The doctoral program offers a course of study that emphasizes a strong foundation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines. Doctoral candidates are required to complete six doctoral-level courses (18 semester hours); 6 semester hours in a formal research seminar; and 12 semester hours of dissertation work.
After completing 18 semester hours of doctoral-level courses, the student is eligible to sit for the qualifying examination. The qualifying examination is designed and administered by the candidate’s dissertation committee. The examination is comprised of both oral and written requirements including the committee’s approval of the candidate’s dissertation proposal.
A doctoral candidate may form a partnership with another institution in order to utilize that institution’s facilities for research and project development, enlist doctoral faculty from another institution as dissertation or project committee members, or take appropriate post-master’s courses from that institution.
The student must satisfy all of the following requirements to receive a PhD degree. Verification the student has met the following requirements is made by Records and Registration.
1. At least 36 semester hours must be successfully completed.
2. A minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.00 is required for graduation.
3. In order for any completed course to satisfy the 36 semester hours required, the course must be completed with a grade of “B” (3.00) or higher.
4. Candidates have six years to complete and successfully defend the dissertation research or project development.
5. Candidates will schedule their dissertation defenses after receiving approval from the dissertation committee chair (or co-chairs).
6. Candidates must submit (but not yet have published) the results of their dissertation or project work for publication in a refereed journal and/or complete a patent application prior to the conferral of a degree.
Grades and Grading
Grades are awarded to each student for academic credit completed at the University. A grade is assigned by the instructor responsible for the course in which the student is enrolled, using the following grading scale to indicate the quality of the student’s academic work.
||Doctoral Studies Complete
||Doctoral Studies Incomplete
||Withdrawal after the period to withdraw with a “W” grade
Grades of “CR”, “I”, “IP”, “NP”, “NR”, “P”, “W”, and “WA” are not included in the calculation of a student’s grade point average (GPA). The “WF” is calculated into the student’s grade point average. These grades are used by the University in circumstances when grades of “A” through “F” are not appropriate.
Doctoral Studies Complete (CD) - A grade of “CD” is used to indicate doctoral studies are complete.
Credit (CR) - A grade of “CR” is used to indicate on the student’s permanent record that credit has been awarded by the University for military training or successful completion of an examination. While courses with a “CR” grade are counted toward the student’s degree requirements, there are no quality points associated with this grade so there is no impact upon the calculation of the student’s grade point average.
Doctoral Studies Incomplete (CX) - A grade of “CX” is used to indicate the doctoral studies are incomplete.
Incomplete (I) - Inability to complete coursework due to documented circumstances beyond the student’s control (such as severe illness) may, at the discretion of the instructor, result in a grade of incomplete (I). However, all work must be completed by the end of the Add/Drop Period of the subsequent semester. If all work is not completed by that time, the “I” grade will convert automatically to a grade of “F.” It is the responsibility of the student to contact the instructor to make the necessary arrangements for makeup work.
In Progress (IP) - This is a deferred grade assigned by the instructor to be used for research projects, internships, directed study, etc., when it is understood that the course will extend over more than one semester. An “IP” grade should be accompanied by a written plan and a schedule for completing the course within a specified time period to be no longer than 12 months. If all work is not completed by that time, the “IP” grade will convert automatically to a grade of “F.”
Withdrawal (W) - This grade is recorded by the Office of Records and Registration when the student has withdrawn from the course according to the policy set forth by the University for withdrawing from a course.
Administrative Withdrawal (WA) - The “WA” grade can be assigned only by the Provost or other designated official. It is used under extenuating circumstances and when the normal withdrawal process is not available to the student. A request for administrative withdrawal with accompanying documentation will be submitted to the Office of Records and Registration. The “WA” grade can be submitted at any time during the semester. Courses with WA grades can be repeated.
Withdrawal Fail (WF) - This grade is recorded by the Records and Registration when the student has withdrawn from the course after the period a student can withdraw with a “W” grade.
Transfer (TR) - A grade of “TR” is used to indicate on the student’s transcript a block of credit that has been earned at another institution and that will count toward the degree at Harrisburg University. These credits are not calculated into the GPA.
Not Reported (NR) - The temporary grade of “NR” is recorded by Records and Registration when the instructor does not report a grade for the student for the course. Records and Registration will advise the Provost when an “NR” grade has been recorded for the student, and will work with the student and the instructor to determine why a grade was not reported.
