Graduate Regulations and Degree Requirements
REGISTRATION POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
Although the University encourages the widest amount of student responsibility, with a minimum of administrative regulation, it expects students to maintain appropriate standards in their academic and personal life. The University reserves the right to terminate the registration of any student who does not meet the standards acceptable to the University.
The regulations governing graduate study at the University have been established by vote of the General Faculty, the University Senate, the Graduate Academic Council, or their forerunners. They are designed to support the academic standards of the University and the quality and validity of the degrees it confers and to insure fair and equitable treatment of all students engaged in graduate study.
The general regulations apply to all graduate students in the schools and colleges of the University, and the regulations governing master's and doctoral degrees apply equally to all graduate students engaged in programs which lead to these degrees in each of the schools and colleges of the University.
In addition to the University regulations, the schools, colleges, and departments have established various regulations and procedures governing their respective operations.
Directions for registration are available on MyUAlbany. While degree seeking students must be advised in order to register, add, or drop courses or a given academic session, the final responsibility for selecting the courses needed for graduation rests with the student. Students in a degree program will be required to furnish proof that they have had contact with their academic advisors for the specific academic session before they will be allowed to register, add, or drop. Thus, a registration for the term will demonstrate that a degree-seeking graduate student has indeed been advised, and will allow the registered students to adjust their program. While some academic programs do not require nondegree students to be advised prior to registration, academic advisement is available for all admitted nondegree students. Academic programs should be consulted for current nondegree advisement policies.
Dates for registration are given in the University calendar. A late charge is made for registration after the date specified.
Enrollments and Student Services
Other than for periods of approved leave of absence, doctoral study at the University requires continuous registration each academic year as detailed at:
Time limitations on the completion of doctoral program requirements are detailed at:
Master’s level study does not necessarily require continuous enrollment unless specified by specific program regulation. Time limitations on the completion of master’s program requirements are detailed at:
University student services and enrollment certifications are available only to students formally enrolled for graduate credit during the applicable term.
Unit of Academic Credit
The credit is the unit of academic value and represents one hour of lecture or recitation or a minimum of two hours of laboratory work each week for one semester or the equivalent. The number following each course title; e.g., (3), indicates the credits offered for that course. There is a normal expectation of two hours of outside study per credit hour.
Significance of Course Numbers
From September 1943 to September 1967 courses numbered 100-199, except those offered by the Graduate School of Public Affairs, were for undergraduates. Courses numbered 200-299 were open to seniors and graduate students. Courses numbered 300 and above were open only to graduate students. From September 1962 to September 1967 courses offered by the Graduate School of Public Affairs numbered 100 and above carried graduate credit. Beginning in September 1967 each course offered by the University was assigned a designation and a number according to a plan outlined below. The specific course designation and number appear in the bulletin directly in front of the course title. Each course designation consists of three separate units: the school designation, the subject or departmental designation, and the course number. The school or college offering the course is identified by the single letters that follow:
||College of Arts and Sciences
||School of Business
||College of Computing and Information
||School of Criminal Justice
||School of Education
||College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering
||Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy
||School of Public Health
||Regional Cross Registration
||School of Social Welfare
The subject designation consists of three letters representing an abbreviation for the subject or the department offering the course. The course number is a three-digit number reflecting the general level of the course and the specific number assigned to the course by the department offering the course. The level designations follow:
||Lower-division courses (courses 200-299 are primarily of interest to sophomores). Undergraduate credit only.
||Upper-division courses (courses 400-499 are primarily of interest to seniors). Undergraduate credit only.
||First-year graduate courses. Open to seniors with appropriate background and consent of major department chairs and the course instructors.
||First-year graduate courses. Open to superior seniors with the approval of their advisers and the written consent of their department chairs and the course instructors.
||Advanced graduate courses ordinarily beyond the master's degree. Open only to graduate students.
Graduate students are personally responsible for completing all requirements established for their degree by the University, college and department. It is the students' responsibility to inform themselves of these requirements. Students' advisors may not assume these responsibilities, and the advisors may not substitute, waive, or exempt students from any established requirement or academic standard.
Beginning in Fall 2017, graduate students in full-time study shall register for 9 or more credits each semester. Prior to Fall 2017, graduate students in full-time study registered for 12 or more credits each semester. Individuals who are employed or engaged in other significant activities are encouraged to adjust their study loads accordingly. Please note that full-time cohort programs may require registration beyond 9 credits for each semester. Graduate course work is expected to be very demanding and students should consider course load carefully when registering. Graduate students may not register for more than 19 credits per term, unless given approval by The Graduate School. Students must present compelling academic justification and have the approval of their academic adviser for a request to exceed 19 credits to be considered by The Graduate School.
As of Fall 2017, to be certified as in full-time study, graduate students must:
- be registered for 9 credits, or
- be registered for one dissertation load credit (courses numbered 899 only).
Graduate students enrolled for less than 9 credits per semester who are participating in program required full-time field work may also be certifiable as in full-time status, subject to the approval of the Dean of The Graduate School or the Graduate Academic Council, based upon the recommendation of the program faculty.
Resident Study Requirements
Resident graduate study is defined to be graduate study provided via University at Albany faculty instruction, not necessarily physically on-campus. Unless otherwise specified as part of the State approval/registration of a specific program, the minimum number of credits of resident graduate study beyond the baccalaureate established for award of a University at Albany graduate degree or certificate are:
- For graduate programs requiring 48 or more graduate credits, at least 50% of the total credits must be completed through University at Albany study.
- For graduate programs requiring 27 – 47 graduate credits, at least 24 of the credits must be completed through University at Albany study.
- For graduate programs requiring 26 or fewer graduate credits, all but a maximum of 3 credits must be completed through University at Albany study.
In programs of variable credit, with potential course waivers addressed on an individual basis, the above minimum standards shall apply to the net program requirements after any waivers are approved and applied.
Individual graduate programs may require greater levels of resident study than the minimums defined above.
Credit Applicable to Programs at the Same Degree/Certificate Level
Subject to Resident Study Requirements as defined above, no more than 30% of the graduate program credits required in one pursued (or concurrently pursued) graduate degree or certificate program shall be accepted/applied from an initial program at that same credential level.
