Program

A graduate student who wishes to change from his or her current program to a new program must make the request in writing to the Office of Graduate Admissions. The student’s graduate record will be examined to determine which additional supporting credentials must be submitted (e.g., test scores, letters of recommendation) prior to consideration for admission to the new program. If the new program requires additional supporting credentials, the student must submit these before consideration can be given to the change. If it is determined that no additional supporting credentials are necessary, the student’s record will be submitted to the graduate program director of the new program, with a request for consideration of admission. The student will be notified in writing of the graduate program director’s decision. If not admitted to the new program, the student will remain in the current program.

Graduate credits earned toward a degree or certificate from the current program may or may not be accepted by the director of the new graduate program. All grades earned in the original program will remain on the student’s transcript but only grades of B or higher, if accepted, may be used to compute the GPA in the new program. In such cases, the director of the new graduate program will request that the Office of the University Registrar adjust the student’s record.

Conversion from Doctoral to Master’s Program

A student in a doctoral program may be converted to an appropriate master’s program in special situations. The doctoral student making satisfactory progress but wishing to leave the University may apply in writing to the new master’s program director, with copies to the current program director and the applicant’s committee. The new program director, in consultation with the current program director, will review the request following program policy and procedures.

In the case where a doctoral student fails to pass or complete a particular degree requirement, the student’s committee may recommend the student to a master’s degree program. The student will follow the procedure outlined in the preceding paragraph, except that this approach requires supporting documentation from the current committee.

Once the student is accepted, the new program director will send a memorandum and a Notice of Change of Status Form, to the Office of the Registrar. The memo should clearly note which of the Old Dominion University credits and approved transfer credits may be applied to the master’s degree, and which, if any, should be reserved for future doctoral work.

Normal Course Load

Every graduate program of study requires prior approval of the graduate program director or the approved faculty advisor.

The minimum load for full-time graduate students who are not appointed as Graduate Assistants is nine (9) graduate credit hours per fall and spring semesters. No more than 12 credit hours may be carried, except in unusual circumstances and with the permission of the graduate program director. In summer semesters, six (6) credit hours constitute a full load.

Graduate students who are not appointed as Graduate Assistants and who are registered for fewer than nine (9) credit hours during the fall or spring semesters or fewer than six (6) credit hours in the summer semester are classified as part-time graduate students. During the fall or spring semesters, six (6) credit hours is considered three-fourths time, four (4) credit hours is half-time, and three (3) credit hours is quarter-time. During the summer semester, four (4) credit hours is considered three-fourths time, three (3) credit hours is half-time, and one (1) hour is quarter-time. These requirements do not apply to doctoral student who have advanced to candidacy or to master’s students who have completed all required coursework.

Doctoral students who have successfully advanced to candidacy must register for at least one (1) credit hour (899 or 999) every semester until graduation. Master's students who have completed all course requirements are not required to be registered continuously; however, they must register for at least one (1) credit hour (998) during the semester of their graduation.

International students must comply with any regulations or conditions associated with their visa status, in addition to the requirements of this enrollment policy. Those international students taking fewer than nine (9) hours in either the fall or spring semesters must file a Reduced Course Load Request Form (RCL) with the Office of Visa and Immigration Service Advising (VISA). F-1 and J-1 visa holders have no summer enrollment requirement per federal immigration regulations; however, if the summer semester is the first semester of a new academic program, six (6) credits are required to maintain the visa status.

Students appointed as Graduate Assistants have different minimum enrollment requirements depending on their source of financial support and/or residency status. Please refer to the subheading on Enrollment Requirements under the heading of Graduate Assistantships in the section of the Graduate Catalog titled Financial Awards.

Course-Load Distribution

In graduate study, at least three-fifths of the coursework for a master’s degree must be completed at the 600 level or above, and at least three-fifths of the coursework for an education specialist degree or a doctoral degree must be completed at the 800 level. Some programs have instituted more stringent course-load distribution requirements at the master’s, education specialist, and/or doctoral levels. Exceptions to the course-load distribution requirements at any level must be approved in writing by the graduate program director, the dean or his or her designee, and the provost or his or her designee.

Submission of Written Work To More Than One Class

In general, it is not acceptable for a piece of work such as a term paper to be submitted to more than one class for credit. In cases where submission of the same paper is appropriate, prior approval must always be obtained.

