Policies, Procedures and Resources

This is your reference for Graduate School of Education and University at Buffalo policies, procedures, guidelines and other resources.

A to Z GSE Graduate Undergraduate UB and SUNY

Graduate

Academic Dismissal

Graduate students not meeting the written terms of their academic probation may be academically dismissed from the program by the director of graduate studies, chair of the department or graduate program director. Such dismissals shall be done in a timely fashion but no later than three weeks after the completion of the term. The Graduate School will be notified in writing of all such academic dismissals.

Graduate students who are dismissed for academic reasons from a graduate program will have a "GRD" (Graduate School) service indicator placed on their academic record to prevent future registration.

Academic Grievance

Academic Grievance Preamble

It is an objective of the University at Buffalo and its Graduate School to encourage the prompt consultative resolution of grievances of graduate students as they arise and to provide orderly procedures for the formal consideration and resolution of complaints that cannot be resolved through consultation.

This set of procedures is designed to provide a well-defined, yet appropriately flexible structure that recognizes and reflects the issues unique to graduate education as well as academic areas common to all faculty-student or administrator-student relationships.

The following procedures provide a sequence of steps for the orderly and expeditious resolution of grievances initiated by graduate students. While recognizing and affirming the established principle that academic judgments and determinations are to be reached solely by academic professionals, it is the Graduate School's intention to secure, to the maximum extent feasible, equitable treatment of every party to a dispute. To that end, those who oversee the grievance process are charged to pay heed not only to issues of procedural integrity, but also to considerations of substantive fairness.

Grievance Definitions and Limits

  1. Definition. A grievance shall include, but is not restricted to, a complaint by a graduate student:
    1. that he or she has been subjected to a violation, misinterpretation or inequitable application of any of the regulations of the university, the Graduate School, a college or school or department or program; or
    2. that he or she has been treated unfairly or inequitably by reason of any act or condition that is contrary to established policy or practice governing or affecting graduate students at the University at Buffalo.
  2. Time limit. A grievance must be filed within one calendar year from the date of the alleged offense. The department chair (or program director where there is no chair oversight), college or school dean or the dean of the Graduate School may extend this time limit upon demonstration of good cause.

Academic Grievance Consultative Resolution

Virtually all disputes originate in the department (or program where there is no chair oversight) and should, if feasible, be resolved through consultation between the disputants. The parties should meet and exert a good faith effort to resolve the dispute amicably.

At the request of either or both parties, the consultation may be recorded by a departmental or program note-taker (a staff or faculty member, but not a student). If a departmental or program note-taker is present during the consultation, the student may have an additional note-taker of their choosing also in attendance. Neither note-taker may actively participate in the consultation between the parties to the grievance other than to request repetition or clarification of statements made by either party during the consultation session.

It may be useful for the student to seek first the assistance of his or her advisor, department chair (or program director where there is no chair oversight), or director of graduate studies acting as a mediator to aid in evenhandedly resolving the dispute.

Academic Grievance Formal Resolution

I. Departmental or Program Level Review

Step 1: The student who believes that the grievance is severe or has been unable to obtain an acceptable consultative resolution should submit in writing to the department chair (or program director where there is no chair oversight) a description of his or her complaint, including any evidentiary or supporting materials and a request for a hearing. (If the department chair or program director is a party against whom the grievance is brought, either as a teaching faculty member or as chair or director, or where the department chair or program director can demonstrate that it will best serve the interests of the parties, direct petition to the school or college level may be pursued.)

Step 2: The department chair (or program director where there is no chair oversight) shall begin to assemble a Departmental or Program Grievance Committee within 20 academic days1 of receipt of the student’s appeal (see Appendix A).  The department chair or program director shall give the Departmental or Program Grievance Committee and each principal a copy of the written grievance, including any evidentiary or supporting materials and a copy of the Academic Grievance Policy and Procedures for graduate students.

Upon initial review of the materials and statements presented by the grievant, if the Departmental or Program Grievance Committee finds the grievance does not have reasonable supporting grounds, the committee shall conclude the grievance is without merit. In this initial review the committee may also consider materials or statements submitted by the teaching faculty member(s) against whom the grievance is lodged. If the grievance is found without merit, the committee shall report this denial to the department chair or program director. The committee shall complete this initial review within 15 academic days¹ of its receipt of the grievance. The department chair or program director shall then submit a Statement of Decision to the principals (via certified, return receipt mail), the college or school dean and the dean of the Graduate School within 10 academic days¹ of receipt of the committee’s decision.

If the Departmental or Program Grievance Committee finds the statement of grievance has reasonable supporting grounds, the committee shall begin to assemble a hearing (as provided below) within 20 academic days1 of the committee’s receipt of the written grievance.

Step 3: The Departmental or Program Grievance Committee shall convene hearing(s) as necessary to allow both principals the opportunity to present their positions and shall allow each principal the right to question the presentation(s), written and verbal, of each principal and of others who contribute information to the committee.   Principals shall be notified of the hearing date, location, and Grievance Committee member names at least 72 hours prior to a scheduled hearing.

The hearing(s) shall be conducted in a fair and expeditious manner, but shall not be subject to the rules governing a legal proceeding. Each principal shall have the right to be present (under unusual circumstances, if either party is considered to pose a physical threat to the other or to the committee, the chair of the committee may request that either the student or instructor participate by phone) and to have one advisor present at all hearings. In no such case shall the advisor be an attorney, unless he or she is a member of the UB faculty who is not acting in a legal capacity on behalf of a principal. An advisor may not speak on behalf of or advocate for a principal or otherwise address members of the hearing committee. Hearing(s) shall be conducted in confidence (see Appendix B).

Step 4: The Departmental or Program Grievance Committee shall submit its recommendation(s) in writing, including findings and reasons for the recommendations, to the department chair (or program director where there is no chair oversight) within 10 academic days¹ of the final meeting of the committee.

Step 5: The department chair or program director shall consider the committee's findings and recommendations and render a final decision. This Statement of Decision and an indication of the student's right to appeal the department chair's or program director’s decision (including time limit) shall be submitted, in writing, from the department chair or program director to the principals (via certified, return receipt mail), the college or school dean and the dean of the Graduate School within 10 academic days¹ from receiving the Departmental or Program Grievance Committee's written recommendations.

Files shall be maintained in the offices of the dean and the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School.

II. School or College Level Appeal

Step 1: If either principal wishes to appeal the departmental or program ruling, a written statement of the appeal, including any additional evidentiary or supporting materials, shall be filed within 10 academic days¹ of receipt of the department chair's (or program director’s where there is no chair oversight) Statement of Decision. The appeal shall be filed with the college or school dean. (If the dean is a party against whom the grievance is brought, either as a teaching faculty member or as dean, or where the dean can demonstrate that it will best serve the interests of the parties, a direct petition to the Graduate School level may be pursued.)

Step 2: Upon review of relevant materials, including all materials and statements presented during prior hearings and materials and statements subsequently presented, if the college or school dean does not find that the statement of appeal provides reasonable grounds to appeal nor raises doubt concerning the adequacy of prior review, the dean may issue a formal decision regarding the appeal. In such a case, the dean shall submit a Statement of Decision to the principals (via certified, return receipt mail), the department chair (or program director where there is no chair oversight) and the dean of the Graduate School within 20 academic days¹ of receipt of the appeal.

Alternatively, if the dean deems it necessary or appropriate to consider further the circumstances of the appeal, he or she shall begin to assemble a Decanal Grievance Committee within 20 academic days¹ of receipt of the appeal. The Decanal Grievance Committee shall include no fewer than two faculty members and two graduate students. In those college/schools comprised of multiple academic departments, the Decanal Grievance Committee shall not include representatives from the department(s) or program(s) involved in the grievance (see Appendix C).

Step 3: The dean shall give the Decanal Grievance Committee and each principal a copy of the Academic Grievance Policy and Procedures for graduate students, the original written grievance, the written appeal to the school or college level, any supplemental materials and statements and all documentation and recommendations from the departmental or program proceedings.

Step 4: The Decanal Grievance Committee shall convene hearing(s) necessary to allow both principals the opportunity to present their positions and shall allow each principal the right to question the presentation(s), written or verbal, of the principals as well as others who contribute information to the committee. Principals shall be notified of the hearing date, location, and Grievance Committee members at least -72-hours prior to a scheduled hearing.

The hearing(s) shall be conducted in a fair and expeditious manner, but shall not be subject to the rules governing a legal proceeding. Each principal shall have the right to be present (under unusual circumstances, if either party is considered to pose a physical threat to the other or to the committee, the chair of the committee may request that either the student or instructor participate by phone) and to have one advisor present at all hearings. In no such case shall the advisor be an attorney, unless he or she is a member of the UB faculty who is not acting in a legal capacity on behalf of a principal. An advisor may not speak on behalf of or advocate for a principal or otherwise address members of the hearing committee. Hearing(s) shall be conducted in confidence (see Appendix B).

