Graduate Catalog 2017-2018

Academic Information and Policies

Helene Vance, B.A., M.B.A.
University Registrar

Jason Byrd, B.S., M.B.A.
Associate Registrar for Academic Operations

Travis Hoegh
Assistant Registrar for Academic Operations

Sarah Dohme, B.S., M.Ed.
Assistant Registrar for Academic Support

Tracy Godsey, B.S.
Associate Registrar for Academic Policy

Amanda Collins, B.S.
Assistant Registrar for Academic Policy

Tom Calvert, B.S., M.A.
Associate Registrar for Academic Success

Ashley Coleman, B.S., M.Ed.
Assistant Registrar for Academic Success

Dina Johnston, B.S., M.A.
Associate Registrar for Degree Conferral

Brian Lee, B.S., M.A.
Assistant Registrar for Graduate Degree Conferral

Rebecca Saville, B.S., M.A.
Assistant Registrar for Undergraduate Degree Conferral

Lori Baker, B.S., M.A.
Associate Registrar for Student Services and Records

Jaime Velastegui, B.S., M.A.
Assistant Registrar for Student Services and Records

Joanna McGlothlin, B.S.
Assistant Registrar for Transfer Evaluations

Luke Gentala, B.S, M.A.R.
University Ombudsman


SEMESTER CREDIT SYSTEM
The University operates on the semester system. The unit for counting credit is the semester hour. A semester hour of credit consists of the equivalent of one 50-minute period of class work for 15 weeks, with an assumption of two hours of outside preparation or two 50-minute periods of laboratory work for each semester hour. Online courses are equivalent to the number of classroom contact hours (750 minutes per credit hour) expected in a synchronous residential course.

ENROLLMENT VERIFICATION
A student is enrolled when they are registered for a course and have attended the course and/or completed academic work for the course after its start date.  For enrollment verification purposes, the University policy can be viewed at https://www.liberty.edu/administration/institutionaleffectiveness/index.cfm?pid=30130#/policy/355.

SEMESTER LOAD
Master’s-level graduate students are considered to be full-time when enrolled in nine or more hours per semester. All doctoral graduate students are considered full-time with a semester load of six or more semester hours.

Graduate students must secure permission from the appropriate Associate Dean or Program Director and from the Associate Registrar for Degree Conferral to take more than 15 hours.

ONLINE STUDENT STATUS
For financial aid purposes, online student full-time/part-time status will be determined by the number of hours for which the student initially enrolled in the semester. For example, if a student enrolls for the first time in the semester in the third sub-term, the number of hours the student takes in that sub-term will determine full-time/part-time status. A part-time student who adds courses for subsequent sub-terms of the same semester will still be considered part-time for the entire semester.

GRADES, QUALITY POINTS, AND GPA
All work is graded by letters which are assigned quality points as indicated below:

Grade Meaning Quality Points Per
Semester Hour
  A    Excellent 4.00
  A-    Excellent to Good 3.67
  AU    Audit 0.00
  B+    Good to Excellent 3.33
  B    Good 3.00
  B-    Good to Average 2.67
  C+    Average to Good 2.33
  C    Average 2.00
  C-    Average to Poor 1.67
  D+    Poor to Average 1.33
  D    Poor 1.00
  D-    Very Poor 0.67
  F    Failure   .00
  FN    Failure for Non-Attendance   .00
  I    Incomplete   .00
  IP    In Progress   .00
  NF    Failure for Non-Attendance
   (for Pass/Fail courses)
 .00
  NP    Non-Pass (for Pass/Fail courses)   .00
  P    Pass   .00
  Q    Academic Amnesty   .00
  R    Course Repeated   .00
  W    Withdrew   .00

A student’s cumulative GPA comprises all Liberty University coursework completed at the current academic level (Undergraduate, Graduate or Doctoral) regardless of prior degree conferral, broken enrollment or a program/major change. To determine the grade point average (GPA), the quality points earned are divided by GPA hours completed. GPA hours are hours that are used in the calculation of the GPA. The following grades are included in GPA hours: A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, F, and FN. Grades of AU, I, IP, NF, NP, P, Q, R, and W are not included in GPA hours. A grade of B, for example, in a course bearing three semester hours of credit would be assigned nine quality points and a grade of C in that course, six quality points. Thus, if a student takes 16 semester hours of work and earns 40 quality points, his GPA is 2.50 (40 quality points divided by 16 semester hours). Only courses taken at Liberty are used in computing the GPA. Cumulative GPA is calculated to the hundredths place and is not rounded.

STUDENT CLASSIFICATION
The classification of students at Liberty is based on their degree level and number of earned semester hours.

Classification Graduate Level
Semester Hours Earned
First Year Graduate       0—29.99
Second Year Graduate 30.00—59.99
Third Year Graduate 60.00—89.99
Fourth Year Graduate 90.00+
Doctoral Pursuing a doctoral degree

ADVISORS AND COURSE SELECTION
Each resident student will be assigned a faculty advisor upon acceptance to the University. The advisors will guide students in course selection. All questions concerning academic issues should be directed to the advisors. Students are encouraged to contact their advisors for help with any school-related problems they may encounter during the academic year.

Liberty University Online will assist online students throughout their studies. Liberty University Online serves to guide students in their course selection as well as help answer questions regarding academic issues or school-related problems.

COURSE PLANNING
A course planning schedule is provided in order for students to plan their classes for upcoming semesters. The planning schedule presents every class offered and the terms where it is scheduled to be taught. This schedule is sorted alphabetically by class. You can find the course planning schedule by visiting the following site: http://www.liberty.edu/academics/registrar/index.cfm?PID=23103.

TRANSFER OF CREDIT
Only courses and degrees from institutions accredited by agencies recognized by the Department of Education will be evaluated for transfer credit (e.g., SACSCOC, TRACS, ABHE, etc.). Applicants must request official transcripts to be sent directly from the Registrar(s) of the previous school(s) to the Offices of Graduate Admissions. These transcripts must be received before an admission decision will be made. Credits transferred from other institutions are awarded grades of P for Pass, and do not impact a student’s Liberty University GPA or academic standing.

