Academic Policies

The Graduate School policies and procedures must be followed and met before a degree is granted. These requirements are described in this catalog and in program documents provided by the academic departments. The University reserves the right to make changes as necessary in course offerings, curricula, academic policies, and other rules and regulations affecting students, to be effective when determined by the University.  The student is responsible for knowing and fulfilling all degree and certificate related requirements.

The Dean of the Graduate School is charged with the administration of Graduate School policies and certifies that candidates have fulfilled their requirements for advanced degrees. The Graduate Dean is advised by the Graduate Council, a standing committee of the University Senate.

Academic Standing

Graduate students must maintain a 3.0 grade point average (GPA) for all courses taken at WKU and those graduate courses transferred to WKU to fulfill graduate program requirements. Students must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.0 in the academic program and a cumulative (overall) GPA to earn a degree or certificate. If a student's overall GPA falls below 3.0, the student will be placed on academic probation. Students placed on academic probation are not eligible for graduate assistantship appointments.

The student will have one additional full-time semester or the equivalent (9 semester hours) to remove the academic probation by raising their cumulative GPA to a 3.0 or higher. If the GPA remains below a 3.0 after completing 9 hours of coursework on probation, the student will be dismissed from the academic program and the Graduate School. 

An academically dismissed student who wishes to be readmitted to his/her program must submit an Appeal of Graduate Policy, and, in consultation with their advisor, an Academic Plan detailing how the required 3.0 GPA will be obtained. The Appeal of Graduate Policy must be submitted to the Graduate School the semester following dismissal and provide evidence of the support of the graduate faculty in the academic program.  Each case will be reviewed by the Dean of the Graduate School for consideration of readmission. An academically dismissed student who wishes to be readmitted to Graduate School as a non-degree seeking student or apply to another program must complete a new admission application and an Academic Plan.  Readmitted students will remain on probation and must successfully complete the requirements of his/her Academic Plan to attain a 3.0 cumulative GPA in the specified time frame. Readmitted students who do not attain the requisite 3.0 GPA will be dismissed with no possibility of readmission until a period of three years has elapsed.

Individual academic programs may also apply more restrictive criteria regarding probation and dismissal. Dismissal from an academic program will result in dismissal from the Graduate School.

Students may also be dismissed from programs for reasons other than failure to maintain academic standing. Expectations regarding student conduct are described in the Western Kentucky University Student Handbook and apply to students in all programs. Additional program-specific policies regarding student conduct and dismissal from a program for non-academic reasons may also apply. Students should contact their advisors for more information regarding expectations for appropriate student conduct.

Experiential Learning Credit

WKU does not provide graduate credit for experiential learning, credit by exam, or professional certificates unless programs (degree and non-degree) specifically seek approval through the Graduate Council and have ensured that such credit is consistent with the WKU mission, that the learning outcomes are at the graduate level, and that the credit is comparable to other WKU graduate courses.

Privacy Policy

The Graduate School will not disclose information to a third party regardless of association to the student (e.g., spouse, parent, friend, or other family member) without signed, written permission from the student. 

Repeating Courses

A graduate student is permitted to repeat any course in which a “C” or below was earned.  An individual course may only be repeated one time.  Courses that are repeatable for credit on different topics may be repeated one time per topic for equivalent credit.  Only the second grade will be counted in computing the grade point average.  The course and grade received for each attempt will continue to appear on the student’s transcript.

Time Limitation for Degree Completion

All requirements for master's and specialist degrees and graduate certificates must be completed within six years of initial enrollment in the program.  All requirements for doctoral degrees must be completed within ten years of initial enrollment in the doctoral program.

Courses applied toward a master's or specialist degree or graduate certificate program must be completed within six years of degree completion.  Courses applied toward a doctorate degree must be completed within ten years of degree completion.

Transfer Credit

WKU accepts transfer credit(s) earned at regionally accredited institutions of higher education.  Students transferring credit from an international institution must submit an official transcript evaluation of credit from an international credential evaluation service recognized by the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) before equivalencies are determined.  All transfer coursework must be documented on an official transcript with a grade of "B" or better.  Application of transfer credits toward program requirements is subject to approval by the appropriate academic department. 

Plus and minus grades are recorded as the letter grade only.  In cooperative or joint programs with other universities, credits earned in the program at these institutions are not considered transfer credits.  At least one-half of credits applied toward degree or certificate requirements must be earned at Western Kentucky University.

Undergraduate Student Enrollment


Appeal of Graduate Policy

Appeals of Graduate Policy are considered by the Dean of the Graduate School.  

Student Complaint Procedure

The student complaint procedure for resolving a complaint concerning a faculty member is outlined below in four steps.

Step 1 (Faculty Member)

The first step is for the student to discuss the complaint with the faculty member involved.  If the faculty member is no longer employed by the University, the student should go directly to the department head that will contact and represent the former faculty member.  If the complaint involves a grade, the student must take the complaint to the faculty member within the first two weeks of the first regular semester (fall; spring) following the assignment of the grade. It is hoped that the complaint may be satisfactorily dealt with at this level.

Step 2 (Department Level)

If the student and the faculty member are unable to resolve the complaint, the student may take the complaint to the faculty member's department head.  Written notification of the complaint must be given to the department head within two weeks after meeting with faculty member (Step 1).  It is the responsibility of the department head to arrange for a conference where the student, faculty member, and the department head will be present for discussion. Neither the faculty member nor the student will be allowed representation at the conference.  The department head shall hear both sides of the complaint and shall attempt to mediate a settlement.  The department head shall keep a written record of the proceedings, including the recommended solution.  The department head's recommended solution is to be considered by both the faculty member and the student as a recommendation and not as a decision that is binding.

Step 3 (College Level)

Should the student be unable to receive the satisfaction desired at the departmental level, the complaint may be taken to the college level.  Written notification of the complaint must be submitted to the college dean or his/her designated representative within two weeks after the conference with the department head (see Step 2).  Upon receipt of the notification, the college dean or his/her representative shall provide the student a copy of the procedural guidelines to be followed by the College Complaint Committee.  The procedural guidelines shall provide for a conference with both the student and the faculty member present for joint discussion of the complaint with the Committee.

The College Complaint Committee will be responsible for scheduling the conference within two weeks following the submission of a written complaint to the chairman of the College Complaint Committee including as much detail as the student cares to include.  The written complaint should clearly state what is considered to be unreasonable and/or unfair practices or procedures.  Neither the faculty member nor the student will be allowed representation at the conference.  The College Complaint Committee shall hear both sides of the complaint and render a decision.  The decision shall be sent in writing to the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs with a copy being sent as a matter of record to the student, faculty member, faculty member's department head, and the faculty member’s college dean.  The Office of the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs shall be responsible for enforcing the decision of the College Committee.  The Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs shall not enforce the decision until two weeks after the decision is made by the College Committee.  The purpose of the two week delay is to provide either the student or the faculty member an opportunity to submit a formal written notice of appeal to the University Complaint Committee.


Step 4 (University Level)

Should the student or faculty member desire to appeal the decision of the College Complaint Committee, a formal written notice of appeal may be submitted to the University Complaint Committee chair, with a copy to the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs within two weeks of the decision of the College Complaint Committee. The chair of the University Complaint Committee will provide the student and faculty member involved with a copy of the University Complaint Committee's procedural guidelines.  The University Complaint Committee will secure copies of the written proceedings from the department head and the College Complaint Committee.  The University Complaint Committee will schedule a conference where the faculty member and the student jointly discuss the issue.  Neither the faculty member nor the student will be allowed representation at the conference.  The Committee's decision will be sent to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, with a copy being sent as a matter of record to the student, faculty member, faculty member's department head, and the faculty member's college dean.  The Office of the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs will see that decisions of the University Complaint Committee are carried out.  The University Complaint Committee's decision is final.

Important Complaint Exceptions

  • Student Disability regarding denial of accommodations, report to Student ADA Compliance Officer and follow WKU policy #6.1010
  • Discrimination and Harassment concerns, see below reporting process and follow WKU policy #0.2040
  • Discrimination is always reported to the Office of Equal Opportunity Employment (EEO)
  • Student-to-student harassment is reported to Office of Student Conduct
  • Student-to-faculty/employee harassment is reported to the Office of Equal Opportunity Employment (EEO)