Dec 04, 2020  
Graduate Catalog 2015-2016 
Graduate Catalog 2015-2016 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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W Withdrawn.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 member of his/her immediate family).

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.
I 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). In such cases instructors make specific written arrangements with students for completion of the course.

If a student receives an Incomplete, he/she must complete required course work by the end of the following eight-week session. Extensions beyond one session must be approved by the Executive Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs. Incompletes that are not finished are to be permanently recorded by the instructor as I or any other grade assigned by the instructor. When incomplete work in a course is completed, the instructor is responsible for reporting the letter grade that replaces the ‘I’ on the student’s permanent record.

Students enrolled in EDUC 508 - Integrative Project  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 of grade may be made when a computational error has been made by the instructor or when a processing error has been made. Request for a grade change is honored only when approved by the Associate Dean for Adult Higher Education (AHE Graduate) or Director of Graduate Studies (Main Campus Graduate).

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 Registration and Financial Services 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.

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 Graduate Studies Office, 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.  Please contact the Graduate Studies Office for information on how to apply for a leave of absence.


Columbia College transcripts of permanent student records are confidential and cannot be released to anyone, except Columbia College instructors and officials, without the written permission from the student. Columbia College accepts transcript requests via mail, fax or in person. All requests must include the signature of the student whose record is being released. Payment may be made by cash, check, money order or credit card. The transcript fee is $10.00 per transcript.

Requests must include the student’s full name, maiden or former name if applicable, dates of attendance, ID or SS number, birth date, the student’s current address and phone number, the address where the transcript should be sent, the number of copies to be issued and the payment. A student’s current account balance must be clear prior to the release of the transcript.


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 do so 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.
  6. Students may appeal a grade resulting in academic dismissal to the Director of Graduate Studies who will convene a Campus Hearing Board to rule on the grade appeal. Only if the grade appeal is successful will the dismissal be reversed. The decision of the Campus Hearing Board is final. Students will receive a written summary of the outcome by the Director of Graduate Studies. Student appeals must be directed to the Director of Graduate Studies within fourteen days of the official posting of the grade, and the Campus Hearing Board must rule on the appeal within sixty days of receiving it, following the process outlined below. 

Grade Appeal

Students may file appeals when they believe that an incorrect or unfair grade has been awarded. Documentation which demonstrates compelling objective evidence is required in all grade appeals.

In general, students should follow this procedure for grade appeals:

  1. Discuss the problem with the faculty member involved.
  2. If not satisfied with that faculty member’s explanation, seek mediation from the appropriate graduate program coordinator.
  3. Failing resolution of the problem, request a grade appeal hearing with the Campus Hearing Board. This request must be filed in writing with the Director of Graduate Studies within 60 calendar days after grades have been posted by the Registrar. The Director of Graduate Studies may inform the student that his/ her submitted materials do not support requests for changes in grades and/or forward the appeals to the Campus Hearing Board. The decision of the Campus Hearing Board is final. The chair of the Campus Hearing Board communicates decisions to the student and other parties involved in the appeal. If a change in grade or academic standing results, the chair of the Campus Hearing Board notifies the Registrar of the new grade or change in standing.
  4. In the event that new evidence becomes available, a request may be made in writing to the Executive Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs, who determines if the appeal is to be reconsidered. If a question arises regarding procedural correctness or impartiality, the issue may be brought to the Executive Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs, who has the final authority in passing judgment on these matters.

Graduate Academic Review Committee

Students who have been dismissed for academic reasons(failure to maintain 3.0 GPA, failure to remove themselves from probation within the specified time period, receipt of two grades of C or one grade of F, failure to complete the degree program within the seven-year period allowed) may appeal their dismissal to the Graduate Academic Review Committee.  Graduate students who petition the committee regarding dismissal for poor academic performance should provide a compelling rationale and /or explanation of extenuating circumstances for their poor academic performance.  These students waiting for their petitions to be considered by the committee, will not be allowed to register or complete any additional courses towards graduate degree completion until the committee has completed its deliberations.  Appeals should be sent to the Director of Graduate Studies.