Step 5: The Decanal Grievance Committee shall submit its recommendation(s) in writing, including findings and reasons for the recommendations, to the college or school dean within 10 academic days¹ of the final meeting of the committee.

Step 6: The dean shall consider the committee's findings and recommendations and render a final decision. This Statement of Decision and a statement of the student's right to appeal the dean's decision (including time limit) shall be submitted in writing from the dean to the principals (via certified, return receipt mail), the department chair (or program director where there is no chair oversight) and the dean of the Graduate School within 10 academic days¹ from receiving the Decanal Grievance Committee's written recommendations.

Files shall be maintained in the offices of the dean and the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School.

III. Graduate School Level Appeal

On rare occasions, when all established procedures within a college or school have been exhausted, it may be appropriate for the dean of the Graduate School to consider a final university appeal. In general, the dean of the Graduate School will consider only those appeals that document violations of applicable due process in prior proceedings or which establish sound cause to believe that prior proceedings have resulted in a decision contrary to law, the Polices of the SUNY Board of Trustees, or policies of the University at Buffalo. In general, the dean of the Graduate School will not consider appeals that merely challenge the appropriateness of a judgment reached following a full and fair review of a matter by the department or program and the dean of the college or school.

Step 1: If either principal wishes to appeal the decision(s) of the college or school dean, the written statement of appeal, including any additional evidentiary or supporting materials, shall be filed within 10 academic days¹ of receipt of the Statement of Decision. The appeal shall be filed with the dean of the Graduate School.

Step 2: Upon review of relevant materials, including all materials and statements presented during prior hearings and any materials and statements subsequently presented, if the dean of the Graduate School does not find that the statement of appeal provides reasonable grounds to appeal nor raises doubt concerning the adequacy of prior review, the dean of the Graduate School may issue a formal decision regarding the appeal. In such a case, the dean of the Graduate School will submit a Statement of Decision to the principals (via certified, return receipt mail), the department chair (or program director where there is no chair oversight) and dean within 20 academic days¹ of receipt of the appeal.

Alternatively, if the dean of the Graduate School deems it necessary or appropriate to consider further the circumstances of the appeal, he or she shall begin to assemble a Graduate School Grievance Committee within 20 academic days¹ of receipt of the appeal. The Graduate School Grievance Committee shall include no fewer than two faculty members and two graduate students.  The Graduate School Grievance Committee shall not include representatives from the college/school involved in the grievance (see Appendix D).

Step 3: The Graduate School shall give the Graduate School Grievance Committee and each principal a copy of the Academic Grievance Policy and Procedures, the original written grievance, the written appeals to both the school/college and the Graduate School levels, any supplemental materials and statements and all documentation and recommendations from the departmental or program and decanal proceedings. Principals shall be notified of the hearing date, location, and Grievance Committee members at least 72-hours prior to a scheduled hearing.

Step 4: The Graduate School Grievance Committee shall convene hearing(s) as necessary to allow both principals the opportunity to present their positions and shall allow each principal the right to question the presentation(s), written or verbal, of the principals as well as others who contribute information to the committee.

The hearing(s) shall be conducted in a fair and expeditious manner, but shall not be subject to the rules governing a legal proceeding. Each principal shall have the right to be present (under unusual circumstances, if either party is considered to pose a physical threat to the other or to the chair, the chair of the committee may request that either the student or instructor participate by phone) and to have one advisor present at all hearings. In no such case shall the advisor be an attorney, unless he or she is a member of the UB faculty who is not acting in a legal capacity on behalf of a principal. An advisor may not speak on behalf of or advocate for a principal or otherwise address members of the hearing committee. Hearing(s) shall be conducted in confidence (see Appendix B).

Step 5: The Graduate School Grievance Committee shall submit its letter of recommendations, including findings and reasons for recommendations, to the dean of the Graduate School within 10 academic days¹ after the final meeting of the committee.

Step 6: The dean of the Graduate School shall consider the committee's findings and recommendations and render a final university decision/determination. The dean of the Graduate School's Statement of Decision shall be submitted in writing to the principals (via certified, return receipt mail), the department chair (or program director where there is no chair oversight) and the academic dean within 10 academic days¹ from receiving the Graduate School Grievance Committee's written recommendations.

The decision/determination of the dean of the Graduate School constitutes the final step in the university review process and may not be further appealed.

Files shall be maintained in the office of the dean and the Graduate School.

Note:

¹Academic days are defined as weekdays when classes are in session, not including the summer or winter sessions.

Academic Grievance Appendix A

Departmental or Program Grievance Committee Membership

The department chair (or the program director where there is no chair oversight), or the chair of the departmental or program Grievance Committee, shall assemble, from a pool of individuals comprising the Departmental or Program Grievance Pool, a Departmental or Program Grievance Committee comprised of no fewer than two faculty members and two graduate students or a larger number of participants maintaining this same ratio.  The members of the Grievance Committee shall be selected so that no member is involved in a disproportionate number of grievances.

Each principal to the dispute shall have five academic days1 to request, without stipulating a reason, the replacement of one member of the committee assembled to hear the grievance. If any principal finds the replacement committee member inappropriate, the party shall transmit, within five additional academic days¹ of member identification, a written statement of the grounds for this "challenge for cause" to the department chair (or program director where there is no chair oversight) who shall rule on its merits and either retain or replace the committee member so challenged.  Each committee member selected shall have the option of disqualifying him/herself from the committee by stipulating reasons why he or she feels unable to deal with the grievance in an unbiased fashion.

Academic Grievance Appendix B

Confidentiality of Proceedings

Once the department chair (or program director where there is no chair oversight), college or school dean or the dean of the Graduate School initiates a grievance hearing, principals and committee members shall have the obligation to maintain the confidentiality of the proceedings and of all materials or testimony presented in hearing proceedings, until a decision is formally transmitted to the principals involved in the grievance.

If a breach of confidentiality by either principal (as defined above) is formally brought to the attention of the Grievance Committee, upon a majority vote of the committee, it may choose to consider this breach a case of possible misconduct. If a committee member is charged with a possible misconduct, such charge will be heard at the next highest level Grievance Committee. Such consideration shall take precedence over the pending grievance and a misconduct hearing shall be conducted and findings shall be transmitted, in writing, to the principals and committee members and shall be placed in a supplemental file of the grievance proceedings. Such findings may then be considered in the subsequent review of the grievance.

Academic Grievance Appendix C

Decanal Grievance Committee Membership

The college or school dean, or the chair of the school or college Grievance Committee, shall assemble, from a pool of individuals comprising the college or school Grievance Pool, a Decanal Grievance Committee comprised of no fewer than two faculty members and two graduate students or a larger number of participants maintaining this same ratio. In those college/schools comprised of multiple academic departments and programs, the Decanal Grievance Committee shall not include representatives from the department(s) or program(s) involved in the grievance.   The members of the Grievance Committee shall be selected so that no member is involved in a disproportionate number of grievances.

Each principal to the dispute shall have five academic days1 to request, without stipulating a reason, the replacement of one member of the committee assembled to hear the grievance. If any principal finds the replacement committee member inappropriate, the party shall transmit, within five additional academic days¹ of member identification, a written statement of the grounds for this "challenge for cause" to the academic dean who shall rule on its merits and either retain or replace the committee member so challenged. Each committee member selected shall have the option of disqualifying him/herself from the committee by stipulating reasons why he or she feels unable to deal with the grievance in an unbiased fashion.

Academic Grievance Appendix D

Graduate School Grievance Committee Membership

The Graduate School Grievance Committee shall be comprised of no fewer than two faculty members and two graduate students (all from outside of the college/school involved in the grievance) or a larger number of participants maintaining this same ratio.   The members of the Graduate School Grievance Committee shall be selected so that no member is involved in a disproportionate number of grievances.

Each principal to the dispute shall have five academic days1 to request, without stipulating a reason, the replacement of one member of the committee assembled to hear the grievance. If any principal finds the replacement committee member inappropriate, the party shall transmit, within five additional academic days¹ of member identification, a written statement of the grounds for this "challenge for cause" to the dean of the Graduate School who shall rule on its merits and either retain or replace the committee member so challenged. Each committee member selected shall have the option of disqualifying him/herself from the committee by stipulating reasons why he or she feels unable to deal with the grievance in an unbiased fashion.

Grievance Pool Development

The dean of the Graduate School shall encourage departments to request faculty and student representatives for the departmental, program, and decanal pools and encourage departments and programs to facilitate development of faculty and student representatives in order to ensure a suitable pool of personnel for departmental, program, decanal and Graduate School grievance committees.

Departmental or Program

The departmental or program representatives in the Grievance Pool shall be selected by the respective faculty and student constituencies in an appropriate democratic fashion and in no case shall these representatives be appointed by the departmental, program or decanal administration.  The members of the Grievance Pool shall be selected so that no member is involved in a disproportionate number of grievances.  If deemed appropriate, the Departmental or Program Grievance Pool may also serve as the Departmental or Program Academic Integrity Pool.