In order to receive direct credit for a course, the description must overlap the Liberty University course content at least 80%.  Courses that do not match a Liberty University course by at least 80% are eligible to transfer as elective credit where allowable.  Elective credit is coded as 5XX to 9XX, depending on the level of the course.

Course work from a degree on the same academic level previously earned through Liberty University is considered transfer credit, and is subject to the same restrictions as course work completed through other institutions.

See additional information about the evaluation of graduate transfer in the Graduate Admissions Section.

Students seeking certificates are not eligible for transfer credit.

PRIOR LEARNING ASSESSMENT (PLA) CREDIT
In order to demonstrate they have met the learning outcomes of a course, students who have already applied to Liberty University may submit a prior learning portfolio. Students are responsible for identifying the courses for which they intend to show equivalency, but they are encouraged to solicit help from an academic advisor. The portfolio review requires a nonrefundable $100 assessment fee. Students seeking credit for more than one course must submit a separate portfolio per course for which credit is requested. A maximum of 50% of experiential learning credits can be awarded and applied toward a graduate degree at Liberty University.

The Portfolio Guidelines are as follows:

  • Students must be accepted into a program at Liberty University.
  • Prepare a portfolio(s) using the guidelines established at http://www.liberty.edu/online/index.cfm?PID=15141.
  • Portfolios will be evaluated by appropriately credentialed faculty to determine if credit can be awarded for life experiences. Students are not guaranteed credit for these experiences.
  • Once the assessment is complete, the Portfolio Coordinator will send an email notice regarding the decision.
  • Portfolios may not be submitted for internships, practica, dissertations, thesis courses, or other courses that are identified as non-transferrable.
  • The hours awarded are counted as transfer hours and are not considered as hours earned at Liberty University. These credits will not be applied to a student’s GPA calculation.
  • Credit earned through this process will not be counted toward the required minimum institutional credits that must be completed through Liberty University for a graduate degree.

MILITARY EVALUATION
Liberty University will evaluate students’ prior military experience and develop a degree plan for each student to follow. Evaluations will be based solely upon the recommendations of the American Council of Education (ACE) guidebook, Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Services.

ACADEMIC AMNESTY
Students Academically Suspended or Academically Dismissed from Liberty University may appeal for readmission under Academic Amnesty per the following protocols:

  1. The student must not have been enrolled at the University for a period of  at least three academic years.  (Example:  If the student’s last enrollment was in the Spring 2012 semester, he/she would not eligible to appeal for Academic Amnesty until after the Spring 2015 semester.)
  2. The student must submit a written appeal for readmission to the Associate Registrar for Academic Success.  The appeal should include a thorough explanation of (1) the circumstances which contributed to the academic performance which resulted in the student’s Academic Suspension or Dismissal and (2) why the student’s present circumstances are more conducive to improved academic performance if permitted to resume his/her studies.
  3. Students who were Academically Dismissed because of academic dishonesty are not eligible for Academic Amnesty.
  4. The Associate Registrar for Academic Success will confer with the Director of  Graduate Student Affairs to determine whether or not there are any student-conduct-related considerations that should render the student ineligible to resume his/her studies through Liberty University.
  5. If the Director of Graduate Student Affairs determines that the student is eligible to resume his/her studies from a student-conduct perspective, the Associate Registrar for Academic Success will then present the student’s appeal for review to the Associate Dean or Program Director over the student’s degree program.
  6. If the student is determined by the Associate Dean or Program Director to be eligible for readmission, the Associate Registrar for Academic Success will submit the student’s appeal to the Vice Provost for review.
  7. If the Vice Provost approves the student’s appeal, all grades of C, D and F (including +/- grades) will be revised to Q, and will no longer be included in the calculation of the student’s cumulative GPA.  Grades of A and B (including +/- grades) will not be revised, and will continue to be included in the calculation of the student’s cumulative  GPA.
  8. Students in  degree programs requiring a cumulative GPA of 2.0 for good academic standing and graduation  will retain grades of C (and C+/-), as well.
  9. If the Vice Provost denies the student’s appeal, his decision will be final.  The student will not be permitted to resume the pursuit of any Graduate or Doctoral degree through Liberty University.
  10. Once the approved student’s grades have been revised, he/she is eligible to apply for readmission. (He/she must meet all applicable admission requirements to gain readmission.) The student will be readmitted on Academic Caution, and will be required to take and pass GRST 500 Intro to Graduate Writing in his/her first semester (unless he/she has already passed the course).
  11. If the student desires to pursue a degree program that is different than the one for which he/she was approved for academic amnesty, he/she must submit a new appeal to the Associate Registrar for Academic Success, who in turn will submit the appeal to the Associate Dean over the student’s desired program, pursuant to point #5 above.
  12. The previously assigned academic standings will not change, and will remain part of the student’s academic records for the respective semesters for which they were earned.
  13. Students who have been granted Academic Amnesty are not eligible for graduation honors.
  14. If, after the first semester of enrollment following readmission, the student’s cumulative GPA falls below the minimum cumulative GPA required for good academic standing in and graduation from the student’s degree program, the student will be Academically Dismissed, and will not be permitted to submit any further appeals for permission to continue his/her studies through Liberty University.

ONLINE COURSE REGISTRATION, ACTIVATION, AND COMPLETION DATES

Online students may register for courses online through ASIST. A student’s enrollment period (course activation) begins the first day of the  sub-term, provided the student is in good academic standing and has paid the tuition or secured financial aid approval. Students are encouraged to allow sufficient time to review their course materials before the beginning of the sub-term.  See the University calendar for sub-term dates.

The full policy statement and procedures are published in the Policy Directory online at https://www.liberty.edu/administration/institutionaleffectiveness/index.cfm?PID=30130#/policy/178.

ONLINE COURSE MATERIALS
Online students must purchase all course materials from MBS Direct. Materials for some practicums and intensives may be purchased from the University Bookstore. Students should purchase materials after registration but prior to the sub-term begin date (course activation). Liberty does not guarantee that required course materials will be available after the sub-term activation date. Tuition does not cover the cost of course materials.

CLASS ATTENDANCE
Regular attendance in online courses is expected throughout the length of the term. The U.S. Department of Education requires that every university monitor the attendance of their students.

The full policy statement and procedures are published in the Policy Directory online at https://www.liberty.edu/administration/institutionaleffectiveness/index.cfm?PID=30130#/policy/195.

LATE ASSIGNMENT POLICY FOR ONLINE COURSES – Effective Spring 2018
Course assignments, including discussion boards, exams, and other graded assignments, should be submitted on time.
If the student is unable to complete an assignment on time, he/she must contact the instructor immediately by email.
Assignments that are submitted after the due date without prior approval from the instructor will receive the following deductions:

  1. Late assignments submitted within one week after the due date will receive a 10% deduction.
  2. Assignments submitted more than one week and less than two weeks late will receive a 20% deduction.
  3. Assignments submitted two weeks late or more or after the final date of the course will not be accepted.
  4. Group projects, including group discussion board threads and/or replies, and assignments will not be accepted after the due date.

Special circumstances (e.g., death in the family, personal health issues) will be reviewed by the instructor on a case-by-case basis.


Academic Standing

Students must maintain satisfactory academic standing in order to remain at Liberty.

Academic standing is calculated only at the end of each semester (including the Summer), and is based on the student's cumulative GPA. Please refer to the end of this sub-section for a chart listing the cumulative GPA’s required for good academic standing for all current degree programs.

A student’s cumulative GPA comprises all coursework completed at the current academic level (Undergraduate, Graduate or Doctoral) regardless of prior degree conferral, broken enrollment or a program/major change.

Students failing to attain and maintain the cumulative GPA required for good academic standing in their degree program will be placed on Academic Warning.

At the end of the semester on Academic Warning, students who fail to raise their cumulative GPA to a satisfactory level will be placed on Academic Probation.

At the end of the semester on Academic Probation, students who fail to raise their cumulative GPA to the required academic level will be placed on Academic Suspension.

Resident students who desire to return to Liberty in the future must contact the Registrar’s Office in writing. The Associate Registrar for Academic Success will in turn submit the student’s appeal to the appropriate Program Director or Associate Dean for review. If the student’s appeal is approved, he/she will be given an Academic Contract, which, if followed, will enable him/her to return to good academic standing. The student must agree to abide by the terms of the Contract before being permitted to continue/resume his/her studies.

Online students who desire to return to Liberty in the future must contact the Academic Standing Consultant Team in writing at luoacademicstanding@liberty.edu. The Academic Standing Consultant Team will in turn submit the student’s appeal to the appropriate Program Director or Associate Dean for review. If the student’s appeal is approved, he/she will be given an Academic Contract, which, if followed, will enable him/her to return to good academic standing. The student must agree to abide by the terms of the Contract before being permitted to continue/resume his/her studies.

Students who are enrolled full-time (nine or more hours for Master’s-level students and six or more hours for post-Master’s and Doctoral students) and fail all courses will be Academically Suspended.

Students who fail to raise their cumulative GPA to the required academic level (see above) by the end of the subsequent semester and/or who fail to meet the terms of their Academic Contract will be Academically Dismissed and will not be allowed to return to Liberty unless qualifying for Academic Amnesty.

At the end of each semester, students on Academic Warning, Probation, Suspension, and Dismissal will be sent a notification by the Registrar’s Office.

Students on Academic Suspension or Academic Dismissal are not eligible for admission as Special (non-degree-seeking) Students.

ACADEMIC STANDING GPA CHART

2.00
All Graduate Certificates
Master of Arts in Christian Leadership Studies (MA)*
Master of Arts in Christian Ministry (MACM)
Master of Arts in Marketplace Chaplaincy Ministries (MA)*
Master of Arts in Religion (MAR)
Master of Arts in Sports Chaplaincy (MA)
Master of Arts in Theological Studies (MATS)
Master of Arts in Worship Studies (MA)
Master of Divinity (MDiv)
Master of Divinity-Chaplaincy - 72-hour (MDiv)*
Master of Divinity-Chaplaincy - 75-hour (MDiv)
Master of Divinity-Chaplaincy - 93-hour (MDiv)*
Master of Religious Education (MRE)
2.50
Master of Arts in Executive Leadership (MA)
Master of Arts in Human Services (MA)*
Master of Arts in Human Services Counseling (MA)
Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (MA)
Master of Arts in Management and Leadership (MAML)*
Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling (MA)
Master of Education - Teaching and Learning (MEd)
3.00
Accelerated Master of Divinity - 75-hour (MDiv)*
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Doctor of Education in Christian Leadership (EdD)
Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling (EdD)
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling (PhD)*
Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision (PhD)
Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education Administration (PhD)
Doctor of Philosophy in Theology and Apologetics (PhD)
Doctor of Worship Studies (DWS)
Education Specialist (EdS)
Juris Master in American Legal Studies (JM)
Juris Master in International Legal Studies (JM)
Master of Arts in Addiction Counseling (MA)
Master of Arts in Applied Psychology (MA)
Master of Arts in Biblical Studies (MABS)
Master of Arts in Christian Apologetics (MA)
Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (MA)
Master of Arts in Communication (MA)*
Master of Arts in English (MA)
Master of Arts in Ethnomusicology (MA)
Master of Arts in Global Studies (MAGS)
Master of Arts in Global Studies  - Practicum & Thesis (MAGS)*
Master of Arts in History - Thesis & Comprehensive (MA)
Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Counseling (MA)
Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy (MA)
Master of Arts in Music and Worship (MA)
Master of Arts in Music Education (MA)
Master of Arts in Philosophical Studies (MAPS)*
Master of Arts in Professional Counseling - 48-hour (MA)*
Master of Arts in Professional Counseling - 60-hour (MA)
Master of Arts in Professional Writing (MA)
Master of Arts in Promotion and Video Content (MA)
Master of Arts in Public Policy (MAPP)
Master of Arts in Strategic Communication (MA)
Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)
Master of Arts in Visual Communication Design (MA)
Master of Business Administration (MBA)
Master of Divinity in Academic/Pre-PhD (MDiv)*
Master of Education (MEd)
Master of Education in School Counseling (MEd)
Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design (MFA)
Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art (MFA)
Master of Fine Arts in Studio and Digital Arts (MFA)*
Master of Laws in International Legal Studies (LLM)
Master of Public Administration (MPA)
Master of Public Health (MPH)
Master of Science in Accounting (MS)
Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences (MS)
Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MS)
Master of Science in Cyber Security (MS)
Master of Science in Exercise Science (MS)
Master of Science in Healthcare Administration (MS)
Master of Science in Health Informatics (MSHI)
Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS)
Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT)
Master of Science in International Relations (MS)
Master of Science in Marketing (MS)
Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) / Master of Business Administration (MBA) - dual degree
Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) / Master of Science in Healthcare Administration (MS) - dual degree
Master of Science in Political Science (MS)
Master of Science in Project Management (MS)
Master of Science in Psychology (MS)
Master of Science in Social Media Management (MS)
Master of Science in Sport Management (MS)
Master of Theology (ThM)
3.25
Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)
*Degree program is no longer offered for new and re-applying students

 


COURSE SUBSTITUTIONS
Students desiring to use another course in place of a required course must complete a Request for a Course Substitution form. Course substitution forms must include a detailed rationale, explaining why the substitution is requested. Requests should be made with discretion.  They should not be used merely to enable a student to graduate on time. If the course was taken at another college, provide a course description or course syllabus with the request. Requests must be submitted prior to the students last sub-term. Forms should be submitted to coursesub@liberty.edu.  Forms will be reviewed by a Dean or Associate Dean within 2 weeks of submission. Course substitutions are not permitted for the certificate programs.

PROGRAM CHANGES
All requests to change degree programs, majors, cognates, and concentrations must be submitted in writing to the Registrar’s Office for resident students and Liberty University Online Academic Advising for online students. The student will be placed on the Degree Completion Plan (DCP) or Certificate Completion Plan (CCP) in effect for the term for which the request is processed. All requests for a change of major will be processed by the Registrar’s Office upon receipt, and will be effective the following full term of enrollment.

A student must be admitted to a degree program before he/she may matriculate in that program.

DROPPING/ADDING COURSES
Changes are discouraged after a student and advisor have arranged the student’s schedule for the semester.

Residential students desiring to take a Liberty University Online course must enroll in the course during the registration period. The course must be completed by the last day of the sub-term unless an extension is granted.

REMEMBER: Any change in status (e.g., from full-time to part-time, etc.) may cause the reduction or cancellation of your financial aid award.  In other words, your out-of-pocket expenses may increase.

Exceptions to these add/drop deadlines may be granted by the Registrar in unusual circumstances, such as extreme illness or other circumstances beyond the student’s control.

No course is considered officially added or dropped until the add/drop form is submitted to the Registrar’s Office and processed. This form requires the written approval of the instructor of the course.


DROPPING/ADDING COURSES BY ONLINE STUDENTS

Online students may drop a course for a full refund, any time prior to the sub-term start date.

The full policy statement and procedures are published in the Policy Directory online at https://www.liberty.edu/administration/institutionaleffectiveness/index.cfm?PID=30130#/policy/158.

COURSE REPEAT POLICY
Students who want to repeat a course taken at Liberty and have the first grade removed from the cumulative GPA must satisfy each of the following guidelines:

  1. All Master’s-level programs will allow the repeat policy to be applied for a maximum of nine hours of repeated course work, with the exception of Master of Divinity programs, which will allow the repeat policy to be applied for a maximum of fifteen hours of repeated course work.
  2. All post-Master’s and Doctoral programs will allow the repeat policy to be applied for a maximum of three hours of repeated course work.
  3. All Graduate Certificates will allow the repeat policy to be applied for a maximum of three hours of repeated course work.
  4. Both the original course and the repeat of the course must be taken at Liberty University in order to activate the policy.
  5. The second grade of A, B, C, D, F, NF, or FN (including +/- grades) will apply toward the cumulative GPA.
  6. The repeat policy may not be applied for the following grades: AU, I, NF, NP, P, Q, or W.
  7. When a course is repeated, the original grade will be followed on the student’s transcript by the letter “A,” which will indicate that the original grade has been excluded from the earned hours, but is still included in the GPA hours, quality points, and the computation of the cumulative GPA. The original grade will also remain on the student’s transcript as attempted hours. 
  8. The grade for the repeat of the course will be followed by the letter “I,” which will indicate that the grade for the repeat of the course will be included in the earned hours, GPA hours, quality points, and the computation of the cumulative GPA.
  9. Once the repeat policy has been applied, the letter “A” following the original grade is replaced by the letter “E,” which indicates that the original grade is excluded from the earned hours, GPA hours, quality points, and the computation of the cumulative GPA. However, the original grade will remain on the student’s transcript as attempted hours.
  10. This policy is retroactive to include any course taken at Liberty University.
  11. Use of the repeat policy for a prior semester will not affect the academic standing for that semester.
  12. The repeat policy request must be submitted prior to degree conferral for the policy to be activated.
  13. The repeat policy may not be applied in reverse, meaning that a student may not repeat a course, earn a lower grade for the repeat, and apply the repeat policy to exclude the repeat grade from the cumulative GPA.
  14. When the grade for the repeat is insufficient to be used to meet a course requirement on the student’s Degree Completion Plan (DCP), the student must repeat the course again and earn a sufficient grade.  The student may not use the original grade for the course to meet a course requirement on his/her DCP, even if the original grade is sufficient.  If the course is not specifically required, but may be used to meet an elective requirement, the student may either repeat the course again or take another course to meet the requirement.
  15. If a student has earned a degree, and goes on to pursue a second degree, any use of the repeat policy in the pursuit of the first degree will not count toward the total number of uses of the repeat policy allowed under the second degree.
  16. If a student is pursuing a degree, and changes to another degree without completing the first degree, any use of the repeat policy in pursuit of the first degree will count toward the total number of uses of the repeat policy allowed under the second degree, even if the first degree, or course work completed in the pursuit of the first degree, are in a different discipline than the second degree.
  17. Any approved exception to this policy pertaining to a specific degree program will be stated in this Catalog in the Graduation Requirements information for that degree program.

INDEPENDENT STUDY / DIRECTED RESEARCH
Students may request to complete an Independent Study or Directed Research project in a major field or related discipline. Permission for the Independent Study or Directed Research will be granted only upon approval by the Department Chair/Program Director, the Dean of the School, the Administrative Dean, and the Associate Registrar for Degree Conferral. Forms are available online at https://www.liberty.edu/ index.cfm?PID=4849 or in the Registrar’s Office.

CLASS CANCELLATION POLICY
From time to time it may be necessary to cancel a class because of insufficient enrollment or other extenuating circumstances. The decision for such a cancellation is ultimately that of the Provost of the University.

The full policy statement and procedures are published in the Policy Directory online at https://www.liberty.edu/administration/institutionaleffectiveness/index.cfm?PID=30130#/policy/153.

INCOMPLETES
Students who are unable to complete coursework by the last day of class due to unavoidable circumstances such as personal illness/injury or family emergencies may appeal to their instructor for a temporary course grade of “I” (Incomplete). The authority for the decision to grant an incomplete completely lies with the instructor. Denial of the request for an incomplete may include, but is not limited to, the student’s inability to earn a passing grade with completion of the remaining requirements, as well as an insufficient reason for the request.  Students must initiate the request for an incomplete directly to the instructor by the last day of class (before the final exam period for residential classes).

The instructor will establish a new deadline for the completion of the remaining coursework, based on the circumstances. The instructor may grant up to two weeks beyond the last day of the term (or sub-term for Liberty University Online courses) for non-medical circumstances and up to four weeks beyond the last day of the term (or sub-term for Liberty University Online courses) for personal medical circumstances.

For extreme personal medical circumstances, a maximum of eight weeks for Liberty University Online courses and 16 weeks for residential courses may be given as long as sufficient medical documentation (from a medical professional) is presented along with the request. However, while the decision to grant an extended incomplete remains with the instructor, the request and medical documentation needs to be submitted to the Registrar’s Office.  The instructor will be responsible to communicate the remaining requirements, as well as the extended deadline, to the student.

The instructor will post a final grade within two weeks from the deadline established for the incomplete.  If a final grade is not posted within two weeks of the deadline, a grade of “F” will be posted by the Registrar’s Office.  A grade of “I” can be changed to a withdrawal as long as the withdrawal is requested by the student within official course dates.

The GPA is unaffected by the incomplete until a final grade is posted after the deadline.  However, grades of “I” will count as hours attempted and not completed, and will negatively affect a student’s Satisfactory Academic Progress.


Military Incompletes
Military service members are eligible for a military incomplete, for coursework that they are unable to complete on time, due to deployments, extended cruises, unit operational tempo, or other duty-related extenuating circumstances. To obtain an incomplete, a military student must send either a current copy of official military orders (as proof of professional conflict during enrollment in the course) or a signed letter on official letterhead from the student’s commander or supervisor. Incomplete requests and supporting documents should be emailed to the professor.  Please Note: Incompletes must be secured no later than 2 weeks prior to the course end date.

Extensions may be requested from the professor and students may be granted up to 4 weeks in extreme circumstances but should typically remain in a 2-3 week timeframe to stay within compliance for grade reporting policies with the Department of Defense.  Students can request a military withdrawal only up to the original end date of the course. Once the original end date of the course has passed, students will not be able to request a withdrawal for any reason. Professors should use discernment when reviewing military documentation to avoid awarding an incomplete to a student who will not feasibly be able to complete the course.  Military students should notify their military education office of a course incomplete if they are using Tuition Assistance.

The Office of Military Affairs is available to help professors review military orders, as needed, phone: (434) 592-5990, fax: (434) 455-1287, email: lumilitary@liberty.edu.


Graduate Residential Grade Appeals

Liberty encourages students to have open and respectful communication with their professor to resolve any concerns regarding individual course assignment grades and/or the final grade for the course.  

Criteria for Appeal:
Only final posted grades may be appealed beyond the professor.  Appeals are accepted only when the grade assigned conflicts with:

  • The published grading rubrics for the course assignments
  • Written communication (e.g., email, announcements, etc.)
  • Calculation error on an assignment (resulting in a change to the final grade).

Appeals, other than those mentioned above, will not be reviewed.

The student must provide written documentation that demonstrates the occurrence of one or more of the above listed grounds for appeal.  Documentation may be in the form of e-mail correspondence, graded assignments, proof of timely submission, etc.

Appeal Process:
A student wishing to appeal a final grade must submit the appeal to his/her professor and seek to resolve the situation with them. If the student wishes to appeal further he/she must follow the process outlined below:

  1. Within 30 calendar days of the end of the term, the student may submit a written appeal to the Program Director/Chair. The student must include the information required above. The Program Director/Chair will consult with the instructor and review the student's written appeal. The Program Director/Chair will then notify the instructor and the student of his/her decision.
  1. If the student has additional support for his/her appeal, the student may submit a written appeal to the Dean/Academic Director after receiving the decision by the Program Director/Chair. This written appeal must be received within five (5) business days of the Program Director/Chair’s email. The Dean/Academic Director will review the student's appeal, as well as any information provided by faculty member. When a decision has been reached, the Dean/Academic Director will notify the Program Director/Chair, the faculty member and the student. If the student has additional support for his/her appeal, after receiving the decision by the Dean/Academic Director, the student may submit a written appeal to the Dean of Academic Administration for the Graduate School and Online Education.
  1. This written appeal must be received within 5 business days of the Dean/Academic Director’s email. The Dean of Academic Administration for the Graduate School will review the student's appeal, as well as any information provided by faculty member.  When a decision has been reached, the Dean of Academic Administration for the Graduate School will notify the Dean/Academic Director, the Program Director/Chair, the faculty member, and the student.  The Decision of the Dean of Academic Administration for the Graduate School is final.

