Graduate Academic Policies

These policy statements differ somewhat from the general academic policies of the university. Students with policy questions should set up an appointment to visit with the Graduate Studies Office.

Grading System

All courses taken for graduate credit are evaluated by the letter grades A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D, F (failure), S (satisfactory), U (unsatisfactory), I (incomplete), and X (continuing enrollment). D and F grades do not carry credit toward a master's degree but are included in the cumulative average. The S grade (satisfactory) is reserved for courses that are not readily evaluated by the usual letter designations. Any course in which S or U (unsatisfactory) grades are used would be so designated by the department when offered. S grades carry no quality points and hours earned with an S grade are not included in figuring the semester or cumulative average. Hours failed with a U grade are added into the total hours for the grade point average.

A maximum of 6 credit hours with grades of S may apply to the requirements for the master's degree. Each semester hour of A carries four quality points; B, three quality points; C, two quality points; and D, one quality point. Incompletes must be removed before the end of the succeeding semester; otherwise the I automatically will become an F on the permanent record. An X grade that has not been converted to a credit-bearing grade by the end of the second regular semester after the semester for which the X was given will automatically change to an F grade. The responsibility for finishing incomplete work rests with the student.

Academic Standing

The purpose of the Graduate Academic Standing policy is to address both academic and non-academic graduate student deficiencies in a consistent, fair, and timely manner. Academic deficiencies comprise poor course performance, a course grade below 3.0 GPA, a cumulative GPA below 3.0, or other academic deficiencies as identified by the student's department. Non-academic deficiencies comprise poor professional disposition, ethical violations, or other personal issues that interfere with program performance.

Departments are charged with identifying students with deficiencies by midterm of each semester and at the conclusion of each summer session. The graduate department chair from each degree-granting program will report to the Graduate Studies Office the names of students with known deficiencies and remediation plans to address these deficiencies, in accordance with department and university policy.

Graduate students pursuing a degree are required to maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.0. At the end of each semester as part of a graduate Academic Standings process, the records of all degree students are reviewed. Each student with a cumulative average below 3.0 will be placed on academic probation for one semester. The purpose of the probationary semester is to give the student sufficient warning of academic danger. A student is considered to be in good academic standing even while on probation. If, at the end of their next semester, students have not re-established the required average, they will be required to withdraw from the university.

SUNY Fredonia is aware that there may be exceptional circumstances that would affect a student's ability to regain the required academic average at the end of one semester. Students under such circumstances may seek the support of his/her advisor and the chairperson of the major department in appealing the required withdrawal.

Graduate Grade Appeals

A graduate student holds the rights to be treated in a nondiscriminatory manner and to file a grade appeal.  If the graduate student claims that an earned grade is based on discrimination, the student must file the discrimination claim first.  Upon resolution of the discrimination claim, the student may then file the grade appeal. 

A student who believes that a course grade or other grade reported for him/her is incorrect has the right of appeal by the following procedure within one semester after final grades are posted.

He/she must first discuss the grade with the instructor.

If the student is still unsatisfied after the discussion with the instructor, he/she may appeal in writing to the department chairperson. The appeal must outline the reasons the student feels the initial grade was incorrect and must include any relevant documentation (e.g. graded material, syllabi, etc.) in support of the grade change.

If the department chairperson decides that the student's case has merit, he/she will appoint an ad hoc committee composed of two members of the faculty in the department (other than the faculty member involved) and one other graduate student in the department. The committee will review the case, interview the student and the instructor separately, and reach a judgment by majority vote. This judgment will be communicated to the department chairperson and he/she will notify the student and the instructor of the decision.

If the department chairperson decides that the student's case does not merit further investigation or if the student disagrees with ad hoc committee's judgment, the student may appeal this decision to the Graduate Studies Office and the college Dean. The student must supply the same supporting materials as those given to the department chairperson. If, after discussion with appropriate faculty and/or administrators, the Graduate Studies Office and the college Dean decide that the student has a case that merits investigation, the Graduate Studies Office, in consultation with the college Dean, may appoint an ad hoc committee of the same composition as that described above for the purpose of investigating the student's case.

