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General Requirements for Graduate Degrees

Back to 2010-2012 Graduate Catalog Home Page 

To meet the general requirements for graduate degrees, the applicant must achieve regular admission status and admission to candidacy and must successfully complete the program of study required for the applicable degree.

General Requirements for Graduate Degrees

Although a number of administrative and faculty advisors are ready to help the student in planning and checking the progress of the degree program, the final responsibility for completing all requirements for a degree rests with the student.

The student has the option to graduate under the requirements of the catalog in effect during the semester of first enrollment or any subsequent year of attendance; however, the catalog chosen may not be more than six years old at the time of graduation. In addition, graduate students will not be permitted to apply graduate-course credit that is more than six years old at the time of graduation.

Master’s degree candidates are required to fulfill the following general degree requirements:

  1. Be enrolled as a degree-seeking graduate student.
  2. Have all transfer credit applicable to the degree program approved by the appropriate program director and posted to the permanent record by the registrar. Upon regular admission to the graduate program, submit a written request to the appropriate program director to have transfer credit approved.
  3. Earn a minimum of 33 semester hours if pursuing an education degree, or a minimum of 30 semester hours if pursuing a business degree.
  4. Earn a minimum 3.0 grade-point average on all course work completed at Berry.
  5. Complete the Application for Graduation (and education students, an Orals request) form in an appointment with the program director at least one semester prior to the expected graduation date. This document shows requirements met and requirements to be completed for the degree.
  6. Complete all specific course and examination requirements as outlined in the appropriate sections of this catalog.

Catalog of Requirements/Time Limit

Each student must declare in writing a catalog for use in determining degree requirements. The catalog may be that in effect upon matriculation into the graduate program or any subsequent catalog, so long as the catalog is no more than six years old.


All graduate programs require the student to maintain a grade-point average of 3.0 at Berry and overall. No credit toward the degree will be awarded for any grade below 2.0 (C).

A superior 4 grade points per hour of credit
A- 3.7 grade points per hour of credit
B+ 3.3 grade points per hour of credit
B above average 3 grade points per hour of credit
B- 2.7 grade points per hour of credit
C+ 2.3 grade points per hour of credit
C average 2 grade points per hour of credit
C- 1.7 grade points per hour of credit
F failure no grade points
S satisfactory not averaged in grade points
U unsatisfactory not averaged in grade points
X audit no credit
I incomplete work resulting from illness or emergency. Unless extension is approved by the provost, the required work must be completed in the next semester of enrollment, including summer, or in two semesters if not enrolled.
Otherwise, the I becomes an F. It is the student’s responsibility to meet these requirements.
W withdrew no effect on grade points
WF withdrew failing averaged in grade points
WS withdrew from school no effect on grade points

Grades and credits earned at other institutions are not used in the calculations of the grade-point average required to remain in good academic standing. Therefore, work repeated at another institution cannot be used to improve the grade-point average at Berry College.

Time Limit for Grades

Grades other than Incomplete may not be challenged or changed after the end of the next semester in which the grade in question was earned and the student was enrolled; grades of students who have graduated may not be changed after the end of the term in which the student graduated.

Academic Standards

A regular student in good standing who anticipates completing or who has completed the required course work with a cumulative grade-point average in Berry College graduate course work below 3.0 may, with the approval of the director of the pertinent program, enroll in a maximum of two additional courses in an effort to attain the 3.0 average requirement. If the grade-point average requirement remains unfulfilled after the completion of the additional course(s), the student will be permanently suspended from the college for academic reasons.

Regardless of cumulative average and/or total number of hours earned, a student will be suspended and/or denied graduation when any of the following combinations of grades is earned: (1) three C’s; (2) two C’s and one F; or (3) two F’s. All grades earned in graduate course work at Berry College, including both grades in the case of a repeated course, are used in ­deter­mining whether any of the above combinations of grades has been earned.

If a grade of F is earned in a required course, that course must be repeated. If a grade of F is earned in an elective course, either that course may be repeated or, with the approval of the director of the pertinent program, another elective course may be completed. Only one graduate course may be repeated for this purpose. A course may be repeated only once. Graduate students may not receive graduate credit for participation in an under­graduate course.