LIBERTY UNIVERSITY ONLINE GRADE APPEALS

Liberty encourages students to have open and respectful communication with their professor to resolve any concerns regarding individual course assignment grades and/or the final grade for the course.

Criteria for appeal:

Only final posted grades may be appealed beyond the professor. Please click here to access the grade appeal form. To access the form, you will need to login using your Liberty username and password.

Appeals are accepted only when the grade assigned conflicts with:

  • The published grading rubrics for the course assignments
  • Written communication (i.e., email, announcements, etc.)
  • Calculation error on an assignment (resulting in a change to the final grade)

Appeals, other than those mentioned above, will not be reviewed. The student must provide written documentation that demonstrates the occurrence of one or more of the above grounds for appeal. Documentation may be in the form of email correspondence, graded assignments, proof of timely submission, etc. After submitting the appeal, if additional information is needed, the student will be notified via their Liberty Webmail.

Appeal process:

A student wishing to appeal a final grade should first appeal to their professor and seek to resolve the situation with them. If the student wishes to appeal further they must follow the process outlined below:

  1. Within 30 calendar days of the end of the sub-term, the student may submit a written appeal to the Online Chair, but should do so through the grade appeal form. The student must include the information required above. The Professor will also be notified of the appeal and will be able to provide pertinent documentation, prior to the Online Chair rendering their decision. The Online Chair will have 7 days to review the appeal, from the time of submission. When the review is complete, the student will be notified of the decision via their Liberty Webmail and the appeal portal.
  2. If the student has additional support for their appeal, the student may re- appeal to the Online Associate Dean through the appeal portal after receiving the decision of the Online Chair. This written appeal must be submitted within 5 business days of the Online Chair’s decision. The Online Associate Dean will review the student's appeal, as well as any information provided by the faculty member. The Online Associate Dean will have 7 days to review the appeal, from the time of submission. When the review is complete, the student will be notified of the decision via their Liberty Webmail and the appeal portal.
  3. If the student has additional support for their appeal, the student may re- appeal to the Academic Dean, through the appeal portal after receiving the decision of the Online Associate Dean. This written appeal must be submitted within 5 business days of the Online Associate Dean’s decision. The Academic Dean will review the student's appeal, as well as any information provided by the faculty member. The Academic Dean will have 7 days to review the appeal, from the time of submission. When the review is complete, the student will be notified of the decision via their Liberty Webmail and the appeal portal.The Academic Dean’s decision is final.

Withdrawal from Liberty University

REMEMBER: Any change in status (e.g., from full-time to part-time, etc.) may cause the reduction or cancellation of your financial aid award. In other words, your out-of-pocket expenses may increase.

Students withdrawing from the University during the semester must meet with a representative from the Student Advocate Office for exit counseling. As a part of this process, the student must also meet with a representative from the Financial Aid Office and the Student Accounts Office (if there is an outstanding balance on the student’s account), and will be required to submit a signed statement of withdrawal. The student’s official withdrawal date is the date they begin the withdrawal process by notifying a representative from the Student Advocate Office of his/her intent to withdraw.

Students withdrawing before the semester begins must only contact the Student Advocate Office in order to initiate the withdrawal process.

(See Expenses and Financial Policy Information: Withdrawals section). This is in effect even if the student drops classes in such a way as to go below full-time status during add/drop week.

If a student withdraws from all classes in a term, the student has officially withdrawn from the University. Financial Aid Recipients are subject to the Title IV withdrawal calculation.

Students receiving all grades of FN will be considered to have unofficially withdrawn from Liberty. The withdrawal date will be determined by the Registrar’s Office and will be based upon the student’s last date of attendance in class. Students with Federal grants and/or Federal loans will be subject to the Title IV withdrawal calculation. The Title IV withdrawal calculation will result in the reduction and/or cancellation of all Financial Aid. Consideration will be given to students withdrawing due to circumstances beyond their control.

An expulsion resulting from violation of the disciplinary system will result in an administrative withdrawal. A grade of W will be recorded in all courses for which the individual is officially registered.

A $50 fee will be charged for the processing of an official, unofficial, or administrative withdrawal. This fee will be deducted from any refund due on the student’s account or he/she will be responsible for payment of this fee.

Anyone who withdraws from the University is considered to be breaking enrollment. Students who break enrollment must apply for readmission and will be subject to the requirements of the catalog and degree requirements in effect at the time of his or her readmission.


Liberty University Online Withdrawal

Online students withdrawing from the University must contact the Liberty University Online Academic Advising Department via the student’s Liberty University email account or via the phone to start the process. 

The full policy statement and procedures are published in the Policy Directory online at https://www.liberty.edu/administration/institutionaleffectiveness/index.cfm?PID=30130#/policy/172.

ONLINE PROGRAM UNOFFICIAL WITHDRAWALS
In accordance with Title IV regulations which require that universities have a mechanism in place for determining whether or not a student who began a course and received or could have received a disbursement of Title IV funds unofficially withdrew, the University has established a procedure for students enrolled in online courses. This procedure is used to determine if students are progressing toward the completion of their courses.

The full policy statement and procedures are published in the Policy Directory online at https://www.liberty.edu/administration/institutionaleffectiveness/index.cfm?PID=30130#/policy/184

Unofficial Withdrawal for Non-Attendance Appeal Process:
Students who receive a grade of "FN" may appeal to their professor to have the grade removed to resume work in the course. All professors have the right to approve or deny FN appeals at their own discretion.

