Academic Information & Policies

Academic Information & Policies

Registrar's Office

​Jason Byrd, B.S., M.B.A.
University Registrar

Lori Baker, B.S., M.A.
Senior Associate Registrar for Student Services and Records
Program Manager for Commencement

Jaime Velastegui, B.S., M.A.
Assistant Registrar for Student Services and Records

Martin Granda, B.S., M.A.
Assistant Registrar for Transfer Evaluations

Travis Hoegh
Associate Registrar for Academic Operations

Sarah Dohme, B.S., M.Ed.
Assistant Registrar for Academic Operations

Ben Bailey, B.S., M.A.T.S.
Assistant Registrar for Academic Support

Tracy Godsey, B.S.
Associate Registrar for Academic Policy

Amanda Collins, B.S.
Assistant Registrar for Academic Policy

Tom Calvert, B.S., M.A.
Associate Registrar for Academic Success

Ashley Coleman, B.S., M.Ed.
Assistant Registrar for Academic Success

Dina Johnston, B.S., M.A.
Associate Registrar for Degree Conferral

Rebecca Saville​, B.S., M.A.
Assistant Registrar for Undergraduate Degree Conferral

Carrie Hodges, B.S., M.A.
Assistant Registrar for Graduate Degree Conferral

Luke Gentala, B.S, M.A.R.
University Ombudsman

Semester Credit System

The University operates on the semester system. The unit for counting credit is the semester hour. A semester hour of credit consists of the equivalent of one 50-minute period of class work for 15 weeks, with an assumption of two hours of outside preparation or two 50-minute periods of laboratory work for each semester hour. Online courses are equivalent to the number of classroom contact hours (750 minutes per credit hour) expected in a synchronous residential course.

Enrollment Verification

A student is enrolled when they are registered for a course and have attended the course and/or completed academic work for the course after its start date. For enrollment verification purposes, the University policy can be viewed at https://wiki.os.liberty.edu/display/IE/Enrollment+Verification.

Semester Load and Overload

To ensure students are successful in their academic endeavors, the University has place a limit on the maximum number of semester hours students are able to take. Master’s-level graduate students are considered to be full-time when enrolled in nine or more hours per semester. All doctoral graduate students are considered full-time with a semester load of six or more semester hours.

Graduate, post-graduate, and doctoral students have a maximum semester limit of 15 hours. Students must seek permission to take more than the maximum hours in a semester and will be required to pay additional tuition for each credit hour they take over the maximum semester limit. Graduate, post-graduate, and doctoral students may review potential overload charges by accessing this chart in the Academic Catalog or by contacting Student Financial Services to confirm the exact charges.

Graduate, post-graduate, and doctoral students must have a Liberty University cumulative GPA of 3.5 or above to be eligible for overload up to 18 hours and above a 3.5 to be eligible for overload up to 21 hours. Certain degree programs may require a higher Liberty University cumulative GPA for approval. 

Due to financial aid regulations, if graduate, post-graduate, and doctoral students use their semester overload to take courses outside their degree completion plan requirements, they should be advised that this could cause issues with their financial aid. Students can check to see whether the course is required for their degree by reviewing the Degree Completion Plan Audit or by contacting their Graduate Academic Evaluator to confirm.

Graduate, post-graduate, and doctoral students who want to request overload must secure permission from the Registrar’s Office and may seek this approval by submitting a request at www.liberty.edu/overload.

Grades, Quality Points, and GPA

All work is graded by letters which are assigned quality points as indicated below:

Grade Meaning Quality Points Per Semester Hour
A Excellent 4.00
A- Excellent to Good 3.67
AU Audit 0.00
B+ Good to Excellent 3.33
B Good 3.00
B- Good to Average 2.67
C+ Average to Good 2.33
C Average 2.00
C- Average to Poor 1.67
D+ Poor to Average 1.33
D Poor 1.00
D- Very Poor 0.67
F Failure .00
FN Failure for Non-Attendance .00
I Incomplete .00
IP In Progress .00
NF Failure for Non-Attendance (for Pass/Fail courses) .00
NP Non-Pass (for Pass/Fail courses) .00
P Pass .00
PR Progress .00
Q Academic Amnesty .00
R Course Repeated .00
W Withdrew .00

A student’s cumulative GPA comprises all Liberty University coursework completed at the current academic level (Undergraduate, Graduate or Doctoral) regardless of prior degree conferral, broken enrollment or a program/major change. To determine the grade point average (GPA), the quality points earned are divided by GPA hours completed. GPA hours are hours that are used in the calculation of the GPA. The following grades are included in GPA hours: A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, F, and FN. Grades of AU, I, IP, NF, NP, P, PR, Q, R, and W are not included in GPA hours. A grade of B, for example, in a course bearing three semester hours of credit would be assigned nine quality points and a grade of C in that course, six quality points. Thus, if a student takes 16 semester hours of work and earns 40 quality points, his GPA is 2.50 (40 quality points divided by 16 semester hours). Only courses taken at Liberty are used in computing the GPA. Cumulative GPA is calculated to the hundredths place and is not rounded.

Grading Scales

Liberty University incorporates a standardized 1,000 point system across all undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs. The undergraduate programs utilize a 100 point scale, and the graduate and doctoral programs utilize an 80 point scale to differentiate between letter grades. The grading scale will be posted within the syllabus for each course. Students are encouraged to review the syllabus for each course individually to verify the grade scale.

Level Graduate Doctoral
A 940-1000 960-1000
A- 920-939 940-959
B+ 900-919 920-939
B 860-899 900-919
B- 840-859 880-899
C+ 820-839 860-879
C 780-819 840-859
C- 760-779 820-839
D+ 740-759 800-819
D 700-739 780-799
D- 680-699 760-779
F 679 and below 759 and below

Student Classification

The classification of students at Liberty is based on their degree level and number of earned semester hours.

Classification Semester Hours Earned
First Year Graduate 0—29.99
Second Year Graduate 30.00—59.99
Third Year Graduate 60.00—89.99
Fourth Year Graduate 90.00 +
Doctoral Pursuing a doctoral degree

Advisors And Course Selection

Each resident student will be assigned a faculty advisor upon acceptance to the University. The advisors will guide students in course selection. All questions concerning academic issues should be directed to the advisors. Students are encouraged to contact their advisors for help with any school-related problems they may encounter during the academic year.

Liberty University Online will assist online students throughout their studies. Liberty University Online serves to guide students in their course selection as well as help answer questions regarding academic issues or school-related problems.

Course Planning

A course planning schedule is provided in order for students to plan their classes for upcoming semesters. The planning schedule presents every class offered and the terms where it is scheduled to be taught. This schedule is sorted alphabetically by class. The course planning schedule is available online at: http://www.liberty.edu/academics/registrar/index.cfm?PID=23103.

Transfer of Credit

Only courses and degrees from institutions accredited by agencies recognized by the Department of Education will be evaluated for transfer credit (e.g., SACSCOC, TRACS, ABHE, etc.). Applicants must request official transcripts to be sent directly from the Registrar(s) of the previous school(s) to the Offices of Graduate Admissions. These transcripts must be received before an admission decision will be made. Credits transferred from other institutions are awarded grades of P for Pass, and do not impact a student’s Liberty University GPA or academic standing.

In order to receive direct credit for a course, the description must overlap the Liberty University course content at least 80%. Courses that do not match a Liberty University course by at least 80% are eligible to transfer as elective credit where allowable. Elective credit is coded as 5XX to 9XX, depending on the level of the course.

Course work from a degree on the same academic level previously earned through Liberty University is considered transfer credit, and is subject to the same restrictions as course work completed through other institutions.

See additional information about the evaluation of graduate transfer in the Graduate Admissions Section.

Students seeking certificates are not eligible for transfer credit.

Experiential Learning Credit

In order to demonstrate they have met the learning outcomes of a course, students who have already applied to Liberty University may submit an Experience Plus portfolio. Students are responsible for identifying the courses for which they intend to show equivalency, but they are encouraged to first make sure that their program does not involve any kind of licensure or other certifications that are received from state or other government entities or military branches as these circumstances prevent a student from going through this process. The portfolio review requires a nonrefundable $100 assessment fee. Students seeking credit for more than one course must submit a separate portfolio per course for which credit is requested. A maximum of 50% of experiential learning credits can be awarded and applied toward a graduate degree at Liberty University.

