This section describes policies that apply across the graduate curriculum. Faculty may establish other course specific policies.

Academic Advising

Upon admission, students are assigned to College faculty advisors who assist them in selecting courses, reviewing grade reports and completing degree requirements. Faculty advisors facilitate the progression of students through their program of study.

Academic advising is under the general supervision of the Graduate Program Director. Students experiencing academic problems may consult their faculty advisor, course faculty, track coordinator, or the Graduate Program Director for assistance.

Assignment of Credit Hours

Program directors are responsible for the initial development of the schedule of section offerings each term and ensuring that the duration and frequency of each section meets the minimum requirements for instruction as appropriate based on course type and credit hours earned. The Leadership Council is responsible for the preliminary review of the schedule of classes each term. Part of the review is an audit to ensure each section meets contact hour minimums. The Office of the Registrar conducts an audit of the scheduled contact hours prior to publishing the schedule of classes each term. Sections offered in an accelerated (8, 10, or 12 week) format must contain the same total hours as the same course offered in a standard full-term semester.

Each theory credit hour is equivalent to one clock hour per week. Each practicum credit hour is equivalent to four clock hours per credit hour per week. Each lab credit hour is equivalent to two clock hours per credit hour per week. There is a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work per credit hour per week. For courses offered in 8-week, 10-week, and 12-week formats, clock hours per week are increased to be equivalent with the standard 15-week semester. Using the ratios above, total clock hours are calculated, then divided by the number of weeks allocated to that specific course.

Hybrid and Online Equivalency

For hybrid or online courses the content and assignments should equal the same number of expected hours per week. Calculating student engagement and time on task for assignments such as discussion posts, readings, team assignments, quizzes, etc. will be determined using an approved equivalency guide. The Ferrum College Online Credit and Contact Hour Equivalency Guide is one example.


(Revised 8/1/20)

Students are required to attend on-ground class, synchronous sessions, laboratory and clinical sessions regularly. Failure to do so may result in a failing course grade. Since the majority of MSN courses are offered online, students are expected to log in and participate as outlined by the course faculty in the syllabus. Failure to log in and participate as assigned may be deemed an absence for that week at the discretion of the instructor. The tools in the Learning Management System are used to determine level and frequency of participation.

Absence for an Approved Activity

On exceptional occasions, students may miss a class, lab or clinical to participate in a college-approved extra-/co-curricular activity. The College supports learning experiences afforded by involvement in such activities. These activities require students to represent the College “on location”, for both participation in the event as well as travel to and from the location.

This policy only applies to activities that have been approved by the Dean’s office. In all cases, students should communicate with instructors in advance, where possible, and discuss the implications of any absence. Students should be prepared to provide documentation for participation in college-approved activities, when requested by the instructor, as false claims of legitimate or unavoidable absence may be considered a violation of the Academic Honesty Policy.

Student Expectations

  1. The student who will miss a class, lab, or clinical must inform the instructor as soon as possible and, except in unavoidable situations, at least one week in advance of a planned absence.
  2. It is the student’s responsibility to complete work in advance, or to make alternate arrangements with the instructor, if an evaluative event will be missed because of a college-approved absence.
  3. This policy does not include departure preparations prior to the time a group or student is expected to leave on a trip.
  4. The student should recognize not all work can be made-up and absences can ultimately affect student performance in a class. Therefore, the instructor reserves the right to deny the request for the approved absence. If the student believes the request denial or make-up is unreasonable, they should contact their program director and provide documentation describing the unacceptable situation.

Changes in Registration

Changes in registration must be initiated in the Registrar’s Office. Class additions will not be allowed after the first week of the semester. Students who stop attending class(es) without processing the official withdrawal forms will receive grades of F. No credit will be allowed for a course in which the student is not appropriately registered.

Classification of Students

A full-time graduate student is one who enrolls in at least 9 credit hours during the fall or spring 15-week semester. Full time enrollment in the summer term is a minimum of 4 credit hours.

A part–time graduate student is one who enrolls in less than 9 credit hours during the fall or spring 15-week semester. In order for a student to be eligible to receive financial aid funds during the fall or spring semester he or she must be enrolled in a minimum of 4.5 credit hours. Part-time enrollment in the summer term is a minimum of 2 credit hours.

Course Progress

Using the Learning Management System Grade Book

Students may view their progress and grades in all nursing courses using the grade book feature of the Learning Management System at any time during the academic term. It is the student’s responsibility to remain aware of progress in courses and consult with course faculty if additional assistance is needed.


Students may view their midterm and final semester grades in the SONIS database, a secure environment, after grades have been entered. Final grades are available for viewing after the close of the academic session or semester.

Grading System

Course requirements and the methodology for assigning grades are the prerogative of the teaching faculty of each nursing course. A uniform grading system will be used for all graduate courses at the College. The grading scale consists of the following grades with their corresponding quality point values. Grades marked with an asterisk (*) do not allow progression in nursing courses.

