Academic Policies

Advising
Attendance
Communication and Email
Course Load
Grades
Auditing a Course
Withdrawing from a Course
Incompletes
Repeating a Course
Academic Probation
Grade Appeals
Matriculant Status and Leave of Absence
Graduation
Withdrawing from a Program
Honor Code
Honor Societies
Study Abroad

Advising

Students are advised by one of the academic advisors or graduate program coordinators and as needed by faculty. Students in the MAT program and the Accelerated Certification for Teaching program are advised by the director of Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Certification Programs or the graduate program coordinator at the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center (SMHEC). Students are informed of future class schedules, changes of policy and other matters of interest through their Notre Dame email account, the University Web site or through special mailings. The final responsibility for completing all program requirements rests with the student.

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Attendance

Class size is limited in order to promote intellectual interchange among students. Because of the importance of student-faculty contact time, attendance is expected at all class meetings. Attendance is required at the first class meeting of the term because the foundation for the course is set for the semester. Students who cannot attend the first class session must withdraw. In addition, individual academic departments set specific absence and attendance policies for courses in their respective areas. Students should familiarize themselves with those policies at the beginning of the semester and plan accordingly.

Students should be aware that attendance and participation in class are essential elements of the graduate programs; therefore, absence (whatever the cause) may lead to a lowered grade, including the grade of "F".

Students are advised that children are prohibited from attending classes with them. Though Notre Dame is sensitive to the needs of parents and the potential for difficulties in providing child care, the campus is not to be used as a playground for children while the parent is attending class. The University denies any liability for injuries sustained by children playing on campus while the parent or supervising adult is in class.  Child care services are available on campus each semester for a small fee.

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Communication and Email

It is vitally important that all students read their Notre Dame email regularly. Notre Dame uses email messages, which include news, reminders, updates, deadlines, cancellations, course enrollment information and changes in policy, to assist students in their academic planning. Students are responsible for checking their Notre Dame email account for information!

Email accounts for new students are created shortly after the start of each semester. Letters containing personalized account information and a how-to brochure will be mailed after new students register for courses. Students may forward their Notre Dame email to any other account of their choosing. For questions concerning Notre Dame email accounts, students should contact the IT Help Desk at helpdesk@ndm.edu or 410-532-5200.

Students should also refer to the information located in this catalog, online schedules, postings on Joule, and the Notre Dame website (www.ndm.edu) for important information regarding registration, graduation application dates, policies/procedures, as well as news and updates from the University community. Additional course and University information is listed through WebAdvisor.

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Course Load

Part-time graduate students may take up to six credits in the fall, summer and spring semesters. Full-time graduate students may take up to nine credits in the fall, summer and spring semesters.

Exceptions to this policy must be approved by the relevant dean (dean of education for School of Education programs, dean of nursing for School of Nursing programs, and dean of the School of Arts and Sciences for all other programs). Only one course is permitted during Winterim (January term).

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Grades

Grades represent the instructor's evaluation of a student's achievement in the course. Each letter grade in a graduate course is interpreted as follows:

A Excellent 4.0
B+ Very good 3.5
B Average 3.0
C+ Slightly below average 2.5
C Below average 2.0
F Failure or withdrawal without official permission 0.0
AU Audit  
W Withdrawal with official permission  
I Work incomplete due to emergency/other extenuating circumstances  

Grade points are multiplied by the credit value of the course in calculating the grade point average. Transfer credit is not calculated in the grade point average.

A grade point average of 3.0 is required for graduation from any of the graduate degree or certificate programs.

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Auditing a Course

Students possessing a bachelor's degree may audit graduate courses for which there are no prerequisites, on a space-available basis. Students must register for the course and pay full tuition. Students cannot change from audit to credit status after the class begins and they will need to repeat required classes taken for audit if they subsequently matriculate in a graduate program. The instructor's approval is required for audit. Students cannot receive financial aid for audited courses.

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Withdrawing from Courses

Students withdraw from a course through the registrar's office. Course withdrawals are effective on the date the written withdrawal is received in the registrar's office. This date determines both the grade and tuition reimbursement (if any), regardless of whether the course has met or whether the student has attended class sessions.

Students who officially withdraw receive the grade of "W" which will appear on the student's transcript. Deadlines are published in the University's academic calendar and on the Web site. Students who fail to officially withdraw from a course and stop attending will receive a grade of "F" and be liable for full payment of tuition and fees.

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Incompletes

A semester officially ends on the date specified in the academic calendar. An Incomplete grade (I) can be granted only for reasons clearly beyond the student's control and under the following circumstances:

  • The request must be made by the student to the instructor. It is the instructor's decision to accept/deny the request.
  • The student request must be based on a serious illness or emergency preventing the student from completing the work for the course.
  • The student must have satisfactorily completed at least half the course work at the time the Incomplete is requested.

The final determination of the Incomplete grade is the responsibility of the instructor. It is the student's responsibility to submit all the required work to the instructor so that a grade may be substituted by the mid-point of the following semester. Work not submitted to the instructor on time will result in the grade being converted to an "F" at the mid-point of the following semester. The instructor will submit the final grade to the registrar. An extension may be granted only by the registrar at the request of the instructor.

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Repeating a Course

With permission of the dean of the student's School, a student may repeat only one course that has been failed. The higher grade and course credits will be counted in the student's cumulative GPA and toward the credits needed for the degree. Both grades, however, will appear on the student's official transcript. The repeated course must be taken at Notre Dame. A second grade of "F" in any course will result in dismissal from the graduate program. A course with a grade of "C" or higher many not be repeated.

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Academic Probation

Graduate students must maintain a 3.0 (B) cumulative grade point average to remain in good academic standing. Students whose cumulative grade point average falls below 3.0 will be placed on probationary status. Students on academic probation will be given three semesters (in which they register for a course) to raise their cumulative grade point average to 3.0. Failure to do so will result in dismissal from the graduate program. These provisions do not apply to students admitted on probation; provisions governing that status are identified in the letter of admission.

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Grade Appeals

Only final course grades may be appealed. Students and faculty are expected to communicate and to confer during the course concerning student progress, particularly the evaluation of student work assignments, tests, quizzes, papers, exams, and other projects. Every effort should be made to resolve questions regarding grading while the course is still in progress.

A final grade may be appealed if there is evidence that the grade was not given in accordance with the provision set forth in the course syllabus or in the announced course modifications or descriptions for particular projects and assignments.

The principle of seeking a reasonable, fair, and speedy resolution prevails throughout the process described below. All information related to the appeal and the appeals process is expected to remain confidential.

1.   When a student wishes to appeal a final grade, the student must write to the faculty member setting forth the basis for the appeal, evidence relevant to the case, and the remedy sought. This appeal must be made within two weeks of the official end of the semester.

2.   The faculty member will respond in writing to the student's appeal within two weeks of receiving the written appeal.

3.   If not satisfied with the faculty member's response, the student may, within two weeks of the response, appeal to the program council chair or department chair.

The student makes the appeal in writing, again setting forth the appeal, the evidence, and the remedy sought in step 1. The program council chair or department chair informs the faculty member of the student's appeal and obtains a copy of the faculty member's written response to the student. The chair then reviews the written record and may select an alternate mediator agreeable to both parties.

The chair then writes a response including a report on the steps taken in the mediation process. The written response of the chair will be sent to the student, the faculty member, and the School's dean within two weeks of the conclusion of the mediation process.

4.   If not satisfied with the outcome of the mediation process, the student may appeal in writing within two weeks to the School's dean. The dean will then ask for a written statement and a copy of relevant materials from the faculty member. The dean may seek further information as needed. The dean forwards his or her decision in writing to the student and program council chair within six weeks of having received the appeal. The decision of the dean is final.

All information presented in the appeals process is confidential. Please see section on the Honor Code page 31. Situations regarding academic dishonesty are reviewed consistent with the Honor Code procedures and are not handled as regular grade appeals.

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Matriculant Status and Leave of Absence

A matriculant is a student who has been officially admitted as a candidate for a particular degree; graduate students are admitted to a specific program. Each matriculant's program is governed by the catalog in force at the time that the student was admitted as a matriculant to the program. Any modifications to that program must be approved in writing by the relevant dean (dean of education for School of Education programs, dean of nursing for School of Nursing programs, and dean of the School of Arts and Sciences for all other programs). Students have seven years from the time of admission to degree status to complete any of the master's degree programs, except the Master of Arts in Teaching program (MAT) which is normally completed in 15 months by full-time students and within three years by part-time students.

Matriculating students lose matriculation if they do not complete at least one course each year (i.e. four consecutive semesters or terms, including Winterim and Summer), unless a leave of absence has been granted to cover the period of non-attendance. A leave of absence may be requested from the program council or department chair. Such a request must be made in writing before the fourth semester or term of absence.

A student may request a leave of absence for up to 180 days. The period of time allowed for a leave of absence will be added to the normal seven-year limit for completion of degree requirements. Students on leave maintain their matriculant status; therefore, they are not eligible to earn credit at another college during their leave from Notre Dame without advance approval.  

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Graduation

All students must file a graduation application with the registrar to initiate the graduation process. This application is required whether a student plans to participate in the Commencement ceremony or not. Filing the application will initiate a formal review of credits and requirements by the registrar's staff.

The completed graduation form must be signed by the student's academic advisor before submitting the form to the registrar's office. The graduation fee must accompany the graduation application before it can be processed.

The deadlines for submitting this application are as follows:
May graduation…………………………. October 15
August graduation…………………………… April 15
December graduation……………………… June 15

Failure to submit this application on time will result in postponement of the conferring of the degree until the next graduation period.

Commencement is held each May. August and December graduates are invited to participate in the following May graduation ceremony.

A grade point average of 3.0 is required for graduation from all degree  programs and for completion of certificate programs. Diplomas are withheld until the graduate's account is paid in full. Graduates can purchase tams, gowns and hoods at the campus bookstore.

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Withdrawing from a Program

A matriculant who wishes to withdraw from a program before completing the degree should submit a written statement of withdrawal to the program advisor and the registrar. Matriculant students who have outstanding financial aid obligations or who have received financial aid in the past should consult with the director of financial aid before withdrawing.

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Honor Code

By registering at Notre Dame of Maryland University, every student accepts and is bound by the Honor Code. The Honor Code is based on respect for the individual, personal responsibility, and honesty. It requires students, faculty, staff and administrators to uphold Honor Code procedures, including the reporting of violations. Under the Honor Code, examinations have been unproctored since 1936. The Honor Code expects academic honesty.

The membership of the Honor Board shall include student representatives from Notre Dame's graduate programs. These representatives will be appointed by the governing council or School for each program. These students will sit with the Honor Board in all cases involving graduate students and in all meetings where Honor Board procedures and policies are reviewed.  A faculty member who teaches in the graduate program will also have a seat on the Honor Board.

The Honor Code assumes that all work submitted is one's own, and, therefore it is agreed that:

  • Examinations and tests are generally unproctored.
  • A signed pledge on the admissions application, on all tests, and all term papers confirms the student's intention of academic honesty. Students write: "I hereby affirm that I have neither given nor received help on this exam, paper, or assignment." (Signature)
  • Class materials are not permitted in the testing area.
  • Cellular telephones and personal data assistants (PDAs) may not be used in testing locations.
  • All exams are handed directly by the student to the faculty member in charge of administering the exam.

Violations of the Honor Code include but are not limited to:

  • Cheating on tests, examinations or other class or laboratory work.
  • Plagiarism: unacknowledged appropriation of another's work, thoughts, or ideas, and the unacknowledged incorporation of that work in one's own written work offered for credit. This includes submitting work that was created, researched or produced by someone else.
  • Falsification of records or data: knowingly and improperly changing grades on transcripts, grade sheets, electronic data sheets, class reports, projects and other academically-related work.
  • Unauthorized reuse of work: turning in substantially the same work to more than one class without consent of the instructor involved.
  • Misrepresentation in bibliography and footnotes.
  • Dishonest use of computer facilities: unauthorized or unacknowledged use of a computer file, program, account or log-in name or password.

Students taking courses at other colleges are required to acquaint themselves with the academic and non-academic regulations of that college.

Faculty members who have reasonable proof of a violation of the Honor Code are to approach the student, learn the facts and report the incident within 48 hours to the department chair, who will advise the faculty member on the next course of action.

Graduate students are expected to adhere to Notre Dame's Code of Behavioral Standards. See especially III C, Disruption of the Educational Process which prohibits "disruption or obstruction of teaching, research, administration and other University activities."

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Honor Societies

Graduate students with outstanding records are eligible to become members of certain honor societies. Five honor societies currently invite graduate students to become members.

Kappa Gamma Pi, the National Catholic College Graduate Honor Society, invites graduate students who have achieved impressive academic and service records. This honor is restricted to 15% of each graduating class; new members are nominated during the months immediately preceding graduation.

Sigma Theta Tau invites outstanding students in the Nursing program to join the International Honor Society for Nursing.

Delta Mu Delta, the Honor Society in Business Administration, invites outstanding students in the Master of Arts in Leadership and Management program, as well as students in the Nonprofit Management program, to membership.

Kappa Delta Pi, the Honor Society in Education, invites outstanding students in the Leadership in Teaching and Master of Arts in Teaching programs to join.

The Phi Beta Delta International Honor Society (Epsilon Iota Chapter) recognizes individuals for their interest in the areas of international education and exchange and for their efforts in promoting international understanding.

Questions about any of the societies should be directed to the respective academic department or school.

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Study Abroad

Notre Dame of Maryland University is committed to providing all students an educational experience that is truly international. Students are encouraged to include study abroad in their educational program. Study in another culture during the Winterim or the summer term will enrich students' academic programs and can help them develop an international perspective, intercultural and linguistic skills, as well as a sense of global responsibility. Financial aid is available for study abroad.

Notre Dame faculty members teach courses abroad during the Winterim and summer terms. Short-term academic programs abroad are typically 2-3 weeks in length and are offered for academic credit. With permission, courses may be used to fulfill graduate requirements.

Students may be awarded a half-tuition scholarship for three graduate credits to be used for one Notre Dame-sponsored short-term academic program abroad. To be eligible, students must have matriculated at Notre Dame; successfully completed at least 12 credits at the University in the graduate program; and have earned a GPA of a least 3.0.

Interested students should consult the Academic Experiences Abroad brochure early in the academic year and contact the faculty sponsor.

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