Academic Catalog 2017–2018

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Academic Rules and Procedures

I. Rules & Procedures

A. Advising

Upon admission, students will be assigned academic advisors who will assist them in planning an appropriate course of study. At a later date, students choosing to undertake a project or a thesis will be assigned a thesis/project advisor.

B. Student Course Load

The normal course load for a full-time student is 9 credit hours per semester. The maximum is 12 during regular semesters and 6 during the summer term. Graduate students with full- or part-time employment are strongly advised to take a reduced load. For information about course loads allowed in case of graduate assistantship, check section VI.B, Rights & Obligations.

C. Transfer of Credit

A maximum of 6 graduate credits may be transferred from another institution of higher education that is of academic standing comparable to LAU or from other LAU graduate programs. This rule applies also to graduate courses taken at LAU during the student’s undergraduate program over and above the total number of credits required for graduation. Transferred credits apply only to courses with a grade of B or above. Unless otherwise specified in the requirements of a program (such as Engineering), transferred credits should not have been used for another degree required for admission to the graduate program in which the student is enrolled. A request for transfer of credits shall be submitted to the Registrar’s Office during the student’s first semester of residence. The request shall be reviewed by the department/school concerned, and the decision communicated to the Registrar’s Office.

D. Course Substitution

A student may substitute up to 6 graduate credits for an equal number of credits. A request for approval of such substitution shall be submitted to the Registrar’s Office. The request shall be reviewed by the department/school concerned and the decision communicated to the Registrar’s Office.

E. Attendance Regulations

Regular attendance is required of all graduate students.

A student who misses more than the equivalent of two weeks of instruction in a particular course in a regular semester, or one week in a summer session, excused and otherwise, for any reason, is advised to withdraw from the course within the official withdrawal deadline. Otherwise a grade of F will be assigned.

Specific schools may opt for a more stringent rule.

F. Removal of an Incomplete Grade

In order to have a grade of I changed to a regular grade, the student must complete all requirements within one calendar year unless otherwise indicated in their program. If the requirements are not duly completed, the grade of I will turn into F.

G. Withdrawal from Courses

If a student withdraws officially from a course before the withdrawal deadline set for the semester, a grade of WI, WP, or WF is assigned. The student must submit a withdrawal form to the Registrar’s Office within the set deadline. Only one withdrawal is allowed from any given course. The second withdrawal from the same course will result in an F.

H. Repeating Courses

  1. Graduate courses with grades lower than C may not be used toward graduation. Any required course with a grade below C should be repeated.
  2. During their course of study, students may repeat a maximum of three credits of graduate courses in which a grade of B or less has been earned. The latest grade will be counted in the determination of the grade point average.

Note: Until summer 2017, the highest grade earned in a repeated course was counted in the GPA computation. The rule has changed as of fall 2017.

I. Auditing

Only students who have satisfied all the admission requirements may audit graduate courses. Auditing will only be permitted when places are available.

J. Program Shifts

Any shift from one graduate degree program at LAU to another requires the submission of a new application for admission.

K. Academic Integrity

The university fosters an atmosphere of high integrity by maintaining an ongoing dedication to honesty and responsibility. Any act of lying, cheating, plagiarism, deliberate misrepresentation, theft, scientific fraud, dishonesty or ill use of other human beings is a blatant violation of the Student Code of Conduct and will be treated as such.

1. Plagiarism & Falsification of Research Material

Plagiarism is using someone else’s ideas, words, or work as if it were one’s own without clearly acknowledging the source of that information. Examples of plagiarism include:

  1. Submitting research work (a report, project, thesis, etc.) written by someone else and claiming that it is one’s own work.
  2. Paraphrasing another person’s words without citing the source.
  3. Including material (e.g. written work, figures, tables, charts, graphs, computer programs, etc.) in one’s work without acknowledging its source.

Plagiarism and falsification or forging of research material or data are serious academic offenses subject to disciplinary action by the faculty and/or the department/school concerned. The severity of the disciplinary action is determined according to the extent of the act. The disciplinary action could range from a requirement that the student resubmit the work with penalty to dismissal from the program. At the request of the faculty, the Dean of Graduate Studies/dean of the school shall issue a written warning. A copy of the warning will be kept in the student’s file and at the Registrar’s Office.