Grade GPA Description
A 4.0 Denotes superior academic performance at the graduate level.
B+ 3.33 Denotes above average academic performance at the graduate level.
B 3.0 Denotes average academic performance at the graduate level.
C* 2.0 Denotes below average academic performance at the graduate level which will not be accepted for degree credit in any Research College of Nursing graduate degree program and may affect progression.
F* 0.0 Denotes academic performance of poor quality which will not be accepted for degree credit.
I* Denotes that the course has not been completed. This grade may be assigned only for serious reasons and with the approval of the Dean of Nursing; must be removed within six weeks or automatically becomes an F.
NP* 0.0 No Pass. This grade is given only in clinical practicum courses. A grade of NP will be transcribed as an F which will affect the grade point average.
P Pass. This grade is given only in clinical practicum courses. A grade of P adds credit but does not affect the grade point average.
W* Denotes that the student is allowed to withdraw without penalty.
UW* 0.0 Denotes an Unofficial Withdrawal and will affect the grade point average.
AU* Audit. Student enrolled on a non-credit basis. No grade or credit given.
IP Denotes “in progress”. IP will be assigned for NU 7480/7500 until completion of the project/thesis.

Graduate Program Grading Scale

Grade Score Grade Letter
92-100 A
87-91 B+
80-86 B
70-79 C
0-69 F

Graduation Requirements

All candidates for the MSN degree must successfully complete degree requirements within six (6) years from time of admission. The minimum number of credits required for each track is:

Adult-Gerontological Nurse Practitioner 46 credits
Family Nurse Practitioner 46 credits
Executive Practice and Healthcare Leadership 36 credits
Nurse Educator 34 credits

Students should file the Application for Degree Candidacy no later than one semester before the semester in which completion of the degree is anticipated. The application should be submitted to the Registrar’s Office, and official transcripts of transfer credit from other institutions requested to prepare for graduation.

Incomplete Grades

Under unusual circumstances, when a small portion of a course cannot be completed by the last day of class, students may request, in writing, an incomplete grade, or ‘I’. If approved, the student will be given up to six weeks to complete the coursework, or the ‘I’ grade will be changed to an ‘F’. Incomplete grades may not be extended beyond six weeks without the approval of the Program Director and Dean. For students at risk of dismissal, coursework and the grade change must be completed and submitted by the 6-week deadline or the drop/add deadline of the next semester, whichever comes first.

The Incomplete Grade Request and Extension of Incomplete Grade Request forms can be obtained from the College Registrar’s Office. Students are expected to initiate contact with their instructors to arrange for timely completion of outstanding work. Instructors may require periodic progress reports.

Graduating students who have incomplete grades in any course used to satisfy a graduation requirement must resolve those incomplete grades by the middle of the following semester (summer for spring graduates, fall for summer graduates, and spring for fall graduates) or they will not graduate that semester and must reapply for a future semester of graduation.

Leave of Absence

A leave of absence is considered a lapse in consecutive enrollment and will be considered on an individual basis. Students’ requests for a leave of absence should be submitted to the Track Coordinator in writing; the Leave of Absence Request form can be obtained from the Registrar’s Office. Students are responsible for ensuring that all graduation requirements are met. Questions on these matters should be directed to the student’s faculty advisor, Track Coordinator, or the Graduate Program Director. Students who do not enroll in courses two consecutive semesters, but do not request a leave of absence (summer is not considered a required semester) will be required to reapply to the College.

Students are expected to maintain continuous enrollment until the program is completed. Students in good academic standing who interrupt their continuous enrollment for more than two (2) semesters will be evaluated in regard to their status in the program. Prior to non-enrollment for the second semester, students should submit a letter to the Graduate Program Director identifying their need for an interruption in enrollment.

Requirements for Progression

  1. 3.0 cumulative GPA
  2. A grade of C or below in any graduate course is not accepted for degree credit in any graduate course.
  3. Any course in which a grade of C or below is earned must be repeated and progression in the program is affected as outlined below:
    1. If the cumulative grade point average is at or above a 3.0, the student may enroll in another course, assuming that prerequisites have been met, and repeat the course in which the grade of C or less was earned when it becomes available.
    2. If the cumulative grade point average falls below a 3.0, the course must be repeated before enrolling in another course. After repeating the course, the student must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better to remain in the program.
  4. Two grades of C or below result in dismissal from the graduate program regardless of cumulative grade point average.
  5. Clinical practicum courses are graded Pass/No Pass (P/NP). Pass grades are not calculated into the grade point average. No Pass grades are transcribed as an F and affect the grade point average.
  6. A grade of No Pass in one clinical practicum course results in dismissal from the graduate program.
  7. In order to participate in practicum courses, students in all tracks of the graduate program must hold an RN license as an RN in the state in which the practicum experience is based.

Dismissal from the graduate program is a serious action and results when two (2) grades of C or below are earned in any graduate level nursing course, or when a failure in a clinical practicum course occurs, regardless of the cumulative grade point average.


A student may be suspended from any classroom, lab or clinical session for inappropriate or unsafe behavior or failure to adhere to any College policy. Suspension may last from several hours to one calendar year. Suspension results in denied access to the Learning Management System for all course related materials in all courses in which a student is enrolled. Suspension means that the student may not attend class, lab or clinical AND will not be allowed to make up any work or assignments or exams that are due during the suspension.

Faculty imposed suspension: Faculty are responsible for making the immediate decision to suspend a student from classroom, clinical, or lab sessions in progress for inappropriate or unsafe behaviors. At the time of a suspension, conditions for reinstatement are explained. Failure to meet the conditions of reinstatement may result in course failure.

College imposed suspension: The Dean is responsible for imposing suspension for failure to adhere to College policy. At the time of a suspension, the conditions of reinstatement are explained. Failure to meet the conditions of reinstatement may result in course failure or dismissal from the nursing program.

Transcripts of Records

No transcript, official or unofficial, or Certification of Education will be issued to or for a student or alumnus who is delinquent in financial obligations to the College. Requests for transcripts can be made at the National Student Clearinghouse: