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General Policies

Points of Contact

GEORGE T. FLOWERS, Dean
GEORGE CRANDELL, Associate Dean

The Graduate School is open 7:45-11:45 a.m. and 12:45-4:45 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Telephone: (334) 844-4700. Fax: (334) 844-4348.
E-mail: gradadm@auburn.edu
Web: www.grad.auburn.edu
Mailing Address: 106 Hargis Hall, Auburn, AL 36849-5122.

Calendar

The university operates on the semester system. The Graduate School calendar at the beginning of this Bulletin is also available at the Graduate School and contains the dates of various important deadlines. It should be followed carefully.

Graduate Study and University Employees

An Auburn University faculty member or employee may pursue a graduate degree with the approval of the head or chair of the employing department and the dean of the employing school or college. Inquiries should be made to the dean of the Graduate School.

Academic Programs and Curricula

An academic program is an organized plan of study which, when successfully completed, is recognized by the awarding of a degree. It includes all courses and related activities required by the university and those required by a school, college, department or interdisciplinary program. At Auburn University, the minimum number of hours in a doctoral program is 60 semester hours earned through instruction beyond the bachelor’s degree, including 1) a minimum of 30 semester hours graded (e.g., A, B) graduate course work (6000-level and above); and 2) a minimum of 30 semester hours of additional graduate course work (6000-level and above) that may include ungraded courses 7990 and 8990 and must include at least 10 hours of 8990.  Some departments require more than 60 semester hours and requirements may vary according to a student’s background and interest. The minimum number of hours in a master’s degree program is 30 semester hours of courses, 6000-level and above.

A graduate program option is a formally approved variation of an academic program by the offering department which meets objectives that may be more specifically focused. These additional objectives are integrated with the basic program. A formal graduate program option must preserve the integrity of the academic program of which it is a variant. Specifically, the formal program option must 1) be in a recognized sub-field of the discipline; and 2) share at least half of the total credits of the degree program. Only formally approved graduate program options are designated on the transcript. Other less formal variants, which may carry the name of “track,” “concentration,” “emphasis,” or similar terms, are not designated on the transcript; however, all academic programs and designated variations (whether called “options,” “tracks,” “concentrations,” “emphases” or some similar term) must be approved by the Alabama Commission on Higher Education (ACHE).

A graduate minor is an organized sequence or cluster of courses offered by a department or interdepartmental program. Not all departments or interdepartmental programs offer a minor. At Auburn University, the term graduate minor designates those sequences or clusters of courses that have been formally proposed as minors by departments or interdepartmental programs and approved by the Graduate Council. The minimum number of semester hours in a minor is nine, all of which must be in courses at the 6000-level or above and must be completed at Auburn University.   

Accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s Degree Plan

The Accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s Degree Plan allows Auburn students in some academic programs to count up to nine approved hours (in a 30-35-hour master’s program) or 12 approved hours (in a 36-hour or greater master’s program) toward both a bachelor’s and a master’s degrees. These hours must be at the graduate level.

To be considered for admission, students must have completed at least 45 credit hours and no more than 96 credit hours, including advanced placement credits. Transfer students must have completed at least 24 credit hours at Auburn University. All students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0/4.0 or higher on course work completed at Auburn. Individual graduate programs may set higher standards or require additional criteria for admission to the accelerated degree program.

Students must complete an “Application for Admission to the Accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s Degree Plan,” and work with a graduate advisor in the degree-granting department to complete an approved Plan of Study, including: a) a list of the courses that count toward both the undergraduate and graduate degree; and b) the projected dates for the completion of the bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Students in the Honors College remain eligible to graduate with Honors while participating, and should consult with an Honors advisor.

Students must maintain a cumulative GPA (CGPA) of 3.0/4.0 or higher on Auburn University coursework; if the student completes the bachelor’s degree requirements with a cumulative GPA of less than 3.0/4.0 at Auburn, the student cannot double-count credit hours and is terminated from the program.

Students must apply for admission to the Graduate School by the prescribed deadline. Admission to the Accelerated Degree Plan does not guarantee admission to the Graduate School. Students cannot opt to bypass the bachelor’s degree.

Students may withdraw voluntarily from the Accelerated Plan at any time. Students must notify, in writing, the graduate program officer and the coordinator/director of undergraduate studies in their respective departments. Students who withdraw from the program voluntarily or because they do not meet program requirements will not be awarded graduate credit for double-counted courses. Students may contact their major program to see if it participates or visit the Graduate School’s website for a listing of current ABM plans: http://grad.auburn.edu/abm.html.

Graduate Study and University Employees

An Auburn University faculty member or employee may pursue a graduate degree with the approval of the head or chair of the employing department and the dean of the employing school or college. Inquiries should be made to the dean of the Graduate School.

Class Attendance

Students are expected to attend all their scheduled classes. College work requires regular class attendance as well as careful preparation. Specific policies regarding class attendance are the prerogative of individual faculty members. Faculty shall inform each class in writing at the beginning of the course regarding the effect of absences on the determination of grades.

The student is expected to carry out all assigned work and to take examinations at the class period designated by the instructor. Failure to carry out these assignments or to take examinations at the designated times may result in an appropriate reduction in grade, except as provided below.

