Jul 15, 2020  
Graduate Catalog 2020-2021 
Graduate Catalog 2020-2021

Grading and Academic Standing

Graduate Grading System

Columbia College records letter grades for course work. Grades for graduate courses include:

A Outstanding performance
B Average performance
C Less than acceptable performance
F Significant performance failure with no academic credit or quality points awarded

Other Grades Include:

W Withdrawn. Awarded when a student officially withdraws from a course, or when an instructor withdraws a student from a course. Students may not withdraw from a course after the sixth week has been completed.

Excused from the course for extraordinary circumstances. Generally, “extraordinary circumstances” is narrowly interpreted to mean the development of unforeseen, unexpected circumstances beyond a student’s ability to control that prevent continued attendance in all classes (death of an immediate family member, a change in the student’s employment, and mental or physical illness befalling the student or a family member.

A request for a grade of WE must be accompanied by a letter from the student explaining the circumstances. In addition, substantiating documentation must be provided. A grade of WE may be requested anytime during the term of enrollment, and all courses currently enrolled in must be included in the WE request.

A grade of WE is not automatic and is subject to review and approval.

S Awarded to a student showing satisfactory progress on culminating experience.

Assignment of an Incomplete is reserved for extraordinary circumstances that prevent a student from completing the requirements of a course by the end of the session. “Extraordinary circumstances” is narrowly interpreted to mean unforeseen, unexpected circumstances beyond the student’s control that prevents continued attendance in all classes (death of an immediate family member, a change in the student’s employment, mental or physical illness befalling the student or a member of the immediate family). The request for an Incomplete must be initiated by the student by filling out the Incomplete Grade Request Form. Only the instructor may grant an incomplete.

If a student receives an Incomplete, the student must complete required course work by the end of the following two eight-week sessions. Extensions beyond one session must be approved by the Dean of the student’s School.

The student is responsible for this deadline. Incompletes that are not finished are to be automatically recorded as an F unless the instructor submits a grade change form. The student is responsible for understanding the impact of that grade on the students status at the college should the student be unable to complete the remaining work.

When incomplete work in a course is completed, the instructor is responsible for processing the grade change form to the earned grade. The instructor who assigns the incomplete grade is responsible for grading any work that is completed in the agreed upon timeframe. However, should the instructor be physically unable to complete the work, the grade will be assigned by a qualified instructor who will be selected either by the Department Chair or the Dean of the School in which the course is housed. In Online and CC Global locations, directors will ensure the responsible instructor is completing the work that is outstanding, or will find a qualified instructor to complete the grading.

Students enrolled in EDUC 508 - Integrative Project  and EDUC 608 - Education Leadership Practicum  are exempt from this policy.

Graduate credit is awarded only for courses designated as graduate courses and the graduate grade point average is computed based on those courses. Undergraduate credit is given only for courses designated as undergraduate courses. A grade of B or higher is expected in all graduate and undergraduate course work.

Change of Grade

A change in grade may be made when either a computational error by the instructor or processing error have occurred. A request for a grade change must be made within 60 calendar days of the grade being issued. Requests are honored only when approved by the Dean of the student’s school (Day Campus), or Associate Vice President for Columbia College Global & Online or designee; or Assistant Provost, Online and Columbia College Global Education or desingee.

Repeating a Course

Courses may be repeated at Columbia College in an attempt to improve grades. The grade earned the second time the course is taken is used to determine the grade-point average, and the first grade is identified as R (Repeat) on the transcript. The first grade does not figure in the total hours or the grade-point average. In all cases, the second grade is the one that is recorded. No duplicate credit is given. Additionally, students who use federal financial aid assistance must check with the Enrollment Service Center to determine financial liability when repeating a course.

Withdrawal from Courses

Graduate students who withdraw from a course or courses between the end of the drop period and the end of the sixth week of a session receive a grade of W. Students do not receive grade points for withdrawn grades, but the notation appears on the transcript.

To withdraw, a student must complete a withdrawal form and submit the form to the Enrollment Service Center or to the Office of the Registrar. Withdrawals may also be initiated by submitting the Course Withdrawal Form in CougarTrack. Withdrawals become effective the date a staff member at the appropriate office receives the withdrawal form from the student. Discontinuing class attendance does not constitute withdrawal and students remain academically liable; those who do not complete the withdrawal process as outlined above are in danger of receiving an F in the course.

Financial liability is not reduced when a student withdraws from a course. Students who receive any form of Federal Title IV assistance, and who withdraw, may be required by federal regulations to return some or all of the federal aid received. This includes the Federal Pell and SEOG grants, and the Federal, Direct and Direct PLUS loans. See the Financial Aid  portion of the College catalog for additional information.

Administrative Withdrawal for Non-Attendance

Students may be administratively withdrawn from all courses for non-attendance. Non-attendance is considered 14 consecutive calendar days of non-attendance in all courses. An early alert notification will be made to the student after the first week of non-attendance. If, in fact, the student did attend during the week referenced in the alert, it is the student’s responsibility to contact the instructor immediately to change the attendance record. Once a student has been absent two weeks, they will be administratively withdrawn with no further warning.

Tuition, room and board will be prorated according to the Total Withdrawal Time Frame Schedule, if applicable. No credit will be given for nonrefundable deposits, laboratory or course fees, etc. Tuition refunds will be assessed according to each venue’s standard refund policy.

An administrative withdrawal will result in a non-punitive grade of “W”, if classes are withdrawn in the time between the end of the drop period and prior to the end of the 12th week of the semester or sixth week of the session. Students do not receive grade points for Withdraw (W) grades, but a notation appears on the transcript.

If an Administrative Withdrawal for Non-Attendance is not the result of an error in attendance records, students may appeal the withdrawal if extraordinary circumstances prevented them from attending all courses in which they were enrolled. Extraordinary circumstances are narrowly interpreted to mean the development of unforeseen, unexpected circumstances beyond a student’s control. Examples of extraordinary circumstances include serious illness, death in the immediate family, significant change in the location and/or conditions of employment, or an unexpected call to active military duty or extended periods of TDY. Mere inconvenience and/or discomfort with the academic workload, minor schedule changes in employment, connectivity issues, etc. do not meet the definition of extraordinary circumstances.

An appeal of an Administrative Withdrawal for Non-Attendance should be submitted by the student to the Dean of the appropriate School. The Dean will review submitted appeals, and has the final authority to approve an appeal. The likelihood of passing the course(s) if re-enrolled in the course(s) will be considered in the review of the appeal.

Leave of Absence

Students who for personal or professional reasons must stop taking graduate courses for an extended period of time may request a leave of absence from their program from the Dean in the School in which their program is housed, for a maximum of 24 months from the end of their last session of attendance. If a leave of absence is granted, the seven-year period for completion is paused for the approved amount of time. Contact the Dean’s Office for the appropriate School for information on how to apply for a leave of absence.


Students whose cumulative grade point average falls below the 3.0 minimum for courses within their degree program will be placed on probation. Students placed on probation must earn sufficient grade points, within their degree program, during their probationary term, to raise their cumulative grade point average to 3.0 within the next 9 semester hours. Failure to raise the cumulative grade point average will result in dismissal.


Students will be dismissed from the graduate program and are not considered as having met graduation requirements for any of the following:

  1. Receipt of a grade of C in two or more graduate courses (also applies to undergraduate courses for MAT and M.Ed. Post-Baccalaureate students). Note: Although students may repeat a course in order to replace a C with a higher grade, receiving a second C prior to repeating the first C with a grade of B or higher will cause the student to be dismissed.
  2. Receipt of a grade of F in any one graduate course (or a grade of D or F in undergraduate courses for MAT and M.Ed. Post Baccalaureate students).
  3. Failure to remove themselves from probation as described above.
  4. Recommendation of the academic department, based on proven academic dishonesty, or ethical or professional misconduct.
  5. Students not completing the graduate degree program within a seven-year period will be dismissed. The seven-year period begins with the student’s first graduate-level course.

A successful grade appeal (details in the Grade Appeal section below) could result in a dismissal being reversed if the student no longer meets the criteria for dismissal based on that new grade.

Students may appeal an academic dismissal by written request to the Dean of the School in which their program is housed. This request should directly address reasons for past lack of success and include a plan for success upon returning to Columbia College. Students will receive notification of the outcome by email to their CougarMail account within 14 days. The Dean’s decision regarding such appeals is final.

Grade Appeal

Main Campus Day

Grade appeals should be filed only when it is possible to demonstrate with substantial objective evidence that an incorrect or an unfair grade has been assigned. If a student believes that the final grade received in any course is incorrect or unfair, the student follows the grade appeal procedure outlined below:

  1. Discuss the problem with the faculty member involved.
  2. If not satisfied with that faculty member’s explanation, seek mediation from the Academic Department Chair.
  3. Failing resolution of the problem at the Academic Department Chair level, the student makes an appeal to appropriate School Dean. This request must be filed in writing within 60 calendar days after grades have been posted by the Registrar. The decision of the School Dean is final and will be communicated to the student within 10 business days of receipt of the appeal by the Dean.
  4. If a change in grade or academic standing results, the Dean notifies the Registrar of the new grade or change in standing.
  5. In the event that new evidence becomes available, a request may be made in writing to the School Dean, who determines if the appeal is to be reconsidered.
  6. If a question arises regarding procedural correctness or impartiality, the issue may be brought to the School Dean, who has the final authority in passing judgment on these matters.

Main Campus Evening, Online and CC Global

A student may appeal any grade given, if it is believed to be in error or in conflict with Columbia College policy and procedures. Initially, location Directors will try to resolve a grade appeal at the location in accordance with local policies. If the issue cannot be resolved at the location, the appeal will be transmitted through the Director to the Associate Vice President for CC Global.

The student must state all reasons why the grade awarded is believed to be in error and request a desired remedy to correct the situation. The adjunct faculty member who awarded the grade in question is given the opportunity to comment on all student allegations before the appeal is forwarded to main campus authority. A grade appeal must be received for review by the Associate Vice President for CC Global prior to the end of 60 days from the date the grade was awarded.

Withdrawal Excused Appeal

Students disagreeing with the decision regarding their excused withdrawal (WE) request should first discuss those concerns with the original reviewer. Students who remain unsatisfied with that decision may appeal the outcome of an excused withdrawal request by submitting a formal appeal to their School Dean. That appeal should directly address why the initial decision was in error and the student’s desired outcome. 

Academic Suspension or Dismissal Appeal

Students may appeal the academic suspension or dismissal decision. Main Campus Day students must file a formal appeal with their School Dean. Main Campus Evening, Online and CC Global students must file a formal appeal by email with their location Director.