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Grand Valley State University    
2011-2012 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog 
  Nov 14, 2018
2011-2012 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Academic Policies and Regulations

Click on a link to be taken to the entry below.  

General Academic Policies

Graduate Academic Policies


Undergraduate Academic Policies  


General Academic Policies

Semester Hour

The unit of credit is the semester hour; the number of semester hours credit given for a course generally indicates the number of periods a class meets each week.

System of Grading

  Grade   Quality Points     Grade   Significance
A           4.0 CR   Credit
A-          3.7 NC   No Credit
B+         3.3 I   Incomplete
B           3.0 W   Withdrawal
B-        2.7 AU   Audit
C+        2.3 X   Deferred
C           2.0 NR   No Report
C-          1.7    
D+         1.3    
D           1.0    
F           0.0    

Quality points are the numerical equivalent of letter grades. A grade point average (GPA) is computed by dividing the number of quality points earned by the number of semester credits attempted (only those graded A-F). The GPA is used to determine academic standing, eligibility to participate in certain curricular and cocurricular programs, academic honors, and academic standing, which may include probation, jeopardy of dismissal, or dismissal. A minimum GPA of 2.0 for undergraduate students and 3.0 for graduate students is required for graduation. Some programs require a GPA in excess of the minimum to satisfy major requirements. Please refer to each academic section for specific requirements. Credit at the graduate student level will be awarded for grades of C (2.0) or better. This includes all graduate coursework and core, background, and foundation courses. Grades below C will figure in a student’s GPA, but the credits will not count toward the degree.

Incomplete Grade

This is a temporary grade given for work that is lacking in quantity to meet course objectives. It may be assigned when illness, necessary absence, or other reasons generally beyond the control of the student prevent completion of the course requirements by the end of the semester. This grade may not be given as a substitute for a failing grade or withdrawal. Unless changed by the instructor, the I will be changed to an F (NC when appropriate) according to this schedule: fall semester incompletes, end of winter semester; winter and spring/summer incompletes, end of fall semester.

Deferred Grade

The grade of X (deferred) is a temporary grade that may be given only in a course that cannot be completed in one semester. Such courses are usually research projects. A department that wishes to assign the grade of X must receive approval for such courses from the University Curriculum Committee before students enroll. This grade is given only for work that is satisfactory in every respect but for which students need more than one semester to complete. An X grade must be removed within two calendar years from the date of assignment. If not, it will be changed to NC.

Credit/No Credit Grade

All coursework will be graded (A-F) unless the appropriate faculty body within a college, the dean of the college, and the Curriculum Committee have approved proposals on an individual course basis that the course be conducted on a credit/no credit basis.

Undergraduate students may elect certain undergraduate coursework on a credit/no credit basis. A maximum of 10 semester hours of major, minor, or cognate courses within the major may be taken on a credit/no credit basis only with the consent of the student’s major department. A maximum of 25 percent of a student’s hours of Grand Valley courses earned to fulfill graduation requirements may be taken on a credit/no credit basis (credit = C or above for undergraduate courses, credit = B or above for graduate courses). Courses that are graded CR/NC as the standard grading scheme (e.g., internships) do not count in the maximums stated above. Consent is unnecessary if the course is an elective, a general education course, or a degree cognate. Changes from a grade to credit/no credit and vice versa will not be allowed after the first week of the semester.

Repeating a Course

A student may repeat any course one time. When repeating a course, the grade earned shall be the grade of record but the grades of all courses attempted will remain on a student’s official transcript.

Students who repeat a course will have only the last grade counted toward their GPA, whether or not the last grade is higher. Grades of I, W, AU, CR, or NC do not replace an earlier grade.

Repeating a course more than once is allowed only with the approval of the student’s academic advisor. In cases when the course is not in the student’s academic advisor’s unit, approval to repeat the course must be approved by the appropriate unit head of the department where the course is offered. Please note: many undergraduate secondary admission programs and postgraduate professional programs routinely recalculate students’ undergraduate GPAs to include repeated coursework. The inclusion of repeated grades may lower your overall GPA when applying to such programs. Students should consult with prospective programs regarding their policies before applying.

Student Appeal Process

If an advisor for undergraduate students/programs declines a student’s request to repeat a course more than once, the student may appeal the decision by putting the request and the rationale for the request in writing and submitting both to the unit head of the program in which the course is located. If the unit head declines the appeal, or is the original decision maker, the student may then submit the appeal to the dean of the college in which the course is located.

Auditing a Course

Any student may register to take a course on an audit, or noncredit, basis, provided admission and course prerequisites have been met. Students who wish to audit a course must indicate their intent to the Registrar’s Office during the first five class days of the semester. Changes from credit to audit and vice versa will not be allowed after the first week of the semester. Tuition costs for auditing are the same as for credit.

Withdrawing from a Course

A student may withdraw from a course and receive a grade of W when the completed Registration and Drop-Add Form is presented to the registrar by the end of the ninth week or dropped through self-service Banner. Students who do not withdraw before the deadline must accept a grade other than W depending on the instructor’s judgment of their performance in the course(s) and any mitigating circumstances. Students who request an exception of the withdrawal deadline due to extenuating circumstances must present their explanation of appeal attached to a Registration and Drop-Add Form signed by their professor and department chair along with at least one statement of support from the professor or department chair to the director of the Student Academic Success Center. Students should continue attending class until notification of a final decision about their appeal is received.

Withdrawal from Grand Valley State University

Students withdrawing from Grand Valley during an academic term must obtain a complete withdrawal form from the Registrar’s Office and, if applicable, have it signed by the director of the Student Academic Success Center. The completed form must be returned to the Student Assistance Center. Any refunds will be based on the date the completed form is filed with the Registrar’s Office.

Students in good standing who wish to return to Grand Valley after an absence of two or more semesters must submit a Petition to Return form to the Student Assistance Center prior to registration. The form can be obtained from the Office of Admissions, Student Assistance Center, or the Registrar’s Office website

Uniform Course Numbering System

1. Uniform Course Numbering Guidelines

Category Description

Credit in these courses do not apply to the minimum 120 credits required for the baccalaureate degree.


