Mar 23, 2018  
2010-2011 Graduate Catalog 
2010-2011 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Policies and Procedures


Grades given in the School of Graduate Studies carry the following meaning and quality points:

Quality Points per Hour
  A Clear Excellence 4.0
  A-   3.7
  B+   3.3
  B Satisfactory Performance 3.0
  B-   2.7
  C+   2.3
  C Minimum Passing Grade 2.0
  F Failed 0
  S Satisfactory 0
  SP Satisfactory Progress 0
  U Unsatisfactory 0
  W Withdrawal 0
  WF Withdrawal Failing 0
  AU Audit 0
  I Incomplete 0


To remain in good standing a graduate student must maintain an overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 “B” or better. Graduate credit will be given for grades of “A”, “A-”, “B+”, “B”, “B-”, “C+”, and “C” in graduate level courses. Graduate credit is not awarded for Pass/Fail grades. Grades of “P” of “F” do not count toward degree requirements. All graduate course grades earned at East Tennessee State University by a student will be used in computing the grade point average (GPA). An overall GPA of 3.0 is required for admission to candidacy and for graduation.

“S”, “SP”, and “U” Grades—The letter grades of “S” (Satisfactory Completion), “SP” (Satisfactory Progress), and “U” (Unsatisfactory) are given for Readings and Research, Capstone Projects, Thesis, and Dissertation. A grade of “S” carries graduate credit and indicates satisfactory completion of the course. Each program must specify the number of hours required for Thesis/Dissertation. Degree completion requires an “S” on the most recent hours associated with Thesis/Dissertation or Readings and Research. “SP” indicates progress toward project or research completion, but carries no credit This grade does not affect the student’s GPA. Students who receive an “SP” must, in subsequent semesters (including summer), enroll in additional hours of Thesis/Dissertations or Readings and Research until the requirements are completed. The “U” grade carries no credit and indicates unsatisfactory progress toward research or project completion. Students who receive a “U” must enroll for the course the following semester, including summer. The “U’ is equivalent to an “F”. The first “U” does not affect the GPA, however, all subsequent “U” grades will convert to an “F” and will be figured into the GPA.

Incomplete Grades – A grade of “I” (incomplete) indicates that a student was passing the course at the end of the semester, but due to circumstances beyond the student’s control, was unable to complete the course requirement. It also indicates that the student has received consent from the instructor to complete the work for which an “I” is assigned. The “I” grade cannot be used to allow a student to do additional work to raise a deficient grade or to repeat a course. An “I” grade must be removed no later than one calendar year from the time the grade is awarded. Time extension requests for removal of “I” grades must be submitted to and approved by the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies before the allotted time expires. An “I” grade not removed under the guidelines noted above will be converted to an “F.” When an “I” grade converts to an “F” after one calendar year, the GPA is adjusted retroactively; consequently, a student may be subject to dismissal without a probationary term. A student cannot withdraw from or drop a course after a grade of “I” has been assigned or after one year has elapsed. To remove an “I” grade, the student must complete the work independently and must not register for the course a second time or attend the same course at a later time in order to complete the course requirements.

Repeating a Course – If a student chooses to repeat a course, all grades earned are computed in the grade point average. The grade earned on the repeat does not replace the original.

Grade Reports and Appeals – Grade reports are available through GoldLink to all students who complete registration each term. Academic departments are required to retain grade documentation for a period of one year. Specific student concerns regarding academic records, other than the Grade Appeal process described in the Student Handbook (Spectrum), must be addressed within one academic year from the date of posting of grades for the term in question.

Academic Probation – To remain in good standing, a graduate student (degree or non-degree), must maintain an overall grade point average of 3.0 (B) or better on all graduate work attempted. In order to graduate, students must have a minimum 3.0 grade point average overall and on the program of study. When the cumulative grade point average falls below 3.0, the graduate student will be placed on academic probation. If the student does not achieve a 3.0 cumulative grade point average at the conclusion of one probationary semester, the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and appropriate college/departmental/program officials will determine whether the student should be dismissed from graduate study at East Tennessee State University or continued on probation. No student will be allowed more than two probationary semesters, whether consecutive or cumulative. At the end of a second probationary semester a student whose cumulative grade point average is still below 3.0 will be dismissed from graduate study. Students whose performance results in a GPA so far below 3.0 as to make it mathematically impossible to attain an overall GPA of 3.0 after one semester may be subject to dismissal without a probationary term. A student will be removed from probationary status upon attaining a cumulative 3.0 grade point average. When an “I” grade converts to an “F” after one calendar year, the GPA is adjusted retroactively; consequently, a student may be subject to dismissal without a probationary term.

