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Academic Guidelines & Graduate School Policies (2005-2006)

Academic Integrity Policy

Western Illinois University is dedicated to the discovery and communication of knowledge. The University can best function and accomplish its objectives in an atmosphere where high ethical standards prevail. For this reason, and to insure that the academic work of all students will be fairly evaluated, the University strongly condemns academic dishonesty. The most prevalent forms of academic dishonesty are cheating and plagiarism. Dishonesty of any kind with respect to examinations, course assignments, alteration of records, or illegal possession of examinations shall be considered cheating. It is the responsibility of the student to not only abstain from cheating, but also to avoid making it possible for others to cheat. Any student who knowingly helps another student cheat is as guilty of cheating as the student he or she assists.

The submission of the work of someone else as one's own constitutes plagiarism. Academic honesty requires that ideas or materials taken from another course for use as a course paper or project be fully acknowledged. Plagiarism is a very serious offense in whatever form it may appear, be it submission of an entire article falsely represented as the student's own, the inclusion within a piece of the student's writing of an idea for which the student does not provide sufficient documentation, or the inclusion of a documented idea not sufficiently assimilated into the student's language and style.

Contact the School of Graduate Studies ( for information on penalties for academic dishonesty and the University's appeal procedure for students charged with academic dishonesty.

Academic Requirements and Satisfactory Progress

The passing grades in graduate courses are A, B, C, and S (satisfactory). Courses with the grades of D, F, U (unsatisfactory), I (incomplete), W (withdrawal), X (audit), or XU (unsatisfactory audit) cannot be used to satisfy any of the requirements of a graduate degree. Students may not enroll in graduate courses on a pass/fail basis. Grade points are determined by equating the grade for each semester hour as follows: A with 4, B with 3, C with 2, D with 1, and F with 0. The average is computed by dividing the total number of grade points earned by the total number of graduate credits attempted. Hours for grades of S and U are not considered in calculating a GPA. (Grades of S and U are only awarded in a limited number of courses; courses for which S and U grades apply are noted in departmental course offerings.) An audited course may not be repeated for credit. Courses taken for undergraduate credit may not be repeated for graduate credit.

Admission to candidacy for a degree and the awarding of such a degree depends upon the maintenance of a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (B) or higher in all graduate work attempted. No substitutions may be made on the degree plan for courses in which the student earns grades below B. No course for which a student has received a grade of C or better may be repeated for credit unless the course is more than six years old. No course for which a student has received a grade of D or less may be used to satisfy degree requirements.

A course may not be used to satisfy the requirements of more than one degree.

A graduate degree will not be awarded to a student who earns grades of C, D, F or U in more than six semester hours of graduate-level work in a program requiring 30 to 46 semester hours, or more than nine semester hours of such work in a program which requires 47 or more hours. With the approval of the departmental graduate committee, courses which are outdated, that is, are more than six years old, will not be counted against the maximum allowable hours of grades of C or lower once an extension of time has been granted.

Admission to Candidacy

After at least nine semester hours of graduate work at the University have been completed and before the completion of 15 semester hours, the student must apply for candidacy for the graduate degree. Application forms, titled Graduate Degree Plan, can be obtained from the School of Graduate Studies or on-line at The completed Graduate Degree Plan should be filed with the chair of the departmental graduate committee who will then forward the application for approval to the School of Graduate Studies. All academic deficiencies must be removed before the student is admitted to candidacy and the student must have at least a 3.0 grade point average on all graduate course work.

In determining the student's qualifications for candidacy, the graduate school may take into consideration the student's graduate and undergraduate record and the rating on the Graduate Record Examination or other standardized tests. After weighing all relevant factors, the graduate school may: (a) approve the application, (b) defer action until certain specified requirements are met, or (c) refuse the applicant's request.

Once a student's Graduate Degree Plan has been approved by the graduate school, changes in this degree program can only be made by petition. Petition forms may be obtained in the School of Graduate Studies or on-line at and, upon completion, they are submitted to that office. A student who re-enters the University after an absence of three or more years, excluding summer sessions, must re-submit his or her Graduate Degree Plan based on the current catalog unless permission is obtained from the dean of the college in which he or she is enrolled and the School of Graduate Studies to use the original Graduate Degree Plan.

Application for Graduation

Candidates for graduation must complete the Application for Graduation form and submit it to the School of Graduate Studies at least eight weeks before the end of the student's final term. The Departmental Clearance form is due the day final grade reports are turned in. Both forms are available from the School of Graduate Studies or on-line at Degrees are conferred in December, May and August. Commencement exercises are held in May and December. Students wishing to attend commencement exercises must indicate this on the application for graduation. All students completing graduation requirements will be issued a diploma.