Transfer Credit Regulations
- Courses completed before entering graduate study at this University for which transfer credit is desired should be presented to the program faculty for consideration upon admission.
- Candidates in graduate programs at this University are required to receive the approval of their advisors and The Graduate School before registering for courses at other universities/colleges if they plan later to present them for transfer credit.
- Candidates in graduate programs at this University must be in good academic standing (3.0 GPA) if they are requesting to pursue transfer credit at other universities/colleges in a future term, post matriculation.
- Courses presented must be appropriate to the student's graduate program.
- Courses presented must have been given by an accredited institution authorized to grant graduate degrees.
- Courses presented must be graduate courses, that is, applicable to a graduate degree at the institution offering them.
- Graduate courses presented for transfer credit completed while the student was in undergraduate status shall be eligible for transfer only upon receipt of documentation from the institution certifying that such course work was not used to fulfill undergraduate degree requirements at that institution.
- Courses at other universities/colleges requested for transfer must be completed with grades of B or better.
- Unless submitted as part of the application for program admission, an official transcript of the student's record in the course(s) presented for transfer credit should be sent to The Graduate School, State University of New York at Albany, 1400 Washington Avenue, Albany, New York 12222.
- An official description of the course(s) should accompany the request for transfer credit.
- Courses taken at other universities/colleges accepted for transfer credit are not used in computing the student's academic average.
- Requirements for the satisfactory completion of research seminars, theses, field courses, clinical courses, student teaching, internships and practicums may not be satisfied by transfer courses, and they are not eligible for transfer credit for these purposes.
- Subject to Resident Study Requirements as defined above, no more than 30% of the graduate program credits required in one pursued (or concurrently pursued) graduate degree or certificate program shall be accepted/applied from an initial program at that same credential level.
- If a graduate program requires an earned master's degree as an application requirement (from a regionally accredited institution of higher education or from an institution authorized by the Board of Regents to confer degrees), transfer credit cannot be granted from that master’s program into a University at Albany graduate program. Such master’s credits are considered preparatory for entry into the graduate program and therefore cannot additionally be used to satisfy curricular requirements for that graduate program. Prior graduates of University at Albany master’s degree programs who have taken coursework included in the newly admitted graduate program curriculum as part of the earned master’s used for admission will need to register for more advanced coursework to fulfill the curricular requirements.
Advanced Standing at the Doctoral Level
Subject to Resident Study Requirements as defined above, applicants for admission to the doctoral programs who have completed graduate courses or programs elsewhere may apply for admission with advanced standing, subject to faculty approval and University transfer credit regulations.
Graduate Credit Requirements
To qualify for graduate credit in a course, students must hold a bachelor's degree and have completed as a minimum the equivalent of an undergraduate minor in the field in which the course is offered, except where it has been approved by their advisors as a supporting course in a program for a graduate degree.
Shared-Resources Courses and Registration
Each department offering a graduate program may design and offer "shared-resources courses" within its total curriculum. "Shared-resources courses" are paired courses dealing with the same topic, one a 400-level (e.g., Chm 434, Advanced Separation - HPLC (3)) and one introductory graduate 500-level, (e.g., Chm 534, Advanced Separation - HPLC (3)) that meet with the same instructor, at the same time, in the same classroom.
The course syllabus of the 400-level course should accurately describe its upper-division scope and responsibility. The course syllabus of the 500-level course should accurately describe its graduate scope and responsibility, and must include extra requirements such as the submission of a graduate research paper and/or an additional weekly hour meeting or laboratory session to allow a deeper and more comprehensive examination of the subject than required at the undergraduate level.
Any department that proposes "shared-resources courses" in excess of five (5) must submit such excess courses to the Graduate Academic Council for review and approval.
NOTE: No graduate student may enroll in the graduate section of a shared resource course if he/she has already completed the undergraduate section of the same course.
Seniors of high standing in the University may receive graduate credit for graduate courses taken in excess of undergraduate requirements in the last session of their senior year provided not more than 6 credits are needed to complete the student's undergraduate program. Permission of the Dean of The Graduate School is required and must be obtained in advance of registration to receive such credit. Seniors who are permitted to take courses for graduate credit in their last session also must make formal application for admission to a graduate program and be accepted before registering for study in the final session.
Advanced and qualified undergraduate students may normally take up to a maximum of 12 credits of graduate course work while in undergraduate status. Undergraduates seeking to enroll in more than 12 credits of graduate course work will need to secure support on academic grounds from the student's academic advisor and acknowledge in advance that such enrollment beyond 12 graduate credits will be subject to tuition/fee charges at the graduate level and may not necessarily be undergraduate financial aid eligible unless applicable to the undergraduate program.
Program Changes and Withdrawal
- Adding a Course: A course may be added with the approval of the student's advisor prior to the close of the fifth day of classes for each session. A course may be added with the approval of the student's advisor and permission of the instructor from Day 6 through Day 10. (This includes changes from audit to credit.) See calendar, separate bulletins, and directions for registration.
- Dropping a Course: A course may be dropped with a grade of W (Withdrawn) by a graduate student prior to the close of the ninth week of classes with the approval of the student's advisor. After that date a grade of Z (Failing) is assigned, unless an exception is granted by the Dean of The Graduate School, in which case a grade of W is assigned. Students who reduce the credits for which they are registered during a particular session and do so before the end of the fourth week of classes may qualify for a partial refund.
- Withdrawal: Graduate students who withdraw from the University at the end of the session should notify The Graduate School and their department chairs in writing.
Students who drop all courses for which they have registered withdraw from the University for the session.
A graduate student who withdraws officially from coursework within the first nine weeks of a regular session may do so and receive grades W (Withdrawn). Students may not withdraw after the prescribed date unless their withdrawals are approved by the Dean of The Graduate School, in which case they receive grades of W.
A student who withdraws from a course prior to the end of the program adjustment period shall have the course registration deleted from his/her record.
A student who withdraws from a course during the program adjustment period and substitutes that course with another course registration will have the dropped course deleted from his/her academic record.
Students who withdraw or drop all courses and are administratively withdrawn will lose access to services and privileges available to enrolled students.
