Jul 20, 2024  
2018-2019 University Catalog 
2018-2019 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Graduate Study

The Roger Williams University community recognizes that, in today’s global society, there is an increasing need for knowledge and skills beyond the baccalaureate level in many fields and disciplines. As a result, graduate education at Roger Williams University seeks to provide advanced preparation and continuing educational opportunities for students in a select number of academic fields.

Our graduate programs are designed to prepare advanced students for independent thought and critical thinking, and to foster team-building and collaborative skills. Thus, graduate education at Roger Williams University enriches the lives of students seeking life-long learning experiences, and provides opportunities for stimulating study and a focus on creativity and critical analysis.

Our programs are designed for both full and part-time students, and courses are available at a wide variety of times and in many different formats. Roger Williams University prides itself on outstanding library resources, excellent computing facilities, and small classes taught by world-class professors. Research is obviously an important component of graduate education, and our students have the opportunity to participate in independent investigation and mentored studies and research projects with experienced faculty, all of which can lead to presentations and publications. In short, Roger Williams University seeks to provide graduate study of an exemplary nature in selected disciplines for especially capable, professionally-oriented students.

Graduate Admissions

All applicants for graduate programs must hold an earned bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited university. Candidates holding degrees from institutions outside the United States will be evaluated on an individual basis at the discretion of Roger Williams University. All applicants must submit official transcripts of all previous undergraduate coursework, a letter of intent discussing relevant past experiences and educational and/or career goals, a completed and signed application, and the $50 application fee, in addition to any program-specific requirements, which may include two or three letters of recommendation, an entrance examination such as the GMAT or GRE, an admissions interview, resumé, or portfolio. Please refer to the individual program documents to learn the specific requirements for your program. In certain circumstances, a credential may be waived with approval from the appropriate dean or academic program director.

Graduate Admission Categories

There are two categories of Graduate admission at Roger Williams University: degree or certificate seeking admission, and visiting/non-degree seeking admission.

Types of Graduate Admission for Degree and Certificate Seeking Students

Full Admission Status: Students who submit all required application materials and meet the minimum academic criteria set forth by the appropriate dean and faculty may be considered for full admission. Full admission will be granted to students upon full review by the appropriate dean and/or faculty committee. RWU reserves the right to require students to take undergraduate prerequisites and to successfully complete them at a prescribed minimum grade in their initial semester or semesters of enrollment as a condition of continued participation in the program.

Probationary Acceptance Status: Upon the recommendation of the appropriate dean, applicants who have submitted all required admission documentation, but do not meet program requirements for full admission and show potential for succeeding at the graduate level, may be offered probationary admission on a temporary basis. Applicants admitted on a probationary status may register for no more than a total of nine credits of graduate coursework over no more than two consecutive semesters, provided all required coursework toward an earned bachelor’s degree has been completed. Students admitted on a probationary basis to complete undergraduate prerequisites must successfully complete the assigned prerequisite coursework prior to beginning courses in a graduate program. Probationary students must receive a grade of “B” (3.0) or better in all coursework to be considered for full admission. Under no circumstance will undergraduate degree requirements be waived. Probationary status may not be continued for more than one year, and is subject to the terms set by the graduate admissions committee.

Conditional Acceptance Status: Applicants who have not submitted all required credentials for graduate admission, but who meet the requirements for admission, may be offered conditional admission. Conditionally admitted students may take up to three (3) courses for a maximum of one semester of study before submitting remaining application requirements to the Office of Graduate Admission. If the graduate application requirements are not fully met prior to the end of the first semester, students will be administratively withdrawn and must reapply to continue in a graduate program. Students will not be granted conditional acceptance without undergraduate transcripts and proof of an earned bachelor’s degree. Applicants to the Architecture, Clinical Psychology, or Forensic Psychology programs are not eligible for conditional acceptance. Under no circumstances will undergraduate degree requirements be waived.