The Portfolio Guidelines are as follows:

  • Students must be accepted into a program at Liberty University.
  • Prepare a portfolio(s) using the guidelines established at  http://www.liberty.edu/online/credit-experience-by-portfolio.
  • Portfolios will be evaluated by appropriately credentialed faculty to determine if credit can be awarded for life experiences. Students are not guaranteed credit for these experiences.
  • Portfolios may not be submitted for internships, practica, dissertations, thesis courses, or other courses that are identified as non-transferrable.
  • The hours awarded are counted as transfer hours and are not considered as hours earned at Liberty University. These credits will not be applied to a student’s GPA calculation.
  • Credit earned through this process will not be counted toward the required minimum institutional credits that must be completed through Liberty University for a graduate degree.

Military Evaluation

Liberty University will evaluate students’ prior military experience and develop a degree plan for each student to follow. Evaluations will be based solely upon the recommendations of the American Council of Education (ACE) guidebook, Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Services.

Resident Course Registration Priority Registration for Military Students

All residential students who have verified their status as a current military service member or veteran will be assigned a unique PIN number before registration opens each semester. The PIN will be emailed to students and allow access to course registration on the early registration date associated with Special Groups. More information about the specific dates in the registration schedule will be posted on the Registrar's Course Registration web page each semester.

Online Course Registration, Activation, and Completion Dates

Online students may register for courses online through ASIST. A student’s enrollment period (course activation) begins the first day of the sub-term, provided the student is in good academic standing and has paid the tuition or secured financial aid approval. Students are encouraged to allow sufficient time to review their course materials before the beginning of the sub-term. See the University calendar for sub-term dates.

The full policy statement and procedures are published in the Policy Directory online at https://wiki.os.liberty.edu/display/IE/Online+Courses.

Online Course Materials

Online students must purchase all course materials from MBS Direct. Materials for some practicums and intensives may be purchased from the University Bookstore. Students should purchase materials after registration but prior to the sub-term begin date (course activation). Liberty does not guarantee that required course materials will be available after the sub-term activation date. Tuition does not cover the cost of course materials.

Class Attendance

Regular attendance in online courses is expected throughout the length of the term. The U.S. Department of Education requires that every university monitor the attendance of their students.

The full policy statement and procedures are published in the Policy Directory online at https://wiki.os.liberty.edu/display/IE/Class+Attendance+Graduate.

Late Assignment Policy for Residential Courses

Course assignment should be completed on time. If the student is unable to complete an assignment on time, then he or she must contact the instructor prior to the assignment due date.

The full policy and procedures are published in the Policy Directory online at https://wiki.os.liberty.edu/display/IE/Late+Assignments+-+Residential.

Late Assignment Policy for Online Courses

Effective Spring 2018

Course assignments, including discussion boards, exams, and other graded assignments, should be submitted on time.

If the student is unable to complete an assignment on time, he/she must contact the instructor immediately by email.

Assignments that are submitted after the due date without prior approval from the instructor will receive the following deductions:

  1. Late assignments submitted within one week after the due date will receive a 10% deduction.
  2. Assignments submitted more than one week and less than two weeks late will receive a 20% deduction.
  3. Assignments submitted two weeks late or more or after the final date of the course will not be accepted.
  4. Group projects, including group discussion board threads and/or replies, and assignments will not be accepted after the due date.

Special circumstances (e.g., death in the family, personal health issues) will be reviewed by the instructor on a case-by-case basis.

Course Audits

Students who wish to audit an online course may do so for a fee (see Expenses and Financial Policy section). Audit fees are not covered in block-rate tuition, and audited courses will not be used to determine full- or part-time status. Auditors will not be expected to take quizzes or examinations. A grade of AU will be recorded on the auditor’s permanent record.

Audited courses will not count toward graduation requirements.

Resident Students

Course audits may not be added via ASIST, but must be requested in person at the Registrar’s Office. Requests to audit a course will only be accepted during add/drop week (or the week before the start of a summer term for summer courses). Audit requests will be processed and added on the last day of the add/drop period, pending seat availability. A student wishing to change from credit to audit status for a course may only do so until the last day of the add/drop period. Requests to change to or from audit status after the add/drop period will be denied. Lecture-only courses may be audited. Courses considered lecture/lab, labs, private instruction, etc. may not be audited.

Online Students

Course audits may not be added via ASIST, but must be requested by emailing the Registrar’s Office at registrar@liberty.edu. Requests to audit a course will only be accepted during the registration timeframes before a term starts.  Audit requests will be processed and added, pending availability. A student wishing to change from credit to audit status for a course may only do so until the last day of the registration deadline. Requests to change to or from audit status after the registration deadline will be denied.

Academic Standing

Students must maintain satisfactory academic standing to remain at Liberty.

Academic standing is calculated at the end of each Fall and Spring term, or upon completion of all courses within a term, and is based on the student's cumulative GPA. At the discretion of the Registrar’s Office, a student may have his/her standing updated to good standing after completion of all courses in the Summer term. Please refer to the end of this sub-section for a chart listing the cumulative GPA’s required for good academic standing for all current degree programs.

A student’s cumulative GPA comprises all coursework completed at the current academic level (Undergraduate, Graduate or Doctoral) regardless of prior degree conferral, broken enrollment or a program/major change.

Students failing to attain and maintain the cumulative GPA required for good academic standing in their degree program will be placed on Academic Warning. Students on Academic Warning will be required to take GRST 501 Graduate Success Strategies (0 c.h.) in their next semester of enrollment, unless they have already taken and passed the course.

At the end of the term on Academic Warning, students who fail to raise their cumulative GPA to the required level will be placed on Academic Probation. Students on Academic Probation will be required to take GRST 501 Graduate Success Strategies (0 c.h.) in their next semester of enrollment, unless they have already taken and passed the course.

Additionally, students who are enrolled full-time and fail all courses will be placed on Academic Probation, unless they were previously on Academic Probation or Academic Suspension. Students who are enrolled full-time and fail all courses while on Academic Probation or Suspension will progress to the next academic standing level.

At the end of the term on Academic Probation, students who fail to raise their cumulative GPA to the required academic level will be placed on Academic Suspension.

All graduate and doctoral students, both residential and online, who desire to return to Liberty in the future must appeal to the Registrar’s Office in writing through the designated portal. Appeals will be considered by the academic department. If the student’s appeal is approved, an Academic Contract will be formulated. The student must agree in writing to abide by the terms of the Contract before being permitted to register for courses.

Students who fail to raise their cumulative GPA to the required academic level (see above) by the end of the subsequent term and/or who fail to meet the terms of their Academic Contract will be Academically Dismissed and will not be allowed to appeal to return to Liberty unless a period of at least two academic years has passed.

When academic standing is updated, students on Academic Warning, Probation, Suspension, and Dismissal will be sent a notification by the Registrar’s Office.

Students on Academic Suspension or Academic Dismissal are not eligible for admission as Special (non-degree-seeking) Students.

Academic Standing GPA Chart

2.00

  • All Advanced Graduate Certificates (excluding Executive and Post-Graduate Certificates)
  • All Graduate Certificates
  • Master of Arts in Biblical Exposition (MA)
  • Master of Arts in Christian Leadership Studies (MA)1
  • Master of Arts in Christian Ministry (MACM)
  • Master of Arts in Religion (MAR)
  • Master of Arts in Sports Chaplaincy (MA)
  • Master of Arts in Theological Studies (MATS)
  • Master of Arts in Worship Studies (MA)
  • Master of Divinity (MDiv)
  • Master of Divinity-Chaplaincy – 72-hour (MDiv)1
  • Master of Divinity-Chaplaincy – 75-hour 
  • Master of Divinity-Chaplaincy – 93-hour (MDiv)
  • Master of Religious Education (MRE)

2.50

  • Master of Arts in Executive Leadership (MA)
  • Master of Arts in Human Services (MA)1
  • Master of Arts in Human Services Counseling (MA)
  • Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (MA)
  • Master of Arts in Management & Leadership (MAML)1
  • Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling (MA)
  • Master of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (MEd)
  • Master of Education in Teaching & Learning (MEd)1
  • Master of Education in Higher Education (MEd)