- Medical Withdrawal: A graduate student, or where appropriate the student's legal guardian or authorized representative, may initiate the medical withdrawal process by presenting information about a disabling medical condition to The Graduate School. A medical withdrawal process may additionally be initiated at Student Health Services, Counseling and Psychological Services, or the Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs.
Supporting medical documentation for a medical withdrawal will be transferred and stored in the student's medical record in Student Health Services or Counseling and Psychological Services, along with the documentation of the withdrawal. At the time of withdrawal the student will be informed in writing of the requirements for reentry.
Should the University officer reviewing the request for medical withdrawal have questions about the conditions or circumstances, the situation will be referred to Student Health Services or Counseling and Psychological Services for review by the appropriate licensed practitioner.
Medical withdrawals effective on or before the mid-semester point may qualify the student for tuition and fees adjustment for the term of withdrawal. However, under current federal regulations, students who receive federal aid and who withdraw prior to the end of the semester, regardless of the reason for the withdrawal, may have some of the aid on their account returned to the federal program, and they may immediately owe repayment of a significant portion of aid they have received for off-campus expenses.
Students seeking reentry after a medical withdrawal must provide documentation of the reason for withdrawal, treatment outcome, and their preparedness to return to the University. This documentation will be provided to Student Health Services or Counseling and Psychological Services by the student, physician, or other licensed health care practitioner or facility. The University’s Student Health Services or Counseling and Psychological Services reserves the right to make an independent evaluation of a student's readiness to return to the University.
Students who withdraw or drop all courses and are administratively withdrawn will lose access to services and privileges available to enrolled students.
Official Leave of Absence from a Graduate Program
A doctoral student shall be eligible to apply for leave of absence prior to reaching doctoral candidacy and/or registering for dissertation credits. A leave may be proposed for an appropriate academic or personal reason and will be subject to approval by the student's department, school or college, and by the Dean of The Graduate School. Normally, a leave of absence will be granted for a period up to one year. Multiple leaves may be granted up to a combined maximum of four semesters.
The period of authorized leave of absence is not counted as part of the statute of limitations for completion of degree requirements. Students granted a leave are not expected to be progressing toward the completion of degree requirements during the leave period. During periods of approved leave, students may not be engaged in program related independent research/analysis, work with the faculty, take examinations, or make use of University facilities available only to students.
Courses are not normally repeatable for graduate credit unless specified within the course description and/or designed by the department to be repeated. With departmental approval, students can otherwise repeat courses to meet specific performance expectations of increasing the degree grade point average and replacing lower grades within the degree requirements. If a student repeats a course, all grades for each registration instance will appear on the student's academic record and the higher grade will be used to calculate the student's degree grade point average. All grades will be used to calculate the student's academic standing within the department. Repeated courses may not be aid eligible, including scholarship and assistantship funding.
Students may formally audit appropriate courses which will enhance their programs and/or assist them in achieving career and personal objectives. Formal auditors are ones who register as auditors, pay tuition, and receive recognition on their transcripts, as well as other benefits enjoyed by registered students.
The following conditions govern the formal auditing of selected graduate courses:
- The student must register for the course as a formal auditor.
- The student must pay full tuition and fees based on his/her status as a graduate student.
- The course will appear at the end of the session on the student's transcript with a grade of N bearing the number of credits for which the course is offered.
- An audited course may not be applied toward satisfying the credit requirements established for any graduate degree or certificate program.
- Registration for an audit course must be approved by the student's academic advisor and either the instructor of the course or the chair of the department offering the course and the Dean of The Graduate School.
- A student may not change from credit to audit or from audit to credit after the last day to add a course for the particular session.
- Once audited, a course cannot be repeated for graduate credit.
- The following types of courses may not be formally audited: practicums, internships, research and independent study courses, field courses, clinical courses, workshops, and foreign study programs or courses.
- A graduate student who formally audits a course must participate in the course in appropriate ways as determined by the instructor. It will be the student's responsibility to ascertain from the instructor the degree of participation required. As a minimum, such participation should include regular attendance and minimum reading assignments necessary to follow discussion and to keep up with the other students in the class. In addition, instructors may require individual auditors to participate in other class projects. If in the instructors judgment, the student by the mid-session date is not satisfactorily auditing the course, the instructor will report a grade of W and the student will leave the course. There would be no refund of tuition and fees. After the mid- session date a W can be assigned by the Dean of The Graduate School upon the instructor's recommendation.
- Credits taken on a formal audit basis may count toward the student's eligibility to hold an assistantship, fellowship, scholar incentive, and toward a student's full-time status under the residency requirement.
- Exceptions to these policies may be authorized by the Dean of The Graduate School.
- Independent study provides students with an opportunity to work in specialized areas of their disciplines or professional fields when no formal, organized courses are offered or when the independent study will provide a richer and more productive experience than a comparable advanced course. A clear determination should be made in advance by students, their advisors, and instructors that it is in the best interest of the students to undertake the courses. It should make a positive contribution to their programs, scholarly development, and intellectual maturity.
Independent study is more, rather than less, demanding on the student than formal courses. Not all graduate students have either the experience or necessary intellectual discipline to undertake work of this nature successfully at the time they first enter a program. Students should not, therefore, undertake independent study in the first session of a graduate program, particularly if they have not had previous graduate experience or have not worked within the department or school previously, unless the programs in which they are engaged incorporates independent study as a formal requirement for the degree.
- A student must prepare a written proposal summarizing the intended study. As a minimum this should indicate the objectives, nature, and scope of study, the resources needed or to be used, their location and availability. It must also explain why an existing structured course (including seminars) cannot meet the needs of the student. The proposal must also indicate what the expected end product will be (for example, a paper, annotated bibliography, abstract, theatrical productions, painting or sculpture, questionnaire, etc.). The number of credits which are to be assigned must be specified. Any special or unusual time schedule should be indicated, and the proposal must be signed and approved by the student, the advisor, and the instructor. Copies of the agreement are to be distributed as follows: one copy to the student, one copy to the instructor, one copy to the advisor, one copy to the department, and one copy to the student's official folder. Copies of the agreement form may be secured from the department or school.