Visiting/Non-Degree Seeking Admission

Students interested in graduate coursework for personal or professional enrichment, or who wish to eventually apply to a degree program, may enroll in up to two graduate level courses as a non-degree student. Individuals are encouraged to contact both the Office of Graduate Admission and the Program Director for guidance in course selection, especially in circumstances where the student intends to apply for a degree or certificate program at a later time. Students must meet the prerequisite requirements for individual classes. Successful completion of non-degree coursework does not guarantee admission into any graduate degree or certificate program. Additional coursework beyond two (2) classes as a non-degree student must be approved by the appropriate dean.

To apply, students must complete the graduate application form and submit an official undergraduate transcript reflecting a conferred bachelor’s degree. Additionally, students may be asked to provide official transcripts from any and all colleges and universities attended to confirm completion of prerequisite classes and aid in properly advising the student. Upon approval of both the Office of Graduate Admission and the appropriate dean or academic program director, the student will be allowed to register for the approved course(s). If a student intends to continue on to a full degree or certificate program after the completion of two (2) classes, s/he must apply to the full degree or certificate program and submit all required documents for a completed application. With the approval of both the Office of Graduate Admission and the appropriate dean or academic program director, students may be accepted into a full degree program and become a fully-matriculating student. A maximum of two (2) classes taken while in a non-matriculated status can be applied to a full degree program. Coursework taken above two (2) classes while in a non-matriculated status cannot be applied to a full degree program. A maximum of one (1) class taken while in a non-matriculated status can be applied to a graduate certificate program. Coursework taken above one (1) class while in a non-matriculated status cannot be applied to a graduate certificate program.

Due to the nature of the programs and curriculum, applicants to the Clinical Psychology, Cybersecurity, Forensic Psychology and Teaching programs are unable to accept students as non-matriculating or visiting students.

Visiting/Non-degree seeking students are not eligible for Federal, State or Roger Williams University grants, financial aid or student employment, nor are they eligible to live in University housing. They will be charged at a per-credit rate plus relevant fees as determined by the University. Visiting students must meet all University deadlines and requirements including adherence to all University academic regulations, providing proof of health insurance and fulfilling all financial obligations to the University.

Enrolling in a Graduate Course as an RWU Undergraduate

Registered full-time Roger Williams University undergraduate students must obtain the permission of the appropriate dean if they wish to enroll in a graduate course. A completed graduate course cannot replace a degree, major, or core undergraduate course requirement without written approval from the appropriate dean being filed with the University Graduation Coordinator. If students subsequently apply to the program in which the course was taken, at the time of application they must petition in writing the appropriate dean for a waiver of that course. The decision of the dean is final. If a waiver is granted, the total number of credit hours required for the master’s degree is not reduced. Notification of the waiver will be sent in writing from the dean to the Registrar.

Admissions Process for International Students

International students are eligible to apply to graduate programs if they have successfully completed the equivalent of a United States bachelor’s degree program and have the appropriate diplomas and/or satisfactory results on transcripts or examinations. In addition to general and program-specific graduate admission requirements, international students are required to submit:

ORIGINAL and FINAL Undergraduate Transcripts

All applicants must submit ORIGINAL college/university scholastic records and/or an original, official degree verification and course-by-course transcript evaluation from an official member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES).

  • Transcripts and evaluations must show completion of the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree
  • Transcripts must be originals with school seal and signature from a school official. Copies (with or without a school stamp), emails, and faxes of transcripts in any form are not acceptable
  • Transcripts must be sent directly to RWU from the institution of attendance in a sealed and stamped envelope. Transcripts sent directly from the applicant will not be accepted
  • An official degree verification and course-by-course transcript evaluation from a member agency of NACES may be accepted in lieu of an official transcript
  • Submission of falsified documents is grounds for denial of admission or dismissal from the University

Applicants with non-U.S. credentials are required to submit a course-by-course evaluation of their transcripts, completed by a professional foreign credential evaluation company such as World Education Services (WES) or any foreign credential service that is a recognized member of NACES (http://www.naces.org/members.htm). International applicants who completed a Bachelor’s degree in the U.S. are not required to submit a transcript evaluation, but are required to have original transcripts from each college that awarded credit toward a Bachelor’s degree sent to the Office of Graduate Admission.

English Proficiency Requirement

International applicants are required to be proficient in English as a condition for admission. Applicants who attended at least three years of undergraduate study in the U.S., completed their degree in the U.S., completed their degree in an English-based curriculum outside of the U.S., or are from a country where the official language is English are exempt from this requirement. Proof of English proficiency can be submitted using one of the options below.

TOEFL (Test Of English as a Foreign Language)

Note: this report must be an original (not a copy) and must be sent directly from ETS (cannot be sent by the applicant). Original TOEFL Score Report with results greater than or equal to:

85 (internet-Based Test)
225 (Computer-Based Test)
565 (Paper-Based Test)

IELTS (International English Language Testing System)

Note: this report must be an original (not a copy) and must be sent directly from IELTS (cannot be sent by the applicant). Original IELTS Score Report with results greater than or equal to 6.5 bandwidth.

As of February 1, 2011, a Certificate showing completion of Level 112 at an ELS center is not acceptable as proof of English language proficiency.

Financial Aid

To be considered for financial aid, graduate students must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at www.fafsa.gov for the intended academic year. The form is available on October 1st for study beginning the following fall term (i.e. October 1, 2017 for the 2018-2019 academic year). Graduate students are strongly encouraged to submit the FAFSA for fall entry by March 15th for priority processing with the Office of Financial Aid. The Roger Williams University Title IV code # is 003410.

Students receiving federal financial aid must complete a FAFSA form each year of study, and may also be asked to provide the Financial Aid Office with copies of the previous year’s tax returns, including all schedules. All graduate students are considered to be of independent status. Parents’ financial information is not considered when determining eligibility for federal student aid.

Student Loans

Student loan programs provide the majority of funding for graduate students. There are three types of loans that allow you to borrow up to your cost of attendance and enter repayment six to nine months after graduation.

  1. Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan Program - provides students with an attractive, low interest loan. A graduate student is eligible for up to $20,500 annually in Stafford Loan funds. Students must submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine eligibility
  2. The Federal Direct Graduate Plus Loan is available to fill the gap between the Federal/Direct Stafford Loans and the total cost of attendance. This is a credit-based loan and students must have a satisfactory credit history to qualify.
  3. Private loans such as those offered by Rhode Island Student Loan Authority and Sallie Mae are also meant to fill the gap between the Federal Stafford loans and total cost of attendance. Each program has different terms and eligibility requirements, but a satisfactory credit history is essential to qualify for private loans. Students must be taking a minimum of 6 credits per semester to be eligible.

Graduate School Academic Policies and Procedures

Academic Integrity Pledge

We, the students of Roger Williams University, commit ourselves to academic integrity. We promise to pursue the highest ideals of academic life, to challenge ourselves with the most rigorous standards, to be honest in any academic endeavor, to conduct ourselves responsibly and honorably, and to assist one another as we live and work together in mutual support.

Breaches of Academic Integrity

Roger Williams University exists to foster the mature pursuit of learning, which is premised upon the exercise of mutual trust and honest practice when representing data, findings and the sources of ideas used in an academic exercise. The University expects students to observe these principles of academic integrity that ensure the excellence of their education and the value of their diploma.

Examples of breaches of academic integrity include but are not limited to:

Cheating: Using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information or citation in any academic exercise. Examples include, but are not limited to

  • Copying from another student on exams or assignments;
  • Altering graded exams of assignments and resubmitting them for a new grade;
  • Submitting the same paper for two classes without both instructors’ written permission.

Fabrication: Unauthorized falsifications or invention of any information or citation in any academic exercise. Examples include, but are not limited to

  • Using made-up citations in papers or other assignments;
  • Representing collaborative work as the result of individual effort;
  • Collaborating on graded assignments beyond the extent authorized by the instructor.

Plagiarism: Plagiarism is best defined as the incorporation of words and ideas of another person in an attempt to claim that person’s work as one’s own. Thus, plagiarism fails to engage in civil, scholarly discourse. It is sometimes a form of intellectual theft and is always a form of intellectual fraud.