3.00

  • Accelerated Master of Divinity - 75-hour (MDiv)1
  • Doctor of Education in Christian Leadership (EdD)
  • Doctor of Education in Community Care & Counseling (EdD)
  • Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction - 54-hour (EdD)
  • Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction - 60-hour (EdD)1
  • Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership - 54-hour (EdD)
  • Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership - 60-hour (EdD)1
  • Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Anatomy & Cell Biology (PhD)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Bible Exposition (PhD)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Communication (PhD)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling (PhD)1
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education & Supervision (PhD)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice (PhD)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education Administration (PhD)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in History (PhD)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Public Policy (PhD)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Strategic Media (PhD)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Theology & Apologetics (PhD)
  • Doctor of Public Administration (DPA)
  • Doctor of Strategic Leadership (DSL)
  • Doctor of Worship Studies (DWS)
  • Education Specialist in Curriculum & Instruction (EdS)
  • Education Specialist in Educational Leadership (EdS)
  • Education Specialist in Higher Education Administration (EdS)
  • Executive Certificate in Curriculum & Instruction
  • Executive Certificate in Higher Education Administration
  • Juris Master in American Legal Studies (JM)
  • Juris Master in International Legal Studies (JM)
  • Master of Arts in Addiction Counseling (MA)
  • Master of Arts in Applied Industrial/Organizational Psychology (MA)  
  • Master of Arts in Applied Psychology (MA)
  • Master of Arts in Biblical Studies (MABS)
  • Master of Arts in Christian Apologetics (MA)
  • Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (MA)
  • Master of Arts in Communication (MA)
  • Master of Arts in Composition (MA)
  • Master of Arts in English (MA)
  • Master of Arts in Ethnomusicology (MA)
  • Master of Arts in Global Studies (MAGS)
  • Master of Arts in History (MA)
  • Master of Arts in History - Thesis & Comprehensive (MA)1
  • Master of Arts in Marriage & Family Counseling (MA)
  • Master of Arts in Marriage & Family Therapy (MA)
  • Master of Arts in Medical Sciences (MA)
  • Master of Arts in Music & Worship (MA)
  • Master of Arts in Music Education (MA)
  • Master of Arts in Philosophical Studies (MAPS)1
  • Master of Arts in Professional Counseling - 48-hour (MA)1
  • Master of Arts in Professional Counseling - 60-hour (MA)1
  • Master of Arts in Professional Writing (MA)
  • Master of Arts in Promotion & Video Content (MA)
  • Master of Arts in Public Policy (MAPP)
  • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication (MA)
  • Master of Arts in Teaching - 36- & 45-hour options (MAT)
  • Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language (MA)
  • Master of Arts in Visual Communication Design (MA)
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA)
  • Master of Divinity in Academic/Pre-PhD (MDiv)1
  • Master of Education (MEd)
  • Master of Education in School Counseling (MEd)
  • Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design (MFA)
  • Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art (MFA)
  • Master of Fine Arts in Studio & Digital Arts (MFA)1
  • Master of Laws in International Legal Studies (LLM)
  • Master of Public Administration (MPA)
  • Master of Public Health (MPH)
  • Master of Science in Accounting (MS)
  • Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences (MS)
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MS)
  • Master of Science in Cyber Security (MS)
  • Master of Science in Exercise Science (MS)1
  • Master of Science in Exercise Science & Wellness (MS)
  • Master of Science in Finance (MS)
  • Master of Science in Healthcare Administration (MS)
  • Master of Science in Health Informatics (MSHI)
  • Master of Science in Human Performance (MS)
  • Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS)
  • Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT)
  • Master of Science in International Relations (MS)
  • Master of Science in Marketing (MS)
  • Master of Science in National Security (MS)
  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)/Master of Business Administration (MBA) – dual degree
  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)/Master of Science in Healthcare Administration (MS) – dual degree
  • Master of Science in Political Science (MS)
  • Master of Science in Project Management (MS)
  • Master of Science in Psychology (MS)
  • Master of Science in Social Media Management (MS)
  • Master of Science in Sport Management (MS)
  • Master of Theology (ThM)
  • Post-Graduate Certificate in Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

3.25

  • Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

Academic Amnesty

Students Academically Suspended or Academically Dismissed from Liberty University may appeal for readmission under Academic Amnesty per the following protocols:

  1. The student must not have been enrolled at the University for a period of two (2) years. (Example:  If the student’s last enrollment was in the Fall 2018 term, he/she would not eligible to appeal for Academic Amnesty until after the Fall 2020 term.)
  2. The student must submit a written appeal for readmission to the Registrar’s Office through the designated portal. The appeal should include a thorough explanation of (1) the circumstances which contributed to the academic performance which resulted in the student’s Academic Suspension or Dismissal and (2) why the student’s present circumstances are more conducive to improved academic performance if permitted to resume his/her studies.
  3. Corroboration may be requested of the student (e.g., transcripts from other institutions, certificates, awards).
  4. Students who were Academically Dismissed because of academic dishonesty are not eligible for Academic Amnesty.

The Registrar’s Office, upon reviewing the written appeal, must receive approval from Community Life and the academic department indicating the student is eligible for readmission.

If the student is approved by Community Life and the academic department, the Registrar’s Office will submit the appeal for academic amnesty for review either by the Office of the Provost for Resident students or the Office of the Online Provost for Online students.

If the student’s appeal is approved, the grades will be revised as follows, and as determined by the Office of the Provost or the Office of the Vice Provost:

  1. Programs with a graduation GPA of 2.50, 3.00, or 3.25: Grades of C, D and F (including +/- grades) will be revised to Q and will no longer be included in the calculation of the student’s cumulative GPA. Grades of A and B (including +/- grades) will not be revised and will continue to be included in the calculation of the student’s cumulative GPA.
  2. Programs with a 2.00 graduation GPA: Grades of D and F (including +/- grades) will be revised to Q and will no longer be included in the calculation of the student’s cumulative GPA. Grades of A, B, and C (including +/- grades) will not be revised and will continue to be included in the calculation of the student’s cumulative GPA.
  3. Students who have been granted Academic Amnesty are not eligible for graduation honors.

If any prior certificate or degree has been awarded through Liberty University, grades earned during that time cannot be excluded when Academic Amnesty is applied. All grades earned toward a previously awarded certificate or conferred degree will remain on the student’s transcript.

Once the approved student’s grades have been revised, he/she is eligible to apply for readmission. If the student meets all other applicable admission requirements, he/she will be readmitted on Academic Caution.

If the student desires to pursue a degree program that is different than the one for which he/she was approved for academic amnesty, he/she must submit a new appeal to the Associate Registrar for Academic Success, who in turn will submit the appeal to the Associate Dean over the student’s desired program.

All previously assigned academic standings will not change and will remain part of the student’s academic records for the respective terms for which they were earned.

If, after the first term of enrollment following readmission, the student’s cumulative GPA falls below the minimum cumulative GPA required for good academic standing in the student’s degree program, the student will be Academically Dismissed, and will not be permitted to submit any further appeals for permission to continue his/her studies through Liberty University.

If the Office of the Provost or the Office of the Online Provost denies the student’s appeal, that decision will be final. The student will not be permitted to resume the pursuit of any Graduate or Doctoral degree through Liberty University.

Administrative Review for Behavioral Intervention

In keeping with the American Counseling Association Code of Ethics (ACA, 2014), Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP, 2016), faculty in counselor education programs are required to assess the knowledge, skills, values, and dispositions of students in their programs and take action if issues arise that could compromise the well-being of present or future clients. The following summarizes the School of Behavioral Sciences procedures for assessing these competencies.

Behavioral Concerns at Practicum and Internship Sites

If, during the Practicum or Internship, a student fails to successfully demonstrate the required skills, professional behaviors, or personal or professional dispositions in this course and/or receives failing evaluations, is dismissed from the site, or is found practicing at a site without having received approval by the department for the site, the site supervisor will notify the student’s professor. The professor will write an incident report and send it to the Program Director and the department’s Internship Office. The Program Director, the Director of Clinical Training, and the Leadership Team will examine the nature and reason for the skills deficit, professional behaviors, or dispositions and/or site dismissal and recommend a course of action, which could include Administrative Review for Behavioral Intervention and/or referral to Remediation and/or the Office of Community Life. Administrative Review is appropriate when a student’s behavior is so concerning and/or non-professional that prompt protective action is required (see below section, “Administrative Review for Behavioral Intervention”). Note: The steps within this section are specifically designed to address unique aspects of practicum and internships, and certain steps in this section may overlap with those of other processes. For instance, the practicum or internship professor’s submission of an incident report to the Program Director and Internship Office and their examination of the incident report will satisfy the early and secondary stages of the remediation process (i.e., remediation stages 1-3). Also note that remediation can be engaged at any step, as the School of Behavioral Sciences deems appropriate.  

If a failing evaluation or dismissal from the site involves a violation of the University’s Honor Code, the professor will fill out an Honor Code Violation form, which will be investigated by the Program Director and the Office of Community Life. At any point in this process, the student may receive a grade of “F” based on the skills deficit, professional behaviors, or personal or professional dispositions, dismissal from their site, and/or failure to follow approval policies. The student will be placed on hold in the program pending the outcome of any ongoing process(es) (e.g., Administrative Review, the remediation process, the disciplinary process, and/or grade appeals process).