A student who is suspended from any graduate program for any of the reasons stated above is not eligible to resume work in the same program at a later date.

Appeals Process

Students who wish to appeal an academic-related decision should first consult with the professor of the course in which the issue has been raised, or if the issue concerns a program-related issue, the director of the M.B.A. program or the assistant dean for graduate studies in education. If the issue is not resolved at that consultation, the student may then appeal to the dean of the appropriate school and then, if the issue is not resolved, to the associate provost and/or provost. If the issue continues to be at question, the student may appeal to the executive committee of the Graduate Council and then to the president of the college.

Repeating Courses

Certain graduate courses may contain language in the course description that allows students to repeat them for credit; however, most courses may not be taken more than once for credit. For determining the cumulative grade average, all attempts in a course will be counted.

Academic Integrity

The Berry College community affirms its support of academic integrity as reflecting founder Martha Berry’s commitment to educating the head, heart, and hands, and as the foundation of college life and experience. We believe that mutual trust among Berry’s students, faculty and staff is essential to the operation of the college and that all members of the Berry College community are responsible for working together to establish and uphold an environment conducive to honorable academic endeavor.

Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, the following: cheating, unauthorized collaboration, plagiarism, fabrication, multiple submissions, and aiding and abetting;
Cheating: using or providing unauthorized information or aids on any examination or other graded assignment; altering a graded work prior to its return to a faculty member; doing another’s work or allowing another person to do one’s work, and submitting it for grading;
Unauthorized Collaboration: working with another person on a project, assignment, examination, test or quiz, unless collaborative work has been stipulated by the instructor;
Plagiarism: submitting material that in part or whole is not one’s own work without properly attributing the source(s) of its content;

Fabrication: inventing or falsifying information, data or citations; altering or creating any document or record affecting the grade or academic standing of oneself or others;
Multiple Submissions: submitting identical or substantially similar papers or course work for credit in more than one course without prior permission of the instructor(s);

Aiding and Abetting: providing material, information or other assistance which violates any of the above standards for academic integrity; providing false information in connection with any inquiry regarding academic integrity.

Where there is a suspected violation of academic integrity policy, the concerned faculty member should:

(a) discuss the suspected infraction directly with the student(s) involved. At the faculty member’s or student’s discretion, the school dean, department chair or faculty colleague may be present during this discussion as a witness;
(b) make copies of relevant materials before returning them to the student(s) for any approved amendment or revision;
(c) discuss the suspected infraction and the documented evidence with the department chair, dean or a colleague if collegial advice is desired. In all such cases, the privacy of the student(s) involved must be protected;
(d) make a decision based on the evidence and determine appropriate sanctions; sanctions may include warning the student, or reducing an assignment, exam or course grade; if sanctions are imposed, discuss these and the appeals process with the student;
(e) if a student is found to have violated academic integrity policy, notify the provost (or associate provost) in writing. This document should include:
    1. information about the course, the faculty involved, and the student(s) involved;
    2. the time and date of the incident, and a description of the incident and any evidence that indicates an infraction of academic integrity;
    3. any sanctions imposed by the faculty member in response to this incident; and
    4. a confirmation that the faculty member has discussed with the student the incident, any sanctions imposed, and the student’s right to appeal the faculty member’s decision.

Students seeking to appeal the sanction concerning academic integrity may appeal to a subcommittee consisting of equal numbers of faculty and students of the Graduate Council, which will be convened by the provost or associate provost.

Students who are sanctioned for violating academic integrity policy forfeit the right to withdraw from the class with a grade of “W.”

Full-time Enrollment

A student enrolled in at least nine hours during a semester is regarded as a full-time student during that term. A student enrolled in one to eight hours is considered a part-time student. The maximum number of hours for which a graduate student may enroll is 12. It is recommended that a graduate student take no more than two courses if working full time.


Upon admission to graduate study, each student is assigned an academic advisor. The student has the responsibility to seek help from this advisor in planning a program of study. The student must meet with his or her advisor each term prior to registration. Once the student has been cleared by the advisor for registration, he or she will be eligible to register online using VikingWeb. Online registration will be made available during the designated preregistration periods. Preregistered schedules for students who do not meet with their advisors or who are not cleared for enrollment by the business services office by the fee-payment deadline will be dropped from their classes.  A Late Fee will be charged to current students' account if the student registers outside of the designated preregistration period.

