Graduate education at Misericordia University exists within the frame work of the university’s mission statement. It is firmly rooted in the mission and academic traditions of the university and its founding group, the Sisters of Mercy, stressing the values of justice, mercy, service, and hospitality. It emphasizes academic excellence and critical thinking, while preparing students for productive careers and continued professional growth. The graduate faculty foster a climate conducive to academic growth, intellectual discourse, critical thinking, and decision-making. The aims of the graduate programs at Misericordia University are to provide comprehensive education in special fields, offer instruction in the methods of independent investigation, and foster a spirit of research.
Active participation, individualized planning, and selection of learning experiences facilitate the development of students as persons, members of society, and potential leaders in their professions. The graduate programs offered build upon the university’s traditional academic strengths.
Graduate Education Goals
The university’s graduate education goals are to prepare graduates who:
- integrate the values of mercy, justice, and hospitality in their scholarly activity and professional work;
- demonstrate leadership and service to their communities and professions;
- advocate responsible ethical decision-making and behavior;
- think independently and creatively, using evidence-based research;
- demonstrate cultural competence and the ability to consider global perspectives within their communities and professions;
- value and foster effective oral, written, and technological communication within their communities and professions;
- incorporate current technologies to enhance communication and professional practice; and,
- pursue life-long learning and continued professional growth.
Policies and Procedures
Graduate Program Advisement
The director of each graduate program assigns an academic advisor for all students enrolled in that program. The advisor maintains a student record and advisement folder used to plan a student’s program and track progress. However, all official student records are maintained in the registrar’s office and can be reviewed by students upon request in accordance with federal guidelines.
The academic advisor assists the student in preparing his/her curriculum and in pre-registration; however, the student is ultimately responsible for meeting the requirements of the curriculum selected. Students may register online after receiving approval from their advisor. Students who use the deferred payment plan will be billed 20 percent of the tuition prior to the start of classes. Students who utilize employer reimbursement programs are required to submit a letter from their employers annually prior to registration.
Graduate Grievance Procedures
The university provides a uniform method by which students can pursue grievable issues. Grievable issues are either complaints about alleged violations of the institution’s academic policies or about unfairness in the application of policies. For grievance of a course grade see below.
In all cases, formal grievances must be filed and resolved within one semester of the occurrence of the event being grieved. Summer enrollment period is considered as a semester.
A student who has a grievance must attempt to resolve it by using the following procedures:
- Prior to initiating a formal grievance, the student must attempt to resolve the matter on an informal basis by speaking to the person with whom the complaint rests.
- If unable to reach a resolution, the student must discuss the matter with the program director who supervises the person against whom the complaint is lodged to attempt to resolve the matter.
- If the matter is not resolved at that level, the student proceeds to the chair of the department in which the grievance resides.
- If the matter is not resolved at that level, the student proceeds to the dean of the college in which the grievance resides.
To initiate the formal grievance process the student must submit in writing a letter to the dean of the college in which the event being grieved resides and the vice president of academic affairs informing them of his/her intent to seek formal redress through the grievance procedure, indicating the nature of the complaint.
Within fourteen (14) university business days of receipt of the written complaint, the vice president of academic affairs will convene an academic grievance committee and provide the chair of the committee, and the person against whom the complaint rests, with the student’s statement of complaint. The academic grievance committee is composed of: one administrator, one faculty member and one graduate student appointed by the vice president of academic affairs.
At least five (5) university business days in advance of the hearing, the chair of the committee will notify the grievant and the individual charged with the complaint of the date, time, and place of the hearing; the specification and nature of the complaint; and the composition of the committee. Notification will occur by telephone with confirmation that all parties have been notified.
The grievance hearing is an internal review and, as such, shall be private. The grievant may be assisted by a faculty representative. However, persons external to the university, including outside counsel, shall be excluded from the grievance hearing.
Both the grievant and the person being grieved have the right to be present when charges and evidence are presented to the committee, and to provide evidence in support of their respective positions. Committee members may question witnesses to evaluate all relevant facts of a given case. Witnesses shall be excluded except for the period of their questioning.