Introductory courses, generally without prerequisites, primarily for first-year undergraduate students.


Courses primarily for second-year undergraduate students.


Courses primarily for third- and fourth-year undergraduate students.


Advanced courses primarily for fourth-year undergraduate students.


Courses primarily for first-year graduate students or prerequisites for 600- and 700-level courses.


Courses primarily for students admissible to graduate programs.


Courses primarily for advanced graduates in postmaster and postdoctoral programs.

2. Reserved Undergraduate Course Numbers


The numbers 180, 280, 380, and 480 are reserved for use only as special topics courses.


The numbers 399 and 499 are reserved for use only as independent study and research courses.


The number 490 is reserved for use only as an internship or practicum course.


The number 495 is reserved for use only as a Capstone course.

3. Reserved Graduate Course Numbers


The numbers 680 and 780 are to be used for graduate special topics courses.


The numbers 690 and 790 are to be used for graduate research preparation courses.


The numbers 693 and 793 are to be used for graduate project courses.


The numbers 695 and 795 are to be used for graduate thesis/dissertation courses.


The numbers 699 and 799 are to be used for graduate independent study courses.

Grades — Midterm

Grades are reported by the registrar at midterm as well as at the conclusion of the semester. Midterm grades are reported for all freshmen and for any undergraduate student in other than good standing. Midterm grades will be available on the Web and not recorded on the student’s official transcript.

Grades — End of Term

Final grades are reported at the conclusion of each academic term and become part of the official record of the student. Final grade reports are available on the Web within one week of the last day of the examination period unless interrupted by university closure for holidays.


Transcripts of students’ academic records are available from the Student Assistance Center. Requests for an official transcript bearing the signature of the registrar and the university seal will be prepared and mailed within 24 hours after the request. Unofficial transcripts will be prepared immediately for currently enrolled students. Unofficial transcripts are available at anytime on the Web at no charge. No transcripts will be released if a student has an encumbrance or indebtedness to Grand Valley State University. To comply with the federal mandate, transcripts will not be released without a signed, written request from the student.

Academic Honesty

Integrity of Scholarship and Grades
Truth and honesty: The principles of truth and honesty are recognized as fundamental to a community of teachers and scholars. The university expects that both faculty members and students will honor these principles and in so doing protect the validity of university grades. This means that all academic work will be done by the student to whom it is assigned without unauthorized aid of any kind. Instructors, for their part, will exercise care in the planning and supervision of academic work, so that honest effort will be positively encouraged. Compliance shall include compliance with the following specific rules:

  1. No student shall knowingly, without authorization, procure, provide, or accept any materials which contain questions or answers to any examination or assignment.
  2. No student shall, without authorization, complete, in part or in total, any examination or assignment for another person.
  3. No student shall, without authorization, allow any examination or assignment to be completed, in part or in total, by another person.
  4. No student shall knowingly plagiarize or copy the work of another person and submit it as his or her own.
  5. No student shall submit work that has been previously graded or is being submitted concurrently to more than one course without authorization from the instructor(s) of the class(es) to which the student wishes to submit it.

Any ideas or material taken from another source for either written or oral presentation must be fully acknowledged. Offering the work of someone else as one’s own is plagiarism. The language or ideas taken from another may range from isolated formulas, sentences, or paragraphs to entire articles copied from books, periodicals, speeches, or the writing of other students. The offering of materials assembled or collected by others in the form of projects or collections without acknowledgment also is considered plagiarism. Any student who fails to give credit in written or oral work for the ideas or materials that have been taken from another is guilty of plagiarism.

Such activity may result in failure of a specific assignment, an entire course, or, if flagrant, dismissal from Grand Valley. For further information see the Student Code.

Policy on Research Integrity

The university has developed policies and procedures to comply with the federal government regulations regarding dealing with and reporting possible misconduct in science. Allegations of misconduct in science should be referred to the appropriate dean or appointing officer and the provost and vice president for Academic Affairs (excerpted from Grand Valley State University Policy and Procedures for Handling Allegations of Misconduct in Science; for the complete policy refer to the Faculty Handbook). Students involved in research who suspect that an incident of misconduct in science has occurred should report the incident to the dean of their academic college.

Student Academic Grievance Procedures

Academic grievances are generally defined as those (a) involving procedures, policies, and grades in courses, (b) those involving major, minor, or program (graduate or undergraduate) degree requirements, (c) those involving general undergraduate university graduation requirements such as general education, total credit, or residency requirements, or (d) graduate degree requirements such as total credit or residency requirements. Filing of a grievance is required by the end of the following regular semester after notification of grade or receipt of adverse decision. Appeals of decisions must take place 30 days after receipt of notification.

a. Resolution of an academic grievance involving procedures, policies, and grades in individual courses. The resolution of academic grievances is based on two principles: first, that the resolution of a grievance should be sought at the lowest possible level, and second, that pathways for appeal exist for both faculty members and students. Resolution should be pursued as follows:

  1. An appeal to the instructor
  2. If the grievance is not resolved to the student’s satisfaction, a further appeal could be made to the unit head who may request that the appeal be put in writing. Both the student and the faculty member will be notified in writing of the unit head’s decision.
  3. If the disposition by the unit head is not acceptable to either party, an appeal, in writing, may be made by either party to the dean of the college. If the dean feels that there is some merit in the written grievance, he or she shall establish a committee to review the grievance and make a recommendation within 60 days to the dean. Such a committee shall include a representative of the dean’s office, a faculty representative from the college of the course under appeal, and a student representative. Upon receiving the committee’s recommendation in the latter procedure, the dean shall rule on the grievance. Both the student and the faculty member will be notified in writing of the dean’s decision.
  4. If the disposition by the dean is not acceptable to either party, an appeal, in writing, may be made to the provost. The provost’s review and judgment in the case will be final. Both the student and the faculty member will be notified in writing of the provost’s decision.

