Academic Policies

Governing Policies for Satisfying Academic Progress

Policies which apply to all degree programs are set forth in this section. Requirements applicable to specific degree programs are stated in the curricular outlines which appear in the academic program sections of the catalog.

The ultimate responsibility for understanding university policies and meeting all degree requirements rests with the student.

Catalog Regulations

All students are subject to the provisions of the catalog which was in effect at the time of their initial enrollment at John Brown University, with the exception of items that apply for only a specified period of time, such as tuition charges. However, a student may petition the department head and the Dean for permission to change to a later catalog.

Changes in Requirements and Regulations

The university reserves the right to make modifications in policies, procedures, and regulations: e.g., grading system, transfer of credit, guidelines for degree requirements, housing regulations and charges, tuition and fees, and admission standards, and to make such modifications applicable to any or all currently-enrolled students. When modifications occur, sensitivity to reasonable dates of implementation and appropriate categories of currently-enrolled students affected will be exercised. Students will be notified of such changes through their advisors, written notices, and campus publications.

Course Credits

 The basic unit of course credit is the semester hour.

Enrollment Status

A full-time graduate student is one who is enrolled for six or more semester hours.

Prerequisites and Corequisites

Students are not permitted to enroll in courses for which they have not completed all prerequisites. A prerequisite course must have been completed with an acceptable passing grade before enrollment in the given course is permitted. A corequisite is a course in which a student must be enrolled and satisfactorily participating simultaneously to the given course.

Graduate Credit toward Undergraduate Degree

John Brown University undergraduate students may receive permission to substitute JBU graduate courses for required or elective courses in an undergraduate degree program and then subsequently count those same courses as fulfilling graduate requirements in a related graduate program that the institution offers. Undergraduate students requesting to take graduate courses must have junior or senior standing, possess a cumulative undergraduate grade point average (CGPA) of 3.0 or higher, and receive permission from the respective graduate department head. Applicability of specific graduate courses toward undergraduate degree requirements is determined by the respective undergraduate department head. A maximum of 12 graduate hours may apply toward both an undergraduate degree and a graduate degree.

Time Limits

A student enrolled in a graduate program requiring 40 or fewer hours is allowed a maximum period of four years, measured from the date of first enrollment, to complete the degree under the entering curriculum. A student enrolled in a program requiring 41 or more hours is allowed a maximum of six years to complete the degree under the entering curriculum. Students who do not complete their degree requirements within these time limits are subject to the degree requirements in effect at the time of completing the degree.

Recency of Credit

Credit earned ten years or more prior to admission to a student's current graduate program may not be applied toward meeting graduation requirements without special approval by the department head and the Dean. This policy applies to transfer credit as well as credit earned at JBU. Students wishing to apply older graduate credit toward a current degree must submit a petition to the respective department head for acceptance.

Adding and Dropping Courses

Students register for graduate courses during the official published registration time periods. Students may not register for courses after the close of the late registration time period. Course registrations and additions completed during the late registration period must have approval from the respective department head and are subject to a late fee.

Semester and half-semester graduate courses dropped within the 100% refund period will not appear on the student's permanent record. Students who drop a course after the 100% refund period and by the "Last Day to Drop a Course" will receive a 'W' on their permanent record. Non-completion of a course thereafter will result in a letter grade based upon the student's performance relative to the required work for the entire course. 

Refund Policy

Graduate students who withdraw from the university or drop a course may be entitled to a partial refund of that term's tuition and course fees. The percentage of refund is determined by the official date of withdrawal, according to the following schedules:

If the program follows the traditional semester format (14-16 weeks):

100% refund before the end of the first week of the semester

80% refund before the end of the second week of the semester

60% refund before the end of the third week of the semester

40% refund before the end of the fourth week of the semester

20% refund before the end of the fifth week of the semester

No refund after the fifth week of the semester

For short terms or courses (typically 7 and 8 week terms):

100% refund before the end of the first week of the term

80% refund before the end of the second week of the term

40% refund before the end of the third week of the term

No refund after the third week of the term

For non-sequential weekend courses:

100% refund before the end of the first week of class, beginning with the start of the first day of class

80% refund before the end of the second week following the first day of class

40% refund before the end of the third week following the first day of class

No refund after the third week of class

For example, for classes that meet Fridays and Saturdays, the first week of class begins the day of the course and ends Thursday of the following week. The second week begins the Friday after the first class meeting and ends Thursday of the next week, even if no further class meetings have occurred.

