Advising, Enrollment & Evaluation


  • Advisors
  • Plan of Study
  • Advising of Non-Degree Students
  • Yearly Evaluation


  • Credit Loads and Limits
  • Minimum Enrollment
  • Leaves of Absence
  • Non-Degree Students
  • Auditors
  • Attendance Policy
  • Withdrawal Policy


  • Grades in Graduate Courses
  • Grading System
  • Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory-Pass/Fail
  • Grade Point Average
  • Incompletes
  • Repeated Courses
  • Official Transcripts

In this section:


Academic and scholarly advising varies by graduate program across the University. Each graduate academic unit has one or more graduate advisors, and every graduate student must be assigned an advisor throughout their graduate training. This advisor may also be the student’s thesis or dissertation advisor. The advisor and student typically meet soon after the student’s admission to the program to develop a plan of study and on a regular basis thereafter to monitor and review progress.

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Plan of Study

All graduate students must have a plan of study, which is a formal agreement between the student and their program or committee regarding the conditions the student must meet to earn the desired degree. The plan of study usually lists required courses and activities and describes the timeline for these requirements. The plan may also include suggested or optional courses and activities. Each college or school determines the mechanisms for establishing, changing, and monitoring students’ progress on plans of study. The plan of study should be in place no later than the end of the student’s first semester.

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Advising of Non-Degree Students

Each dean establishes a mechanism to advise non-degree graduate students who intend to take the majority of their coursework in the dean’s college or school. Such mechanisms may include designating a faculty or staff member at an advising office or center to advise non-degree students. Non-degree students with an interest in programs in two colleges or schools may be assigned to either by the Office of Admissions. It is expected that the student will take responsibility for understanding the policies of each unit and facilitate any needed communication between advisors.

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Yearly Evaluation

All graduate students who enrolled in at least one credit during the academic year are provided with a written evaluation from their program following the end of each spring term. This requirement may be waived for students in good standing who are expected to graduate in spring or summer.

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In this section:

Credit Loads and Limits

Nine credit hours is the minimum load to be considered a full-time graduate student. Courses taken under the audit option are counted toward attaining full-time enrollment status. Graduate students are not permitted to take more than 17 hours in a term without approval by their college or school and by the Office of Graduate Education and Life. Requests for more than 18 hours in a fall or spring term, or from students with a grade point average below 3.25, will not normally be approved. No overload requests will be considered for the summer term. Although students may enroll for up to 17 hours in the summer term, they are strongly discouraged from enrolling in more than 12 hours.

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Minimum Enrollment

In any term during which a graduate student is using University research facilities, consulting with graduate committee members, or completing a thesis or dissertation (including the thesis or dissertation defense and submission of the Electronic Thesis and Dissertation, or ETD), the student must enroll for at least one hour of graduate credit. Students who take courses intermittently may be excused from such continuous enrollment if they are not using University facilities or consulting with faculty while they are not enrolled. However, students formally admitted to candidacy for graduate degrees are required to register for at least one credit hour each fall and spring term as a condition of their continued candidacy. Individual programs may also require summer enrollment. By pursuing a degree, such persons by definition are utilizing University services, facilities, and other resources, including faculty expertise; this situation continues in cases where students have completed all required coursework and are working on a thesis or dissertation. Candidates for graduate degrees who fail to maintain continuity of enrollment may be dropped from candidacy.

Students who have completed all requirements for a degree (including the thesis or dissertation defense and submission of the ETD) prior to the beginning of the term of graduation do not need to enroll during that term.

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Leaves of Absence

Graduate students in good standing who wish to be away from their academic endeavors at WVU for one or more semesters but intend to return at a later date may request a leave of absence. Students should consult with their program or school/college concerning the required procedure to request a leave of absence. Some programs (such as some master’s programs or part-time programs) may not require students to request a leave of absence in order to enroll sporadically and remain in good standing. Doctoral students admitted to candidacy who wish to not enroll for one or more semesters must be granted a leave of absence in order to maintain their candidacy. Leaves of absence are not required for summer terms unless otherwise specified by a student’s program.

Minimally, requests for leaves of absence must be submitted in writing to a student’s program director or department chair prior to the beginning of the semester for which the leave is desired. The program director or department chair (or an appropriate faculty committee or other administrator) determines whether or not to grant the leave of absence, the length of time granted, and any conditions the student must meet to return to the program following the leave of absence (including a date by which the student must inform the program that he or she plans to return). The student is informed in writing of the outcome of his or her request, and a copy of the outcome is retained in the student’s records.

Information concerning military deployments during a semester is available at

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Non-Degree Students

Non-degree students are normally those taking classes for enrichment purposes, public school teachers taking classes for certification renewal, or students taking classes as prerequisites for admission to degree programs. Non-degree students may enroll in any course in the University for which they meet the prerequisites and any other restrictions on the course. However, some departments restrict enrollments to majors only or require non-degree students to obtain instructor permission to enroll.