- An independent study course ordinarily should not be used as a substitute for an organized course specified in the student's program description or letter of admission.
- An independent study course may not be taken or approved when its purpose or operation is in conflict with University graduate policy or academic regulations and standards. For example, it specifically may not be authorized to provide for study in absentia when the student's academic status or program requires residence study on campus.
- An independent study course may not be taken or approved when its purpose is extraneous to the academic requirements for the degree. For example, it should not be used merely to increase the total credits in a registration by one or two credits.
- Each year all approved independent study programs must be reviewed by an appropriate department or school committee.
- Included in independent study are the following current types of courses: Directed Study, Independent Study, Directed Reading, Independent Reading, Supervised Study, Supervised Reading, Research and Independent Study, Independent Research and Study, Readings in _______, and Independent Research in_______.
- Not included under independent study as here defined: Courses such as Independent Reading or Directed Reading when offered for no credit or for load credit, Seminar courses (680) when independent study may or may not be structured part of the course, Thesis or Dissertation Research, Dissertation (load), Student Teaching, Field Courses, Clinical Courses, Internships, Practicums, Workshops, Laboratory Courses.
Faculty and Professional Staff-Conflict of Interest
The University is concerned that a conflict of interest may exist in situations in which employees or students vote on their own degree conferrals, or in which employees or students might exercise a special and undesirable influence on academic decisions directly influencing their own degree programs or the programs of a member of their immediate families.
- Only those below the rank of assistant professor or equivalent status and those with administrative positions below the rank of assistant dean (or equivalent) are eligible to be enrolled in a graduate degree program of study within their own school/college. However, faculty members above the rank of instructor or professional employees at or above the level of assistant dean may be enrolled as graduate degree students in a school or college other than the one in which they are employed provided that there is no conflict of interest nor a restriction by the policies stated here. In addition, no faculty members shall hold voting faculty status (as defined in the by-laws of the University and the individual school or college) in a department, college, or school in which they are also enrolled as graduate degree students.
- No graduate degree students shall hold or be assigned any administrative post at or above U-Grade 28 or Professional Rank-7 within the State University of New York system in which they are in a position to (a) alter university graduate student records (transcripts) or (b) influence academic and/or financial decisions bearing directly on the department or nondepartmentalized school in which they are enrolled as degree program students.
- Members of the immediate family (spouse, parent, child, brother, sister) of a faculty member (a) may not register for graduate credit in a course taught by the faculty member except where a course cannot be obtained otherwise and is a specific requirement for graduation; and (b) may be enrolled in a graduate degree program in the department or nondepartmentalized school in which the faculty member has voting status only with the approval of the Dean of The Graduate School. This does not prohibit faculty relatives from enrolling in degree programs in other departments within the same school.
- Where a full-time employee desires to enter a graduate program, the responsible administrative officer and the Dean of The Graduate School should be informed by the employee. The student and administrators should reach a common understanding concerning the relationship between job responsibilities and the required academic study.
- Individual academic units should develop governance policies and procedures which will prevent graduate students from voting on their own qualifications for a degree.
- This policy was made effective for all graduate students June 1, 1972. Graduate students enrolled in a degree program prior to this date shall not be affected by items 1, 2, 3a above.
- Exceptions to this policy may be granted only by votes of the Graduate Academic Council or its designee.
Attendance by all graduate students must be regular. Regulations concerning attendance in a particular course are at the discretion of the instructor and are announced in the opening class session. Responsibility for class attendance rests with the student.
In all cases the work missed through absence must be made up. However, permission to make up such work is not automatic and is given at the discretion of the instructor.
The University reserves the right to exclude from a graduate program, course, or final examination students whose attendance in classes is unsatisfactory to their instructors or to the Dean of The Graduate School.
Section 224-a of the Education Law: Students unable because of religious beliefs to attend classes on certain days
New York State Education Law (Section 224-a) - Campuses are required to excuse, without penalty, individual students absent because of religious beliefs, and to provide equivalent opportunities for make-up examinations, study, or work requirements missed because of such absences. Faculty should work directly with students to accommodate absences.
Final Exam Policy
Policies and procedures related to final exams can be found on the Registrar's Office website.
A student who expects to complete requirements for a degree at the end of a particular term must file a Degree Application via MyUAlbany in accordance with the deadline specified in the official University academic calendar. Degrees are awarded at the conclusion of the fall, winter, spring, and summer terms. If for some reason a degree is not awarded after application is made, it is necessary to file another Degree Application during the term when degree requirements are expected to be met. Students who finish incomplete grades must apply for graduation during the term when the course requirements were completed. The University at Albany diploma lists only the degree name. Program information appears on the official academic transcript. A degree review will be conducted at the end of each term for those students who have properly applied for graduation. The Graduate School will notify the student if the degree is not awarded due to program requirement deficiencies. If the student has completed all requirements for the degree, a confirming email will be sent to the student via the University email address.
Unless more rigorous performance standards are otherwise required by a particular program, graduate students who are candidates for a graduate degree or certificate must earn an average of B in all resident graduate courses and credits applicable to their degree completed with grades other than S (satisfactory) or U (unsatisfactory) and receive grades of S in all resident graduate courses applicable to their degree which may be graded S/U.
Courses completed with grades of A, A-, B+, B, or S may be applied to graduate course requirements and to credit requirements for graduate degrees. These requirements can also be met by courses graded B-, C+, and C only if they are balanced to a B (3.0). Example: three credits of B- must be balanced by at least 3 credits of B+. Grades of D, E, Z, and U are not applicable to graduate program requirements and do not earn graduate credit.
Undergraduate courses or credits specified as required in conjunction with a graduate program must be completed according to the following academic standards:
- A prerequisite course in the subject field central to the graduate program or in the principal teaching field in a program leading to state teacher certification must be completed with a grade of C or better.
- A prerequisite in a supporting subject field must be completed with a grade of C or better.
Graduate students in nondegree study are expected to meet and maintain the same academic standards as students in degree programs.
All graduate students are expected to remain in good academic standing during the course of their study; that is, to maintain an academic record consistent with the standard above. A student whose record falls much below those standards or which otherwise indicates a lack of ability or effort needed to succeed in graduate study will be denied permission for further study.