For 1-4 day seminar courses:

100% refund if dropped seven or more days before the first class meeting

80% refund if dropped within the seven days before the first class meeting

No refund beginning the first day of class or later

Note: Spring break and Summer break will not be counted as a week of the term for refund purposes.

Courses that are presented in different formats, such as international study trips and seminars, are not subject to the above refund schedule. Information regarding refund schedules for these types of courses is available upon request from the respective graduate program office.

Other fees are non-refundable.

In the event of medical withdrawal prescribed by a physician, special consideration will be given to tuition adjustment.

Attendance Regulations

General Policy

A student must be registered for a class and on the official roster in order to attend. This includes students who are attending under audit status. Attendance at and participation in all class sessions, except for times when students are absent for reasons beyond their control, is regarded as essential. Class activities are planned for the benefit of all students.

A student who misses 50% or more of scheduled contact time for any course will not receive credit for that course. The instructor, at their discretion, may impose a penalty for any absence and/or require compensatory work for some absences. Substantial tardiness, as well as missing an entire class session, may be charged against the 50% limit.

Non-Attendance Resulting in Withdrawal

Except in cases of extenuating circumstances, students who do not attend any class for ten consecutive days may be withdrawn from John Brown University for non-attendance.  It is the responsibility of the student to contact instructors, advisor, Registrar, Student Accounts Services, and Financial Aid if extenuating circumstances exist.  If the withdrawal occurs before the mid-point of the term, students will receive a grade of 'W'.  Students will have a grade of 'F' recorded if they are withdrawn after the mid-point of the term.

Classroom Demeanor

Students are expected to display classroom behavior that is appropriate to a Christian university. An instructor may remove a student from a class if, in the instructor's judgment, the student displays behavior that is uncivil, defiant, or otherwise disruptive to the classroom learning environment. Students dismissed from a class may not return to the class without the permission of the professor.

Academic Integrity

As a Christian institution of higher education, John Brown University seeks to maintain the highest standards of academic integrity. Violations of these standards will result in substantial penalties. The university is responsible to clearly articulate the Academic Integrity policy to students and faculty by publishing it in the Graduate Student Guide, the Faculty Handbook, and by informing all first-year students of this policy. Faculty are to reference the policy in their course syllabi.

However, the primary responsibility for knowledge of and compliance with this policy rests with the student.

Grading System

Indication of each student's progress is reported regularly by instructors. The grading scale used as a basis for letter grades is established by the instructor of each course.

Grade points per semester hour

A 4.0 C+ 2.3
A- 3.7 C 2.0
B+ 3.3 C- 1.7
B 3.0 D+ 1.3
B- 2.7 D 1.0
    F 0.0

Note: A graduate level course in which a grade of 'C-' or lower was received cannot be applied toward a graduate degree.

The following are not included in grade point average:

I-Incomplete Work S-Satisfactory NC-No Credit Earned
W-Withdrawn U-Unsatisfactory  

All grades of incomplete ('I') must be approved by the instructor. An 'I' grade must be made up within a time frame established by the instructor, but no more than 30 days after the end of the term. Upon completion of the course work, the instructor will notify the Registrar’s Office to replace the 'I' grade with the earned grade. Otherwise, the 'I' is converted to an 'F' when the deadline is passed.

Independent Study

Independent study courses are those in which students do not meet in a regularly-scheduled course but study independently under the regular supervision of a graduate faculty member. Such arrangements must be approved in advance by the instructor, the student's advisor, the department head, and the Dean. A student is limited to three hours of independent study per semester or summer, and a total of six hours per degree program. A non-refundable fee of $125 per semester hour will be charged to the student. The student will also pay all normal per-credit tuition charges.

Auditing Courses

Because of the participatory nature of most graduate classes, students wishing to audit a graduate class must secure the permission of the instructor and the approval of the department head. The student must register as an auditing student. The name of the student will be entered on the class roll, and the course appears on the student's academic record, but without credit and with a final grade of 'AU' or 'U.' Auditing students are subject to limitations on in-class participation and to standards for satisfactory performance established by the instructor. The fee for auditing a graduate class is one-half of the regular tuition.