The report and recommendation of the committee shall be in writing, including the committee’s rationale for the decision; the report may include any dissenting opinions. Only those committee members who have heard all testimony and evidence in a given case may vote on the committee’s recommendation.
The committee report and recommendation shall be forwarded to the vice president of academic affairs within ten (10) university business days of the hearing. The vice president of academic affairs will make the final determination and formally advise the parties involved in the grievance within five (5) university business days. Penalties for violations of the Misericordia University’s Academic Integrity Policy range from a warning to dismissal from the university. The university reserves the right, depending upon the severity of the conduct, to dismiss a student for a single violation of the university’s academic integrity policy. In cases where a student previously has been found to have violated the university’s academic integrity policy, for which he/she received a penalty less than dismissal from the university, and the student is subsequently found to have violated the policy once again, the vice president of academic affairs may take more severe action for the subsequent violation than that previously imposed for the prior violation(s), up to and including dismissal from the university.
Students who wish to grieve circumstances that prohibit immediate continuation in a program or in a sequence of courses (e.g. dismissal from a program or a failing grade), must begin to attempt to resolve the issue based on the procedures outlined above immediately, but no longer than five (5) days upon receipt of the grade or of the dismissal notification. An expedited grievance process is then followed, and the process must be completed before the end of the add period of the subsequent semester. In the event a sequential course begins during the grievance process, the student may be granted permission to register for the course; however, if the resolution of the grievance is not in the student’s favor, the student will be withdrawn from the course by the student’s department chair or in the chair’s absence, by the college dean.
Grievance of course grades
Misericordia University students have the right to clearly defined grading criteria in all of their courses and learning experiences. However, students need to recognize that grading criteria differ depending on instructor, discipline, learning activities, course organization, and course level.
A student may appeal only a final course grade. (In other words, a student may not formally appeal a grade on an assignment in a course.) An appeal would be made for only one of the following three reasons:
- The syllabus does not describe how assignment grades will be used to calculate the final grade.
- The assigned grade was determined in a manner inconsistent with the course grading policy stated on the course syllabus, within reasonable standards of faculty discretion.
- The faculty member calculated the grade erroneously.
There are two stages to the grievance process. The first is informal, where the student tries to resolve the matter with the faculty member and (if necessary) the department chair/program director. Absent resolution through this informal process, and in a situation where the student believes that one of the three criteria above has been met, the student must institute a formal grade appeal.
Students must initiate the informal grade grievance process as soon as possible and no more than 5 business days after the Registrar’s due date for course grades.
Informal Course Grade Appeal Process:
- Prior to initiating a formal grievance, the student must attempt to resolve the matter on an informal basis by discussing the grade with the instructor of record and may include the department chair in this discussion.
- If unable to reach a resolution, the student will next discuss the matter with the department chair who supervises the faculty member involved and the dean of the college. In programs which have an appeal body based on accreditation requirements, students should make sure to follow those processes.
- If the matter is not resolved by these informal processes, then a formal grade appeal may be filed.
Formal Course Grade Appeal Process:
- A student wishing to pursue a formal grade appeal must register a written appeal, including supporting documentation, with the Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs as soon as possible and no more than 4 weeks into the academic semester following the posting of the grade in question. A copy of this appeal should be sent to the department chair/program director, faculty member, and dean.
- Within 5 days of receiving the formal appeal from the student, the AVPAA will share these materials with the chair of the Grievance Committee. Together, the AVPAA and Chair of the Grievance Committee will determine whether a grievance meets one of the definitions provided at the beginning of this policy, and whether the required steps have been taken to resolve the matter as outlined in this policy. Such a determination may involve requesting additional information from the student. If the AVPAA and the Chair of the Grievance Committee determine that a grievance is not warranted, the process concludes. There is no possibility of further appeal.
- If the AVPAA and Chair of the Grievance Committee determine that a grievance is warranted, an Academic Grievance Committee will be assembled, comprised of three faculty members, one of whom is the committee chair, and another who will be selected from the department involved in the grievance. Two students will also be selected by the Chair of the Grievance Committee.