The candidacy of graduate students who receive a grade of U in a required seminar or research course, in a practicum, student teaching course, internship, field course or similar application course, on a thesis, or in a dissertation course, is terminated unless an exception is recommended for compelling reasons by their department or school, and they may not register for further study unless they are later reinstated. Under certain conditions, and with the recommendations of the student's major department, such a student may apply to the Dean of The Graduate School for readmission, but ordinarily at least one session must intervene before a readmission.
Graduate students who are not in good standing academically and who have been denied the privilege of further study on those grounds may petition the Graduate Academic Council for reinstatement provided extenuating circumstances were involved which, in their opinion, warrant review.
The term in good standing (satisfactory academic standing) means that a student is eligible or has been allowed to register and take academic coursework at this campus for the current session. Although in some cases students have been warned and advised that their academic average needs improvement in order to qualify for their degree, they are still considered to be in good standing since they are still authorized to continue studying toward their degrees. Only those students officially terminated from their programs of study are considered not to be in good academic standing.
Grades in graduate courses are recorded on University records according to the following scale:
||1.0 (not applicable to a graduate degree)
||Audit only: noncredit
||No grade reported: study in progress
||Incomplete: A tentative grade given only when the student has nearly completed the course but due to circumstances beyond the student's control the work is not completed on schedule. The date for the completion of the work is specified by the instructor. The date stipulated will not be later than one month before the end of the session following that in which the Incomplete is received. The grade I is automatically changed to E or U unless work is completed as agreed between the student and the instructor.
||Load only: Used to indicate that a student is engaged in a specified scholarly activity in a particular session. Registration credit only that does not result in earned credit applicable to any program.
||Research credit: Assigned for satisfactory progress in thesis and dissertation research courses. Credits apply to the appropriate degree when the research project is satisfactorily completed and the thesis or dissertation is accepted by the faculty and the Graduate School.
||Satisfactory: Awarded in graduate seminars, student teaching, and special courses.
||Unsatisfactory: Awarded in graduate seminars, student teaching, and special courses.
||Withdrawn: Assigned by the appropriate administrative officer for withdrawal from a course or from the University (without penalty).
Failing (penalty grade): Assigned by the appropriate administrative officer for excessive absence, unofficial withdrawal, and like situations.
Grading of Graduate Courses
The evaluation of student performance in most graduate courses requires the awarding of A-E grades. In its totality, graduate instruction here is not conceived, organized, and offered to reflect a general S/U or "pass-fail" pattern of evaluation, even though most graduate degree programs do require one or more appropriate graduate courses graded S/U.
The grading system for all formally organized and structured graduate courses requires the use of the following A-E scale: A; A-; B+; B; B-; C+; C; D; and E; other grades which may temporarily or permanently be substituted for the above grades are I (incomplete), W (withdrawn), and Z (failure).
The grading system for all graduate courses which by design are unstructured or are organized primarily to provide an independent learning experience are required to be graded on the S (satisfactory) or U (unsatisfactory) scale. In this graduate scale S is equivalent to a B or better, and U is equivalent to a B- or lower. The courses which must be graded on the graduate S/U scale include student teaching, field courses, clinical courses, internships, practicums, workshops, independent study, directed reading or research, special projects in community-work courses, and special laboratory courses. Theses are also graded S/U. Theses courses for which students register automatically carry a grade of I until notification of the assignment of an S/U grade for the thesis course by the Graduate School.
Unless more rigorous performance standards are otherwise required by a particular program, graduate students who are candidates for a graduate degree or certificate must earn an average of B in all resident graduate courses and credits applicable to their degree completed with grades other than S (satisfactory) or U (unsatisfactory) and receive grades of S in all resident graduate courses applicable to their degree which may be graded S/U.
According to graduate academic standards, courses completed with grades of A, A-, B+, B and S may be applied to graduate course requirements and to credit requirements for graduate degrees. These requirements can also be met by courses graded B-, C+, and C only if they are balanced to a B (3.0). Example: three credits of B- must be balanced by at least three credits of B+. Grades of D, E, Z, and U are not applicable to graduate program requirements and do not earn graduate credit.
Exceptions to the above pattern of grading practices may be authorized by the Dean of The Graduate School. Requests for exceptions should be submitted to the dean in writing by the department chair or by the instructor of a course with the endorsement of the department chair. The request should be supported by the rationale for changing the grading pattern and should state whether this change is sought on a temporary or permanent basis. Upon review, the Dean of The Graduate School notifies the department chair officially of the decision regarding the request. The Registrar is also notified about such grading decisions.
Additionally, an instructor may not award simultaneously both A/E grades and S/U grades in the same graduate course; grades assigned in a course must be either all A/E grades or all S/U grades. All undergraduates enrolled in graduate courses are evaluated by the grading system authorized in graduate instruction. An instructor should not make arrangements with students which vary from the authorized grading practices without having received in advance formal approval from the Dean of The Graduate School for grading on a different pattern.
Grade Point Average
The University at Albany does not calculate official cumulative grade point averages (GPA) for graduate students. A student’s record is reviewed during degree conferral to ensure the minimum 3.0 (B average) GPA is met before awarding the degree, but an official degree GPA does not exist. The degree GPA does not include grades of D, E, U, Z, or W since these grades cannot be used to fulfill degree requirements. Academic departments will review an unofficial program GPA to determine if the student is maintaining satisfactory academic progress and should continue as an active student in the program. The unofficial program GPA consists of all graduate courses a student has taken during his or her academic program (including failing grades).
Requests for grade changes should begin with the instructor of record. The instructor of record has the authority and responsibility to assign, or change, a grade because of their unique position to evaluate a student’s performance. The Chair of an academic department may request a grade change on the student’s behalf when the instructor of record is not available to do so in exceptional circumstances involving administrative review of a grade. The request must be fully explained and justified.
