Academic Policies and General Regulations

Academic Advising and Curriculum Planning

All programs of study must be planned with an advisor. In granting approval, the advisor will consider the student's previous record and whether or not the prerequisites set forth for the specific program have been met. For those programs with concentrations, should a student wish to change his or her concentration, this request must be made in writing and approved by the advisor or Program Director and the Dean.

Dolan School of Business

Specialty MS Directors advise all fully matriculated students in their respective tracks. The Associate Dean advises all MBA students. Students must meet with their advisor during their first semester of enrollment to plan a program of study. The associate dean must be consulted each subsequent semester regarding course selection. Students must register no later than one week prior to the first day of class.

Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions

All matriculated candidates have an assigned faculty advisor. Candidates will be assigned an advisor at the time they are notified of admission. All matriculated and non-matriculated candidates must meet with their advisors during their first semester to plan a program of study. We recommend that the advisor be consulted each semester about course selection.

Information about state certification requirements may be obtained from the certification officer or graduate faculty advisors.

If a student changes from a non-certification track or program to one that leads to Connecticut certification, the Praxis Core Basic Skills Test requirement and the minimum undergraduate GPA requirements must be met before any change of program or track is processed. If the change of major involves a change of department, an admission interview is required. Also required are a personal statement and supplemental application relevant to the new major. Coursework fulfilling the requirements of one earned graduate degree cannot be used to fulfill the credit requirements for an additional graduate degree.

School of Engineering

Specialty Track Directors advise all fully matriculated students in their respective tracks. The Assistant Dean advises all non-matriculated students. Students must meet with their advisor during their first semester of enrollment to plan a program of study. The advisor must be consulted each subsequent semester regarding course selection, and the advisor's signature of approval on the University registration form is required. Students must register no later than one week prior to the first day of class.

Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies

Track Coordinators advise all fully matriculated students in their respective tracks. Students must meet with their advisor during their first semester of enrollment to plan a program of study. The advisor must be consulted each subsequent semester regarding course selection. The advisor's approval and the student's PIN are required for registration. Students must register no later than two weeks prior to the first day of class.

Special Status (Non-Matriculated) Students

*This section is not applicable to nurse anesthesia students.

Effective Fall 2015, special student status may be granted to individuals who have been offered deferred admission but wish to begin taking courses earlier than the formal admission date, or applicants who are not seeking a degree or certification from the Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing. Individuals wishing to enroll as a special status student must submit a completed application form with the accompanying fee. Individuals must provide a transcript verifying that they have earned a baccalaureate (or higher) degree with a quality point average of 3.0 or higher. Individuals planning to enroll in one of Fairfield University’s graduate programs in the fall are strongly encouraged to meet with the Track Coordinator of the program to which they are applying in order to discuss taking a course(s) prior to formal admission.  

Any incomplete grades must be resolved before admission applications can be processed. Individuals enrolled as a special status student may take up to two courses from the approved list, cannot be registered on a full time basis, and are not eligible for any tuition aid or financial support from Fairfield University. Upon admission to the graduate program, credits earned as a special status student will be applied toward the degree provided the courses were approved by the Track Coordinator and the grade received in each course was a B or better. Successful completion of the course work does not guarantee formal admission. Course availability is prioritized to matriculated students and as such, special status students may only register in the 7 day period prior to the class start date.

A student who, after having been admitted to an Egan School graduate program, chooses to take a graduate course as a non-matriculated student and subsequently receives a grade lower than a B in that course may be dismissed from the Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies.

Only the following courses are authorized for Special Status students:

NS 0601Epidemiology and Biostatistics3
NS 0602Healthcare Economics and Marketing3
NS 0604Advanced Health Assessment4
NS 0605Advanced Healthcare Policy3
NS 0608Research Methods for Evidenced-Based Practice3
NS 0613Finance and Quality Management in Healthcare Organizations3
NS 0614Information Technology for Healthcare Improvement3
NS 0640Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology3
NS 0641Advanced Pharmacology3
NS 0650Psychopathology3

Academic Freedom and Responsibility

The statement on academic freedom, as formulated in the 1940 Statement of Principles endorsed by the AAUP (American Association of University Professors) and incorporating the 1970 interpretive comments, is the policy of Fairfield University. Academic freedom and responsibility are here defined as the liberty and obligation to study, to investigate, to present and interpret, and discuss facts and ideas concerning all branches and fields of learning. Academic freedom is limited only by generally accepted standards of responsible scholarship and by respect for the Catholic commitment of the institution as expressed in its mission statement, which provides that Fairfield University "welcomes those of all beliefs and traditions who share its concerns for scholarship, justice, truth, and freedom, and it values the diversity which their membership brings to the university community."