Dismissal – Students may be dismissed from the School of Graduate Studies for such reasons as academic misconduct, failure to meet conditions of admission, failure to meet a requirement of the program, or for exceeding the allowed number of probationary semesters.

Reinstatement – Students who have been dismissed from the School of Graduate Studies for academic reasons may address a written request for reinstatement to the chair of their department of major. The request should include reasons why the reinstatement should be considered.

The department will review the request for reinstatement and make recommendations to the Dean of the Graduate School. If the request is denied at the departmental level, the student may then direct a written appeal to the Dean of the Graduate School, and a final decision will be made in accordance with policies established by the Graduate Council.

Residency Requirements

The residency requirement is primarily to provide doctoral students with significant time for sustained participation with peers and faculty members in scholarly and creative activities. Each doctoral degree program specifies how these residency requirements can be fulfilled. Nondoctoral graduate degree students may be required to complete one or more semesters of full-time study as determined by the degree program. Students should consult program requirements for details on specific residency requirements.

Transfer of Credit

Students may petition for the transfer of a maximum of nine semester hours of graduate credit from ETSU or other regionally accredited U.S. and approved international institutions, if grades of “B” (or equivalent) or higher were received (“B-” grades do not transfer.) Students may be required to submit documentation as to course content and duration of course prior to transfer credit being approved. ETSU coursework solely is used to compute the grade point average; non-ETSU transfer work is not computed in the GPA.

All non-ETSU transfer credit must be completed prior to the term of graduation so that the transfer process can be completed in a timely manner early in the graduation term. Transfer of credit may not be initiated after the graduation intent deadline, and official transcripts must be received by the midpoint of the graduation term.

The degree program time limit (matriculation limit) will begin with the registration date of the first course applied to the degree requirements, including transferred courses. Credit earned prior to the degree time limitations specified in this catalog will not be approved for transfer and transfer credit cannot be revalidated if it later exceeds the matriculation limits.

Credit cannot be transferred from a completed degree program into a current degree program. Extension or continuing education hours will not be transferred for credit. In general, credit earned at international institutions cannot be transferred, and petitions to transfer international credit are reviewed only if accompanied by a professional course-by-course evaluation.

Extension and Correspondence

All work completed at any approved ETSU site is residential and not extension credit. No correspondence work can be applied to any graduate program at East Tennessee State University.

Experiential Learning Credit

No graduate credit can be awarded for experiential learning that occurs prior to admission into a graduate program and which has not been under the supervision of the institution.

Institutional Review Board (IRB)

Institutional Review Board (IRB) – All research involving human subjects must be approved by the East Tennessee State University Institutional Review Board prior to initiation of the research. IRB approval is necessary to protect the rights of human subjects involved in physical, psychological, or social research. Following approval of the proposed research by the review board, the subject involved must be informed of the study and consent to participate. The application forms for research involving human subjects and review of such research projects are available in the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, 103 Earnest House.

Timetable for Graduate Study

Required Action
Date of Completion

Application for admission to the School of Graduate Studies. (Public Health applicants will make their initial applications to http:/


See the Academic Calendar  in this catalog to find the deadlines for both international students and U.S. Residents. Also, see program admission requirements for program deadlines.


Test Scores
GMAT (M.B.A. and M.Acc. Students)
GRE (if required by department)


TOEFL/IELTS/GMAT/GRE scores should be submitted with the TOEFL or IELTS (International students).


Consultation with departmental advisor.


Before registration and at least once per term.


Transfer of graduate credits earned at other institutions or postgraduate credits earned at ETSU.


After nine (9) hours in the graduate program have been completed.


Preliminary and qualifying examination.


Check with advisor for requirements and dates.


File application for candidacy, approved program of study, and committee form with the School of Graduate Studies.


Master Degree Students: Following completion of 9-12 hours in the major with a 3.0 average and no later than the semester prior to the final semester of study. Doctoral Degree Students: Consult the appropriate section of the catalog.


File intent to graduate, clear records, and pay fees for graduation.


Before the end of the second week of the final semester of study.


Final examination and/or defense of thesis of dissertation.


During the last semester of study and prior to the date specified in the Academic Calendar .


Submit review copies of thesis or dissertation to the Dean of Graduate Studies.

  9. Prior to date specified in the Academic Calendar .

Submit final copies of thesis or dissertations to the School of Graduate Studies.

