Graduate Catalog 2015-16 
    Jul 17, 2024  
Graduate Catalog 2015-16 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Policies

It is important that students familiarize themselves with the various academic policies of Castleton. A thorough knowledge of these policies will help students complete their academic experience with the greatest ease.





Academic Honesty

Castleton University is a learning institution committed to the highest standards of scholarly conduct. The students, faculty, and administration make up a scholarly community whose integrity and success necessarily stem from a mutually agreed upon code of academic standards and principles that promote trust and honesty and prohibit the attempt to gain unfair academic advantage. Membership in the Castleton community means sharing responsibility for upholding and safeguarding these academic standards and principles. Any violation of academic honesty will be considered cheating and will be dealt with accordingly by the appropriate authorities.

Procedures: Castleton considers all cases of academic dishonesty serious and encourages all full- and part-time faculty to treat each case with the seriousness it deserves. The recommended course of action in those cases where academic dishonesty is suspected is listed below.

  • A faculty member suspecting academic dishonesty should discuss the alleged infraction(s) with the student(s) involved and explain the grounds for concern.
  • If after meeting with the student, the faculty member concludes that the university's academic honesty policy has been violated, the faculty member should notify the student in writing of the violation and the penalty that has been levied. Penalties for academic dishonesty levied by the instructor may range from failure on the assignment to failure for the course. (Although the faculty member has authority to issue failing grades without such notification, the establishment of a written record is the only acceptable means of determining whether a student is responsible for repeated misconduct.) In determining penalties, faculty may take into consideration whether or not a student either knowingly or unknowingly committed an infraction. University policy, however, makes no distinction about whether or not plagiarism has occurred on the basis of a student's intention.
  • Instructors will notify the Dean of Students about all academic honesty infractions. Reports of academic dishonesty should be made using the "Academic Misconduct Referral Form," which can be downloaded from the university's web site.
  • If a student feels that the instructor's allegations or penalties are erroneous, then she/he must arrange to meet with the instructor to discuss and attempt to resolve the matter prior to appealing a decision. If a student/instructor conference fails to achieve adequate resolution, any penalty levied by the instructor may be appealed in writing to the Academic Dean or his or her designee within seven days from the date of the instructor's written notice of penalty. Should the instructor fail to give written notice, the student may appeal within seven days of learning of the penalty. In all cases of appeal, the decision of the Academic Dean or designee is final.
  • The Dean of Students may, at his or her discretion, levy additional penalties up to and including dismissal from the university for serious or repeated violations. In cases where the Dean of Students concludes that an additional penalty may be necessary, the student will be notified within fifteen days of the receipt of the instructor's notice of imposition of a penalty that a further sanction is being contemplated. If the severity of the offense warrants, the Dean of Students may lodge a complaint against the student in accordance with the Due Process procedures.

Definitions of Infractions: The following list is intended to illustrate the types of behaviors that are considered academically dishonest at Castleton. It is only a partial list; other behaviors may, as well, violate the basic principles of academic honesty.

  1. Plagiarizing in any form. Plagiarism is stealing. Castleton University defines plagiarism as the act of submitting someone else's work, words, or ideas (in part or in whole) as if they were one's own, without proper attribution of credit.

Credit must be attributed to both print and online source materials, including books, periodicals, articles, video, music, and images. The Internet has become a powerful research tool, but students should note that its power also has a double effect: the Internet makes committing and detecting and proving plagiarism much easier.

Additionally, Castleton makes no distinction in the definition of plagiarism on the basis of a student's intent. Students are responsible for taking pains to familiarize themselves with the citation standards and practices in their respective disciplines and courses to avoid plagiarizing.

Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to the following:

            • using a source's exact words without putting those words in quotation marks-this is plagiarism whether or not there is a note attributing the material to a source;
            • putting a source's exact words in quotes but failing to provide an endnote, footnote, parenthetical note, or other appropriate form of citation indicating the original source;
            • paraphrasing the words of a source but failing to provide an endnote, footnote, parenthetical note, or other appropriate form of citation indicating the original source;
            • splicing together exact phrasing and/or paraphrases from multiple sources but failing to give credit for each element borrowed ("patchwork" or "mosaic" plagiarism);
            • copying and pasting information from a website without correctly citing the Internet source from which the material was taken. The Internet is not public domain;
            • providing only a list of references without properly attributing specific credit for individual quotations or ideas in the body of the text;
            • creating a paraphrase that does not substantially reword the original text-for example, leaving long phrases of the original wording, substituting synonyms for key words but not rephrasing the material, or simply rearranging the original words;
            • receiving excessive critical input from others to the extent that the final text can no longer be viewed as the work primarily of the student submitting it.
  1. Buying, copying/downloading from the Internet, or commissioning term papers, essays, or comparable documents and/or submitting the work of another (including the work of another student) as one's own.
  2. Submitting work that had previously been prepared for another course in fulfillment of the requirements of a subsequent course, except when the student has obtained the explicit prior permission of the current instructor to do so.
  3. Communicating during an examination session with the intent of supplying information to or receiving information from another student. 
  4. Receiving aid in taking examinations through such means as crib sheets or supplementary notes (unless expressly permitted by the instructor); through looking at others' examinations and/or allowing others to look at yours; or through the use of electronic devices such as cell phones, calculators, portable hard drives, PDAs, mp3 players, etc. 
  5. Soliciting, obtaining, or providing an examination or portions thereof either prior or subsequent to an examination session, except as authorized by the instructor.
  6. Substituting for another student or allowing a different individual to represent oneself in any context, including but not limited to class meetings, exams, and online discussions. 
  7. Knowingly assisting any person committing an act of academic dishonesty. 
  8. Altering, changing, or forging university academic records for either oneself or another. 
  9. Infringing the rights of other students to fair and equal access to university library materials and other academic resources. 
  10. Degrading, erasing, or in any way tampering with the computer assignments or computer files of others.
  11. Attempting to prevent other users from having access to the university's computers, computer terminals, or other resources, or degrading the performance of computer equipment.

Any student who is unsure whether a particular behavior is permissible under Castleton's academic honesty policy should consult either the instructor of the course for which the work is being done, the student's faculty advisor, or the Academic Dean.

Adding/Dropping Courses

Students may add and drop courses at the beginning of the semester by following the Registration guidelines found on the Castleton website. Since many graduate courses are not offered every semester it is imperative that students check with their advisors before making any schedule changes. Dropping courses could impact a student's ability to finish their program in a timely fashion. There will be no adjustment to the account for a student who drops a course after the drop deadline, and a grade of "W" will appear on the student's transcript. Drops may not be permitted after the 60% point in the course. Dropping courses could impact financial aid eligibility.


All matriculated graduate students are assigned faculty advisors at the time of admission to the graduate program. These assignments are made on the basis of the student's major area of study. It is the graduate student's responsibility to contact the advisor on a regular basis to assure progress toward completion of a degree.

Attendance & Participation

Attendance and participation policies are established and published by the course instructor. Castleton does not make special arrangements for individual students in contradiction to the instructor's policies.

Course Enrollment Policies

Course Prerequisites

It is the student's responsibility to ensure that he/she meets the prerequisite(s) before enrolling in any course. The instructor or department chair has the authority to waive the prerequisite(s) and must sign the Registration or ADD/DROP form.

Exemption and Substitution

A student wishing to be exempted from certain academic requirements, or to make course substitutions within an academic program, must complete an Exemption/Substitution of Curriculum Requirement Form available at the Student Services Center. Students should not presume approval for exemptions or substitutions. These are granted only in unique circumstances. Students are encouraged to seek substitution approval, from the relevant department chair, prior to taking a course for that purpose.

Graduates Enrolling in Undergraduate Courses

In order for a course to qualify for both an undergraduate and a graduate designation (e.g. HIS 3515/5515), it must clearly delineate the respective learning objectives and requirements for students at the undergraduate and graduate levels.  Graduate students must be expected to address the course material at greater depth and breadth than their undergraduate classmates, and they must engage in a substantially more advanced level of activity that reflects the work of professionals in their field.  

