Student Responsibilities and Important Policies

While the Graduate Program Director and other faculty will help in every way possible, graduate students are responsible for complying with all policies, regulations and procedures outlined below and in the most recent Graduate Catalog.

Degree Requirements

1. Completion of 30 credits, and requirements of specific track.
2. Completion of a program with no more than 6 semester hours of C work.

Time Limit to Degree Completion

A master’s degree, certification or endorsement program must be completed within a period of six years from the time the student matriculates. The time to completion includes Leaves of Absences, Withdrawals, and the thesis. The college dean must approve requests for extension of time.

Leave of Absence

Graduate students who wish to take a leave of absence from their studies for one semester must file a “Request for a Leave of Absence Form” with the Office of Graduate Studies (this form and other important forms are also available on-line at the graduate studies web-page). Students not enrolled in courses, or on leave of absence, must reapply to their program of study through the Office of Graduate Studies. Semesters on leave are included in the six-year time limit to complete the program.

Readmit Policy

Graduate students not enrolled in courses and who are not on an official leave of absence for a given semester are considered academically withdrawn and are required to apply for readmission before resuming graduate study. Completed readmission applications are submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies and forwarded to the appropriate academic department for review and an admission decision. Course work six years or older will be reviewed by the academic department and may be required to be retaken. The academic department will specify in its application review the amount of time remaining for program completion. Applications for readmission are available in the Graduate Office.

Academic Probation and Dismissal

The graduate student is responsible for maintaining the required grade point average (3.0). The cumulative grade point average (G.P.A.) appears on each semester’s grade report. Any student whose G.P.A. falls below a 3.0 is automatically placed on probation and cannot enroll for more than two additional courses. Students whose G.P.A. does not reach 3.0 after completion of these two courses will be dismissed from the University. Students who receive multiple C’s may be jeopardy of dismissal from the program for low G.P.A.

All members of the William Paterson University community are expected to adhere to the policies regarding academic integrity. A student who submits work of any kind which is not the work of that student and who fails to acknowledge the sources for that work has committed plagiarism, a serious violation of academic integrity and an ethical offense. Unintentional plagiarism results from carelessness about or ignorance of conventions regarding the acknowledgment of outside sources. Intentional plagiarism occurs when a student knowingly presents the work of another person as his or her own. In either case, a student will receive the grade of “F” for the plagiarized work, and/or the grade of “F” for the graduate course itself, and may face expulsion from the graduate program. Please consult the Graduate Catalog for a full explanation of plagiarism and for a description of the process for resolving academic integrity policy violations.


A course grade of “A” indicates an achievement of distinction. It marks work of excellence expressed in an exemplary manner.

A course grade of “B” indicates the acceptable standard of achievement. It reflects excellence in some aspect of the following areas: completeness and accuracy of knowledge, sustained and effective use of this knowledge, sustained and effective use of this knowledge, ability to work independently in the specific area, originality in quality and execution.

A course grade of “C” indicates the minimum acceptable standard of work for which credit toward the degree can be received. It reflects such factors as familiarity with course content and methods of study, the actual use of such content and methods, participation with a discriminating and active awareness course work, the ability to express one’s knowledge and opinions clearly.

A course grade of “D” reflects a quality of performance that is less than acceptable for graduate level work and carries no credit toward the requirements for a Master’s degree or certification/endorsement.

A course grades of “F” indicates that the student has not demonstrated work of sufficient quality and quaintly. No grade points.

Incomplete Course Policy

A course grade of IN (incomplete) indicates that the student has not completed, for valid reasons, such as severe illness or other circumstances beyond his/her control, all of the work required in a course. Unless the work is completed within 30 days following the end of the semester, the IN grade will automatically change to F. Note: This policy differs from that applying to undergraduates, who have 30 days beginning with the new semester.

Withdrawal From a Course

A graduate student who wishes to withdraw from a course must do so within the established deadlines published in the Master Schedule. After the last date to withdraw has passed, students may not withdraw from a course.

Independent Study

Independent study courses are designed to allow matriculated students to earn credit for extensive readings, research, practica or other individualized learning projects in a specific area of study. These projects are carried out under the supervision of a faculty member. The independent study course is not designed to substitute for a course described in the catalogue.

Students may take a maximum of six credits of independent study in their program, with no more than one independent study course (three credits) in any one semester. A student interested in independent study must:

1. Obtain an Independent Study application form from the department;
2. Arrange with a faculty member to serve as mentor/supervisor of the proposed project;
3. Prepare a written proposal that must be approved by the faculty advisor;
4. Submit the written proposal to the department chairperson of the sponsoring faculty advisor for approval. The student’s proposal should be submitted to the chairperson by the middle of the term preceding the one in which the independent study will be pursed. The chairperson, if he/she approves the project, will forward the proposal to the appropriate dean for approval. If approved, the dean will return the form to the student;
5. The student must submit the completed, signed application form in person to the Registrar’s Office.

At the completion of the independent study project, student must:

1. Present the completed study or written report to their sponsoring faculty for evaluation;
2. Submit the project to the sponsoring faculty’s chairperson for approval. Upon successful completion of the independent study project, the student will receive an appropriate grade or academic credit by the sponsoring faculty. Note: Individual departments may establish additional procedures for independent study.

Transfer Credit Policy

A maximum of six credits from other institutions may be credited toward a master’s degree program provided that: (1) the student applies for transfer credit at the time of matriculation; (2) the work was taken in graduate courses for graduate credit; (3) the work was taken within the last six years; (4) the grade received was B or better; (5) the work does not duplicate any work, graduate or undergraduate, for which credit was previously given; (6) the work has not been applied toward an academic degree at any other institution; (7) the work has been taken at an accredited college or university; and (8) the work is applicable to the student’s program of studies and career plans.

A current matriculated William Paterson University student may, in some instances, be allowed to take courses off-campus at other institutions as a visiting student and transfer the credit to William Paterson. The student must receive permission from the dean of the college and/or the department chairperson of his/her program of study prior to course registration. These credits are allowed as transfer credit; provisions two through six as stated above remain applicable in such instances.

Courses Taken in Other Departments

To enhance their program of studies with courses of relevance to their career plans, students may take up to two courses in other disciplines at WPUNJ, but only with written authorization of the Sociology Graduate Director before such registration.

Financial Assistance

Graduate students seeking financial aid have the following options:

Graduate Assistantships: These are highly competitive. See this link for details.

Sociology Department Scholarship: Annual $1,000 award given to one student who is matriculated and successfully completed six credits in the program. 

Tuition Installment Plan: The University offers an interest-free monthly installment payment plan. See this link for details.