Catalog Use

A student who re-enters the University after an absence of three or more years, excluding summer session, must meet the requirements of the current catalog unless he or she receives written approval from the dean of the college in which he or she is enrolled to continue under an earlier catalog. This written permission must be filed in the Office of Graduate Studies prior to the submission of a graduate degree plan.

Change of Grade

When an error has been made in computing the student's final grade, the reported grade may be changed by the instructor. The student may initiate the procedure for the change by contacting the instructor. The change should be reported to the School of Graduate Studies no later than the end of the third week of the next semester. The form for requesting a change of grade can be obtained from the department chair. The department chair and academic dean countersign the form for information purposes only and forward it to the School of Graduate Studies. After the change of grade has been approved by the School of Graduate Studies, copies will be sent to the Office of the Registrar.

Course Prerequisites/Corequisites

Prerequisite: a course that must be completed prior to enrollment in a particular course. Prerequisite may also refer to acceptable class standing, prior academic standing, permission of instructor, departmentally determined competencies, or other departmental requirements.

Corequisite: a course that must be taken simultaneously with another course.

Note: It is the responsibility of the student to comply with the prerequisites/corequisites for a course that he/she plans to take. Instructors who place the appropriate information on the syllabus and emphasize it during the first three class periods, may exclude a student from the class who does not meet the prerequisites/corequisites by sending a note to the student with a copy to the registrar within the first two weeks of the term.

Courses and Credit Requirements

Courses numbered 500 and above are graduate courses. Only those advanced undergraduate courses on the 400-level listed in this catalog may be taken for graduate credit. In order for graduate credit to be earned for these 400-level courses, work in addition to that which is done for undergraduate credit must be completed. No more than one-half of the semester hours counted for the graduate degree may be earned in courses below the 500 level.

Specific credit requirements for the completion of degrees are listed under each graduate program description. Hours earned in courses taken to satisfy deficiencies in the undergraduate program are not counted toward the total degree requirements.

Following each course title in the ensuing pages, the number in parentheses represents the credit allotment for the course in terms of semester hours.

Western Illinois University offers students and faculty the opportunity to explore experiments in learning which lie outside the existing traditional curriculum structure. Faculty may propose new and innovative courses (475G/675) for presentation to students on a trial basis with a minimum of the regular approval procedure, thereby permitting an experimental period for refinement before the course is proposed through regular channels for approval. The appropriate department chairperson should be contacted for additional information about experimental courses. Course content taken under experimental course numbers (475G/675) may not be repeated. No more than six semester hours of credit earned in a combination of 475G and 675 may be used in any graduate degree program.

Overseas Study 679 is a course available to all departments which facilitates the registration and tracking of students who enroll for study outside the U.S. Prerequisites for this course are pproval of the study abroad coordinator and the department chairperson. No more than six semester hours of Overseas Study 679 may be applied to a graduate degree.

Document Policies

A transcript of a student's record received by WIU from another university or college is not forwarded to a third institution. The student should request another transcript from the original institution.

Admission test scores for the GRE or GMAT are not forwarded to another university. The student should request test scores directly from Educational Testing Service.

Final Examinations

Each candidate for a graduate degree may be required to take a final oral and/or written examination. It may be required by the department or departments involved (see the relevant departmental section), or by the Graduate Council in special cases.

If the examining committee decides that the student has failed to pass the written and/or oral examination, it makes one of three possible decisions: (a) the candidate should not receive the graduate degree, (b) the candidate should be required to take additional courses before appearing for re-examination, or (c) the candidate should be re-examined after an interval of at least three months.

Full-time/Part-time Enrollment

Full-time enrollment is nine semester hours of credit during any regular semester (fall or spring) or six semester hours of credit during the summer term. The maximum load for a graduate student during any regular semester (fall or spring) is 15 semester hours or nine semester hours during the summer term. Exceptions may be permitted by the School of Graduate Studies.

Grade Appeals Policy

The purpose of the grade appeal policy is to assure that grades represent a fair and consistent evaluation of student performance.

A graduate student who believes he/she was unjustly evaluated in a course must submit a written request for a grade appeal no later than the end of the third week of the semester following the term in which the student received the grade in question.