Instructors shall determine the policy regarding grading which they feel is best for the course. This policy shall be presented to the class, in writing, at the beginning of the term and will govern the actions of the instructor in the course.

Arrangement to make up missed major examinations (e.g. hour exams, midterm exams) due to properly authorized excused absences (as defined by the Student Policy eHandbook) shall be initiated by the student within one week from the end of the period of the excused absence. Normally, a make-up exam shall occur within two weeks from the time that the student initiates arrangements for it. Instructors are encouraged to refrain from giving make-up examinations during the last three days prior to the first day of final examinations. The format of make-up exams and opportunities for students to make up work other than major examinations are at the discretion of the instructor whose make-up policies should be stated in writing at the beginning of the term. Instructors are expected to excuse absences for:

  1. Illness of the student or serious illness of a member of the student’s immediate family. The instructor may request appropriate verification.
  2. The death of a member of the student’s immediate family. The instructor may request appropriate verification.
  3. Trips for members of the student organizations sponsored by an academic unit, trips for university classes, and trips for participation in intercollegiate athletic events. When feasible, the student must notify the instructor prior to such absences, but in no case more than one week after the absence. Instructors may request formal notification from appropriate university personnel to document the student’s participation in such trips.
  4. Religious holidays. Students are responsible for notifying the instructor in writing of anticipated absences due to their observance of such holidays.
  5. Subpoena for court appearance.
  6. Any other reason the instructor deems appropriate.

If the instructor does not appear within 20 minutes after the designated class hour, it may be assumed the class is canceled.

It is university policy that all classes will meet as scheduled on the last day before and the first day after holiday periods designated by the university.

Unresolved problems regarding class attendance or procedures should be referred to the University Student Academic Grievance Committee.

Examinations

Examinations are classified as (1) final examinations at the end of each term; (2) special examinations; and (3) other course examinations as determined by the instructor.

Announced tests in graduate courses will be administered at a regularly scheduled meeting of the course. Exceptions to this regulation may arise in specialized courses requiring performance or oral tests, and in multiple-sectioned laboratory classes requiring practical laboratory tests. Faculty having sound reasons for scheduling tests at times other than regularly scheduled meeting times are to obtain approval from the department head prior to the beginning of the term, and are to present a written schedule of these changes to the class during the first few days of the term. Rescheduled tests are not to interfere with other scheduled academic endeavors of the students involved, and an appropriate reduction in regularly scheduled class time is to be given to compensate for the rescheduled test period.

Student Academic Grievance Policy

The Student Academic Grievance policy, which appears in full in the Student Policy eHandbook, is designed to resolve academic grievances of students which result from actions of faculty or administrators.

Grades

Grade Definitions

Final passing grades are A, superior; B, good; C, acceptable; D, passing; and S, satisfactory. Final failing grades are F, failure; FA, failure for excessive absences; U, unsatisfactory; NR, no grade reported; and WF, officially dropped with permission of the student’s dean but failing at time of withdrawal and is calculated into the GPA. (For the definition of W, see the following section on Grade Assignment for Class Withdrawal.)

A TD, thesis and dissertation research credit, is assigned to courses 7990 Research and Thesis and 8990 Research and Dissertation.

A grade of IP (In Progress) is used by professional programs, specifically Pharmacy and Veterinary Medicine, for those courses that extend beyond the end of the regular term. Students who are making progress toward completion of their work but have not completed all course requirements may receive the IP grade. The IP grade is not calculated in the GPA until the grade is cleared.

Grades of SA and SN may be assigned in certain specialized classes in which progress to the next level of a program depends on performance in the class. In such cases, a grade of SA in a particular course may be required for advancement. A grade of SN will give the student appropriate earned credit, but will not allow the student to advance in that program.

An NR is assigned systematically when the instructor does not assign a letter grade.

Faculty Policy on Assigning Grades of Incomplete (excludes Distance Education courses)

Effective Fall 2007, student (or appropriate representative) must contact the instructor in writing prior to the submission of final course grades to request a grade of Incomplete due to documented reason (illness/death in family/etc.).

If a student does not request an IN, the instructor should grade the student based upon the percentage of course work completed to date and using a 0 for any exams/ assignments not completed.

To be eligible for a grade of IN, the student must have completed (and have passed) more than half of all class assignments for the semester or summer term.

The instructor must fill out the Incomplete Grade - Memorandum of Understanding form, indicating:

  • reason for the IN,
  • percent of course work currently completed at the time of submission and the grade average on that work,
  • detailed information about the additional work needed to complete the course,
  • timeline to complete the work (6 months maximum; preferably sooner), and
  • grade the student should be assigned if the additional work is NOT completed by the deadline set for the completion of the work; the missing work is calculated as a 0.

Grades of Incomplete automatically become the grade identified by the instructor, if not cleared within 6 months.

If the instructor assigning a grade of IN leaves Auburn University, the Department Head should make a reasonable attempt to contact the former instructor and then assign a grade based upon the work presented by the student and the information provided on the Incomplete Grade - Memorandum of Understanding form.