Dropping and Adding Courses

Students may change courses on-line during the first four days of each academic semester. At the end of the fourth day of the semester, any course for which a student is registered will count as hours attempted.  If graduate courses do not meet within the first four days of the semester because the college is officially closed, students will be allowed to drop a class that meets after the first four days of the semester if they file an add/drop form within 24 hours of the first scheduled class meeting.  Schedule changes made after the fourth day of the semester should be completed using an add/drop form that is brought to the instructor for completion as a withdrawal.  Withdrawal forms bearing grades of W, WF, or WS must be submitted to the registrar through the graduate program office.

A student who registers for a course but does not attend and does not process a “one-stop” form or course-withdrawal form with the registrar will receive a grade of F for that course. A student who registers for one course but attends or seeks credit for another course without processing a “one-stop” form within the time required will not receive credit for the course attended and may receive a grade of F in the original course for which he or she registered.

Official Withdrawal from a Course

Official withdrawal from a course must be accomplished through the director of the appropriate graduate program. If the withdrawal is made during the second through the fifth week of a fall or spring semester, or the published date of summer term, the student will receive a W on the course from which the with­drawal is made. After that period, the grade will be either W or WF, depending on whether the grade at the time of withdrawal is passing or failing. Only in unusual circumstances, however, will a student be permitted to withdraw from a course during the last three weeks of the semester, even if the grade in the course is passing. Failure to withdraw properly will result in the F grade.

Should a student officially withdraw or be suspended during the semester, the grade will be either W or WF, depending on whether the grade at the time of withdrawal is passing or failing. Grades recorded prior to the stu­dent’s withdrawal from school will remain on the record. Withdrawal for medical reasons, as determined by the provost, will be indicated by the
WS grade.

The date of dropping a class in no way implies a tuition refund. In cases affecting a student’s receipt of financial aid, federal and state regulations specify that the last date of class attendance be used as the date of with­drawal. (See Refund of Charges, p.28.)

A student who drops all graduate courses during a semester is considered withdrawn from Berry College for that period. An application for readmission must be submitted before the student can enroll in subsequent semesters. See page 15 for readmission procedures.

Leave of Absence

There are situations such as medical, professional, fiscal or family circumstances when a student must withdraw from classes for a semester with every intention of returning the next semester. The student may, in these cases, request approval of a Leave of Absence, that, if granted, would mean that he or she would not have to complete the withdrawal-from-the-institution process and then reapply for admission. In applying, the student will be asked to indicate the term of absence, the reason for the absence, and to provide documentation of the reason stated so that the provost and/or associate provost may consider the request.

While students are encouraged to apply for the Leave of Absence prior to the beginning of a term or during the drop/add period, students must complete the Leave of Absence form and turn it in to the associate provost’s office no later than the end of the withdrawal period, typically the fifth week of the regular fall or spring terms, for approval to be considered for the current term. Students who have begun course work during the term and who receive permission for the leave after the drop/add period would be granted a W for all courses for which they are registered; these hours would count, however, as hours attempted.

A student applying for a Leave of Absence will be eligible to preregister at the same time he or she would if enrolled at Berry and will, upon returning to the college, be coded as a current student. The student is responsible for meeting all fee deadlines, housing-application deadlines, etc., as is a student in residence.

A Leave of Absence will be granted for no more than one term in duration. If students must be gone from the institution longer than one term, they must formally withdraw and then reapply for admissions.

Students should be advised that an approved Leave of Absence may affect the student’s eligibility for financial aid and grants; students seeking approval of a Leave should consult with financial aid.

Time Requirement

The time limit on earned credit which can be accepted toward fulfilling the requirement for the master’s degree is six years.