- On the basis of written information provided by the instructor, the student, and any other relevant party, the Committee will invite spoken testimony from the student and professor involved in the case and may, at its discretion, solicit other pertinent information. Decisions in appeals hearings will be made by majority vote.
- The report and recommendation of the Committee will be sent to the AVPAA, department chair/program director, the student, the faculty member, and the dean within 10 days of the hearing.
- Students who are not satisfied with the Committee decision may appeal in writing to the VPAA within 5 days of receiving the committee’s decision. The VPAA has final determination in these matters.
Note: University business days are the business days of Monday through Friday during which the university’s administrative offices are open.
Graduate Program Standing
All students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0. Any student who falls below 3.0 will be placed on probation. This may occur one time only. One graduate course can be repeated for grade replacement. This may be done one time only. The second grade shall stand on the student’s transcript. Graduate retention criteria may be higher in some programs. Refer to program/department guidelines for specific retention information.
Graduation Requirements for Graduate Students
To be eligible for a graduate degree from Misericordia University, students must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 at the time of graduation; must fulfill all program requirements, including the professional contribution/scholarly project as required by the program; and must have paid all tuition and fees. Students must complete an application for the graduate degree in a timely manner.
A degree application form, available on myMU on the “Academic Record Reports and Forms” page of the Student section, must be completed by the specified deadline by the student. This form is to be submitted electronically during the term prior to his/her intended term of graduation after the student has registered for the final courses necessary to meet degree requirements. All bills must be paid in advance for a student to be eligible to receive the diploma and have transcripts released, and to participate in commencement ceremonies.
Only students currently enrolled in all courses necessary to complete all academic requirements by the end of the Spring semester will be permitted to process in the Spring Commencement ceremony held in May of that same year. Only students who have completed their degrees in the Summer semester, or who are currently enrolled in all courses necessary to complete all academic requirements by the end of the Fall semester, will be permitted to process in the Winter Commencement ceremony held in December of that same year.
Application for Graduate Degree
It is the student’s responsibility to keep abreast of progress toward degree completion. An application for the graduate degree should be filed with the registrar. Failure to do so in a timely manner may delay the date of awarding the diploma.
With the appropriate department chair’s or program director’s approval, any student may register on a space available basis to take a course on an audit or non-credit basis provided that standard admission and course prerequisites have been met. A student may audit no more than three courses or nine credits. The fee for auditing a course is one-half the cost of tuition. Matriculating students must have the permission of their advisor before auditing a course.
Change of Address
Students enrolled for course work in the graduate program are responsible for reporting any change of address and/or other salient information to the Center for Adult and Continuing Education. Failure to do so may result in failure to receive timely registration, program, grading and billing information.
Graduate Course Withdrawal and Refund Policies
A student may withdraw from a course without academic penalty within the period stated in the university calendar. Withdrawal forms may be obtained from the registrar’s office or online through the e-MU portal. A grade of “W” is given for an approved withdrawal. The date on which the form is received by the registrar is considered the official date of withdrawal. Refund of tuition and grade assignment is based on the date on which the form is received. If a student does not officially withdraw from a class and ceases to attend it, a grade of “F” is awarded.
When a graduate student drops a course or withdraws from a course or the university, official notice must be filed with the registrar. Tuition refunds are based on the date the registrar receives official notice from a student indicating his/her desire to withdraw from a course.
Directed and Independent Study
Part-time and full-time graduate students may apply for these contract learning opportunities as outlined in the undergraduate section of this catalog with the exception that both require a 3.0 GPA or above.
Student Identity Verification Procedures and Distance Education
All Misericordia University distance education courses and the Blackboard Learning Management System employ a secure portal login process that requires a student use his or her unique Misericordia email address as his or her identification and personal secure password selected by and known only to that student for entry into a course through Blackboard and for access to the university portal. This ensures verification of student identity and is of no additional cost to the student.
The secure log-in and password verification process ensures the protection of the student’s privacy under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
The process for resetting student passwords is established by the portal vendor through an electronic system student-selected security questions.