Decanal

The college or school Grievance Pool shall include two representatives, as appropriate, from each department or program: one faculty member and one graduate student. The departmental and program representatives in the Grievance Pool shall be selected by the respective faculty and student constituencies in an appropriate democratic fashion and in no case shall these representatives be appointed by the departmental, program or decanal administration. The members of the Grievance Pool shall be selected so that no member is involved in a disproportionate number of grievances.  If deemed appropriate, the Decanal Grievance Pool may also serve as the Decanal Academic Integrity Pool.

Graduate School

The departmental representatives comprising the Graduate School Grievance Pool shall be selected by the respective faculty and student constituencies in an appropriate democratic fashion and in no case shall these representatives be appointed by the departmental, program or decanal administration. The members of the Grievance Pool shall be selected so that no member is involved in a disproportionate number of grievances.  If deemed appropriate, the Graduate School Grievance Pool may also serve as the Graduate School Academic Integrity Pool.

Amended policies promulgated by President John B. Simpson, 26 June 2008. Effective 25 Aug. 2008.

Academic Integrity

Academic Integrity Preamble

Academic integrity is a fundamental university value. Through the honest completion of academic work, students sustain the integrity of the university while facilitating the university's imperative for the transmission of knowledge and culture based upon the generation of new and innovative ideas.

When an instance of suspected or alleged academic dishonesty by a student arises, it shall be resolved according to the following procedures. These procedures assume that many questions of academic dishonesty will be resolved through consultation between the student and the instructor (a process known as consultative resolution, as explained below).

It is recommended that the instructor and student each consult with the Academic Integrity Office and/or the Office of Student Advocacy for guidance and assistance.

Examples of Academic Dishonesty

Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Aiding in academic dishonesty. Knowingly taking action that allows another student to engage in an act of academic dishonesty including, but not limited to completing an examination or assignment for another student, or stealing an examination or completed assignment for another student.
  • Cheating. Includes, but is not limited to: (1) use of any assistance not authorized by the course instructor(s) in taking quizzes, tests or examinations; (2) dependence upon the aid of sources beyond those authorized by the course instructor(s) in writing papers, preparing reports, solving problems or carrying out other assignments; or (3) stealing tests or other academic material belonging to the course instructor(s).
  • Falsifying academic materials. Fabricating laboratory materials, notes, reports or any forms of computer data; forging an instructor's name or initials; resubmitting an examination or assignment for reevaluation which has been altered without the instructor's authorization; or submitting a report, paper, materials, computer data, or examination (or any considerable part thereof) prepared by any person other than the student responsible for the assignment.
  • Misrepresenting documents. Forgery, alteration, or misuse of any university or official document, record, or instrument of identification.
  • Plagiarizing. Copying or receiving material from any source and submitting that material as one's own, without acknowledging and citing the particular debts to the source (quotations, paraphrases, basic ideas), or in any other manner representing the work of another as one's own.
  • Purchasing academic assignments. Purchasing an academic assignment intended for submission in fulfillment of any course or academic program requirement.
  • Selling academic assignments. Selling or offering for sale any academic assignment to any person enrolled at the University at Buffalo. No person shall offer any inappropriate assistance in the preparation, research, or writing of any assignment, which the seller knows, or has reason to believe, is intended for submission in fulfillment of any course or academic program requirement.
  • Submitting previously submitted work. Submitting academically required material that has been previously submitted, in whole or in substantial part, without prior and expressed consent of the instructor.

Consultative Resolution

Step 1

If an instructor has reason to believe that a student may have committed an act of academic dishonesty, the instructor shall notify the student suspected of academic dishonesty within 10 academic days1 of discovery of the alleged incident by email to the student’s UBIT address.

If an individual other than the instructor, including other students, faculty, or staff members, has reason to believe that a student may have committed an act of academic dishonesty, the individual shall notify the instructor or the Academic Integrity Office within 10 academic days1 of discovery of the alleged incident.

Once the alleged incident has occurred, the student may not resign from the course without permission of the instructor. If the instructor does not wish to allow the student to resign from the course, the instructor will assign an incomplete grade while the incident is under review.

The instructor will meet and consult with the student within 10 academic days1 of the date of notification. During the consultation, the instructor will inform the student of the alleged incident, and give the student a copy of the Academic Integrity Policy and Procedures. Either party may request department note-takers (staff or faculty, but not teaching assistants) and/or an audio recording device may be used to record the consultation meeting. If the student fails to attend the consultative meeting, the instructor has the authority to reach a decision without consulting the student directly.

Step 2

If, after consultation with the student, the instructor believes the student did not commit an act of academic dishonesty, no sanctions will be imposed and the student will be notified of that finding by official university email. Procedures end.

If, after consultation with the student, the instructor believes the student did commit an act of academic dishonesty, the instructor has the authority to impose one or more of the following sanctions (see list below). Such sanctions will be assigned a “pending” status until the Academic Integrity Office receives notice from the instructor of the sanction and confirms the case at hand is the student’s first academic integrity infraction.  If the student has a prior infraction(s), then the sanction may be revised by the Office of Academic Integrity.

  1. Warning. Provide written notice to the student that he/she has violated a university academic integrity standard and that the repetition of the wrongful conduct may be cause for more severe sanctions.
  2. Revision of work. Require the student to replace or revise the work in which dishonesty occurred. (The instructor may choose to assign a grade of “I” [Incomplete] pending replacement or revision of the work.)
  3. Reduction in grade. Reduce the student’s grade with respect to the particular assignment/exam or final grade in the course.
  4. Failure in the course. Fail the student in the course, to be indicated on the transcript by a grade of “F” without comment or further notation.
  5. Remediation. Require the student to complete a UB Academic Integrity Office remediation assignment. Upon the student’s successful passing of the assignment, the academic integrity officer will so inform the instructor, who may then change other sanctions he or she originally assigned to the student.1
  6. Such other reasonable and appropriate sanction(s) as may be determined by the instructor with the exception of any Academic Integrity Office or university sanction described below.  
  7. Recommendation of the following Academic Integrity Office sanctions. The Academic Integrity Office must review and approve these recommendations.
    1. Failure in course, remediation required, temporary notation of academic dishonesty.  A grade of “F” for the course is recorded on the student’s transcript and a notation of an academic dishonesty is entered on the student’s transcript. The student is required to complete an Academic Integrity Office remediation assignment. Upon the student successfully passing the assignment, the Academic Integrity Office will remove the notation from the student’s transcript. Failure to successfully complete the Academic Integrity Office remediation assignment will result in the notation remaining permanently on the student’s transcript.
    2. Failure in the course with permanent notation of academic dishonesty. A grade of “F” for the course is recorded on the student’s transcript with a permanent notation that the grade of “F” was assigned for reason of academic dishonesty.
    3. Dismissal from the degree program. The academic integrity violation results in ineligibility for continuation in the student’s degree program.
    4. Dismissal from the degree program with notation of academic dishonesty. The academic integrity violation results in ineligibility for continuation in the student’s degree program, with a notation on the student’s transcript that the dismissal is for reason of academic dishonesty.
    5. Dismissal from the department. The academic integrity violation results in ineligibility for continuation in any degree program within the department.
    6. Dismissal from the department with notation of academic dishonesty. The academic integrity violation results in ineligibility to continue in any degree program within the department with a notation on the student’s transcript that the dismissal is for reason of academic dishonesty.
  8. Recommendation of the following university sanctions. The Academic Integrity Office must review and recommend these sanctions to the university president or his/her designee. Only the president or his/her designee may suspend or expel a student from the university.
    1. Suspension from the university. The student is suspended for a defined time period with stated conditions which will include a permanent notation on the transcript.
    2. Expulsion from the university. The student is expelled, with permanent notation on the transcript.

1 Instructors may not impose the remediation sanction to a student who previously received an academic integrity sanction(s).

Step 3

The instructor shall notify the student of a decision, any sanction(s) imposed, and the student’s right to appeal that decision, in writing. This decision letter shall be sent to the student via email to the student’s UBIT address, with a copy to the Academic Integrity Office. The student, the department chair, school/college dean’s office, and the Academic Integrity Office must be notified of the instructor’s decision within 10 academic days1 of the date of the consultation meeting. It is the instructor’s responsibility to report the sanction, regardless of severity, to the Academic Integrity Office. A copy of the instructor’s decision letter will be retained in a confidential file in the Academic Integrity Office in perpetuity. The student shall have access to their own confidential file.

Upon request and with the student’s permission academic integrity violations and sanctions may be reported by the Academic Integrity Office to an authorized body.

Academic Integrity Office Sanctions or University Sanctions

If the instructor recommends Academic Integrity Office sanctions or university sanction (see consultative resolution, step 2, item 7), Academic Integrity Office procedures are required, before a final decision and sanctions can be enacted. Those procedures shall be initiated within 10 academic days1 of receipt of the instructor’s decision letter.

Right to Appeal

The student may appeal the instructor’s findings. The student’s request for an appeal must be submitted in writing to the Academic Integrity Office within 10 academic days1 after the instructor has notified the student of his or her decision. In the letter of appeal the student articulates if they are appealing the original judgement of academic dishonesty, the resulting sanction(s)/recommended sanction(s) or both.

Step 1  

In cases where the student seeks to appeal an instructor decision, the student and instructor shall each provide a written statement of evidence supporting his or her position, any relevant documentation, and the names of potential witnesses to the Academic Integrity Office (hereafter referred to as the office). The office will review all case materials.  

If the office finds no cause to further consider the circumstances of the case, the office will notify the student, via email to the student’s UBIT address, and the instructor within 10 academic days1 of receipt of case materials, that the sanction(s) articulated in the instructor decision letter will be enacted. Student appeal procedures end.

If the office finds cause to further consider the circumstances of the case, the office will assemble an adjudication committee (hereafter referred to as the committee) within 10 academic days1 of the date the office received case materials.

The Academic Integrity Office will convene the committee to a hearing and provide all materials to the committee, the student, and the instructor at the time the notice of that hearing is delivered. Hearings shall take place on academic days, and the student and the instructor will be given at least 72 hours notice of the hearing.

At the hearing(s), the committee will provide sufficient opportunity for both principals to present their positions and shall allow each principal the right to question those presentation(s) to the committee. The hearing(s) shall be conducted in a fair and expeditious manner, but shall not be subject to the rules governing a legal proceeding. Each principal shall have the right to be present and to have one advisor present at all hearings. In no such case shall the advisor be an attorney, unless he or she is a member of the UB faculty who is not acting in a legal capacity on behalf of a principal. An advisor may not speak on behalf of a principal or otherwise address members of the hearing committee. Either principal may ask the committee chair if they may participate in hearings remotely. In exceptional circumstances, such as where either party is considered to pose a physical threat to the other or to the committee, the committee chair may require that either principal participate remotely.

The technical and formal rules of evidence applicable in a court of law are not applicable at academic integrity hearings, and the committee may review all relevant and reliable information that will contribute to an informed final decision. The committee shall only consider information relevant to the current alleged misconduct. Information regarding a student’s formerly alleged or documented academic misconduct cannot aid in determining whether or not the student is responsible for violating academic integrity in the current case. However, such history may be introduced during the sanctioning phase of the case under review. At the conclusion of the hearings, the committee will meet privately to deliberate the case. All hearings and committee meetings shall be confidential.

The committee will provide the student, the instructor, the department chair, the Academic Integrity Office, and the school/college dean, with a written statement of findings and any sanctions assigned within 10 academic days1 of the final meeting of the committee.

The decision made by the committee may take one of three forms.

  • Findings overturned, no sanction. A finding that no academic dishonesty took place and that no sanctions will be imposed. The student is thus exonerated and any documentation related to the case within the Academic Integrity Office will be expunged.
  • Findings sustained, sanctions sustained. A finding that academic dishonesty occurred as described in the original instructor decision letter and that the sanction(s) stand as previously enacted or recommended.
  • Findings sustained, sanction revised. A finding that academic dishonesty occurred but that a different sanction from the one originally enacted by the instructor is more appropriate. This finding may involve an alternative sanction that is either more or less severe from the one originally enacted.

No Right to Further Appeal

The decision of the committee is final and no further appeal is available.  

Note: 1 Academic days are defined as weekdays, when classes are in session, not including the summer or winter sessions as defined by the regular university academic calendar. With the agreement of all principals and the Academic Integrity Office, proceedings may continue during non-academic days.

Appendix A: Academic Integrity Pool Membership and Adjudication Committee Participation

The Academic Integrity Office shall assemble a pool of faculty and students willing to participate on adjudication committees for academic integrity cases. The Office of Academic Integrity is responsible for ensuring that the pool reflects the diversity of the campus community and for training all members of the adjudication pool. It is the responsibility of each decanal unit to name student and faculty members to this pool. With the assistance of the Academic Integrity Office, each decanal unit will update its pool membership annually. Accordingly, each year, decanal units will also solicit departments to invite faculty and student representatives for service in the academic integrity pool. To ensure a suitable breadth and depth of membership in the pool, the Academic Integrity Office will encourage departments to facilitate continuous academic integrity training and development of faculty and students for future hearings. Typically duration of service in the academic integrity pool is two years.

From this pool, the Academic Integrity Office will form an adjudication committee for each hearing of no fewer than two faculty members, two graduate students, and one member of the Academic Integrity Office. Members from the academic integrity pool will be selected so that no one member will be involved in a disproportionate number of academic integrity cases. To that aim, the student and the instructor shall have five academic days to request, without stipulating a reason, the replacement of one member of the adjudication committee assembled to hear the case. If any principal finds the replacement committee member inappropriate, the party shall transmit, within five additional academic days1 of member identification, a written statement articulating grounds for objection to the Academic Integrity Office. The Academic Integrity Office will review and then rule on the merits of the objection, and either retain or replace the committee member. Each committee member shall have the option of disqualifying him/herself from the committee by stipulating reasons why he or she feels unable to review the case in an unbiased fashion.

Appendix B: Confidentiality of Proceedings

Members of the adjudication committee have an obligation to maintain the confidentiality of hearing proceedings and of all supporting materials or testimony presented. If a breach of confidentiality by either principal is formally brought to the attention of the adjudication committee, upon a majority vote of the committee, it may choose to review this breach for possible misconduct. If a committee member is charged with misconduct, their alleged breach of confidentiality will be reviewed by an alternate adjudication committee. Such review shall take precedence over the pending case, a misconduct hearing shall be conducted, and findings shall be transmitted, in writing, to the principals and committee members. Findings will be placed in a supplemental file of the case proceedings. Such findings may then be considered in the subsequent review of the case.

Appendix C: Sample Infractions and Possible Sanctions

Most severe 

 

Range of Possible Sanctions

Repeat

Having a different student take an exam.

F in course with transcript notation, dismissal from the major, suspension, expulsion

suspension, expulsion

 

Hiring or having someone to do an online course.

F in course with transcript notation, dismissal from the major, suspension, expulsion

suspension, expulsion

 

Purchasing or selling and submitting materials.

F in course with transcript notation, dismissal from the major, suspension, expulsion

suspension, expulsion

 

Handing in another’s work.

 

F in course with transcript notation, dismissal from the major, suspension, expulsion

suspension, expulsion

 

Severe 

 

Range of Possible Sanctions

Repeat

Cell phone use during an exam.

0 on assignment, F in course, mandatory remediation

F in course with transcript notation

Possessing a cheat sheet.

0 on assignment, F in course, mandatory remediation

F in course with transcript notation

Changing answers on an exam and asking for a regrade.

0 on assignment, F in course, mandatory remediation

F in course with transcript notation

Plagiarism.

0 on assignment, F in course, mandatory remediation

F in course with transcript notation

Falsifying data.

0 on assignment, F in course, mandatory remediation

F in course with transcript notation

Copying someone else’s lab report or homework.

0 on assignment, F in course, mandatory remediation

F in course with transcript notation

Copying from another person’s exam.

 

0 on assignment, F in course, mandatory remediation

F in course with transcript notation

Using the same paper for multiple classes.

0 on assignment, F in course, mandatory remediation

 

Less severe

 

Range of Possible Sanctions

Repeat

Improper citation of others work

Warning, revise work, mandatory remediation

0 on assignment, F in course

Illicitly obtaining copies of old exams.

Warning, revise work, 0 on assignment, F in course, mandatory remediation 

F in course

 

Working together where it is explicitly forbidden.

Warning, revise work, 0 on assignment, F in course, mandatory remediation 

F in course

Aiding or abetting a student’s academic dishonesty or violating the integrity of a course or academic activity whether in a course or not.

Referral to Campus Judicial Procedures or University Police Department

 

The above list of sample academic integrity infractions and sanctions is not exhaustive. It is meant to offer some general information about common infractions and possible associated sanctions.

Academic Integrity and Grievance Policies: Other Related University Policies

Other University at Buffalo policies may apply to situations to which the Academic Integrity Policy and Procedures for Undergraduates, the Academic Integrity Policy and Procedures for Graduates, the Academic Grievance Policy and Procedures for Undergraduates or the Academic Grievance Policy and Procedures for Graduates apply. Among these are UB's Responsible Conduct in Research and Creative Activity and Student Conduct Policies, as well as professional school or program policies and procedures. Priorities and relations among these are addressed by these specifications:

1. Responsible Conduct in Research and Creative Activity

The Academic Integrity Policies and Procedures (AIPP) and the Academic Grievance Policies and Procedures (AGPP) are secondary to UB's Responsible Conduct in Research and Creative Activity (RCRCA) policies and procedures. The RCRCA addresses misconduct that may include violations of the AIPP or AGPP. If proceedings initiated pursuant to the RCRCA include possible violation of the AIPP or AGPP, formal actions pursuant to the AIPP or AGPP shall be postponed until the RCRCA proceedings are completed. If the RCRCA proceedings result in recommendation of formal AIPP or AGPP proceedings, these shall be initiated promptly. If the RCRCA proceedings result in findings that a student has violated the AIPP, penalties that may be imposed include dismissal from the program in addition to any and all specified in the AIPP. If the RCRCA proceedings result in findings that a student has not violated the AIPP, the student may not be charged again with the same offenses under the AIPP. RCRCA proceedings, findings and penalties shall be neither challenged nor appealed through the AIPP or AGPP.