An example of a situation in which the same paper might appropriately be submitted would be one in which a student was enrolled in two classes, in both of which a given research topic was not only of interest to the student but was completely appropriate to both classes. In such circumstances, the student would approach the instructors of the two classes and obtain approval to submit the same term paper to both classes, based on prior agreement concerning the depth of the study, amount of material covered, and the length of the paper to be submitted (which should be longer than a paper submitted to one class).

Re-Validation of Out-of-Date Graduate Credit

Academic credit granted outside the time limit established for graduate degrees (six years for master’s degrees and eight years for education specialist and doctoral degrees) must be re-validated by an examination before the work can be applied toward the requirements of a degree program.

To be re-validated, the work must have been completed at Old Dominion University or be acceptable as transfer credit in lieu of an Old Dominion University course.

The following procedure shall be used to re-validate out-of-date work:

  1. The student must receive the permission of his or her graduate program director and the chair of the department/school or dean of the college in which the course is offered to re-validate the course credit. For courses older than ten years, the additional permission of the dean or his or her designee is required, or, in the event that the dean or his or her designee represents the second level of approval, the additional permission of the provost or his or her designee is required. The form for re-validation of out-of-date credit shall be used to record all transactions and must be submitted to the Office of the University Registrar upon completion of re-validation of work.
  2. The graduate program director, department/school chair or dean shall make appropriate referrals to faculty member(s) (an individual or a committee) teaching the course to request that an examination be prepared and evaluated. Before the examination, the faculty member(s) shall inform the student of the area of knowledge or course content on which he or she is to be examined.
  3. After the examination has been completed, the re-validation form shall be filled out, signed by the examining faculty member(s), and forwarded to the dean of the academic college or his or her designee for approval or, in the event that the dean or his or her designee represents the second level of approval, the provost or his or her designee for approval.
  4. Copies of the completed form shall be sent to the student, the graduate program director, and the university registrar.
  5. Re-validation for any given course can be sought only once.

Final Examinations

The University firmly believes that a comprehensive evaluation of a student’s achievement in a course is a vital part of the educational process. Final examinations for campus-based and higher education center courses, if given, are to be given at the time provided on the Registrar’s Office website at www.odu.edu/registrar. Upon request of the instructor, exceptions to this regulation may be made only by the dean. Final examinations are normally scheduled in the classroom where the course has met throughout the semester.

In the event that a final examination is changed to other than that of the scheduled time, provisions will be made by the instructor for any student who cannot comply with the schedule change.

Any student who has three examinations scheduled in one calendar day and is unable to resolve the problem informally with the instructor or instructors may petition the dean for relief.

All examinations are to be retained for one year by the faculty members. Students have the privilege of requesting conferences with the instructors in regard to their final grades.

All distance learning final exams shall be available for students to complete in a minimum 24-hour window as defined by the professor, including one business day, during the final examination period as defined for that course.  Students may secure proctoring at a distance learning location or higher education center, at a distance learning partner site testing center, or with a third party proctor. Students who do not secure proctoring with an ODU staff member must have all proctors approved in advance by the Office of Distance Learning at 1-800-968-2638. For more information about proctoring and distance learning examinations, visit http://dl.odu.edu/how-it-works/exams-proctors.

Continuance

The requirements and regulations set forth in the Graduate Catalog are to be construed as the minimal requirements established by the University for a student’s continuance in his or her graduate program. A student is also obligated to meet all additional requirements as delineated in the handbook of his or her graduate program.

Probation occurs when a student’s grade point average (GPA) falls below 3.00. Suspension occurs when a student is unable to raise his or her GPA above 3.00 within the next 12 credit hours taken and when he or she is prevented from registering for additional courses. Reinstatement occurs only if the student is permitted to return to return to the graduate program after submitting an approved plan of study. Separation occurs when a student withdraws voluntarily from a graduate program. Deactivation occurs when a student fails to register for three or more consecutive semesters without permission or an approved leave of absence. Dismissal may occur for a variety of academic reasons or for infractions committed against the Code of Student Conduct.

Probation, Suspension, and Reinstatement

Degree-Seeking Students

A degree-seeking-student is defined as one who is formally admitted into a graduate program at either the master’s or doctoral levels. At the end of each semester – fall, spring, and summer – the record of a degree-seeking student who does not maintain a 3.00 cumulative grade point average (GPA) is reviewed. A student who does not have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00 will be placed on probation.

Probation and Suspension Policy for Degree-Seeking Students

A degree-seeking student on probation will have 12 credit hours to raise his or her cumulative GPA to 3.00. If he or she fails to achieve a cumulative GPA of 3.00 after completing the next 12 credit hours, he or she will be placed on indefinite suspension and prevented from enrolling in graduate courses. This does not affect the student’s status with regard to undergraduate courses. A student who believes the probation or suspension was due to an error in a grade assigned should contact his or her instructor.

Reinstatement Policy for Degree-Seeking Students

A degree-seeking student who has been suspended from a graduate program may be reinstated under the following conditions:

  1. The student is responsible for initiating each of the following aspects of the request for reinstatement to the University:
    1. Developing a plan of study in consultation with and approved by the appropriate Graduate Program Director (GPD) of the program that the student is seeking to either continue enrollment or to be newly admitted. The plan of study must specify the initial 12 credit hours to be taken and the steps necessary to complete the degree requirements within the six-year (master’s) and the eight-year (doctoral) time period as required by University policy. This plan should recognize that all prior courses in which grades of B- or less were earned must be repeated or replaced with an approved substitution. If reinstated, the student’s GPA will revert to 0.00 and courses with a grade of B or above will be treated as internal transfer credit and therefore will have no bearing on the GPA. Upon reinstatement, the student must achieve a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00 in the next 12 credit hours of graduate credit attempted.
    2. Providing to the GPD a written explanation and documentation of the factors and circumstances that contributed to the failure to achieve the academic standards as well as evidence that these issues have been resolved. Students who wish to maintain confidentiality regarding special medical or other personal issues, must obtain a letter from the division of student engagement and enrollment services certifying their validity and contribution to the suspension and that these issues have been or will be satisfactorily resolved prior to the reinstatement.
  2. The GPD is responsible for each of the following steps of the request for reinstatement:
    1. Reviewing the student’s letter and any written documentation the student provides, assisting in the development of the proposed plan of study, and assessing the student’s potential for successful completion of the program.
    2. Assessing the potential impact of reinstatement on departmental resources.
    3. Submitting a recommendation on the student's request to the department chair. Note: (The GPD and the chair must agree for the student to be reinstated at the department level.)
  3. If reinstatement is approved, the student will be informed in writing by the Graduate Program Director and the steps outlined in 1.a. and 1.b. of this policy shall be followed. A copy of the letter and the approved plan of study shall be forwarded to the The Graduate School. The Graduate School will work with the Office of the University Registrar to ensure the academic record is updated so the student may resume his or her study.
  4. Upon reinstatement:
    1. All courses with grades of B- (2.70) or below will be dropped from consideration in the calculation of the grade point average for continuance or graduation. These grades will remain on the student’s transcript, but the courses will not be counted toward the degree.
    2. Courses with grades of B or above may be counted toward the degree but they will not be used in the calculation of the GPA.
    3. Reinstated students must achieve a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00 upon completion of the next 12 hours of credit attempted. Subsequent performance will be monitored by the GPD.
  5. If the student's request for reinstatement is denied, the student must be informed in writing by the graduate program director. A copy of the letter shall be forwarded to the Office of Graduate Studies along with original materials submitted by the student. The student has the right to appeal the decision to the Graduate Appeals Committee. The student must resubmit the written letter and documentation as outlined in 1.a and 1.b to The Graduate School, which will forward the materials to the Graduate Appeals Committee.
  6. The Graduate Appeals Committee will request a written evaluation from the GPD. The GPD’s evaluation must address the reasonableness of i) the proposed plan of study; ii) the potential for successful completion of the program, and, iii) the potential impact of reinstatement on departmental resources.
  7. The Graduate Appeals Committee will render its decision and inform The Graduate School. The Graduate School will send a letter to the student, with a copy to the GPD, informing him or her of the Graduate Appeals Committee’s decision. If the Graduate Appeals Committee supports the GPD’s original decision, the student shall remain separated from the program. If the Graduate Appeals Committee approves reinstatement, the steps outlined in 1.a. of this policy shall be followed. The decision of the Graduate Appeals Committee is final.
  8. A student may be reinstated only one time.

Non-Degree-Seeking Students

A non-degree-seeking students may fall into one of two categories: one who is pursuing a specific certificate or licensure program or one who is unaffiliated with a specific program.

Probation and Suspension Policy for Certificate or Licensure Students

A student who has been permitted to pursue a certificate or licensure program must achieve a cumulative GPA of 3.00 after six or more credit hours of graduate coursework. If he or she fails to do so, he or she will be placed on probation and must raise his or her cumulative GPA to 3.00 within the next six credit hours. A student who fails to achieve a cumulative GPA of 3.00 after completing the additional six credit hours will be indefinitely suspended and prevented from enrolling in graduate courses. This does not affect the student’s status with regard to undergraduate courses.

Reinstatement Policy for Certificate or Licensure Students

A suspended certificate or licensure graduate student seeking reinstatement should follow the procedures outlined earlier in this policy under the Reinstatement Policy for Degree-Seeking Students.

Probation and Suspension Policy for Unaffiliated Students

An unaffiliated student must achieve a GPA of at least 3.00 after six credit hours. If he or she who fails to achieve a 3.00 after completing an additional six credit hours, he or she will be indefinitely suspended and prevented from enrolling in graduate courses. This does not affect the student’s status with regard to undergraduate courses.

Reinstatement Policy for Unaffiliated Students

Unaffiliated students who have been suspended from graduate study must formally apply and be admitted into a degree program, a certificate or a licensure program before being allowed to take additional graduate courses.

Separation and Deactivation from a Graduate Program

A student may separate voluntarily from a graduate program at any time by notifying the graduate program director in writing.

If a student fails to register for three or more consecutive semesters, without prior approval from the graduate program director, his or her graduate status will be deactivated. To reactivate his or her graduate status, a student must submit a request in writing to the graduate program director and the Office of Graduate Admissions.

Dismissal from a Graduate Program

A degree-seeking student’s dismissal from a graduate program may occur for one or more of the following reasons:

  1. Failure to maintain good academic standing based on minimum University grade point average (GPA) requirements following reinstatement (see Policy on Probation, Suspension and Reinstatement in the Graduate Catalog above);
  2. Failure to maintain good academic standing based on specific program requirements (see specific program  handbook);
  3. Plagiarism, falsification of data, and/or other instances of academic dishonesty (see the Code of Student Conduct and/or the Policy for Responding to Allegations of Misconduct in Scientific Research and Scholarly Activity);
  4. Inability to meet specific technical requirements (see specific program handbook);
  5. Failure to pass a required examination or other program benchmark as determined by the appropriate review committee (see specific program handbook); and/or
  6. Failure to maintain satisfactory progress on a thesis or dissertation as determined by the designated thesis or dissertation committee (see specific program handbook); and/or
  7. Any situation that may involve criminal activity, that may pose a threat to the health or safety of the University community, that may infringe upon the rights or property of others in the University community, and/or that may breach the peace of the University community (see the Code of Student Conduct).

A student must be informed of his or her dismissal from a graduate program in writing by the graduate program director (GPD). A copy of the dismissal letter shall be sent to the dean or his or her designee, the Office of the University Registrar, The Graduate School, and, if relevant, the Office of Visa and Immigration Service Advising, along with the Notice of Change of Status Form. Except in cases involving probation and suspension, the Code of Student Conduct, and/or the Policy for Responding to Allegations of Scientific Misconduct in Scientific Research and Scholarly Activity, a student may appeal his or her dismissal from a graduate program in writing to the dean or his or her designee. If dissatisfied with the decision of the dean or his or her designee, a student may appeal his or her dismissal from a graduate program in writing with the Graduate Appeals Committee by submitting a Student Appeal Request Form through The Graduate School.

The Graduate Appeals Committee will render its decision and inform The Graduate School.  The Graduate School will send a letter to the student, with a copy to the GPD, informing him or her of the Graduate Appeals Committee’s decision. If the Graduate Appeals Committee supports the GPD’s original decision, the student shall remain separated from the program. If the Graduate Appeals Committee approves reinstatement, the GPD shall work out a plan of study with the student that guides him or her to the successful completion of the program. The decision of the Graduate Appeals Committee is final.

A student’s dismissal shall ordinarily remain in effect for six years before he or she may seek readmission to the same graduate program at the master’s level or for eight years before he or she may seek readmission to the same graduate program at the doctoral level.