The Office of Information Technology is responsible for the application of the student identity verification procedures and monitoring of the university portal security.
Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (Buckley Amendment)
Misericordia University recognizes the privacy rights of individuals who are or who have been students, as guaranteed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974. No information from records, files, or data directly related to a student shall be disclosed to individuals or agencies outside the University without the express written consent of the student. FERPA does authorize disclosure without consent to school officials with legitimate educational interests who need to review an education record in order to fulfill their professional responsibilities. The following people or agencies are also allowed access to records without consent: persons or companies with whom the University has contracted (such as attorneys, auditors, or collection agents); students serving on official committees, such as disciplinary or grievance committees, or assisting other school officials in performing their tasks; persons or organizations to whom students have applied for financial aid; persons in compliance with a lawful subpoena or court order; and persons in an emergency in order to protect the health or safety of students or other persons.
The University considers the following to be public information which may be made available, at its discretion, without prior consent of the student:
student name, hometown and state, electronic mail address, dates of attendance, current class level, current field of study, planned graduation date, degrees, awards and honors received in the curricular and co-curricular life of the university, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, the most recent previous educational institution attended by the student, and individually identifiable photographs of the student solicited by or maintained directly by Misericordia University as part of the educational record.
A student wishing to prevent the public disclosure of any or all of the above information may request so by notifying the Registrar’s Office, where she or he may obtain the form prohibiting disclosure.
Except where prescribed by law, information regarding a student’s educational records may not be disclosed to a parent, guardian or spouse without the student’s written authorization on file in the Registrar’s Office.
FERPA affords students the right to inspect and review their educational records within 45 days of the day the University receives such requests. Students should submit to the Registrar official written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The Registrar will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.
Students have the right to request the amendment of any educational records that they believe are inaccurate or misleading. They should write to the University official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record that they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the University decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the University will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to appeal the decision. Additional information regarding the appeal will be provided to the student when notified.
For more information regarding FERPA, please contact the Office of the Registrar in Mercy Hall, Room 115. Students have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Misericordia University to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-4605
As of January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education’s FERPA regulations expand the circumstances under which your education records and personally identifiable information contained in such records-including your Social Security Number, grades, or other private information-may be accessed without your consent. First, the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local education authorities (“Federal and State Authorities”) may allow access to your records and private information without your consent to any third party designated by a Federal or State Authority to evaluate a federal- or state-supported education program. The evaluation may relate to any program that is “principally engaged in the provision of education,” such as early childhood education and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution. Second, Federal and State Authorities may allow access to your education records and private information without your consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when we object to or do not request such research. Federal and State Authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive your private information, but the Authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities. In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, State Authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain, and share without your consent private information from your education records, and they may track your participation in education and other programs by linking such private information to other personal information about you that they obtain from other Federal or State data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service, and migrant student records systems.
The grade point average is computed by dividing quality points earned by credits attempted according to the following scale:
||Quality Points Per Credit
|IP (see below)
|I (see below)
Incomplete Grades for Graduate Program
The grade of “I” will be issued only for those courses in which a student has not completed the necessary requirements for graduate courses (500 and above) because of extenuating circumstances.
Should conditions arise that prohibit the student from completing required course assignments by specified due dates, the student must negotiate with the course professor for a grade of incomplete (“I”). The student must contact the course professor and file an incomplete contract grade form with the professor at least two weeks prior to the date semester grades are due to the registrar. The form is signed by the student and the faculty member and a copy is retained by the student. The course professor has the right to determine the length of time for completion of the course requirements within the maximum time limits allowed. The grade of “I” must be removed within a maximum of one calendar year or the “I” automatically becomes an “F.”
Emergencies may arise which do not allow a two-week notice. In that event, the student must contact the director of the Center for Adult and Continuing Education who will, in turn, inform the course faculty member involved.
A grade of “IP” (In Progress) will only be issued for profession contribution, thesis courses, or clinical education/fieldwork courses. The “IP” must be removed within a maximum of one calendar year or the “IP” automatically becomes an “F.”
