2020-2021 Graduate Catalog 
    
    Oct 19, 2020  
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog

Academic Regulations and Policies



The provisions of this catalog are subject to change at the discretion of Park University. A record of any change will be maintained in the Academic Affairs office and the Office of the Registrar. The following are not intended to be an exhaustive source of information on the policies and standards governing graduate education at Park University. Students may consult their academic advisors or Graduate Program Directors for clarification and additional information.

The Graduate Council recommends policies and procedures to govern graduate programs at Park University, and ensures that faculty, students and program administrators adhere to approved policies, procedures and best practices.

Academic Honesty

Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life. Park University students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty at www.park.edu/current-students

Definitions

Academic dishonesty includes committing or attempting to commit cheating, plagiarism, falsifying academic records, unauthorized possession or distribution of academic materials, and other acts intentionally designed to provide unfair advantage to the student.

Cheating includes, but is not limited to, intentionally giving or receiving unauthorized aid or notes on examinations, papers, laboratory reports, exercises, projects, or class assignments which are intended to be individually completed. Cheating also includes the unauthorized copying of tests or any other deceit or fraud related to the student’s academic conduct.

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another’s idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or paraphrasing another’s work without acknowledging and documenting the source.

Falsifying academic records includes, but is not limited to, altering grades or other academic records.

Unauthorized possession or distribution of academic materials may include the unauthorized selling or purchasing of examinations, term papers, or other academic work; stealing another student’s work; using information from or possessing exams that a faculty member did not authorize for release to students.

Unauthorized distribution of academic materials also includes preparing, offering to prepare, selling, or distributing material with the knowledge, or under circumstances in which s/he should reasonably have known, that such material is to be submitted by another person for academic credit at any college, university, or education institution.

Other academically dishonest acts include, but are not limited to: stealing, manipulating, or interfering with an academic work of another student or faculty member; receiving or giving assistance on a task that was expected to be performed individually; lying to or deceiving a faculty member.

Possible Sanctions Against Academic Dishonesty

Depending on the seriousness of the offense, one or more of the following sanctions may be imposed on a student who violates standards of academic integrity (instructor’s discretion):

  1. Verbal and/or written formal reprimand.
  2. A lower or failing grade for the particular assignment.
  3. A lower or failing grade in the course.

When there is evidence of plagiarism in a comprehensive exam, final project or thesis, the instructor, evaluator or primary thesis advisor can:

  1. Fail the student for the particular comprehensive exam, final project or thesis.
  2. Determine that the student should not be allowed to retake the exam or rewrite the project or thesis.

Imposition of any of the following sanctions requires the approval of the dean of the School in which the student is enrolled:

  1. Administrative withdrawal from the course.
  2. Academic probation for a specified period of time.
  3. Academic suspension for a specific period of time.
  4. Dismissal from the program.
  5. Expulsion from the University.
    1. The sanctions listed above may result in the violation of the lawful visa status of F-1 students which may result in the Termination of their SEVIS Record.

Procedure

In the event of an alleged or suspected violation of academic honesty, the following procedure will be followed:

The primary responsibility for the initial handling of plagiarism and cheating rests with the instructor. As a first step, the instructor will discuss the matter with the student, in an attempt to ascertain the facts. Whether or not the student admits to plagiarism/cheating, if the instructor remains convinced that the alleged violation occurred, either based on documentary evidence or personal observation, in instances of cheating, the instructor may impose an appropriate penalty, as outlined above, on the student. The seriousness of the penalty to be imposed depends on the seriousness of the offense.

Appeal

A student who wishes to appeal either the charge of plagiarism and cheating or the appropriateness of the penalty may schedule a conference with the program director, who may informally resolve the matter in discussion with the student and the instructor. If the program director is the instructor, the student may conference with the dean of the College.

If the student is unsatisfied by the resolution offered by the program director, the student may request the College dean for a formal hearing, within 14 calendar days of the program director’s response. Within 14 calendar days of receiving the hearing request, the College dean will appoint and formally charge a Hearing Committee. This committee will consist of two graduate faculty members from the same program, excluding the instructor and the program director, and a third graduate faculty member from another program. The Hearing Committee will then elect a chair and formally notify the student of the hearing. The hearing will occur within 14 calendar days of receiving the formal charge from the College dean. Both the student and the instructor will be given an opportunity to present their case to the Hearing Committee. Neither the student nor the instructor has the right to be represented by a legal counsel at this hearing. However, the student may choose another student, faculty or staff member to be present at the hearing, for advice. The adviser may not address the committee members or witnesses. Based on the Committee’s recommendation, which must be forwarded to the College dean, in writing, within seven calendar days, the College dean resolves the case, either by affirming the Committee’s recommendation, modifying the sanction or dismissing the charges. The College dean’s written decision must be mailed to the student, via certified mail, within seven calendar days of receiving the Hearing Committee’s recommendation. The College dean’s decision is final.

Academic Records

The Office of the Registrar maintains for each enrolled student an academic record and a degree audit. All official academic transactions are recorded.

A degree audit reflecting all completed courses will be available on request. A copy of the degree audit may also be obtained through MyPark. Any student may obtain copies of a transcript by filing an official transcript request along with the per copy fee. No transcripts will be issued unless at least one graded Park University course appears on the transcript. No outstanding balance may show on the student’s account. Students may obtain an unofficial copy of their transcript through MyPark.