2. Cheating

Students caught cheating on an exam receive a score of zero on the exam in their first cheating attempt in the course and receive a warning from the department/school concerned at the request of the faculty. A copy of the warning will be kept in the student’s file and at the Registrar’s Office. A score of zero on an exam resulting from cheating must be counted in the student’s course grade. Students caught cheating for the second time in the same course will receive a grade of F in the course. The act of cheating will be recorded and included in the student’s file.

​​L. Time Limit

Students must complete all requirements for a master’s degree within six years from their first registration in graduate courses. Students who exceed this time limit must submit a petition to request extension. In such a case, their program of study must be revalidated. Revalidating a program by the concerned department/school may involve taking additional courses and/or repeating outdated ones. Revalidation is granted for one time only and the new requirements must be completed according to a prorated time period. Under no circumstances may the extension time exceed one year. Once a student’s program is revalidated, the student and the academic advisor must prepare a course completion plan that must be reviewed for approval by the department and the school. The Registrar must be notified about the revalidation and completion plan in writing.

II. Registration Rules

A. Registration

Registration is required of all students in accordance with the university’s procedures and regulations. Late registration requires payment of an additional late registration fee. Students will not be permitted to register after the late registration period.

B. Cross-Registration

A student may request permission from the concerned school/department to cross-register at another institution of higher education that is of academic standing comparable to LAU if a course needed for the student’s graduation is not offered at the university, provided that the number of credits transferred/cross registered does not exceed the number of credits allowed to be transferred as stated in Section I.C, Transfer of Credit.

C. Course Changes after Registration

Course changes after registration are permitted subject to the following provisions:

  1. Any course change must be made during the Drop/Add period.
  2. Students will get no refund for courses dropped after the Drop/Add period.
  3. All course changes which increase the student’s tuition obligation will be noted by the Business Office, and the added fee shall be collected before the change is finalized; changes decreasing the tuition obligation are subject to the refund policy.

III. Scholastic Standing

A. Grading System

The university grading system uses a series of letters that correspond to grade quality points. The Grade Point Average (GPA) is calculated according to a procedure outlined in the following section.

Grade Quality Points
A 4
A- 3.67
B+ 3.33
B 3
B- 2.67
C+ 2.33
C 2
C- 1.67
D+ 1.33
D 1
F 0
P Pass*
NP No Pass*
U Audit*
I Incomplete*
WI No Quality Points*
WP No Quality Points*
WF No Quality Points*
  • Grade A: Indicates work of excellent quality (4 points per credit hour).
  • Grade B: Indicates work of good quality (3 points per credit hour).
  • Grade C: Indicates work of unsatisfactory quality (2 points per credit hour).
  • Grade D: Indicates work of poor quality (1 point per credit hour).
  • Grade F: Indicates work of unacceptable quality (0 point per credit hour).
  • Grade P: Indicates that the student has successfully passed the defense of the thesis/project.
  • Grade NP: Indicates that the student has failed to pass the defense of the thesis/project.
  • Grade U: Assigned to a course taken on audit basis. It adds no credits and it has no quality points.
  • Grade I: Represents an incomplete work. Grade I is exceptionally given by the course instructor when a student with a valid excuse did not complete some of the course requirements. To be entitled to an I grade, a student should have fulfilled the minimum attendance condition and completed a minimum of 60% of the course requirements with a satisfactory grade. An I grade does not count in the Grade Point Average.
  • WI: (early withdrawal) indicates withdrawal from the course, after the Late Registration Period and until the end of the 5th week of the fall and spring semesters, and until the 14th day of the summer term. It has no quality points. It does not count in the GPA, and no credits will be added to the student’s record.
  • WP: (Withdrawal Pass) indicates withdrawal from the course, after the 5th week and until the end of the 10th week of the fall and spring semesters, and from the 11th day of classes until 25th day of the summer term. It has no quality points. It does not count in the GPA, and no credits will be added to the student’s record.
  • WF: (Withdrawal Fail) indicates withdrawal from the course, after the 5th week and until the end of the 10th week of the fall and spring semesters, and from the 11th day of classes until the 25th day of the summer term. It has no quality points. It does not count in the GPA, and no credits will be added to the student’s record, but is counted as repeat. A Withdrawal Form must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office.

(*) Grades P/NP, U, I, WI, WP, WF are not calculated in the GPA.