Transfer of Credit

Applicants who have taken graduate courses at other universities may be allowed to transfer some of their previous courses into their JBU graduate program. Students may transfer up to 25% of the degree program toward fulfillment of a graduate degree. No grade below a 'B-' may be transferred into a graduate degree program at JBU. Transfer of credit must be approved by the department head and the Dean. Grades from transfer credits are not included in the calculation of JBU grade-point averages.

Additional Master's Degree (after conferral of degree)

A student desiring to begin an additional master's degree at JBU after having one or more master's degrees conferred by JBU must apply through the admissions process as a degree-seeking student.  

At the point in time when the first degree is conferred, that degree is "frozen." No additional majors, minors, or emphases will be added to the degree, and the GPA for the degree is final. If a second degree is in progress at the time the first degree is conferred, then the student will be allowed to complete the second degree without readmission.

The student will meet the requirements for the degree in the catalog that is current when they apply for readmission. The student must complete at least 50% of major hours uniquely for the second degree.

Late Enrollment

Any student who enrolls after the close of the regular registration period may be subject to limitations in the course load and a late registration fee.

Quality Standards for Continuance in Graduate School

To maintain satisfactory academic standing, graduate students must make satisfactory progress toward their degrees and have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0. A student whose cumulative GPA falls below a 3.0, who is not making satisfactory progress toward the degree or who is failing to demonstrate an ability to succeed in their plan of studies, may be denied permission to register, required to withdraw, or dismissed from the program.

The grade of 'C' is the minimum passing grade for graduate credit; however, the maximum number of credit hours of 'C' or 'C+' that may be applied toward a master's degree is nine semester hours or 25% of the hours required for a degree, whichever is less. A graduate-level course in which the student earned a grade of 'C-' or lower cannot be applied toward a graduate degree. Counseling students must earn a grade higher than a 'C+' in every course required for state licensure.

A student admitted under regular status whose cumulative GPA is below 3.0 is automatically placed on probationary status. The department head and the student will be notified in writing by the Graduate School. Probation becomes effective at the time that a student's grade point average falls below 3.0, not at the time of notification. Students will continue on probationary status until the end of the semester in which the next nine hours of graduate course work is completed. At the end of that period, one of the following actions will be taken:

a)  a student whose cumulative grade point average is 3.0 or higher will be taken off probation, or

b)  a student whose cumulative grade point average is still below 3.0 will be dismissed. Students who are dismissed will be informed of this action by the Graduate School. Dismissed students may be readmitted only upon approval of petition for reinstatement.

A student admitted under provisional status who upon completion of 12 hours of graduate course work has achieved a 3.0 GPA will be recommended for regular status in the graduate program.

A student admitted under provisional status who upon completion of 12 hours of graduate course work has earned a GPA below 3.0 will be subject to dismissal.

A student on academic probation when last enrolled in the Graduate School who wishes to be readmitted or change degree program must petition the department head and the Graduate School. The petition should provide reasons for the poor academic record; explain how conditions that produced this poor performance have changed; and present specific plans for improvement. The respective department head and the Dean must approve the petition before a student can enroll in the program.

Academic Suspension

A graduate student who earns a term grade point average below 1.5 for an individual semester will be placed on suspension at the end of that semester. The student will be required to petition to the graduate dean and department head in order to enroll in courses. The suspension is imposed regardless of the student’s cumulative grade point average.

Appeal Policy

Occasionally a student may wish to appeal an academic action such as a grade, a graduation requirement, or a withdrawal penalty. Such appeals should be made in writing to the Dean. In most cases the student should first request the support of their advisor or department head. If the complaint is about a faculty member, the following process should be followed.

This process applies to alleged violations of student’s rights such as unequal treatment, violation of grading procedures as stated in the course syllabus, disagreements over assigned course grade, disagreements over accommodations given, or other academic matters.

1.  Any student with a complaint about a faculty person should discuss the complaint first with that faculty person.

2.  If talking with the faculty person does not bring resolution, or if there is reluctance to approach the faculty person, the student should meet with the appropriate department head and present a concise, well thought out statement of the problem and the desired resolution.

3.  Before officially considering the complaint the department head will offer to meet with the student and the accused faculty person. If the student is unwilling to attend such a meeting, the Dean or department head is at liberty to dismiss the complaint at that point.

4.  The Dean, or any other administrator, faculty, or staff person, when approached by a student with a complaint against a faculty person, must advise the student to follow the procedure listed above.

5.  If the student consents to a meeting with the department head and the faculty person, the complaint will be heard formally in that meeting. The department head will be responsible for documenting the proceedings and outcome of the meeting in writing and for keeping that documentation on file.

6.  The accused faculty person or the aggrieved student may request a second meeting within seven days to which both the faculty person and the student, within limits set by the department head, may invite colleagues and students. The written documentation of the proceedings and outcome of this second meeting is the department head’s responsibility as well.

7.  If the problem is not resolved to the satisfaction of either party, an appeal may be made to the Dean.

8.  If the problem is still not resolved, a written appeal may be made to the Vice President for Academic Affairs who is empowered to make the final decision and communicate the decision in writing to those involved.

9.  Any of the above written documentation may be included in the accused faculty member’s file only after that person has reviewed the document.

Grade Renewal

A student may repeat any course on their academic record with prior approval of the department head and the Registrar, with the understanding that all courses and grades will remain on the permanent record. However, only one taking of the course may contribute hours to the total for graduation, and only the highest grade received will be included in the calculation of the student's grade point average. If the student receives permission and renews a grade by means of transferring an equivalent course from another institution, the completed course is posted with a grade of 'CR', and any prior attempts are excluded from graduation hours and the grade point average.


Graduation Requirements

All students must complete a program of study that meets the academic policies set by the Graduate School before becoming eligible for graduation. The following graduation requirements apply to all master's degree programs.

Note: particular degree programs may have additional requirements. It is the responsibility of the student to determine and meet all academic and graduation requirements for their degree.

In order to graduate, each student must:

1.  Satisfactorily complete requirements for the specific graduate program for which the student is enrolled within the time designated in the catalog (refer to Time Limits), following acceptance as a graduate student. In the case of extenuating circumstances, a petition for extension of time will be considered by the department head and the Dean.

2.  Achieve a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Cumulative GPA is based on all graduate courses completed at John Brown University in the respective discipline. If a student's cumulative GPA falls below 3.0, the advisor will review the student's status and may make appropriate recommendations for continuance in the program or removal from the program.

3.  Submit an Application for Graduation.

4.  Pay the required $35 graduation application fee.

Application for Graduation

An Application for Graduation form, available on-line during the pre-registration process, should be completed when registering for the final semester or term in residence before completion of degree requirements. This application provides information regarding the graduation fee, exit assessment requirements, and a final check of the student's name as it is to appear on the diploma and in the commencement program.

Participation in Commencement

Commencement is held in December and May. Two months prior to the intended completion date, each candidate must file an online Application for Graduation. The Registrar's Office will notify students by email of the dates and provide a link to the online application. A graduation application fee of $35 will be charged to the candidate's account without regard to commencement participation.

Degree candidates may participate in commencement only if all graduate degree requirements will be completed no later than the last day of the semester.

Eligibility to participate in commencement is limited to the commencement exercises at the end of the student's final semester in attendance or the commencement at the end of the following semester. Furthermore, participation eligibility is dependent upon compliance with all of the deadlines posted on the JBU commencement web site.


An official transcript of a student's academic record may be obtained by submission of a written request to the Registrar's Office, provided the student has made satisfactory arrangements with the Business and Financial Aid Offices with respect to financial obligations. Transcripts are not released unless the student grants permission through a signed statement.

The first official transcript is issued without charge; a $5 charge is incurred for each official transcript thereafter. Transcript requests can be found on the JBU web site.

Official transcripts of academic credits are not released while the student's account is in arrears. The university engages professional collection agencies to deal with delinquent accounts, as necessary.

Access to Educational Records

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) extends to all former and presently enrolled students at John Brown University the right of access to certain educational records maintained by the institution.

Student rights include:

a)  inspection and review,
b)  explanation or interpretation of content,
c)  duplication of the record at a standard fee, and
d)  a formal hearing, if necessary, to challenge the content of any such record.