For violations that do not result in dismissal from the program, the remediation process can include requiring the student to retake certain courses, seek personal counseling, etc. If, after remediation, the student is unable to correct the deficits, the Remediation Committee will meet to decide the best course of action for the student, up to and including an “F” for the course and dismissal from the program. The final decision regarding whether the student is eligible to retake the Internship and disposition of the hours accrued during the Internship are at the discretion of the Leadership Team and based on a thorough evaluation of the incident. Note: When necessary, the Department may immediately remove a student from the site upon notification of concerning behavior by the supervisor. During the remediation process, the student has an opportunity to appeal interim actions following Administrative Review, grades, honor code violations, and dismissals in accordance with the procedures outlined for the applicable process(es). See, for example, Appeals Policy (Section 6.3) and the appeal sections below for information on the appeal process. Please consult the Practicum Field Manual and Internship Field Manual for additional information.

Administrative Review for Behavioral Intervention

There may be times when School of Behavioral Sciences faculty determines that a student’s behavior is so concerning and/or non-professional, regardless of whether the student is making satisfactory academic progress, that prompt protective action is required. This is especially true when students are interacting with clients in a clinical setting. In such situations, the program director will place the student on Administrative Review. As part of Administrative Review, the program director will review all of the available and relevant evidence to determine an appropriate interim action to address the concerning behavior, which may include an interim suspension of the student from courses, internships, or clinical placements. The program director may, in his or her discretion, also apply a registration hold to prevent the student from registering for courses, internships, or clinical placements (and potentially, therefore, from progressing in the program) until the behavior at issue has been resolved. The interim action should be narrowly tailored to address the concerning behavior such that it places as few restrictions as possible on the student and only as determined necessary to address the concerning behavior. Interim actions should also balance the School of Behavioral Sciences’ gatekeeping function of protecting others with promoting the student’s best interest. Administrative Review is protective, not disciplinary, in nature. Interim actions will remain in place until the program director (in consultation with the student and faculty) determines both that the concerning behavior has been resolved and that any pending processes to address the student’s behavior are complete (e.g., the remediation process or a disciplinary matter in the Office of Community Life or the Office of Equity and Compliance).

Within 48 hours of the program director’s decision to initiate the Administrative Review, the program director will notify the student in writing, which may include email, of (1) the initiation of the Administrative Review, (2) the interim action(s) imposed, and (3) the reason(s) for the Administrative Review. The program director will also notify the Registrar’s Office of the interim action(s), including any registration hold. The student will have an opportunity to review all of the evidence that formed the basis for the interim action(s) and to respond (including the opportunity to present any relevant evidence) to the program director. Once the program director has an opportunity to review all of the available and relevant evidence, the program director will either reverse the interim action(s) or keep the interim action(s) in place pending the outcome of any other processes (e.g., remediation). The program director may refer the student to the Office of Community Life and/or the Remediation Committee. If the student’s behavior cannot be remedied to a point such that the student is qualified to continue in the program, the student may ultimately be dismissed from the program. Should the student decide to appeal the interim action(s) imposed by the program director, the student must follow the appeal procedures below.

Appeal of Interim Action(s) Following Administrative Review

Students who disagree with the interim action(s) imposed by the program director following Administrative Review have an opportunity to appeal. Students must submit the appeal in writing to the Dean of the School of Behavioral Sciences within seven (7) days of receiving the notice of the program director’s decision. The appeal should clearly state the reason(s) the student believes the interim action(s) should be reversed. Once received, the Dean of the School of Behavioral Sciences (or designee) will review all available and relevant evidence and, if determined necessary, speak with the student, the program director, and/or any other person with relevant information. The Dean of the School of Behavioral Sciences (or designee) will endeavor to make a determination within ten (10) days of receiving the appeal. The determination to uphold or reverse the interim action(s) will be sent to the student in writing, and the Dean of the School of Behavioral Sciences (or designee)’s determination concerning the interim action(s) will be final, pending the outcome of any other processes.

Remediation

If, during the course of a student’s studies, a faculty, staff, administrator or supervisor believes a student lacks required skills, professional behaviors and dispositions to progress in the program, that person will begin remediation procedures aimed to provide the student with information and actions to correct the impairment/deficiency. The purpose of the remediation plan is to assist the student in correcting any deficits in counseling knowledge and skills, as well as problematic personal, interpersonal, or ethical behaviors so the student may successfully continue in the program. As such, remedial instruction or interventions are closely linked to the students’ developmental growth, recognizing the relationship between the alleviation of deficiencies and the development of new competencies.

We conceptualize remediation in terms of a response continuum based upon the type and severity of students’ limitations, with the need to distinguish between deficient, lacks competence, and impaired:

  • Deficient: Requires skill-based and/or academic approach
  • Lacks competence: Requires additional ethical practice-based / conceptual approach
  • Impaired: Requires additional intervention-based and/or therapeutic approach

The problematic behavior continuum can also be considered along lines of Academic, Clinical, and Personal, with Academic being more related to deficiencies and Personal more related to impairments. Clinical limitations may likely have both Academic and Personal involvement. Additionally, the program response can be considered along a continuum of education, formal remediation, and termination.

Deficient describes those behaviors, attitudes, or characteristics that need to be the focus of attention and change, but are not considered excessive or inappropriate. Rather, they may be important components of the student’s learning experience. At this level, remediation likely involves instruction and feedback to address the deficit.

Lacks Competence describes a deficit in developmentally appropriate clinical competencies that are needed for ethical practice. These would include area such as performance of counseling skills and/or professional behaviors, attitudes, or characteristics, response to supervision, and/or ability application of ethics into practice. These behaviors are considered to be excessive or inappropriate, requiring remedial action beyond the course instructor or supervisor.

Impairment describes those behaviors that result in a significant negative impact on professional functioning. Impairment is demonstrated by one or more of the following behaviors: (a) an inability and/or unwillingness to acquire and integrate professional standards into their repertoire of professional behavior; (b) an inability to acquire professional skills to reach an acceptable level of competency; (c) an inability to control personal stress, psychological dysfunction and/or excessive emotional reactions that interfere with professional functioning.

The Type and Severity of Limitation are considered when determining the need, if any, for remediation.

Students Determined to be Deficient:

  • Inadequate knowledge base commensurate with status in program Inadequate, but improving, counseling skills
  • Rudimentary ethical processing
  • Simplistic, narrow, or disjointed case conceptualization
  • Insufficient interpersonal skills and awareness, but willingness to develop

Students Determined to Lack Competence:

  • Lack of awareness of ethical principles and obligations
  • Failure in responsibilities to site and/or supervisor
  • Unwillingness/inability to be effective in basic counseling techniques
  • Unwillingness/inability to complete appropriate documentation
  • Failure to function as effective member of treatment team

Students Determined to be Impaired (not inclusive):

Four Themes:

  1. Interpersonal and Personal Problems
    1. Inappropriate interpersonal skills
    2. Lacks self-control (anger, impulse control) in relationships
    3. Inappropriate boundaries
    4. Misleads or exploits others
    5. Lacks awareness of the impact they have on others 
    6. Unwilling to receive feedback in supervision
    7. Does not take responsibility for deficiencies and/or problems
  2. Professional Competence
    1. Lacks foundational counseling skills 
    2. Inappropriate affect in response to clients
    3. Does not recognize limitations of expertise and competence 
    4. Does not apply ethical and/or legal standards to practice
    5. Lacks awareness of how their beliefs and values influence practice
    6. Does not demonstrate a respect individual differences and culture
  3. Professional Behaviors
    1. Deficits in punctuality, professional appearance, attendance, dependability
    2. Does not complete appropriate paperwork and documentation
    3. Does not adhere to the department’s or their clinical site’s policies
  4. Professional and Personal Integrity and Maturity
    1. Makes false, misleading or deceptive statements
    2. Displayed academic dishonesty
    3. Problems with alcohol/drug use or illegal activities
    4. Inappropriate sexual behavior
    5. Refused to consider personal counseling when recommended

Once the Type and Severity of Limitation are determined, there are several avenues that may be pursued when determining the need, if any, for remediation. Faculty are encouraged to consult with the program director, faculty remediation committee members, and other faculty when deciding the level of severity and which stage to engage the remediation process. Please note that the remediation process is not always linear or sequential. Faculty reserve the right to initiate remediation at whatever stage they deem appropriate for the student.

Early Remediation Process (Stages 1 and 2)

  • Faculty or advisor meets with the student
  • Determine action plan for addressing deficits Follow-up

Secondary Review Remediation Process (Stage 3)

  • Notification of meeting with the director
  • Assessment of problematic behavior
  • Review and development of a plan 
  • Acceptance or appeal

Formal Remediation Process (Stages 4-6) Notification

  • Assessment of Problematic Behavior Development of a Plan 
  • Acceptance or Appeal
  • Provision if Unsuccessful

Possible Committee Recommendations for a Remediation Plan

  • Personal Counseling
  • Increased supervision
  • Reduced practicum or internship
  • Leave of absence
  • Formal reprimand
  • Formal probation 
  • Counseling out of the program
  • Dismissal from the program

Immediate Interventions:

In the event of a student’s disclosure, either verbally, or in writing, of a threat of serious or foreseeable harm to a person, abuse or neglect of a minor, elderly or disabled person, or current involvement in criminal activity, the faculty, staff, administrator or supervisor, will take immediate action. This action may include, but is not limited to, immediate notification of Liberty University Police Department, appropriate state law enforcement, social services personnel, emergency contacts, and notification of the appropriate program chair or associate dean. The incident and action taken will become part of the student’s permanent record.

Remediation Process for the School of Behavioral Sciences:

Note: The remediation plan is designed to protect the student’s rights under University policies and a fair process. In addition, we stress the importance of engaging the student in the remediation process. These principles are infused throughout the School of Behavioral Sciences program’s response continuum. Once a remediation plan is instituted, student response to remediation efforts is considered when deciding student status in the program. All stages of this remediation process will become a part of the student’s record. The description of stages below does not necessarily reflect a sequential process. Rather, the faculty reserve the right to initiate remediation at any Stage 1, 2, 3, or 4-6, based on their assessment of the level of deficit and/or impairment.

Stage 1: Notification by Advisor:

When a determination is made by a faculty member that problematic behavior of an academic, clinical, or personal nature exists, and could not be resolved on an informal basis, the faculty member discusses this with the student and her or his advisor. If student problematic behavior is brought to the attention of the department through other means (e.g., from another student, report from university staff, evaluation from supervisor, etc.), the student’s advisor will notify the student and discuss the concerns.

The student and her or his advisor will meet to discuss the problem and collaboratively outline a remedial action plan to address the concerns. This interactive process should allow the student ample opportunity to react to the information presented regarding a problem area. If the problem is resolved, no further action is needed. The advisor will document the meeting, the remedial action plan, and outcome into the student’s personal record. The advisor will follow up with the faculty to ensure that the agreed-to remedial action plan was completed and the behavioral issue was successfully resolved.

If the problem is not resolved at this stage because the student does not engage in the process, disagrees with the validity of the concerns, or does not agree with the remedial action plan, the advisor will notify the program director of the outcome of the meeting. A meeting will then be scheduled with the student's advisor, the program director, the student, and the concerned faculty member as appropriate. This meeting will be considered a Stage 3 remediation.

Stage 2: Primary Assessment of Problematic Behavior:

If the behaviors addressed by the program faculty and the advisor persist, the advisor will again meet with the student and outline, verbally and in writing, the continued nature and extent of problematic behavior. Informal (e.g., interview with student and faculty) and formal (e.g., instruments) may be utilized as part of the assessment process. This includes feedback from the student concerning the outcome of any remedial actions taken by the student in response to the concerns raised during the notification session. When it is apparent that the student is engaged in the process but has not met the goal of the initial remedial action, a collaborative approach involving student engagement will be used to evaluate and refine the remedial action plan. If the problem is successfully resolved, no further formal action is needed. The advisor will document the meeting; outline the agreed adaptations to the remedial action plan; and the outcome. The advisor will follow up with faculty and the program director to ensure that the behavioral issues were successfully resolved and all agreed-to remedial mandates were implemented.

Stage 3: Secondary Assessment of Problematic Behavior:

If the faculty advisor or core faculty determine that the student’s behaviors are at a level that requires a formal remediation process (Stage 4) or the student rejects or appeals a remedial action plan, a meeting will be held with the student, his or her advisor, the program director, and referring faculty member (if appropriate). The meeting date will be set to allow the student the opportunity to provide additional evidence to the group for consideration at the meeting. The purpose of the meeting will be to either 1) collaboratively re-assess the problem behavior and develop a remedial action plan or 2) determine that the problem needs to be addressed by the program core faculty through a remediation plan. The program director will document the meeting and outcome. The program director will report the meeting outcome to the faculty Remediation Committee.

Stage 4: Referral to the Remediation Committee:

In cases when the outcome of the meeting of the student, advisor(s) and program director results in a decision that the situation should be brought to the Remediation Committee, a meeting of the committee will be scheduled. The student will be informed in advance of the time of this meeting and will have an opportunity to provide additional information or evidence in writing to the committee for consideration at the meeting. Once all information has been presented, the Remediation Committee will decide the level and scope of remediation required to assist the student and develop a formal Remediation Plan.

Remediation Plan

Stage 5: Development of a Remediation Plan:

The Remediation Committee will review the presented information, examine the remedial action plan developed by the student and advisor, evaluate the progress made towards remediating problem behaviors, and develop a formal Remediation Plan. The purpose of the remediation plan is to assist the student in correcting any deficits in counseling skills or personal, interpersonal, or ethical problems so that the student may successfully continue in the program. The elements of the plan will be congruent with the extent of the correction needed. Remediation Plans can include such actions as repeating particular courses, obtaining personal counseling, completing additional assignments, reviewing the ethics code, transferring to a non-licensure program, or academic dismissal from the CEFS or Liberty University.

The program director and/or other designated persons will inform the student of the decision both orally and in writing. The student will have five working days to respond in writing (and orally, if desired) to the recommendation. The committee will review the student’s response to the action decided and will make a final decision regarding the disposition of the case. Should the student file no response to the action, the decision of the committee will be considered as final. The program director and the student's advisor will notify the student in writing and orally of the outcome of the meeting.

Stage 6: Acceptance or Appeal:

The student will be given the opportunity to accept the plan of correction or to appeal it. If accepted, the student will follow the plan as developed and regularly report progress to her or his advisor. If not fully resolved, additions, amendments, or extensions to the plan may be implemented. If the problematic behavior is corrected, no further action is needed. Four options are available to faculty when reevaluating the student: (1) continuation in the program, (2) continued probation and remediation, (3) counsel the student out of the program, and (4) dismissal from the program.

Provision if Unsuccessful:

If the Remediation Committee determines that remediation is unsuccessful or that the student refuses to comply with the Remediation Plan, the Remediation Committee may recommend to the program director that the student be dismissed from the program.

Final Determination Following Recommendation of Dismissal:

Based on the Remediation Committee’s recommendation of dismissal, the program director will either dismiss the student from the program or allow the student to remain in the program until the concerning behavior has been fully addressed to the satisfaction of both the program director and the Remediation Committee. If the student is dismissed from the program, the program director will provide a notice of dismissal to the student in writing. If any interim action(s) were put into place following Administrative Review (e.g., interim suspension or registration hold), those interim action(s) will remain in place. If the program director allows the student to remain in the program, the student must continue to work with the Remediation Committee to address its concerns. Any interim action(s) from Administrative Review will remain in effect, and accordingly, the student should be aware that, if he or she does not re-enroll in courses within a certain period of time, he or she may break enrollment and need to re-apply to the program. In those situations, admission is not guaranteed. The student may appeal the program director’s final determination of dismissal. Should the student decide to appeal his or her dismissal, he or she must follow the appeal procedures outlined below.

Appeal of Dismissal:

Students who disagree with the program director’s final determination have an opportunity to appeal. The appeal must be submitted in writing to the Dean of the School of Behavioral Sciences within seven (7) days of notification of receiving the notice of the program director’s decision. The appeal should clearly state the reason(s) the student believes the final determination should be overturned. Once received, the Dean of the School of Behavioral Sciences (or designee) will review all relevant evidence and, if necessary, speak with the student, the program director, and any others who have relevant information (e.g., members of the Remediation Committee). The Dean of the School of Behavioral Sciences (or designee) will endeavor to make a determination within ten (10) days of receiving the appeal. The determination to uphold or overturn the final determination will be sent to the student in writing, and the Dean of the School of Behavioral Sciences (or designee)’s determination concerning the interim action(s) will be final, pending the outcome of any separate processes. If the Dean of the School of Behavioral Sciences (or designee) overturns a dismissal, the student will have the option either to remain in the program and continue work with the Remediation Committee to fully address its concerns, or to withdraw from the program.