Freedom of Expression

As an academic institution, Fairfield University exists for the transmission of knowledge, pursuit of truth, development of students, and the general well-being of society. Free inquiry and free expression are indispensable to the attainment of these goals. Fairfield University recognizes that academic freedom, freedom of expression, and responsibility are required to realize the essential purposes of the University. Academic freedom and responsibility (distinguished from freedom of expression) are herein defined as the liberty and obligation to study, to investigate, to present, interpret, and discuss facts and ideas concerning all branches and fields of inquiry.

Student Rights

As constituents of the academic community, students should be free, individually and collectively, to express their views on issues of institutional policy and on matters of general interest to the student body.

Fairfield University students are both citizens and members of the academic community. As citizens of a private institution, Fairfield's students enjoy the same freedom of speech, peaceful assembly, and right of petition that students at other private institutions enjoy as accorded by law, and as members of the academic community, they are subject to the obligations which accrue to them by virtue of this membership. Faculty members and administration officials should ensure that institutional powers are not employed to deprive students of their rights as accorded to them by law and University policy. At the same time, the institution has an obligation to clarify those standards which it considers essential to its educational mission and its community life. These expectations and regulations should represent a reasonable regulation of student conduct.

As members of the academic community, students should be encouraged to develop the capacity for critical judgment and to engage in a sustained and independent search for truth. They do this within the requirements of the curriculum and the courses in which they are enrolled.

The professor in the classroom and in conference should encourage free discussion, inquiry, and expression. Student performance should be evaluated solely on an academic basis, not on opinions or conduct in matters unrelated to academic standards. This means that students are free to take reasoned exception to the data or views offered in any course of study and to reserve judgment about matters of opinion, but they are responsible for learning the content of any course of study for which they are enrolled. Students in professional programs are expected to understand and uphold the standards required in their profession.

Students bring to the campus a variety of interests previously acquired and develop many new interests as members of the academic community. They should be free to organize and join associations to promote their common interests. Students and student organizations should be free to examine and discuss all questions of interest to them and to express opinions publicly and privately. Students should be allowed to invite and to hear any person of their own choosing. Those procedures required by an institution before a guest speaker is invited to appear on campus should be designed only to ensure that there is orderly scheduling of facilities and adequate preparation for the event, and that the occasion is conducted in a manner appropriate to an academic community. Guest speakers are subject to all applicable laws, and to the University policies on harassment and discrimination.

Students' freedom of expression extends to their ability to express their opinions in writing or through electronic means, and to distribute and post materials expressing their opinions. Any restrictions should be designed only to ensure the orderly use of space and facilities, to provide reasonable restrictions on commercial messages, to comply with applicable fire, health or safety codes, to comply with the University's Non-Discrimination and Harassment Policy, or to comply with state or federal law.

Students should always be free to support causes by orderly means which do not disrupt operations of the institution. At the same time, it should be made clear to the academic and larger community that in their public expressions or demonstrations, students or student organizations speak only for themselves and not the institution.

Student Responsibilities

Freedom of expression enjoyed by students is not without limitations. The rights set forth herein must be balanced against and considered in the context of the following responsibilities:

  • Students have the obligation to refrain from interfering with the freedom of expression of others.
  • Students have the responsibility to respect the rights and beliefs of others, including the values and traditions of Fairfield University as a Jesuit, Catholic institution.
  • Students have the responsibility to support learning, and when learning, to engage others in a respectful dialogue, to never threaten the safety or security of others, and to comply with all University policies prohibiting harassment, hate crimes, and discrimination.

All policies in this Catalog and the actions taken under them must support Fairfield University's Mission Statement and the Statement on Academic Freedom.

Academic Honesty

All members of the Fairfield University community share responsibility for establishing and maintaining appropriate standards of academic honesty and integrity. As such, faculty members have an obligation to set high standards of honesty and integrity through personal example and the learning communities they create. Such integrity is fundamental to, and an inherent part of, a Jesuit education, in which teaching and learning are based on mutual respect. It is further expected that students will follow these standards and encourage others to do so.

Students are sometimes unsure of what constitutes academic dishonesty. In all academic work, students are expected to submit materials that are their own and to include attribution for any ideas or language that is not their own. Examples of dishonest conduct include but are not limited to:

  • Falsification of academic records or grades, including but not limited to any act of falsifying information on an official academic document, grade report, class registration document or transcript.
  • Cheating, such as copying examination answers from materials such as crib notes or another student's paper.
  • Collusion, such as working with another person or persons when independent work is prescribed.
  • Inappropriate use of notes.
  • Falsification or fabrication of an assigned project, data, results, or sources.
  • Giving, receiving, offering, or soliciting information in examinations.
  • Using previously prepared materials in examinations, tests, or quizzes.
  • Destruction or alteration of another student's work.
  • Submitting the same paper or report for assignments in more than one course without the prior written permission of each instructor.
  • Appropriating information, ideas, or the language of other people or writers and submitting it as one's own to satisfy the requirements of a course - commonly known as plagiarism. Plagiarism constitutes theft and deceit. Assignments (compositions, term papers, computer programs, etc.) acquired either in part or in whole from commercial sources, publications, students, or other sources and submitted as one's own original work will be considered plagiarism.
  • Unauthorized recording, sale, or use of lectures and other instructional materials.