In its worst form, plagiarism may consist of directly copying large or small portions of either printed or online works, or, as frequently happens in schools, written papers of another student, without properly crediting the source(s) from which they came. There are, however, more subtle forms of plagiarism as well. Paraphrasing, which is the process of using alternative expressions to communicate the meaning of another author’s words, is also a form of plagiarism, unless the sources of those ideas are acknowledged. Roger Williams University provides resources and advice to students to help avoid plagiarism.

See How to Avoid Plagiarism (http://library.rwu.edu/howdoI/plagiarism.php) and the Cite Right Manual (www.rwu.edu/academics/centers/cad/writing/resources/citeright.htm). Students are encouraged to consult their instructor if they have questions regarding proper documentation of sources and avoiding plagiarism. Examples of plagiarism include, but are not limited to

  • Quoting or paraphrasing someone else’s work without correct citation;
  • Copying work of another and representing it as your own;
  • Purchasing a paper, essay or other work;
  • Having someone else do your work for you.

Fraud: Altering, forging, or encouraging another person to alter or forge, official records of the institution, or assisting others in such activities. Examples of fraud include, but are not limited to

  • Taking an exam for someone else;
  • Changing the grade on an assignment and representing it as the original.

Willful Damage: Damaging another’s creative work or property. Facilitating Academic Dishonesty: Assisting or aiding someone else in committing a breach of academic integrity. Examples include, but are not limited to

  • Allowing another student to copy a paper, problem set, exam or other assignment that is meant to be completed individually;
  • Taking an exam or completing an assignment for another student;
  • Obtaining a copy of an exam ahead of time for oneself or another student.

Consequences of a Breach of Academic Integrity

Civil discourse and the entire academic project depend on mutual trust among the community of scholars that is Roger Williams University. Even a minor breach of academic integrity diminishes that trust. Accordingly, the consequences of a breach of academic integrity, depending on severity, include:

  • Failure on the assignment on which the breach occurred;
  • Failure of the class in which the breach occurred;
  • Academic probation for one semester;
  • Suspension for one semester;
  • Separation (dismissal) from the Roger Williams University community.

Academic Conduct Committee

The University Academic Conduct Committee is empowered to investigate and adjudicate all cases of suspected breaches of academic integrity. This committee will also serve as the record keeper of all academic integrity breaches. The University Academic Conduct Committee may, as part of its deliberations, consider a student’s prior breaches of academic integrity on file. The University Academic Conduct Committee shall establish and publish by-laws and procedures pertaining to its own operations

Committee Composition

The University Academic Conduct Committee shall be composed of one elected faculty representative from each school or college (including one from each CAS division), two representatives elected by the Student Senate, and one administrator (ex officio) from Academic Affairs.

Procedure for Dealing with Alleged Breaches of Academic Integrity
  1. A faculty member who suspects a breach of academic integrity shall investigate, including opportunity for the student to answer the allegation. Upon finding evidence of a breach of academic integrity, a faculty member may elect to penalize the offending student by
    • Issuing the student a formal warning
    • Failing the student on the assignment on which the breach occurred
    • Failing the student in the class in which the breach occurred
  2. The faculty member must communicate directly with the student via RWU e-mail, with copies sent to the Dean’s office of the faculty member, and to the dean of the student’s major, if different. Documentary evidence of the breach of academic integrity must also be forwarded to the dean’s office.
  3. The Dean’s office will inform the student of her/his right of appeal, along with the forms to be completed to initiate the appeal process.
  4. The Deans’ offices will forward all actions taken by faculty regarding academic integrity violations, along with all corresponding documentary evidence, to the Office of the Academic Provost, which shall serve as a clearinghouse.
  5. Students may appeal any penalty for a breach of academic integrity enforced by a faculty member to the University Academic Conduct Committee by notifying the Dean’s office, the faculty member, and the University Academic Conduct Committee in writing within 21 days of the final action of the faculty member.
  6. The University Academic Conduct Committee shall hear student appeals of faculty actions concerning academic integrity. The decision of the University Academic Conduct Committee will be communicated to the student, to the Dean, and to the faculty member in writing via RWU e-mail. Student(s) may appeal a decision of the University Academic Conduct Committee to the Office of the Provost within 21 days of the decision. The Provost’s decision is final.
  7. Upon finding recurring or particularly egregious instances of breaches of academic integrity by a student, the Office of the Provost reserves the right to levy
    • Academic probation for one semester
    • Suspension for one semester
    • Separation (dismissal) from the Roger Williams University community.