A non-degree graduate student may accumulate unlimited graduate credit hours. However, under no circumstances may a non-degree student apply more than twelve hours of previously earned credit toward a degree (see section on Course Credit Limitations). If the student is later admitted to a degree program, the faculty of that program will decide whether any credit earned as a non-degree student may be applied to the degree.

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An auditor may register for courses and must pay full fees but does not receive credit for the course. A student who audits a course must let one semester pass before enrolling in the course for credit. A student may change his or her status from audit to grade or grade to audit only during the registration period. Attendance requirements for auditors are determined by the instructor of the course. The instructor may direct the Office of the University Registrar to remove an auditor from a class list or grade report if attendance requirements are not met.

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Attendance Policies

Instructors may set attendance policies that are appropriate for the goals and instructional strategies of their courses and instructors may include attendance records in determining the final course grade. All attendance policies that affect students' grades must be announced in writing (typically within the course syllabus) within the first week of class. Moreover, instructors are responsible for keeping accurate enrollment records, and for keeping accurate attendance records when attendance is used in grading.

Students who are absent from class for any reason are responsible for all missed work and for contacting their instructors promptly, unless the instructors' policies require otherwise. However, instructors cannot require documentation of student illness from any medical provider as part of an attendance policy, as medical conditions are confidential and frequently not verifiable.

Instructors are urged not to schedule examinations or field trips on "Days of Special Concern" that are identified in the Schedule of Courses.

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Withdrawal Policy

There are two types of withdrawals: withdrawal from individual courses for which a student has registered and a complete withdrawal from the University. Deadlines for withdrawals for each semester are available at: If students follow all established University procedures and withdraw before the published deadline, they will receive a W on their transcript. The grade point average is not affected in any way by this mark. If formal withdrawal procedures are not executed by the student, a failing grade/s will be recorded.

Withdrawal/Drop From Individual Classes

Students may drop individual classes within a term based on established deadlines. These deadlines are posted on the Office of the University Registrar’s website. Students, with the help of their academic advisors, are responsible for determining:

  • If their course load would be reduced below the minimum requirement set by their program
  • If their course load would be reduced below the minimum hours required to qualify for a graduate assistantship, financial aid, or international full-time student status
  • If the course to be dropped is a co-requisite for another course the student is taking or a prerequisite for a course required the following semester. The student may be required to drop the co-requisite course or asked to take a substitute course the following semester.

Withdrawal From All Classes for the Term

Students may withdraw from WVU for the term in which they are enrolled at any time before the last day of classes of the term on which regular classes are scheduled to meet. Students will receive grades of W in all classes for that term.


  1. To withdraw from all classes through the last day to drop a class with a W, a student would log on to the WVU Portal and drop their classes through STAR.
  2. To withdraw from the term after the last day to drop a class with a W, a student must submit a request to the Office of the University Registrar. Instructions for submitting this request (in person or by email, mail, or fax) are found on the Office of the University Registrar's website

Important Notice:  Financial aid recipients who withdraw from all classes before sixty percent of the term is completed may be required to return a portion of any financial aid that was received for the term. Students who do not receive at least one passing grade for classes in a term must provide documentation which verifies continued participation in educational activities. If documentation cannot be provided, those students are considered to have informally withdrawn from WVU prior to sixty percent of the term and may be required to return a portion of any financial aid which was received. This review and return of financial aid is done in accordance with federal regulations.

Re-Enrollment After Withdrawal

After a student withdraws from WVU in two consecutive semesters (excluding sum­mer sessions), a student may not register for further work without approval of the dean of the college or school in which the student wants to register. Enrollment is subject to conditions set by that dean. In the case of an undecided major, the student must seek approval from the director of the Center for Learning, Advising, and Student Success.

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In this section:

Grades in Graduate Courses

Letter grades are assigned in many graduate courses. Grades of C or below are considered substandard. Some programs allow credit for courses in which a grade of C is earned; others do not.

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Grading System

Grade Description
DPoor but passing (College of Law only)
WWithdrawal from a course before the date specified in the University calendar.
PPass (See Pass/Fail grading below)
XAuditor, no grade and no credit.
CRCredit but no grade
PRProgress; final grade to be issued at end of second semester (Health Sciences only)
HHonors course (Professional school courses only)
IFIncomplete grade not removed by next regular term (Computed as an F.)
UFUnforgivable F (Not eligible for D/F repeat policy.)

Note: Grades that are not reported by faculty at the end of a term will be designated with an NR on the official transcript. Grades that are not reported will become an F at the conclusion of the next semester if a final grade is not submitted.

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Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory - Pass/Fail Grading

At the graduate level, the satisfactory-unsatisfactory ("S/U") grading option is used only for the course numbers 697/797 "Research." The "S" and "U" grades for 697/797 are not applied to the calculation of the GPA. "S/U" shall be the only grading option for 697/797.

Other courses for which faculty wish to use a binary grading option should use the pass-fail ("P/F") grading option. Grades of “F” earned using this option do apply to the GPA.