In the event of such dishonesty, professors are to award a grade of zero for the project, paper, or examination in question, and may record an F for the course itself. When appropriate, expulsion may be recommended. A notation of the event is made in the student's file in the academic dean's office. The student will receive a copy.

Honor Code

Fairfield University's primary purpose is the pursuit of academic excellence. This is possible only in an atmosphere where discovery and communication of knowledge are marked by scrupulous, unqualified honesty. Therefore, it is expected that all students taking classes at the University adhere to the following Honor Code:

"I understand that any violation of academic integrity wounds the entire community and undermines the trust upon which the discovery and communication of knowledge depends. Therefore, as a member of the Fairfield University community, I hereby pledge to uphold and maintain these standards of academic honesty and integrity."

Normal Academic Progress

Academic Load

A full-time graduate student will normally carry nine credits during the fall or spring semester. Twelve credits is the maximum load permitted. During summer sessions, full-time students are permitted to carry a maximum load of 12 credits. Students who work full time or attend another school may not be full-time students. Such individuals are ordinarily limited to six credits during the fall and spring semesters and nine credits during summer sessions.

Academic Standards

Students are required to maintain satisfactory academic standards of scholastic performance. Candidates for a master's degree, doctoral degree, or graduate-level certificate must maintain a 3.00 grade point average.

Auditing

A student who wishes to audit a graduate course may do so only in consultation with the course instructor. A Permission to Audit form, available at the dean's office, must be completed and presented at registration during the regular registration period. No academic credit is awarded and a grade notation (AU) is recorded on the official transcript under the appropriate semester and course name. The tuition for auditing is one half of the credit tuition, plus any applicable lab fees. Conversion from audit to credit status will be permitted only before the third class and with the permission of the course instructor.

Independent Study

The purpose of independent study at the graduate level is to broaden student knowledge in a specific area of interest. Students must submit a preliminary proposal using the Independent Study Application form, which is available in the dean's office, to the major advisor. Frequent consultation with the major advisor is required. Students may earn from one to six credits for an independent study course.

Matriculation/Continuation

To remain in good academic standing, a student must achieve a 3.00 cumulative quality point average. A student whose cumulative quality point average falls below 3.00 in any semester is placed on academic probation for the following semester. Formal notification is not required. Candidates are responsible for monitoring their grades and GPA closely. Students on academic probation must meet with their advisors to program adjustments to their course load. If, at the end of the probationary semester, the student's overall average is again below 3.00, he or she may be dismissed.

Continuation in a state certification program requires the equivalent of B (3.0) or better performance in all advanced courses and field experiences, and the recommendation of the area faculty.

Time to Complete Degree

Students are expected to complete all requirements for the master's or doctoral degree programs within five years after beginning their course work. Each student is expected to make some annual progress toward the degree or certificate to remain in good standing. A student who elects to take a leave of absence must submit a request, in writing, to the dean.

Disruption of Academic Progress

Academic Probation/Dismissal

A student whose overall grade point average falls below 3.00 in any semester is placed on probation for the following semester. If the overall grade point average is again below 3.00 at the end of that semester, the student may be dismissed. Any student who receives two course grades below 2.67 or B- will be dismissed from the program.

Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies

A student who earns a B- for any individual course will be placed on academic probation. If a student earns two grades of B- in one semester or a second grade of B- in any semester thereafter, they will be dismissed from the program.

A student who earns a grade lower than a B- for any course will be dismissed from the program.

Course Withdrawal

Candidates who wish to withdraw from a course must do so in writing or in person at the Registrar's Office on or before the published last day to withdraw (see academic calendar). Written withdrawals are effective as of the date received or postmarked. In-person withdrawals are made in the Registrar's Office by completing and submitting a Change of Registration form. Those who need to withdraw from a course after the posted last day to withdraw must submit a written statement justifying their need to withdraw to the dean for approval to withdraw without academic penalty. Failure to attend class or merely giving notice to an instructor does not constitute an official withdrawal and may result in a penalty grade being recorded for the course. In general, course withdrawals are not approved after the posted last day to withdraw. When there are extenuating circumstances (e.g., medical condition requiring withdrawal) exceptions may be approved by the dean. Withdrawal after the posted deadline will not be permitted simply to prevent receipt of a grade that might not meet the student’s satisfaction.

Readmission

If a student has been inactive for three terms or longer, students must submit a written update to the dean for reinstatement. Depending on the individual circumstances it may be necessary to complete a full application for admission. A review of past work will determine the terms of readmission.

All honorably discharged veterans who have interrupted their Fairfield education to serve in the military will be readmitted and may apply for financial aid.

Medical Withdrawal from the University

The following process applies to students who wish to withdraw from Fairfield University for medical reasons. A student may request and be considered for a medical withdrawal when extraordinary circumstances prevent that student from continuing with classes. Medical withdrawals cover both physical as well as mental health difficulties.

  1. To discuss withdrawing as a student for medical reasons, contact the Office of the Dean of the school in which the student is enrolled, the Health Center (x2241, Dolan Hall), or Counseling and Psychological Services (x2146, Dolan Hall). Information from personal or private physicians or psychologist is subject to review by the University, which has final decision making authority on the withdrawal request.
  2. A request for a Medical Withdrawal must be made in writing or in person to the Office of the Dean of the school in which the student is enrolled (but not the content of the request or the documentation supporting it). This office will review the request along with the opinion of the Health Center or Counseling and Psychological Services, and the Dean shall make a decision based on such endorsement or opinion. Where necessary in order to fully consider a request, the student may be required to provide the Office of the Dean with a release of information. The institutional refund policy applies.
  3. A request for a medical withdrawal (whether physical or mental health based) must include at a minimum:
    • An explanation of why the student is unable to perform the essential academic functions of a student.
    • Complete and timely documentation from a physician or other appropriate health care provider who is competent to provide an opinion as to the nature, severity, and duration of the illness. These documents should be sent to the Director of the Health Center or the Director of Counseling and Psychological Services.
    • Authorization from the requesting student to allow the Director of the Health Center or the Director of Counseling and Psychological Services to contact the attending medical or health care provider if, after review of the documentation provided, it is determined that more information is required.
  4. Medical documentation should generally be from a health care provider who provided treatment contemporaneous with, and in relation to, the condition(s) which form the basis for the requested withdrawal.
  5. A medical withdrawal is an extraordinary remedy and is reserved for those students who have been presented with the extraordinary circumstances of the unanticipated physical or mental health condition. While each request for a withdrawal will be considered on its own merits, students should be aware that the following do not constitute an "extraordinary circumstance" and will not support a request for a medical withdrawal: failing to attend class, insufficient academic performance, financial difficulties, dissatisfaction with course materials or offerings, change of interest or major, or inability to meet all curricular and extracurricular commitments. Medical withdrawals cannot be granted retroactively.
  6. Students are expected to remain away from the University for at least a full semester (fall or spring) after a medical withdrawal before seeking readmission unless otherwise determined by the Office of the Dean of the school in which the student was enrolled and endorsed by the director of the Health Center or Counseling and Psychological Services.

Readmission to the University after a Medical Withdrawal

Prior to formally requesting readmission after a medical withdrawal, students should consult with the Office of the Dean of the school to which the student wishes to be readmitted. Formal request for readmission should be made at least three weeks before the start of the semester in which the student seeks to resume enrollment.

  1. To seek readmission following a medical withdrawal, the student must write a letter making the formal request and state the rationale supporting the request. A copy of this letter should be sent to the Dean of the school to which the student seeks to be readmitted. The letter should include name, ID, address, school, major and semester that the student wishes to return to the University. If medical documentation is required, the student should simultaneously submit that information to either the Health Center (when medical situation is physical in nature) or Counseling and Psychological Services (when medical situation is psychological in nature). That information will be reviewed and any necessary contact with outside care providers or physicians will be made. The documentation should indicate a readiness to resume academic study.
  2. The Office of the Dean will ask the Health Center or Counseling and Psychological Services for their evaluation of the request. Upon receipt of that information, the Office of the Dean will contact the student to arrange an appointment in person if at all possible or over the phone if necessary to go over the request.
  3. After formal review of the student's request for readmission, the Office of the Dean will assess whether the student should or should not be readmitted.

Questions about the medical withdrawal or readmission process should be directed to your Dean’s office.

Comprehensive Examinations

The following designations for grading the written comprehensive examination of work offered for the master's degree in the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions are used:

  • Pass with Distinction
  • Pass
  • Fail

It is strongly recommended that candidates take the comprehensive examination at least one semester before they anticipate graduating. Candidates are eligible to register for the examination after the completion of prerequisite semester hours defined by their program. If the first examination is failed, one retake examination is permitted. Passing the comprehensive examination may be a requirement for all programs leading to the master of arts. Candidates who fail the comprehensive examination twice may be dismissed from their program.

Connecticut State Teaching Certification

Initial certification of any type by the Connecticut Department of Education requires institutional approval as to scholarship, professional preparation, qualities of dispositions, and personal fitness for teaching. Application forms for Connecticut certification can be downloaded directly from the Connecticut State Department of Education website; student information on the first page of the short form application for initial certification should be completed before the application is submitted to the certification officer for completion of the second page (institutional recommendation). No recommendation will be issued until at least 15 semester hours have been completed at Fairfield University. Endorsement for certification depends on fulfillment of the regulations in effect at the time of application for state certification.

Approved certification programs are listed and described in this catalog. All graduates of these programs who are recommended for certification in Connecticut may be qualified for certification in states that are party to the NASTDEC Interstate Contract.

Please Note: The Connecticut State Department of Education Bureau of Standards and Certification sets all requirements for certification. Candidates seeking initial certification will be required to meet all current state certification criteria. This includes any additional coursework, testing, or other requirements enacted by the Connecticut legislature. Any new requirements enacted while a student is completing an initial certification program and in effect when the candidate applies for certification must be met. This may mean additional coursework or testing requirements.

Course Numbering System

Undergraduate

0001-0099 Introductory Courses
0100-0199 Intermediate Courses without Prerequisites
0200-0299 Intermediate Courses with Prerequisites
0300-0399 Advanced Courses, normally limited to Juniors and Seniors; open to graduate students with permission

Graduate

0400-0499 Master and Sixth Year Certificate courses, open to undergraduate students with permission
0500-0599 Master and Sixth Year Certificate courses
0600-0699 Doctoral courses, open to qualified Master students

Durational Shortage Area Permit Study (GSEAP)

The Durational Shortage Area Permit (DSAP) is issued by the State of Connecticut, Board of Education to candidates in shortage areas in lieu of a certificate or endorsement. DSAP permits may be issued by the State for a period of one year, renewable two times for no more than a total of three years. The purpose of the permit is to authorize the holder to teach while the candidate is completing an approved planned program in order to qualify for the endorsement sought. A DSAP permit may be available to GSEAP matriculated candidates who are certified teachers who have been offered a DSAP position by a school district.

DSAP for Initial Certification candidates: Students should note that our policy regarding DSAP endorsements for initial certification candidates specifies requirements that differ from the State minimum requirements. To be eligible for endorsement from GSEAP for DSAP, a candidate must have completed all prerequisites for student teaching and have passed the relevant Praxis II or ACTFL examinations. Once a recommendation for hire as a DSAP has been secured, the candidate may present a DSAP application, signed by the district to the certification officer for consideration. DSAP applications will be considered only by the programs leading to certification in elementary education, secondary education, school counseling, TESOL, world languages, and bilingual education. GSEAP does not endorse DSAPs in Special Education given the level of specialized skill required to work effectively with this vulnerable population

The DSAP application must first be completed and signed by the applicant and by the employing district. No DSAP applications will be endorsed by the certification officer without a program recommendation. Candidates must be enrolled for six credits of University observation and teaching supervision and a three-credit seminar, which must be taken during the first year of the DSAP.

Grading System

Grades and Academic Average

The work of each student is graded on the following basis:

A 4.00
A- 3.67
B+ 3.33
B 3.00
B- 2.67
C+ 2.33
C 2.00
F 0.00
I Incomplete
W Withdrawal without penalty

No change of grade will be processed after a student has graduated. Any request for the change of an earned letter grade is at the discretion of the original teacher of the course and must be recommended in writing to the dean by the professor of record within one calendar year of the final class of the course or before graduation, whichever comes first.

A student may request an extension of the one-year deadline from the dean of their school if he or she can provide documentation that extenuating circumstances warrant an extension of the one-year deadline. Such an extension may be approved only if the professor of record agrees to the extension and an explicit date is stipulated by which the additional work must be submitted.

A student who elects to withdraw from a course must obtain written approval from the dean. Refunds will not be granted without written notice. The amount of tuition refund will be based upon the date the notice is received. Fees are not refundable unless a course is canceled.

Multiplying a grade's numerical value by the credit value of a course produces the number of quality points earned by a student. The student's grade point average is computed by dividing the number of quality points earned by the total number of credits completed, including failed courses. The average is rounded to the nearest second decimal place.

Grade Reports

Grades are available to all students by accessing the student web portal (my.Fairfield) at the end of each semester.

Incomplete

An Incomplete grade is issued when, due to an emergency situation such as a documented illness, a student arranges with the course instructor to complete some of the course requirements after the term ends. All course work must be completed within 30 days after the beginning of the next regular semester.  Any requests to extend the 30-day time period for completing an Incomplete require approval by the appropriate Dean. Any incomplete grade still outstanding after the 30-day extension will become an F and the candidate may be excluded from the program.

Transfer of Credit and Course Waivers

Transfer of credit from another approved institution of higher learning will be allowed if it is graduate work done after the completion of a bachelor's program and completed prior to entering Fairfield University.

No more than six credits may be transferred. Transfer credit will be considered for graduate coursework earned with a grade of B or better. An official transcript of the work done must be received before a decision will be made on approving the transfer.

Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions

Requests for transfer of graduate credit or course waiver must be recommended by the faculty advisor or department chair and approved by the dean or associate dean. Transfer of credit from another regionally accredited institution of higher learning will be allowed if it was applicable to a graduate degree at the institution at which it was earned, not used toward another graduate degree, and completed prior to enrolling at Fairfield University. If this transfer of credit is to be applied toward a Sixth Year Certificate, only graduate work completed after completion of a master's degree and before enrolling at Fairfield will be considered. Such work shall have been completed within a period of five years prior to enrollment, and the grade received for the work may not be less than B. For certification programs, as many as six credits may be transferred if they relate to the candidate's present program. For non-certification programs, as many as nine credits may be transferred if they relate to the candidate's present program. Documentation (e.g., syllabus, course description, work done) to demonstrate the equivalence or quality of the courses for which transfer credit is requested may be required. Upper-division undergraduate courses and graduate courses with grades of B or better may, at the discretion of the faculty advisor, be used for waiving prerequisites or for meeting content requirements. A course waiver does not reduce the credit requirement of a degree program; another approved credit-bearing course must be taken to fulfill degree requirements.

A limited number of courses taken at other institutions of higher learning in fields of specialization that are not offered at Fairfield University may be accepted after enrollment as part of the credit requirements, provided the candidate has written approval of the associate dean before registering for such courses.

The total number of credits earned before formal admission to a program (i.e., the total number of transfer credits plus any credits earned as a non-matriculated student) may not exceed six credits for applicants to certification programs or nine credits for applicants to non-certification programs.

Graduation and Commencement

Diplomas are awarded in January, May, and August. Students who have been awarded diplomas in the previous August and January, and those who have completed all degree requirements for May graduation, are invited to participate in the May commencement ceremony. In order to participate in the commencement ceremony in May, graduate students must be registered for all remaining requirements for the degree, to be completed by the following August.

Applications and Awarding of Degrees

All students must file an online application for the doctoral and master's degrees and Sixth Year Certificates by the published deadline. Refer to the Academic Calendar for the degree application deadlines.

Scholastic Honors

Alpha Sigma Nu

Alpha Sigma Nu, the national Jesuit honor society, serves to reward and encourage scholarship, loyalty, and service to the ideals of Jesuit higher education. To be nominated for membership, graduate students must have scholastic rank in the top 15 percent of their class, demonstrate a proven concern for others, and manifest a true concern and commitment to the values and goals of the society. The Fairfield chapter was reactivated in 1981 and includes outstanding undergraduate and graduate students who are encouraged to promote service to the University and provide greater understanding of the Jesuit ideals of education.

Beta Gamma Sigma

Beta Gamma Sigma is an international honor society recognizing the outstanding academic achievements of students enrolled in collegiate business programs accredited by AACSB International - The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. With more than 440,000 members worldwide, the Society's membership comprises the brightest and best of the world's business leaders. At Fairfield University, the top 10 percent of juniors, the top 10 percent of seniors, and the top 20 percent of graduate students are eligible for membership in the University's Beta Gamma Sigma chapter, which was established in 1998. Each spring, an induction ceremony is held at the Dolan School of Business to welcome new members into the Society.

Beta Gamma Sigma membership provides recognition for a lifetime. With alumni chapters in major metropolitan areas across the United States and the BetaLink online membership community, those recognized for their academic achievements at Fairfield University can continue an active relationship with Beta Gamma Sigma long after graduation. This lifelong commitment to its members' academic and professional success is defined in the Society's mission: To encourage and honor academic achievement in the study of business and personal and professional excellence in the practice of business.

Chi Sigma Iota

Chi Sigma Iota is the International Counseling Academic and Professional Honor Society. Fairfield University's chapter, Gamma Lambda Chi, was founded in 1997. Membership requires a minimum GPA of 3.5 in graduate study. The chapter provides a forum for candidates, alumni, faculty, and local professionals who together create a community of professionals with a lifelong commitment to learning about the issues and best practices relevant to counseling.

Dolan School of Business Honors Graduate

The Dolan School of Business designates as Honors Graduates those students who attain an overall GPA of 3.85 during their graduate studies. Honors Graduates receive a certificate to acknowledge their achievement and are recognized at the annual Dolan School of Business Awards Ceremony each spring semester. Please note, this distinction constitutes a recognition by the Dean's Office and is not recognized at Commencement or on student transcripts.

Phi Delta Kappa

Phi Delta Kappa, the international professional association for educators, strives to prepare the next generation of educators and serve practicing teachers, administrators, college educators, and those concerned about public education through a wide range of innovative initiatives based on visionary leadership, relevant research, and dedicated service. It was founded in 1906 and has chapters in the United States, Canada, and nations in Europe and Asia.

Psi Chi

Psi Chi, the national honor society in psychology, was founded in 1929 for the purpose of encouraging, stimulating, and maintaining excellence in scholarship and advancing the science of psychology. It inducts both undergraduate and graduate members. It currently has 868 chapters nationwide, and during the first 66 years, inducted 287,000 members. The Fairfield University chapter celebrated its 20th anniversary on May 4, 1997.

Sigma Theta Tau

Membership in Sigma Theta Tau, the international honor society of nursing, is an honor conferred on nurses and nursing students who have demonstrated excellence in and commitment to nursing. Standards for membership include demonstrated excellence in scholarship and/or exceptional achievement in nursing. The criteria for induction of Fairfield University graduate students are as follows:

  • Completion of one-fourth of graduate coursework by the end of spring semester.
  • An overall grade point average of at least 3.5 at the end of the spring semester for all courses taken at Fairfield University.

The Fairfield chapter, Mu Chi, was established in 1992 and currently includes more than 500 students and alumni of the Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing. Members of Mu Chi are committed to fostering nursing leadership, research and creativity.

Academic Grievance Procedures

Purpose

Procedures for review of academic grievances protect the rights of students, faculty, and the University by providing mechanisms for equitable problem solving.

Types of Grievances

A grievance is defined as a complaint of unfair treatment for which a specific remedy is sought. This procedure is concerned solely with academic grievances. It excludes circumstances that may give rise to a complaint for which explicit redress is neither called for nor sought, or for those for which other structures within the university serve as an agency for resolution.

Academic grievances relate to procedural appeals, academic dishonesty appeals, or quality of work appeals.

Procedural appeals are defined as those seeking a remedy in which no issue of the quality of a student's work is involved. For example, a student might contend that the professor failed to follow previously announced mechanisms of evaluation.  

Academic dishonesty appeals are defined as those seeking a remedy because of a dispute over whether plagiarism, cheating, or other acts of academic dishonesty occurred. Remedies would include but not be limited to removal of a file letter, change of grade, or submitting new or revised work.

Quality of work appeals are defined as those seeking a remedy, following the completion of a course, because the evaluation of the quality of a student's coursework is alleged to be prejudiced or capricious.

Time Limits

The procedure herein defined must be initiated by the end of the subsequent fall or spring semester after the event that is the subject of the grievance. If the grievance moves forward, all subsequent steps of the informal process must be completed and the formal process must be initiated before the end of the second semester subsequent to the event that is the subject of the grievance.

Informal Procedure

  1. The student attempts to resolve any academic grievance with the faculty member. If, following this initial attempt at resolution, the student remains convinced that a grievance exists, she or he advances to step two.  
  2. The student consults with the chair or program director, bringing written documentation of the process to this point. If the student continues to assert that a grievance exists after attempted reconciliation, she or he advances to step three.  
  3. The student presents the grievance to the dean of the school in which the course was offered, bringing to this meeting documentation of steps one and two. After conversation with the instructor of record and the department chair/program director, the dean will inform the student whether or not the grade shall be changed by the instructor of record. If the student is dissatisfied with the outcome, the dean will inform the student of the right to initiate formal review procedures.

Formal Procedure

  1. If the student still believes that the grievance remains unresolved following the informal procedures above, she or he initiates the formal review procedure by making a written request for a formal hearing through the dean to the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs (PSVPAA). Such a request should define the grievance and be accompanied by documentation of completion of the informal process. It should also be accompanied by the dean's opinion of the grievance.
  2. The PSVPAA determines whether the grievance merits further attention. If not, the student is so informed. If, however, the grievance does merit further attention, the PSVPAA determines whether it is a procedural appeal, an academic dishonesty appeal, or a quality of work appeal.
    For procedural appeals and academic dishonesty appeals, the PSVPAA will convene a Grievance Committee according to the process described below, providing the committee with the written documentation resulting from the previous steps in the appeal process.
    For quality of work appeals, the PSVPAA will request that the chair of the department through which the course is taught, or if the chair is the subject of the grievance a senior member of the department, assemble an ad hoc committee of three department/program members to review the appeal, providing the committee with the written documentation resulting from the previous steps in the appeal process.
  3. For procedural appeals and academic dishonesty appeals, the Grievance Committee takes whatever steps are deemed appropriate to render a recommendation for resolving the grievance. The committee adheres to due process procedures analogous to those in the Faculty Handbook.
    For quality of work appeals, the department committee shall make itself available to meet and discuss the appeal with the student, and shall discuss the appeal with the instructor of record for the course. If the final consensus of the department committee is that the academic evaluation that led to the course grade was neither prejudiced nor capricious, the appeals process ends here.
  4. For procedural appeals and academic dishonesty appeals, the recommendation from the Grievance Com­mittee is forwarded to the PSVPAA in written form, accompanied, if necessary, by any sup­porting data that formed the basis of the recommendation. Should the Grievance Committee conclude that a change of grade is warranted, the two faculty members on the Grievance Committee will recommend an appropriate grade. In case of disagreement between the two faculty members, the dean chairing the Grievance Committee will decide which of the two recommended grades to accept. The recommended grade change shall be included in the report.
    For quality of work appeals, if the final consensus of the department committee is that the academic evaluation that led to the course grade was prejudiced or capricious, the department committee will recommend an alternative course grade. If the instructor of record agrees to change the grade to that recommended by the committee, the appeals process ends here. If the instructor of record declines to change the grade, the department committee shall prepare a written report, including the department committee’s recommended grade. The report will be forwarded to the PSVPAA and the instructor of record, who may send the PSVPAA a written response to the report. 
  5. For procedural appeals and academic dishonesty appeals, the PSVPAA renders a final and binding judgment, notifying all involved parties. If such an appeal involves a dispute over a course grade given by a faculty member, the PSVPAA is the only uni­versity official empowered to change that grade, and then only to the grade recommended by the Grievance Committee.
    For quality of work appeals, if the PSVPAA agrees with the department committee that the academic evaluation that led to the course grade was prejudiced or capricious, she or he is authorized to change the course grade to the grade recommended in the department committee’s report.