Once an IN has been changed to another grade it may not be changed, in the future, to a different grade without approval of the provost.

Documentation of class work must be maintained by the student; the Incomplete Grade-Memorandum of Understanding form must be maintained by the student, faculty and the Office of the Registrar. For instructors who submit the IN Grade forms to the Office of the Registrar prior to course grades being rolled to academic history, the IN will be reflected on the electronic grade roster; faculty will be unable to change that grade on the electronic grade roster.

Instructors should NOT enter a grade on the electronic course roster for those students who are to be assigned the IN grade but leave the grade blank. The system will automatically convert blanks to NR. Once the IN Grade form is received by the Office of the Registrar, that office will convert the NR to the IN grade.

It is the responsibility of the instructor to send a copy of the Incomplete Grade - Memorandum of Understanding form to the Office of the Registrar.

When the student has completed the outstanding work, it is the responsibility of the instructor to initiate the change of grade form and send it to the appropriate department/dean’s office for additional signatures and transmittal to the Office of the Registrar.

These policies apply to all students in undergraduate and graduate courses.

Faculty Policy on Grade Changes (includes NR; Excludes IN)

Grades should be accurate when posted.

  • Any change of letter grades (A, B, C, D, F, S, U, FA, and NR) should be made only in extraordinary situations.
  • Any grade changes must be completed within 6 months of completion of the course.
  • Any grade changes outside of this timeframe must also be approved by the provost.
  • A final grade may be changed only by the written request of the instructor, with approval of the department head and dean, submitted to the registrar.
  • A grade of F and additional penalties may be assigned for academic dishonesty. See the Student Academic Honesty Code section in the Tiger Cub for further information.

Grade Assignment For Class Withdrawals

A student who withdraws from a course prior to the 15th class day during a semester (or the fifth class day of summer term) will have no grade assignment; however, from the 15th class day during a semester (or the fifth class day of summer term) through mid-semester (mid-term) a W (Withdrawn Passing) grade will be recorded for the course. A course may be dropped with a W after mid-semester only under unusual conditions and only with permission from the student’s dean. When approval for dropping the course under such circumstances is granted, a W may be assigned only when the instructor indicates that the student is clearly passing the course. Otherwise, a grade of WF (Withdrawn Failing) is assigned. All failing grades are calculated into GPA as grades of F.

Grade Average and Quality Point Computation

A 4.0 grade scale is used. An A equals 4.0; B, 3.0; C, 2.0; D, 1.0; and F equals 0.0. Only course work attempted at Auburn University is used in determining the grade report average and continuation-in-residence requirements. S and U grades do not enter into grade-point computations.

S-U Grading

Grades of S (Satisfactory) and U (Unsatisfactory) may be assigned only to courses approved to be graded S-U, and courses elected under the S-U option.

A graduate student may enroll in undergraduate courses, except for 6000-level courses taken for graduate credit, under the S-U option on the major professor’s recommendation.

Students are not permitted to change from S-U grading to conventional grading or vice versa after the fifteenth class day of the fall and spring terms or the fifth class day of any summer term.

Grade Reports

Grade information may be obtained via tigeri at the Auburn University homepage, www.auburn.edu.

Credit for Directed Studies

The university policy on directed studies was approved effective August 2006. Auburn University offers directed readings courses, also referred to as special problems courses or independent studies, in accordance with established policy.

Directed readings courses allow in-depth study of a particular subject by a student who is well into her or his major and, in extraordinary circumstances, accommodate scheduling issues when no other remedy is available.

Directed readings courses should not normally be used as replacements for required courses or as a solution to routine scheduling problems.

Approval to Teach Course - A standard Approval for Independent Study/Directed Readings Form, available through the Office of the Provost website, will specify the necessary approvals and serve as the vehicle for obtaining them.

Classified or Proprietary Research

No thesis or dissertation should be based exclusively on a proprietary or classified research project, nor should a thesis or dissertation include proprietary or classified information. Any graduate student and advisor engaged in such research should identify an alternative topic for the thesis or dissertation. Should a thesis or dissertation include such information, the document must be rewritten with offending material excised.

Research Involving Humans

Auburn University established the Institutional Review Board for the Use of Human Subjects in Research (IRB) to evaluate research for compliance with the guidelines and policies of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Public Health Service, the Food and Drug Administration and other federal, state and local regulations. All research using human subjects – whether it is conducted by faculty, staff or students – must be approved in advance by the IRB, regardless of the source of funding, lack of funding or any other consideration. Research involving human subjects not approved in advance may be disallowed and may incur severe penalties for non-compliance with institutional policy. Information and review forms may be obtained from the Administrator for Special Programs, 307D Samford Hall, (334) 844-5966.

Activities Involving Animals

Auburn University’s Animal Resources Program requires compliance with the Animal Welfare Assurance negotiated with the Office of Protection from Research Risks/National Institutes of Health (OPRR/NIH). A major part of that Assurance involves the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) that ensures compliance with the Assurance, the policies of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and all other federal, state and local regulations concerning care, treatment and use of animals. All activities, whether teaching, research, production or display of animals, and whether or not the activity is funded, must be approved in advance by the committee. The use of animals for any purpose that is not approved in advance by the IACUC may involve severe penalties for non-compliance with institutional policy and could jeopardize the university’s Animal Welfare Assurance filed with the OPRR and the NIH. Information may be obtained from the Director of Animal Resources, (334) 844-5667.