Academic Standards

Students are responsible for knowing and complying with the academic regulations of the University. Each College and School has an Academic Standards Committee that serves as the appeal committee for students requesting exceptions to academic policy. An Academic Standards Petition may be obtained from the appropriate dean’s office or at http://www.rwu.edu/about/university-offices/registrar/frequently-used-forms. Petitions must be completed and submitted to the dean of the school or college in which the exception is housed. In cases when a deviation to an academic requirement or regulation occurs, students may submit a Request for a Program Adjustment to the appropriate dean.

Right of Appeal

In cases where an academic regulation or requirement constitutes a hardship, students may submit an Academic Standards Petition to the appropriate dean. Any appeal is subject to review by the appropriate dean and designated Academic Affairs officer, whose decision shall be final.

Appeals must be filed no later than one semester after the semester in which the course was taken, or the event that is the basis for the appeal, occurred. Unless an appeal is filed within this period, it will not be considered.

Withdrawal, Leave of Absence, Medical Leave of Absence - Changes to Student Enrollment Status

Students who wish to change their enrollment status at the University are required to adhere to the following procedures:

Withdrawal from the University

  • Students must notify the Advising and Peer Mentorship Office and complete the exit interview process.
  • Students who plan to process a withdrawal should refer to the Financial Information section of this catalog for information regarding policies governing the refund of tuition and fees.
  • Students who withdraw from the University after the last day to drop a course without a W (withdrawal) grade will be graded at the end of the semester by their professor(s).
  • The Advising and Peer Mentorship Office submits a Change of Status Form to the Registrar’s Office and notifies the appropriate offices.
  • Students who follow the procedure for withdrawal and who are in good academic standing may request their reinstatement to the university through Advising and Peer Mentorship. Students must submit their request for reinstatement 30 days prior to the start of the term for which they intend to enroll.

Non-medical Leave

The application for a non-medical leave of absence must be initiated in the Advising and Peer Mentorship Office prior to the beginning of the semester. If a leave is granted, Advising and Peer Mentorship will notify the appropriate offices.

A student on academic leave of absence may apply for a one-semester extension only prior to the start of the subsequent semester, otherwise, will be considered withdrawn from the university. Students who study away/visit out, must follow the procedure for a non-medical leave.

Medical Leave

A student may apply to the Office of Student Life for a medical leave of absence from the University for one full semester. Students are limited to one medical leave of absence during matriculation at the University. Applications are due no later than December 1 for the fall semester and May 1 for the spring semester. Students must complete a medical leave of absence form and submit a letter outlining why they are requesting the leave. The request must be supported by documentation from a physician or psychologist. The student is expected to be in treatment while they are on leave. When requesting readmission, the student should complete a request for readmissions form and submit a letter outlining how they have spent their time away preparing to return. The physician or psychologist responsible for treatment must provide a recommendation supporting readmission of the student.

When students are approved for a medical leave, they receive grades of W and are withdrawn from enrolled classes for any subsequent semester/s. Students should consult with the Office of Financial Aid to discuss financial implications and contact their academic advisor to determine the impact on their academic program. Students are also encouraged to look into the possible health insurance implications.

Requests are reviewed and the student will be notified of the decision in writing. The University reserves the right to place restrictions on a student’s leave and/or readmission.

Administrative Withdrawal

Students who are not registered for a subsequent semester within 30 days of the last day of final exams according to the Academic Calendar will be administratively withdrawn from the University.

Students who do not follow the procedure for withdrawal must follow the reinstatement process by contacting Advising and Peer Mentorship. If readmitted, they must enter under the requirements of the University Catalog for the year they re-enter unless determined otherwise by the student’s dean.