Pass (P) - The “P” grade is assigned by instructors for a student who successfully completes a course that is designated as a course that will be graded on a Pass/No Pass basis.
No Pass (NP) - The “NP” grade is assigned by the instructors for a student who does not successfully complete a course that is designated as a course that will be graded on a Pass/No Pass basis.
Grade Point Averages
A grade point average (GPA) is a statistical calculation of a student’s performance in a semester. The semester grade point average summarizes the student’s performance during that academic term and the cumulative grade point average (CGPA) summarizes the student’s performance during semesters completed at the University.
|Calculation of the Semester Grade Point Average
||Sem. Hrs. Attempted
|Total Quality Points = 21.00/6 = 3.5
- Compute the quality points earned for each course by multiplying the semester hour attempted for the course by the numerical value of the grade earned in the course. Example: A student registered for a course worth 3 semester hours who earns a final grade of “A” in that course will earn 12.00 quality points for that course (3 semester hours x 4).
- Add the quality points earned for each course in which the student is registered in the semester.
- Add the number of semester hours attempted for all courses in which a grade of “A” through “F” was earned.
- Divide the total number of quality points earned by the total number of semester hours attempted. The result is the grade point average for the semester.
The cumulative grade point average (CGPA) is determined in a similar way using the cumulative attempted semester hours and cumulative quality points earned.
A graduate student may repeat a course in which a final grade of “W”, “WA”, or “WF” has been received. They can only attempt to repeat it one time. The original grade will remain on the student’s academic record. After the course has been repeated, the most recent grade will be used in the calculation of the student’s cumulative grade point average. The expectation is a student will be successful. If an unsuccessful grade is earned, a student receiving a failing grade will have their academic record and progress reviewed by the Academic Standing Committee and program lead.
A graduate student with a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 or higher is in satisfactory academic standing. A student whose cumulative grade point average falls below 3.00 is not in satisfactory academic standing and is placed on academic probation. If the cumulative grade point average is not raised to 3.00 or higher after attempting an additional 6 semester hours, the student is subject to academic dismissal.
Final Grade Appeal
A final grade is assigned by the instructor upon completion of coursework to earn credit during a semester or other term. A student who disagrees with the final grade assigned by the instructor may seek remedy using an evidence-based argument within five (5) days after grades are posted on one of the following grounds:
- Discrimination: defined as unfair treatment or assignment of grade on the basis of race, religion, national origin, sex, age, ancestry, handicapped status, gender identity, sexual orientation, or political affiliation.
- Capricious evaluation: defined as significant or unjustified departure from grading procedures outlined in the course syllabus or by the University or arbitrary assignment of grades. Capricious evaluation cannot be claimed if a student merely disagrees with the subjective evaluation of the instructor.
- Errors: including clerical errors or errors in grade calculations that can be demonstrated in an objective manner.
A student who chooses to appeal a grade must obtain a Final Grade Appeal Form from the Office of Records and Registration. The form must be completed with an explanation forming the basis of the appeal. The student’s academic record will be placed in a “hold” status during the grade appeal process. A final grade appeal must be initiated on or before the fifth (5th) business day after grades are posted or other term as specified in the Academic Calendar.
The instructor must indicate and sign the form to either change the final grade, reaffirm the original grade assigned, or continue with the appeal process.
- If the original final grade is improved and satisfies the student’s appeal, the instructor shall submit a Grade Change Form to the Office of Records and Registration, the grade will be posted, and the academic record hold status will be released.
- If the original final grade is reaffirmed and both the instructor and student agree with the grade determination, the instructor shall submit a Grade Affirmation Form signed by the student and instructor confirming the original grade to the Office of Records and Registration, the grade will be posted, and the academic record hold status will be released.
- When a student is unable to meet with the instructor because of personal differences or if the instructor denies the initial appeal (above), the student may choose to pursue a final grade appeal by submitting the completed and endorsed form, with any and all tests, grades, essays or project summaries and a complete explanation as evidence in support of the student’s position, to the Office of Student Services requesting a review and determination, with a copy to the Office of the Provost. The student may seek the assistance of the Office of Student Services to review a possible appeal and to prepare the appeal. Additional information may be requested from the student and/or the instructor during this time.
