Jul 24, 2024  
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog 
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog

Academic Regulations

Ferrum College maintains a tradition of a comprehensive academic program rooted in the liberal arts. The College strives to maximize students’ success through a system of individual attention and positive reinforcement. The curriculum includes opportunities for career preparation as well as self-development and the fulfillment of personal educational goals.

Regulations Governing Catalog

The catalog for the year in which a student enters Ferrum College is the governing document for requirements for graduation. However, students who change their program of study after their first year of enrollment must apply the regulations in the current year’s catalog.

If a student leaves Ferrum College and enrolls as a full-time student in another institution or is dropped for academic or disciplinary deficiency and subsequently re-enrolls at Ferrum College, the governing catalog for the student will be that for the year of re-enrollment. (Refer to the Admissions section of this catalog under “Readmission for Former Ferrum Students  ” for additional clarification.)

Campus-wide Assessment Program

Ferrum College maintains a continuing assessment process to achieve quality and to determine how well it realizes its institutional mission. As a part of a comprehensive assessment program, the College also regularly evaluates each academic major and program. Instruments and tools are used to gather evaluative information. Course evaluations, standardized as well as campus-generated questionnaires, interviews, written essays and written performance evaluations are all used as components in a scheduled cycle of assessment activity. Students and employees are expected to participate promptly and seriously in assessment activities as requested.

Online Attendance

Ferrum College policy dictates that attendance is expected and that students are responsible for all course work assigned in their graduate courses.  Simply logging into a course is not sufficient, by itself, to demonstrate academic attendance by a student.  In a graduate course what constitutes attendance is determined by the instructor. These requirements may include, but are not limited to, submission of an academic assignment, exam, online discussion forum post, or emailing the course instructor.

If a student is unable to complete work or misses a course deadline for any reason, the student must account for the “absence” with their instructor.  The instructor, in consultation with the Dean of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies and Vice President of Academic Affairs, may determine that unusual circumstances and the student’s work in the course justify the assignment of a grade other than F. Unusual circumstances include extended illness or other emergencies, the student’s participation in college-sponsored activities, or some combination thereof.

Course Loads

To be classified as “full-time” a graduate student must register for a minimum of 9 credit hours per semester. Graduate students enrolled in 6 credit hours or less per semester will be defined as part-time. 

Independent Study

Graduate courses may not be taken on an independent study basis with the exception of courses that are designed to be taken as independent studies. Appeals may be made only if there are extenuating circumstances, such as the failure of the program to offer a required course or an appropriate number of elective options in a timely fashion. Independent studies are approved on an individual basis by the Dean of the School of Graduate and Online Studies and the Vice President of Academic Affairs.

Undergraduates Taking Graduate Courses

Conditional admission to enroll in graduate courses (500 level) is open to undergraduates in their senior year who lack no more than twelve credit hours for graduation and who satisfy the following:

  1. Application for admission to the Graduate Program
  2. Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75, and minimum 3.0 GPA in courses related to the desired discipline.
  3. Petition listing the courses necessary to complete undergraduate requirements as well as courses taken for graduate credit. Approval from the Vice President of Academic Affairs and the Dean of School of Graduate and Online Studies must be obtained.
  4. Enroll in no less than 12 undergraduate credit hours for the semester in which the graduate course(s) are taken.
  5. Attempt graduate credit for courses beyond the requirements for his or her undergraduate degree.

Individual programs may have additional undergraduate admissions requirements.

Grading System

Grade point averages are determined by dividing the total quality points earned by the number of semester hours of attempted coursework. A semester hour is the value of one class hour per week throughout a semester. Ferrum College uses the following grading scale:

  • “A+” -97-100 = 4.3 quality points per semester hour.
  • “A” -93-96 = 4.0 quality points per semester hour.
  • “A-” -90-92 =3.7 quality points per semester hour.
  • “B+”- 87-89 = 3.3 quality points per semester hour.
  • “B” -83-86 = 3.0 quality points per semester hour.
  • “B-” -80-82 = 2.7 quality points per semester hour.
  • “C+” -77-79 = 2.3 quality points per semester hour.
  • “C” -73-76 = 2.0 quality points per semester hour.
  • “C-” -70-72 = 1.7 quality points per semester hour.
  • “D+” -67-69 = 1.3 quality points per semester hour.
  • “D” -63-66 = 1.0 quality points per semester hour.
  • “D-” -60-62 = 0.7 quality points per semester hour.
  • “F” -below 60 = 0 quality points.
  • “FF” -A Penalty “F” may be given only by the Honor Board as a result of being found responsible for an Honor Code violation. While the course may be repeated, the “F” will always be computed in the GPA. This “F” will be recorded on the transcript as “FF”. The Honor Board is responsible for notifying the Office of the Registrar if there is a violation that warrants a penalty of “FF”.
  • “I” -In special cases, such as a lengthy illness, the student (with the permission of the instructor) may petition the Academic Standards Committee before the end of the seven weeks to extend the period of completion. The “I” will convert to an “F” unless a petition to extend the completion time is granted by the Academic Standards Committee.
  • “W” -Withdrawn with documented extenuating circumstances. See Withdrawal from College
  • “WF” -Withdrawn when failing; computed into the grade point average as an “F”.
  • “WP”-Withdrawn when passing; not computed into the grade point average.
  • “P”/”F” -Pass/Fail; the courses in which students may earn a “pass/fail” grade must be designated by the offering department. Such courses are included in the computation of the student’s course load and total hours earned; however, no quality points are assigned for “P” grades. A failure of a “pass/fail” is considered as an “F” and does affect the student’s grade point average. No more than 6 credit hours can be taken for credit as Pass/Fail. Students wishing to take a course for Pass/Fail credit must submit a request to do so no later than the first week of courses to the course instructor. Approval to take a course for a Pass/Fail designation must be approved by the instructor, Program Director, and Director of the School of Graduate and Online Education Studies.
  • “AU” -Audit; a non-credit course grade designation elected by the student within the first week’s add period. The audited credits count as hours carried and are subject to fee assessment. Approval to audit a class must be granted by the instructor and email notification sent to the Office of the Registrar.


An incomplete (I) for a course will be granted only in cases of prolonged illness, family emergency, or some other documented unforeseen circumstance that prevents the student from completing the course requirement on time. A student who wishes to receive an “I” may make a request with the instructor of the course to initiate the process. This must be done before final grades are due in the Office of the Registrar.

The instructor will determine the appropriate amount of time necessary for completion of the work. However, the incomplete work must be completed within four weeks after the end of the term in which the “I” is given. In special cases, such as a lengthy illness, the student, with the consent of the instructor, may petition the Academic Standards Committee via e-mail at academicstandards@ferrum.edu before the end of the four weeks to extend the period of completion.

Upon completion of the coursework, the “I” will be replaced with a final grade. If the course is not completed by the end of the four weeks, the “I” will be converted into an “F” grade unless a petition to extend the completion time is granted by the Academic Standards Committee. The extension, if granted, will extend no longer than the subsequent semester (work must be completed by the end of the spring semester for fall incompletes, no later than the beginning of the fall semester for spring incompletes). Summer incomplete extensions, if granted, will be completed no later than the end of the fall semester. A student may not be permitted to enroll for credit in any course that has the incomplete course as a stated prerequisite without permission of the instructor.

Grade Reporting

Grades may be viewed in the Brightspace classroom and are viewable immediately after the instructor enters the grades. If a student needs an official verification of grades, transcripts may be requested through the self-service application. 

Grade Review Process

Concerns about a course grade should be directed to the faculty member who taught the course within six weeks after the grade is given. In cases where the student feels the problem has not been resolved, he or she may speak to the Division Chair of the School of Graduate and Online Studies, and, finally, to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The student will be notified of a decision within two weeks. In no case may a grade be changed after one calendar year without the permission of the Vice President for Academic Affairs.  The Vice President for Academic Affairs may refer a grade appeal to the Academic Standards Committee for their study and recommendation.

Repeating Courses

In the event a grade lower than “B-” is awarded in a graduate course, the student may elect to repeat the course. The course may be repeated only once, and the second grade will be final. Repeating a course eliminates both the grade and the hours attempted for the first course in calculating the grade point average, but the course will remain on the permanent record. A maximum of two courses may be repeated. Only the new grade is considered in satisfactory progress evaluations. 

Drop-Add Procedure

Students are allowed to add a course to their schedules or change sections of a course (if applicable) online with their academic advisor during the first week of each 7-week term. They may drop a course, without penalty, within the first week of each 7-week module. Courses dropped during the adjustment period are not entered on students’ academic records and may be dropped via an online process by the academic advisor. A student must earn credit for two-thirds of courses for which they are enrolled as of week two (census date).  Starting with the second week through the end of the fourth week, courses dropped from a student’s schedule will be reflected by a “WP” or “WF” grade, to be determined by the course instructor. In cases of extenuating circumstances, a student may petition the VP of Academic Affairs for a “W” grade. All such petitions should be in writing and must satisfy one of the following criteria: 1) prolonged illness; 2) family emergency; or 3) documented unforeseen circumstances. A student whose petition is granted will receive a “W” grade.