The grade appeal process can be found in the academic departmental office, the School of Graduate Studies, or at

Graduate Committees–Departmental

Each department offering graduate work as a field of specialization has a graduate committee. Shortly after the student has been admitted to the School of Graduate Studies, and prior to his or her first registration, the student must consult the chair of his or her graduate committee. These graduate committees have general supervision over the work of their department's degree students. Until the departmental graduate committee assigns the student to an adviser, the committee assumes responsibility for the student's general orientation and program of study.

Graduating Seniors Taking Graduate Courses for Graduate Credit

A senior may apply for admission to the School of Graduate Studies and receive graduate credit for graduate courses in which he or she enrolls provided:

  1. The enrollment does not exceed a maximum of nine semester hours.
  2. The student fulfills prerequisites for the course.
  3. The student applies to take the course for graduate credit through the Office of the Registrar, Sherman 110. A form must be completed by the student requiring the signatures of the designated authorities in the offices of the registrar and graduate studies. The application must be filed in the Office of the Registrar prior to enrolling in the course.
  4. The student files a graduation application in the Office of the Registrar prior to enrolling in graduate-level courses for graduate credit.
  5. The student has a grade point average of 3.0 or better if a first-semester senior and meets admission requirements to graduate school if a second-semester senior.
  6. International students must also obtain approval from the director of international student admissions. Permission forms are available in the Office of the Registrar.

Graduate Courses for Undergraduate Credit

Graduate course offerings may be taken for undergraduate credit as long as:

  1. The student has attained senior standing as an undergraduate student at Western Illinois University and is in good academic standing at the University.
  2. The student has applied to take the course for undergraduate credit through the Office of the Registrar, Sherman 110, prior to enrolling in the course. A form must be completed by the student requiring the signatures of the adviser and the registrar.
  3. The student has fulfilled prerequisites for the course.
  4. No more than nine semester hours of graduate-level courses (numbered 500 or above) may be taken for undergraduate credit.
  5. Graduate courses taken for undergraduate credit may not be used as part of a future graduate program.

Immunization Policy

Effective July 1, 1989, Illinois state law and University policy require that all newly enrolled students who were born on or after January 1, 1957, provide written evidence, signed by a healthcare provider, of current immune status with respect to certain communicable diseases. Currently, the diseases to which all students must show immunity are measles, rubella, tetanus, diphtheria, and mumps. Students whose first enrollment at WIU was in the Fall 1989 semester or later will be required to comply with this policy. Students attending classes both in Macomb and the Quad Cities must comply with this policy.

Incomplete Grade Policy

A temporary grade of I (incomplete) indicates that the student has been unable to complete course work due to circumstances beyond his or her control. With the assignment of a grade of I, the student and faculty member will agree, in writing, upon the criteria and deadline for completion of course work.

Notification to Students on Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974

Western Illinois University, in full compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, shall make educational records available to students upon request. Likewise, in accordance with the law, individually identifiable educational records will not be released to other than authorized individuals without written consent of the student. Students have the right to file complaints with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Office concerning alleged failures by the institution to comply with the act.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. These rights include:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access. Students should submit to the registrar, dean, or other appropriate official, written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The University official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the University official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
  2. The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading. Students may ask the University to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the University official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the University decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the University will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
  3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. Upon request, the University may disclose education records without consent to another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
  4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with the requirements by FERPA.

Western Illinois University considers the following items to be directory information, and, as such, may release them to any or all inquirers in such forms as news releases, directories, or computer address lists: the student's name; school and home address; telephone number; major field of study; dates of attendance; full- or part-time status; degrees and awards received; honors received (including dean's list); most recent previous educational agency or institution attended; participation in officially recognized activities and sports; and, for members of athletic teams, weight and height.

Students who do not wish this information to be released may prevent such release by sending a written request to the Office of the Registrar, Sherman Hall 110.

Oral English Proficiency Appeal

Students who have complaints concerning the oral English proficiency of faculty providing classroom instruction should contact the department chair or the immediate supervisor of the appropriate faculty member. The complaint should be as specific as possible and should include a written summary.

All complaints shall be investigated by the department chair including, but not limited to, classroom visitation. If the department chair finds the faculty member's oral English proficiency is satisfactory, he/she will notify the student.

Students may appeal the department chair's satisfactory evaluation of oral English proficiency to the appropriate dean who shall investigate the complaint. If the dean finds the faculty member's oral English proficiency is satisfactory, the dean will so notify the student. In the event of such a finding, the decision of the dean shall be final.