- A committee consisting of a representative of the Office of Student Services, Office of Compliance, one faculty member, and a student representative will review the appeal. The student and instructor will be offered the opportunity to participate in the appeal hearing. The committee will send a final determination to the Office of Records and Registration within five (5) days of receipt. The committee’s decision is final and is not subject to further appeal. The Office of Records and Registration will then post the grade and release the academic record hold status.
- If a student would like to appeal a grade during the semester, the student should approach the faculty member to resolve informally. All documentation should be saved. If at the time the final grade is insufficient, the student can file a formal appeal at that time.
Withholding of Records
Student records may be withheld by Records and Registration when directed by the appropriate University officials. The ability to register for courses or the release of academic transcripts or diploma may be held for a period of time. More specifically, an official academic transcript or diploma will not be released, and a student cannot register for courses if tuition or other charges remain unpaid to the University. Additionally, a student cannot register for courses while the hold is on their record. The Office of Student Services determines when a student’s record should be placed on hold for disciplinary reasons and the Business Office determines when a student’s record should be placed on hold for financial reasons.
Official Withdrawal Procedure
A student is encouraged to contact the Financial Aid and Business Offices in advance of any decision to withdraw from the University to obtain an explanation of the tuition and financial aid adjustments that will occur, if any, as the result of withdrawal from the program of study.
A student who intends to officially withdraw is encouraged to complete the Withdrawal Form via MyHU. Should a student have any questions, please contact Records and Registration by telephone (717.901.5136), Reghelp Student Portal, or in person.
The determination date for withdrawal purposes shall either be the actual date of formal notification by the student or some future date specified by the student as the intended last date of attendance. The determination date is used to calculate the tuition refund, if any, and the student financial assistance program refund, if applicable.
Military Personnel Called to Active Duty Policy
If a student is called to active duty by the National Guard or the reserve forces of the United States during an active semester, they should provide documentation of their call to active duty to the Certifying Official. The below procedure will then apply:
1. Course Registration/Grades: The student will be given an option to have courses dropped or an “I” (Incomplete) grade assigned to each of their courses. The assigning of an “Incomplete” is by mutual consent of the faculty member and the student and an appropriate completion date is to be assigned. If the active duty call occurs late in the term, the faculty member also has the option of assigning a final grade rather than the “I” grade.
2. Tuition: Tuition charges will be canceled or refunded‐in full‐ for all courses dropped. Courses in which the grade of “I” or a final grade is assigned will have applicable tuition assessed. The student must coordinate with the Certifying Official to address any overpayment or other financial considerations with Veterans Administration funding
3. Housing: If the student resides in campus housing, they should initiate a discussion with Residence Life Staff.
4. Student Record: The Student record will be kept active for one year from the later of the following dates, after which the student would be eligible for re‐admission: ‐ Effective date of dropped course(s) ‐ End of the final completed semester ‐ Latest deadline of assigned “I” grade
A student requesting to withdraw for medical reasons must complete a medical leave request through the Office of Student Services by contacting StudentServices@HarrisburgU.edu or 717.901.5102. Student services will obtain official documentation from a doctor supporting the student’s request. To return from a medical leave, the student must provide student services with documentation from a doctor supporting the student’s return. The student will have up to a year to return without having to apply for readmission.
Standards of Academic Integrity
Harrisburg University expects a student to act honorably and in accordance with the standards of academic integrity. Academic integrity is grounded in mutual trust and respect. Therefore, it is expected that a student will respect the rights of others and will only submit work that is their own, refraining from all forms of lying, cheating and plagiarism.
A violation of the Standards of Academic Integrity could result in academic consequences. Please see the Student Handbook for details about academic conduct and the procedures in cases of a violation of Harrisburg University’s Standards of Academic Integrity.
The University reserves the right to exclude at any time a student whose academic record is unsatisfactory or whose behavior or conduct is found to be detrimental to the orderly functioning of the University. When misconduct may constitute a threat to person or property within the University community or under other circumstances, it may result in disciplinary review action. The University assumes the responsibility to regulate the private conduct of the student when such conduct could constitute a hazard to or an infringement on the rights of others, a violation of the law, or a disruption of the legitimate academic and administrative processes of the University. Please see the Student Handbook for details on the policies regarding the Student Code of Conduct/Honor Code, Academic Dishonesty- Plagiarism Policy and Disciplinary Process for Student Incidents of Misconduct.