The full policy statement and procedures are published in the Policy Directory online at https://www.liberty.edu/administration/institutionaleffectiveness/index.cfm?PID=30130#/policy/173.

INSTITUTIONAL CHALLENGE EXAMINATIONS (ICE)
To apply for credit by examination, Liberty University Online students must submit a request through the ICE Apex Form to the ICE Coordinator. A non-refundable registration fee of $50 will be charged for each ICE attempted. A $45 passing fee will only be applied if a student should pass the exam. Such requests are subject to the following guidelines:

  1. Requests must be submitted through the ICE Coordinator (luoice@liberty.edu) using the ICE Request Form located at http://www.luonline.com/index.cfm?pid=14243.
  2. The minimum passing score for graduate Institutional Challenge Exams is 84%.
  3. A passed ICE is awarded a grade of “P” (passing) and does not count toward the student’s grade point average.
  4. The majority of the course work for any program of study must be earned through Liberty University. Each program specifies the minimum number of hours which must be completed through Liberty. ICE credit hours do not count toward this minimum.
  5. The use of notes, books, websites, and other materials is prohibited while taking the exam.
  6. Exams may only be taken one time and within one month of the student being notified of approval to take the exam.
  7. Students may not take the ICE if the course has previously been taken or is currently being taken.
  8. ICE may be taken during the drop/add period.
  9. ICE credits may not be applied toward residency hours.
  10. Students are permitted to take only two ICE at a time.
  11. Only the following courses may be challenged:
  • CHHI 520-History of Christianity I
  • CHHI 525-History of Christianity II
  • NBST 515-New Testament Orientation I
  • NBST 520-New Testament Orientation II
  • NGRK 505- Greek Language Tools
  • NGRK 520-Beginning Greek I
  • NGRK 525-Beginning Greek II
  • OBST 515-Old Testament Orientation I
  • OBST 520-Old Testament Orientation II
  • OTCL 505-Hebrew Language Tools
  • OTCL 520-Beginning Hebrew
  • OTCL 620-Hebrew Syntax
  • THEO 525-Systematic Theology I
  • THEO 530-Systematic Theology II

*Must be taken in prerequisite order


 Office of Graduate and Online Student Affairs

Liberty University Code of Honor for Graduate and Online Students

ACADEMIC AND PERSONAL CODE OF HONOR
Liberty University comprises a network of students, Alumni, faculty, staff and supporters that together form a Christian community based upon the truth of the Bible. This truth defines our foundational principles, from our Doctrinal Statement to the Code of Honor. These principles irrevocably align Liberty University’s operational procedures with the long tradition of university culture, which remains distinctively Christian, designed to preserve and advance truth. Our desire is to create a safe, comfortable environment within our community of learning, and we extend our academic and spiritual resources to all of our students with the goal of fostering academic maturity, spiritual growth and character development.

Communities are predicated on shared values and goals. The Code of Honor, an expression of the values from which our Doctrinal Statement was born, defines the fundamental principles by which our community exists. At the core of this code lie two essential concepts: a belief in the significance of all individuals, and a reliance on the existence of objective truth.

While we acknowledge that some may disagree with various elements of the Code of Honor, we maintain the expectation that our students will commit to respect and uphold the Code while enrolled at Liberty University. Adherence to the principles and concepts established within facilitates the success of our students and strengthens the Liberty community.

The Code of Honor can be viewed in its entirety at http://www.liberty.edu/index.cfm?PID=19155.

THESES AND DISSERTATIONS
Some graduate degrees require a thesis, thesis project, or dissertation for graduation. Graduate thesis and dissertation requirements will not be considered complete until receipt of an acceptable copy of the approved thesis or dissertation is confirmed by the Jerry Falwell Library in accordance with current library deposit policies.

CERTIFICATE COMPLETION PLANS
Certificate completion plans outlining the program of study and other requirements for each graduate certificate program are available online at http://www.liberty.edu/dcps.

DEGREE COMPLETION PLANS
Degree completion plans outlining the program of study and other requirements for each graduate program are available online at http://www.liberty.edu/dcps.

TIME LIMITS FOR CERTIFICATE COMPLETION 
Students pursuing a certificate must complete the certificate requirements within three (3) years of the date of matriculation.

Any student who does not complete coursework within the permissible time limit for any reason, including discontinued enrollment, must reapply for readmission and will be subject to the requirements of the Catalog and Certificate Completion Plan (CCP) in effect at the time of his/her readmission.

A break in enrollment occurs when the student fails to enroll in at least one course during an academic year.  The academic year begins with the start of the fall semester and ends with the conclusion of the summer term.  Students who break enrollment must apply for readmission and will be subject to the requirements of the Catalog and certificate requirements in effect at the time of their readmission.

TIME LIMITS FOR DEGREE COMPLETION
All 30-47 semester hour master’s programs have a maximum time limit of five years from the date of matriculation. All 48-60 semester hour master’s programs, doctoral programs, or degrees offered outside the regular semester have a maximum time limit of seven years from the date of matriculation. All over-60 semester hour master’s programs and doctoral programs have a maximum time limit of ten years from the date of matriculation.

Any approved exceptions to the policies noted above, pertaining to a specific degree program, will be stated in this Catalog in the Graduation Requirements information for that degree program.

Any student who does not complete coursework within the permissible time limit for any reason – including discontinued enrollment – must reapply for admission. The respective program director will determine if any previous courses are sufficiently time sensitive and must be repeated. Beginning with the date of readmission, the time limit for degree completion is determined by the number of hours remaining: less than 48 hours – five years; 48-60 hours –seven years; more than 60 hours – ten years.

For resident students, a break in enrollment occurs when the student fails to enroll in either the Fall or Spring semesters.  For online students, a break in enrollment occurs when the student fails to enroll in at least one course during an academic year.  The academic year begins with the start of the fall semester and ends with the conclusion of the summer term.  Students who break enrollment must apply for readmission and will be subject to the requirements of the Catalog and degree requirements in effect at the time of their readmission.