Examples of appropriate reasons for grade corrections or changes include, but are not limited to:
- Demonstrable arithmetic, editing, or factual error in calculating the grade
- Omission of assignments or parts of assignments in calculating the grade
- A grade demonstrably based on impermissible factors unrelated to student performance, such as discrimination, bias, retaliation or retribution
Examples of inappropriate reasons for grade changes include, but are not limited to:
- Submission of additional work to be reexamined for the purpose of improving grades after the course has been completed
- Saving a student from some academic penalty such as dismissal, probation, warning, or academic integrity problem
- Enabling a student to graduate
- Enabling a student to maintain academic eligibility for financial aid
- Personal issues unrelated to academics
- Enabling a student to maintain academic eligibility for athletics or any other co- curricular activity
- Managing enrollment levels in order to preserve programs or revenue, or to increase retention rates
The Registrar’s Office is responsible for processing all grade changes. Other than for conversion of grades from Incomplete (I) to an appropriate final grade, all proposed corrective graduate grade changes, with rationale provided, must be approved by the Dean of The Graduate School (or designee) before the Registrar (or designee) may record them. Grade changes can be viewed by students via MyUAlbany once they have been processed.
Standards of Academic Integrity
Note: The policies and procedures in the following section on Standards of Academic Integrity are effective beginning Fall 2013 by action of the University Senate.
As a community of scholars, the University at Albany has a special responsibility to integrity and truth. By testing, analyzing, and scrutinizing ideas and assumptions, scholarly inquiry produces the timely and valuable bodies of knowledge that guide and inform important and significant decisions, policies, and choices. Our duty to be honest, methodical and careful in the attribution of data and ideas to their sources establishes the foundations of our work. Misrepresenting or falsifying scholarship undermines the essential trust on which our community depends. Every member of the community, including both faculty and students, shares an interest in maintaining academic integrity.
When the entire University community upholds the principles of academic integrity, it creates an environment where students value their education and embrace experiences of discovery and intellectual growth. In this environment, grades and degrees are awarded and applauded as the recognition of years of learning, achievement, discipline, and hard work. Maintaining the highest standards of academic integrity insures the value and reputation of our degree programs; these standards represent an ethical obligation for faculty intrinsic to their role as educators, as well as a pledge of honor on the part of students. If a violation of academic integrity occurs, faculty, deans, and students all share in the responsibility to report it.
Violations of trust harm everyone. The academic community needs to trust that its members do not misrepresent their data, take credit for another's ideas or labor, misrepresent or interfere with the work of other scholars, or present previous work as if it were new. Acts of academic dishonesty undermine the value and credibility of the institution as a whole, and may distract others from important scholarship or divert resources away from critical research. In particular, students who plagiarize or falsify their work not only fail to adhere to the principles of scholarly inquiry and fail their peers by taking undeserved credit or reward, but they also fail to demonstrate their learning.
These guidelines define a shared context of values to help both students and faculty to make individual and institutional decisions about academic integrity. Every student has the responsibility to become familiar with the standards of academic integrity at the University. Faculty members must specify in their syllabi information about academic integrity, and may refer students to this policy for more information. Nonetheless, student claims of ignorance, unintentional error, or personal or academic pressures cannot be excuses for violation of academic integrity. Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the standards and behaving accordingly, and UAlbany faculty are responsible for teaching, modeling and upholding them. Anything less undermines the worth and value of our intellectual work, and the reputation and credibility of the University at Albany degree.
Resources for Students
The University Libraries offer important resources for students seeking additional orientation to academic integrity. Practicing Academic Integrity Site: library.albany.edu/infolit/playlists/academic-integrity. This site provides access to concise and engaging educational resources that will help students navigate through the complexities surrounding information use and creation in today’s digital environment. Acknowledging the work of others through citation (and its flip side, plagiarism), copyright, the ethics of sharing information in different formats, and the importance of contributing one’s own voice to academic conversations are all highlighted.
Citation Tools: the University Libraries offers a wide variety of citation tools which may be found at libguides.library.albany.edu/citationhelp. These resources include citation generators and more extensive citation management tools, such as Zotero, Citation generators are websites or mobile apps that automatically format citations and bibliographies. Users select a type of source to be cited, such as a book, enter the book title, and the citation generator retrieves the required data and creates the citation data. Citation generators are useful for undergraduates who need to create bibliographies when writing papers, but it is important to check the resulting citations for errors. Citation management software programs allow students to create and organize a personal library of references and articles, format citations for a bibliography in various citation styles, and sometimes share and collaborate with others. Also available is CitationFox, an extensive resource developed by UAlbany librarians that provides citation guidance and examples for both the MLA and APA style.
Students should consult syllabi, their instructors, and in relevant circumstances their advisors for information about specific policies on academic integrity in courses or other academic exercises such as comprehensive/qualifying examinations, theses, and dissertations.
Graduate students may access additional information on Academic Integrity, Conduct, and Research Regulations via www.albany.edu/graduate.
Examples of Academic Dishonesty
The following is a list of acts considered to be academically dishonest and therefore unacceptable. Committing such acts is a breach of integrity and is subject to penalty. No such list can, of course, describe all possible types or degrees of academic dishonesty. Therefore this list should be viewed as a set of examples, rather than as an exhaustive list. Individual faculty members, Deans of Schools and Colleges as appropriate, and Community Standards will continue to judge each breach according to its particular context.
Plagiarism: Presenting as one's own work the work of another person (for example, the words, ideas, information, data, evidence, organizing principles, or style of presentation of someone else). Some examples of plagiarism include copying, paraphrasing, or summarizing without acknowledgment, submission of another student's work as one's own, the purchase/use of prepared research or completed papers or projects, and the unacknowledged use of research sources gathered by someone else. Failure to indicate accurately the extent and precise nature of one's reliance on other sources is also a form of plagiarism. Students are responsible for understanding legitimate use of sources, the appropriate ways of acknowledging academic, scholarly, or creative indebtedness.
Examples of plagiarism include: failure to acknowledge the source(s) of even a few phrases, sentences, or paragraphs; failure to acknowledge a quotation or paraphrase of paragraph-length sections of a paper; failure to acknowledge the source(s) of a major idea or the source(s) for an ordering principle; failure to acknowledge the source (quoted, paraphrased, or summarized) of major sections or passages in the paper or project; the unacknowledged use of several major ideas or extensive reliance on another person's data, evidence, or critical method; submitting as one's own work, work borrowed, stolen, or purchased from someone else.
