Graduate Policies, Procedures & Forms

Below you will find graduate policies and procedures listed in alphabetical order. For more information on any of these policies or if you have any questions, please contact the Graduate Programs Office,

Table of Policies

Confidential Records

Nature of Confidential Records. All personally identifiable information related to particular students used to make decisions about students or for transmittal to others outside the University other than public records as defined above is considered confidential information. This information includes, but is not necessarily limited to: academic evaluations; general counseling and advising records; disciplinary records; financial aid records; letters of recommendation; medical or health records; clinical counseling and psychiatric records; transcripts, test scores, and other academic records; and cooperative work records.

Disclosure of Confidential Information to the Student-Right of Review. A currently or previously enrolled student has the right to inspect and review official records, files, and data directly related to the student as a student. Access will be provided in the presence of a staff member. This right does not extend to applicants, those denied admission, or those admitted who do not enroll. Where such information involves other students, the student is entitled to inspect or to be informed of that portion of the information which pertains to himself or herself only. Requests under FERPA of 1974 have been accepted since January 1, 1975, and are responded to within 45 days. Only in rare situations will the response period ever approach this limit. Offices may require that requests for access be submitted in writing, and may ask for, but not require, the reason for the request.

Definition of Official Records. For purposes of this section, the terms "official records, files, and data" include materials on students pertaining to their status as students held by any unit or department of the University which is intended for University use or is to be available to parties outside the University. It does not include:

  1. letters of recommendation or statements of reference for students obtained or prepared before January 1, 1975, pursuant to implied or expressed promises of confidentiality or letters of recommendation or statements of reference to which students have waived the right of access;
  2. employment records of students as University employees;
  3. campus law enforcement records held in the Campus Security Office;
  4. clinical, medical counseling, or psychiatric records (these records or copies thereof may be reviewed by a physician or other appropriate professional of the student's choice);
  5. financial records of the parents of the student or any information contained therein;
  6. private records kept by individual faculty or administrators possibly used as memory aids unless intended for transmittal to others;
  7. institutional records of students which may be maintained by the University in a computer printout or similar format (so long as this computerized information is not intended to be distributed outside the University), as long as the original source of computer information is available in the office or department having jurisdiction for the records.
  8. records which contain only information relating to a person after that person was no longer a student at the University; for example, information collected by the University pertaining to accomplishments of its alumni.

Right to Explanation. A student is entitled, upon reasonable request, to an explanation of any information contained in official records directly related to the student. The student has the opportunity for a hearing to challenge the content of such records to ensure that they are not inaccurate or misleading, or otherwise in violation of privacy or other rights; to correct or delete any such inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise inappropriate data; or to insert into the records a written explanation.

The substantive judgment of a faculty member about a student's work (grades or other evaluations of work assigned) is not within the scope of such hearings. A student may challenge the factual and objective elements of the content of students' records but not the qualitative and subjective elements of grading.

Hearing Procedure. The procedure to be followed should a student object to items included in his or her personal records is:

  1. the student should discuss the objection with the individual responsible for the office where the student record is maintained;
  2. if not satisfied, the student should discuss the objection with the individual to whom that person reports;
  3. if not satisfied, the student should discuss the objection with the appropriate vice president or designee;
  4. if not satisfied, the student should file a written request for a formal hearing with the Vice President for Student Life, Dougherty Hall, Room 202. The hearing will be conducted in accordance with the requirements of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

Waiver of Access. Students may be invited but not required to waive their right of access to confidential letters of recommendation for admission, honors or awards or career planning and placement. Students will suffer no prejudice in admission, financial aid, or other University services by reason of not executing the waiver. If the waiver is signed, the applicant may request a list of all persons making confidential recommendations or statements.

Disclosure of Confidential Information to Third Parties. Third parties do not have access to personally identifiable records or information pertaining to students as students without the written consent of the student specifying the records to be released and to whom the records are to be released. Excepted from this restriction are:

  1. University officials who require access on an internal need-to-know basis for legitimate educational purposes, such as academic, disciplinary, health, or safety matters; University officials may include, without limitation, the President, Vice-Presidents, Deans, Directors, Department Chairs, faculty members, general counsel, judicial officers, counselors, resident advisors, coaches, and admission officers;
  2. students in their official capacity as file clerks working in University offices;
  3. disclosure of appropriate academic records to officials of other educational institutions to which the student seeks or intends to enroll (on condition that the student, upon request, is entitled to a copy of such records) if the student previously directed that the record be sent;
  4. records released pursuant to judicial order (on condition that an effort is made to notify the student of the subpoena);
  5. records released in connection with the student's application for, or receipt of, financial aid;
  6. appropriate federal and state officials or authorities consistent with federal regulations;
  7. organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, educational agencies or institutions;
  8. accrediting organizations in order to carry out their accrediting functions;
  9. parents of a dependent student as defined in section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954;
  10. in the case of emergency, the University may release personal information to protect the health and safety of students.

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Course Numbering

Courses designated 7000 to 7999 are graduate courses to which qualified undergraduate students are admitted for undergraduate credit with the permission of the Department Chairperson. Courses designated 8000 to 9999 are normally intended for graduate students only.

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Disclosure of Student Records

Villanova University, in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, also known as the Buckley Amendment, permits its students to inspect their records whenever appropriate, and to challenge specific parts of them when they feel it is necessary to do so. 

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Graduate Grading System

Grades are recorded at the end of each semester or summer session. The student receives his grades on the University NOVASIS website. Any inaccuracy must be reported by mail to the Registrar immediately.

The work of the student is graded according to the following scale:

A Outstanding
A -
B +
B Good
B -
C +
C Fair
F Failure

AU Audit
IP In Progress
N Incomplete
WX Approved Withdrawal

Students are not required to repeat courses in which the grade of F has been received, unless the courses are specifically required by the program in which they are enrolled, the decision resting with the chairperson of their major department.

An N (incomplete) grade indicates the instructor is not prepared to give a definite grade for the course in view of the student's not having completed all the assigned work. The N grade automatically becomes an F if the work is not completed and submitted to the instructor. For the fall semester, students must submit all work by the last Friday in January. For the spring semester, all work must be submitted by the last Friday in June. Faculty members, in turn, submit grade changes within two weeks of these dates to the Registrar. Change of grades to C+ or higher cannot be made without the approval of the professor, the department head, and the Dean of the Engineering College.

Grades are part of the student's permanent record. Grade changes other than conversion of N grades can be made only with special permission from the Dean's Office.

In graduate study, the student is expected to do more than pass the required courses. In addition, students must maintain a specific average. This average, known as the grade point average, derived from the grades and credit hours of the courses taken, is computed by multiplying the number of credits for each course the student has attempted by the authorized quality points for the grades received and dividing the total quality points by the total credit hours attempted. The grade A merits 4 quality points; A- = 3.67; B+ = 3.33; B = 3; B- = 2.67; C+ = 2.33; C = 2; F = 0; N = 0.

The student is required to maintain a grade point average of at least 3.00 and cannot be approved for the comprehensive examination or graduation unless this average has been maintained.

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Graduate Status

Full Time:  Minimum credit load for full-time status is 6 credits for fall or spring semester.  Students may also be considered full-time if their credit load in a semester falls below this minimum but they meet any of the following conditions:

  1. The student is a graduate assistant or tuition scholar.  Graduate assistants and tuition scholars must be enrolled in at least one course, which may be credit-bearing or non-credit-bearing.
  2. The student is enrolled in Thesis (3 cr) or Dissertation (3 cr), Independent Study (3cr.).
  3. The student is enrolled in Thesis Continuation (0 cr), Dissertation Continuation (0 cr), or Independent Study Continuation (0 cr).

Part Time:  3 credits

Inactive:  A graduate student is deemed inactive if (s)he not enrolled in a graduate course four consecutive fall and spring semesters (summers not counted). 

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Students who expect to be graduated have the responsibility of applying for graduation to their department chairperson no later than two months before the end of the semester in which they expect to complete their programs.

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Language Requirements

There is no language requirement in any of the graduate programs of the College of Engineering. However, foreign students are required to submit their scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) in their application for admission. A score of at least 550 is required.

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Length of Degree Programs

Normally all graduate degree requirements must be completed within a seven year time period. This time period is counted from the student's first registration to the date of completing the degree at Villanova University.

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A student whose G.P.A. falls below the required minimum of 3.0 is placed on probation. A student on probation who fails to improve his academic performance may be withdrawn from the program by the Dean of Engineering upon recommendation by the department chairperson.

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Public Records

Information concerning the following items about individual students is public:

  • From the Office of the Registrar - full name, address, telephone number, date of birth, major field of study, dates of attendance, class year, degrees and awards received, most recent previous educational institution attended.
  • From the Department of Athletics - participation in officially recognized University athletics, weight and height of members of athletic teams.
  • From the Student Activities Office - participation in officially recognized University activities and student organizations.

The foregoing public information may be released or published without the student's consent. However, students who do not wish such information to be released or made public, may inform the appropriate office in writing at the time the information is originally sought from students.

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Quantitative Degree Requirements

Candidates for the Master's degree must complete the courses prescribed by the chairperson of their department. Depending on the program, 30 to 45 semester hours credit with a quality point average of at least 3.00 is required for the degree.

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In those cases where a thesis is required or elected, the student is expected to do as a minimum the equivalent of six semester hours of work toward the thesis. The thesis is almost always prepared under the supervision of a faculty member of the major department who is prepared to undertake the supervision of the student's research. Students will need to have frequent conferences with their thesis advisor and, therefore, should not expect to receive supervision by mail. Research may be initiated by the student at a time approved by the department, but not until after the thesis topic forms have been approved by the department. Some departments may require a scholarly report in lieu of or in addition to a thesis. Consult departmental sections for details.

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Transfer of Credits

Transfer credits toward graduate engineering degrees will, in general, be granted for appropriate academic work completed with a grade of "B" or better (or equivalent) at an accredited university. A maximum of six graduate credits may be transferred toward graduate degree requirements and normally these credits must have been earned within the seven year period in which a student is expected to complete the degree. Transfer credits are not included in the calculation of the grade point average.

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Withdrawal from a Course

Engineering student requests for authorized withdrawal from a course will be automatically approved by the Dean of Engineering until the date given in the academic calendar. After that date the student must present a valid reason for the request, such as serious personal or medical problems. The Dean of Engineering will decide whether or not to grant these requests based on the information supplied by the student, recommendations from the faculty member teaching the course and the chairperson of the department in which the student is majoring. The Dean will inform the student of his decision and the reason for it.

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Withdrawal from the Program

Graduate students in engineering who withdraw voluntarily from the program for any reason should notify the Dean of Engineering of this fact in writing, email Dr. Jerry Jones. Graduate students who are withdrawn and wish to resume their studies in engineering must request approval for their readmission to the program in writing from the Dean of Engineering.

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