Academic Engagement

Any graduate student enrolled in a degree program culminating in a thesis or dissertation will directly engage in research and/or creative scholarship with the major professor, will have access to the tools needed for the research/scholarly activity, will be immersed in the culture of graduate education, will engage in the professional activities of the discipline, and will complete the research/scholarly activity in a reasonable period of time.

Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Graduate students at Auburn University are expected to adhere to established standards of academic integrity, personal conduct, and professional conduct. The primary code of conduct is detailed in the Auburn University Code of Student Discipline.

Academic units may also define and publish standards appropriate to their disciplines as well as describing the processes for resolving disputes and appealing decisions. Students found in violation of policies defining academic integrity, personal conduct, and professional conduct may be subject to dismissal from the Graduate School.

AUETD Publication and Access Policy

AUETD is an online database of electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs) submitted by Auburn University students in partial fulfillment of the university's graduate degree requirements. Its purpose is to make Auburn University’s ETDs widely available to the public and easy to find online.  The ETDs in the AUETD database are indexed by Google and other internet search engines and may appear in search results for those search engines.  Graduate students who want to limit access temporarily to the full text of their ETD must choose one of the limited access options during the ETD submission process (see options below).  Students who choose to limit access to their ETD should be aware that basic bibliographical information about their ETD (including the abstract) will appear in the AUETD database and that the full text of their ETD will become publicly available immediately upon the expiration of the time limit set for limited access.   Students who have questions or concerns about this policy are encouraged to contact Clint Lovelace at (334) 844-4112 BEFORE submitting their ETD to AUETD.

Limited Access Options

  1. Unlimited access:  Publication in AUETD with unlimited access is immediate and irreversible.  Once a thesis/dissertation is published in AUETD, access via the world-wide-web may not be denied or reversed.
  2. Limited access:  Upon request, students may limit access to their thesis/dissertation only to users with a valid AU userid and password for a limited time period.  Upon request, limited access is granted for a period of time not to exceed:  i) six months; ii) one year; iii) two years; or iv) five years.  Unless the student petitions to extend the period of limited access, the thesis/dissertation will be published with unlimited access immediately upon the expiration of the time period.
  3. Withheld access: Upon request, students may withhold access to their thesis/dissertation to all users for a limited time period. This means that all users, including the students and their advisory committees are denied access to the thesis/dissertation in AUETD. Upon request, withheld access is granted for a period of time not to exceed: i) six months; ii) one year; iii) two years; or iv) five years. Unless the student petitions to extend the period of limited access, the thesis/dissertation will be published with unlimited access immediately upon the expiration of the time period.
  4. Copyright.  If students plan to copyright some of all of their thesis/dissertation, these plans should be discussed in advance with the major professor, especially if the thesis/dissertation includes shared data.

Distance Offerings of Thesis and Dissertation Course Work

Recognizing the importance of global research and professional opportunities, international travel, and the wide-spread availability of technologies that bring remote research and scholarly partners together, the Graduate School allows thesis and dissertation coursework to be completed by means of distance education in approved courses: Research and Thesis (7996) and Research and Dissertation (8996).  Graduate students engaged in on-campus study must not be enrolled in Research and Thesis (7996) or Research and Dissertation (8996).  At the time of enrollment, the major professor certifies compliance with this requirement.

General Regulations

Regulations listed here represent the minimums of the Graduate School. However, individual departments may impose more stringent requirements and students will be governed by them.

Exceptions to Graduate School Policies

Exceptions may be made to policies of the Graduate School under special circumstances. A person wishing to request an exception should write a letter to the dean of the Graduate School stating the nature of the request and the reasons for it. If a student is making the request, the letter should be submitted first to the major professor, who will write a letter of recommendation. Both letters go to the department head. If a member of the faculty is making the request, the letter goes to the department head, who will write a letter of recommendation. All letters go to the associated College/School dean for approval. Letters and comments then are forwarded to the dean of the Graduate School. A request for an extension of time to meet degree requirements must be justified. It must be accompanied by a proposed schedule for completion and assurance that the student is current in subjects included in the plan of study.

Graduate Certificate Definition

Graduate certificate programs constitute an integrated curriculum, but not necessarily one aligned with a specific academic program. They may exist within programs, bridge programs or offer content widely useable across programs. Graduate certificate programs consist of a minimum of 9 and maximum of 21 hours of graduate-level course work. The course work may be graded or non-graded. A minimum GPA of 3.0 must be maintained on all graded course work in the certificate program.