Course Substitutions

A Course Substitution request may be made when a student wishes to substitute one course for another required course when a clear relationship exists between the two. This request may also be used when an academic department approves a complete replacement for a Liberty course requirement. Students requesting these exceptions must submit a “Course Substitution Request” through the https://adfs.liberty.edu/adfs/ls/idpinitiatedsignon?wa=wsignin1.0&wtrealm=urn:cas:sso.liberty.edu [NOTE:  label this URL Transfer Suite] portal for review. Approval of the course substitution is under the oversight of the Registrar’s Office and the academic department presiding over the required course. Please note that an approved substitution will apply toward the degree requirement(s), but will not change the course number on the student’s transcript. Course substitutions are not applicable for certificate-seeking students. Changing programs or breaking enrollment may invalidate the request.

Program Changes

All requests to change degree programs, majors, cognates, and concentrations must be submitted in writing to the Registrar’s Office for resident students and Liberty University Online Academic Advising for online students. The student will be placed on the Degree Completion Plan (DCP) or Certificate Completion Plan (CCP) in effect for the term for which the request is processed. All requests for a change of major will be processed by the Registrar’s Office upon receipt, and will be effective the following full term of enrollment.

A student must be admitted to a degree program before he/she may matriculate in that program.

Dropping/Adding Courses

Changes are discouraged after a student and advisor have arranged the student’s schedule for the semester.

Residential students desiring to take a Liberty University Online course must enroll in the course during the registration period. The course must be completed by the last day of the sub-term unless an extension is granted.

Remember: Any change in status (e.g., from full-time to part-time, etc.) may cause the reduction or cancellation of your financial aid award. In other words, your out-of-pocket expenses may increase.

Exceptions to these add/drop deadlines may be granted by the Registrar in unusual circumstances, such as extreme illness or other circumstances beyond the student’s control.

No course is considered officially added or dropped until the add/drop form is submitted to the Registrar’s Office and processed. This form requires the written approval of the instructor of the course.

Dropping/Adding Courses

Online students may drop a course for a full refund, any time prior to the sub-term start date.

The full policy statement and procedures are published in the Policy Directory online at https://wiki.os.liberty.edu/display/IE/Dropping+and+Adding+Online+Classes.

Course Repeat Policy

Students who want to repeat a course taken at Liberty and have the lower grade removed from the cumulative GPA must satisfy each of the following guidelines:

  1. All Master’s-level programs will allow the repeat policy to be applied for a maximum of nine hours of repeated course work, with the exception of Master of Divinity programs, which will allow the repeat policy to be applied for a maximum of fifteen hours of repeated course work.
  2. All post-Master’s and Doctoral programs will allow the repeat policy to be applied for a maximum of three hours of repeated course work.
  3. All Graduate Certificates will allow the repeat policy to be applied for a maximum of three hours of repeated course work.
  4. For Special (aka non-degree-seeking) students, the repeat policy may be applied for a maximum of three hours of repeated course work.
  5. Both the original course and the repeat of the course must be taken at Liberty University in order to activate the policy.
  6. The repeat policy may be applied for the following grades: A, B, C, D, F, or FN (including +/- grades).
  7. The repeat policy may not be applied for the following grades: AU, I, NF, NP, P, PR, Q, or W.
  8. The higher grade, whether it is the original grade or the repeat grade, will apply toward the cumulative GPA.
  9. When a course is repeated, the lower grade will be followed on the student’s transcript by the letter “A,” which will indicate that the lower grade has been excluded from the earned hours, but is still included in the GPA hours, quality points, and the computation of the cumulative GPA. The lower grade will also remain on the student’s transcript as attempted hours.  
  10. The higher grade will be followed by the letter “I,” which will indicate that the higher grade will be included in the earned hours, GPA hours, quality points, and the computation of the cumulative GPA. 
  11. Once the repeat policy has been applied, the letter “A” following the lower grade is replaced by the letter “E,” which indicates that the lower grade is excluded from the earned hours, GPA hours, quality points, and the computation of the cumulative GPA. However, the lower grade will remain on the student’s transcript as attempted hours.
  12. This policy is retroactive to include any course taken at Liberty University.
  13. Use of the repeat policy for a prior semester will not affect the academic standing for that semester.
  14. The repeat policy request must be submitted prior to degree conferral for the policy to be activated.
  15. If a student has earned a degree, and goes on to pursue a second degree, any use of the repeat policy in the pursuit of the first degree will not count toward the total number of uses of the repeat policy allowed under the second degree.
  16. If a student is pursuing a degree, and changes to another degree without completing the first degree, any use of the repeat policy in pursuit of the first degree will count toward the total number of uses of the repeat policy allowed under the second degree, even if the first degree, or course work completed in the pursuit of the first degree, are in a different discipline than the second degree.
  17. Any approved exception to this policy pertaining to a specific degree program will be stated in this Catalog in the Graduation Requirements information for that degree program.

Independent Study / Directed Research

Students may request to complete an Independent Study or Directed Research project in a major field or related discipline. Permission for the Independent Study or Directed Research will be granted only upon approval by the Department Chair/Program Director, the Dean of the School, the Administrative Dean, and the Associate Registrar for Degree Conferral. Forms are available online at https://www.liberty.edu/index.cfm?PID=4849 or in the Registrar’s Office.

From time to time it may be necessary to cancel a class because of insufficient enrollment or other extenuating circumstances. The decision for such a cancellation is ultimately that of the Provost of the University.

The full policy statement and procedures are published in the Policy Directory online at https://wiki.os.liberty.edu/display/IE/Independent+Study.

Incompletes

Students who are unable to complete coursework by the last day of class due to unavoidable circumstances such as personal illness/injury or family emergencies may appeal to their instructor for a temporary course grade of “I” (Incomplete). The authority for the decision to grant an incomplete completely lies with the instructor. Denial of the request for an incomplete may include, but is not limited to, the student’s inability to earn a passing grade with completion of the remaining requirements, as well as an insufficient reason for the request. Students must initiate the request for an incomplete directly to the instructor by the last day of class (before the final exam period for residential classes).

The instructor will establish a new deadline for the completion of the remaining coursework, based on the circumstances. The instructor may grant up to two weeks beyond the last day of the term (or sub-term for Liberty University Online courses) for non-medical circumstances and up to four weeks beyond the last day of the term (or sub-term for Liberty University Online courses) for personal medical circumstances.

For extreme personal medical circumstances, a maximum of eight weeks for Liberty University Online courses and 16 weeks for residential courses may be given as long as sufficient medical documentation (from a medical professional) is presented along with the request. However, while the decision to grant an extended incomplete remains with the instructor, the request and medical documentation needs to be submitted to the Registrar’s Office. The instructor will be responsible to communicate the remaining requirements, as well as the extended deadline, to the student.

The instructor will post a final grade within two weeks from the deadline established for the incomplete. If a final grade is not posted within two weeks of the deadline, a grade of “F” will be posted by the Registrar’s Office. A grade of “I” can be changed to a withdrawal as long as the withdrawal is requested by the student within official course dates.

The GPA is unaffected by the incomplete until a final grade is posted after the deadline. However, grades of “I” will count as hours attempted and not completed, and will negatively affect a student’s Satisfactory Academic Progress.

Military Incompletes

Military service members are eligible for a military incomplete, for coursework that they are unable to complete on time, due to deployments, extended cruises, unit operational tempo, or other duty-related extenuating circumstances. To obtain an incomplete, a military student must send either a current copy of official military orders (as proof of professional conflict during enrollment in the course) or a signed letter on official letterhead from the student’s commander or supervisor. Incomplete requests and supporting documents should be emailed to the professor. Please Note: Incompletes must be secured no later than 2 weeks prior to the course end date. 

Extensions may be requested from the professor and students may be granted up to 4 weeks in extreme circumstances but should typically remain in a 2-3 week time-frame to stay within compliance for grade reporting policies with the Department of Defense. Students can request a military withdrawal only up to the original end date of the course. Once the original end date of the course has passed, students will not be able to request a withdrawal for any reason. Professors should use discernment when reviewing military documentation to avoid awarding an incomplete to a student who will not feasibly be able to complete the course.  Military students should notify their military education office of a course incomplete if they are using Tuition Assistance. 

The Office of Military Affairs is available to help professors review military orders, as needed, phone: (434) 592-5990, fax: (434) 455-1287, email: lumilitary@liberty.edu.

Graduate Residential Grade Appeals

Liberty encourages students to have open and respectful communication with their instructors to resolve any concerns regarding individual course assignment grades and/or the final grade for the course.

Criteria for Appeal:
Only final posted grades may be appealed beyond the instructor.

Appeals are accepted only when the grade assigned conflicts with:

  • The published grading rubrics for the course assignments
  • Written communication (i.e., email, announcements, etc.)
  • Calculation error on an assignment (resulting in a change to the final grade)

Appeals, other than those mentioned above, will not be reviewed. The student must provide written documentation that demonstrates the occurrence of one or more of the above listed grounds for appeal. Documentation may be in the form of email correspondence, graded assignments, proof of timely submission, etc.