Cheating on Examinations: Giving or receiving unauthorized help before, during, or after an examination. Examples of unauthorized help include collaboration of any sort during an examination (unless specifically approved by the instructor); collaboration before an examination (when such collaboration is specifically forbidden by the instructor); the use of notes, books, or other aids during an examination (unless permitted by the instructor); arranging for another person to take an examination in one's place; looking upon someone else's examination during the examination period; intentionally allowing another student to look upon one's exam; unauthorized discussion of exam questions during the examination period; and the passing of any examination information to students who have not yet taken the examination. There can be no conversation while an examination is in progress unless specifically authorized by the instructor.
Multiple Submission: Submitting substantial portions of the same work for credit more than once without receiving the prior explicit consent of the instructor to whom the material is being submitted the second or subsequent time.
Forgery: Imitating another person's signature on academic or other official documents, including class material.
Sabotage: Willfully destroying, damaging, or stealing of another's work or working materials (including lab experiments, computer programs, term papers, digital files, or projects).
Unauthorized Collaboration: Collaborating on projects, papers, or other academic exercises when this is forbidden by the instructor(s). The default faculty assumption is that work submitted for credit is entirely one's own. At the same time, standards on appropriate and inappropriate collaboration as well as the need for collaboration vary across courses and disciplines. Therefore, students who want to confer or collaborate with one another on work receiving academic credit should seek the instructor's permission to collaborate.
Falsification: Misrepresenting material or fabricating information in an academic exercise or assignment (for example, the false or misleading citation of sources, the falsification of experimental or computer data, etc.).
Bribery: Offering or giving any article of value or service to an instructor in an attempt to receive a grade or other benefits not legitimately earned or not available to other students in the class.
Theft, Damage, or Misuse of Library or IT Resources: Removing uncharged library materials from the library, defacing or damaging library materials, intentionally displacing or hoarding materials within the library for one's unauthorized private use, or other abuse of reserve-book privileges. Any violation of the University’s Responsible Use of Information Technology policy. This includes, but is not limited to, unauthorized use of the University's or another person's computer accounts, codes, passwords, or facilities; damaging computer equipment or interfering with the operation of the computing system of the University.
Penalties and Procedures for Violations of Academic Integrity
The course instructor is responsible for determining when a student has violated academic integrity in a course. Students engaging in other academic activities such as qualifying or comprehensive examinations, theses, dissertations must also adhere to the standards of academic integrity outlined in this policy. In these cases, academic advisors and department, college, or school officials responsible for a student's program of study are charged with determining if a student has violated academic integrity.
When a faculty member determines that a student has violated academic integrity, he or she will inform the student and impose an appropriate sanction. Faculty members must respond in a manner most appropriate to the particular infraction and the circumstances of the case in question, according to his or her best judgment. Penalties for violations of academic integrity may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Warning without further penalty, or with a requirement that an assignment be redone without a breach of academic integrity and resubmitted;
- Lowering of an assignment/exam grade;
- Assigning a failing grade on a paper containing plagiarized material;
- Assigning a failing grade on any examination in which cheating occurred;
- Lowering a course grade; or
- Giving a failing grade in a course or other academic exercise
In addition, faculty members encountering a violation of academic integrity in their courses are required to complete and file the Violation of Academic Integrity Report. The report should indicate the sanction imposed and a brief description of the incident. Faculty filing a VAIR will submit copies both to the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education or The Graduate School, as appropriate, and to the student.
If a faculty member informs the student that he or she will receive a failing grade for the course as a whole or for a component of the course as a result of academic dishonesty, the student receiving such a penalty will not be permitted to withdraw from the course, or to change the grading basis of the course from A-E to S/U.
Students who feel they have been erroneously penalized for an academic integrity infraction, or who think that a penalty is inappropriate, may make use of the grievance procedures, beginning with the Department and the College/School where the course was offered. Each College/School of the University has procedures for students who seek to dispute grades assigned or penalties imposed for academic infractions. Copies of the procedures are maintained in the College/School Deans' Offices or on their respective websites.
If a student is cleared of wrongdoing through the grievance process, the student will not be subject to any penalties and the Violation of Academic Integrity Report associated with the case will be destroyed.
A violation confirmed by admission on the part of the student, by the student's acceptance of the charges and penalties outlined in the Violation of Academic Integrity Report, or through the grievance process will result in the enforcement of the penalty determined by the faculty member reporting the incident.
Under either of the following two conditions, a violation may be forwarded to Community Standards for further adjudication and, potentially, further sanction:
- The faculty member reporting the incident has determined that the violation is serious enough to merit a failing grade in the course, and would like to have the case formally adjudicated at this higher level.
- A faculty member or College/School Dean responsible for the academic program in which the offense has occurred deems it to be a particularly egregious case of academic dishonesty, regardless of the penalty imposed by the instructor, and would like to see the case formally adjudicated at this higher level.
In these circumstances, the faculty member or College/School Dean may request that the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education or The Graduate School, as appropriate, forward the case to Community Standards.
However, the following circumstance will automatically result in the case being forwarded to Community Standards for adjudication:
- A previous Violation of Academic Integrity Report on the student. When a student violates academic integrity in more than one academic exercise, whether those infractions occurred during the same or different periods of time, or in the same or different courses, the University regards the offense as an especially serious subversion of academic integrity. The matter becomes particularly severe when the student has been confronted with the first infraction before the second is committed. Whenever the Offices of Undergraduate Education or The Graduate School receive a second Violation of Academic Integrity Report on a student, the Vice Provost will request a hearing before Community Standards.
If a case is referred to Community Standards, that office will act in accordance with its standard procedures to determine the final disposition of the case, which may include revoking a student's scholarship or fellowship, or teaching or research assistantship, as well as or in addition to disciplinary probation, suspension, or expulsion. If a hearing is held and a student is found "not in violation," no punitive action may be taken against the student and the Violation of Academic Integrity Report associated with the incident will be destroyed.
