List of Policies: S - Z

Second Master's Degree

A student holding a master's degree already may apply for admission to a second master's degree in another discipline, following the usual admission procedures.

During the first semester of study for a second master's, students plan with their advisors a program of study to include a minimum of 30** additional semester hours. Other than the reduced number of hours required for the second degree, all other policies related to coursework and requirements apply, including time limits, transfer limitations, etc.

In addition, graduate course work from another earned degree (from Appalachian or elsewhere) cannot be included in the second master's degree program of study.

**NOTE: In the Department of Human Development and Psychological Counseling, a second master's degree requires meeting all program course requirements with a minimum of 39 semester hours.

Special Course Form

This form is available in each department and is used to register a student in a course that is not published in the official schedule of classes during a particular term, i.e., does not have a Course Reference Number.

In particular, this form is used for all independent study (5500, 6500, 7500), thesis (5999, 6999), and dissertation (7999) courses or for courses that the student will be taking under the direction of a faculty member as a practicum, internship or individual study.

Students are expected to register for courses no later than the end of the add period in a given term. For Fall and Spring semesters this is the end of the fifth day of classes. In the summer terms, the add period lasts until the end of the first day of classes.

Standards of Scholarship

In all work for a degree, scholarly performance is expected. The student is expected to demonstrate academic competence, intellectual honesty and responsibility, a willingness to do more than the minimum required, and the ability to think critically and constructively. North Carolina State statutes concerning standards of scholarship are as follows:

14-118.2. Assisting, etc., in obtaining academic credit by fraudulent means.

  1. It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, corporation or association to assist any student, or advertise, offer or attempt to assist any student, in obtaining or in attempting to obtain, by fraudulent means, any academic credit, or any diploma, license or other instrument purporting to confer any literary, scientific, professional, technical or other degree in any course of study in any university, college, academy, or other educational institution. The activity prohibited by this subsection includes, but is not limited to, preparing or advertising, offering, or attempting to prepare a term paper, thesis, or dissertation for another and impersonating or advertising, offering or attempting to impersonate another in taking or attempting to take an examination.
  2. Any person, firm, corporation or association violating any of the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500.00), imprisonment for not more than six months, or both. Provided, however, the provisions of this section shall not apply to the acts of one student in assisting another student as herein defined if the former is duly registered in an educational institution and is subject to the disciplinary authority thereof. (1963, c.781; 1969, c.1224, s.7.)

Study Abroad

Students studying at the graduate level in an official exchange program, i.e.,one for which Appalachian has an agreement with the foreign institution, are expected to register and pay for graduate credit at Appalachian. In this situation, students should enroll in graduate placeholder courses (GRD 5800-5810) in a one-to-one correspondence to the courses that will ultimately be transferred back to Appalachian.

When the student returns to campus, an official transcript should be submitted to the Graduate School for review. If the course is documented as post-baccalaureate level and the grades are equivalent to a B or higher, then the courses will be transferred in to replace the placeholders.

Students who wish to take undergraduate coursework in an exchange program should use the undergraduate placeholder course (US 3800) for the relevant number of hours.

Substance Abuse Policy

Appalachian State University is committed to maintaining an environment that supports and encourages the pursuit and dissemination of knowledge. All members of the academic community—students, faculty, administrators and staff—share in the responsibility of protecting and promoting that environment and all are expected to exemplify high standards of professional and personal conduct. The illegal or abusive use of alcohol and other drugs by members of the academic community adversely affects this educational environment. North Carolina and federal laws restrict or prohibit the use of alcohol and other drugs in various contexts. The illegal or abusive use of alcohol and other drugs is not compatible with personal health and welfare and the pursuit of academic excellence, and will not be tolerated by Appalachian State University on the campus or as part of any institutional activities.

The use and abuse of alcohol or other drugs can have serious negative consequences. High-risk choices can lead to significant academic, legal, financial, job performance and relationship problems, as well as problems with physical, mental and emotional health. The use of alcohol and other drugs is also a factor in injuries and deaths related to overdose, accidents, and crimes. Problems related to the use of alcohol and other drugs affect not only the user, but also friends, family, classmates, coworkers, and the entire Appalachian community.

Students, faculty members, administrators and other employees are responsible, as citizens, for knowing about and complying with the provisions of North Carolina law that make it a crime to possess, sell, deliver, or manufacture those drugs designated collectively as "controlled substances" in Article 5, Chapter 90 of the North Carolina General Statutes. Any member of the University community who violates pertinent state or federal law, either within the University community, or in a manner that otherwise affects the academic community, thereby violates University policy. Any employee convicted of any criminal drug statute violation occurring within the University community must notify the appropriate supervisor or management person no later than five (5) calendar days after such conviction. (Any employee who fails to provide notification shall be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.) Disciplinary action against an employee convicted of a drug offense within the University community must commence within 30 days after receipt of notice of the conviction.

Penalties will be imposed for violation of the policies of Appalachian State University only in accordance with procedural safeguards applicable to disciplinary actions against students, faculty members, administrators and other employees. The penalties that may be imposed range from written warnings with probationary status to expulsion from enrollment and discharge from employment.

Every student, faculty member, administrator and other employee of Appalachian State University is responsible for being familiar with and complying with the terms of the policy on illegal drugs adopted by the Board of Trustees. Copies of the full text of that policy appear in the Faculty Handbook, and The Student Handbook of Rights and Responsibilities. Copies of the policy and pertinent NC General Statutes are on file in the offices of the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs, Vice Chancellor for Student Development, Vice Chancellor for University Advancement, Graduate Studies and Research, Belk Library and Information Commons, Office of Human Resource Services, Residence Life, University Police, and the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership. Students will find information pertaining to violations of the alcoholic beverages policy in The Code of Student Conduct. Alcohol related problems for staff are handled under the personal conduct section of the Staff Employee Handbook.

University and Community Resources

A wide array of resources may be required to meet the counseling and rehabilitation needs of individuals who have substance abuse problems. These services generally include assessment and referral, social and/or medical detoxification, in-patient treatment, halfway house facilities, out-patient individual and group therapy, after-care programs and self-help groups. Obviously, not all substance abusers are in need of all the services listed; however, the availability of services affords an individual the opportunity to address substance abuse problems adequately and responsibly. The following services are available to members of the University community:


  1. The Counseling and Psychological Services Center offers individual and group out-patient therapy and referral information for students.
  2. The Student Wellness Center, Alcohol and Other Drug Services, offers individual and group substance abuse counseling for students. Students are also offered alcohol and other drug information and education via media campaigns, classes, presentations, peer education, theatre production, resource center and campus-wide events.
  3. The Office of Human Resource Services has established an awareness and education program that will inform employees of the stipulations of the Drug- Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug-Free Schools and Community Act Amendments of 1989 to promote their understanding and increase their knowledge of dangers of workplace drug abuse, address and identify drug problems in their lives, and offer alternatives.
  4. Counseling for Faculty and Staff, located in the Hubbard Center, offers assessment, referral, and individual and group out-patient therapy for faculty and staff on a space-available basis. Contact the Hubbard Center for information.


  1. New River Behavioral Health Care provides substance abuse services including: evaluation, detox, outpatient treatment, and referral entry for inpatient treatment.
  2. A number of practitioners in the community offer individual out-patient therapy for persons preferring a private practice setting.

A variety of local self-help groups are available with each group establishing its own criteria for membership.

Suspension and Dismissal

Appalachian reserves the right to exclude, at any time, a graduate student whose performance is unsatisfactory or whose conduct is deemed improper or prejudicial to the best interest of the University.
Graduate students who do not maintain a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.00 cannot register for classes without the written recommendation of the advisor and the approval of the Dean of the Graduate School (see "Probationary Status").

Degree candidacy is discontinued for the student who has received four grades of "C," and if a graduate student receives a grade of "F" or "U," the student may not continue in Graduate School unless the advisor submits, in writing, an acceptable recommendation to the Dean of the Graduate School. In no case may a graduate student be permitted to repeat more than one course to improve the grade, and the student who receives a second grade of "F", "U", "WF" or "WU" may not continue toward the graduate degree under any circumstances.

Graduate credit accepted in fulfillment of the requirements for a graduate degree shall average not lower than 3.00, and no credit toward the degree shall be granted for a grade of "F", "U", "WF" or "WU." A grade of "F" or "U" is assigned to a student who arbitrarily discontinues meeting a class or who withdraws without making proper arrangements with the Registrar's Office.

Course work reported "Incomplete" must be completed within the following semester of the official ending of the course. Any extension of this period must be approved by the appropriate dean and the Registrar.