Graduate certificate programs pertain to graduate students, whether degree seeking or non-degree seeking. A graduate certificate is distinguished from graduate minors in two primary ways. First, graduate minors are intended exclusively for degree seeking graduate students. Graduate certificates may be directed to both degree seeking and non-degree seeking students. Second, there are limits to the number of course credits taken in pursuit of graduate minors that may be applied to a graduate degree (e.g., masters degrees require 21/30 hours to be in the major discipline). The limiting factor in the application of certificate course credits to graduate degrees is departmental policy or advisory committee recommendations. As an example, if a department developed a certificate program intended only for non-degree seeking students, that department could prevent those certificate courses from applying to a degree. However, in the absence of departmental policy, and with the approval of a student's advisory committee, both degree seeking and non-degree seeking students (if they later change status to degree seeking) may include all certificate-related courses toward degree requirements.

When new graduate certificates are proposed, they undergo the full process of curriculum review. This same process applies regardless of delivery method (i.e., on campus and distance). Special requirements for applicants may be negotiated between the certificate proposing program and the graduate school at the time the program is proposed. Consistent with Graduate School policy related to the Masters and Specialist degrees, all requirements for a graduate certificate must be accomplished within 6 years unless departmental criteria for the certificate necessitate a longer time. Certificate Programs that require an exception to this 6-year time limit must be approved by the Graduate Council. Not only must the content of the proposed certificate be appropriate, but the availability of a viable group of graduate faculty to teach the courses in the certificate must be documented. Proposals for graduate certificate programs must identify a specific person who will serve as coordinator. Certificates that bridge departments must have a home department to which all certificate applicants apply. But each affiliated department must also designate a coordinator. Students who fulfill all requirements for a graduate certificate will have the certificate noted on their transcript when the Graduate School receives a memo signed by the certificate coordinator documenting the successful completion of all certificate requirements.

Graduate certificates are to be differentiated from professional development certificates. No comprehensive definition of the latter is offered here, however, in brief, completion of a professional development certificate does not require admission to the Graduate School and is awarded based on participation in non-credit work. The definition of graduate certificate does not limit the ability of departments or other units from defining, implementing, or awarding professional development certificates. Professional development certificates are not subject to the Auburn University curriculum process, nor are their achievement noted on Auburn University transcripts.

Graduate Curriculum Model Change

When a graduate curriculum model is changed, the changes apply only to students who matriculate after the approval of the changes and to currently enrolled students who voluntarily choose to complete the requirements of the new curriculum model. In no case, for students who are continuously enrolled, will the changed curriculum compel them to accumulate additional hours and grade points to graduate. Curriculum model changes are to be implemented at the beginning of the semester in which the largest number of new students typically enroll (fall semester for most programs). Graduate students who have not been enrolled at Auburn University for two or more semesters and who are returning to the same curriculum may be subject to different university, college, school or departmental requirements than those which existed when continuous enrollment ceased.

Institutions with Special Affiliations

By special arrangement with Florida A & M University, the Graduate School application fee is waived for students applying from this institution.

Oak Ridge Associated Universities

Auburn University has been a sponsoring institution of the Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) since 1946. ORAU is a private, not-for-profit consortium of 82 colleges and universities and a management and operating contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) with principal offices located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Founded in 1946, ORAU provides and develops capabilities critical to the nation’s technology infrastructure, particularly in energy, education, health and the environment. ORAU works with and for its member institutions to help faculty and students gain access to federal research facilities; to keep members informed about opportunities for fellowship, scholarship and research appointments; and to organize research alliances among our members in areas where their collective strengths can be focused on issues of national importance.

ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for DOE. ORISE is responsible for national and international programs in science and engineering education, training and management systems, energy and environment systems and medical sciences. ORISE’s competitive programs bring students at all levels, K-12 through postgraduate, and university faculty members into federal and private laboratories. Other ORAU activities include the sponsorship of conferences and workshops, the Visiting Scholars program and the Junior Faculty Enhancement Awards. Contact Dr. Bryan A. Chin, (334) 844-4784, for more information about ORAU programs.

Graduate Program Option Definition

A graduate program option is a formally approved variation of an academic program by the offering department which meets objectives that may be more specifically focused. These additional objectives are integrated with the basic program. A formal graduate program option must preserve the integrity of the academic program of which it is a variant. Specifically, the formal program option must 1) be in a recognized sub-field of the discipline; and 2) share at least half of the total credits of the degree program. Only formally approved graduate program options are designated on the transcript. Other less formal variants, which may carry the name of “track,” “concentration,” “emphasis,” or similar terms, are not designated on the transcript; however, all academic programs and designated variations (whether called “options,” “tracks,” “concentrations,” “emphases” or some similar term) must be approved by the Alabama Commission on Higher Education (ACHE).

Two-Campus Studies

A student seeking a graduate degree at Auburn University, Auburn University at Montgomery, the University of Alabama, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, or the University of Alabama at Huntsville may take up to half the course work at another of these institutions. The courses taken must be approved in advance by the student’s Advisory Committee and the respective graduate deans. All credit must be earned at the two institutions in which the student is working, and none may be transferred from another institution. Students engaged in two-campus studies are required to meet the requirements of continuous enrollment at Auburn University.

Student Records

Confidentiality of Student Records

The university recognizes that the maintenance of student information and educational records is necessary and vital to assist the student’s education and development and to provide opportunities for university research and policy formulation. The university recognizes its obligation to exercise discretion in recording and disseminating information about students to ensure that their rights of privacy are maintained.

