Academic Degrees and Certificates
Bridgewater State University (BSU) offers graduate degree programs designed to advance the education of those students who already hold a bachelor’s degree. These programs include:
- Master of Arts (MA)
- Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)
- Master of Business Administration (MBA)
- Master of Education (MEd)
- Master of Public Administration (MPA)
- Master of Science (MS)
- Master of Science in Accountancy (MSA)
- Master of Social Work (MSW)
- Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS)/Education Specialist
BSU also offers several postbaccalaureate and post-master’s licensure programs as well as graduate certificate programs designed to provide students who already hold a bachelor’s degree with advanced skills in a particular subject. Some graduate certificates are also pathways into graduate degree programs. Additional information about all programs may be found at https://www.bridgew.edu/majors-and-minors/graduate.
Academic Programs and DGCE Chairs
All graduate programs are managed within their respective academic departments by a faculty member who also serves as a program coordinator. This faculty member is identified as a Division of Graduate and Continuing Education (DGCE) Chair and is the student’s first point of contact for questions about their program as well as the policies and procedures noted within this catalog.
Statute of Limitations
All graduate program requirements, including all exit requirements, must be completed within six years of the date of the student’s first course in the program.
If graduate students cannot complete degree requirements within the six-year limit because of extraordinary circumstances, they must submit a Petition to Accept Courses Beyond the Statute of Limitations form. This form may be accessed through the student portal and found on the Printable Forms page of the Office of Graduate Student Services Website.
In most graduate programs, graduate students must complete an exit requirement that reflects the full range of knowledge and skills involved in their programs. The exit requirement is based upon the student’s major area of study, as well as related areas, and may include knowledge learned while completing research. Students must give evidence that they can integrate information and ideas from the various areas in which they have studied.
Some programs provide options for their exit requirements, such as the successful completion of a comprehensive examination, thesis, project (research, capstone, or culminating), portfolio, or discipline specific national examination.
Students who choose to take a comprehensive examination, have a portfolio evaluation, or are required to defend their thesis, research or special project must confer with their advisor and academic department for eligibility requirements (e.g., GPA or academic standing level) and other relevant information prior to submitting an Exit Requirement Request Form. This form may be accessed through the student portal and found on the Printable Forms page of the Office of Graduate Student Services website. There is a nonrefundable fee of $60 for Master’s degree candidates and $75 for CAGS/EdS candidates which is charged to the student’s BSU account.
The completed form with necessary signatures must be filed in the Office of Graduate Student Services in the College of Graduate Studies (Maxwell Library 021) on or before the appropriate application deadlines:
- October 1 For a fall semester defense or examination
- February 1 For a spring semester defense or examination
All students who complete a defense or examination will receive unofficial notification of their results from their program’s DGCE Chair and will receive a copy of their official results from the College of Graduate Studies by mail in a timely fashion.
NOTE: Students who wish to take a national examination should discuss the external application requirements and departmental processes with their graduate advisor.
Students who do not successfully pass their first choice of their program’s exit requirement should meet immediately with their faculty advisor or designated personnel to review the outcomes of their experience. Prescribed programs of study may be designed to help students prepare for their second defense, evaluation, or examination. After students have made substantial progress in the additional work prescribed by the department, students will be allowed a second and final opportunity to successfully pass their program’s exit requirement. Students who do not successfully pass a second exit requirement option are subject to academic dismissal.
For further information about graduate program exit requirements, please refer to specific graduate program information presented in this catalog as well as the general descriptive information below.
The comprehensive examination is based upon the student’s major area of study, as well as related areas, and may include knowledge learned while completing research or a thesis. Students must give evidence that they can integrate information and ideas from the various areas in which they have studied. The comprehensive examination may be written, oral, and/or Web-based and given on a date determined by the student’s academic department.
Students must have a minimum 3.0 GPA or satisfactory academic standing or progress to sit for the examination. They should also confer with their advisor for other possible eligibility requirements.
A graduate program may provide students with the option to take a national examination which provides an objective measure of students’ knowledge and abilities in various curricular areas (e.g., Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination, the Board of Certification National Examination for Athletic Trainers). Like the comprehensive exam, it requires students to integrate information and ideas from the various areas in which they have studied. Students interested in this option should discuss it further with their graduate advisor.
In some programs, students have the exit requirement option to prepare a capstone portfolio of completed work to show what they have learned over the course of their graduate education. Each exit portfolio is examined by graduate faculty. Students interested in this option should discuss it further with their graduate advisor early in their graduate program in order to design a compilation plan for their portfolio.
Research or Special Project
A graduate program may provide students with the option to complete a research or special project paper which demonstrates mastery of the basic competencies necessary to function as a professional in their discipline. These projects will utilize the core areas of their discipline, meet the established standards where appropriate, and have the potential of making a positive contribution to the discipline. Students may be required to successfully present their final research or special project paper in a formal project defense meeting. Students interested in this option should discuss it further with their graduate advisor early in their graduate program in order to design a research or special project proposal with the needed resources.
A thesis allows a graduate student, working closely with their thesis committee, to spend substantial academic time researching a narrowly focused topic in depth and producing an original text of publishable quality. The completion of a thesis as an exit requirement is strongly recommended if students have future doctoral plans.
Students are encouraged to discuss this exit requirement option with their faculty advisor to see if their department has specific thesis guidelines. Students interested in this option should discuss it further with their graduate advisor early in their graduate program in order to design a thesis proposal with the needed resources.
All students who wish to complete a thesis should refer to the College of Graduate Studies Master’s Thesis Handbook and Writer’s Guidelines website for further information.
Institutions of higher education are dedicated to the pursuit of truth. In this pursuit, academic honesty is of fundamental importance. Bridgewater State University faculty, students, administrators and staff all have a responsibility to demonstrate and safeguard academic integrity as one of the university’s most essential institutional values.
When students, faculty, administrators and staff follow and support academic integrity values, teaching and learning can proceed in an environment of trust and respect. When such standards are violated, teaching and learning are impaired. Therefore, the best interests of the university community require that cases of alleged violations of academic integrity be addressed seriously and equitably.
Students are admitted to Bridgewater State University with the expectation that they will accept and abide by the standards of conduct and scholarship established by the faculty, administration and student governing boards. The university reserves the right to require students to withdraw who do not maintain acceptable academic standing. The university also reserves the right to dismiss, with due process, students who do not meet the requirements of conduct and order, or whose behavior is inconsistent with the standards of the university.
The full policy and process may be found at Academic Integrity Policy .
Because all students and faculty at Bridgewater State University are entitled to a positive and constructive teaching and learning environment, Bridgewater State University students are prohibited from engaging in behavior or activity that causes the disruption of teaching, learning, research or other academic activities necessary for the fulfillment of the university mission.
If disruptive behavior occurs, whether in the classroom or another academic environment, a faculty member has the right to remove the student from the classroom setting. Examples of potentially disruptive behavior may include, but are not limited to, using derogatory, vulgar and insulting language directed at an individual or group, unsolicited talking in class, sleeping in class, using or activating mobile technology, arriving at or leaving the classroom while class is in session, and/or failing to comply with the legitimate request of a university faculty member.
If a student exhibits disruptive behavior, the faculty member may ask the student to stop the behavior. If the student does not comply with the professor’s request, they will be asked to leave and the professor will indicate the expected appropriate conduct to be able to return to class. If the student agrees to the faculty member’s instructions and returns to class but subsequently continues to engage in disruptive behavior during future class sessions, the faculty member will forward written documentation of the student’s behavior to the respective department chairperson, who will meet with the student to review the matter and determine an appropriate course of action. While the courses of action will vary, they may include referral to advising or counseling, reduction in grade, or withdrawal from the course.
If the student does not comply with the course of action and continues to engage in disruptive behavior, the student may be withdrawn from the course after a review conducted by the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies. This action may have implications for the student’s full-time status, financial aid, health insurance and resident status.
Students who exhibit behavior that immediately endangers or seriously disrupts the establishment or maintenance of an appropriate learning environment in the classroom are subject to an immediate review by the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies. If, at any time, faculty or students feel threatened, they should call Campus Police from a classroom phone at extension 1212 or from their cell phone at 508.531.1212.
In all cases involving an individual with a disability, including mental disabilities, this policy will operate to make determinations based upon an individual’s behavior rather than upon the individual’s status of having a disability. Students have a personal obligation to obtain medical care for conditions that may affect their conduct, and to take any related medications as prescribed by their physicians. Under applicable disability laws, students with disabilities are responsible for their disruptive conduct.
The Vice President for Academic Affairs will act as the sole and final appeal for any decisions made by the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.
The student may also be subject to disciplinary action under the Student Code of Conduct.
Make-up Tests and Examinations
The procedure for making up an examination held during the semester is determined by the individual instructor or the department. If a student misses an examination, it is the student’s responsibility to notify the instructor immediately so that alternative arrangements may be made.
The privilege of making up a final examination will be granted only when the cause has been the serious illness of the student or a member of their immediate family. All such excuses must be documented by a medical doctor and submitted to the instructor of the course.
The minimum standard for satisfactory work is a 3.0 overall grade point average (GPA). Graduate students must make satisfactory progress toward completion of their degree and certificate programs within the university’s statute of limitations. All graduate program requirements, including all exit requirements must be completed within six years of the date of the student’s first course in the program.
Students who are not making such progress are subject to separation from their program(s). Students should be aware that eligibility for some sources of financial aid, graduate assistantships, graduate fellowships, and/or health insurance may be affected.
Any graduate student whose overall grade point average (GPA) falls below 3.0 will be notified by letter from the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies that they are on academic probation with copies to their advisor and DGCE Chair. This letter informs students that they should be mindful that their GPA has fallen below a 3.0 and that they should discuss the matter and possible strategies for improvement with their advisor.
If a student’s overall GPA remains below a 3.0 for two consecutive semesters, then their continued place in the program is in jeopardy. Their academic record will be reviewed by the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and the DGCE Chair. Together, they will make the decision whether to have the student remain on probation or be academically dismissed. Dismissed students who wish to take courses in the future must reapply to the College of Graduate Studies. All instructions and forms may be found at https://www.bridgew.edu/admissions/graduate/apply.
Admission following Academic Dismissal
Academically dismissed graduate students may not register for BSU graduate courses in the semester following dismissal.
Dismissed students have the option to apply for admission into another graduate program. If a student is accepted into a new program, the grades and credits earned in the previous degree program from which the student was dismissed will be included in the calculation of the grade point average and in the determination of academic standing in the new program. Therefore, the student’s transcript will include all graduate-level courses completed at BSU, regardless of the current program of study.
GPA Reset Policy
Readmitted graduate students may request to have an overall graduate grade point average (GPA) reset which would allow them to begin a different graduate degree, certificate or licensure program with a “fresh start”. This request would have all prior graduate courses excluded in GPA calculations in their new program.
GPA reset requests are not automatically approved, as a petition to reset the GPA is, by definition, a request for an exception to the rule that all graduate courses are considered in computing a student’s overall graduate GPA which determines academic standing and graduation eligibility.
GPA reset requests may be implemented only once during a student’s graduate academic career and is not available for degrees or certificates already earned. The graduate student who requests a GPA reset must meet the following criteria:
- They must have been inactive – i.e. not enrolled or attended courses, officially withdrawn or dismissed from a BSU graduate program – for a period of 12 consecutive months or more.
- Their previous graduate GPA is below the minimum required to earn a graduate degree (i.e., below a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale).
- Must be a different graduate program.
To request a GPA reset, the student should complete the Graduate GPA Reset Request Form which is available only in the Office of Graduate Student Services. This form will allow the student to outline the reason(s) why the GPA should be reset. In cases involving discontinuation, dismissal or lack of enrollment, the request should address all pertinent information involving the student’s situation during the time in the first degree, certificate or licensure program, obstacles to the student’s success in that program, and resolutions or behaviors to ensure success in their new program
These reasons may involve, but not be limited to, life-impacting events that prevented successful pursuit of the original graduate program. For medical or personal life-impacting events, supporting documentation should also be provided. This documentation may include but is not limited to: official documentation from an attending health care provider, counselor, licensed practitioner, attorney, law enforcement agent, court official or other appropriate source (e.g. mortuary, obituary, etc.).
This form, with any supporting documentation, should be submitted to the Office of Graduate Student Services for the dean’s review and decision. The dean will evaluate the request and consult with other appropriate university personnel as needed.
If the request is granted, the Dean will contact the Registrar’s Office approving the GPA reset. The Registrar’s Office will annotate the student’s permanent academic record to indicate that excluded courses, even if they have satisfactory grades, will not be part of calculating the overall graduate GPA in the new program. Excluded courses cannot satisfy new graduate program requirements or be considered for graduation eligibility. However, all course work and grades will remain on the record, ensuring a true and accurate academic history. Once the annotation is completed, the Office of Graduate Student Services will notify the student in writing of the GPA reset.
Graduate students who are pursuing a degree, licensure or certificate are assigned to an advisor in the student’s area of study. Students should work closely with their advisor in selecting courses and reviewing program requirements. Students’ academic and professional backgrounds and objectives are to be considered and discussed during the planning and development of a program of graduate study.
All non-degree students should consult with department’s DGCE Chair for course advisement.
Students seeking to change their advisor must complete the Change of Advisor Request form. This form may be accessed through the student portal and found on the Printable Forms page of the Office of Graduate Student Services Website.
Graduate students who experience problems in meeting standards in graduate policies, including academic dismissal, performance or other academic issues, may petition to have the matter considered first through the established appeal processes of their academic program and/or department. This process does not apply to cases of academic dishonesty; students should refer to the Academic Integrity Policy for additional information.
If a student feels that an issue is not satisfactorily resolved within their program or department, the student may initiate a formal appeal to the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies if there is a valid basis and substantial evidence. The responsibility for developing and presenting the case for the appeal rests with the student. The appeal should include all pertinent facts including but not limited to: a statement of the grounds for the appeal; the desired outcome from the appeal; summary and documentation of the appeal; name(s) of the faculty and/or administrator(s) involved in the appeal as well as their responses and decisions; and supporting documentation.
- The student must submit a formal appeal in writing to the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies within 30 calendar days of the occurrence that caused the appeal. Appeals made outside of this time period will not be considered by any university body.
- The dean will render a decision within 10 calendar days of receipt of the appeal and notify the student and appropriate parties in writing with rationale for the decision included in the notification.
- If dissatisfied, the student may submit an appeal within seven calendar days to the Graduate Education Council (GEC) via a written request to the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies. (The GEC consists of representatives from the university’s graduate faculty, administrators and graduate student body.)
- The appeal must include all documentation and communication related to the appeal and will be reviewed by the GEC at the next regularly scheduled meeting during the fall and spring semesters. The GEC does not meet over the summer.
- The student may attend the committee meeting with an advisor or a faculty representative (and who is not a relative) during the discussion of the appeal to serve in an advisory role. Invited persons may not participate in the discussion. A final decision shall be rendered within seven calendar days of the meeting and notification to the student and appropriate parties will be sent in writing by the chairperson of the GEC with the rationale for the decision included in the notification. This decision is not subject to further appeal.
All appeal documentation will be kept on file as part of the student’s record in accordance with the Commonwealth records retention policy unless the matter resulted in dismissal. In such instances, the records will be kept permanently.
One of the cornerstones of BSU’s educational mission is the promotion of student engagement with faculty to improve the quality, depth and breadth of learning. Regular communication between students and faculty is crucial to achieving that goal.
Students are responsible for satisfactory attendance in each course for which they are registered. Satisfactory attendance shall be determined by the instructor within the context of this policy statement. The approval of excused absences and the assignment of make-up work are the prerogative of the course instructor. The university’s health service does not make judgments about whether a student can attend class except in rare cases when attendance would be harmful to the student’s health or the health of others. In general, students will be excused without penalty for reasons such as illness, participation in official university events, personal emergencies, and religious holidays. Students should consult with faculty members in advance of any absence whenever feasible.
NOTE: If a student fails to attend the first three class hours of a course, the instructor has the option of dropping the student from the course.
Attendance and Census Process
Additionally, per federal government guidelines (34 CFR 668.22), the university tracks and reports students who have stopped attending class and who have not officially withdrawn. In so doing, the last date of attendance or participation, as reported by the instructor, will be used as the course withdrawal date, and a symbol of “WA” (withdrawn due to lack of attendance) will be applied to a student’s record.
Students are notified in writing of this change in their registration status and have an opportunity to correct it, if it is an error, or to officially withdraw from the class. It is important to note that the “WA” status can be changed to a letter grade, including “F”, by the instructor. To ensure an official withdrawal (“W”) status, students must formally withdraw from the course or the university in accordance with university policy as noted elsewhere in this catalog.
Students are expected to take responsibility and officially withdraw from any course which they do not plan to complete. Refunds are determined by the length of the course and the date of withdrawal. Students should meet with a representative from the Students Accounts office to determine if any refund is available.
Class or Work Absence for Religious Observances
Bridgewater State University requires that faculty and staff excuse any student who is unable to attend classes or participate in any examination, study or work requirement because of religious observance. This requirement comes from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts General Law Chapter 151C, Section 2B which states:
“Any student in an educational or vocational training institution, other than a religious or denominational educational or vocational training institution, who is unable, because of his religious beliefs, to attend classes or to participate in any examination, study or work requirement on a particular day shall be excused from any such examination or study or work requirement, and shall be provided with an opportunity to make up such examination, study, or work requirement which they may have missed because of such absence on any particular day; provided, however, that such makeup examination or work shall not create an unreasonable burden upon such school. No fees of any kind shall be charged by the institution for making available to the said student such opportunity. No adverse or prejudicial effects shall result to any student because of his availing himself of the provisions of this section.”
Faculty can ascertain the dates of many religious holidays by consulting an interfaith calendar when planning their course syllabi. Such information is available to students as well and may be found at www.interfaith-calendar.org or at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Office of Religious and Spiritual Life Interfaith Calendar website.
It should be noted that these calendars are not exhaustive.
Students are required to notify instructors in advance that they will miss class in order to observe a religious holiday. They must do so in writing as early in the semester as possible, but no later than one week in advance of the absence, with the exception of holidays falling during the first week of the academic year. Students must also coordinate with their faculty on how to receive the critical information that is shared in the missed class (e.g., go to the faculty’s next office hours to discuss what happened, arranging to get notes from a classmate).
Faculty must accept a student’s assertion of the need to be absent from class for religious reasons. Massachusetts state law requires faculty to offer make-up assignments or exams that are held on religious holidays to any student who is absent for religious observance.
In the event of a dispute between a graduate student and a faculty member about the attendance policy, either party should contact the appropriate department chairperson. If the issue cannot be resolved by the department chairperson, either party should consult with the appropriate dean.
In the event of a dispute between a graduate student and the department chairperson about the attendance policy, either party should follow the established Student Appeals process outlined in this catalog.
Academic Credit Hour Definition
A graduate academic credit hour is equivalent to one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of three hours of out-of-class student work each week for approximately 15 weeks of each semester. Therefore, a three credit class has an expectation of approximately three hours of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of nine hours of out-of-class student work over that same time period. An equivalent amount of engagement is required for laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, web-based courses, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.
Courses at Bridgewater State University with 500- and 600-level numbers carry graduate credit and are typically open only to graduate students.
Under some special circumstances (see below), undergraduate students may request to enroll in a 500-level course, and this course will be applied to their undergraduate program. In some cases a specific major requirement may be satisfied and in other instances credit will be applied under free electives toward the 120 credits required for graduation. Applicability of credit may be confirmed with the academic department of a student’s undergraduate program.
Approval for an undergraduate student to enroll in a 500-level course is based upon one of the following criteria:
- Students must be seniors in their last semester of course work with:
- An overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 or higher; and
- An application that is approved by the chair of the students’ major department(s), appropriate college dean (or their designee) and the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies
2. Students must be admitted to designated graduate programs via the Early Admission option.
Students who were admitted to designated graduate programs via the Early Admission option may apply BSU graduate-level courses taken as part of their BSU undergraduate program toward their BSU graduate degree, if they earn a minimum grade of “B”. Permission of the DGCE graduate chair and the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies is required and stipulations vary by program. Students should familiarize themselves with their graduate program requirements.
Academic Credit – Undergraduate/Graduate (U/G) Courses
Certain designated 400-level courses may be taken for either graduate or undergraduate credit.
The College of Graduate Studies guidelines for faculty teaching these courses indicate that advanced work must be required of graduate students taking 400-level courses. The guidelines recommend more rigorous examinations and preparation of longer, more sophisticated research papers, so that graduate students may consider the different quantitative and qualitative standards associated with graduate study.
U/G courses taken by undergraduates will not be used in any way for the degree requirements of graduate students, as it is assumed undergraduates completed the undergraduate curriculum in the course.
The College of Graduate Studies requires graduate students to maintain a high level of academic standing as they advance in their programs. The grading system for graduate students at Bridgewater State University is different from that of the undergraduate programs. Graduate course achievement will be rated A (4.0), A- (3.7), B+ (3.3), B (3.0), B- (2.7), C+ (2.3), C (2.0), C- (1.7), F (0), W (Withdrawn), IN/INC/IN. (Incomplete) or AU (Audit). Some courses are graded on a P (Pass)/N (No Pass) basis. Refer to the Course Descriptions section in this catalog.
Though graduate students may earn less than a “B” in a course, the overall GPA must be a 3.0 at the time of graduation.
Some departments have additional grade requirements. Students should confer with their advisor and/or DGCE Chair for further information.
A student may audit (AU) a course to gain knowledge in a particular subject area without earning credit or a grade. Students auditing a course may attend and participate in classes, however they are exempt from examinations. The course is designated with “AU” and becomes part of the student’s permanent academic record. Audited courses will not be used to fulfill degree or graduation requirements.
Students must submit a completed Course Audit Request form before the close of the drop/add period. This form may be accessed through the student portal and found on the Printable Forms page of the Registrar’s Website. Paper copies of the forms are also available at the Registrar’s Office. Approval must be received from the instructor, and advisor and/or DGCE Chair.
A student who believes that their final grade reflects a mechanical error in calculation or that the grade was calculated in a manner inconsistent with the stated grading policy may appeal the grade. This process does not cover instances in which students have been assigned grades based on academic dishonesty, which is addressed in the Academic Integrity Policy .
Students and faculty should make every effort to resolve questions about grades without seeking a grade appeal. A grade appeal is a last resort and will be pursued only if there is a valid basis and substantial evidence. The responsibility for developing and presenting the case for changing a grade rests with the student making the appeal. The appeal should include all pertinent facts including but not limited to: a statement of the grounds for the appeal; the desired outcome from the appeal; summary and documentation of the appeal; name(s) of the faculty or administrator(s) involved in the appeal as well as their responses and decisions; and supporting documents.
The student may submit an appeal of the grade in question in writing to the instructor within the first two weeks of the semester following the posting of the final grade (for spring or summer grades, the following fall; for fall grades, the following spring). The instructor must respond in writing to the student within 14 calendar days of receiving the appeal. The notification should include the rationale for the decision.
If the matter is not resolved to the satisfaction of the student, the student may appeal in writing to the DGCE Chair within 14 calendar days of the receipt of the instructor’s decision. The DGCE Chair must respond in writing to the student within 14 calendar days of receiving the appeal. The notification should include the rationale for the decision. If the matter is not resolved to the satisfaction of the student, the student may appeal in writing to the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies within 14 calendar days of the receipt of the DGCE Chair’s decision. The dean must respond in writing to the student within 14 calendar days of receiving the appeal. The notification should include the rationale for the decision.
If the matter is still not resolved to the satisfaction of the student and the student wishes to continue the appeal, the student may submit an appeal to the Graduate Education Council (GEC) via a written request to the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies within 14 calendar days of the receipt of the dean’s decision. The appeal will be reviewed by the GEC at the next regularly scheduled meeting during the fall or spring semester. (The GEC does not meet over the summer.) The GEC consists of representatives from the university’s graduate faculty, administrators and graduate student body.
The student may attend the committee meeting with an advisor or a faculty representative (who is not a relative) during the discussion of the appeal. Invited persons may not participate in the discussion. A final decision will be rendered within 14 calendar days of the meeting and notification to the student and appropriate parties will be sent in writing by the chairperson of the GEC. The notification should include the rationale for the decision. This decision is not subject to further appeal.
An incomplete (IN/INC/IN.) 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 should not extend beyond the last day of classes of the academic semester following that in which the incomplete was earned. Courses that are not successfully completed by this deadline will automatically be changed to a grade of “F” (Failure) or “N” (No Pass). Candidates for graduation should note that all work must be completed and all incompletes changed to grades before degree conferral.
To request an extension of an incomplete, the student must contact their professor for their approval. If an extension is approved, the faculty member should contact the college dean of the course via email, who in turn notifies the Registrar’s Office and the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies of the approval.
Academic Requirements to Graduate
In order for students to complete a graduate degree program, they must satisfactorily complete all requirements (with a minimum overall GPA of 3.0). See the Academic Programs section of this catalog for graduation requirements of individual programs.
Please note: diplomas and transcripts will not be released unless all outstanding financial balances have been paid in full.
For additional information concerning graduation, see the Graduation Central Website.
Graduate Certificate Completion Application
Students who have completed all certificate program requirements are required to submit a Graduate Certificate Completion Application form. This form may be accessed through the student portal and found on the Printable Forms page of the Office of Graduate Student Services website.
Graduation Application and Deadlines
Students who are nearing the completion of their graduate program requirements should review their degree audit with their advisor to ensure that they are ready for graduation.
If they are ready to graduate with a Master’s, Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies (CAGS) or Education Specialist (Eds) degree in December, May or August, then they should complete an Application to Graduate Form. This form may be accessed through the student portal and found on the Printable Forms page of the Office of Graduate Student Services website.
A copy of their degree audit showing all program requirements as either “complete” or “in progress” must be included with the application for approval by the student’s advisor and DGCE Chair. The approved application packet is then submitted to the Office of Graduate Student Services in the College of Graduate Studies (Maxwell Library 021) no later than 5 pm on the appropriate application deadline noted below:
February 1 For May graduation
June 1 For August graduation
October 1 For December graduation
Failure to file a complete application before the deadline may postpone degree conferral. Questions regarding graduate commencement and requirements should be directed to the Office of Graduate Student Services at email@example.com or at 508.531.1100 or visit the Graduation Central website.
The university has three official graduation dates each year – i.e., December for fall graduates, May for spring graduates, and August for summer graduates. Only one commencement ceremony is held in May. All preceding summer and fall graduates are encouraged to participate in this ceremony along with the students who complete their degree requirements in spring.
Students who will not complete all degree requirements during the spring semester may submit an online commencement participation appeal form if they meet the following criteria:
- A cumulative GPA (Grade Point Average) of 3.00 at the end of the fall semester.
- A maximum of six (6) credit hours to complete after the spring semester, but no later than August of that year.
- All other exit requirements must be met.
The Commencement Participation Appeal is available on the Graduation Central website.
If there are any questions about this appeal process, please contact the Office of Graduate Student Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 508.531.1100.
Informed by the overarching priority of student success for all students, BSU is committed to promoting a safe, welcoming, and diverse campus climate in which to learn and work. As part of the University’s values of equity and inclusion, BSU is proud to offer students, faculty/librarians, administrators, staff, and alumnx the option to indicate their First Name in Use, Gender Identity, and Pronouns in Use.
The University’s policy for First Name in Use, Gender Identity, and Pronouns in Use options are consistent with BSU’s Equal Opportunity, Diversity and Affirmative Action Plan and the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, protecting transgender individuals against discrimination based on gender identity and expression.
Although the policy reflects best practice for supporting transgender and gender non-conforming members of college communities, the options to indicate First Name in Use, Gender Identity, and Pronouns in Use are not limited to transgender members of the community. Anyone who has a First Name in Use other than their legal first name, and/or who seeks to state their Gender Identity and Pronouns in Use are encouraged to opt in.
Any BSU student, faculty/librarian, staff, administrator, or alumnx may indicate their First Name in Use, Gender Identity, and/or Pronouns in Use so long as the purposes are not due to fraud or misrepresentation. Non-university students who leverage BSU services may also opt in. Participation is voluntary.
Appropriate access to and use of First Name and Pronouns in Use and Gender Identity is of the utmost importance and ensures respectful dialogue amongst university community members. It is important to note that when a record shows a legal name that is differently gendered from the Name in Use, then transgender identity is functionally revealed (e.g., the Name in Use is Jessica, typically used for females, but the legal name is Jason, typically male). Similarly, when legal sex is different from Gender Identity on an individual’s BSU record, then their transgender identity is revealed. In order to prevent inadvertently revealing transgender identities to personnel who do not need to know this information, access to legal name and legal sex will be limited to those who have a legitimate University operational need to know. As a way to demonstrate BSU’s respect for privacy and personal agency, as well as its prioritization of safety, only campus departments with a legitimate operational need will have access to view legal name and legal sex.
It is the position of BSU that legal name and legal sex are considered sensitive information. Therefore, University personnel will be able to view or have access to First Name in Use and Gender Identity data only, unless otherwise specified in this policy. Further, all internal and external University reports, publications, letters, and communications will reference First Name in Use and Gender Identity (when provided) instead of legal first name or legal sex data unless required by law or regulation.
IV. Access to Legal First Name and Legal Sex Information
a. University officials who have a legitimate operational need to utilize legal first name and legal sex information in order to fulfill their professional responsibilities are authorized to access it.
b. “Legitimate operational need” is defined as those instances in which access to First Name in Use or Gender Identity is required for a university official to carry out their professional responsibilities for BSU.
c. A university official is defined as a person employed by the University in an administrative, academic, research or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted as its agent to provide a service (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a member of the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee or assisting another school official in performing their essential duties.
d. The University may release legal first name and legal sex information in compliance with a judicial order or pursuant to any lawfully issued subpoena. As a general policy, before any information is so released, the University will first attempt to notify the student, employee, or alumnx at the person’s most recent address as shown in the records maintained by the University.
e. In connection with an emergency, the University may release legal first name and legal sex information from University records to appropriate persons if the knowledge of such information is necessary to protect the health or safety of a student, employee, alumnx, or other persons.
f. University officials may release legal name and legal sex information to appropriate organizations in adherence with mandated federal and state reporting or in conjunction with a bona fide law enforcement investigation or inquiry.
g. Data permissions will be reviewed at least once per year and may be increased to once per semester if recommended by the Banner Technical Committee (BTC). For data access needs that change outside the scheduled review period, areas may utilize the process, stated below, to update their access permissions.
The process by which areas can request an update to their data access is to first contact the Director of the Pride Center. The Director of the Pride Center serves as the Data Steward for access permissions and will discuss the needs and possible solutions with the requestor. If the changes requested require a change to Banner codes, then the Data Steward will contact the chairperson of the BTC for subsequent review by the committee. In the event that the Data Steward cannot serve for an extended period of time, then the Vice President of the division of Student Success and Diversity will appoint an interim data steward.
A hold may be placed on a student record for a variety of reasons: incomplete submission of required documents, outstanding balance, etc. The hold may prohibit registration, viewing grades, participating in commencement, obtaining transcripts, or receiving a diploma, depending on the type of hold.
Students may view the type of hold on their account by logging into InfoBear, clicking on the Student Records link under the Student tab, and then clicking on View Holds.
Catalog Year Change
Satisfactory completion of all requirements for a Master’s, CAGS or EdS degree are based on the catalog in effect upon matriculation. Students may change their catalog year in order to change program requirements by submitting a Change of Catalog Year Request. The catalog used, however, may be no earlier than the catalog in effect at the time of matriculation or, in the case of a change of program concentration, no earlier than the catalog in effect when the program concentration was formally declared.
Change of Program or Concentration
Students who wish to declare or change a specific program or concentration can do so by completing the Change of Program or Concentration Form. This form may be accessed through the student portal and found on the Printable Forms page of the Office of Graduate Student Services website.
Students looking to change to a new program that has different admission standards will need to submit a new application online at www.bridgew.edu/apply and gain acceptance to the program.
Course Drops and Adds
Students may drop and add classes online through InfoBear. Alternatively, drop/add forms are available at the Registrar’s Office or at its website during the drop/add period. It is advisable that students discuss changes in their schedule with their advisor or DGCE Chair prior to taking this action.
International graduate students need to consult with International Student and Scholar Services, 508.531.6195, Minnock Institute, Room 101, or at email@example.com as soon as possible when considering such course schedule changes. Students who have been called for active military service need to consult with the Office of Military and Veterans Services, 508.531.1281, Tillinghast Hall, Room 010, or at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.
The Drop/Add schedule is as follows:
- The Drop/Add period for 15-week semester courses ends after the sixth weekday of the semester.
- The Drop/Add period for 7-week quarter courses ends after the third weekday of the quarter.
- The Drop/Add period for 5-week summer courses ends after the third weekday of the session.
- The Drop/Add period for 10-week summer courses ends after the fifth weekday of the session.
- The Drop/Add period for non-regular courses ends one weekday after the first class meeting.
However, students cannot add intensive – e.g., weekend or one-week – courses after the first class meeting.
Students will not be permitted to add or drop a course after these deadlines. If a student fails to drop a course appropriately, a grade of “F” will be entered on their academic record. This grade will be used in computing the GPA.
Please see Financial Aid for information regarding how schedule changes may impact financial aid.
Full-time graduate study for a Master’s, CAGS or EdS degree is defined as being enrolled in nine or more graduate credits in a given semester. To be considered full-time, postbaccalaureate program students may be required to carry a course load of at least 12 credits each semester. The Advanced Postbaccalaureate (APB) program follows the same rules as the Master’s, CAGS and EdS degree.
Full-time graduate students may register for up to 15 credits during both the fall and spring semesters and up to 15 credits during the two summer sessions. Students wishing to register for more than the maximum credit load must receive permission in writing from their graduate advisor, the DGCE Chair and the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.
NOTE: Courses scheduled between the fall and spring semester (intersession courses) are considered part of the spring semester course load for graduate students. Please see Financial Aid for information regarding how schedule decisions may impact financial aid.
Preregistration is held for returning, degree-seeking and non-degree seeking graduate students in November for the spring semester and in April for the fall semester. Preregistration is available online or in person. Students will not be allowed to register for courses until all financial debts to the university are paid and health records are up to date.
Prior to each registration period, course listings, specific registration dates, and registration instructions as well as up-to-date information concerning course openings and prerequisites are available online through InfoBear under QuickLinks at the Bridgewater State University website – www.bridgew.edu/infobear.
Prior to the registration period for the fall and spring semesters and summer sessions, students should refer to their degree audits which are available through InfoBear to ensure compliance with the graduate program requirements. Graduate students are not required to have registration forms signed by their advisors; however, graduate students are strongly encouraged to consult their advisors on a regular basis regarding their course schedules. Additionally, all students are required to complete a Student Financial Responsibility Agreement (SFRA) via InfoBear. This agreement outlines a student’s financial obligation at Bridgewater State University and must be completed each semester, prior to registering for classes.
All graduate students will be billed for their tuition and fees by the Office of Student Accounts. Students will receive an official BSU email with information about eBill, a secure service for viewing student account information and making online payments. For further information, visit www.bridgew.edu/admissions/cost-attending/ebill-information.
Some graduate programs may be offered on a full- or part-time basis. Students should realize that it is not always possible to set an absolute deadline for completing a graduate program due to such factors as the university’s right to cancel any course for which there is insufficient enrollment and the need of the departments to offer courses on a rotating basis. The university and academic departments, however, make every effort to schedule courses in a timely manner.
Students may request a substitution of a required course in their program. Such requests should be discussed and approved by the student’s advisor and DGCE Chair before registration. Students must complete the Course Substitution Form which may be accessed through the student portal and found on the Printable Forms page of the Office of Graduate Student Services Website.
Students may request a waiver of a required course in their program only to the extent that the catalog identifies variable credit as meeting the program requirements. Such requests should be discussed and approved by the student’s advisor and DGCE Chair before registration. Students must complete the Course Waiver Form which may be accessed through the student portal and found on the Printable Forms page of the Office of Graduate Student Services Website.
Directed or Independent Study
Graduate students are permitted to undertake a Directed Study XXXX 503 (1-3 credits) or XXXX 603 (3 credits) when they desire to study selected topics in their field. Enrollment in directed study is limited to students who have been accepted into a graduate program at BSU and have completed a minimum of 15 graduate credits. Students must take these courses under the supervision of a faculty member. A directed study may not be used to substitute for courses that are required in the program or to study topics that are covered in required or elective courses in the program.
An Independent Study is designed for graduate students who must complete a specific BSU course as part of their program requirements. Students will work independently to fulfill all course requirements as outlined in the BSU catalog and as specified by the faculty supervisor.
Students must submit a completed “Directed or Independent Study Course Registration Form”, which may be accessed through the student portal and found on the Printable Forms page of the Office of Graduate Student Services website. It must have the signed approval by the student’s academic department and the College of Graduate Studies dean’s office. It must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office by the last day of the drop/add period for the semester.
Program and Course Prerequisites
Program and course prerequisites may be required to ensure adequate preparation for graduate work in the area of study. In certain cases, program prerequisites may be fulfilled after the applicant’s acceptance by the College of Graduate Studies. Certain advanced graduate courses may require that students have completed specific prerequisite courses within the area of study.
The College of Graduate Studies will allow graduate students, with advisor and DGCE Chair approval, to repeat only one graduate course for which they have received a grade of “B-” or less. Although all courses and grades will appear on the student’s transcript, credit for the course will be awarded only once unless otherwise stated in the university catalog. The repeated grade will replace the prior grade in the students’ GPA regardless of which grade is higher. Only courses taken at Bridgewater State University and repeated at Bridgewater will be eligible for use under this policy. Students are required to complete the Course Repeat Request form which can be found on the Printable Forms page of the Office of Graduate Student Services website.
If a course(s) has been denied acceptance through the Petition to Accept Courses Beyond the Statute of Limitations, approval to repeat the course(s) must be obtained from the student’s advisor. The repeated grade will replace the prior grade in the students’ GPA regardless of which grade is higher. Only courses taken at Bridgewater State University and repeated at Bridgewater will be eligible for use under this policy.
All students are advised to review academic policies for their programs. Some programs have policies that are more restrictive than the general policy recorded here.
NOTE: Repeating courses taken in a previous semester may affect certain federal and state benefits, various financial aid programs, loans, scholarships, graduate assistantships/fellowships, and social security benefits, in addition to athletic eligibility and veteran’s benefits. Satisfactory academic progress requirements must be met for continued financial aid eligibility. Please call 508.531.1341 or see Financial Aid for further information regarding how repeating a course may impact financial aid.