If the department chair or dean finds the faculty member's oral English proficiency is unsatisfactory, a recommendation shall be submitted to the academic vice president for consideration. The academic vice president will notify the student and the faculty member of his/her decision.

At all levels of this procedure, the student's identity will remain confidential.

Repeatable Courses

Courses may not be repeated for credit unless the catalog course description specifies that the course is repeatable. This is not to be confused with retaking a previously passed course.

Repeating Failed Courses

A student may repeat any credit course in which a failing grade (F) was received. Both the failing grade and the grade earned by repeating the course will appear on the transcript and will be used to calculate the student's grade point average.


To be considered a resident, an adult student must have been a bona fide resident of Illinois for a period of at least six consecutive months immediately preceding the beginning of any term for which the individual registers at the University. The student must continue to maintain a bona fide residence in Illinois. University housing is considered a bona fide residence.

Full-time graduate students at the main campus of Western Illinois University who are residents of Clark, Lewis, or Marion counties in Missouri or Scott, Muscatine, Louisa, Des Moines, or Lee counties in Iowa are considered in-state students for one year for tuition purposes. Such students must meet residency requirements to qualify for in-state tuition after the first year if enrollment exceeds eight hours per semester. This policy is reviewed annually and is subject to change without notice.

Retaking Passed Courses

If a student retakes a previously passed course, he or she may do so subject to the following conditions:

  1. All grades received for each course retaken will appear separately on the transcript in addition to the original grade.
  2. No honor points or credit toward graduation may be received for retaking a previously passed course.
  3. Tuition and fees must be paid for all courses retaken.
  4. The student must properly register to retake a course during registration or preregistration.

Previously passed courses are those for which any of the following grades have been received: A, B, C, D, or S. If a course graded S is retaken, the second grade (assuming successful completion) will also be an S since only S and U grades can be given for such courses. For all other previously passed courses, the grade on the transcript will reflect what the student has achieved by taking the course a second time.

Right of Academic Appeal

Graduate students have the right to appeal the implementation of any University regulation which relates to admission, academic standards, assistantships, or graduation by submitting a formal written appeal to the Graduate Council. Such appeals must be based upon the existence of unusual or extenuating circumstances which have prevented the student from achieving the normal University standard, and evidence of these unusual or extenuating circumstances must be presented with the appeal. Such appeals must be submitted to the Graduate School.

Student Responsibility

Students are responsible for knowing degree requirements and enrolling in courses that will enable them to complete their degree programs. It is also their responsibility to know the University regulations for the standard of work required to continue in the graduate school. Degree requirements are presented in this publication. Additional details about requirements and procedures are available from the School of Graduate Studies.

Time to Complete Degree/Revalidation of Courses

The work required for a graduate degree must be completed within six consecutive calendar years. Students may petition the Graduate Council for an extension of time for outdated courses. Evidence must show that such courses have been revalidated by examination or some other means as determined by the department. Graduate courses with grades of C or lower may not be revalidated. With the approval of the departmental graduate committee, courses which are outdated, that is, are more than six years old, will not be included in the calculation of grade point average once an extension of time has been granted.

Transfer Credit

Transfer credits are approved by the School of Graduate Studies or the Graduate Council only after the student has been admitted to candidacy for a degree. Petitions for transfer of graduate credit must be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, and official transcripts recording the transfer courses must be sent directly from the registrar of that institution to the School of Graduate Studies. No course credit may be transferred unless the grade received was at least a B.

If approved by his or her department, a student may transfer a maximum of six semester hours of approved graduate credit from an accredited institution in a 30-hour degree program or nine semester hours in a degree program requiring 32 or more semester hours. Students may petition to the Graduate Council, with the approval of the adviser and the departmental graduate committee, for additional hours to be accepted from other accredited institutions.

Variable Credit Courses

Courses with a variable credit designation, (e.g., Music 599, Seminar in Music [1-3]), may be taken for a different number of credit hours. Students should consult the course instructor or the department offering the course to determine the number of semester hours for which they may register. A variable credit course cannot be taken again unless it is clearly designated as repeatable.

Withdrawal Policy

During the first nine weeks of a semester, a graduate student may withdraw from a regularly scheduled course without academic penalty. After the ninth week of the term, no withdrawals will be permitted except for total withdrawal from the University or by petition to the Graduate Council. At this time, a student who is passing will receive a W and a student who is failing will receive an F. Withdrawal dates for irregularly scheduled courses vary according to class meeting dates. Once final examinations have begun, a student may not withdraw from that term except for exceptional and documented reasons.

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