  10. Prior to date specified in the Academic Calendar .
  Note: Most forms for the required steps outlined above are available on the Internet at and in the School of Graduate Studies office, Burgin Dossett Hall, Suite 309, Johnson City, Tennessee.



*Time Limits
Graduate Certificate 4-6 years Specialist Degree 5 years
Master’s Degree 6 years Doctoral Degree 7 years*
    *(5 years for persons previously awarded an Ed.S.)

• Time for completion of the degree is counted from the date of registration for the first course applied toward the degree requirements, including transfer work.

Student Conduct, Rights, and Responsibilities

University students are citizens of the state, local, and national governments and of the academic community, and are, therefore, expected to conduct themselves as law-abiding members of each community at all times. Admission to an institution of higher education carries with it special privileges and imposes special responsibilities apart from those rights and duties enjoyed by nonstudents. In recognition of the special relationship that exists between the action as may be necessary to maintain campus conditions and preserve the integrity of the institution and its educational environment.

Pursuant to this authorization, the Tennessee Board of Regents has developed regulations which are intended to govern student conduct on the campus. In addition, students are subject to all national, state, and local laws and ordinances. If a student’s violation of such laws or ordinances also adversely affects the institution’s pursuit of its educational objectives, the institution may enforce its own regulations regardless of any proceedings instituted by other authorities. Conversely, violation of any section of the Tennessee Board of Regents regulations or university rules may subject a student to disciplinary measures by the institution whether or not such conduct is simultaneously violative of state, local, or national laws.

A complete statement on institutional student disciplinary rules and procedures can found in the student handbook located in the ETSU telephone directory.

Student Complaint Policy and Procedure

Policy – This complaint policy and procedure is an electronic process. Selected complaint/appeal policies and forms can be accessed at

East Tennessee State University is committed to respecting all members of the university community and providing fair treatment regarding complaints by students. The objective of the Student Complaint Policy and Procedure is to ensure that concerns and complaints of undergraduate or graduate students are addressed fairly and are resolved promptly. Complaints usually involve actions affecting students that are alleged to be unjust, inequitable, or create unnecessary hardship. A student may pursue this complaint procedure if he or she believes a problem is not governed by other complaint or appeal procedures at the university (refer to Selected Appeal Policies, the Spectrum, and the ETSU catalogs for other examples). The colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy have their own student complaint policies; complaints should be directed to appropriate personnel as identified by those colleges.

East Tennessee State University seeks to provide students, staff and faculty members with a safe and secure learning environment, free of crime and/or violations motivated by discrimination, sexual and other bias-related harassment. There are two important complaint policies not governed by the Student Complaint Policy and Procedure: Sexual, Racial, and Other Harassment and Hate Crimes and Bias-Related Incidents. These types of complaints should be filed with the Special Assistant to the President for Equity and Diversity/Affirmative Action Director or, when a charge is by one student against another student with the Dean of Students according to the procedures described in these policies.

Procedure: When a concern occurs, the student is encouraged to discuss it with the appropriate faculty member or administrator. Often a resolution or an answer can be attained informally. If an informal approach is neither successful nor advisable, the student should use the Student Complaint Policy and Procedure. The procedure for filing student complaints governed by this policy is as follows:

Step 1: To submit a complaint a student must complete the official Student Complaint Form and send it via email attachment, within ten working days of the date of the initiating event, to the chair or director most directly involved (if the complaint is directed against the chair or director, it should be referred to the dean of the college or next level administrator). The chair or director will attempt to determine the validity of the complaint, and in the case of a valid complaint, seek resolution, including administrative action. He or she will communicate his or her decision on the Student Complaint Form and make every effort to do so within ten working days from the conclusion of this process.

Step 2: If a student wishes to appeal the decision made in Step 1, he or she must submit the Student Complaint Appeal Form A and the completed Student Complaint Form via email attachments to the appropriate dean or administrator within ten working days from the date of the decision. Undergraduate students submit the materials to the dean of the college where the issue(s) arose and graduate students submit to the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies. In the case of a complaint involving a director, the student submits materials to the next level administrator.

The student will be invited to discuss the complaint with that individual who will attempt to determine the validity of the complaint, seek resolution, including possible administrative action. He or she will communicate his or her decision on Student Complaint Appeal Form A and make every effort to inform the student within ten working days of the conclusion of the appeal.