The university will furnish annual notification to students of their right to inspect and review their educational records; the right to request amendment of educational records considered by them to be inaccurate or misleading or that violate privacy or other rights; and of their right to a hearing should the university decline to amend such records. This annual notice will be published in the Auburn University Bulletin and an electronic notification is sent to each active Auburn student.

The following guidelines have been developed to ensure the privacy rights of students. For the purposes of this policy statement a student is defined as an individual who has been admitted and has been in attendance in a component unit of the university. Classification as a student in one component unit of the university (e.g., an undergraduate program) does not imply that the person has been accorded the rights outlined below in other component units (i.e., graduate school, professional schools, branch campus).

Student Access to Records

Auburn University’s permanent student education record consists of one or more of the following: the official transcript of grades, competency evaluations, and any narrative evaluations. This is in accordance with guidelines established by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers and the State of Alabama policies on Retention of Records.

Students have the right to be provided a list of the type of educational records maintained by the university which are directly related to the student; the right to inspect and review the contents of these records; the right to obtain copies of these records; the right to a response from the university to reasonable requests for explanation and interpretation of these records; the right to an opportunity for a hearing to challenge the content of these records; and if any material or document in the educational record of a student includes information on more than one student, the right to inspect and review only the part of such material or document as relates to the student.

Students do not have access to financial records of their parents; confidential letters and statements of recommendation which were placed in the educational record prior to Jan. 1, 1975, provided such letters or statements were solicited or designated as confidential and are not used for purposes other than those for which they were specifically intended; confidential recommendations, if the student signed a waiver of the right of access, respecting admission, application for employment, and the receipt of an honor or honorary recognition.

Students do not have access to instructional, supervisory or administrative personnel records which are not accessible or revealed to any other individual except a substitute; Campus Security records which are maintained apart from educational records, which are used solely for law enforcement purposes, and which are not disclosed to individuals other than law enforcement officials of the same jurisdiction; employment records except when such employment requires that the person be a student; and the Alumni Office records.

    Students do not have access to physical or mental health records created by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist or other recognized professional acting in his or her capacity or to records created in connection with the treatment of the student under these conditions which are not disclosed to anyone other than individuals providing treatment. A physician or appropriate professional of the student’s choice may review these records.

Procedures for Access

The Office of the Registrar has a complete list of educational records maintained by the university which students may obtain. Students should contact the appropriate office to inspect and review their records. An office may require that a university official be present when a student inspects and reviews his or her educational records. Any questions concerning a student’s access to records should be directed to the registrar.

Amending Educational Records

Students may request that any information contained in their educational records which they consider to be inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of their privacy or other rights be amended or deleted from the records. (A grade or other academic scores may not be amended, except that the accuracy of recording the information may be challenged.)

Students who request that information in their records be amended should first direct their request to the official with primary responsibility for the information on the record. If the matter is not resolved to their satisfaction, students should direct their requests to the official’s dean or division head. If the matter is not resolved to their satisfaction, they may request a formal hearing.

Right to a Formal Hearing and Procedures for Decision

Students may request formal hearings to challenge information contained in their educational records. The hearing will be held in a reasonable time (not to exceed 45 days) and in a reasonable place. Students may be assisted or represented by persons of their choice, including an attorney, at the expense of the student, and shall be afforded a full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to the issue(s).

Students or their representative should request the hearing in writing and should specifically identify the information they seek to have amended. The request should be directed to the Office of the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs.

The Office of the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs will conduct the hearing and render a decision within a reasonable period of time after the conclusion of the hearing and the decision shall be based solely upon the evidence presented at the hearing. The student shall be notified in writing of the reason(s) for the decision and given a summary of the evidence.

If the decision is that the information in the student’s educational records is inaccurate, misleading or in violation of his rights and privacy, the statement(s) will be corrected or expunged from the students records.

If the decision is that the information is not inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the privacy or other rights of the student and that the information or parts thereof are to remain in the student’s educational records, the student shall be notified and given the right to enter a statement in the records setting forth any reason for disagreeing with the decision of the Office of the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs. This statement shall be maintained in the records as long as the record or contested portion thereof is maintained, and if the contested educational record or contested portion thereof is disclosed by Auburn University to any party, the student’s explanation shall also be disclosed to that party.

The Secretary of Education has established a review board to receive complaints regarding violation of student’s rights. Students wishing to file a complaint directly to the review board should write to the Family Policy and Regulations Office, Department of Education, Washington, D.C. 20202. Detailed procedures for this complaint procedure are listed under section 99.63 of the regulations issued by the Secretary and will be furnished upon request by the registrar, Auburn University.

This policy is adopted pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, (34 CFR Part 99), and is not intended to impose any restrictions or grant any rights not specifically required by this Act.

Release of Directory Information

The university may release directory information without the student’s written consent. Directory information consists of student’s complete name; local address and associated telephone number; place of birth; parent/spouse name, address and associated telephone number; mailing address and associated telephone number; E-mail address; photographs, video or other electronic image; participation in recognized activities and sports; weight and height of members of athletic teams; dates of attendance; enrollment time status (full or part time); degrees and awards received; and most recent previous educational agency or institution attended.