In cases where the faculty member in question also serves as the unit head, the dean shall appoint a suitable faculty member from the college to function as unit head for purposes of grievance. In a similar fashion, if the faculty member in question also serves as dean, the provost shall appoint a faculty member to act as the unit head for purposes of grievance. If an appeal is sought in this latter case, it will go directly to the provost.

b. Resolution of an academic grievance involving fulfillment of program, major, or minor degree requirements should be pursued as follows: An appeal to the unit head or graduate program director. If the grievance is not resolved to the student’s satisfaction at this level, an appeal to the dean of the college would be possible, in the same manner as outlined in (a). Finally, a further appeal could be made to the provost as described in (a) above.

c. Resolution of an academic grievance involving fulfillment of general undergraduate university requirements, such as general education, total credits, and residency requirements should be pursued as follows: A written appeal to the director of the Student Academic Success Center. If at this point the grievance is still not resolved to the student’s satisfaction, a further written appeal could be made to the provost. In this case, the provost shall establish a committee to review the grievance and make a recommendation within 60 days. Such a committee shall include a representative of the provost’s office, a faculty representative related to the student’s major, and a faculty representative from outside the student’s college. Upon receiving the committee’s recommendation, the provost will render a final judgment in the case.

d. Exceptions to institutional graduate degree requirements sought by individual students will be determined by the dean and the provost.

The student filing the grievance may have an observer from the Dean of Students Office or a person of his/her choice attend any meeting at which the student appears. The faculty member involved in the grievance may have an observer of his/her choice attend any meeting at which the faculty member appears.



New undergraduate students: Course selection and tuition payments are completed during the orientation program. Complete orientation/registration information is mailed to all new students before their intended term of entry.

New graduate students: Complete registration information is mailed to all new students before their intended term of entry.

Advance registration is intended primarily for all currently enrolled and former students and is normally held during the preceding semester.

Late registration occurs during the first five days of each semester. Any registration or tuition payment received during the period must be accompanied by a $50 nonrefundable late registration fee. Courses beginning after the fifth class day and workshops or similar offerings without a prescribed registration process will be free of the late fee assessment on the first class day.

Schedule revision, or drop/add, is held concurrently with all registrations. A student may drop or add any course for which prerequisites have been met and capacity permits. Additional tuition charges are due when a student adds a credit. Under exceptional circumstances a student may be allowed to add a course after the deadline. The completed transaction, accompanied by support from the instructor, department chair, and collegial dean, must include a $25 late add fee and any additional tuition. Specific dates and times for all registrations are set by the registrar and listed in the schedule of courses.

Registering for two sections of the same course. Students may not be simultaneously enrolled in two sections of the same course specifically designated as repeatable for credit by a department or unit.


Prerequisite courses provide the background necessary for successful performance in a course. The university uses an automated check of students’ records, including transfer work and test scores, at the time of registration to determine whether students have successfully completed the prerequisites for certain courses. The online catalog lists prerequisites in the course descriptions.

Prerequisite checking applies to all students regardless of their level or college. Prerequisites are enforced by the Banner student information system at the time of registration.

Students will be permitted to register if they have satisfactorily completed, are currently enrolled in the prerequisites for the course, or have departmental approval to be in the course.

Satisfactory completion means:

  • Meeting the minimum grade requirement by completion of a Grand Valley State University course or an equivalent transfer class
  • Having a test score that meets the requirement

If you have not completed and are not registered for the prerequisite, you will receive a prerequisite error message when you attempt to register for the class.

Electronic Overrides

If a course requires a registration permit, is closed, or prevents registration based on major, class, prerequisite etc., contact the department offering the course to request an electronic override. Once the electronic override is entered into the Banner system, you can register for that class. The issuance of an electronic override does not automatically register you in the course.

Duplicate Registration

Students who register for the same class in multiple future semesters will be dropped from the class(es) for all subsequent terms.

Michigan Residence Requirements

The following brief summary of the policy adopted by the Board of Trustees of Grand Valley State University applies to all students:

Because students normally come to Grand Valley State University for the primary or sole purpose of attending the institution rather than establishing a domicile in Michigan, those who enroll in Grand Valley as nonresidents will continue to be so classified throughout their attendance as students unless and until they demonstrate that their previous domicile has been abandoned and a Michigan domicile established. No students shall be eligible for classification or reclassification as a resident unless they shall be domiciled in Michigan and have resided in Michigan continuously for not less than six months immediately preceding the first day of classes of the semester for which classification or reclassification is sought.

For purposes of the regulations, resident students are defined as students domiciled in the State of Michigan. Nonresident students are defined as those whose domicile is elsewhere. Students shall not be considered domiciled in Michigan unless they are in continuous physical residence in this state and intend to make Michigan their permanent home, not only while in attendance at Grand Valley but indefinitely thereafter as well, and have no domicile or intent to be domiciled elsewhere.

The residence of a student who otherwise would be classified as a nonresident will follow that of his or her spouse if the spouse is classified as a resident, after the student has met the six-month domicile requirement.

Aliens who have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States shall not, by reason of that status alone, be disqualified from classification or reclassification as resident, provided, however, that aliens who are present in the United States on a temporary or student visa shall not be eligible for classification or reclassification as residents.

It is the responsibility of the student to register under the proper residence classification, to advise the registrar of possible changes in residence, and to furnish all requested information pertinent thereto.

Application for reclassification must be filed no later than 10 calendar days following the first day of classes of the semester for which such reclassification is sought. Such application shall set forth in writing a complete statement of the facts upon which the application is based, together with affidavits or other supporting documentary evidence. Failure to file such an application on time shall constitute a waiver of all claims to reclassification or rebates for such semester.

Copies of the complete policy are available upon request from the registrar. Address all questions, concerns, and appeals of status to the registrar. The Residency Appeal Board will hear appeals of reclassification decisions.


Application for Degree

Grand Valley State University awards baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral degrees three times each year — at the conclusion of the fall semester (December), at the conclusion of the winter semester (April), and at the conclusion of the spring/summer session (August).

Degree candidates must notify the registrar of their intention to graduate by completing the application for degree card and submitting it to the Student Assistance Center prior to the semester of graduation.

Degree candidates will be allowed 30 days after the last day of the semester or session to complete all requirements and provide evidence of satisfactory completion to the registrar. No degree will be awarded until all temporary grades are removed. After the 30-day deadline, all remaining candidates will be dropped from candidacy status, and those students must reapply for some subsequent degree date. The candidacy deadline for each semester is listed in the schedule of classes on the Web. Exceptions to this policy will be based solely on extenuating circumstances beyond the control of the student. Any request for an exception must be made in writing to the registrar.


Information concerning commencement announcements, caps and gowns, invitations, tickets, time and place, assembling, and other relevant items will be mailed to all eligible degree candidates (see Application for Degree section, above) by the Dean of Students prior to the event.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs:
Certification for Benefits

Grand Valley complies in full with all reporting requirements outlined by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Enrollment, academic status, progress toward degree, conduct, attendance, and graduation requirements are monitored and reported for all benefit recipient students. All eligibility and certifications are handled through the Registrar’s Office. Questions should be directed to that office.

Student Records: Statement of Policy (FERPA)

It is the charge of the registrar to maintain complete and accurate academic records for Grand Valley State University and its past and current student populations. Much of the record keeping is required by either state or federal mandate. Grand Valley adheres to the compliance guidelines of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended. A statement of the compliance policy is available in the Student Assistance Center and is published in the Student Code.

(Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)

HIPAA is a federal law related to health insurance and medical privacy. Students who have access to protected health information through clinical placements must be trained in HIPAA compliance. Students who have access to certain health related information through their placements are required to receive training on HIPAA privacy practices. If you are not sure whether you should receive training in this area, please contact your major advisor.

Academic Waiver

A student who seeks exemption to a policy in this section may present his or her case in writing to the registrar. The registrar will then refer the appeal to the appropriate university official or committee. A final decision will be communicated in writing to the student either by the university official or by the registrar, whichever is most expedient.

Student Responsibility

Each student must fulfill all general and specific requirements and abide by all pertinent academic regulations to earn a degree at Grand Valley State University. It is the responsibility of the student to learn the requirements, policies, and procedures governing the program being followed and to act accordingly.


Undergraduate Academic Policies and Regulations

Classification of Students

Freshman: 0-24 semester credits
Sophomore: 25-54 semester credits
Junior: 55-84 semester credits
Senior: 85 or more semester credits

Academic Review Policy

Beginning with the fall semester 2002, the following system has been used to evaluate the academic progress of all undergraduate students. Using either the narrative or the table below, students can check their credits earned, cumulative grade point average (GPA), and current GPA to readily determine their academic standing. The table below lists semester hours earned (including hours in transfer) and the minimum GPA for good standing, probation, jeopardy of dismissal, and dismissal.

  1. Good Standing: Each student must have a cumulative GPA of a 2.000 or higher to be in good standing.
  2. Academic Probation: A freshman with a cumulative GPA between 1.501 and 1.999 will be placed on probation. A sophomore with a cumulative GPA between 1.801 and 1.999 will be placed on probation.
  3. Jeopardy of Dismissal: A freshman whose cumulative GPA is 1.500 or lower and a sophomore whose cumulative GPA is 1.800 or lower will be placed in jeopardy of dismissal. Juniors and seniors whose cumulative GPA is below 2.000 will be placed in jeopardy of dismissal.
  4. Dismissal: Students in jeopardy of dismissal have one semester to raise their cumulative GPA above the dismissal level. If the student’s cumulative GPA does not rise above the dismissal level and if the current semester GPA is less than a 2.500, the student will be dismissed.
  5. Readmission Following Dismissal: A dismissed student may apply for readmission after a period of one calendar year. Evidence of maturity and improved attitude toward academics and the written support of the student’s academic advisor must accompany the application for readmission. The Petition to Return form and supporting documentation must be submitted to the registrar not less than 10 days before the first day of classes for the semester of intended return. Petitions are reviewed by the Academic Review Committee on a continual basis. Approval of a petition allows the student to enroll on a conditional basis, as stipulated by the committee. The academic standing for a readmitted student will be jeopardy of dismissal.
  6. Due Process Through Appeal: If a student believes that his or her academic status is in error, he or she may submit a written appeal including written support of his or her academic advisor to the Academic Review Committee, c/o the registrar. It is in the student’s interest to appeal immediately if he or she intends to do so, but a student may do so no later than the first class day of the subsequent semester. All appeals will be considered by the Academic Review Committee.
  Semester Hours Earned* Cumulative GPA for Dismissal Cumulative GPA for Probation Cumulative GPA for Good Standing
Freshman 0-24 1.500 or less 1.501-1.999 2.000 or better
Sophomore 25-54 1.800 or less 1.801-1.999 2.000 or better
Junior 55-84 1.999 or less not applicable 2.000 or better
Senior 85 or more 1.999 or less not applicable 2.000 or better

*Including transfer credit hours.

Deans’ List

Undergraduates who earn 12 or more grade point credits with a grade point average of 3.5 or higher in any semester earn a place on the Grand Valley State University Deans’ List. (A grade of CR does not count toward the total credits required.) The deans send each student a personal letter and the honor is noted on the student’s permanent record.

Graduation Honors

Graduation honors will be based on the cumulative grade point average, including the final semester. The following scale is in effect for bachelor’s degrees awarded Fall 2010, Winter 2011, and Summer 2011:

Summa cum laude: 4.000
Magna cum laude: 3.866-3.999 (96th to 100th percentiles)
Cum laude: 3.766-3.865 (91st to 95th percentiles)


Class Attendance

At Grand Valley, regular class attendance is considered an essential part of the students’ educational experience and a requirement for an adequate evaluation of student academic progress. It is believed that college students, as mature individuals, will recognize the need for regular class attendance and will comply with this requirement.

Class work missed while students are ill or away on faculty-approved business should be made up to the satisfaction of the instructor. Although makeup work will not remove the full adverse effect of the absence in all cases, faculty members will cooperate with students in their attempt to make up their loss when an absence is unavoidable. The degree of the effect upon grades will vary with the nature and amount of work missed and must be measured according to the instructor’s best judgment. In case of excessive absences, the instructor may refuse to grant credit for the course.

Student Credit Load

Most courses carry three hours of credit. To complete a bachelor’s degree in four years, a student should carry a minimum of 15 hours each semester. First-semester freshmen and students on academic probation may not carry loads greater than 20 credits per semester.

Students may take extended course loads, those of more than 20 credits, if such requests have been approved by the director of the Student Academic Success Center.

Advising/Degree Audit

All undergraduate programs recommend that their degree-seeking students meet with an assigned faculty advisor or advising center professional advisor at least once per year, to ensure that there are no misunderstandings regarding program requirements.

Credit by Examination

In some cases degree-seeking students may be granted advanced placement or receive college credit by examination. Tests are available to determine levels of competence in certain subject areas. The following tests are available:

Advanced Placement Program (AP): AP is a program sponsored by the College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB). Generally, credit is granted for scores of 3, 4, or 5 but is determined by the appropriate academic department.

College Level Examination Program (CLEP): Credit is granted for subject examinations offered by CLEP; however, no credit is granted for the CLEP general examinations. Required minimum scores are available on request from the Admissions Office or the Student Assistance Center. Native speakers of a language other than English will not be granted CLEP or AP exam credit for that language.

Defense Activity for Nontraditional Educational Support (DANTES): Grand Valley will accept for credit certain DANTES college-level courses and college subject matter examinations. Specifics are available upon request from the office of Admissions or the Student Assistance Centers.

International Baccalaureate (IB): Credit is granted for higher level IB exam results (in most subjects). The minimum score is 4. Details of the credit granted are available from the Admissions Office or the Student Assistance Centers.

Credit by examination in any of the noted programs has the following limitations:

  1. Examination credit will be awarded if the student has not previously registered for the course in question at Grand Valley or elsewhere.
  2. The credits, while counting toward graduation, will not be used in computing the GPA.
  3. In keeping with the senior residency requirement, examination credit will not be granted within the last 30 hours toward the degree.
  4. The maximum amount of credit by examination that may be applied toward the baccalaureate is 32 hours, eight of which may be in the major area.


Concurrent Enrollment with Michigan Community Colleges

Concurrent enrollment allows students at both Grand Valley State University and those attending Michigan community colleges to make full use of the variety of courses offered by both institutions. Through concurrent enrollment, students have more scheduling options, more choice of course locations, and many more courses available. Students may take courses at both institutions simultaneously or alternate enrollment between them. Financial aid may also be available to students who qualify.

Students must be admitted to both institutions. Students will follow the policies in place at each school they attend. Grand Valley has waived the rule that requires a student to have satisfied the MACRAO degree prior to taking their first course at Grand Valley. The benefits of the MACRAO agreement will be honored upon verification of completion of the degree. Refer to the General Education Requirements section for further clarification.


An internship is experiential learning for credit taking place outside the classroom and directed by a field supervisor and a Grand Valley State University faculty member. A student may enroll for a maximum of 15 credits of internship. An internship must be planned with a faculty advisor the semester before it takes place.


Attendance at an orientation program is required of all degree-seeking undergraduate students before their first semester of attendance. The purposes are to welcome new students, to introduce them to each other and to faculty members with whom they will be working, to administer placement testing, and to assist them in planning programs of study. The final step of orientation is the preparation of a schedule of classes approved by a faculty advisor and completion of the registration process. A schedule of the orientation dates is mailed to all new students well in advance of their term of entrance.

Degree Requirements

The following requirements apply to all undergraduate degree-seeking students:

  1. A minimum of 120 semester hours
  2. A cumulative GPA of at least 2.0
  3. A graduation major with at least a 2.0 average
  4. A minor, if elected, with a 2.0 GPA
  5. General education requirements
  6. Degree cognate for Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree
  7. Capstone course
  8. The last 30 semester hours toward a baccalaureate degree must be earned in Grand Valley courses
  9. A minimum of 58 semester hours must be earned at a senior institution
  10. A minimum of 12 Grand Valley earned semester hours must be included in the major (six for the minor)

1. Semester Hours Requirements
Students are required to complete at least 120 semester hours of credit for graduation. Courses numbered below 100 and taken after summer 1983 do not apply toward the 120 needed for graduation.

2. Cumulative
For graduation a student must earn a cumulative GPA of at least a 2.0 based on all coursework attempted at Grand Valley. Some major programs stipulate a GPA requirement exceeding the minimum. Refer to the department entries for specifics.

3. Major
A student must elect a major in one or more of the academic units empowered to present candidates for the undergraduate degree. A cumulative GPA of 2.0 in the major is the required minimum for graduation. Some majors stipulate requirements exceeding the minimum. Refer to the department entries for program specifics.

4. Minor
A minor is required for select programs for graduation. Any student may choose to complete a minor. If a student chooses to complete a minor, a cumulative GPA of 2.0 is the required minimum for graduation. Some minors stipulate requirements that exceed the minimum. Refer to the department entries for program specifics.

5. General Education Requirements
Ensuring that undergraduate students receive a broad general education has been a primary goal of colleges and universities since their inception. In this era of increasing specialization and growing demand for professional expertise, it is vital that we continue to emphasize the value of general learning.