Students who leave the University on academic or nonacademic probation may be considered for reinstatement; all requests require the approval of their school/college dean.

Students who follow procedure for withdrawal and who are in good academic standing may request their reinstatement through Advising and Peer Mentorship. Students must initiate their reinstatement prior to the start of the term for which they intend to enroll.


All students seeking reinstatement from a Leave of Absence or Withdrawal, initiate this process through Advising and Peer Mentorship prior to the start of the semester they wish to enroll. The condition of the separation will determine the process a student follows.


Students, who officially withdraw from the university and wish to reinstate, are required to contact Advising and Peer Mentorship. The Dean of the School or College must approve the reinstatement prior to any action being taken. This includes course selection, registration, and housing assignments.

Administrative Withdrawal

Students who failed to follow the withdrawal process resulting in an administrative withdrawal must contact Advising and Peer Mentorship prior to the start of the start of the semester they wish to return, to initiate the reinstatement process. The Dean of the School or College must authorize the reinstatement prior to any action being taken. If students are readmitted they must enter under the requirements of the University Catalog for the year, they re-enter unless determined otherwise by the students’ dean. Students are required to contact their Dean or Academic Advisor to review their academic record and receive permission to register for classes.

Medical Leave

A student returning from an approved Medical Leave must provide a recommendation from the physician or psychologist responsible for treatment supporting readmission to the university. Students must contact the Dean of Students to initiate the process to return to the university.

Non-medical Leave

A student on a non-medical leave may apply through the Advising and Peer Mentorship Office. Students who fail to initiate a return after one semester are automatically withdrawn from the University and must contact Advising and Peer Mentorship to subsequently return to the University. All reinstatements require a school Dean’s approval prior to selecting and enrolling for a subsequent term.

University Transcripts

The University transcript is an official document reflecting a student’s cumulative academic record. An official transcript is reproduced on colored paper stock bearing the seal of the University and is issued directly to the person or institution specified by the student. All transcripts are issued in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 and may not be released to a third party without the prior written consent of the student.

A fee of $5.00 per transcript must be remitted and all outstanding debts satisfied prior to release of the transcript. Requests for transcripts should include dates of attendance or graduation, name at time of attendance and specific school, declared major, and student’s RWU ID number.

E-transcripts are issued within 24 hours; for students attending prior to 1991, paper copies are processed in five business days of receipt of request. However, during certain periods, mailing of transcripts may be delayed by an additional three or four days. To avoid delays in forwarding transcripts to colleges, graduate schools, employers, and government agencies, students are advised to request transcripts well in advance of their deadlines for application, reimbursement, or incentive pay.

Degree Application

Students who believe they are ready to receive their degree from Roger Williams University are required to complete a formal degree application. (See Academic Calendar  for specific dates). These applications are available on-line or in the Registrar’s Office. Each student is responsible for meeting all degree requirements and for ensuring that the Registrar’s Office has received all credentials. Graduate students who will have satisfied all degree requirements by the end of the Spring Semester, including Incomplete grades and have the cumulative grade-point average in the semester before graduation of 3.0 or higher, may participate in Commencement. Degrees conferred reflect the graduation date that follows the student’s successful completion of all degree requirements; degrees are conferred in December, May, and August. Students’ degrees are reflected on their diplomas.  Graduate majors are reflected on students’ academic transcripts.

Deadlines for Non-Classroom Graduation Requirements

Students must adhere to deadlines for comprehensive examinations, submission of all elements of the thesis process, and any other program requirements.

Transfer of Graduate Credit

Subject to approval by specific graduate programs, graduate students may in some instances transfer graduate credit for courses taken at other institutions into their graduate degree programs at Roger Williams University. A minimum grade of “B” is required for transfer. A student may transfer a maximum of six credits toward a master’s degree or three credits toward a graduate certificate. Under no circumstances can any student transfer more than the stated maximum number of credits without written approval from the school dean. Further, the credits must have been earned within the past three years, and must come from an accredited institution. Transferred credits are not calculated into the student’s grade point average.