Academic Transcripts

In accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, transcripts are issued only at the written request of the student. Telephone and faxed requests are not accepted. Transcripts may be requested in one of two ways: 1) Go to, and follow the directions to request a transcript, or 2) complete the trasncript request and bring or mail it to the Registrar’s Office with payment. If ordering on-line through the National Student Clearinghouse, the cost is $3 per transcript (a $2.25 processing fee will be charged.) If ordering in person or by mail, the fee is $5 for each transcript. Every attempt is made to honor requests within 48 hours of receipt. Individuals who order transcripts on line will receive email notification when Berry receives the request and then the transcript is mailed. Official tran­scripts are printed on blue safety paper. Currently enrolled students may print unofficial copies for their own use from VikingWeb. Official transcripts will not be issued for those who are delinquent in their financial obligations to the college.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

Access to Student Information

Under provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, students have the right of access to official records main­tained on them by Berry College. A student may inspect and review her or his educational records by filing a written request with the designated official. Although access may be normally obtained without undue delay, officials are permitted a 45-day period within which to respond to any request. For further information, please refer to Viking Code (student handbook).

Directory Information

The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, also provides that the following categories of information may be released by the college to the public unless the student chooses to have the informa­tion withheld. Such information may be routinely released to certain inquirers and the news media unless the student requests in writing that all data be withheld.

1. Name
2. Addresses
      a. home and
      b. residence hall and room number or
      c. local address and telephone number
3. Current telephone listing
4. Place of birth
5. Major field of study
6. Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
7. Weight and height of members of athletic teams
8. Dates of attendance, including current classifications and year,
matriculation and withdrawal dates
9. Degrees, awards, and honors received, including dates granted
10. The most recent previous educational agency or institution attended
11. Berry e-mail address
12. Full- or part-time status
13. Identification photograph
Release of Information

Without the student’s written consent, Berry College does not release any confidential information other than to Berry College personnel requiring in­for­mation for the proper performance of their duties; organizations con­duct­ing studies for educational and governmental agencies; accrediting agencies; appropriate persons in case of health or safety emergencies; agencies or offices in connection with the student’s application for or receipt of financial aid; governmental officials, as identified in Public Law 93-380; parents of dependent children as defined in the Internal Revenue Code of 1954; and an appropriate official in response to a court order. Students who wish to release grade reports or other official correspondence to others must complete a signed authorization form with the office of the registrar.

Assessment Requirement

Students are asked to participate in assessment and feedback for the purpose of continuous improvement. These activities may in­clude surveys, exit examinations, and other bench-marking or feedback tools. Berry takes this information seriously and uses it to improve curricula and other support services as well as to reward faculty and staff performance. The dean of aca­demic services, in coordination with school deans, will notify students when these evaluations are to be completed. Informal feedback is encouraged at all times.

Graduate Council

The Berry College Graduate Council is the graduate academic legislative body of the college. Members of the Graduate Council are appointed and/or elected from the graduate faculty, graduate students and appropriate college administrators.

The Graduate Council is responsible to the provost. Changes in policy proposed by the Graduate Council are subject to approval by the president or by the Berry College Board of Trustees if the policy concerns a jurisdictional area reserved by the board for its own action. With the exception of decisions made by the president, all academic decisions on graduate matters at Berry College that are within the jurisdiction of the Graduate Council are approved by the council or are subject to its approval. The decisions of the Graduate Council are final except that any decision of the council may be appealed to the provost, and, at the discretion of the provost, to the president.

The Graduate Council has responsibility for passing upon the acceptability of all graduate courses proposed by an academic department and all program requirements. The Graduate Council serves as the final appellate body considering matters related to admission, the grading system, grades awarded at Berry College, and other matters of an academic nature relative to graduate programs at Berry.

Graduate Advisory Council for Education

The Graduate Advisory Council for Education assists the Office of Graduate Studies in Education in its strategic planning by providing ideas and suggestions. It reviews issues related to the graduate programs to meet the needs of youngsters, teachers and the community. This council meets biannually and is composed of representatives from local school systems, personnel from regional agencies, area curriculum directors, alumni, faculty, staff and graduate students.

Graduate Advisory Council for Business

The Graduate Advisory Council for business assists the Office of Graduate Studies in Business in continuously improving the delivery of quality advanced business education. Comprised of a variety of critical stakeholders, the council reviews opportu­nities and issues related to the program’s mission, objectives, curricula and resource-development initiatives. The council, which is composed of leaders from both profit and nonprofit organizations, alumni, faculty, staff and graduate students, meets biannually.

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