WORK IN RESIDENCE
Online student candidates for the Master of Arts in Counseling and Master of Education degrees must complete nine hours on campus. Candidates for the Doctor of Education degree must complete 12 hours on campus.  Students may satisfy this requirement by attending modular courses or attending other regularly scheduled classes at Liberty University. Modular courses are one-or-more-week intensive sessions scheduled during summer and other selected times during the year. Students requesting exemptions must do so by presenting their reasons (with documentation) to the appropriate Liberty University Online Faculty Coordinator.

GRADING POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
Liberty University Faculty members, both residential and online, must submit final grades for all students to the Registrar at the end of each term.  Faculty teaching online courses should have grades submitted to the Registrar on or before the second Wednesday after the course ends.  Faculty teaching residential courses should have grades submitted to the Registrar one week after the end of each semester.  Liberty University Faculty members, both residential and online, are urged to promptly complete and submit final course grades.  Confidentiality of student grades falls under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974.  Please see the FERPA section and policies for more information.

Grading Scales:
Liberty University incorporates a standardized 1,000 point system across all undergraduate and graduate programs. The undergraduate utilizes a 100 point scale to differentiate between letter grades, while the graduate programs utilize three distinct scales: 80, 70 and 60 point scales to differentiate between letter grades. Each academic department determines the scale used within the department. The grading scale for each course will be posted within the syllabus for each course. Students are encouraged to review the syllabus for each course individually to verify the grade scale.

RECORDING OF GRADES
All grades will be recorded in the Registrar’s Office as reported by the instructors in charge of the various courses.  Requests for grade changes may be submitted in writing only by the instructors.

Any extra-credit assignments that are a part of the instructor’s syllabus must be completed prior to the final exam for the course. A student may not submit an assignment for extra credit after the semester has ended and a final exam has been given.

ACADEMIC TRANSCRIPTS
Official transcripts are made only at the written, signed request of the student concerned. No transcript will be issued for anyone who has failed to meet all financial obligations to the University. Official transcripts are not released directly to the student. Requests for transcripts are to be made directly to the Registrar’s Office. There is a $10.00 fee for one transcript. Additional transcript requests made at the same time are $1.00 each.

GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS
The following general guidelines for graduation apply to each candidate for a graduate degree. Any additional requirements are specified in the section which describes a particular program.

  1. Post-baccalaureate, graduate, or professional programs must be at least 30 semester credit hours.
  2. The complete program of study for the degree, as outlined in the catalog in effect when the student is accepted as a degree candidate, must be successfully completed before graduation.
  3. The student must have a cumulative GPA of 3.00 unless otherwise stated.
  4. The cumulative GPA will be used (a) to determine eligibility for (1) conferral and (2) graduation honors and (b) as the “Degree Awarded GPA” that will be posted on the student’s transcript.  The cumulative GPA comprises all Liberty University coursework completed at the academic level of the degree being awarded (Graduate or Doctoral) regardless of prior degree conferral or certificate completion, broken enrollment, or a program/major change.
  5. At least one-third of the course work for any program of study must be earned through Liberty University. The minimum number of hours which must be completed through Liberty for each degree program is noted in this Catalog in the Graduation Requirements section for that program.
  6. Students in post-graduate programs are permitted to use up to 15 hours of 500/600-level courses if permitted by their Degree Completion Plan.
  7. The student must submit a Graduation Application to the Registrar’s Office at the beginning of his/her final semester.
  8. The Registrar’s Office will process the conferral of a degree once all degree requirements have been met, including the minimum GPA requirement and graduation application. If a student wishes to take further non-applicable coursework, he/she must do so under a new application.

CERTIFICATE COMPLETION REQUIREMENTS

  1. The complete program of study for the certificate, as outlined in the catalog in effect when the student is accepted to the certificate, must be successfully completed.
  2. The student must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.00.
  3. The cumulative GPA will be used (a) to determine eligibility for conferral and (b) as the “Certificate GPA” that will be posted on the student’s transcript.  The cumulative GPA comprises all Liberty University coursework completed at the Graduate academic level, regardless of prior degree conferral or certificate completion, broken enrollment, or a program/major change.
  4. No grade of D may be applied to the certificate (includes grades of D+/D-).
  5. All course work for the certificate must be completed through Liberty University.
  6. The student must submit a Certificate Completion Application to the Registrar’s Office at the beginning of his/her final semester.
  7. The Registrar's Office will process the conferral of a certificate once all certificate requirements have been met including the minimum GPA requirement and certificate completion application. If a student wishes to take further non-applicable coursework, they must do so under a new application.

GRADUATION APPROVAL
All candidates for graduation must be approved by the faculty and the Board of Trustees. Conditions such as transfer credit and incomplete grades should be removed by the beginning of the candidate’s last semester.

GRADUATION HONORS
Honors graduation is available for all graduate, post-graduate, and doctoral programs. Certificate students do not receive graduation honors.

Honors for graduation will be determined by the cumulative GPA earned at Liberty. Note: The cumulative GPA comprises all Liberty University coursework completed at the academic level of the degree being awarded (Graduate or Doctoral) regardless of prior degree conferral, broken enrollment or a program/major change. Cumulative GPA is calculated to the hundredths place and is not rounded. Students must meet the following GPA standards to earn the corresponding academic distinction:

GPA Distinction
3.90—3.94 Graduate with distinction
3.95—4.00 Graduate with high distinction

The specific honor calculated on April 1 of the student’s graduation year will be printed in the commencement program and the student will wear that particular honor regalia; however, the final cumulative grade point average will be recorded and that final cumulative GPA will determine the specific honor that will be printed on the diploma and transcript.

COMMENCEMENT CEREMONY
Degrees are granted in September, January, and May of each year. All candidates for degrees may participate in the annual graduation exercises which take place in May.



Highlighted text indicates a change from the official version of the catalog.