Time to Complete Master’s Degree Requirements

All graduate certificate and degree program requirements must be satisfied within 60 months from the first day of the first semester of matriculation. When required, comprehensive examinations, language examinations, thesis requirements, etc. must also be successfully completed within this time frame. Degree candidates must register for all terms during which they are pursuing the degree, including terms after classroom course work is completed.

Registration for Courses

Pre-registration is held for returning, degree seeking /visiting graduate and joint admissions students in November for the Winter and Spring semesters, and in April for the Summer and Fall semesters. During the advising period, held two weeks prior to registration, a student meets with his/her advisor to review the student’s progress towards their meeting specific degree requirements.

Students may register online using the myRWU student portal or may register in person at the Registrar’s Office. Before attending any class, students must officially register and satisfy all financial obligations to the University. The University reserves the right to deny admission to class to any student who has not registered or remitted full payment of tuition and fees.

Add/Drop Procedure

Adding a Course

All graduate courses added after the first week of classes must be approved by the course instructor using the Add/Drop form. The last day to add a course is noted in the University Academic Calendar.

Dropping a Course

Courses dropped during the add/drop period are deleted from the student’s academic record. Dropping a course may, in some instances, impact financial aid awards. The last day to drop a course is noted in the University Academic Calendar.

Withdrawal from a Course

After the add/drop period has ended, graduate students may officially withdraw from a course by submitting an Add/Drop form before the date designated in the University Academic Calendar for the semester or session involved. A grade of W is recorded, and students are responsible for all tuition and fees. Credit is not assigned.

Cancellation of Courses

Courses are available each semester via the MyRWU portal. The University reserves the right to cancel sections and to change course offerings, instructors, locations, and meeting times.

Calendar Policy

Graduate programs follow the University’s Academic Calendar, which is maintained by the Office of the University Registrar.

Variable Content (Special Topics) Courses

Variable content courses rotate topics on a regular basis. Although the course number remains the same, variable content courses may be retaken provided that the topic is not repeated. A course that is re-numbered or re-titled but retains its original content is not considered a variable content course, and may not be repeated for duplicate credit.

Graduate Program Grading System

Graduate programs at Roger Williams University employ the grading system and GPA calculations as prescribed in the RWU General Catalog. Minimum passing grade in any graduate level work is B-. Individual Schools or Colleges may require a higher minimum passing grade. For details refer to relevant sections of the RWU University Catalog.

Grade Description Grade Points
A Excellent 4.00
A- Very Good 3.67
B+ Good 3.33
B Average 3.00
B- Fair 2.67
F Failure 0.00

The following designations may be applied but are not calculated in the GPA:

P Pass NS Not Submitted by Instructor
I Incomplete L Lab Participant
W Withdrawal T Transfer
AU Audit    

Culminating Projects, Examinations, and Theses

All graduate degree programs will include both graduate level course work and some sort of culminating intellectual experience. The exact nature of this culminating experience will vary from program to program, but all graduate degree programs must have such a component. The culminating work could be an exhibition, a research study, a comprehensive examination, a research thesis, or a project, depending on the needs and expectations of the graduate degree program. The end product must be evaluated by at least two graduate faculty members. Individual programs / schools may issue their own detailed regulations in addition to these general guidelines.

Incomplete Grades

An Incomplete grade (I) may be given at the discretion of the instructor. The time by which missing work must be completed is also at the discretion of the instructor; however, this time period may not extend beyond the last day of classes of the subsequent academic semester in which the incomplete was earned. If a course is not successfully completed by this deadline, the incomplete will automatically be changed to a grade of “F” (Failure).

All work must be completed prior to graduation, including resolution of any grades of incomplete. The students’ academic record is sealed on the date the degree is conferred.

Repeated Courses

A course may be repeated for credit with permission of the dean if a grade of B- or less is received on the first attempt. If a student receives a second grade of B- or less in the repeated course, the course may be repeated only once more. The grade for the repeated course is calculated in the GPA in place of the initial grade(s) provided that the course is taken at Roger Williams University and the grade in the repeated course is higher than the previous grade(s). The previous grade(s) remains on the record, but neither the previous grade(s) nor the credits are calculated.

