Graduate School Policies
Student Course Load
- The Graduate School requires that a minimum of 30 semester hours be successfully completed for the master’s degree and a minimum of 12 hours for a graduate certificate. Specific programs may require additional hours.
- A full-time graduate student takes nine semester hours of coursework during a semester of the regular academic year; students are permitted to take more than nine hours with permission from their Program Coordinator and the Dean of the Graduate School. A course load of six semester hours in total is considered full time during the summer terms. A minimum of three semester hours is considered half-time enrollment during the summer terms.
Recognizing that students often need time to catch up, get ahead, or update their knowledge, Bradley offers special terms for taking courses. In January Interim graduate students can earn up to four semester hours in classes that meet for approximately two weeks.
- Full-time graduate assistants may not enroll in more than nine semester hours nor work more than 20 hours each week without written permission of their graduate coordinator and the dean of the Graduate School. Students holding a graduate assistantship must register for nine graduate credit hours during the fall and spring semesters.
The academic integrity and excellence of our programs depends on students attending all scheduled class meetings. For all graduate students at Bradley University, there is an expectation of attendance in class. Graduate students at Bradley University are expected to be on campus the first day of classes, if not before. Students should not assume they can add a class late or be enrolled in a class after the start of the course. Graduate students are expected to stay on campus and attend classes throughout the semester, through finals week.
Each faculty member has the right to establish requirements for attendance and participation unique to each of his or her courses. Course requirements (e.g., homework assignments, examinations, oral presentations, laboratory experiments/reports, participation in discussion, etc.) are not waived due to absence from class. Instructors may establish the academic impacts, even course failure, of excessive absences. When student absence results from his or her involvement in other institutional business (e.g., presenting at a conference, short course attendance, field trip, off-campus research, etc.), the instructor should be given prior notification and reasonable accommodation for the absence should be negotiated between the instructor and student.
For Graduate Assistants (GAs), those with assistantships, the expectation is that these students must:
- Be on campus at least one week prior to the beginning of the semester in order to get their assigned duties and be prepared to begin their work at the start of the semester
- Continue to perform their assigned duties throughout the semester with no extended absences
- Be available to perform their duties through the end of finals week, or the date specified in the GA offer letter and contract
If Graduate Assistants do not comply with this attendance policy, they will lose their assistantship (tuition and stipend).
Graduate School Dismissal Policy
- Dismissal will be based only on a cumulative GPA of less than 3.0, not on particular letter grades. Students who have a GPA below 3.0 will be placed on academic probation and their tuition scholarships or graduate assistantships will be revoked. Students will then have two semesters in which to bring their GPA’s back to 3.0 or higher. Whether a student will be required to re-take a particular class will be left to the department’s discretion. If the student does not reach the minimum 3.0 GPA after two semesters they will be dismissed.
- In keeping with past precedent, a graduate assistant who has unique skills/special circumstances which are required by a particular position (i.e., a lab or assistance with an undergraduate course) may be allowed to continue an assistantship if the coordinator, department chair, college dean, and dean of the Graduate School all approve. An undergraduate course should not be impacted by a graduate student’s academic probation if a replacement cannot be found.
- A graduate student who is on academic probation for two consecutive semesters (fall and spring) will be dismissed.
- Academic good standing does not automatically ensure continuation in a graduate program. A student may be dismissed for factors other than grades upon the recommendation of a committee of department faculty, the student’s advisor, the program coordinator/director, the chair of the department/director of graduate program, the dean of the college, and the dean of the Graduate School.
- Dismissed students may petition for reinstatement into the program from which they have been dismissed by filing a Petition for Reinstatement to Graduate Study. Dismissed students are allowed to make only one petition for reinstatement to the program from which they have been dismissed. If the student is dismissed a second time after reinstatement, no additional petition for reinstatement will be considered. The program coordinator/director, the department chairperson, the dean of the college, and the dean of the Graduate School must approve the petition for reinstatement. Petitions for reinstatement are available in the Graduate School office or on the Graduate School web site bradley.edu/grad/.
- Dismissed students lose all financial assistance issued by the Graduate School. A Request for Review of Graduate Financial Assistance will have to be submitted to request financial assistance after a student is reinstated.
Involuntary Leave Of Absence
- A student may be placed on an involuntary leave of absence if he or she has been arrested on allegations of serious criminal behavior or has been charged with such behavior by law enforcement authorities.
Time Limit For Degree/Certificate Completion
- Graduate program curricula continually evolve to stay current in disciplinary and industrial standards. Furthermore, a graduate student examines a developing body of knowledge, and it is difficult to integrate that body of knowledge if a program extends beyond five years. Therefore, candidates for a degree or certificate should complete all requirements within five years following the recording of their first graduate grades, including graduate courses taken as a student-at-large, and courses transferred into their graduate program from Bradley University or any other accredited institution of higher learning.
- Graduate students are expected to stay current in their field. All graduate courses must be taken within the five-year time limit for degree/certificate completion.
Continuous Registration Requirement
- Graduate students are required to maintain continuous registration unless approved by the Graduate School for a temporary step-out of their program of study. Students may meet the continuous registration requirement by either enrolling, at stated tuition rates, for courses on the program of study approved by their advisor or by registering for 0 (zero) credit hour courses, at a cost of $100 per course, to complete a thesis, research, or project that is part of their program of study. Outstanding IN or IP grades from a previous semester do not meet the continuous registration requirement.
- The continuous registration requirement does not apply during summer term unless the student is attempting the comprehensive assessment in summer, is graduating in August, or has a grade of IP from a previous semester and no other registration in summer. If a student is unable to fulfill the continuous registration requirement, the student must request a temporary step-out of their program to be approved by their advisor and the Graduate School. Any student who wishes to re-enroll after an absence of two major semesters (fall and spring) must reapply for admission to the program. The Graduate School offers a course (GRD 699) to assist students in meeting this requirement. Contact the Graduate School for information about registering for GRD 699.
- Graduate students will be allowed to step-out of their program for one semester without being dropped from the program or changing graduation requirements. To do this the student must fill out the Graduate School’s Step-out Request Form. If a graduate student must take a second semester off during their program, he or she will have to reapply for admission to the program. This reapplication does not guarantee admission to the program, and students who are readmitted may be subject to new degree requirements. A renewal of financial assistance is not guaranteed for individuals that must reapply. For purposes of this policy only the fall and spring semesters are considered. Students are not required to enroll during summer or interim sessions. Students who are not in good academic standing are required to reapply for admission as students on academic probation. In special circumstances, students may request to step-out for up to one year. International students should consult with the Multicultural Student Services Office before requesting a step-out.
- Students must complete the Step-Out Request Form and return it to the Graduate School, 200 Bradley Hall, prior to the start of the semester for which they wish to step-out. Students who do not complete this request form will not be guaranteed a seat in their program if they wish to return, and may have to reapply.
Online students should contact their Support Coach for Step-Out assistance.
- Students whose time limit for completion of degree/certificate has expired must submit a request to extend time with the readmission application. The request to extend time for completion of degree must be submitted in writing to the Graduate School.
Change Of Program
- Students who are currently enrolled may apply for a Change of Program. A student wishing to change his or her program must complete a Change of Program form and submit it to the Graduate School a minimum of two weeks prior to the semester in which they wish to start the new program. Additional materials or test scores may be required at the discretion of the Graduate School and the department for the Change of Program to be approved. Admission to a degree program does not guarantee a Change of Program will be approved.
Graduate Program Concentrations
- A concentration is a curricular subspecialty option associated with a graduate program which provides transcript recognition for students who fulfill a designated, specialized course of study. A concentration recognizes the student as having distinctive skills and training in one highly concentrated area within the program. The concentration course of study shall consist of at least 9 hours of graduate course work, selected from a university-approved list. A grade point of at least 3.00 must be earned in courses used toward fulfilling the concentration and only courses taken at Bradley University may be applied. Courses used to satisfy the requirements of the concentration may also be applied toward the requirements of the graduate degree. Up to two concentrations can be awarded; however, because concentrations are additional degree designations there can be no course overlap between the concentrations.