Thesis – Master's or Specialist

The thesis should represent the culmination of an independent research project conducted by the student, and demonstrate understanding of the related literature and research methodology. The thesis is expected to be written in grammatically correct English and conform to accepted standards used in research writing in the discipline of study, as well as conforming to the formatting requirements established in the Graduate School Thesis Manual. In special cases, languages other than English may be used; the substitution is not permitted as a matter of the student's convenience, but may be allowed when the student has sufficient skill at composition and has a thesis topic that is, in the judgment of the advisor, especially suited to treatment in the second language. The Graduate Dean's approval of the use of a language other than English must be obtained in advance.

The department chair may approve any member of the department's graduate faculty to act as chair of the thesis committee and to supervise the writing of the thesis. The candidate's thesis advisor and at least two graduate faculty members will constitute the thesis committee. One graduate faculty member from another department or institution may be appointed with the approval of the Dean of the Graduate School. No more than one member of the thesis committee may be from another department or institution.

Before being permitted to register for thesis credit, the student must:

  1. be admitted to candidacy
  2. have presented a prospectus or research abstract to the thesis committee, and
  3. applied for any necessary IRB or IACUC approval to work with human or animal subjects,

For all students pursuing the thesis option in a program, all thesis hours will be considered program of study hours, some of which may be over and above the minimum stated hours for the degree.

Thesis grading:

Students who are judged by the thesis committee chair to be making satisfactory progress in the term of enrollment will be assigned a grade of SP by the chair for that term. Students who are not progressing satisfactorily will be assigned a grade of UP.

If a grade of UP is assigned, the thesis committee must determine if the student should be allowed to enroll in further thesis hours, and report its decision to the Graduate School. Before being allowed to continue graduate study, students who are not approved to enroll in further thesis hours must request and be approved for a change of program out of the thesis option. Thesis hours will not count in the resulting revised program of study, and the thesis grades will remain SP/UP on the transcript.

Completion of thesis:

The thesis defense should be completed at least 10 calendar days before the last regular class day, and the final draft of the thesis must be submitted to the graduate school no later than 7 calendar days prior to the last regular class day. The Graduate School will review the thesis for style and format, and return the manuscript to the student within 15 business days of submission.

Students may be required to make modifications and resubmit for additional review prior to signature by the Dean of the Graduate School. Once the Dean has signed the thesis, the thesis requirement is met, and the grade in all thesis hours will be changed to S. This entire approval process must be completed by the day before the next academic term begins or the student will not be eligible to graduate until the next term. For detailed information on the thesis process, the student should refer to the Thesis and Dissertation Handbook, available from the Graduate School (

Time Limit Requirements

All graduate credit offered for the degree must have been earned within seven (7) calendar years after the year of admission. For example, students entering in 2010 have until December 2017 to complete their degrees.

Coursework expires seven (7) years after the date the initial grade is awarded and may not be used for the degree after this date. For example, courses taken in Spring 2010 may be used on a program of study for graduation until May 2017.


Transcripts must be requested in writing from the Registrar's Office ( Transcripts will not be issued to students having unpaid accounts with the University.

Transfer Credits

A degree- or certificate-seeking student may, with permission of the program director, request approval from the Graduate School to transfer graduate course work to Appalachian from another accredited graduate school. This coursework must be at the same or higher level than the student's program at Appalachian and must be acceptable in a graduate degree program at the credit-granting institution.

Permission to use transfer hours on a program of study must be granted by both the student's program and the Graduate School. Transfer credit should be reported to the Graduate School as soon as possible, but will not be posted to the student's official Appalachian transcript until official transcripts are received.

Students should arrange for official transcripts to be sent directly to the graduate records staff in the Graduate School as soon as grades are posted.

Graduate work included in an earned degree from another institution cannot be included on a program of study.

Time limit:

Transfer credits are subject to the 7-year time limit requirement at the time of graduation.

Number of hours:

The maximum number of hours of transfer allowed is 9 hours for degree-seeking students, and 25% of the number of hours required for certificate-seeking students.

Minimum Acceptable Grades:

The grades earned must be at least "B" (3.0/4.0). A "B-" is not acceptable. Courses with grades of "P" meaning "Passing" or "Pass/Fail" option and grades of "S" meaning "Satisfactory" are not acceptable for transfer.

Undergraduate Enrollment in Graduate Level Courses

Students enrolled as undergraduates at Appalachian State University may request permission to take graduate courses if they will be seniors in the semester of enrollment and have at least a 3.0 GPA. The request form can be found on the Graduate School website, and it requires both department and Graduate School approval.