All applicable tuition and fees are charged and must be paid for all repeated courses.

Right of Grade Appeal

A graduate student who formally appeals a course grade must do so in writing within one semester of receiving the grade. Correspondence should be addressed to the professor and a copy sent to the dean of the college or school in which the course is offered.

A change of grade may be made if the professor and dean both approve and sign a Change-of-Grade form, which is forwarded to the Registrar. If either the professor or the dean disapproves of the change of grade, the student has the right to appeal to the college or school Academic Standards Committee within two weeks of receiving written disapproval. Students may not appeal a grade subsequent to the award date of their degree.

Mid-Semester Warning Grades

Warning grades are issued to graduate students receiving a B- or below at the discretion of the course instructor. It is the student’s responsibility to meet with their academic advisor and the instructor of any course in which a warning grade is issued to discuss ways to improve the quality of their work, and seek help from all available campus resources.

Final Grades/Holds on Student Records

Holds may be placed on a student’s record for a variety of reasons, incomplete submission of required documents, outstanding balances, etc. The hold may prohibit registration, viewing of grades, obtaining transcripts or receiving a diploma, depending on the type of hold. Students may view the type of hold on their account via MyRWU student portal.

Graduate Academic Good Standing

Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher to remain in satisfactory academic standing. However, no more than 20% of credits for course work attempted that carries a grade below B will be applied toward graduation requirements.

Failure to meet the Academic Standards policy in any semester will result in academic probation.

Academic Sanctions

Academic Probation: Students who fail to meet the minimum requirements for GPA are placed on probation for one semester, fall or spring, immediately following an unsatisfactory academic performance. Probation formally warns students of the need to increase their focus on their academic programs and to take personal responsibility for addressing their deficiencies. Probationary students who do not make adequate progress in addressing their deficiencies are subject to suspension or dismissal.

Academic Suspension: Academic Suspension is noted on students’ transcripts and are for one semester, either fall or spring. During the suspension period student may not live on campus or be registered for courses. Students are automatically suspended when they fail to meet Academic Good Standing requirements after a total of three semesters. Students may also be suspended if they fail to make adequate progress in restoring their Academic Good Standing during a semester they are on probation.

Academic Dismissal: Academic Dismissal is noted on a students’ transcript and cannot be appealed. Receiving more than two grades of Incomplete or failing to complete degree requirements within the specified period constitutes grounds for dismissal from the program. Graduate students who fail to attain satisfactory academic standing within two semesters will be administratively withdrawn from the graduate program, unless an exemption is granted by the Dean of the appropriate College or School. Such an exemption may not be granted more than once for any particular graduate student. Only the Dean of the appropriate College or School can administratively withdraw an enrolled graduate student. Students will be dismissed from the University if their GPA is below 3.0 after two semesters. Deans, in consultation with faculty members, may dismiss a student without first placing a student on suspension.

Determination of Sanctions and Notification

Determination of suspensions and dismissals are made by the academic deans in consultation with their school/college faculty members. Notification of suspension or dismissal occurs shortly after the end of an academic semester by e-mail using the students’ RWU e-mail address and immediately followed by an overnight mail delivery sent from the dean of each school/college. Notifications of probation are sent shortly thereafter by standard USPS.

Appeal of Sanctions

Probation may be appealed only when students can document for their school dean that there was an error in fact or if the completion of incomplete grades restored their Academic Good Standing.

Appeals of academic suspension or dismissal are heard by the University Academic Appeals Committee at a fixed time in the months of January and June. The committee is composed of school/college deans, a faculty member selected by the Academic Standards and Policies Committee of the Faculty Senate, and two representatives from the Student Affairs Division. A chair of the University Appeals Committee is appointed by the Provost. The Center for Student Academic Success is a resource students may use for suggestions to draft their appeal.

Appeals, either in writing or in person are heard by the committee. If an appeal is granted the student may return to the University, on probation. The University Academic Appeals Committee may stipulate individual performance requirements and restrictions for the next semester as a condition of granting an appeal. All decisions of the University Academic Appeals Committee are made on the day the appeal is heard or read. All decisions are final.