Grand Valley State University maintains that a complete education involves more than preparation for a particular career. A career occurs in the context of a life, and a sound general education helps one “make a life” as well as “make a living.” The university therefore remains committed to assuring that all undergraduate students, regardless of academic major or intended profession, receive a broad education rooted in the arts and sciences.

The focus of our general education program is to provide students with an education that balances depth with breadth, the specialized with the general. The general education program helps students become literate in a sophisticated way in a number of disciplines, and it fosters their ability to make connections across various domains of knowledge. Such preparation will provide students with the general knowledge and skills necessary to participate intelligently in the discourses that shape local, national, professional, and global communities.

Teaching in the liberal tradition is at the heart of Grand Valley’s identity, and this focus is critical in our general education program. Liberal education transcends the acquisition of information; it goes beyond the factual to ask important evaluative and philosophical questions. Liberal learning holds the fundamental principles and suppositions of a body of knowledge up to inquiry, question, and discussion. It helps a person recognize the assumptions under which he/she operates and encourages the examination and questioning of those assumptions. Liberal learning begins in the general education program and continues through more specialized studies comprising each student’s major and minor areas of study.

Grand Valley is dedicated to making sure that our students, via their academic majors, become competent specialists in their fields of endeavor. An equally pressing priority is that our graduates also possess the marks of a generally educated person — that they will have acquired the broad knowledge and life skills that will allow them to be informed and thoughtful people. These ideals co-exist within our institution, and together they produce people who can contribute to their own well-being, their communities, their professions, and the world in which they live.

The general education program provides a broad-based liberal education experience that fosters lifelong learning and informed citizenship. The program prepares students for intelligent participation in public dialogues that consider the issues of humane living and responsible action in local, national, and global communities.

Refer to or the General Education Guide for more information.

Goals of the General Education Program

The general education program teaches the skills and knowledge needed to intelligently participate in public discourse. Mastery of critical content and the development of skills occur concurrently in all general education courses.

Knowledge Goals

  • The major areas of human investigation and accomplishment — the arts, humanities, mathematical sciences, natural sciences, social sciences, and writing
  • An understanding of one’s own culture and the cultures of others
  • The tradition of humane inquiry that informs moral and ethical choices

Skills Goals

  • To engage in articulate expression through effective writing and speaking
  • To think critically and creatively
  • To locate, evaluate, and use information effectively
  • To integrate different areas of knowledge and view ideas from multiple perspectives

The Structure of the General Education Program
The general education program is divided into three sections: the Foundations, Cultures, and Themes.

Courses in the Foundations categories introduce students to the major areas of human thought and endeavor. These courses present the academic disciplines as different ways of looking at the world, they introduce students to the varied methods used to create knowledge, and they acquaint students with major questions and principles of the field. All Foundation courses help students develop the essential skills of creative and critical thinking, articulate expression, and information literacy.

Cultures Requirements
An important component of education is realizing that how we know is as important as what we know. The study of culture prompts students to recognize themselves as cultural beings, and to understand the diverse ways in which people organize life and perceive the world. All Foundations courses that receive Cultures designations focus on the values, perceptions, history, and social life of various cultures and subcultures in the United States and in other countries or regions. All cultures help students develop the skills of creative and critical thinking, articulate expression, and information literacy.

Preparing for responsible participation in public discourse requires that people become conscious of both complementary and competing viewpoints and recognize that any issue or problem can be viewed from multiple perspectives. Crossdisciplinary study helps students integrate knowledge from various disciplines through the study of a major idea. Themes build on the knowledge gained in Foundations. Each Theme group consists of interrelated courses that explore an idea from different perspectives and examines the connections that exist, actually or potentially, among our various ways of understanding major ideas. All Themes courses help students develop the skills of creative and critical thinking, articulate expression, and information literacy. In addition, these courses focus on integrative skills.
Questions regarding the general education program should be addressed to 

General Education Requirements


  • Arts (one course)
  • Philosophy and Literature (one course)
  • Historical Perspectives (one course)
  • Mathematical Sciences (one course)
  • Natural Sciences (select one from the Physical Sciences and one from the Life Sciences. One of the science courses must contain a lab)
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (two courses from two disciplines)
  • Writing (one course)


  • One course with the World Perspectives designation
  • One course with the U.S. Diversity designation


  • Each student will select a theme and choose two courses from that theme. The courses must come from two different disciplines. Only one course may be at the 100/200 level.

Supplemental Writing Skills (SWS)

Because the ability to write clearly is a means for critical thinking, exploration of values, and self-discovery goals of the general education program, the university requires that all students take two Supplemental Writing Skills courses. These courses, which have Writing 150 with a grade of C (not C-) or better as a prerequisite, are designated SWS in each semester’s course schedule. Please read the schedule carefully, because not all sections of a multisection course are necessarily SWS sections. Those that are not designated SWS do not result in SWS credit. The SWS courses need not add to a student’s program because they may also count as courses in general education or the major.

The two SWS courses may not be taken from the same department or school. One must be from outside the student’s major unit. The first SWS course is normally part of the general education requirement. The second course is normally taken in the student’s major and at the 300- or 400-level. Transfer students with a MACRAO must take one SWS course (normally in the student’s major).

Courses that have received the SWS designation are not merely courses that require written assignments; they adhere to certain guidelines. Students turn in a total of at least 3,000 words of writing during the term. Part of that total may be essay exams, but a substantial amount of it is made up of finished essays or reports or research papers. The instructor works with the students on revising drafts of their papers, rather than simply grading the finished piece of writing. At least four hours of class time are devoted to writing instruction. For a three-credit course at least one-third of the final grade is based on the writing assignments.

Students must pass the writing skills courses (Writing 150 and the two SWS courses) with a grade of C or better in each course. Students with a grade of C- or lower in an SWS course may repeat the course or pass another SWS course with a grade of C or better before graduation. Transfer students with the MACRAO must pass one SWS course with a grade of C or better.

Questions regarding the SWS program should be addressed to the SWS Committee: 

Frederik Meijer Honors College

Frederik Meijer Honors College students may satisfy their general education requirements through the Meijer Honors College curriculum.


Transfer Students

Students who transfer to Grand Valley with the MACRAO approved associate of arts or science degree from a Michigan public community college have satisfied the Foundations of the general education program and one Supplemental Writing Skills (SWS) course. Transfer students with a MACRAO are required to complete the following requirements: one SWS course in their major or college and the Capstone course in that major and the B.A./B.S. cognate where applicable. In addition, transfer students with a MACRAO must also fulfill the following general education requirements: the two-course Cultures requirement; and one two-course theme.

1. B.A. or B.S. Cognate
In addition to the general education requirements, the B.A. degree requires a third-semester proficiency in a foreign language (either a classical or a modern language) of the student’s choice. Instruction in 12 foreign languages is offered by the Department of Classics and the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. Placement tests are available to students with precollege competence in a foreign language who desire advanced placement or waiver of the foreign language requirement.

In addition to the general education requirements, the B.S. degree requires a three-semester sequence of courses that emphasize either natural science or social science methodology as prescribed by the major department. See the department entries for specific details.

2. Capstone Course
Each major curriculum includes a senior-level Capstone course aimed at providing the student with a broad and comprehensive perspective on the fundamental assumptions, issues, and problems of the field. See the department entries for specific details.

3. Required Hours at Grand Valley
Graduation from Grand Valley State University requires that the completion of the last 30 semester hours toward a baccalaureate degree must be earned at Grand Valley or in Grand Valley programs and courses taught off campus by Grand Valley faculty members.

4. Senior Institution Requirement
Regardless of the number of transfer credits accepted by Grand Valley from junior or community colleges, a baccalaureate degree must include a minimum of 58 semester hours from a senior (a four-year, degree-granting) institution.

5. Transfer Hours for Major and Minor
Regardless of the number of transfer hours accepted by Grand Valley from other institutions, transfer students must complete a minimum of 12 hours in the unit conferring the major (six for the minor).

Multiple Major; Multiple Minor; Major-Minor

In order to have multiple majors recorded on the official record, a student must meet fully the requirements of each major. Regardless of the amount of overlap, each major must contain at least 30 credits that are not duplicated in the other. For a multiple minor, each must contain 20 credits that are not duplicated in the other. A degree cognate is required for only one major. The same principle applies in counting credits toward a major and a minor; regardless of the overlap, the major must contain at least 30 credits not duplicated in the 20 credits of the minor.

Second Bachelor’s Degree

Under certain circumstances a student may earn two baccalaureate degrees. Students with a Grand Valley baccalaureate degree or Grand Valley students pursuing two degrees simultaneously at Grand Valley should note the following information:

  1. They must meet all specified requirements for both degree programs.
  2. They must complete a minimum of 30 semester hours in residence at Grand Valley beyond that required for the first degree.
  3. A student who meets the separate requirements for each of the two degree programs but not the additional residence requirement may have both majors certified and recorded on his/her academic record.
  4. A student holding a baccalaureate degree from Grand Valley may not modify his or her undergraduate GPA for degree by pursuing additional coursework.

Students holding a baccalaureate degree from another regionally accredited institution should note the following information:

  1. They must meet all specified requirements for a new major degree program.
  2. General education requirements are regarded as satisfied by the first degree.
  3. They must complete a minimum of 30 semester hours in residence at Grand Valley.
  4. Transfer students must complete a minimum of 12 hours in the unit conferring the major (six for the minor).

Catalog Limitation and Guarantees

A student may graduate under the catalog in effect at the time of his or her initial registration as a degree-seeking student at Grand Valley or under any succeeding catalog. However, no student may graduate under the requirements of a catalog that is more than eight years old. A student cannot declare a course, program, or degree once it has been discontinued even if it existed at the time of the student’s entry.

Graduate Academic Policies and Regulations

Academic Review

A cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher must be earned in the entire degree program in order to graduate. A graduate student whose cumulative grade point average falls below 3.0 after completion of nine hours of graduate level coursework will be placed on academic probation. Such students must achieve at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average after the next nine hours of coursework to remain in the program. A cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or below after nine hours of graduate level coursework means automatic dismissal from the university. Students who have been academically dismissed may apply for readmission after one year. Students who wish to appeal their dismissal should direct a written appeal to the dean of the appropriate college. Appeals for dismissal made by nondegree students must be directed to the dean of Graduate Studies.

Credit Load

Full-time graduate students register for nine or more credit hours per semester. Permission from the dean of the appropriate college is required for more than 15 hours per semester.

Independent Study

No independent study or individualized courses will be allowed in areas where courses exist and are taught at least once per year.

Only graduate degree-seeking students who have completed the core requirements or have special permission from the appropriate academic dean’s office may take individualized graduate courses or do graduate-level independent projects.

All independent study topics and the amount of credit to be earned must be approved by the faculty member who agrees to supervise the project. A maximum of six hours of credit can be granted for independent study. The conditions, meeting times, workload, and subject matter concerned with the project are mutually agreed to by the initiating student and the assenting faculty member, and consistent with standards of quality education. Request forms can be obtained from the faculty member or the academic program office. Some departments may have further restrictions regarding independent study.

Degree Requirements

In each of the graduate programs offered by Grand Valley State University, the university seeks to provide its students with intellectual challenge and opportunity for scholarly and professional growth. A graduate program is a carefully structured combination of course studies and research designed on the whole to serve specific needs of the student.

Specific details of the programs and regulations governing graduate work may be found in the department entries in this catalog. The following information briefly summarizes the institutional minimums for the master’s degree. In those degree programs where the department requires more than the university minimum, their requirements take precedence.

Graduate Academic Policy on the Minimum Graduate Program Grade Point Average Required for the Award of a Graduate Degree

1. The University may award a graduate degree only when a student meets all program requirements and their graduate program grade point average (GPA) is equal to or greater than a “B” (3.0) average.