Withdrawal from Courses
Withdrawal from courses by the published deadline
Students may withdraw from courses following the drop/add period if they submit a Course Withdrawal form to the Registrar’s Office by the appropriate semester deadline date, which is posted on the Registrar’s Office website. International graduate students need to consult with International Student and Scholar Services, 508.531.6195, Minnock Institute, Room 101, or at email@example.com as soon as possible when considering withdrawing from any course.
The Course Withdrawal Schedule is as follows:
- The withdrawal period for 15-week semester courses ends the weekday following the completion of the tenth week of the semester.
- The withdrawal period for seven-week quarter courses ends the weekday following the completion of the fifth week of the quarter.
- The withdrawal period for five-week summer courses ends the weekday following the completion of the third week of the session.
- The withdrawal period for 10-week summer courses ends the weekday following the completion of the seventh week of the session.
- The withdrawal period for non-regular courses typically ends one weekday following the point when approximately 70 percent of the course has been completed. Students should consult the Registrar’s Office for exact deadlines for withdrawal from these courses.
Students who are taking a course online or off-campus or who are non-degree seeking must adhere to these established deadlines and procedures.
Withdrawal from courses after the published deadline (Late Course Withdrawal)
When extraordinary circumstances arise after the published withdrawal date that prevent a student from continuing enrollment, a student may request a late withdrawal from a course. Such examples might include, but are not limited to, death of an immediate family member, extreme personal financial hardship, or military deployment or training.
Late course withdrawal requests are not automatically approved. These requests must be made within one academic year after the term of the student’s enrollment in the course.
In order to request a late withdrawal from one or more courses – but not all courses – the student should complete a Course Withdrawal Form found through the student portal on the Registrar’s Printable Forms website. This completed form should accompany a detailed letter written to the College of Graduate Studies dean outlining the extraordinary circumstances (e.g., sudden illness, a death in the family) that have prevented them from withdrawing from the course(s) by the published deadline. The letter should also include supporting documentation from the course instructor(s) and the student’s DGCE Chair.
This documentation should be submitted to the Office of Graduate Student Services for the dean’s review and decision which is final and not subject to further appeal. The Office of Graduate Student Services will notify the student of the dean’s decision.
If the request is approved, the course withdrawal form and all documentation will be submitted to the Registrar’s Office for processing.
Consequences of withdrawing from courses (by or after the published deadline)
- If an international graduate student falls below full-time status after withdrawing from a course, they should be aware that any unauthorized withdrawal will affect their immigration status as well as their eligibility for student employment and/or health insurance.
- A “W” will be placed on the student’s transcript for each course.
- Withdrawals will not affect the calculation of the student’s grade point average.
- Tuition refund will be determined by the semester refund policy as described at https://www.bridgew.edu/admissions-aid/cost-attending/refund-policies. Charges for other services provided by the university are incurred as they are used or as otherwise required by contract or policy.
- Withdrawals may extend a student’s time for program completion.
- A withdrawal is final. Once a mark of “W” is entered on a student’s transcript, it will not be changed.
Consult with the Office of Graduate Student Services at 508.531.1100 for more information about course withdrawals.
Withdrawal from the University
If a student decides after the drop period has ended that they are unable to finish all of their courses, but wish to maintain their matriculation status, they have the option of withdrawing from all courses. There are two ways in which a student may initiate a withdrawal from all courses they are enrolled in during the semester: voluntary full semester withdrawal or voluntary medical withdrawal.
If they do not wish to maintain their matriculation status, they may initiate the voluntary graduate program withdrawal which permanently withdraws them from their program and the university (see the process described below).
International graduate students should notify International Student and Scholar Services immediately at 508.531.6195, Minnock Institute, Room 101 or at firstname.lastname@example.org if they are withdrawing from the university.
In addition, the university may withdraw students through an involuntary withdrawal process.
Depending on the manner in which a student is withdrawn, the student will be required to follow certain steps to return to the university as outlined in the Reinstatement Policy found elsewhere in this catalog.
Voluntary Full Semester Withdrawal
Any graduate student considering a full semester withdrawal before or after the published withdrawal deadline needs to contact the Office of Graduate Student Services to discuss the full semester withdrawal process and complete the Graduate Full Semester Withdrawal Form. Following this discussion, the student may be directed to follow-up with other BSU offices to discuss the potential impact of their withdrawal.
Students must meet with their advisor to complete the following tasks:
- identify any alternatives to withdrawal
- discuss the many possible implications of withdrawing, including but not limited to, the completion of current course work, graduation requirements, financial aid, account balances, student employment, health insurance, pending disciplinary matters, immigration status, and participation in extracurricular activities
- review the process for returning to BSU (if desired)
These requests must be submitted within one academic year from date of the last term of enrollment. Requests submitted after the one academic year deadline will not be considered.
If a student leaves the university without processing an official withdrawal, failing grades will be recorded in all courses.
International students must also contact the International Student and Scholar Services, 508.531.6195, Minnock Institute, Room 101, or at email@example.com as soon as possible when considering such a withdrawal. Students who have been called for active military service need to consult with the Office of Military and Veterans Services, 508.531.1281, Tillinghast Hall, Room 010, or at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.
The completed Graduate Full Semester Withdrawal Form and any needed additional documentation must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Student Services for the dean’s review and decision. This decision is final and not subject to further appeal.
Once a decision about a semester withdrawal has been made, the Office of Graduate Student Services will notify the student in writing of the decision and any conditions placed on their return.
If the request is approved, the full semester withdrawal form will be submitted to the Registrar’s Office for processing.
Full semester withdrawals, whether on time or late, adhere to the university refund policy found at https://www.bridgew.edu/admissions-aid/cost-attending/refund-policies.
Consult with the Office of Graduate Student Services at 508.531.1100 for more information about voluntary full semester withdrawals.
Voluntary Medical Withdrawal
The university understands that students may experience physical or psychological situations that may significantly impair their ability to function successfully or safely in their role as students. In those situations, students may request a medical withdrawal. The goal of a medical withdrawal is to ensure that students return to the university with an increased opportunity for success.
Unless the student can demonstrate that the ability to complete selected courses was not affected by the medical condition, medical withdrawals apply to all courses taken in the given semester.
The university uses an individualized process that allows students to request a medical withdrawal so that they can receive treatment, return to the university, and successfully achieve their academic goals. Any conditions placed upon the student at the time of the medical withdrawal may be incorporated into a written agreement with the student and may result in a hold being placed on the student’s account.
It is important to note that a medical withdrawal does not exempt the student from their financial obligation to the university and does not guarantee a refund or partial refund. The student may still be responsible for any outstanding fees, fines or costs. In extraordinary circumstances, the university may, in its sole discretion, provide a refund.
Additionally, the student may be responsible for repayment of financial aid if mandated by the federal government. If a student has received financial aid and withdraws before completing 60% of the semester (for extraordinary reasons or not), the U.S. Department of Education requires the university to perform a Return of Title IV calculation to determine what financial aid must be returned to the federal government.
Other issues to consider when requesting a medical withdrawal:
- For students who are currently enrolled in the BSU Health Insurance Plan, it is possible to seek permission to stay on that plan until the end of that premium period.
- For students who have purchased tuition reimbursement insurance, a medical withdrawal generally qualifies a student for benefits under tuition insurance plans they may carry. Please refer to your policy for clarification.
- International students need to recognize the possible impact of a medical withdrawal on their immigration status and other university services. Therefore, they should consult with International Student and Scholar Services, 508.531.6195, Minnock Institute, Room 101, or at email@example.com as soon as possible.
Consequences of medical withdrawals
- A “ME” will be placed on the student’s transcript for each course.
- Withdrawals will not affect the calculation of the student’s grade point average.
- Withdrawal determinations should proceed as quickly as possible to allow a student experiencing difficulties to receive the support they need. However, decisions about withdrawals will not be made unless the College of Graduate Studies dean has all of the required and requested information.
- Tuition refund will be determined by the university refund policy as described at https://www.bridgew.edu/admissions-aid/cost-attending/refund-policies. Charges for other services provided by the university are incurred as they are used or as otherwise required by contract or policy.
- Withdrawals may extend a student’s time for degree completion.
- University withdrawals will affect immigration status as well as eligibility for some sources of financial aid, student employment, health insurance and participation in extracurricular activities.
- A withdrawal is final. Once a mark of “ME” is entered on a student’s transcript, it will not be changed.
In order to request a medical withdrawal, the student should complete the Graduate Medical Withdrawal Form and the Graduate Full Semester Withdrawal Form which are available only in the Office of Graduate Student Services. These forms, with the required medical documentation, should be submitted to the Office of Graduate Student Services for the dean’s review and decision.
The dean will evaluate the request and any re-enrollment plans in consultation with other appropriate university personnel. Medical documentation may be shared with others within the university with whom the dean consults, on a need-to-know basis, and consistent with applicable privacy laws. Depending on the circumstances, an individualized risk assessment may be conducted as part of the consultative process.
After a determination has been made regarding whether or not the request qualifies for a medical withdrawal, and if applicable, for subsequent reinstatement subject to certain conditions, the Office of Graduate Student Services will notify the student in writing of the dean’s decision. This decision is final and not subject to further appeal.
Voluntary Graduate Program Withdrawal
Students who wish to permanently leave their graduate program and the university must complete the Graduate Program Withdrawal Form and the Graduate Full Semester Withdrawal Form if currently registered in any courses. If the student is not currently enrolled, then only the Graduate Program Withdrawal Form needs to be completed.
NOTE: The Graduate Program Withdrawal Form may be accessed through the student portal and found on the Printable Forms page of the Office of Graduate Student Services Website. The Graduate Full Semester Withdrawal Form is only available in the Office of Graduate Student Services.
International students need to recognize the possible impact of this type of withdrawal on their immigration status and other university services. Therefore, they should consult with International Student and Scholar Services, (508) 531-6195, or at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible when considering this withdrawal.
If the student is withdrawing from a graduate program and the university because of military service, then they are to also attach a completed Graduate Military Service Notification Form to the two required documents. This form may be accessed through the student portal and found on the Printable Forms page of the Office of Graduate Student Services Website.
Students should also review the university’s refund policies found at https://www.bridgew.edu/admissions-aid/cost-attending/refund-policies.
Interim Involuntary Withdrawal and Involuntary Withdrawal
In situations in which a student presents a significant risk of harm to the safety, health or well-being of any person or the campus community or where the ability of the university to carry out its essential operations is seriously threatened or impaired (collectively referred to as a “serious risk of harm”), the university may require the student to withdraw in accordance with the procedures described below.
This policy does not take the place of disciplinary action and sanctions associated with a student’s behavior that is in violation of any law or university rule, code or policy, including, but not limited to, the Student Code of Conduct or the policies set forth in the Equal Opportunity, Diversity and Affirmative Action Plan, or the Academic Integrity Policy. Such processes may run concurrently.
An Involuntary Withdrawal is meant to be used in cases where students experience needs that exceed the university’s services or resources. In such circumstances, the student will be advised to consider a voluntary withdrawal. If the student declines to voluntarily withdraw from the university, the university may involuntarily withdraw the student in situations where: (1) the student is unable or unwilling to carry out substantial self-care obligations; (2) the student has health needs requiring a level of care that exceeds what the university can appropriately provide; (3) the student presents a substantial risk of seriously affecting the health or well-being of any student or other member of the university community; (4) the student causes a substantial disruption to the university community.
Upon learning of credible evidence, including observed or recorded behavior, that a student may pose a serious risk of harm, the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students or designee may initiate the following procedures:
Interim Involuntary Withdrawal
In circumstances where a student’s behavior may pose an imminent serious risk of harm, the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students or designee may immediately implement an interim involuntary withdrawal or other measures. Under such circumstances, the student will receive notice of the interim involuntary withdrawal and will have an initial opportunity to respond to the evidence; however, the student’s right to more fully respond to the evidence and provide additional information will be delayed until it has been determined that there is no imminent serious risk of harm, in accordance with the process outlined below.
Involuntary Withdrawal Process
In instances where an Interim Involuntary Withdrawal was not initiated, the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students or designee will notify the student that an involuntary withdrawal is under consideration and provide the student with a copy of this policy and a description of the reasons involuntary withdrawal is under consideration and the implications of an involuntary withdrawal. Whenever appropriate, the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students or designee will discuss with the student the opportunity to take a voluntary withdrawal from the university or agree to other measures that could mitigate the serious risk of harm.
The Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students or designee will consult as appropriate and feasible in the circumstances with appropriate university personnel and others regarding whether the student poses a serious risk of harm.
The Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students or designee may require an evaluation of the student’s behavior and any relevant physical/mental conditions by an appropriate provider designated by the university if the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students or designee believes that an evaluation will facilitate an informed decision. A student who fails or refuses to undertake a requested evaluation may not be permitted to return to the university as determined at the discretion of the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students or designee.
The student will be offered a reasonable opportunity to address the evidence and to provide additional information relevant to the university’s evaluation, including information from student’s treatment provider(s).
Following a review of the best available relevant information, including available current medical information, and these consultations, the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students or designee will determine whether to impose an involuntary withdrawal.
- If an involuntary withdrawal is imposed, the university will give the student written notice of the decision, including the beginning date and notification of any conditions that must be satisfied in order to return to the university. The student must leave campus (or the applicable university program or activity) within the time frame established in the written notice. In accordance with applicable law, the university may notify a parent, guardian or other person, if notification is deemed appropriate. During the duration of the involuntary withdrawal, the student may visit the university’s owned or leased property only with the prior written authorization from the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students or designee. Conditions for return following an involuntary withdrawal will be determined by the university on an individualized basis and will be documented in the involuntary withdrawal notification. For examples of the types of conditions that may be imposed, please refer to the section on graduate reinstatement below.
- If an Involuntary Withdrawal is not imposed, the university will provide written notice of that decision.
Interim Involuntary Withdrawals and Involuntary Withdrawals will adhere to the university refund policy as found at https://www.bridgew.edu/admissions-aid/cost-attending/refund-policies.
Governing Principles for an Involuntary Withdrawal
- Any withdrawal determinations should be based on an assessment of current, available medical documentation or advice about the student, and/or observable conduct that affects the health, safety or welfare of the campus community.
- Any assessments of risks should be individualized and conducted in a team environment.
- In the absence of an emergency or direct threat, voluntary withdrawal or restrictions shall be encouraged prior to any determination of involuntary withdrawal.
- Any imposed conditions, including re-enrollment conditions (if any), will be reasonable and individualized for a particular student’s situation.
- Any conduct code or other policies relevant to a withdrawal shall be applied equally to all similarly-situated students, i.e., without regard to known or perceived medical or mental health conditions.
- Students shall be provided notice of any withdrawal determinations and shall be afforded the opportunity to appeal such determinations.
Consequences of full semester withdrawals, whether voluntary or involuntary
- A “W” will be placed on the student’s transcript for each course.
- Withdrawals will not affect the calculation of the student’s grade point average.
- Withdrawal determinations should proceed as quickly as possible to allow a student experiencing difficulties to receive the support they need. However, decisions about withdrawals will not be made unless the dean (for voluntary full semester withdrawals) or the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students or designee (for all involuntary withdrawals) has all of the required and requested information.
- Tuition refund will be determined by the university refund policy as described at https://www.bridgew.edu/admissions-aid/cost-attending/refund-policies. Charges for other services provided by the university are incurred as they are used or as otherwise required by contract or policy.
- Withdrawals may extend a student’s time for degree completion.
- University withdrawals may affect eligibility for some sources of financial aid, health insurance, student employment and participation in extracurricular activities.
- A withdrawal is final. Once a mark of “W” is entered on a student’s transcript, it will not be changed.
Reinstatement and Readmission following a Medical and/or Involuntary Withdrawal
Students wishing to be reinstated or readmitted following a medical or an involuntary withdrawal must satisfy all of the re-enrollment conditions established at the time of the withdrawal. If medical documentation was established as a condition for re-enrollment, the university will give significant weight to the opinion of the student’s treatment providers regarding the student’s readiness to return to the academic environment at the university, with or without accommodations. In extraordinary circumstances, the university may require the student to undergo an additional individualized assessment to make a determination regarding the student’s readiness for return. The university may also impose conditions on the student as part of their return, based on the particular student’s situation.
Additionally, in reviewing requests for return from a medical or involuntary withdrawal, the university looks for evidence that the issues that led to the request to withdraw have been addressed. Specifically, that the student has maintained stability and demonstrated follow through with treatment for a sufficient period of time to enable the student to be successful. Additionally, evidence of productive functioning (i.e. employment, volunteerism, etc.) is looked upon favorably. A student may appeal any decision concerning reinstatement to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs or designee and the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students.
If a student is permitted to re-enroll following a withdrawal, the student is responsible for coordinating the return to the university community with the appropriate university offices. A student must also resolve any outstanding Code of Conduct issues with the Office of Community Standards and/or the Equal Opportunity Office prior to their return.
International graduate students should consult with International Student and Scholar Services, 508.531.6195, Minnock Institute, Room 101, or at email@example.com as soon as possible for any potential immigration reinstatement processes.
Requests for Withdrawals from Others
Due to the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), students must make requests to alter their registration. In extreme circumstances, a FERPA release form may be signed by someone other than the student to request a course or semester withdrawal. All withdrawals may be completed after the published deadline (as long as they are completed within an academic year) however, it is recommended that students delay future registration decisions until they are able to complete the requests themselves.
Withdrawals when Disciplinary Matters are Pending
Please note that if a student withdraws with pending disciplinary charges of any kind, the student will be subject to the provisions of the applicable university policy, procedure or The Student Code of Conduct. The university reserves the right to initiate these procedures at any time, including after the student has chosen to withdraw and/or before the student is allowed to return to the university. Additionally, if a student is subsequently separated or expelled from the university, or a grade change is warranted, the student’s academic record will be updated to reflect that suspension, expulsion or any grade that might be assigned.
Accommodations for Students with Documented Disabilities in the Withdrawal Process
At any point in the withdrawal process, a student may seek input or discuss with the Disability Resource Office, the availability of a reasonable accommodation. A student with a disability who desires an accommodation must request an accommodation by following the procedure for requesting an accommodation through the Disability Resource Office. The Disability Resource Office will make a determination regarding the request and notify the appropriate parties. A student will not be considered to have a disability unless and until the student registers with the Disability Resources Office. The Disability Resources Office can be contacted at 508.531.2194 or by email at Disability_Resources@bridgew.edu for further information.
Reasonable accommodations depend upon the nature and degree of severity of the individual’s documented disability and the setting for which the accommodations are requested. The university is not required to grant a requested accommodation that is unreasonable, ineffective, an undue burden or substantially alters a university program, service or practice. Reasonable accommodations will be provided as required by law.
While this policy identifies certain university officers, employees and others who have particular roles and duties, each such party and/or the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management or the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, may designate other officers or employees to perform such roles or duties set forth herein.
While graduate students are required to be continually enrolled in order to maintain active student status, we realize that unexpected situations sometimes require taking an academic absence at some point in their graduate career. Previously enrolled graduate students who have not enrolled in a course at Bridgewater State University for one academic year or longer (i.e., three consecutive terms inclusive of summer session) are required to submit an application for reinstatement and be formally reinstated by the College of Graduate Studies. A student who has not been enrolled for at least six years must reapply to the program.
Second Graduate Credential
Students who have earned either a BSU graduate certificate or degree or completed a BSU graduate licensure program may have their previously earned graduate credit accepted towards the completion of a second program as outlined below.
Approval of applying course credit for either a previously earned BSU certificate program or for applicable course(s) in a current program is automatic. These credits will be applied to a second BSU program if they are identical to the required course or elective requirements of the program. Program specific restrictions may apply; students should confer with their advisor and/or DGCE chair for additional information.
Approval of applying course credit for a previously earned BSU graduate degree or the completion of a BSU licensure program is at the discretion of the DGCE chair and the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies. Approval is also subject to meeting the following conditions:
- Courses must be completed with a grade of “B” or higher.
- A student must maintain a minimum 3.0 overall GPA in order to remain in good academic standing at the university and continue in the program. The overall GPA includes grades received for all graduate courses taken at BSU.
- Courses must have been completed within the previous six calendar years prior to the first semester of enrollment in the second graduate program. Prior completed courses that exceed six years during the student’s enrollment for a second graduate program would require a statute of limitation petition.
- All second program exit requirements (beyond the course work) must be completed.
- Students must also comply with the graduate Transfer Credit Policy in this catalog if they wish to take courses outside BSU. Transfer credits from another institution that were applied to the first BSU graduate program may not be applied to the second BSU graduate program.
- Credits may not count toward more than two graduate programs.
Program specific restrictions may apply; students should confer with their advisor and/or DGCE chair for additional information as soon as possible upon admission to their second graduate program.
A transcript is a cumulative, permanent record of a student’s grades and degrees earned at Bridgewater State University. Students may request a copy of an official transcript online or from the Registrar’s Office. Current students can access their unofficial transcripts through InfoBear. See the Registrar’s Office website for details.
Matriculated students are expected to complete all program requirements at Bridgewater State University. However, incoming students may request transfer credit for completed graduate course work within the first semester after matriculation. This request should be discussed with their advisor during their first meeting. At this time, paperwork requesting transfer credit must be forwarded to the dean, who has final say on credit approval.
Under extenuating circumstances, current students may request permission to take a course at another accredited college or university for transfer credit. This request should be approved by their advisor and the dean of the College of Graduate Studies prior to course registration. Students should not register or pay for courses outside the university without written approval, as courses may be denied.
Students requesting transfer credits of completed courses or permission to take a non-BSU course for transfer credit must complete the Transfer Course and Credit Approval Form which may be accessed through the student portal and found on the Printable Forms page of the Office of Graduate Student Services website.
Approval of all transfer credits is subject to meeting the following conditions:
- No more than six credits can be transferred for a BSU graduate program.
- The courses must have been completed only at an accredited college or university.
- The courses being transferred have not been used to fulfill the requirements of another program at any institution.*
*The exception to this policy is the Athletic Training Program. Students enrolled in the Athletic
Training Program may transfer in up to six credits from a previous program at another institution
upon approval by the DGCE Graduate Chair.
- A copy of the course syllabus and/or course descriptions may be requested.
- A grade of “B” or higher (i.e., a 3.00 on a 4.00 scale) has been earned in each course being transferred.
- An official transcript of the course(s) taken must be submitted for review and approval by the student’s advisor, DGCE chair and the dean of the College of Graduate Studies. If the student is in a MAT Program, the Master’s core education course(s) must also be approved by the Master’s Core DGCE chair.
- All forms, transcripts and additional materials must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Student Services for submission to the dean of the College of Graduate Studies for final approval.
- Graduate transfer credits may not be more than six years old at the time the credits are transferred to BSU.
- Given the limited number of courses required in graduate certificate programs, students enrolled in a graduate certificate program at Bridgewater State University cannot transfer courses from other institutions.*
*The one exception to this policy is the Teaching English to Students of Other Languages (TESOL)
certificate program. Students enrolled in the TESOL program may transfer no more than one
three-credit course from another institution as per the approval conditions noted above.
Program exceptions are noted in the appropriate department sections of this catalog.