B. Academic Standing & Probation

Graduate students are considered to be in good academic standing if they maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.00 on all graduate coursework. Students whose GPA falls below 3.00 at any time after the first nine credits will be placed on probation. Only one probation (besides probation upon admission) is allowed during a graduate program.

C. Dismissal

  1. Students on probation must get back into good academic standing (GPA ≥ 3.00) upon the completion of nine credits. Otherwise they will be dismissed from the program in which they are enrolled.
  2. Students who have at any time two repeats and more than two grades of C+ or lower will also be dismissed from the program in which they are enrolled.
  3. Any student who earns an F on any 3-credit course will also be dismissed from the program in which he/she is enrolled. For 1- or 2-credit courses, please refer to the specific rules of the different programs.

IV. Thesis & Project

A. Thesis

The thesis shall be based on original research work carried out in the basic and/or applied field of study.

B. Project

The project shall be based on substantial applied work, involving, for example, critical literature review, experimental or analytical studies, development of kits/systems, empirical testing of theories, etc.

C. Registration & Time Limit

Students may register for the thesis/project at any time after completion of 12 credits. Before registration, the student should have secured the consent of a faculty member to serve as thesis/project advisor. Once registered for the thesis/project, a student must complete a thesis within two calendar years, and a project within three regular semesters (not counting the summer).

Registration for thesis/project will allow students to retain their status with the university for two years/three semesters with no additional tuition fees provided that the student re-registers every term (for zero credit and no fees) if they are not taking other courses. Past that date, students allowed to have a thesis or project extension by the School Academic Council will be required to register for a residence fee (0 quality points), and to pay for 50% of one graduate credit per semester.

D. Guidelines

  1. A student seeks a faculty member’s consent to serve as the thesis/project advisor. The advisor should be a full-time (or retired) faculty member at the professorial rank in the concerned department. The dean approves the selection of the advisor, based upon the recommendation of the department chair.
  2. A thesis committee shall be made up of three members including the student’s advisor, and a project committee of two members including the advisor as well.
  3. The thesis/project advisor and student jointly form the thesis/project committee. At least one member of the thesis committee (besides the advisor) must be a full-time faculty in the department/school concerned. The advisor shall chair the committee.
  4. The role of the thesis/project advisor is to guide the student’s work until the completion of thesis/project. The role of the other committee members is to review and assess the student’s work. The committee members shall be kept informed of the progress of the thesis/project.
  5. Students must successfully defend their thesis proposal before the members of their thesis committee normally within the first semester in which they register for the thesis. Once the proposal is approved, the thesis advisor notifies the Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies/dean of school concerned using the Thesis Proposal Form.
  6. The grade for a thesis/project can be Pass, or No Pass (P or NP). The grade does not contribute to the GPA.
  7. Throughout their work on the thesis/project, students may petition to shift to another option as allowed in the concerned program (see program-specific rules and regulations).
  8. Students shifting from the project to thesis option will be required to pay only for the extra credits, provided that the student remains with the same advisor.
  9. Students shifting from thesis to project/course(s) option will pay for the additional courses.
  10. The changes above (points 7, 8 and 9) shall be made at least one semester before graduation and shall carry the approval of the department/school.

E. Conflict of Interest

A faculty member shall not serve as the thesis/project advisor or on the thesis/project committee of a student that is either a family member or a business associate. In cases where the academic circumstances require that a family member serves on the thesis/project committee or be the thesis/project advisor, the faculty shall secure the prior written approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies/dean of school concerned.

Note that

  1. a family member constitutes spouse, parents, children, siblings, siblings of parents, first cousins and any person related to one of these individuals by marriage, or any other relation who resides in the same household with the faculty member.
  2. a business associate is a faculty member who has served as an officer, director, partner, trustee, owner, or controlling stockholder of an organization related to the student.

F. Preparation & Submission of Thesis/Project Reports

  1. Theses/projects shall be written and prepared as specified in the “Thesis Guidelines.”
  2. The student should submit the manuscript to the thesis/project committee members prior to the announcement of the defense.