Undergraduates Enrolling in Graduate Courses

Taking courses for undergraduate credit
An undergraduate student who has achieved senior standing and a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or higher may enroll in graduate-level courses for undergraduate credit with the approval of the instructor, the department chair, and the academic dean. Such courses may not be subsequently accepted for graduate credit.

Taking courses for graduate credit
An undergraduate student who has achieved senior standing (90 or more credits earned) and has a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or higher may enroll in graduate-level courses for graduate credit with the approval of the instructor, the department chair, and the academic dean. Such students must pay additional tuition to cover the difference between undergraduate and graduate rates, should the graduate rate be higher, and may not enroll in a combined total of more than fifteen credits. Completion of graduate courses as an undergraduate does not guarantee admission into a graduate program at Castleton.

Graduate courses taken for graduate credit by undergraduate students will be recorded on a post-baccalaureate transcript. Should such courses meet requirements for a Castleton graduate program into which a student is subsequently admitted, these courses will be accepted toward completion of the program.


Grading Policies

In the Castleton University graduate programs, a grade of "A" indicates outstanding performance, a grade of "B" indicates good performance, and a grade of "C" indicates unsatisfactory performance. A grade of "C‐" constitutes a failure and carries a point value of zero.

A graduate student must maintain an overall average of 3.0 in all graduate courses to continue in the graduate programs at Castleton. (At the discretion of the academic dean, a student may be permitted to continue for one semester, on probation, in order to raise the GPA above 3.0.)  Students in Education and students in Music Education seeking initial licensure must achieve a grade of "B" or higher in all courses in the education program.

Grading Criteria

Grades are indicated by letters with a designated "quality point" value assigned to each as follows:

Grade Point Value
A 4.0
A- 3.7
B+ 3.3
B 3.0
B- 2.7
C+ 2.3
C 2.0
below C 0.0

The following symbols are also used on grade reports but carry no point value and are not considered in calculating the semester or the cumulative GPA:

AU - Given when a student is permitted to attend class for audit purposes only. All students auditing graduate courses must have earned a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and must register and pay tuition as well.

W - Given when a student has been permitted to withdraw from a course after the two‐week "drop/add" period has passed.

I - Incomplete applies to work of acceptable quality in a course when the full requirements have not been completed because of illness or other serious reasons. It is not assigned unless a specific agreement to do so has been reached between instructor and student prior to the end of the semester. The instructor issuing the Incomplete, in consultation with the student, shall specify the length of time, usually not exceeding the end of the seventh week of the following semester, for which the Incomplete will stand. If the instructor has not changed the grade by the deadline the grade will be converted to a non-passing grade, or a default grade assigned by the instructor. An extension of the Incomplete deadline must be approved by the Academic Dean. The grade of "I" will not be used in calculating the GPA. It is the student's responsibility to see that replacement grades are reported to the Registrar prior to the deadline date.

NP - Used to signify that a student has failed an "ungraded" course. No course credit will be given.

P - Used to signify that a student has passed an "ungraded" course. It is assigned for any work that in the letter grade system would give course credit. Academic credits are used to record the completion of academic work. Generally speaking, students are expected to attend one hour of class each week in the semester for each credit they receive, as well as to complete extensive work outside of class.

Audited Courses

Courses in which space is available may be audited by students who do not wish to receive credit. In place of the grade, transcripts will show "AU." So that those wishing to take courses for credit may be given priority, students who wish to audit courses will be permitted to register only during the add period at the beginning of the semester. To audit courses, students must indicate their intentions on their registration cards or their DROP/ADD forms by designating "AU" as the grade option. All students auditing graduate courses must have earned a Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Students are charged for audited courses at half the tuition rate that applies to courses taken for credit. Lab fees if applicable will be charged.

Grade Appeals

Course grades assigned by instructors are normally final. However, a student who believes a serious grading error has occurred has several options. A student with a complaint about a grade should first speak with the instructor and explain why the student believes an adjustment is in order. If the student is not satisfied with the instructor's response, the student may speak with the chairperson of the department that offered the course, explain his/her point of view on the matter, and ask that the chairperson intervene on the student's behalf. Any student who continues to believe that a serious grading mistake remains uncorrected after these procedures has the right to appeal to the Academic Dean. Students must make such appeals in writing and explain why they believe they earned a grade higher than the one they were awarded. They should also include any evidence they have that supports their position. Absent clear and fully substantiated evidence of error or prejudice, the Academic Dean will not overturn the decision of a faculty member in regard to the assignment of grades.

Grade Change

Where it is justifiable and necessary, the faculty may change previously assigned grades by filing a Change of Grade form at the Student Services Center. For other than incomplete grades, this form will be forwarded by the Student Services Center to an Academic Dean for approval or disapproval.

Repeating a Course for Grade Improvement

Students may repeat a course for an improved grade by registering for the course again. The grade received for the repeated course will replace the earlier grade in calculating the GPA; the old grade will remain on the permanent record with a notation. A course previously taken for pass/no pass and failed may be retaken for either pass/no pass or a grade if it is a course that may be graded. A course previously taken for a grade may be repeated for a grade only; it may not be taken pass/no pass. Students should note that if they repeat courses they have already passed, they risk losing credit for any course they fail on their second attempt. A course may not be repeated after a degree has been granted on the basis of the successful completion of the course. With the exception of courses specifically designated repeatable, credits for the course taken more than once are only counted once.

Probation and Dismissal

Graduate students whose cumulative grade point average is less than 3.0 will be placed on probation or dismissed from the university.

Probation alerts students to the fact that their academic performance to date has been substandard and informs them that continued poor performance may result in their dismissal. The Academic Dean may set other parameters regarding academic probation and extra-curricular eligibility.

At the discretion of the department overseeing a graduate assistant's employment, probation may jeopardize the assistant's continued employment and/or institutional aid. Should continued unsatisfactory performance result in a graduate assistant's dismissal for academic reasons, both the assistant's employment and institutional aid will be terminated.

Dismissal from the university for unsatisfactory academic performance may occur whenever a student fails to achieve the minimum cumulative GPA required of graduate students-and will occur when such performance is deemed chronic (i.e. continues for more than one term). A dismissed student may not enroll in any graduate courses offered by the university until after at least one semester of the regular academic year has passed. Following this required period, dismissed students may seek, but are not guaranteed, readmission. Decisions involving dismissal for unsatisfactory performance may be appealed to the academic dean.

A student may be dismissed from a particular graduate program for not meeting its academic standards, even if the student's cumulative GPA does not fall below the minimum required by the university. In such cases, the student may continue to take graduate courses on a non-matriculated basis and may apply for, but is not guaranteed, admission into a different graduate program. 

Independent Study

With the written permission of the proposed instructor, the department chair in which a student's program is housed, and the academic dean, appropriate independent studies may be substituted for course requirements that are designed for the classroom setting in either face-to-face or virtual formats. No student may substitute more than six credits of such independent study toward completion of a Castleton graduate degree. Under no circumstances may a student substitute an independent study for the residency requirement of a program that utilizes a low-residency/online curricular model.

Internships and other field experiences

50 hours = 1 credit

Matriculated Students

A matriculated graduate student is one who has been officially accepted into a graduate program at Castleton. Matriculated students have the advantages of a faculty advisor, opportunity to work directly with faculty, and a program organized to meet their needs. Students who intend to receive a degree must be matriculated and should pursue admittance (and thus matriculation) as soon as possible since only a limited number of credits can be transferred from Castleton or other colleges into a graduate degree program at Castleton. All graduate students, matriculated or non‐matriculated, are expected to comply with the policies and procedures of Castleton as identified in this publication and the Student Handbook.

Full-time and Part-time Status

A matriculated graduate student enrolled in 9-12 credits per semester has full‐time status. Students enrolled for fewer than 9 credits are considered to be studying part‐time. For information on tuition rates and fees, click here.

Program Completion

The graduate program, including all courses and exit requirements, must be completed within five years of the initial course taken as a matriculated graduate student.

The final responsibility for fulfilling the requirements for any degree granted by Castleton rests with the student. To assist students and their advisors, the Registrar's Office will prepare a degree audit for each student during the semester immediately after he/she submits an Application for Degree. Students should review their degree audits with their academic advisors and report any discrepancies to the Registrar's Office.

Application for Degree

The student must complete and submit an Application for Degree to the Registrar's Office no later than the end of the Add/Drop period in their final semester.

The final responsibility for fulfilling the requirements for any degree granted by Castleton University rests with the student. To assist students and their advisors, the Registrar's Office will prepare a degree audit during the semester immediately after the student submits an Application for Degree.


Graduate students are encouraged to join Commencement activities in May. Academic robes and hoods are required for participation.

Student Records Review & Release (FERPA)

In conformance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, Castleton University provides students the right to inspect and review their educational records and to challenge the contents of these records to ensure that such records are not inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student's privacy or other rights.

In addition, Castleton will not release personally identifiable records of students to any individual agency or organization without the prior written consent of the student, except as provided by the law. The university has a policy of disclosing educational records to Castleton and VSC officials with a legitimate educational interest without prior consent. The VSC has defined directory information as the following: name, home and university address, telephone listing, email address, date of birth, major, enrollment status (full-time or part-time), enrollment level (undergraduate of graduate), dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, weight and height of athletic team members, photographs, most recent and previous educational institutions attended, and participation in officially recognized sports and activities. Castleton will maintain this information and it will be available, at the discretion of university officials, unless the student notifies the university in writing that none of the directory information should be released. Students who wish to restrict access to directory information may do so by completing a Request to Withhold Directory Information form at the Registrar's office. Upon receipt of this form, the VSC shall release no directory information to any third party without prior student consent except as may be otherwise permitted by law.

Castleton University may forward education records to other agencies or institutions that have requested the records and in which the student seeks or intends to enroll or is already enrolled so long as the disclosure is for purposes related to the student's enrollment or transfer or to the student's dual enrollment.

A complete statement of Castleton policy regarding the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act is available from the Registrar or on-line at

Withdrawing from the University

Students are expected to be enrolled for one or more courses, or on an official leave of absence, every academic semester from the time of matriculation to the completing of degree requirements.

Leave of Absence

Any student may request a Leave of Absence prior to the start of classes for one or two consecutive semesters. In special circumstances the Leave of Absence may be extended beyond the approved period; an academic dean must approve the extension. A leave of absence does not change the five‐year program completion requirement.

To request a Leave of Absence, students should complete an interview at the Associate Academic Dean's Office in Woodruff Hall and then complete a Student Exit Information Form and Student Exit Survey. The leave is not official until the Student Exit Information Form and Student Exit Survey are received and the Academic Dean issues written approval.

A student approved for a Leave of Absence is considered no longer enrolled for federal financial aid purposes. Financial aid recipients considering taking a Leave of Absence should contact the Financial Aid Office to determine the impact of such action on their eligibility for financial aid.


A student who wishes to resign from the university is required to complete a Student Exit Information Form and Student Exit Survey in the Associate Academic Dean's Office in Woodruff Hall. No resignation is official until the Student Exit Information Form and Student Exit Survey are received and acknowledged. Resident students must also notify their Residence Director of their intention to leave the university.

Grades of "W" will be issued for course withdrawals resulting from resignations received during the first nine weeks of the semester. Resignations after the first nine weeks will normally result in the assignment of the earned grades. Students forced to resign due to circumstances beyond their control may petition the Academic Dean for an exception to this policy. Ceasing to attend classes does not constitute the dropping of classes or resignation from Castleton.

All students considering resigning must meet with Student Services Center to determine the impact on their student tuition account. Once 60% of the semester has passed, there will be no billing adjustments.

The university, with proper documentation, reserves the right to administratively withdraw a student from class and end their program. When a student's physical or mental condition requires services beyond the reasonable scope of the university's capabilities, or when a student's physical condition is deemed by the Dean of Students to present a serious threat to the welfare of the student and/or members of the university community, the student may be required to withdraw, pending resolution of his or her condition. The Dean of Students will act on the basis of reliable information obtained from appropriate professional services.