A copy of the Violation of Academic Integrity Report associated with any incident in which the student is not cleared of wrongdoing (through the grievance process or by Community Standards) will be retained in the Offices of Undergraduate Education or The Graduate School, as appropriate. The Offices of Undergraduate Education or The Graduate School will maintain a copy of such reports for periods in accordance with SUNY student record retention policies: three years beyond the academic year in which the violation occurred, in the case of minor code violations (a single offense resulting in a sanction or sanctions short of a failing grade in the course), and seven years beyond the academic year in which the violation occurred, in the case of major code violations (a failing grade in the course, or any offense referred to and confirmed by Community Standards). A student's record of violations of academic integrity may be communicated to graduate or professional schools or employers who request such information about applicants who have attended the University at Albany.
The Director of Libraries or Chief Information Officer, upon a finding of theft, damage, misuse of facilities or resources, or a violation of University policies, will forward all such cases to Community Standards for review and disposition, which can include suspension or expulsion from the University. The Director of Libraries or Chief Information Officer may, in individual cases, limit access to the Libraries or IT resources pending action by Community Standards. In all other cases of academic dishonesty by students, which come to the attention of any staff, faculty member, or student, it is expected that the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education or The Graduate School, as appropriate, will be consulted about such infractions. In addition, University Police may elect to pursue the breaches, consistent with their policies.
Community Standards was established by the governing bodies of the University at Albany and is administratively the responsibility of the Vice President for Student Affairs. Any questions about the procedures of Community Standards may be secured by inquiry to that office.
Exceptions to Regulations
In some instances, students may seek to be excepted from a University, school, college, or departmental regulation or from a program requirement.
Program Requirements: A request for an exception from the program requirements should be submitted in writing initially to the department chair or an appropriate departmental committee. If the department is not authorized to act on the request, it will refer the request to the official or committee responsible.
Departmental Regulations: A request for an exception from a departmental regulation should be submitted in writing to the chair or the departmental committee responsible. If the department is not authorized to act on the request, it will refer the request to the committee or official responsible.
School or College Regulations: A request for an exception from a school or college regulation should be discussed first with the department chair. If the request is within the responsibility of the department, it should then be submitted in writing to the chair or departmental committee responsible. If the department is not authorized to act, the request should be submitted in writing to the dean of the school or college or to the school or college committee responsible. If the school or college is not authorized to act on the request, it will refer the request via the Dean of The Graduate School to the Graduate Academic Council.
University Regulations: A request for an exception from a University regulation shall be discussed with the department chair. If the request is within the responsibility of the department, it should then be submitted in writing to the chair or departmental committee responsible. If the department is not authorized to act, the request should be submitted in writing to school or college officials or committees if they are responsible, or to the Dean of The Graduate School and the Graduate Academic Council if they are responsible.
Requests for exceptions to any of the following regulations established for the award of a graduate degree will not be considered:
- academic grade standards;
- credit requirements;
- residence study requirements;
- seminar, thesis, research, and field course requirements for a master's degree;
- specialized or comprehensive field examinations in the master's degree or graduate certificate where applicable;
- tool and foreign language requirements;
- requirements established for admission to candidacy for a doctoral degree;
- dissertation requirements for a doctoral degree.
Procedures for Resolving Academic Grievances
Students who seek to challenge an academic grade or evaluation of their work in a course or seminar, or in research or another educational activity may request a review of the evaluation by filing an academic grievance.
The Graduate Academic Council (GAC) and the Undergraduate Academic Council (UAC), through the work of their respective Committees on Admission and Academic Standing (CAAS) are responsible for insuring that approved procedures exist within the schools, colleges, departments (if applicable) and programs of the University for students to file academic grievances. Copies of established grievance procedures shall be filed by each academic unit with the offices of the Dean of The Graduate School and the Dean of Undergraduate Education and available to students at each school/college dean’s office.
It is expected that the grounds upon which an academic grievance may be based should be clearly identified. Such grounds may include variance from University grading standards/policies, grade calculation inconsistencies with that announced in published course syllabi, procedural abnormalities, or other factors that are alleged to have denied the student a fair evaluation. It is not expected that grievances will propose that the professional obligation of faculty to fairly evaluate academic material within their field of expertise will be supplanted by alternate means without procedural cause.
A student who seeks to dispute a grade or evaluation must initially pursue the matter directly with the faculty member involved. If not satisfactorily resolved directly with the faculty member, a written grievance may be filed with the program/department, or directly with school/college for units that are not departmentalized.
Should the grievance not be satisfactorily resolved at this initial level of review, students may pursue further consideration of the grievance at the next organizational level until such time as the grievance is considered at the University level by the GAC or UAC CAAS, as appropriate. To be considered timely and eligible for University level consideration, a grievance review must be requested by the student no later than 60 days from the notice of decision at the school or college level. Action on an academic grievance by the appropriate CAAS, upon acceptance by the GAC or UAC, as appropriate, is final and not subject to further formal review within the University. Only at this final level of grievance determination by the CAAS may a grade or other such evaluation be changed against the will of the faculty member(s) involved. In such rare cases, the Chair of the GAC or UAC, or its respective CAAS, as appropriate, may consult at his/her discretion with departmental faculty and/or appropriate scholars to determine an appropriate grade and authorize its recording by the Registrar.
In reviewing an academic grievance, the CAAS will consider the formal written petition from the student and corresponding written response/comment from the faculty, along with all records of consideration of the matter at prior levels of review. Although rare, the CAAS reserves the right to conduct a hearing with all parties present or it may decide to meet with each party separately. The nature and number of the representatives attending any such meeting will be at the discretion of the CAAS. These procedures adopted are those which the University believes will provide all parties involved the opportunity to present complete and factual information as necessary for the CAAS to render a fair decision.
Academic Termination and Transcripts
Graduate students who are terminated for academic reasons will have placed on their graduate transcripts a notation that they were academically terminated and date of termination. If such students are subsequently readmitted to the program from which they were terminated, their termination notations will be deleted from their transcripts.
Reinstatement After Termination
A graduate student whose authorization to register for further study has been terminated officially by the Dean of The Graduate School and who seeks reinstatement should submit a formal request for reinstatement along with a supporting statement to the Dean of The Graduate School.
The Dean of The Graduate School will refer such a request to the Graduate Academic Council and its Committee on Admissions and Academic Standing for review and action.