Students may count up to 12 semester hours taken under this classification toward a later graduate degree program, provided that the 7 year time limit for graduate courses is not exceeded; that the course credits are not used to meet the requirements of the undergraduate degree; and that the graduate program approves their inclusion on the graduate program of study.

Weather Policy

Appalachian State University reserves the right to cancel or delay classes during severe weather conditions. In determining whether to do so, the Chancellor consults with the Provost, Vice Chancellors, and other appropriate personnel. Only the Governor of North Carolina has the authority to close the institution due to adverse weather conditions.

The Office of Public Affairs, or its designee, has the responsibility for publicizing the Chancellor's decision to cancel or delay classes. Every effort will be made to reach such a decision by 6:30 a.m. of the affected day. The information will be disseminated via the ASU home page and AppalNET, and to local radio and regional TV stations able to report the university's status in sufficient detail (e.g., the expectations for staff members or the time until which classes are being delayed). Also, a recorded telephone message announcing any change in normal operations is available at (828) 262-SNOW. Faculty are reminded that media do not announce individual class cancellations.

Staff employees (SPA) should follow the State's adverse weather policy as distributed on the Human Resource Services web page:

Information concerning any cancellations or delays of ASU classes offered at off-campus sites will be accessible at

"Classes are cancelled" means that no classes will be held on the day or night indicated, and such notices will state the expectations for staff employees. Announcements of class delays will specify the point during the day at which classes will resume meeting at their regularly scheduled times. "The University is closed" means that all classes and other activities are cancelled and that only essential personnel who can reach campus safely are expected to report.

Though it is impossible to describe precisely the conditions that may warrant interrupting normal operations, the people involved in such determinations will consider both the University's educational responsibilities and the physical welfare of all members of its community. The assessment of the situation will also take into account, as one factor, the status of the AppalCart bus system.

Because weather and road conditions often vary significantly within this area, the decision whether to travel must rest with the individual. When there has been no general cancellation of classes, individual faculty who are unable to meet their classes but have access to e-mail should send students timely notice that they will not meet. The faculty member must also notify the departmental chair by e-mail or telephone. Faculty are encouraged to make reasonable accommodation, including the opportunity to make up any missed assignments or examinations, for students who live at a distance from campus and have been absent from class because of dangerous weather or road conditions.


A student is allowed to officially withdraw (i.e., cease enrollment in all courses) without academic penalty during the first nine weeks of a Fall or Spring semester. In order to officially withdraw, the student must formally contact the Registrar's Office.

A grade of "W" (Withdrawal) will be assigned to each course if the student withdraws during the first nine weeks of a Fall or Spring semester (the last day to withdraw without academic penalty is indicated in the Schedule of Classes available from the Registrar's Office.

A student who officially withdraws after the first nine weeks of a Fall or Spring semester will receive a grade of "WF" (Withdrawal/Failing) or "WU" (Withdrawal/Unsatisfactory) for each course in which she or he is enrolled in at the time of withdrawal. The following are two exceptions to this policy:

  • A student can petition for withdrawal without academic penalty for compelling medical or psychological reasons. Students seeking a medical withdrawal must contact Student Health Services; those seeking a withdrawal for psychological reasons must contact the Counseling and Psychological Services Center. Supporting documentation will be required. If a medical or psychological withdrawal is approved, the student will receive a grade of "W" in each course for which she or he is enrolled.
  • A student can petition for withdrawal without academic penalty for extenuating reasons (i.e., other than medical or psychological). The student must formally notify the Registrar's Office. The reasons for the withdrawal should be clearly stated, and supporting documentation may be required. Consideration will be given to the reasons for the withdrawal and grades may be assigned on a course-by-course basis, as deemed appropriate.

Other policies governing withdrawing from courses:

  • If a student does not regularly attend an audited course, the instructor may request an administrative withdrawal grade to be assigned. The instructor should provide documentation to the Registrar's Office with the recommendation.
  • A student who holds a tuition scholarship or award must pay back the entire remission or award if that student withdraws from courses.
  • A student who ceases to attend all classes prior to the end of an academic term, and does not officially withdraw by notifying the Registrar's Office, will automatically receive a "Failing" grade on each enrolled course.
  • Distance Learning students enrolled in an extension program should initiate withdrawals in the Office of Distance Education.
  • A student who officially withdraws from the University will receive a refund based on the date of notification. The refund percentage is published in the Schedule of Classes for each semester. The term refund should be understood to mean either: a) the repayment of money received by the University for tuition and fees, or b) a reduction of charges if tuition and fees have not yet been paid.