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Grade Point Average

Grade Points

Each letter grade has a numeric value. Grade points are based on this number value and the credit hour value of the course.

  • A- 4
  • B- 3
  • C- 2
  • D- 1
  • F/UF- 0
  • I- 0
  • U- 0

The grade point average is computed on all work for which a student registers, with the following exceptions:

  • Courses with a grade of CR, H, PR, P, S, W, and X carry no grade value. The grade of incomplete (I) initially carries no grade value.
  • When a student receives the grade of I and the incomplete grade is later removed, the grade point average is calculated on the basis of the new grade. If the I grade is not removed within the next semester, the grade is treated as an F (failure).
  • If a student is working toward teacher certification, he or she is responsible for every registration in a course in which the grade of A, B, C, D, F, P, X or I is received.

Grade Point Average

All academic units of the University have minimum standards of scholastic quality that must be met or exceeded. Beginning in January 2012, grades earned in Baccalaureate-level college work attempted at other accredited US institutions are included in the calculation of the overall GPA. All credits and grades accepted as transfer credit from all accredited US institutions will be used in the calculation of the cumulative grade point average and total attempted and earned credits. Study Abroad credit is treated as non-US and is awarded as credit only, regardless of whether it is taken through a US institution. Only courses with a grade of “D” or higher will be transferred to WVU as earned Study Abroad Credit. To be eligible to receive a baccalaureate degree, a student must have a GPA of at least 2.0 at the time of graduation. Some degree programs require a higher grade point average overall or in the major courses. GPA is based on all work for which a student received a letter grade other than W and P and coursework excluded under the provisions of the D/F Repeat Policy. The grade point average for honors consideration for a baccalaureate is based on baccalaureate-level college work attempted at WVU as well as other regionally accredited US institutions.

Students are responsible for knowing their grade point standing and can obtain the necessary information from their advisor or the dean of their college or school. GPA is determined according to the method described in the section on grade points.

GPA Calculation

  1. Students need to know how to calculate their overall and semester grade point averages. The following example shows how to do it. Assume a student registered for 16 hours and receive the following grades in these courses:
    1. English 101 – B
    2. Mathematics 126 - A
    3. Geology 101 - C
    4. Political Science 101 - B
    5. Spanish 101 - D
    6. Psychology 491 - P
  2. Course, Credits, Grade, Value, Credits x Value, Grade Points Earned
    1. English 101, 3, B, 3, 3 x 3 = 9
    2. Geology 101, 3, C, 2, 3 x 2 = 6
    3. Spanish 101, 3, D, 1, 3 x 1 = 3
    4. Mathematics 126, 3, A, 4, 3 x 4 =12
    5. Political Science 101, 3, B, 3, 3 x 3 = 9
    6. Psychology 491, 1, P, 0, 1 x 0 = 0
  3. Multiply the credit by the grade value to get the grade points earned for each course
  4. Add the total grade points, in this case, 39.
  5. Divide the total grade points earned by the total credit hours with a grade value. Remember that P grades have no grade value, so in this case, there are 15 credit hours for the GPA calculation: 39 divided by 15 = grade point average of 2.6.

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Incomplete Grades

A grade of I (Incomplete) is a temporary grade assignment used when unforeseen, non-academic circumstances arise that prohibit students from completing the last course assignments or examinations at the end of the semester.  The grade of Incomplete is typically assigned because of an excused absence from the final examination, or because assignments are unavoidably incomplete, as determined by the instructor.  Students who are failing a course (exclusive of the incomplete work) may not request an Incomplete.

Students who want be considered for an Incomplete must apply to their instructor prior to the end of the term. If the instructor agrees, the instructor and the student must negotiate the conditions under which the grade of I will be changed to a letter grade and sign a contract.  The date to submit the incomplete work should not be set beyond the last day of class of the following semester. If the student does not complete the terms of contract then the instructor should submit a grade of F. All incomplete contracts must be filed with the department and Dean’s Office. 

To remove the grade of I, a student does not register for the course again. 

If the Incomplete grade is not changed by the end of the next major term (excluding summer), the I grade will be replaced with an IF.

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Repeated Courses

Courses repeated that cannot be taken again for credit follow this procedure:

  1. Both the original course grade and the second course grade are included in determining the overall GPA. The original course is excluded from earned or degree hours and is marked with an (A).
  2. The original grade is not deleted from the student’s permanent record.
  3. The second grade is entered on the student’s transcript and marked as included (I) in the semester that the course was repeated.
  4. Courses repeated more than once are handled the same way with the final attempt carrying earned or degree hours. All attempts are used for determining the GPA.

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Official Transcripts

Students can order official transcripts through the Office of the University Registrar. Before ordering a transcript, students should ensure that all grades and degree(s) have been posted as transcript requests are processed im­mediately. All financial obligations to West Virginia University must be cleared before transcripts can be released. A West Virginia University transcript is a complete record of a student’s enrollment at WVU that includes all undergraduate, graduate, and professional courses.

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