Step 3: If the student believes that he or she has not been afforded due process the student must submit Student Complaint Appeal Form B together with Student Complaint Appeal Form A and the Student Complaint Form via email attachments to the vice president of the university division in which the complaint occurred within ten working days from the date of the decision. The vice president will make the final determination about the matter and communicate his or her decision on Student Complaint Appeal Form B and make every reasonable effort to submit his or her decision to the student within ten working days from the conclusion of this appeal. The determination will include reasons for the decision and direct a remedy, if any, to the student complaint.

Documentation: A record of all complaints and their resolution will be documented at each level of the review process by the appropriate administrator.

Student’s Bill of Rights

Students along with faculty, staff, and administrators are all members of the East Tennessee State University community. Inherent with such membership is the responsibility to conduct oneself reasonably to maintain a civil community which respects the rights of all individuals.

The student has certain rights guaranteed by the Federal and State Constitutions or statutorily created legislation including:

  1. Freedom of inquiry, freedom of speech, and freedom of expression that is respectful or sensitive to the rights of individuals.
  2. The right to peaceably assemble, in accordance with federal, state, local, and ETSU regulations.
  3. Religious freedom and a clear division of church and state.
  4. Freedom from unreasonable search and/or seizure of person, or personal property.
  5. Freedom from discrimination or harassment on the basis of gender, age, race, color, religion, national origin, or other protected status.
  6. The right to privacy, including the maintenance of confidential records in accordance with provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 and 1975, qualified by the Tennessee Open Records Law.
  7. The right to due process.

The Tennessee Board of Regents grants additional rights including:

  1. The right to due process in disciplinary procedures of the university, including written notification of charges, an explanation of procedures, and a hearing before an appropriate administrator or committee.
  2. The right to expeditious review of disciplinary sanctions upon appeal.
  3. The right to participate in the decision-making process of the university through the Student Government Association (SGA), other student governance organizations, and membership on university standing and advisory committees.
  4. The right to affiliate with officially registered student organizations if the membership requirements of those organizations have been met, and the right to seek to establish, through official procedures, additional student organizations of one’s choosing.

East Tennessee State University acknowledges that students have a legitimate expectation that:

  1. Classes meet as scheduled, and begin and adjourn on time.
  2. Course requirements are clearly specified.
  3. The instructor is prepared for class and possesses both oral and written communications skills.
  4. Paper project grades and test results are received in a timely manner.
  5. Information about progress in coursework is provided.
  6. The instructor is qualified to teach the subject matter.

Additionally, students have the right to expect:

  1. Accurate information concerning institutional services, regulations, policies, and procedures, in published form.
  2. Representation in the university governance system.
  3. Sound and accurate academic advice, information regarding courses required for graduation, and their schedule sequence.
  4. Reasonable notice of any changes in academic requirements or programs and assurance that such changes will not be made in a way that unduly impedes the academic progress of the student already enrolled.
  5. Flexibility in course scheduling (by dropping and adding) or withdrawing within university guidelines.
  6. Information about the various types of financial assistance available.
  7. Freedom to evaluate courses, programs, and services, and provide input to appropriate segments of the campus administration.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. They are:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the university receives a request for access.

    Students should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate official, written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The university official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the university official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
  2. The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading. Students may ask the university to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the university official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the university decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the university will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
  3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.

    One exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the university in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the university has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.

    A school official has a legitimate interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.

    Upon request, the university discloses education records without consent to officials of another school, upon request, in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.

    Personally identifiable information may also be released without the prior written consent of the student under one or more of the conditions listed below:

    1. In addition to other disciplinary actions, the university reserves the right to notify a parent or legal guardian of a student under the age of 21 who is found guilty of violating federal, state, or local law or any rule or policy of the university governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance when it is believed that such behavior poses a serious threat, either by the severity or the repetitive nature of the behavior, to the welfare of that student or others in the community. The implementation of parental notification will be at the discretion of the Associate Vice President and Dean of Students. However, should the parent ask for such information, it will be released to the parent.
    2. Upon request the university will disclose the final results of any disciplinary proceeding conducted by the university against a student who is an alleged perpetrator of any crime of violence (as that term is defined in section 16 of Title 18, United States Code) or a non-forcible sex offense, if the university determines as a result of disciplinary proceeding that the student committed a violation of the institution’s rules or policies with respect to such crime or offense. The information shall include only the name of the student, the violations committed, and any sanction imposed by the university on the student. The university may include the name of any other student such as a victim or witness, only with the written consent of that student. The university will notify victims of sexual assault of the outcome of any disciplinary proceeding against the alleged perpetrator.
  4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by East Tennessee State University to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is: Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20202-4605.