- Students must declare their intention to complete a concentration by completing the appropriate section on their Program of Study. A Student’s Program of Study leading to a concentration shall be planned by the student in consultation with his/her graduate academic advisor. To receive a concentration upon graduation, the student must file, with the Graduate School, the Graduate Concentration Completion Form prior to the beginning of their final semester.
Cross-Listed Graduate/Undergraduate Courses
- For cross-listed graduate/undergraduate courses, the graduate-level course will have additional academic requirements beyond those of the undergraduate course.
- Upon approval of the dean of the Graduate School, a graduate student may repeat a maximum of two courses in which he or she received grades of C or below. The second grade received for the course replaces the first grade received. However, semester hours for the course shall count only once toward the degree requirement.
- Financial assistance funded by the Graduate School cannot be used towards repeated courses.
- All Bradley students (undergraduate, graduate, full-time and part-time) in good academic standing registered for a given academic term, along with individuals admitted as a non-degree-seeking student for a given academic term may request permission to enroll as an “auditor.” Permission to audit a course must be approved by both the instructor and the chairperson of the department offering the course. Enrollment is contingent on having available space in the class. Except in special circumstances to be determined by the instructor and department chairperson, courses involving laboratory or studio work cannot be audited. Regular class attendance by persons not on the class roster is not permitted.
- Forms for audit registration are available in the Registrar’s Office or online. Audit registrations are accepted by the Registrar’s Office only after the first day of classes of each academic term.
- The extent to which an auditor participates in a course and the requirements for satisfactory performance must be specified by the instructor when approval is granted. Instructors are not obligated to grade any course work performed by the auditor. Courses taken for audit do not earn academic credit, do not apply toward any academic degree, and do not count toward a student’s full-time or part-time load for purposes of financial aid, loan deferments, or visa status. Courses taken for audit are recorded on the student’s permanent academic record as completed satisfactorily (“X”), completed unsatisfactorily (“UX”), or withdrawn (“W”).
- After the last day for adding classes with special permission, anyone who is registered as an auditor may not change the audit registration to a “for credit” status, i.e. a regular registration; likewise, a student registered for credit may not change to audit status. Deadlines associated with courses taken for credit and courses taken for audit are identical.
- All individuals will be charged a non-refundable fee for audited courses. The current fee is published at Student Financial Services (Tuition and Fees). Persons who have audited a course may petition to earn credit by proficiency examination; however, the charge for a proficiency examination for credit is based on the standard tuition structure determined by the Controller’s Office with a credit granted for charges associated with auditing.
Transfer Of Credit
- For a coherent program, master’s degree candidates should take all of their graduate coursework at one institution or consortium. Bradley will, however, accept six semester hours of transfer credit from another accredited institution, providing that (1) the grade in each graduate course offered for transfer is at least a B, and (2) the graduate coordinator recommends its acceptance to the dean of the Graduate School. In rare instances, and upon written approval of the dean of the Graduate School, more than six semester hours may be transferred; but in no instances will Bradley accept more than 12 semester hours of transfer credit. Grades of the courses transferred are not included in the calculation of the graduate grade point average. Students applying to have course credits transferred must submit an official transcript from the other institution and a Request to Transfer Graduate Credit form to the Graduate School. This transcript will be kept in the student’s graduate file.
- Students enrolled in Distance Education programs may only transfer nine semester hours.
- Any graduate course completed elsewhere cannot be transferred if five years pass between completion of the course and completion of the Bradley University graduate program. Regardless of transfer of courses into a graduate program, the five-year time limit for degree/certificate completion shall be retained.
- In rare instances, courses beyond the eight-year limit may be considered for transfer upon the recommendation of the graduate coordinator and approval by the dean of the Graduate School. Please see the Time Limit for Degree/Certificate Completion policy in this Catalog (above). Courses taken between the spring and fall semesters will be considered as being taken during “summer.” This includes Bradley courses taken during May three-week, May eight-week, Summer I, and Summer II sessions. “Summer” will count as one semester in the determination of the age of the course.