2. Other University Policies and Procedures

The Academic Integrity Policies and Procedures (AIPP) and the Academic Grievance Policies and Procedures (AGPP) are independent of UB's other policies and procedures. Many of these provide for investigation and recommendation of actions regarding alleged misconduct, but neither provide for nor may result in findings that a student has violated the AIPP. If other proceedings include possible violation of the AIPP, formal actions pursuant to the AIPP shall be postponed until the other proceedings are completed. Should findings or recommendations of these other proceedings provide bases for charges pursuant to the AIPP, formal proceedings under the AIPP shall be promptly initiated. Except as here provided, proceedings, findings and recommendations resulting from other proceedings shall be neither challenged nor appealed through the AIPP or AGPP.

3. Professional School and Program Policies

UB professional school or program student conduct policies and procedures are subject to the provisions governing relations of the Academic Integrity Policies and Procedures (AIPP) and Academic Grievance Policies and Procedures (AGPP) to UB's Responsible Conduct in Research and Creative Activity and other policies and procedures. Professional school or program student conduct policies and procedures shall be congruent with the provisions of the AIPP for Undergraduates for baccalaureate programs and to the AIPP for Graduates for all other programs. Any appeal of procedures or actions taken pursuant to a professional school or program's student conduct policies and procedures shall follow the provisions of the AIPP or AGPP applicable to the degree level of the program. Charges of misconduct by a student in a professional school or program that does not set its own student conduct policies and procedures shall be considered pursuant to the provisions of the AIPP applicable to the degree level of the program. Penalties that may be imposed upon findings of misconduct by a student in a professional school or program include dismissal from the program in addition to any and all other penalties specified in the AIPP.

Promulgated by President John B. Simpson, 16 Dec. 2005. Effective, 28 Aug. 2006.

Academic Programs Subject to Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School of the State University of New York at Buffalo is authorized to offer programs and recommend the granting of degrees at levels beyond the baccalaureate. The college, schools and divisions of the university with graduate programs conducted under the aegis of the Graduate School are listed below:

  • School of Architecture and Planning (Advanced Certificate, MArch, MS, MUP, PhD)
  • College of Arts and Sciences (Advanced Certificate, AuD, MA, MFA, MM, MS, PhD)
  • School of Dental Medicine (MS, PhD)
  • Graduate School of Education (Advanced Certificate, EdD, EdM, MA, MS, PhD)
  • School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (Advanced Certificate, ME, MPS, MS, PhD)
  • School of Public Health and Health Professions (Advanced Certificate, MA, MPH, MS, PhD)
  • School of Management (Advanced Certificate, MBA, MS, PhD)
  • Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (MA, MS, PhD)
  • School of Nursing (Advanced Certificate, DNP, MS, PhD)
  • School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (MS, PhD)
  • Roswell Park Graduate Division (MS, PhD)
  • School of Social Work (DSW, PhD)

Academic Standards for International Applicants

In order to be compliant with federal regulations pertaining to the admission and enrollment of international students, the Office of International Admissions (OIA) must review all international applicants the department wishes to accept. OIA checks and verifies all academic documents, test scores and financial documentation, as well as the offer letter from the department. After reviewing submitted dossiers, OIA enters a decision in UB's Graduate Application System ("Accept Provisional" or "Accept Final"). This action triggers an automatic email confirmation of acceptance to the student from the dean of the Graduate School.

Academic Standing

The Graduate School defines good academic standing as a student who is making acceptable progress toward a graduate degree or advanced certificate. All graduate students are expected to remain in good academic standing throughout the entire course of their study. To monitor graduate student academic standing, the chair/DGS/program director in charge of each graduate program will regularly review the academic records of its graduate students. Any graduate student who fails to remain in good academic standing will be placed on academic probation for the subsequent fall or spring term.

The Graduate School’s minimum academic requirements for each graduate student to remain in good academic standing are: 

  1. Achieve a term grade point average (GPA) of a 3.0 (B) or better, with no U or F grades earned.
  2. Completion of at least 67 percent of their attempted credits each term.

Note: The S grade is awarded only in those instances where a student's letter grade would have been equivalent to at least a 3.0 (B) or better. As such, the S grade is considered equivalent to a 3.0 grade point average.

Individual college/schools may establish stricter academic standards. Academic requirements other than those established by the Graduate School are determined by the program faculty and approved by the appropriate decanal unit.

Students who are not in good academic standing as defined above, or who are put on academic probation, are not eligible to participate in university activities, including athletics.

Academic Withdrawal

Under extraordinary circumstances, graduate students may petition for total academic withdrawal from a given term. The Graduate School will only consider cases where the student or department (on the student's behalf) can document:

  • Lengthy medical incapacitation of the student or a member of the student's immediate family or
  • death of a student's immediate family member or
  • military orders issued to a student or
  • other similarly extraordinary measures as petitioned by the student.

Academic withdrawal is for the entirety of a student's registration in that term (i.e., these cases are considered on an all or nothing basis). The deadline for graduate students to submit petitions for total academic withdrawal is the end of the subsequent academic term. The Graduate School reserves the right to consult members of the faculty and others as appropriate when reviewing total academic withdrawal cases.

Academic withdrawal from the term will be indicated on the transcript by the symbol W (withdrawal) next to each registered class. For the purposes of determining good academic standing/satisfactory academic progress, courses given W grades are considered to be attempted credit hours but are not considered to be successfully completed.

Advanced Certificate Conferral Requirements

Depending on the particular advanced certificate program in question and its admission/eligibility requirements, a graduate student may be authorized to pursue that advanced certificate program on a "stand-alone" basis or in conjunction with an existing graduate level degree program. When a graduate student who is pursuing an advanced certificate program has completed or nearly completed the requirements for the advanced certificate in question (i.e., is currently enrolled in the last needed requisites), the student is responsible for filing the appropriate Advanced Certificate Program of Study Approval form with their department to enable timely review of the student's record. Each Advanced Certificate Program of Study Approval form must be approved by the faculty member in charge of that certificate program and must be forwarded to the Graduate School by the relevant application to candidacy deadline as published on the Graduate School website.

On rare occasion, when clerical error causes delay in submission of the Advanced Certificate Program of Study Approval form from a department to the Graduate School, that department must file the approval form within 12 months of the student's last date of attendance at UB. Such a request must specifically state the reason for the delay in processing the request. Requests received after the 12-month period will not be processed.

Annual Academic Review of PhD Students

Each PhD student’s academic progress must be evaluated annually by the director of graduate studies (DGS) and, if appropriate, the student’s dissertation advisor. The most appropriate time for annual review is mid-May, thereby permitting appropriate academic planning for the following semester and allowing for timely responses to inquiries about students in jeopardy of losing federal financial aid. Alternatively, though not ideal, review can take place in mid-October.

Additionally, each PhD student’s academic progress must be reviewed after their first semester of enrollment, in order to identify any academic problems early in the program. Directors of graduate study are required to communicate the annual academic evaluation to the student in writing.

Each graduate program is encouraged to develop its own process for student evaluation and advisement. However certain elements must be included in PhD student annual evaluation:

  1. Review of the student’s academic record including:
    • Checking the overall grade point average.
    • Addressing any incomplete and/or resigned courses.
    • Monitoring overall progress toward completing the coursework phase of the program.
  2. Checking on progress in completing or preparing for the preliminary or qualifying exam(s) or paper(s).
  3. Planning for a timely defense of the dissertation research proposal or prospectus.
  4. Monitoring adequate progress in research including timeliness of degree completion.

A sample review form is available to facilitate the academic review process.

Application to Candidacy

The Application to Candidacy form is filed with the Graduate School and indicates that the student is entering the final stages of degree completion. Normally students should expect to file an Application to Candidacy after two or three semesters of full-time enrollment toward the master's degree or after six semesters of full-time enrollment toward the doctoral degree.

Review and approval of the ATC is the responsibility of the student's department and dean, in that order. Some units also require divisional or area committee review prior to submission to the Graduate School. Once admitted to candidacy, a student may not need to enroll for 12 credits (nine credits for graduate, teaching and research assistants) to be certified as a full-time student.

Primary responsibility for evaluation of each student's application to candidacy rests with the student's department or program and major advisor.