Structure of the Grievance Committee

The structure of the Grievance Committee will be as follows:  

  • Two faculty members to be selected from the Student Academic Grievance Board. The faculty member against whom the grievance has been directed will propose four names from that panel, the student will strike two of those names, and the two remaining faculty members will serve.  
  • Two students to be selected from a standing pool of eight students elected by the student government. The student filing the grievance will propose four names from that panel, the faculty member will strike two of those names, and the two remaining students will serve.  

In the event that any faculty member or student selected through the foregoing process is unable to meet, another elected member of the panel will serve as an alternate.  

The Grievance Committee will be chaired by a dean (other than the dean of the school in which the course was offered) to be selected by the PSVPAA. The dean so selected will have no vote except in the event of a tie, and will be responsible for overseeing the selection of the Grievance Committee, convening and con­ducting the committee meetings, and preparing the committee's report(s) and other appropriate documentation.

Due Process Procedure

  1. Both the student and the faculty member have the right to be present and to be accompanied by a personal advisor or counsel throughout the hearing.
  2. Both the student and the faculty member have the right to present and to examine and cross-examine witnesses.
  3. The administration makes available to the student and the faculty member such authority as it may possess to require the presence of witnesses.
  4. The grievance committee promptly and forthrightly adjudicates the issues.
  5. The full text of the findings and conclusions of the grievance committee are made available in identical form and at the same time to the student and the faculty member. The cost is met by the University.
  6. In the absence of a defect in procedure, recommendations shall be made to the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs by the grievance committee as to possible action in the case.
  7. At any time should the basis for an informal hearing appear, the procedure may become informal in nature.

Grievance Process Complaints

Fairfield University endeavors to resolve all grievances, complaints and disputes in a timely and fair manner. In the event a student believes a complaint remains unresolved after the conclusion of Fairfield University's grievance and/or dispute resolution processes (including all appeals), the student may request that the complaint be reviewed by the State of Connecticut Office of Higher Education. The Office of Higher Education is responsible for quality review of independent colleges and will investigate complaints concerning matters within its statutory authority. For more information or to file a complaint, contact:

Office of Higher Education
61 Woodland Street
Hartford, CT 06105-2326
Phone: 800-842-0229
www.ctohe.org/studentcomplaints.shtml

Fairfield University is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Students may contact:

NEASC
3 Burlington Woods Drive
Suite 100
Burlington, MA 01803
Phone: 855-886-3272
http://cihe.neasc.org/

Student Records

Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act passed by Congress in 1974, legitimate access to student records has been defined. A student at Fairfield University, who has not waived that right, may see any records that directly pertain to the student. Excluded by statute from inspection is the parents' confidential statement given to the financial aid office and medical records supplied by a physician.

A listing of records maintained, their location, and the means of reviewing them is available in the dean's office. Information contained in student files is available to others using the guidelines below:

  1. Confirmation of directory information is available to recognized organizations and agencies. Such information includes name, date of birth, dates of attendance, address.
  2. Copies of transcripts will be provided to anyone upon written request of the student. Cost of providing such information must be assumed by the student.
  3. All other information, excluding medical records, is available to staff members of the University on a need-to-know basis; prior to the release of additional information, a staff member must prove his or her need to know information to the office responsible for maintaining the record.

Transcripts

Transcript requests may be made by following the instructions available on the Registrar's website. There is a $5 fee for each copy. Online requests are subject to an additional processing fee. In accordance with the general practices of colleges and universities, official transcripts with the University seal are sent directly by the University. Requests should be made at least one week in advance of the date needed. Requests are not processed during examination and registration periods.