The investigative committee will review the case, interview the student and the instructor separately, and reach a judgment by majority vote. This judgment will be communicated to the Graduate Studies Office who will notify the student, instructor, and department chairperson and dean.

If a change of grade is recommended by the committee, the instructor may initiate the change, or the committee's recommendation will be forwarded to the Graduate Studies Office and the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs for their consideration. The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs may modify the grade if the committee so recommends.

At any time during this process prior to the time a final decision is made, the graduate student may withdraw his/her appeal; likewise, the instructor may initiate a grade change consistent with the students appeal at any time during the process. Either of these actions ends the appeal process.

Graduate Course Repeat Policy

Graduate students may retake up to two (2) courses during a single degree program in order to improve the final course grade(s). The Graduate Course Repeat Petition may be obtained from the Graduate Studies website at Approval of the department chairperson, the Dean of the College of Education (education majors only), and the Graduate Studies Office is required. If the petition is approved, neither the previous course grade nor its earned credit will count toward the student's cumulative GPA or overall credit hours. A single course may be retaken only once and must be completed within two (2) years after the completion of the original course. Tuition waivers may not be used to pay for a repeated course.

It is important to note that although the initial grade will remain on the student's academic transcript, the overall quality point average will be re-calculated based on the new grade earned for the repeated course.

Policy on Continuous Enrollment


The purpose of the Continuous Enrollment policy is to provide a mechanism for allowing continuous usage of university resources (library, advising, network privileges, etc.) during periods of sustained research and scholarship and to account for student enrollments and faculty involvement in capstone and theses projects not completed within the semester in which the student is registered for the final capstone course.


"Continuous Enrollment" is defined as a 1-credit hour graduate course (GRAD 695) for which a graduate student is required to register for during each semester following a capstone course until completion of thesis/capstone work.


A grade of 'IP' (In Progress) will be assigned to the original thesis/capstone course and will remain on the student's transcript until the student either completes the work or fails to complete the thesis/capstone work within five (5) years of admission to the degree program. A final grade for the original thesis/capstone course will replace the 'IP' grade upon completion of the work. A grade of 'S' (Satisfactory) or 'U' (Unsatisfactory) will be assigned to each GRAD 695 course for which the student enrolls.

Student Responsibilities

The student and capstone/thesis advisor must complete the Continuous Enrollment Contract form (available online on the Graduate Studies website), indicating the specific work that remains to be done and an agreed-upon date for completion.  The form must be sent to the Graduate Studies office; a copy will be sent to the Registrar, to the student's department chair, and the appropriate Dean's office. 


Registration will be required at the beginning of either Summer Session 2, Fall or Spring if the student has not completed the capstone/thesis course in the previous academic term.  Example: a student supposed to complete the capstone by May needs extra time to complete.  No registration required during Summer Session 1, but if the student has not turned the work in by Summer Session 2, this policy would take effect to maintain access to library and computing services.  Students will need to re-register for GRAD 695 every year that the capstone/thesis work is ongoing.


A student is not eligible for academic leave for the purpose of thesis/capstone completion once work on thesis/capstone research has begun. If a student must suspend work on the research for compelling reasons, the student must formally withdraw from the graduate degree program and apply for reinstatement when he/she is prepared to complete the thesis/capstone project. Withdrawing from a graduate degree program curtails student usage of university resources, including the faculty advisors involvement in the research project. Reinstatement to a graduate program following a leave of absence requires Department, Dean and Graduate Studies Office approval.

Statute of Limitations Policy

No course taken more than 7 years prior to application for a current master’s degree program will be considered for credit toward the new degree.

Departments are responsible for scrutinizing past graduate credit earned at SUNY Fredonia to determine the appropriateness of transferring such credit toward a current graduate degree. Any coursework for which the student earned a grade lower than ‘B’ will not be accepted. Other credit will be accepted at the discretion of the student’s department.

The student must fill out a Transcript Evaluation Request form, available on the Graduate Studies website. The student’s degree program department chair will sign the form and forward it to the dean of the College of Education (or other appropriate dean), and then the Graduate Studies Office will sign and forward the original to the Registrar’s Office. A copy of the fully signed form will be sent back to the department.

The department may consult with the Graduate Studies Office if they wish to include credit older than 7 years.