Note: A student who will be negotiating a grade of “I” or “IP” must obtain an incomplete contract form from the Registrar’s Office or online through the Student portal.
Graduate Maintenance of Matriculation/Withdrawals
Normally, students have no more than five years after the date of matriculation to complete graduate degree requirements. Once accepted into a program, students must maintain matriculation on a continuing basis as specified by the program until they have completed all requirements. Students who do not maintain continuous registration as specified by the program must notify their respective program chairs/directors/coordinators in writing of their intent to withdraw from matriculation. The letter must state the reasons for the request and the anticipated length of withdrawal from matriculation, if known.
Generally, students who are in good academic standing both in their program and institutionally at the time of withdrawal, are granted a period of up to one calendar year from the time of withdrawal to return to the institution. In extraordinary circumstances, students may request an extension of this time period by petitioning the program chair/director/coordinator who will make a recommendation and forward the petition to the vice president of academic affairs, who will make the final decision. Each request will be evaluated on an individual basis. Students should contact the program chair/director/coordinator for specific requirements for returning to an academic program.
This policy does not bind the institution to offer the student’s curriculum or program, which may have been discontinued or substantially altered during the period in which the student was not enrolled.
When withdrawing from matriculation for more than one semester, graduate students must complete the following in order to withdraw without penalty:
- return books to the library;
- return parking permit and student ID to the Center for Adult and Continuing Education;
- complete a withdrawal form and return it to the Center for Adult and Continuing Education.
The date of withdrawal will be determined by the completion of all of the above. That date will determine if any refund of tuition is warranted. Cancellation of charges will depend on the date that the withdrawal is official (see Refund Policy).
Students who withdraw after the last day to withdraw without academic penalty will receive a withdraw (W).
Graduate Non-Matriculation Status
Persons who have an undergraduate degree and who are not enrolled in a graduate program may take up to six graduate credits without applying for admission. After successful completion of six credits, matriculation is required to continue enrollment in program courses. However, workshops and seminars sponsored by the graduate programs are open to members of the public who may enroll in the workshops and seminars on an audit basis.
Transfer of Credit
In graduate programs that allow transfer or prior learning assessment (PLA) credits, applicants may transfer credit within the limits established by the residency requirement of the individual program, provided the courses were completed with a grade of “B” or better, and the credit was earned at an institution that is legally authorized to grant graduate degrees and is accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education. The university may award transfer credit based upon course equivalencies, expected learning outcomes and applicability to Misericordia University’s curricula, standards, and course offerings. Please refer to the individual program for residency criteria.
Applicants with undergraduate or graduate coursework from institutions outside of the United States will be required to provide a credential evaluation prepared by either the international credentialing service of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers (AACRAO), available at ies.aacrao.org; or, a credentialing service that is a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES – a list of members may be found www.naces.org). The University may award graduate transfer credit to graduate level coursework based upon course equivalencies, expected learning outcomes and applicability to Misericordia University’s curricula, standards, and course offerings, consistent with the residency requirements of the individual program.
The master’s degree in education offered by Misericordia University is fully approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
The master’s degree in nursing is fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), 655 K Street NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, (202) 887-6791.
The professional master’s degree program in occupational therapy is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education, 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929, (301) 652-6611.
The entry level program in physical therapy is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education, American Physical Therapy Association, 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314, (800) 999-2782.
The occupational therapy doctoral program (OTD) are fully approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
The master’s degree in business administration and the master’s degree in organizational management have accreditation by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education, P.O. Box 3960, Olathe, KS 66063, (913) 631-3009.
The professional master’s degree program in speech-language pathology at Misericordia University is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA), American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2200 Research Boulevard, #310, Rockville, MD 20850, (301) 897-5700.
The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) is the accrediting agency that protects the interests of the public and PA profession by defining the standards for PA education and evaluating PA educational programs within the territorial United States to ensure their compliance with those standards.
The following statement is provided by ARC-PA:
“The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation - Provisional status to the Misericordia University Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Misericordia University. Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding Accreditation-Provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students.
Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class.”