A student may deny the release of directory information by completing an Address Change/Information restriction request form available in the Office of the Registrar, Langdon Hall. Students may also restrict directory information on tigeri.

To deny the release of information regarding participation in recognized activities the student must notify the vice president for Student Affairs and the student’s academic dean in writing. To deny the release of athletic information, the student must notify the director of Athletics in writing. A former student, one who is not in attendance, must contact the appropriate offices to deny the release of information.

Release of Educational Records

The university will release a student’s educational record(s) upon the student’s written request. The student must:

  1. Specify the records to be disclosed.
  2. Include the purpose or purposes of the disclosure.
  3. State the party or parties and the address to whom the information is to be disclosed.

The student shall, upon request, receive a copy of the record that is to be disclosed. It is university policy to furnish single copies of a student’s record at no charge.

The university may release student’s educational records to the following without prior written consent:

  1. University officials who have a legitimate educational interest in the records. University officials are defined as teachers, administrative personnel and other employees except personnel of the security or law enforcement unit of Auburn University, and other agents acting on behalf of the university. If university officials are required in the performance of their duties to review the educational records of a student, this will be considered to be a legitimate educational interest. Auburn University has designated the National Student Clearinghouse as a university official.
  2. Officials of another school in which the student intends to enroll upon request of the transfer school.
  3. Government representatives of the Comptroller General of the United States, the Secretary of Education, the U.S. Commissioner of Education, the Director of the National Institute of Education, the Assistant Secretary for Education, State educational authorities, and State officials to whom such information is specifically required to be reported or disclosed by State law adopted prior to Nov. 19, 1974.
  4. Appropriate authorities in connection with financial aid with the understanding that only the necessary records will be released.
  5. Organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, the university or its agencies for the purpose of developing, validating, or administering predictive tests, administering student aid programs, and improving instruction and student life provided that the studies will not permit the personal identification of students and their parents by individuals other than representatives of the organization and provided that the personally identifiable information furnished will be destroyed when no longer needed for the purposes for which the study was conducted.
  6. Accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting functions.
  7. Parents of a dependent student as defined in section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954. University officials may release educational records to parents on the basis of a written documentation from the parent that the student is a dependent as defined under the Code and there is reasonable notification of the student regarding the request.
  8. A court of law to comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena with the understanding that the student will be notified in advance insofar as possible.
  9. Appropriate parties to protect the health and safety of the student or other individuals in emergencies with the understanding that only information essential to the emergency situation will be released, that information will be released only to a party who would be in a position to deal with the emergency, and that the student will be notified insofar as possible of the information released, the purpose for the release, and to whom the information was released.

No personal information on a student will be released without a statement from the university to the party receiving the information that no third party is to have access to such information without the written consent of the student.

Each office with educational records will maintain a record of each request and disclosure of personally identifiable information from the educational records of a student except for information requested in writing by the student, information released to the student or the student’s parents, directory information, and information released to university officials and teachers who have a legitimate educational interest in the records. The student may inspect the record of requests, disclosures and the legitimate interests of parties requesting or obtaining information in the appropriate university office.

Accommodation Policy for Students with Disabilities

Auburn University is committed to providing its students with an accessible campus and equitable learning environment.  If you have a disability that requires academic accommodations, assistive technology, or support services, contact the Office of Accessibility for additional information, 1228 Haley Center; 334-844-2096 (Voice/TT) or visit the Office of Accessibility website.

Policy on Withdrawals and Resignation

Withdrawal refers to the situation where a student drops a class or classes, but remains enrolled in at least one class (at least one credit hour) at the university that term. Resignation refers to the student dropping all classes (0 credit hours) and no longer being enrolled that term.

Withdrawal from a Course. Students may withdraw from a course via the web up through the last business day prior to the opening of registration for the following term in spring and fall semester and the posted date in the summer. Students who withdraw from a course before the posted term census date (15th class day in spring and fall and 5th class day in summer) will have no grade assignment and no record of having attempted the course on the transcript. Students who withdraw after census and on or before the withdrawal deadline will have a grade of W for the course recorded on the transcript. Grades of W are not used in calculating the term or cumulative GPA at Auburn University.

A course may be dropped after the withdrawal deadline only under unusual conditions and with special permission. Requests for medical withdrawals (serious physical and/or psychological illness of the student) must be verified and approved by the Office of Accessibility. A medical withdrawal is appropriate when, by recommendation of a licensed health care provider, a student cannot continue enrollment in one or more of his/her courses because of a serious physical and/or psychological condition. Because serious health conditions usually impact all courses, most requests for a medical withdrawal result in a medical resignation (see Resignation from all courses.)   All other requests for withdrawals after the withdrawal deadline, based on extraordinary personal circumstances, must be approved by the student’s associate dean and subsequently by the designated representative from the Office of the Provost. When approval for dropping the course under such circumstances is granted by the Office of Accessibility or the Office of the Provost, a W may be assigned only when the instructor indicates that the student was clearly passing the course on the date of withdrawal. Otherwise, a grade of WF (Withdrawn Failing) is assigned. Grades of WF are used in calculating the term and cumulative GPA and have the same impact as a grade of F. In extraordinary situations, where it can be clearly demonstrated that a failing grade in the class at the time of withdrawal is directly related to the medical or personal situation leading to the withdrawal, a student may request a withdrawal without grade penalty.   The request for withdrawal without grade penalty must be approved by the Office of Accessibility in the case of a medical withdrawal or the student’s associate dean in the case of a personal withdrawal, and finally by the designated representative from the Office of the Provost.  The Office of Accessibility or the student's Associate Dean will notify the student’s professors and ask for any additional information about the student’s progress in the class/ classes—and to determine the student’s grade.

Resignation from all courses. Students are encouraged to contact their advisors and their academic deans before resigning. Resignations can impact financial aid, veteran’s benefits, international student standing, eligibility for varsity athletics, and on-campus housing.

Students may resign without grade penalty if they resign no later than mid-semester (mid-term in the summer). As with course withdrawal, a student may resign after mid-semester (mid-term in the summer) only under unusual circumstances, such as serious illness of the student, serious illness or death of a member of the student’s immediate family, or being called to active military service. A medical resignation is appropriate when, by recommendation of a licensed health care provider, a student cannot continue enrollment in his/her courses because of a serious physical and/or psychological illness. All requests for medical resignations (serious physical and/or psychological illness of the student) must be verified and approved by the Office of Accessibility. All other requests for resignations after mid-term, based on extraordinary personal circumstances, must be approved by the student’s associate dean and subsequently by the designated representative from the Office of the Provost. The Office of Accessibility or associate dean will obtain from the student’s instructors the records of the student’s scholastic standing at the time of resignation. In the case of personal resignations after mid-semester, the associate deans will send the information to the designee from the Office of the Provost who will review the request and decide on final approval.

If on the effective date of the resignation after mid-semester (or mid-term in the summer) the student is failing in over half of the total course hours (where total course hours exclude any grades of W previously recorded for the term), the number of hours reported as failing will be assigned grades of WF and will be used in calculation of the student’s term and cumulative GPA. The hours reported as passing will be assigned grades of W and will not be counted in the term or cumulative GPA at Auburn University. If the student is passing half or more of the total course hours (excluding any grades of W previously recorded for the term), the student will receive grades of W on all course hours and these grades will not enter into the calculation of the student’s Auburn GPA.

When a student is forced to resign after mid-semester, either for medical reasons or for compelling personal reasons, and when the medical condition or extraordinary personal situation can be determined to be the main factor causing scholastic deficiencies, discretionary power in waiving the scholastic penalty will rest with the Office of Accessibility in the case of medical resignations or with the Office of the Provost in the case of personal resignations. All such decisions must include input from the student’s instructors.

In all cases of resignation, if a student has been placed on academic suspension at the end of the last term in residence before the term of resignation, the student’s dean will review the grades at the time of resignation and determine whether the student will be placed on further academic suspension.

Enrollment in Terms Following a Medical Resignation. Students who plan to enroll in subsequent semesters or summer terms following a medical resignation will be required to submit medical documentation from a licensed health care provider which indicates readiness to return to an academic environment. Additionally, academic units reserve the right to request further documentation and/or other requirements specific to the student’s individual program of study. All documentation will be submitted to the Office of Accessibility and is kept confidential. A hold will be placed on the student’s registration until this documentation is submitted. If the student has already registered for the following semester, the schedule will be dropped if documentation is not submitted by a specified date and/or the student has not contacted the Office of Accessibility.

Retroactive Dating of Withdrawals and Resignations. Retroactive dating refers to establishing an effective date for withdrawal or resignation before the date that one is filling out the form, often, prior to midterm. For retroactive dating to be allowed, there must be a compelling reason that the forms were unable to be filed at the requested effective date.

Retroactive withdrawals/ resignations are most frequently initiated when a student has documentation from a health professional (doctor/ psychologist, etc.) verifying a medical condition, which is confirmed by the Office of Accessibility, and the medical condition prevented the student from withdrawing or resigning on the effective date.

When a student initiates any retroactive withdrawal/ resignation, the student’s associate dean must determine if the retroactive withdrawal/ resignation is based on a medical or non-medical justification/ explanation. If the retroactive withdrawal/ resignation is based upon a medical justification/ explanation, the associate dean will direct the student to the Office of Accessibility. The medical documentation must identify why the student was so impaired that he/she was unable to withdraw/ resign in a timely manner.

If the retroactive withdrawal/ resignation is based upon a non-medical justification/ explanation, the associate dean follows the procedures for all other (non-medical) withdrawals/ resignations, gathering information from the instructors and submitting the documentation to the designee from the Office of the Provost. The Provost’s designee will determine why the student was unable to resign in a timely manner and if an earlier effective date is warranted.

If one or more of the student’s instructors has left Auburn University, the instructor(s) should be contacted by email, by the individual recommending the retroactive withdrawal/ resignation, for information. If the faculty member does not respond, the department head/chair should respond on behalf of the faculty member.

Retroactive withdrawals/ resignations should not be undertaken if more than two calendar years have passed since the course(s) was/were taken, without the direct review and approval of the Provost.