G. Procedures for Thesis Defense & Project Presentation

1. Thesis Defense

  1. The thesis advisor sets the date of the defense in consultation with the student and the committee members. The advisor then notifies the department chair and school dean, in writing, about the details (student’s name, title and abstract of the thesis, date and place of the defense) relevant to the announcement of the defense.
  2. The thesis defense should be public and the date shall be announced by the concerned school dean at least two weeks in advance.
  3. The thesis defense session shall start by the candidate giving a public presentation. This will be followed by an open question/answer/debate session.
  4. The thesis committee will then deliberate in private in the absence of the candidate to reach a final decision.
  5. The result of the defense is reported on the Thesis Defense Result Form. If the committee recommends changes to the thesis, the student shall deliver the corrected/changed thesis manuscript to the advisor within a period that shall not exceed one month. The advisor must verify that the Thesis Approval Form is then signed (on 5 copies) by all committee members. The advisor submits the Thesis Approval Form and the Thesis Defense Result Form to the Dean of Graduate Studies/dean of school concerned.

2. Project Presentation

Each department/school will set its own guidelines for project presentations. Once the committee approves the project, members should sign the Project Approval Form, which should be included in the final approved project report.

3. Submission of Thesis & Grading

  1. The candidate must provide the library with two copies (one in PDF format on a CD, and one hard copy) of the final approved manuscript of the thesis for format verification and binding. Each copy should include a completed and signed Thesis Approval Form. The librarian shall fill and sign the Library Clearance Form. Besides the student’s copy, two copies of the thesis report will remain at the library, and one copy should be sent to the thesis advisor.
  2. The advisor sends the grade/Change-of-Grade form together with the duly filled and signed Thesis/Project Approval Form and Library Clearance Form to the Registrar’s Office after securing the department chair’s and the school dean’s signatures.

Forms can be found in the Thesis Guidelines  on the LAU Libraries homepage.

V. Application for Graduation

Students shall apply for graduation at the beginning of the semester in which they expect to graduate. They shall fill out the appropriate form at the Registrar’s Office. Candidates for graduation will be officially notified of any requirements that they have not completed.

VI. Graduate Assistantship

A. Objectives

A graduate assistantship is intended to enhance students’ educational experiences, through providing academic services to their department/school, such as teaching and research. In return, a percentage of the student’s tuition fee is waived.

B. Rights & Obligations

  1. To be eligible for graduate assistantship, the student shall take a minimum of 6 credits and a maximum of 9 credits in the fall and spring semesters and a minimum of 3 credits and a maximum of 6 credits in summer. Students taking 6 credits + thesis (total of 12 credits) are also eligible, but this is a privilege to be enjoyed for one semester only, tied to writing the thesis, and cannot be extended to another semester. Students who are left with one course to graduate and students registered for 12 credits in their last semester may be granted assistantship.
  2. Students with the status of special undergraduate and students on probation are not eligible for graduate assistantship.
  3. Graduate students granted full assistantship (100%) are entitled to a 100% tuition waiver. In return, the student is required to provide 20 working hours per week.
  4. For partial assistantship grants, the percentage of tuition waiver and the number of weekly work hours are prorated.
  5. Graduate assistants are not entitled to the benefits granted to university faculty and staff members according to the Personnel Policy.
  6. The tuition waiver does not cover any repeated course, irrespective of the reason for repeating it, including withdrawal.
  7. Only graduate courses are covered by the assistantship tuition waiver.
  8. Undergraduate courses taken as prerequisite, remedial or complementary courses are not eligible for the assistantship tuition waiver, except in cases to be approved by the department/school.

C. Applying for a Graduate Assistantship

Eligible graduate students interested in graduate assistantship shall submit an application to their department/school within the specified deadline. Decisions on the applications are made by a committee appointed by the department/school and chaired by the department chair/school dean. The committee shall assign graduate assistantship grants taking into consideration the allocated budget. Decisions are to be recorded in minutes of meetings and communicated to the applicants and to the Business Office in writing.

The assistantship contracts are to be signed by the department chair and the dean, as well as by the student.

D. Selection Criteria

Graduate assistantships are granted on a competitive basis and guided by the following criteria:

  1. GPA and entrance exam scores, and
  2. The degree to which the student’s interests and skills fit departmental needs for teaching, research, or other duties.

To renew their graduate assistantship, students must maintain good academic standing, and must have performed assigned duties satisfactorily in the preceding semesters as determined by the supervising faculty’s positive evaluation. Evaluation is performed every semester using a departmental/school form.