After submitting the appeal, if additional information is needed, the student will be notified via his/her Liberty Webmail.

Appeal Process:
A student wishing to appeal a final grade should first appeal to his/her instructor and seek to resolve the situation with the instructor. If the student wishes to appeal further he/she must follow the process outlined below:

  1. Within 30 calendar days of the end of the sub-term, the student may submit a written appeal to the Program Director/Chair, but should do so through the grade appeal form. The student must include the information required above. The instructor will also be notified of the appeal and will be able to provide pertinent documentation, prior to the Program Director/Chair rendering his/her decision. The Program Director/Chair will have 7 days to review the appeal from the time of submission. When the review is complete, the student will be notified of the decision via his/her Liberty Webmail and the appeal portal.
  2. If the student has additional support for his/her appeal, the student may re-appeal to the Associate Dean through the appeal portal after receiving the decision of the Program Director/Chair. This written appeal must be submitted within 5 business days of the Program Director/Chair’s decision. The Associate Dean will review the student's appeal, as well as any information provided by the instructor. The Associate Dean will have 7 days to review the appeal from the time of submission. When the review is complete, the student will be notified of the decision via his/her Liberty Webmail and the appeal portal.
  3. If the student has additional support for his/her appeal, the student may re-appeal to the Dean, through the appeal portal after receiving the decision of the Associate Dean. This written appeal must be submitted within 5 business days of the Associate Dean’s decision. The Dean will review the student's appeal, as well as any information provided by the instructor. The Dean will have 7 days to review the appeal, from the time of submission. When the review is complete, the student will be notified of the decision via his/her Liberty Webmail and the appeal portal. The Dean’s decision is final.

Liberty University Online Grade Appeals

Liberty encourages students to have open and respectful communication with their instructors to resolve any concerns regarding individual course assignment grades and/or the final grade for the course.

Criteria for appeal:
Only final posted grades may be appealed beyond the instructor.

Appeals are accepted only when the grade assigned conflicts with:

  • The published grading rubrics for the course assignments
  • Written communication (i.e., email, announcements, etc.)
  • Calculation error on an assignment (resulting in a change to the final grade)

Appeals, other than those mentioned above, will not be reviewed. The student must provide written documentation that demonstrates the occurrence of one or more of the above grounds for appeal. Documentation may be in the form of email correspondence, graded assignments, proof of timely submission, etc. After submitting the appeal, if additional information is needed, the student will be notified via his/her Liberty Webmail.

Appeal process:
A student wishing to appeal a final grade should first appeal to his/her instructor and seek to resolve the situation with the instructor. If the student wishes to appeal further he/she must follow the process outlined below:

  1. Within 30 calendar days of the end of the sub-term, the student may submit a written appeal to the Program Director/Online Chair, but should do so through the grade appeal form. The student must include the information required above. The instructor will also be notified of the appeal and will be able to provide pertinent documentation, prior to the Program Director/Online Chair rendering his/her decision. The Program Director/Online Chair will have 7 days to review the appeal from the time of submission. When the review is complete, the student will be notified of the decision via his/her Liberty Webmail and the appeal portal.
  2. If the student has additional support for his/her appeal, the student may re-appeal to the Online Associate Dean through the appeal portal after receiving the decision of the Program Director/Online Chair. This written appeal must be submitted within 5 business days of the Program Director/Online Chair’s decision. The Associate Dean will review the student's appeal, as well as any information provided by the instructor. The Associate Dean will have 7 days to review the appeal from the time of submission. When the review is complete, the student will be notified of the decision via his/her Liberty Webmail and the appeal portal.
  3. If the student has additional support for his/her appeal, the student may re-appeal to the Dean, through the appeal portal after receiving the decision of the Online Associate Dean. This written appeal must be submitted within 5 business days of the Online Associate Dean’s decision. The Dean will review the student's appeal, as well as any information provided by the instructor. The Dean will have 7 days to review the appeal, from the time of submission. When the review is complete, the student will be notified of the decision via his/her Liberty Webmail and the appeal portal. The Dean’s decision is final.

Withdrawal from Liberty University

Remember: Any change in status (e.g., from full-time to part-time, etc.) may cause the reduction or cancellation of your financial aid award. In other words, your out-of-pocket expenses may increase.

Students withdrawing from the University during the semester must meet with a representative from the Student Advocate Office for exit counseling. As a part of this process, the student must also meet with a representative from the Financial Aid Office and the Student Accounts Office (if there is an outstanding balance on the student’s account), and will be required to submit a signed statement of withdrawal. The student’s official withdrawal date is the date they begin the withdrawal process by notifying a representative from the Student Advocate Office of his/her intent to withdraw.

Students withdrawing before the semester begins must only contact the Student Advocate Office in order to initiate the withdrawal process.

(See Expenses and Financial Policy Information: Withdrawals section). This is in effect even if the student drops classes in such a way as to go below full-time status during add/drop week.

If a student withdraws from all classes in a term, the student has officially withdrawn from the University. Financial Aid Recipients are subject to the Title IV withdrawal calculation.

Students receiving all grades of FN will be considered to have unofficially withdrawn from Liberty. The withdrawal date will be determined by the Registrar’s Office and will be based upon the student’s last date of attendance in class. Students with Federal grants and/or Federal loans will be subject to the Title IV withdrawal calculation. The Title IV withdrawal calculation will result in the reduction and/or cancellation of all Financial Aid. Consideration will be given to students withdrawing due to circumstances beyond their control.

An expulsion resulting from violation of the disciplinary system will result in an administrative withdrawal. A grade of W will be recorded in all courses for which the individual is officially registered.

A $50 fee will be charged for the processing of an official, unofficial, or administrative withdrawal. This fee will be deducted from any refund due on the student’s account or he/she will be responsible for payment of this fee.

Anyone who withdraws from the University is considered to be breaking enrollment. Students who break enrollment must apply for readmission and will be subject to the requirements of the catalog and degree requirements in effect at the time of his or her readmission.

Liberty University Online Withdrawal

Online students withdrawing from the University must contact the Liberty University Online Academic Advising Department via the student’s Liberty University email account or via the phone to start the process. 

The full policy statement and procedures are published in the Policy Directory online at https://wiki.os.liberty.edu/display/IE/LUO+Official+Withdrawal.

Online Program Unofficial Withdrawals

In accordance with Title IV regulations which require that universities have a mechanism in place for determining whether or not a student who began a course and received or could have received a disbursement of Title IV funds unofficially withdrew, the University has established a procedure for students enrolled in online courses. This procedure is used to determine if students are progressing toward the completion of their courses.

The full policy statement and procedures are published in the Policy Directory online at https://wiki.os.liberty.edu/display/IE/Unofficial+Withdrawals.

Unofficial Withdrawal for Non-Attendance Appeal Process:
Students who receive a grade of "FN" may appeal to their professor to have the grade removed to resume work in the course. All professors have the right to approve or deny FN appeals at their own discretion.

The full policy statement and procedures are published in the Policy Directory online at https://wiki.os.liberty.edu/display/IE/FN+Appeal+Process.

Institutional Challenge Examinations (ICE)

Institutional Challenge Examinations (ICE) are available to students in the Rawlings School of Divinity who possess a satisfactory justification of previous knowledge in a subject area based upon a non-college training program, job, or self-learning. Through ICE, students have the opportunity to earn credit toward their chosen degree program. For more information about ICE, including courses that may be challenged, and to complete the ICE Request Form, visit http://www.liberty.edu/academics/registrar/index.cfm?PID=37838.

Office of Graduate and Online Student Affairs

Liberty University Code of Honor for Graduate and Online Students

Academic And Personal Code Of Honor

Liberty University comprises a network of students, Alumni, faculty, staff and supporters that together form a Christian community based upon the truth of the Bible. This truth defines our foundational principles, from our Doctrinal Statement to the Code of Honor. These principles irrevocably align Liberty University’s operational procedures with the long tradition of university culture, which remains distinctively Christian, designed to preserve and advance truth. Our desire is to create a safe, comfortable environment within our community of learning, and we extend our academic and spiritual resources to all of our students with the goal of fostering academic maturity, spiritual growth and character development.

Communities are predicated on shared values and goals. The Code of Honor, an expression of the values from which our Doctrinal Statement was born, defines the fundamental principles by which our community exists. At the core of this code lie two essential concepts: a belief in the significance of all individuals, and a reliance on the existence of objective truth.

While we acknowledge that some may disagree with various elements of the Code of Honor, we maintain the expectation that our students will commit to respect and uphold the Code while enrolled at Liberty University. Adherence to the principles and concepts established within facilitates the success of our students and strengthens the Liberty community. 