In adding or dropping courses, students should:

  1. Determine the schedule adjustment through consultation with the faculty advisor. Advisors can add or drop classes online using Self-service.
  2. If a “WP” or “WF” grade is required, students should promptly discuss the implication with their Academic Advisor. Students should also discuss the grade and any extenuating circumstances with the Professor. 
  3. Students should verify the accuracy of their schedule on their Self-service access when any adjustments are made.

Unless a course change has been made in this manner it does not have official standing and will not be recognized as valid by the College. In such a case where the proper drop procedure is not followed, a grade of “F” will be recorded at the end of the semester. A student whose status changes from full- to part-time as a result of classes dropped after the first week will not be eligible for any refund of tuition except as required by federal regulations for Title IV financial aid recipients

Withdrawal from College

Students with extenuating circumstances that make it necessary to withdraw from Ferrum College should do so officially to maintain good standing. The following are considered extenuating circumstances: 1) prolonged illness; (2) family emergency; or 3) documented unforeseen circumstances. They should obtain an official withdrawal form from the Associate Registrar to initiate withdrawal procedures. It is the responsibility of the student to complete the Withdrawal Form and complete an online exit meeting. The Offices of Student Accounts and Financial Aid will need to release the student before the withdrawal process is complete. The Office of the Registrar will contact faculty to ascertain grade status and last day of attendance or course activity. Failure to complete formal withdrawal procedures will result in grades of “F” for courses in which students were registered during that term and in general, cannot be appealed to Academic Standards. The completed form can be submitted to the Office of the Registrar via email or by mailing it to: P.O. Box 1000, Attn: Office of the Registrar, Ferrum, VA 24088. 

Official withdrawals within the first week of the term will result in the deletion of courses from a student’s permanent record.

  • Official withdrawals between the fourth week and the seventh week will result in grades of “WP” or “WF” as granted by each faculty member.
  • A student with extenuating circumstances (including documented medical excuses) may petition the VPAA for “W” grades prior to the last day of classes.

Involuntary withdrawals will be administered by the Office of Student Life and Engagement. (Refer to the Student Handbook for guidelines and processes related to involuntary medical withdrawals.) In order for the College to consider granting a voluntary medical withdrawal, the student must provide evidence, supported and documented by a physician, of a serious, personal medical issue. Any refund for which withdrawing students are eligible will be based upon the date of the official withdrawal. Students who withdraw early may be subject to a return of Title IV aid programs if applicable. Students should review the Return of Title IV Policy for further clarification. All withdrawals (except those for which the Academic Standards Committee has granted grades of “W” following an appeal) will be subject to the Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress and Financial Aid Eligibility.  Former Ferrum College students who have not enrolled at the College for a semester or more may apply for readmission.  

Leave of Absence

Students in good standing prior to completion of a semester may be granted a leave of absence from the College for up to two semesters for specific vocational, educational, or medical reasons. Students desiring such a leave of absence must apply in writing to the Division Chair of the School of Graduate and Online Studies. Students approved for a leave of absence must also apply for readmission to return to their studies at Ferrum College.  Financial aid recipients should check with the Office of Financial Aid as federal guidelines do not allow for more than a 180 day leave of absence without impacting your aid. Students withdrawing should refer to the Institutional Withdrawal Policy.

Military Leave of Absence

Students who are called to military service during the term or semester will be placed on military leave of absence and receive 100 percent refund of the tuition for that semester. Students will receive one of the following marks at the end of the semester, depending on their individual situations: 1) “I” (for incomplete); 2) a letter grade; or 3) “W” (for withdrawn) 

Students will normally receive a grade of “I” and the ten-week withdrawal period will be suspended. Incomplete grades will be continued beyond one semester as conditions warrant and must be completed within one year after the student returns from service. Faculty will submit these “I” grades to the registrar fully documenting the following: 

●the individual and cumulative grades to date; 

●the remaining requirements necessary for completion of the course; and 

●possibilities for computation of a final grade. A copy of this documentation should also be on file with the office of the Dean of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies.