2010-2012 Graduate Studies Catalog

Academic Policies

Class Attendance and Student Absences

Each faculty member determines class attendance policy.  Any absence can only be excused on a basis of negotiation between student and faculty member.

Excused Official Absence

An official absence occurs when a student officially represents the University through an academic department, sponsored University program, or officially registered student organization.  An official absence must be recognized as excused by a faculty member.  Requests for an official absence shall be submitted to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs on the Student Travel Authorization form.  This form should be obtained from the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs (McM 203) at least one week in advance of the expected absence.  This procedure will assure students the opportunity to make up examinations given when official University activities are scheduled.

Extent of Official Absence

When issued, an official absence is an excuse for time only and does not mean that a student is excused from the study assignment for that period.  Each student is responsible for making up all work missed, as required by the instructor.

Class Enrollment Lists

At the beginning of each semester, the Office of Admissions and Records furnishes each instructor with a list of students who have registered in each course.  Only students who are regularly registered for a course may attend.  No grade or credit will be given to students for any course in which they are not properly registered.

Course Load Limits

The maximum course load for graduate students is 15 credits per semester.  Exceptions may be made up to 18 credits but only with the approval of the Graduate Committee and the Director of Graduate Studies.


For the purpose of computing a grade point average, grade points are as follows:

A       4.0
A-     3.70
B+    3.30
B       3.0
B-     2.70
C+    2.30
C       2.0
C-     1.70
D+    1.3
D       1.0
F       0

No credit for the master’s degree will be allowed for grade less than “2.0” even though the grade is computed into the student’s grade point average.

Incomplete (“I”) Grades

Upon request, a grade of incomplete (“I”) may be given in a course for which the course requirements are normally expected to be completed in the semester of enrollment.  To qualify, a graduate student must have been in attendance for at least three-fourths of the semester and have been prevented from completing all of the requirements for the course.  Prior to the time the instructor submits grades, the student must provide adequate written evidence to the instructor as to the reason(s) why he/she was unable to complete the course requirements.  All work for removal of the deficiency must be specified in writing by the instructor and must be completed within one calendar year from the end of the enrollment semester.  Extensions to this time allotment may be requested by a student petition, recommended by the instructor and unit chairperson, and approved by the MSU Billings Graduate Committee.

An incomplete grade not made up within the prescribed length of time will automatically be converted to an “F” grade.  Once the grade of incomplete has been converted to an “F” grade, the course must be repeated in order to have the grade changed.  An “I” grade will not be included in the computation of the GPA.

In instances involving extended leave or resignation of the instructor of the incomplete course, the unit chairperson may act to establish an appropriate grade and verify completion of the coursework within the approved time frame.

Work in Progress “T” Grades

A grade of “T” (work in progress) is given by the instructor to indicate that the graduate student’s work in a course is in progress and the requirements of the course are of such a nature that the assignment(s) could not be completed by the end of the semester of enrollment.

“T” grades will be allowed for the following courses:  Thesis, Internship, Capstone, and Clinic.  Enrollment/registration in these courses is restricted to students who have an approved plan of study on file in the Office of Graduate Studies.

All work for removal of the “T” grades must be completed before graduation.  A “T” grade will not be included in the computations of the GPA.  A “T” grade that has not been completed before the end of the six-year plan of study will turn to an “F.”  A “T” grade given for a pass/no pass course that has not been completed before the end of the six-year plan of study will turn to an “X.”  A student may petition for an extension.

Pass/No Pass (P/NP) Grades

Courses in a student’s degree program plan of study may not generally be taken on a Pass/No Pass basis.  Each program has exceptions to this which are articulated in the program pages of the catalog.

A Pass (“P”) grade indicates that a student has satisfied all course requirements and has earned the course credits.  A No Pass (NP) indicates that the student’s performance in the course is below passing.  The grade received (P or NP), however, is not calculated into the MSU Billings grade point average.  Pass/No Pass grades from other institutions will not normally be used in the plan of study.  Courses taken on a P/NP basis at MSU Billings may not be changed to a letter grade at some future time.  A Pass is indicated on the academic transcript as a “P.”  An “X” indicates a No Pass.

Grade Reports

Students’ grades are available over the web.  Students who wish to have their grades mailed must leave a self-addressed stamped envelope at the Office of Admissions and Records.

Student Progress - Academic Probation

Graduate students are placed on academic probation when their cumulative graduate GPA falls below 3.0.  Students on academic probation who fail to earn at least a 3.0 GPA during the next semester in courses on the approved Plan of Study are suspended from the graduate program.  Students receiving below a “C” (2.0) on courses on their approved plan of study must repeat the course the next time it is offered.  Students receiving two or more “F” grades will be suspended regardless of cumulative GPA.  All students on academic probation MUST meet with their academic advisors to review their respective course schedules.  In order to be eligible for graduation, all graduate students must meet the graduate program GPA requirement.  Graduate students may not graduate on academic probation.

Academic Suspension

Students academically suspended from a graduate program may apply for readmission after waiting one academic year.  At the time of readmission the student’s transcript will be evaluated based upon programmatic guidelines.  Students who are suspended from a program must meet with their advisor to reapply for admission.  The application packet will be reviewed and acted upon by the Graduate Committee.  Graduate students academically suspended a second time will be dismissed and may not be readmitted.

Appeal Process

Students who are suspended or denied readmission may appeal the decision.  The appeal must be made in writing within ten University working days of the date the student was notified.  The appeal goes directly to the Office of Graduate Studies.  The appeal must clearly state why the student is appealing and provide evidence that supports this request.

The appeal will be reviewed by the Graduate Committee at its next scheduled meeting during the academic year.  The Graduate Committee may deny the appeal.  The Committee may also choose to grant the appeal with specific criteria outlined in a written decision to the student.  The specific criteria outlined may not be appealed.

At the end of the returning semester if the student has met all the requirements, he or she will be reinstated.  However, should all the requirements not be met, the student will be dismissed a second time.  This dismissal will be final, no appeal will be granted.

Students failing to make satisfactory progress in their program, such as continuous enrollment or timely completion of the incomplete grades, can be dismissed by the program.

NEXT: Academic Dishonesty

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