The department or program is responsible for ensuring that each ATC is complete prior to submission to the academic dean. The academic dean then forwards the ATC to the appropriate divisional or area committee or directly to the Graduate School if committee review is not required. Where committee review is required, the chair of the appropriate committee will approve or disapprove ATCs. If subsequently approved, the application is then forwarded to the Graduate School for final review.

A candidate must file the ATC by the specified deadline for their expected conferral date. Committees cannot receive ATCs immediately prior to the expected graduation date. Once the Graduate School approves the ATC, written notification of approval will be sent to the student.

Minor amendments to the ATC which become necessary through changes in registration (e.g., adding or deleting anticipated courses or credits) must be formalized through the Change of Expected Conferral Date/Amend ATC petition. This form must be endorsed by the director of graduate studies or chair of the student's department. These amendments are then reviewed by the Graduate School.

Application to Candidacy/Degree Completion Timetable

For degree conferral on:

Aug. 31, 2020 Feb. 1, 2021 June 1, 2021

Application to candidacy due:

July 1, 2020 Oct. 1, 2020 March 1, 2021

All required conferral materials due:

Aug. 14, 2020 Jan. 15, 2021 May 14, 2021

Each student is advised to check with the appropriate office one semester prior to the deadline date listed for up-to-date information. It is the student's responsibility to check with the Graduate School at 716-645-2939 prior to the deadline dates to be sure all the requirements and paperwork for your degree have been completed. Each department has the appropriate forms and additional instructions.

Attendance on Religious Holy Days

On those religious holy days when members of a faith observe the expectation of their religion that they be absent from school or work, individual students will be excused from class without penalty if expressly requested. If such a requested absence results in a student’s inability to fulfill the academic requirement of a course scheduled on that particular day, the instructor must provide an opportunity for the student to make up the requirement without penalty. Students shall not be charged any fees or experience any adverse or prejudicial effects due to absence from coursework due to religious observance. 

In the event that a student absence situation cannot be resolved between the student and the class instructor, or either party is aggrieved by the process, appeal shall proceed to the Graduate School.

Calendar (Official)

The official university calendar is issued by the Office of the Registrar. Graduate students may obtain a class schedule from the Registrar's website.

Changes in Major Advisor and Committee Membership When Graduate Faculty Leave UB

When a graduate faculty member retires from UB with no intention of assuming a faculty appointment at another institution, that faculty member is eligible to continue serving as the major advisor or as a committee member for a current student. The actual decision whether or not that person may continue to serve in such a capacity with a current student rests with the director of graduate studies and the chair of the department. However, subsequent to their retirement, graduate faculty members should not accept major advisor or committee membership assignments for any new student.

When a graduate faculty member leaves UB for an appointment at another institution and the student is at the final stages of completing the thesis or project (generally with one year or less needed to finish), the Graduate School will allow the departed faculty member, if they are willing, to retain their role on that student’s committee, providing the department chair and the director of graduate studies concur. The primary consideration in retaining a departed faculty member on a committee should be to avoid delaying completion of the degree and unwittingly penalizing the student. However, if the student is more than a year from degree completion, the Graduate School does not recommend allowing a departed faculty member to remain on that student’s committee since, after that time, the faculty member will become immersed in responsibilities at his or her new place of employment, often leaving little time to devote to our student.

Combined Degree Programs

Combined degree programs offer UB students the opportunity to pursue multiple degree objectives at an accelerated pace and are designed for students who have demonstrated exceptional promise. Combined degree programs pair the curricula of two degree programs from two different levels (e.g., bachelor’s and master’s), resulting in a condensed format where students may complete the combined degree in less time (and often less cost) than is normally required to complete the two degree programs separately. By reducing some courses within the undergraduate major (normally taken near the end of the undergraduate degree) and substituting equivalent graduate-level courses customarily taken during the initial stages of a graduate degree, students are able to shorten the time needed to gain competence in all required curricular content of both degree programs. When completed, students’ records will indicate two degrees individually awarded as part of a combined degree program.

Combined degrees have a two-tier tuition structure. Over the course of a combined degree program, the student is charged the tuition rate each semester that corresponds to the appropriate program rate for that semester. While the student is completing the undergraduate portion, tuition is charged at the undergraduate rate. When the student is admitted at the graduate level, tuition charges change to the appropriate graduate or professional rate. For example, a student pursuing the combined BS/MBA in business administration program is typically required to complete three years of undergraduate coursework and two years of graduate coursework. Thus, the student is classified as undergraduate and is billed at the undergraduate rate for three years. Thereafter, through acceptance to the MBA component in UB’s Graduate Application System, the student matriculates to the graduate level and the student’s bill reflects the appropriate graduate tuition rate until the student completes the combined degree program.

Domestic undergraduate students pursuing combined degree programs may be eligible for New York State sponsored grants and scholarships and federal financial aid, which is comprised of Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG), Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans and Federal Perkins Loans while completing the undergraduate portion of their program. However, once admitted to the graduate portion of their program and charged graduate tuition, domestic students may no longer be eligible for one or more of these awards. Instead, domestic graduate students are eligible to apply for Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans as well as a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan. For more information regarding student aid and how to apply, please visit UB’s Financial Aid website.

Any student who receives a UB-sponsored undergraduate award (such as an Acker, Provost or Presidential scholarship) and who later pursues a combined degree program, will continue to remain eligible for their undergraduate award through its normal duration (typically four years total) even after matriculating into the graduate portion of their combined degree program. The award amount will continue to be at the undergraduate level.

Any student choosing to leave the combined degree program prior to its completion will have their bill altered in the following manner. A student pursuing the undergraduate portion of the combined program when they choose not to pursue the combined degree program will continue with undergraduate coursework and will be billed accordingly. However, such a student is no longer permitted to pursue a graduate program until they complete the baccalaureate degree in full and is admitted formally to a regular graduate degree program. A student pursuing the graduate portion of the combined degree program when they choose to abandon that combined program of study will continue to be charged at the graduate rate until formally re-matriculated into the undergraduate career for the following semester.

The minimum undergraduate residency requirement for the undergraduate portion of any combined degree program is 18 credit hours. The minimum graduate residency requirement for the graduate portion of any combined degree program varies by program. However, in no case is the graduate residency requirement for any combined degree program ever less than 24 credit hours.

In certain circumstances, a combined degree program may not qualify the student for professional licensure if such licensure requires the completion of a full (non-abbreviated) undergraduate degree program. Students in licensure-eligible programs should discuss these requirements with an advisor to confirm any such limitations.

Conditional Admission Based on Low English Language Proficiency Test Scores

Graduate applicants with English language proficiency test scores below the standard cut-off scores may be admitted to UB under the following condition: The student must enroll in and successfully complete one of two full-time intensive English programs (IEP) in the UB English Language Institute (ELI), depending on score received, as detailed below:

  • Students accepted to a fall semester with an IBT total score of 75-78 or an IELTS overall score of 6.0 or a PTE overall score of 50 must successfully complete a summer ELI program at UB prior to enrollment in their degree program.
  • Students accepted to a spring semester with an IBT total score of 70-78 or an IELTS overall score of 6.0 or a PTE overall score of 50 must successfully complete the fall semester ELI program at UB prior to enrollment in their degree program.

University admission cannot be offered if the ELP score is below the minimum scores indicated above.

Upon successfully completing the required UB ELI IEP program, the student is free to begin the academic degree program of study with no further English as a Second Language (ESL) requirements (with the exception of international teaching, research and graduate assistants, who may be required to register for ESL 512). "Successful completion" is defined as passing the IEP (with an overall grade of C or higher) and meeting the IEP minimum attendance policy or having the endorsement of IEP teachers and the director or associate director of the IEP.

Conditional admission is not granted retroactively (for example, an applicant “self-placing” into the UB ELI IEP, successfully completing the program, and then seeking admission to a UB graduate degree program with no ELP test score or with a low ELP test score).  Conditional admission is a “package” offered by the academic department based on the minimum criteria above.

In addition, SEVIS regulations do not permit a "combined" I-20 issued for both the IEP language study and the degree program study. Students admitted with conditional admission will be issued a “stand alone” I-20 for the IEP study only. Upon successfully completing the IEP program, a "continuing" I-20 will be issued for the degree study.

Continuous Registration Requirement

As part of the registration process, students select a program of courses with the advice of their advisors or committee and with the approval of their program director. Students must then officially register every semester for the appropriate courses according to established registration procedures and within the deadline dates announced by the Office of the Registrar.

Graduate students must register for a minimum of one credit hour each fall and spring term until all requirements for the degree are completed. If continuous registration is impossible at any time, the student must secure a leave of absence from the Office of the Registrar. Failure to secure a leave of absence by the end of the semester in which the leave is to begin will result in a $350 reactivation fee being assessed to the student's account when the student subsequently registers for classes. Students may not be on a leave of absence in the semester immediately preceding degree conferral. Under some circumstances, the continuous registration requirement may be waived for the semester immediately prior to degree conferral if the student has an approved Application to Candidacy form on file in the Graduate School, will not be using any university services or faculty time and has submitted all required conferral materials to the Graduate School prior to the first day of the semester. Students may request a waiver of continuous registration by filing the Graduate Student Petition for Waiver of Continuous Registration with the Graduate School.

Course Proposals

For Graduate Courses

For Undergraduate Courses

Course Sharing Limits

In cases where a student wishes to utilize selected graduate level courses to satisfy the degree requirements of more than one post-baccalaureate (graduate and/or professional) degree program, the following limitations apply:

  1. The integrity of each master's level degree program must be observed by the student's completion of a minimum of 24 semester hours of credit at UB. Individual degree programs may establish minimum credit hour requirements that exceed that level.
  2. No more than 10 percent of the total credit hours required to complete two UB master's degree programs may be comprised of "shared courses" (i.e., courses applied to both programs). For example, in the case of two MS degree programs each of which requires 30-credits (i.e., a total of 60), no more than six credit hours (10 percent) of the 60 may be comprised of courses applied to both programs. Similarly, in the case of two degree programs that, in total, require 90 credit hours between them, no more than nine credit hours (10 percent) of the 90 may be comprised of courses applied to both programs.
  3. In cases where one or more specific courses are explicitly required by both programs (i.e., not merely as acceptable electives), such course(s) are considered "shared courses" under policy definitions and will be the first course(s) counted toward the 10 percent limit. If those specific courses explicitly required by both programs exceed the normal 10 percent "shared courses" limit, the 10 percent limit is waived and all such courses may be counted toward both degrees.
  4. Up to 50 percent of a student's PhD program may be comprised of courses used to complete another degree program at UB or at another institution. A minimum of 50 percent of the PhD program must consist of courses completed at UB that have not been applied toward any other degree program.

Course Syllabus Guidelines

Cross-Registration With Other SUNY Schools

The SUNY institutions approved for graduate cross-registration are the University at Buffalo, State University College at Buffalo and the State University College at Fredonia. Students must abide by the rules and regulations established by the visiting institution where they intend to cross-register. Students in the cross-registration program may take only those courses where space is available, that are approved by the student's home department and that are also not available at their home institution.

The UB Graduate Student Cross-Registration form is obtained from the University Registrar's Office. In order to be enrolled in a cross-registered course, a UB student must get the Graduate Cross-Registration form approved by both their home department and the visiting institution and then return it to 1Capen (ground floor of Capen Hall) by the publicized deadline date. Students who do not meet these deadlines will not be enrolled into a cross-registration course and therefore will not receive credits or grades. Also, a UB student must be registered at UB for a minimum of nine credit hours while participating in a cross-registration program. Each participating institution may establish its own registration procedures and materials. Tuition and fees are paid at the student's home campus. Grades are forwarded to the home institution after the close of the semester. Contact the Office of the Registrar for information at 716-645-5698.

Dual- and Cross-Listed Undergraduate and Graduate Courses

A graduate course may be dual- or cross-listed with an undergraduate course only when the undergraduate course is a 4xx level offering. In such a case, a clear explanation of the additional work that graduate students are expected to undertake for the graduate level offering (i.e., extra recitation sections, extra projects, additional papers, etc.) must be explained in the course syllabus.

Grades: Incomplete (I)

For all graduate-level courses, an interim grade of incomplete (I) may be assigned if the student has not completed all requirements for the course. A grade of I can be assigned only if the student has a passing average in course requirements already completed and successful completion of unfinished coursework could result in a final grade better than the default grade. The instructor shall provide the student specification, in writing, of the requirements left to be fulfilled. An interim grade of I shall not be assigned to a student who did not complete assignments due to non-attendance in the course.

Assignment of an incomplete grade is at the discretion of the instructor. The instructor must specify a default grade when the I grade is submitted. A default grade is the letter grade the student will receive if no additional coursework is completed and/or a grade change form is not filed by the instructor. The default grade can be A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D, F, S or U.

The default grade shall become the grade of record if the I grade is not replaced by a permanent grade 12 months after the close of the term in which the I was assigned according to the following chart:

COVID-19 Update

In recognition of challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the deadline for completing incomplete grades that were assigned spring 2019 and summer 2019 has been extended to Dec. 31, 2020.

Courses Taken in (Semester):

Will default in 12 months on:*

Summer

Aug. 31

Fall

Dec. 31

Winter Jan. 31

Spring

May 31

*If an extension to the incomplete timeframe is sought, the above chart indicates the due date for the corresponding Petition for Incomplete Extension form to be filed with the Graduate School.

When assigning an incomplete grade, the instructor may set an earlier deadline for completion of the outstanding course requirements. If an earlier date for completion is set, the instructor shall inform the student thereof in writing.

Any course graded with incomplete that will count toward a graduate degree must be changed to a permanent grade before that degree is conferred. At any time prior to the default date, a student may elect to change the I grade to the default grade using the Grade Retrieval Form.

Graduate Tuition Scholarships Principles and Policies for the Allocation and Awards

Informal Courses

Definition: Informal courses include registration in independent study; project, thesis or dissertation guidance; directed or supervised reading; and directed research coursework.

A formal Independent Study Agreement (see section below regarding Independent Study Agreements) must be established in writing between the instructor and the student for each registered independent study course by the end of the first week of classes. It is the responsibility of the student and the instructor to see that all Independent Study Agreements are maintained in the student’s file within the student’s home department. Independent Study Agreements are to become part of the student's permanent academic record.

Informal courses associated with final project, portfolio, thesis, research or dissertation completion do not require the establishment of formal Independent Study Agreements.

With the exception of Introductory Language Courses, use of undergraduate courses below the 400 level, as the criteria for creating an informal graduate course, is strictly prohibited.

Independent Study Agreements
Independent Study coursework agreements should contain the following components:

  • The student and the instructor’s names and signature.*
  • Name and number of the course.
  • Number of credits for the independent study.
  • Description of work required to complete the course.
  • Tentative schedule for when/how often the student and instructor will meet during the given term.
  • Course objectives.
  • Intended learning outcomes.
  • Method of assessment.
  • Clearly delineated grading type (e.g., pass/fail, letter grade).

*If the Independent Study Agreement is filed electronically, some indication of acceptance of the agreement from both the instructor and the student.

Academic Probation

Any graduate student who receives a grade of U or F in any course, including lab work or informal credit (e.g., independent study, research, dissertation guidance, etc.); or who indicates a lack of ability as determined by the director of graduate studies or student's academic advisor, must receive an immediate academic review. Upon completion of the academic review, the director of graduate studies may place the student on academic probation.

Any student who is not in good academic standing as defined above or who is otherwise determined to be making unsatisfactory academic progress must be placed on academic probation. A probationary letter must be issued to the student (with a copy to the advisor, if applicable) indicating the conditions that must be met and outlining an appropriate period of time in which to regain good academic standing. The outcome that will result if the conditions are not met must also be included in the probationary letter.

In general, academic review takes place at the end of each fall and spring semesters. After review, the department must issue probation letters (in late-December/early-January for fall, and/or in late-May for spring) to the appropriate students. Probation letters must indicate the terms of the probation and the pathway toward its removal. After the specified period outlined in the probation letter, the student must be sent another letter to either remove the probationary status or issue a second probationary letter with new conditions for regaining good academic standing, or to dismiss the student from the program. 

Project vs. Thesis

The difference between a master's thesis and a master's project is generally related to the extent and focus of the research, the formatting of the finished written product, the requirement to give an oral defense of the work and the final approval of the finished product.

A thesis is typically longer than a project and is a well-organized, thoroughly documented scholarly paper, detailing research purpose, methods, results, analysis and conclusions. Research for a thesis maybe more extensive than research for a project in terms of the amount required, but this varies with the individual and the discipline. While a thesis must be defended orally in a public forum, a project need not be so defended unless the department requires such a defense. Whereas a master's project only needs approval at the department level, a master's thesis must receive final approval from the Graduate School and will be kept in perpetuity in the university's thesis/dissertation database within the library.

Registration Prior to Degree Conferral

Students must be registered for at least one credit in the term immediately prior to degree conferral as indicated below:

  • Fall term registration is required if a student intends to finish degree requirements in time for the Feb. 1 degree conferral.
  • Spring term registration is required if a student intends to finish degree requirements in time for the June 1 or Sept. 1 degree conferral.

Repeating Courses

If a graduate student repeats a course that is not normally "repeatable" ("repeatable" courses include dissertation, research, thesis, project or portfolio guidance; independent study; directed readings, etc.), only the highest grade earned in the course will be counted toward the degree and used to calculate the grade point average associated with the graduate degree program requirements. However, the student's official graduate transcript will record all courses attempted (including repeated courses). All resulting grades earned are calculated in the cumulative GPA reflected on the students' final official transcript.

Research Involving Human Subjects

The State University of New York at Buffalo has established an Assurance of Compliance with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regulations governing research involving human subjects. Since research comprises a vital part of graduate education and research may involve human subjects, graduate students must be aware of their responsibilities.

It is the policy of the university that all research involving human subjects must be reviewed and approved by a University Human Subjects Review Board (HSRB) prior to initiation of the research. A student’s dean or director of graduate studies can direct him or her to the appropriate board.

Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Training Requirement

All students admitted to a PhD program for the fall 2009 semester or thereafter are required to document successful completion of "Responsible Conduct of Research" (RCR) training when they submit their Application to Candidacy form for their PhD degree. This training requirement may be fulfilled by either (1.) enrolling in and passing with a grade of B (3.00) or better LAI 648 Research Ethics or RPG 504 Responsible Conduct of Research or BMS 514 Intro to Scientific Investigation and Responsible Conduct or RSC 602 Research Ethics for the Health Sciences or (2.) completing a Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) online Responsible Conduct of Research course with an average score of 80 percent or higher, or (3.) successfully completing UB’s Responsible Research Micro-Credential. Students opting to complete the CITI online course or the Responsible Research Micro-Credential must supply proof of completion with their Application to Candidacy.

Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) Online Program in Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)

The University at Buffalo has an institutional membership in the CITI online RCR program. That online program can be accessed through the CITI Program website.

There are four versions of the basic CITI online RCR course from which students should choose the version most appropriate for their area of doctoral study: biomedical sciences, social and behavioral sciences, physical sciences or humanities. The RCR program is comprised of a series of modules, each of which consists of readings and case studies and ends with a quiz covering the material. The program allows the student to enter and exit at any point and to re-take the quiz associated with each section. A minimum total score of 80 percent is required to pass the online course. Assistance is available online at the CITI website if any technical difficulties are encountered.

Once the student has successfully completed the appropriate version of the CITI RCR program, they must print the "Completion Report" from within the CITI program and submit it with the PhD degree Application to Candidacy.

Returning Student Semester Record Activation and Associated Fee

Academic departments may file a semester record activation request for graduate students who were previously admitted into an academic program through UB's Graduate Application System and had a break in attendance of no more than five years and had neglected to secure an approved leave of absence from the Graduate School. Once reviewed and approved by the vice provost for graduate education, a new semester record will be created with exactly the same academic career, program and plan as recorded for the last semester in which the student attended UB. At the time of semester record activation, the student will be assessed a non-refundable record activation fee (currently $350).

It is the prerogative of the academic department to decide whether or not to process/endorse a former student’s request for semester record activation and return to graduate study as described in the previous paragraph. The department also determines how much of the previously completed work may be applied toward the graduate degree program, within established Graduate School guidelines.

Any graduate student who has had an enrollment lapse of more than five years must reapply through the graduate program’s regular application process.

Standardized Test Requirement for PhD Level

Submission of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or other appropriate standardized national exam (e.g., Miller Analogies Test [MAT]) is required for admission to all PhD programs at UB, within five years of application to a UB doctoral level program. However, there is no specified minimum test score for admission consideration or actual admission. Departments interested in admitting PhD applicants without a GRE or other approved standardized test score must petition the Office of Graduate Enrollment Services and provide necessary documentation (transcripts, essays, recommendation letters, etc.) supporting their case. Any decanal unit that seeks an exemption of a standardized test requirement for any specific PhD program may petition the vice provost for academic affairs.

Summer Session Attendance

Currently enrolled UB graduate students need only to register in order to attend summer sessions. Students enrolled in graduate programs at other universities or students who have completed a baccalaureate degree may register as non-degree students for the summer session. Non-degree students must first secure the approval of the appropriate department or faculty member for each graduate level course to be taken.

Teaching and Grading of Graduate Level Courses

Instruction of graduate students is not limited to members of UB’s Graduate Faculty. Academic departments are free to use their judgment in determining those individuals who are deemed suitably qualified, by virtue of their academic training and professional experience, to provide high quality and relevant instruction at the graduate level. Consult the Graduate School for more information regarding the suitability of individuals to instruct at the graduate level at UB.

Graduate level courses should normally be taught by members or associate members of the UB Graduate Faculty. On occasion, other suitably qualified UB faculty (not graduate students) who have adjunct, visiting or other qualified rank appointments may also teach graduate level courses. Due to conflict of interest and other risks, regardless of appointment type (e.g., teaching assistant, graduate assistant, research assistant, lecturer, instructor, etc.), graduate students may not be the primary instructor or the determiner of final grades for any graduate level course. Exceptions to this restriction can only be made on a case-by-case basis by the dean of the Graduate School and will be considered only under extraordinary circumstances.

TOEFL Minimum Requirements

Although departments may require higher scores, the university's official minimum score for the TOEFL is:

  • 79 (total) on the internet-based test (IBT); or
  • 79 (total) on the “MyBest Score” version of the IBT; or
  • 550 (total) on the paper-based test (PBT).

UB does not currently require minimum cut-off scores for the four individual subsections. However graduate admission committees are advised to examine and consider section scores as they are relevant to the linguistic needs and expectations of their departments.

Institutional versions of the TOEFL test (ITP), unless conducted and issued by UB’s English Language Institute, are not valid and cannot be used for admission purposes.

TOEFL scores must be dated within two years of the time the application is reviewed by International Admissions in UB's Graduate Application System. Scores must be sent directly to UB by the testing agency.

Transfer Credits

The Graduate School will consider for transfer credit graduate-level coursework from nationally accredited institutions of higher education, as well as graduate-level coursework from any international institution that UB recognizes as equivalent to a nationally accredited institution.

Only those graduate courses completed at accredited or recognized international institutions and with grades of full B or better are eligible for transfer credit. Courses with grades of S or P are eligible for transfer except when the transfer institution’s grading policy equates S or P with lower than a full B grade.

Transfer Credit Limits

Advanced Certificates

A minimum of 90 percent of all credits applied to a UB advanced certificate credential must be comprised of UB credit. The advanced certificate is an official post-baccalaureate credential in New York State. However, it is not considered a degree program. Therefore, all credits satisfactorily completed for a UB advanced certificate, may also count toward a relevant UB graduate degree. Academic programs may have stricter transfer limits.

Master’s Degrees

No more than 20 percent of a master's program may be comprised of credits from another graduate degree program. For example, students pursuing a 30-credit UB master's degree may transfer up to six graduate credits either from UB, or other accredited institutions, into their program. Students pursuing a 45-credit master's degree program may transfer up to nine graduate credits.

Doctoral Degrees

Transfer credits for the doctoral degree may not constitute more than 50 percent of the total credits of that specific degree program.

Courses transferred from another institution into the graduate division will be transferred with full semester credit value. Conversion of credits from trimester, quarterly and other calendar systems will be completed based on nationally accepted standards: i.e., trimester hours are equivalent to semester credits, however quarterly hours are equivalent to two-thirds semester credits.

Transfer Credit Process

The director of graduate studies or chair of the student's home department must first formally evaluate any transfer coursework for its applicability toward any particular graduate program of study. Once transfer credits are deemed appropriate and applicable by the department, the student files a Graduate Student Petition for Transfer Credit form during the student's first year of matriculation to UB. Upon receipt of the transfer credit petition, the Graduate School will evaluate credit and grade equivalences, and verify the courses were completed at an accredited or recognized institution. UB must receive a final official transcript from the transfer institution before the transfer credits may be formally approved and recorded on the student's UB record.

Undergraduate Student Access to Graduate Courses

Prior to receipt of the baccalaureate degree, a UB undergraduate student may register for up to nine credits at the graduate level which may later be applied to a graduate, professional or advanced certificate program at UB. In order to exercise this option, the student must have the permission of the department offering the graduate course(s) and possess a minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 at the time of graduate course enrollment. Note that the graduate credit hour limit described above does not apply to students formally admitted to, and currently enrolled in, an SED-registered combined undergraduate/graduate degree program at UB, provided that the graduate courses taken are part of that student's specific combined degree program.

Any graduate level courses successfully petitioned for use at the undergraduate level are not included in the nine credit limit. However, a graduate level course applied toward an undergraduate degree cannot also be applied toward a graduate degree.

Use of Dual-Listed Courses Toward Both an Undergraduate and a Graduate Degree Program

Dual-listed courses that are taken at the undergraduate level and applied toward an undergraduate degree cannot be taken later at the graduate level and applied toward a post-baccalaureate degree or advanced certificate if the student received a B grade or higher in the undergraduate level offering.

Use of Historical Coursework Toward a Current Graduate Degree Program

Coursework more than 10 years old, whether from another institution or from UB, that is to be included in a current graduate degree program must be petitioned at the time of the student’s matriculation to the program. The student should submit a Use of Historical Coursework Petition upon admission to the graduate program to determine whether such courses and associated graduate credits can be applied toward the current degree program requirements. The director of graduate studies reviews the coursework to determine whether the content of those courses is still relevant and applicable and the student must demonstrate their continued knowledge of the course content.