The Code of Honor can be viewed in its entirety at http://www.liberty.edu/index.cfm?PID=19155.

Theses And Dissertations

Some graduate degrees require a thesis, thesis project, or dissertation for graduation. Graduate thesis and dissertation requirements will not be considered complete until receipt of an acceptable copy of the approved thesis or dissertation is confirmed by the Jerry Falwell Library in accordance with current library deposit policies.

Certificate Completion Plans

Certificate completion plans outlining the program of study and other requirements for each graduate certificate program are available online at http://www.liberty.edu/dcps

Degree Completion Plans

Degree completion plans outlining the program of study and other requirements for each graduate program are available online at http://www.liberty.edu/dcps

Time Limits For Certificate Completion

Students pursuing a certificate must complete the certificate requirements within three (3) years of the date of matriculation.

Any student who does not complete coursework within the permissible time limit for any reason, including discontinued enrollment, must reapply for readmission and will be subject to the requirements of the Catalog and Certificate Completion Plan (CCP) in effect at the time of his/her readmission.

A break in enrollment occurs when the student fails to enroll in at least one course during an academic year. The academic year begins with the start of the fall semester and ends with the conclusion of the summer term. Students who break enrollment must apply for readmission and will be subject to the requirements of the Catalog and certificate requirements in effect at the time of their readmission.

Time Limits For Degree Completion

All 30-47 semester hour masters’ programs have a maximum time limit of five years from the date of matriculation. All 48-60 semester hour master’s programs, doctoral programs, or degrees offered outside the regular semester have a maximum time limit of seven years from the date of matriculation. All over-60 semester hour master’s programs and doctoral programs have a maximum time limit of ten years from the date of matriculation.

Any approved exceptions to the policies noted above, pertaining to a specific degree program, will be stated in this Catalog in the Graduation Requirements information for that degree program.

Any student who does not complete coursework within the permissible time limit for any reason – including discontinued enrollment – must reapply for admission. The respective program director will determine if any previous courses are sufficiently time sensitive and must be repeated. Beginning with the date of readmission, the time limit for degree completion is determined by the number of hours remaining: less than 48 hours – five years; 48-60 hours –seven years; more than 60 hours – ten years.

For resident students, a break in enrollment occurs when the student fails to enroll in either the Fall or Spring semesters. For online students, a break in enrollment occurs when the student fails to enroll in at least one course during an academic year. The academic year begins with the start of the fall semester and ends with the conclusion of the summer term. Students who break enrollment must apply for readmission and will be subject to the requirements of the Catalog and degree requirements in effect at the time of their readmission.

Work In Residence

Online student candidates for the Master of Arts in Counseling and Master of Education degrees must complete nine hours on campus. Candidates for the Doctor of Education degree must complete 12 hours on campus. Students may satisfy this requirement by attending modular courses or attending other regularly scheduled classes at Liberty University. Modular courses are one-or-more-week intensive sessions scheduled during summer and other selected times during the year. Students requesting exemptions must do so by presenting their reasons (with documentation) to the appropriate Liberty University Online Faculty Coordinator.

Grading Policies And Procedures

Liberty University Faculty members, both residential and online, must submit final grades for all students to the Registrar at the end of each term. Faculty teaching online courses should have grades submitted to the Registrar on or before the second Wednesday after the course ends. Faculty teaching residential courses should have grades submitted to the Registrar one week after the end of each semester. Liberty University Faculty members, both residential and online, are urged to promptly complete and submit final course grades. Confidentiality of student grades falls under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974. Please see the FERPA section and policies for more information.

Grading Scales:
Liberty University incorporates a standardized 1,000 point system across all undergraduate and graduate programs. The undergraduate utilizes a 100 point scale to differentiate between letter grades, while the graduate programs utilize three distinct scales: 80, 70 and 60 point scales to differentiate between letter grades. Each academic department determines the scale used within the department. The grading scale for each course will be posted within the syllabus for each course. Students are encouraged to review the syllabus for each course individually to verify the grade scale.

Recording Of Grades

All grades will be recorded in the Registrar’s Office as reported by the instructors in charge of the various courses. Requests for grade changes may be submitted in writing only by the instructors.

Any extra-credit assignments that are a part of the instructor’s syllabus must be completed prior to the final exam for the course. A student may not submit an assignment for extra credit after the semester has ended and a final exam has been given.

Academic Transcripts

Official transcripts are made only at the request of the student. No transcript will be issued for anyone who has failed to meet all financial obligations to the University. Requests for transcripts are to be made directly to the Registrar’s Office. There is a $10.00 fee for one transcript. Additional transcript requests made at the same time are $1.00 each.

FERPA – Privacy of Student Records: Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
Students attending, or who have attended, Liberty University are given certain rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as amended (20 U.S.C. 1232g) and Rules of the Department of Education (34 C.F.R. Part 99) implementing this Act. Additional information and University policies regarding the protection of student records are published online at http://www.liberty.edu/ferpa.

Graduation Requirements

The following general guidelines for graduation apply to each candidate for a graduate degree. Any additional requirements are specified in the section which describes a particular program.

  1. Post-baccalaureate, graduate, or professional programs must be at least 30 semester credit hours.
  2. The complete program of study for the degree, as outlined in the catalog in effect when the student is accepted as a degree candidate, must be successfully completed before graduation.
  3. The student must have a cumulative GPA of 3.00 unless otherwise stated.
  4. The cumulative GPA will be used (a) to determine eligibility for (1) conferral and (2) graduation honors and (b) as the “Degree Awarded GPA” that will be posted on the student’s transcript. The cumulative GPA comprises all Liberty University coursework completed at the academic level of the degree being awarded (Graduate or Doctoral) regardless of prior degree conferral or certificate completion, broken enrollment, or a program/major change.
  5. At least one-third of the course work for any program of study must be earned through Liberty University. The minimum number of hours which must be completed through Liberty for each degree program is noted in this Catalog in the Graduation Requirements section for that program.
  6. Students in post-graduate programs are permitted to use up to 15 hours of 500/600-level courses if permitted by their Degree Completion Plan.
  7. The student must submit a Degree Completion Application to the Registrar’s Office at the beginning of his/her final semester
  8. The Registrar’s Office will process the conferral of a degree once all degree requirements have been met, including the minimum GPA requirement and Degree Completion Application. If a student wishes to take further non-applicable coursework, he/she must do so under a new application.

Certificate Completion Requirements

  1. The complete program of study for the certificate, as outlined in the catalog in effect when the student is accepted to the certificate, must be successfully completed.
  2. The student must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.00.
  3. The cumulative GPA will be used (a) to determine eligibility for conferral and (b) as the “Certificate GPA” that will be posted on the student’s transcript. The cumulative GPA comprises all Liberty University coursework completed at the Graduate academic level, regardless of prior degree conferral or certificate completion, broken enrollment, or a program/major change.
  4. No grade of D may be applied to the certificate (includes grades of D+/D-).
  5. All course work for the certificate must be completed through Liberty University.
  6. The student must submit a Certificate Completion Application to the Registrar’s Office at the beginning of his/her final semester.
  7. The Registrar's Office will process the conferral of a certificate once all certificate requirements have been met including the minimum GPA requirement and certificate completion application. If a student wishes to take further non-applicable coursework, he/she must do so under a new application.

Graduation Approval

All candidates for graduation must be approved by the faculty and the Board of Trustees. Conditions such as transfer credit and incomplete grades should be removed by the beginning of the candidate’s last semester.

Graduation Honors

Graduation honors are available for all graduate, post-graduate, and doctoral programs. Certificate students do not receive graduation honors.

Honors for graduation will be determined by the cumulative GPA earned at Liberty. Note: The cumulative GPA comprises all Liberty University coursework completed at the academic level of the degree being awarded (Graduate or Doctoral) regardless of prior degree conferral, broken enrollment or a program/major change. Cumulative GPA is calculated to the hundredths place and is not rounded. Students must meet the following GPA standards to earn the corresponding academic distinction:

GPA Distinction
3.90 – 3.94 Graduate with distinction
3.95 – 4.00 Graduate with high distinction

The specific honor calculated on April 1 of the student’s graduation year will be printed in the commencement program and the student will wear that particular honor regalia; however, the final cumulative grade point average will be recorded and that final cumulative GPA will determine the specific honor that will be printed on the diploma and transcript. Students in certificate programs are not eligible for graduation honors.

Commencement Ceremony

Degrees are conferred within four weeks of successful completion of all degree requirements. All candidates for degrees may participate in the annual graduation exercises which take place in May.

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