Park University’s Records Retention Policies are designed to protect and maintain necessary records. The University permanently maintains grade, degree, and transcript records for all students. (Transcripts may be requested at www.park.edu/transcript.) Additionally, the University permanently maintains records of legal name changes. Other demographic information, including address records, are maintained for a minimum of ten years after last term of attendance/graduation. Other academic records, such as degree program offerings and degree requirements, are maintained in accordance with the University’s Document Retention policy.

Academic Standards

Graduate students are expected to make satisfactory progress toward a degree. Determination of satisfactory progress is based on the following criteria.

  • Continuous enrollment in most Park University graduate programs is expected.
    • Continuous enrollment requires enrollment in at least one course. If the student discontinues enrollment for two calendar years or more, readmission is required. Should readmission be granted, it will be based upon the requirements and regulations effective at the time of the readmission. All requirements for a master’s degree must be completed within seven years.
    • International nonimmigrant students on F-1 visas must enroll full-time each fall and spring semester. Readmission for international students is required after one year.
  • Successful completion of all required program coursework and electives with a minimum 3.0 grade point average (GPA). (Programs may have a higher grade point average or grade requirements than the minimum University requirements for graduation. Refer to the Academic Degree Programs section of the catalog for program-specific requirements.)
  • Students may have no grade lower than a “C” and no more than six (6) credit hours graded “C” in their declared graduate degree program coursework at the time of graduation.
  • Students are not permitted to repeat any course in which the student earns a grade “B” or better.  A course in which a student earns a grade “C” or lower may be repeated one time.  No more than six (6) credit hours may be repeated in a declared program.
  • Fulfillment of all program requirements (as outlined in the catalog), including but not limited to the successful completion of comprehensive examinations, thesis, portfolio, Major Field Test, final assessment or a final project.

 

In order to ensure that students are making satisfactory progress, academic status is assessed twice annually, at the end of the Fall and Spring semesters. These are referred to as Review Periods. The Fall Review Period includes coursework taken in summer and fall sessions, while the Spring review period includes spring sessions.

Academic Probation

To remain in good academic standing, graduate students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA. If the cumulative GPA for Park graduate courses falls below 3.0, the student will be placed on Academic Probation. Academic status is assessed only for review periods in which the student is enrolled in and attended courses.

Students have two Review Periods in which to return to good academic standing by achieving a 3.0 cumulative GPA. To remain on Academic Probation and continue enrollment, students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher in their coursework during each review period(s). Students whose academic program cumulative GPA at the end of any review period is above 3.0 are removed from Academic Probation and return to good academic standing.

Academic Suspension

A student will be suspended from the program for any of the following reasons:

  • Failure to maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher, for courses that the student enrolled in and attended, taken during each Review Period after being placed on Academic Probation.
  • Failure to raise their cumulative GPA to a 3.0 or higher within two Review Periods that the student enrolled in and attended. 

Academic Suspension Appeal

A student who has been suspended from a graduate program at Park University may petition for an exception from Academic Suspension policy.

Domestic students who have been academically suspended from a graduate program at Park University may petition for reinstatement, but will not be allowed to enroll in the following semester until their appeal is adjudicated.    

International students placed on academic suspension will be permitted to enroll in the following semester upon submitting a formal petition to appeal the suspension.  International nonimmigrant students on F-1 visas who are suspended are in violation of the lawful visa status, which may result in the termination of the SEVIS record.

All appeals must be at least one-page in length, typed, double spaced, with standard margins.  It must be submitted within one week following formal notice of being placed on academic suspension to the Director of their program.  The appeal should include explanation of those circumstances that contributed to the academic suspension, explaining the reasons why the student was not successful academically. Supporting documents should be presented as evidence in support of the appeal if available and appropriate.  The student should provide a clear and achievable plan for their regaining academic good standing.

A committee chaired by the student’s graduate Program Director and of two other graduate program directors will adjudicate the appeal and notify the student of their decision prior to the beginning of the following semester.

Grading Policy/Quality of Work

The official grades issued by Park University to indicate the assessment of the student’s performance are as follows: (per semester hour) A grade point average of 3.0 or higher is required for satisfactory academic standing in all graduate programs.

A - Excellent 4 grade points
B - Good 3 grade points
C - Unsatisfactory 2 grade points
D - Poor 1 grade point
F - Failure No grade points
I - Incomplete
P - Pass
S - Satisfactory Progress
W - Withdrawal Withdrawal without assessment of performance-issued between the last date to officially enroll and a date not later than the 10th week of the semester or 5th week of a term. Not available for two week sessions. No later than the third week of a four week session. The “W” is a student initiated withdrawal.
WF - Withdrawal Withdrawal issued after the 10th week of a 16-week semester, 5th week of an 8-week term or 3rd week of a four-week summer session. Not available for two-week session. The “WF” may be student-initiated or instructor-initiated and will receive the same grade points as an “F”. Instructors will initiate a “WF” when a student does not officially withdraw from the course but failed to participate in course activities through the end of the period. It is used when, in the opinion of the instructor, completed assignments or course activities or both were insufficient to make normal evaluation of academic performance possible.
AU - Audit
NR - Not Reported

A grade of “I,” “Au,” “S,” “NR” or “P” will not affect a student’s grade point average; however, it may impact financial aid eligibility.

*For information and resources about student loan repayment, or to submit a complaint relating to your student loans or student loan servicer, please visit www.wsac.wa.gov/loan-advocacy or contact the Student Loan Advocate at loanadvocate@wsac.wa.gov

Grade Appeal Procedure

Careful, criterion-based and timely assessment of individual student performance and the assignment of an appropriate grade are a part of the faculty’s teaching responsibilities. It is presumed that the assigned grade is based solely on the student’s performance in the course and that the instructor’s professional judgment is valid.

The appeal process is intended for the final course grade, not for specific assignments in the course. Students who believe that the instructor’s evaluation of their final course grade was unfair or done in error may appeal the matter according to the provisions of this procedure. Students must exhaust the informal grade appeal process before a formal appeal can begin. A grade appeal must have a solid basis. It is inappropriate if based solely on the student not sharing the instructor’s judgment about the quality of his or her work. Raising questions about fairness in this context is not to be understood as questioning the high standards that are expected, but rather as arbitrariness or capriciousness in evaluation and assigning a grade. The burden of proving arbitrariness or capriciousness rests on the student who wishes to appeal the grade. The following types of situations constitute grounds for the charge of arbitrariness or capriciousness:

  1. The grade was influenced by factors that were irrelevant to student performance in the course.
  2. Different standards than those used to evaluate other students were applied to determine this particular student’s grade.
  3. Stated grading standards in the syllabus were not followed or were altered significantly after the course was under way and without prior, written and sufficient notice.

Informal Grade Appeal

It is the responsibility of the student to work to resolve the matter with their instructor informally within 30 calendar days subsequent to posting of grades. The instructor should correct the grade if an error was made or communicate with the student and explain the rationale for the grade. If the problem is not resolved informally in discussion with the instructor, the student may file an appeal by submitting, in writing and using the Grade Appeal Form, to the appropriate graduate program director, within 45 calendar days subsequent to the posting of the grade. Except in extraordinary circumstances that include medical emergency and military service, failure to appeal the grade within the time limit constitutes waiver of the right to appeal.

Exception: If the instructor is unavailable because of death, prolonged illness or absence, or is no longer employed with the University, the program director or designee shall handle the situation in place of the faculty. In such a situation, the program director or designee may correct an obvious error, or in consultation with a colleague who is knowledgeable in the discipline, make a grade adjustment if it is warranted.

Formal Grade Appeal

  • Step 1: If the problem is not resolved informally with the instructor, the student may appeal the grade formally to the appropriate graduate program director. The formal grade appeal request must be made in writing, using the Grade Appeal Form and submitted within 45 calendar days subsequent to the posting of grades in an attempt to resolve the matter. Except in extraordinary circumstances that include medical emergency and military service, failure to appeal the grade within the deadline constitutes waiver of the right to appeal. The appeal should clearly state and document the informal effort made to resolve the problem, reasons for the appeal and relevant documents such as a copy of the course syllabus, copies of exams, quizzes, assignments, etc., which the student believes are necessary to support the appeal. The appeal may also include a statement as to what the student feels should be the appropriate grade. The appropriate program director will promptly notify, in writing, the faculty member of the appeal, requesting a written response, with all supporting documentation. The response and documentation should be received from the faculty member by the program director within five business days of receiving the notice. If the program director was the instructor of the course, the student files the appeal with the dean of the College in which the graduate program resides.
  • Step 2: Within 10 business days of receipt of the appeal, the program director or designee shall make a recommendation for or against the grade change, with justification in writing, and send the recommendation to the dean of the College in which the student is enrolled.
  • Step 3: Within 10 business days of receiving the recommendation, the dean of the College shall inform the student of the final decision. The dean reserves the right to appoint a grade appeal committee to assist in the decision-making process. If such a committee is appointed, a recommendation must be forwarded in writing to the dean of the College within five business days of completing the review. The dean resolves the case either by affirming the committee’s recommendation or by modifying it if necessary. The dean will inform the student in writing of the final decision within five business days of receiving the committee’s recommendation or after the dean has determined the outcome. The dean’s decision on the appeal is final with no other appeal process available for either the student or faculty member.

Grade Change Policy

No grade change shall be granted later than one 16-week semester or two 8-week terms from the original grade submission deadline. Any change of grade, prior to the deadline, will be initiated by the faculty member only who assigned the grade. All requests must be adequately documented and approved by the program director or dean.

A grade may be changed, prior to the deadline, for the purpose of correcting clerical or administrative errors, or to correct an error in the calculation or recording of a grade. A change of grade will not occur as a result of additional work performed or re-examination beyond the established course requirements.

Remote Proctoring

Park University has instituted remote virtual proctoring of the final exam for online students only in certain classes (not all Park online courses require proctoring – check the course’s syllabus for requirements). Final exams in these designated courses (see: https://pdl.park.edu/proctor/) are taken online under the virtual supervision of the ProctorU during a specific window of time set in the course modules. Students will need both to register with ProctorU and to schedule each exam with ProctorU at least 72 hours ahead of time. ProctorU creates an academic record for each test-taker that is handled with the strictest adherence to Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (URL: http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html) guidelines. All of ProctorU proctors are required to complete FERPA training and ProctorU was successfully audited for FERPA compliance by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) (URL: http://www.aacrao.org). Park University policies related to remote virtual proctoring are publically viewable here: Park Distance Learning – Academic Policies – Park University Online Proctoring Policy Page. URL: https://www.park.edu/academics/park-distance-learning/academic-policies/#Proctor Policy

Incomplete Notations

An Incomplete grade (“I”) is issued at the discretion of the instructor and may not be issued to a student who has unexcused/excessive absences or limited participation in the course. A grade of Incomplete indicates that the coursework was not completed in the time allotted in the semester/term through no fault of the student as determined by the instructor. If a student cites a medical or disability reason for being unable to complete the coursework, the instructor will contact Disability Services for confirmation. An Incomplete cannot be granted as a disability accommodation unless approved by Disability Services. An Incomplete grade may be issued only upon submission of a “Contract for Incomplete” by the instructor. The Contract for Incomplete is due by midnight of the last day of the term/semester. Under the Contract for Incomplete, the instructor works independently with the student to determine new deadlines for the material, as well as any additional assignments that the student needs to complete. Final assessment of the grade is postponed to no later than the last day of the semester/term immediately following the semester/term in which the Incomplete was granted, unless an earlier deadline was established by the instructor. Failure on the part of the student to complete the work will result in a grade of “F”. Students who are granted an Incomplete may opt out of the Incomplete within one week of notification.

NOTE: A grade of Incomplete may suspend the student from financial aid or graduate assistantships.

Attendance

Graduate students are expected to attend all classes, laboratories and field work for which they are enrolled, and complete all work assigned by the instructor. This policy applies to all online and face-to-face classes. For additional information refer to Attendance Policy for Financial Aid .

Audit Course Policy

The designation of “Audit” is a registration status used when students officially register for a class without earning a grade or credit. Online courses are not eligible for audit. Students must request course audits in writing prior to end of the course add period for the session. Audits are permitted only if space is available within the course. Students are charged one-half of the regular tuition rate and full fees for audited courses. Audited courses do not apply to degree requirements and are not eligible for federal financial aid. Students may not receive credit by exam or VLE (Validated Learning Experience) credit for audited courses.

Classroom Conduct and Disciplinary Action

A student whose behavior disrupts the classroom or interferes with the learning of other students will be subject to disciplinary action, ranging from dismissal from the classroom to expulsion from Park University. Such behavior includes, but is not limited to, the use of abusive or obscene language, attending the class under the influence of drugs or alcohol, excessive tardiness or excessive absences. For additional information refer to Student Conduct Code .

Comprehensive Exam

When applicable, a student who fails the final comprehensive exam, except in the cases of plagiarism, may repeat the exam one time, with the permission of the program director. Any further attempts would only be permitted upon the recommendation of the program director and the approval of the College dean. If a student fails a comprehensive exam due to plagiarism the policies for comprehensive exams, stated under Sanctions against Academic Dishonesty apply.

Cancellation of Classes

Any course may be cancelled at the discretion of the Provost or Campus Center Director. When a class is cancelled, students are notified so they may make necessary adjustments.

Pregnancy Disclosure Policy

Park University provides pregnant students with at least the same special services as it provides to students with temporary disabilities and prohibits the harassment and discrimination of students based on sex, which includes pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions, including breastfeeding. Park also provides reasonable accommodations to qualifying students with disabilities related to pregnancy and childbirth. Students may request accommodations through the Park University Disability Services office at disabilityservices@park.edu. Please refer to Park’s Pregnancy and Parenting Accommodations policy and Student Housing policy for more information, available at http://www.park.edu/terms-and-regulations/disability-guidelines.html.

Study Abroad

Through participation in a study abroad program, Park students have the opportunity to earn Park credit abroad while attending one of Park’s international partner institutions. Park University offers study abroad opportunities in numerous countries around the world. Bilateral, direct and study abroad consortia agreements are in place and continue to be updated to satisfy the need of students.

Students can study abroad for a semester, a year, or a summer program. The credits taken abroad are counted towards the students’ degree requirements and calculated into their GPA.

Athletic Participation Policy

Athletic participation is an important component of student life. Athletes are required to abide by all NAIA and Park University rules and regulations in order to participate in athletics. Athletes are expected to attend class sessions and are only permitted to miss class for athletic purposes when University-sanctioned competitions (including travel to or from the destination) conflict with classes. (It is not permissible for student-athletes to miss class for on campus practices, weight training, or related activities.) The student-athlete is responsible to notify his/her instructor at least one week prior to the missed class period(s) and to make arrangements for missed coursework. Providing the faculty member has been notified by the student-athlete, the faculty member will make arrangements for class assignments, quizzes, exams, or other assignments that conflict with contest or related travel dates. Faculty are encouraged to allow the student to make up missed exams and/or assignments upon the student’s return or, in some cases, may require that the work be submitted by the established deadline. All make up work and exams must be submitted by the last day of the session. If student-athletes have difficulty making arrangements with instructors to complete course requirements resulting from University-sanctioned competitions, students should contact the Associate Vice President and Dean of Students, Dr. Jayme Uden (jayme.uden@park.edu).

Complaints / Grievances Policy

Park University has a variety of procedures for complaints/grievances related to harassment, disciplinary actions, financial aid appeals, and traffic violation appeals. Students should use these processes when appropriate, contacting the Student Success Center for guidelines, procedures, etc. Students who use these procedures will not be permitted to use the following procedures on the same incident or issue. However, students may choose instead to use this procedure in which the treatment rather than the outcome is being challenged.

It is the policy of Park University to provide equal opportunity for all enrolled students without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, or veteran status. Students who feel that they have been discriminated against should file a student complaint with Student Life: www.park.edu/student-life

Higher-education institutions delivering courses by distance education are required to provide the contact information for official entities or agencies within each state designated to handle complaint resolution. States are required by the US Department of Education (34 CFR 668.43(b)) to have a complaint process available to any enrolled or prospective student. Students enrolled in online and distance courses, as well as on-campus courses, should attempt to resolve complaints by following the Grievance Procedure(s) as outlined in the University’s Catalogs (available here: https://www.park.edu/academics/undergraduate-catalog/). If students wish to file a complaint about the University with its accreditor regarding issues of institutional quality, students may do so by following the instructions on the Higher Learning Commission website (information available here: https://www.hlcommission.org/StudentResources/complaints.html). For distance education students ONLY who have exhausted all processes described above, please email the Missouri Department of Higher Education at Amy.Werner@dhe.mo.gov or (573) 522-1377.

Park University has developed the following procedures for assuring that the student has the opportunity to have his/her concerns addressed.

Complaint

A complaint is an informal claim of discriminatory treatment. The complaint form is available on the Park University website at www.park.edu.

Grievance

A grievance is the written allegation of discrimination that is related to:

  • Treatment while enrolled in an educational program
  • Employment as a student on campus or in campus-based programs
  • Financial aid awards
  • Participation in clubs and/or organizations
  • Other matters relating to campus life or student life.

*Please note: If the grievance is related to a Student Harassment Policy or Title IX Policy situation, please refer the matter immediately to the Dean of Students, who serves as the Title IX Deputy Coordinator. More information on these policies is available on the Park website at www.park.edu/student-life. Students will not be subjected to adverse actions by any school officials as a result of initiating a complaint.

All students with complaints should follow the outlined grievance procedures. If the complaint is not resolved at the institutional level, students may send the complaint, in writing, to the appropriate state higher education board. For contact information, refer to the State Authorizations section in the catalog.

Procedures

  1. Students wishing to make an informal complaint or file a grievance should contact their Student Success Advisor or Campus Center Director for the correct procedures to be followed, or complete the online Concern/Complaint Form, available at: https://my.park.edu/ICS/Student/ConcernComplaint/. Record-keeping will be the responsibility of the appropriate Student Success Advisor or Campus Center Director. 
  2. In the case of complaints, the Dean of Students (or the designee) will either: a. direct the complainant to the supervisor of the area where the alleged incident occurred or b. contact the supervisor on the student’s behalf.
  3. Students filing a grievance will be instructed to send a written statement which documents the alleged discrimination to the Dean of Students and to the immediate supervisor of the area where the alleged incident occurred. A written response from the supervisor will be made within ten working days.
  4. If after reviewing the written response the student wishes to pursue the matter further, copies of the entire file are to be forwarded to Park University’s Human Resources Officer. This officer will be free to interview those directly involved, and will be free to contact any who have information, in order to resolve the matter. The student’s right to appeal stops with the Human Resources Officer. The goal of this procedure is to prevent reoccurrence. However, in instances where an individual is found responsible for serious discriminatory action, the Human Resources Officer will consult with the President regarding sanctions.
  5. The President may choose to impose a variety of sanctions, including verbal warnings or letters of reprimand or dismissal from employment or enrollment at Park University. Please refer to the Academic Regulations and Policies section for material specifically relating to academic grievances and grade appeals.

To contact and/or submit a grievance to your state higher education board, please see the contact information on Accreditation/Memberships  under State Authorizations.

Graduate Student Course Load

Full-time graduate student status is met by enrolling in and completing six or more credit hours during a 16-week semester. [NOTE: This definition of full-time status governs graduate assistantship awards.] Enrollment in three to five hours in a 16-week term will constitute half-time graduate student status. Two credit hours of enrollment during the semester will constitute part-time status.

A semester is a 16 week timeframe during which courses are offered in both a 16-week term and in two 8-week terms. [NOTE: At times, specialized term configurations are put into place to accommodate a course. These terms take place within the semester framework.]

A minimum of six credit hours in any combination during a 16-week semester is considered full-time graduate enrollment by Park University.

  • This definition of full-time graduate student status does not meet the federally mandated full-time enrollment requirements for students receiving federal financial aid and/or student loans, or for international nonimmigrant students on F-visas.
  • The definition of full-time graduate student status mandated by the federal government for students receiving financial aid and/or student loans and for international nonimmigrant (F-1) students supersedes the definition of the University’s full-time graduate student status.

As graduate courses at Park University are offered in 16-week and 8-week terms, and as the credit hours per course vary from one to three, the following examples are provided for clarity:

Park University’s graduate students full-time status requirement examples:

Graduate Student Enrollment Options 16-week term First 8-week term Second 8-week term Total Credit Hours Enrolled
Option #1 enrollment credit hours 2 three credit hour courses     6
Option #2 enrollment credit hours   1 three credit hour course 1 three credit hour course 6
Option #3 enrollment credit hours 1 three credit hour course 1 three credit hour course   6
Option #4 enrollment credit hours 1 three credit hour course   1 three credit hour course 6
Option #5 enrollment credit hours   1 one credit hour course 1 five credit hour course 6
Option #6 enrollment credit hours   1 two credit hour course 1 four credit hour course 6

Federal Financial Aid and/or Student Loan full-time status requirement example:

Graduate Student Enrollment Options 16-week term First 8-week term Second 8-week term Total Credit Hours Enrolled
1st 16-weeks of enrollment credit hours 2 three credit hour courses     6
2nd 16-weeks of enrollment credit hours   1 three credit hour course 1 three credit hour course 6
Total Credit Hours for 2 consecutive 16 week periods 12

International Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student full-time status requirements example:

F-1 Graduate Student Enrollment Options 16-week term First 8-week term Second 8-week term Total Credit Hours Enrolled
1st 16-weeks of enrollment credit hours 2 three credit hour courses     6
2nd 16-weeks of enrollment credit hours   1 three credit hour courses 1 three credit hour courses 6
Total Credit Hours for 2 consecutive 16 week periods 24
  • The minimum 6 credit hours of enrollment each 16-week semester for international nonimmigrant students must be in face-to-face courses (online courses do not fulfill federal full-time enrollment requirements); online courses may only be taken in addition to the minimum 6 face-to-face credit hours.
  • International nonimmigrant students who wish to enroll in credits for the second 8-week term of any semester must be enrolled in those credits at the beginning of the 16-week semester; failure to meet the full-time enrollment requirement at the beginning of each 16-week semester will result in the Termination of the student’s SEVIS Record and loss of their lawful visa status.

These standards apply to all graduate programs at Park University.

Definition of Credit Hour

Active student engagement with other students, the instructor, and the course content is required to throughout the entire semester/term in all modalities, face-to-face, online, and blended, as indicated on the academic calendar.

16-week:  All courses are valued in semester hours. Fifty minutes of classroom or direct faculty instruction and two hours out-of-class student work each week for 15 weeks, plus 50 minutes reserved for a final exam, for one semester hour of credit.

8-week:  All courses are valued in semester hours. One hundred minutes per week of classroom or direct faculty instruction and 240 minutes out-of- class student work each week for 8 weeks for one hour of credit. In eight-week courses, students and instructors are required to interact and complete educational objectives through the final day of the eighth week of the term as indicated on the academic calendar.

These semester/term interaction requirements are equally applied to face-to-face, online, and blended courses. In blended courses, this means that in addition to the final face-to-face meeting, students and instructors are required to continue instructional activities via virtual seat time through the final day of the calendar term (i.e., Sunday of the eighth week).

For online and blended courses, active student engagement with other students, the instructor, and the course content combine to form the equivalent amount of time (100 minutes per week required for each of all eight weeks throughout the calendar term).  For blended courses, this means that in addition to the final face-to-face class meeting, students are required to complete virtual seat time requirements up through the final day (i.e., Sunday) of the eighth week of the calendar term.  Finally, in keeping with the requirements for face-to-face courses, in online and blended courses, students complete other out-of-class requirements designed to achieve course learning outcomes for the approximately 240 minutes of such work for each one hour of credit, throughout the entire eight weeks of the calendar term.

Courses scheduled for a different number of weeks and other academic activities such as laboratory work, internships, practica, and studio work, have an equivalent number of hours as reflected in the combination of direct faculty instruction and out of class student work for the same amount of credit as listed above.

Enrollment Adjustment Period

The first eight calendar days of a semester/ term constitutes the Enrollment Adjustment Period. Students are entitled to 100% refund of tuition and fees during the enrollment adjustment period. Within this time, the student will be permitted to evenly exchange class(es) during the first four calendar days. The final day to add or exchange a course (face-to-face or online) will be the fourth (4) day of a semester/term. Within this time, students are permitted to exchange classes without financial penalty. For any adjustments other than an even exchange, the student will be responsible for charges associated with the registration adjustment, as detailed in the Refund Policy section. The last day to drop a course will be the eighth (8) day of a semester/term. The adding or dropping of a class must be done by the student as directed by the Graduate School staff. A student using Veterans Affairs educational benefits may drop a course, without penalty by the VA, during the Enrollment Adjustment Period.

Graduate Council

The Graduate Council, recommends policies and procedures to govern graduate programs at Park University, reviews and recommends changes to graduate program curriculum, and ensures that faculty, students and program administrators adhere to approved policies, procedures and best practices.

Transfer of Graduate Credit

No more than nine (9) hours of graduate credit transferred from another academic institution may be used to meet master’s degree requirements at Park University, unless such transfer is governed by interuniversity agreement. Transfer is granted only after an evaluation of the appropriateness of the courses by the program director. Other criteria that must be met in order for credits to be considered are:

  1. Transfer course content is appropriate to the program. Only transfer credit earned from a regionally-accredited institution of higher education, or its equivalent, if the institution is a foreign university or college, is accepted.
  2. The grade earned in the course is “B” or better.
  3. The credit is not more than seven years old. A program director may waive this requirement on a course by course basis if, in his/her judgment, the content of the course has not changed appreciably during the applicable period.
  4. Park University uses the American Council on Education (ACE) recommendations and university transferability guidelines to assess credit for U.S. military service and training for undergraduate students. No transfer credit is awarded for vocational certificate category ACE recommendations. Please contact the Office of the Registrar for more information: 816-584-6275 or registrar@park.edu.
  5. Transfer credit must be requested prior to acceptance into the program, unless otherwise approved by the program director.
  6. Refer to specific program for details and additional information related to allowable credit. A program director reserves the right to deny or limit transfer of credit.
  7. No more than 25% of the hours required for certificate program may be transferred from another regionally accredited institution.

Interdisciplinary Graduate Work

Students must take the core courses of the program in which they wish to receive their degree; however, they may take electives in other Park University graduate programs, with the approval of their adviser and program director. The electives should be a reasonable part of their academic and professional plans. The number of hours chosen, as electives, will vary with the program and may not exceed nine (9) credit hours. (See appropriate sections of the Catalog). Students wishing to receive an interdisciplinary graduate degree must contact graduate student success services.

Independent Study

Independent study is a method for completion of courses in this catalog that do not require special equipment, instruments and/or machines, and are deemed suitable to be taught as an independent study. The course consists of a prescribed program of study with provision for interaction between a student and a Park University faculty member. To qualify for an independent study course, the student must:

  1. Be a degree-seeking student at Park University in good academic standing with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher.
  2. Have completed 25 percent of the degree requirements, unless an exception is granted by the program director or dean. If qualified, the student must request an Independent Study Agreement from the program director. A student is allowed a maximum of six (6) credit hours through independent study to complete the requirements. The program director must approve all independent study courses. All charges, regardless of funding, must be paid in full when the independent study is approved.
  3. Submit a draft syllabus proposing the topic, readings, assignments and scheduled meetings, to the graduate program director.

Responsible Conduct of Research and Scholarship

The conduct of research and scholarship must conform to the highest standards of ethical and professional integrity. Every aspect of research, including data collection, research design, research procedures, conclusions drawn and the dissemination of results must adhere to superior ethical standards, transcending personal gain, financial consideration or other individual or institutional advantage. Research involving human and animal subjects must meet the requirements of all applicable laws and regulations, as well as University procedures, to ensure the well-being of the human and animal subjects. See Institutional Review Board information at www.park.edu/institutional-review-board.

Withdrawals

Academic withdrawals are student-initiated requests to discontinue enrollment in classes. There are two types of academic withdrawals: 1) Course Withdrawals and 2) Session/University Withdrawals. Both types of withdrawals may have implications for financial aid. Students with financial aid should refer to the financial aid policies in the Tuition, Fees, Grants, Scholarships and Financial Aid section of the catalog. Park University follows the VA’s policy on how withdrawals will affect beneficiaries. The VA’s policy generally requires that withdrawals, 5 Revised 12/27/18 adjustments, and/or terminations are VA-certified within 30 days of the last date of attendance. The VA has sole determination with regard VA debt-related issues, but Park University may explain the circumstances that resulted in the VA debt. Additionally, international nonimmigrant students who are withdrawn from a course(s) may lose their lawful nonimmigrant status. Student-athletes who are withdrawn from a course(s) may jeopardize their eligibility.

  1. Course Withdrawal
    A course withdrawal is an official, student-initiated request to discontinue enrollment in one or more, but not all, courses in a session (Fall 1, Fall 2, Spring, Maymester, etc.).The notification to discontinue enrollment in a course(s) occurs after the enrollment adjustment period and, therefore, results in a grade of “W” (withdrawn) or “WF” (withdraw failure). Students who withdraw within the first two-thirds of the session receive a “W”. Students who withdraw during the last third of the session receive a “WF”. Home campus and distance students must request a course withdrawal through the Student Success Center or by e-mailing advising@park.edu. Students at campus centers must notify their campus center or student success coach. Students may not initiate an academic withdrawal from a class if the course instructor has submitted an academic dishonesty form implicating the student in a violation of the Academic Honesty policy. In the event that an academic dishonesty allegation results in a finding of no-fault, the effective date for withdrawal will be adjusted as needed.
  2. Session/University Withdrawal
    A session/university withdrawal is a student-initiated request to discontinue all courses within a session (Fall 1, Fall 2, Spring, Maymester, etc.). To request a session/university withdrawal, students must complete the Request for Session/University Withdrawal form in the MyPark portal under My Student Academic Tools>Academic Information>Request for Session/University Withdrawal Form or contact the registrar’s office (3rd floor Mackay; academiccompliance@park.edu; 816-584-6270). Students are able to initiate a session/university withdrawal until the last day of the session.When requesting a session/university withdrawal, refunds (if applicable, see refund policy) and grades (see grading policy) for all withdrawn courses are based on the date the withdrawal request form is submitted or the date the student provides official notification to the registrar’s office of intent to withdraw from a session. Students who are unable to officially withdraw due to military deployments, hospitalization, or other extenuating circumstances must submit supporting documentation to academiccompliance@park.edu, preferably at the time of the withdrawal request but no later than five business days following submission of the request. Exceptions to the grading and/or refund policies are granted at the sole discretion of the University.

Administrative Withdrawals

Administrative withdrawals are initiated by Park University for reasons such as non-attendance, non-payment, academic suspension, or
misconduct. Park University reserves the right to administratively withdraw a student from class(es) for failure to meet financial obligations or failure to participate in an academically related activity in a class during the first two weeks of the session. If a student does not initiate the academic withdrawal process and has not participated in an academically-related activity in the class during the first two weeks, the University will initiate an administrative withdrawal from the respective course(s) with no record on the transcript.

Unofficial Withdrawals

Unofficial withdrawals occur when students cease to attend class(es) but do not officially withdraw. Refer to the Unofficial Withdrawal section for information about how unofficial withdrawals affect financial aid.

Graduate Studies Withdrawal

In order to totally withdraw from graduate studies students must first initiate a withdrawal from all classes. Withdrawals must be requested in writing via correspondence, e-mail or fax. Withdrawals by telephone will not be accepted.

Refund Policy

Students who drop or withdraw from one of more courses may be entitled to a tuition refund. To determine if a student is eligible for a refund, the student must notify Park University as described in the Academic Withdrawal policy. Refunds are prorated based on the date in which the student formally requests the drop/withdrawal. Refunds are calculated based on the Refund Schedule below.

The return of federal funds formula provides for a return of Title IV aid, if the student received federal financial assistance in the form of a federal loan (Unsubsidized, Stafford, Perkins or other Title IV programs) and withdrew on or before completing 60 percent of the semester/term. If funds were released to a student because of a credit balance on the student’s account, then the student may be required to repay some of the federal grants or loans released to the student.

Students who withdraw officially, or who are withdrawn administratively, from any or all hours in a term will have tuition refunded according to the following schedule:

PARK UNIVERSITY REFUND CALCULATION SCHEDULE
PERCENTAGE REFUNDED TO THE STUDENT UPON WITHDRAWAL
– Effective 8/1/2018 –
  16-Week 9 or 8-Week 5 or 4-Week 2-Week
First 8 calendar days of term 100% 100% 50% 50%
Day 9 through conclusion of Week 2 75% 30% 20% 10%
Week 3 50% 20% 10%  
Week 4 25% 10% 0%  
Week 5 20% 5% 0%  
Week 6 20% 0%    
Week 7 10% 0%    
Week 8 10% 0%    
Week 9 5%      
Week 10 5%      
Weeks 11-16 0%      

16-Week 60% point is Week 10
9 or 8-Week 60% point is Week 5
5 or 4-Week 60% point is Week 3
2-Week 60% point is Week 2

When students with federal financial awards withdraw from Park University, the University will comply with the federal regulations as stated in the Federal Register. Park University distributes funds back to federal programs in the following order: Federal Loans: Unsubsidized Stafford, Subsidized Stafford, Perkins and other Title IV programs. Institutional awards are redistributed after the federal programs.

Note: All fees are non-refundable. Room and board will be prorated on a daily basis. A $100 “break of housing agreement” fee will be charged to any student breaking the residence hall agreement.

Minimum Graduation Requirements

In order to graduate with a master’s degree, students must complete the following:

  1. All necessary coursework with a 3.0 grade point average.
  2. All program specific graduation requirements, which may include: comprehensive examinations, thesis, portfolio, final project, internships, etc.

Note: The time limit for completing a master’s degree at Park University is seven years. No course older than seven years, unless specifically approved by the graduate program director, will be applied to a master’s degree program.

Graduation and Commencement

An Application for Graduation is required of all students who expect to complete a certificate or degree. Additionally, students who wish to participate in commencement and/or receive a diploma are required to pay the graduation/diploma fee. The Application for Graduation is accessible in MyPark. Students must submit an application for each credential they expect to earn. Students may contact their advisors for assistance.

Students who plan to participate in a commencement ceremony must adhere to the following deadlines:

  • For Kansas City Area students and those participating in the commencement ceremony for the main campus, the graduation application is due March 15th for Spring commencement and October 15th for Fall commencement. If this date falls on a weekend, the deadline is extended to the next business day following the 15th.
  • Graduation applications for Campus Center commencement ceremonies are due 60 days prior to the ceremony the student plans to attend.
  • Students who apply by the deadline will have their names published in commencement booklet. Those who apply after the deadline may not appear in the commencement publication.

Students not participating in a commencement ceremony must apply no later than the final day of the session in which the student plans to graduate. Applications received after the session ends will be conferred at the end of the following session.

Students who need to change data from their graduation application (such as diploma name or address, commencement location, or expected graduation session) must contact the Office of the Registrar (registrar@park.edu) to have their record updated.

Degree Check and Graduation

Once the graduation application is filed, the Office of the Registrar will perform a degree check of the student’s coursework. Any outstanding requirements are noted on the graduation/diploma application. Degrees are conferred at the end of each primary session (Fall 1, Fall, Spring 1, Spring, and Summer). In order to be considered for graduation, all coursework and other degree requirements must be completed as of the final day of the session to meet graduation requirements for that session. Outstanding transcripts, test scores, Incomplete contracts, and other relevant materials must be received by the Office of the Registrar within three weeks of the end of the session in order for the student to graduate that session. If transcripts or test scores are received after that, degrees will be conferred at the end of the following session.

All correspondence concerning graduation and commencement will be sent to the student’s Park University email address. Students are responsible for checking their Park email.

Commencement Ceremony Participation

Park University commencement ceremonies for Kansas City area graduates are conducted in December and in May, as well as annually at Park’s campus centers across the country. Students planning to participate in a commencement ceremony at one of the campus centers must contact the director of the campus they plan to attend as early as possible. Be aware that seating for guests may be limited at some locations.

In order to participate in commencement ceremonies, students must be enrolled in their last coursework with satisfactory progress provided that all other University and program graduation requirements listed above have been met. If there are special circumstances the student may petition the Office of the Registrar.