2. The graduate program grade point average is computed from all required and elective courses taken for the degree(s) currently being pursued. It excludes all courses older than eight years at the time the degree is awarded unless a course is included in the degree program through an approved policy exception.

3. The dean of graduate studies may exclude one or more courses from the calculation of the graduate program grade point average where:

a. The student makes a formal application for the exclusion, and;

b. The graduate program director recommends such an exclusion, and;

c. The dean of graduate studies makes a determination that such exclusion is in the best interests of the student, degree program, and university, and;

d. The course(s) being requested for exclusion were not associated with a violation of the university academic integrity policy.

4. The student must fulfill all requirements for the degree within a period of eight consecutive years. The date of entry into the first graduate course at Grand Valley is viewed as the starting point of the eight-year period. If a course taken to complete the requirements for the master’s degree does not fall within the eight-year period allowed for the degree, the course may be retaken for credit, with departmental approval. Otherwise another course of equivalent semester hours must be substituted in the program.
5. Graduate credit from graduate institutions with appropriate regional accreditation may be considered for transfer to a degree program at Grand Valley State University. Students are directed to the transfer of credit policy for specific information.
6. Master’s programs may include some courses that are dual-numbered at the senior undergraduate and graduate level. Such courses must be approved for dual listing and must follow the dual-listed course policy. Students registering for graduate credit will be required to perform at the graduate level. Graduate students may not repeat for graduate credit dual-listed courses that were taken in their undergraduate program. If such a course is a master’s program requirement, the department will make an appropriate substitution.
7. Candidates for advanced degrees must demonstrate not only their mastery of the subject matter but also their ability to integrate and synthesize it. They must also demonstrate their ability to generate new knowledge and/or apply existing knowledge to specific practical situations. This demonstration may take the form of a thesis, comprehensive examination, or an appropriate project. A specific course may also be used to fulfill this requirement as long as it is structured as a Capstone experience. In such a course there must be a written product that meets the objectives and is evaluated by the faculty members in
the program.

Graduate Academic Policy on the Minimum Number of Credits required for the Award of a Master’s Degree

1. A minimum of 33 graduate-level credits must be earned for a master’s degree to be awarded. Graduate-level credits for the master’s degree are earned in those courses that are numbered 500 and above that do not meet the definition of a leveling course.

2. A cumulative GPA of at least a 3.0 is required of all candidates for the master’s degree.

3. At least 24 credits must be earned at Grand Valley.

4. The following types of credit are NOT considered to be graduate-level credit for the purpose of this policy:

a. Credit earned for completion of a leveling course as defined below.

b. Credit that was earned more than eight years prior to the award of the degree.

Exceptions to this provision may be granted for courses over eight years old based on evidence provided by the student that demonstrates currency in the content of the course, and on the recommendation of the graduate program director for the degree sought, and with the approval of the dean of graduate studies.

5. No more than nine credits earned from a dual listed graduate course may be applied toward the degree.

Second Master’s Degree

Under certain circumstances a student may earn two master’s degrees. Students who are considering such a plan should note the following information.

The university may award more than one master’s degree where:

1. All stated requirements are met for each degree, and;
2. In the judgment of the dean of Graduate Studies, the degree program is sufficiently different from other graduate degrees currently sought or previously earned by the student, and;
3. A minimum of 21 credits of graduate work is completed at the university for each degree sought that:     

a. Is exclusive of thesis, project, Capstone course or similar culminating experiences and;
b. Is not utilized for any purpose for another graduate degree currently sought or previously   earned at the university or elsewhere, and;
c. Meets all other university requirements.

4. This policy does not apply to dual-degree programs:

a. Within the university that have been specifically approved through the university curriculum approval process, or;
b. Offered in conjunction with another graduate institution under a formal agreement between the university and other graduate institution.

Masters’ Theses and Doctoral Dissertations Policy
1. Masters’ theses must be overseen and approved by a committee consisting of at least three members. Doctoral dissertations must be overseen and approved by a committee consisting of at least four members.
2. For the master’s thesis at least one committee member must be from outside the candidate’s specific research topic of study. For the doctoral dissertation at least one committee member must be from outside the candidate’s program of study.
3. All committee members must hold graduate faculty member status (full, associate, or adjunct). The chair of the committee must hold full graduate faculty member status.
4. The dean of Graduate Studies must approve individuals external to Grand Valley as members for thesis or dissertation committees. Qualified individuals will be given adjunct faculty member status for three years from the time of approval to serve on the thesis or dissertation committee.
5. The Office of Graduate Studies will review the committee membership for adherence to policy.
6. There must be an announced, public proposal of the thesis or dissertation.
7. There must be an announced, public defense of the completed thesis or dissertation.
8. All graduate students who are working on their thesis or dissertation and have completed all other credit requirements for their degree program must remain in continuous enrollment by enrolling in at least one thesis or dissertation credit for each subsequent semester until the completion of the thesis or dissertation.
9. The completed document must adhere to the Grand Valley State University guidelines for the preparation of theses and dissertations as regularly reviewed and approved by Graduate Council.
10. After obtaining final approval from the committee and the appropriate academic dean, the completed document is reviewed by the Office of Graduate Studies for adherence to the Grand Valley State University guidelines for the preparation of theses and dissertations. Approval of the Office of Graduate Studies is required before the thesis or dissertation is accepted by Grand Valley State University.
11. An electronic version of the completed approved document must be submitted for inclusion in the Grand Valley institutional repository managed by the University Library.
12. Exceptions to this policy require the approval of the dean of Graduate Studies.

Catalog Limitations and Guarantees

Graduate students follow the requirements in the Grand Valley catalog at the time they were originally admitted into a program as degree-seeking students. Students who have not enrolled in Grand Valley for 24 consecutive months must follow the requirements in the Grand Valley catalog in effect at the time of their re-entry. All students have the option of using the program requirements in effect at the time of graduation. Any exceptions must be approved in writing by the faculty advisor and program director and filed in the appropriate program office.