- Course credit earned for a completed bachelor's or graduate degree will not be applied to a later graduate program or certificate.
- Extension credit is acceptable for transfer if it is taken from an accredited institution and is approved by the procedures outlined above. Correspondence courses and equivalency credit by examination are not acceptable.
Age Of Courses Eligible To Meet Prerequisite Requirements
- Courses that serve as prerequisites for a degree or certificate program and that do not count directly toward graduate degree or certificate completion may be accepted to meet a prerequisite requirement provided they have been completed no longer than five years prior to the time the student begins his or her graduate program at Bradley University.
- Courses beyond the five-year limit will not be accepted.
Progression Toward Degree
- Graduate Program of Study
- Within the first semester of a degree seeking student’s graduate coursework, a completed Program of Study form must be approved by the program graduate coordinator and dean of the Graduate School. The Program of Study form must identify all program requirements including requirements beyond those listed in the Graduate Catalog. Revisions to the Program of Study are initiated by submission by the student of a Change of Program of Study form. This must be approved by the program coordinator and dean of the Graduate School.
- The dean of the Graduate School and the program coordinator will use the Program of Study form to determine the student’s qualifications for and progress toward completion of his or her master’s degree.
- Comprehensive Assessment
- Each department offering a graduate program requires a comprehensive assessment of the student’s total experience as it relates to fulfilling the objectives of the program of study. The department offering the program shall determine the form and content of the assessment. The type of comprehensive assessment should be specified in the student’s Program of Study. The student is responsible for making arrangements with the program coordinator for completing the assessment. At least two weeks before the date on which the degree is to be conferred, the coordinator must report the quality of the assessment to the Graduate School as Pass, Pass with Distinction, or Fail. The results of the assessment, as reported by the coordinator, will be posted on the student’s transcript.
- Students who receive a Fail on the assessment will be given only one additional opportunity for reassessment. The time frame in which the reassessment will take place is determined by the program, but must be within the time limit prescribed for finishing the degree.
- Students are required to be registered during the term in which they attempt to fulfill the comprehensive assessment requirement. Students who attempt the comprehensive assessment during the summer must be registered for one of the summer terms.
- Comprehensive Assessment results are due two (2) weeks before the end of the semester in fall and spring and two (2) weeks before the end of the Summer 2 session. If results are not received in the Graduate School by the deadline the student will not be approved for graduation.
- Departments of the University govern the thesis option. Those students selecting this option must obtain information about thesis requirements from their graduate coordinator. The general format and procedures for thesis filing are available from the Graduate School or online at bradley.edu/grad
- The thesis must be submitted two (2) weeks before the end of the semester in Fall and Spring and two (2) weeks before the end of the Summer 2 session before a student can be approved for graduation. If a student misses the deadline they will have to apply for graduation in the next available graduation cycle and register for a zero hour course.
- Application for Graduation
- Students must apply for graduation either online using Webster or by submitting the printed Graduate Application for Graduation form to the Graduate School. The application must be submitted when the candidate is registering for his or her final semester of study. Students finishing during a summer session should make application at the beginning of the term in which they plan to complete their requirements. The Graduate Application for Graduation form can be found online at www.bradley.edu/grad/. Students who do not apply by the published deadlines will be considered for the following graduation cycle. They will have to register for a zero hour in the next available semester.
- Applicants failing to complete all requirements for graduation in the semester for which they applied must reapply before they are considered for the next graduation cycle.
- Students are required to be registered during the term in which they plan to graduate. Students who plan to graduate in August must be registered for one of the summer terms. Students can register for either a zero hour of research or thesis or GRD 699. Contact the Graduate School for information on registering for GRD 699.
- Removal of Conditional Status
- A student must be in academic good standing to graduate. The student also must have met all conditions placed on him or her by the department and have been approved for unconditional status.
- Attendance at Commencement
- A commencement convocation is held at the completion of the fall and spring semesters. Students are encouraged to attend.