Jul 23, 2019  
2012-2013 Undergraduate Catalog 
2012-2013 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Policies and Procedures

Semester Hours Credit

Course credit is based on units designated as semester hours. One semester hour or one base contact hour equals a minimum of 750 minutes; this equation translates to a minimum of fifteen, 50-minute class hours per semester. Time required for class preparation is not a consideration in the calculation of course credit. A three semester hour course will require approximately six to nine hours of work each week outside of class. Omnibus courses involving laboratory work give one semester hour of credit for each two, three or four hours of scheduled work in the laboratory during a week, depending on the course. Internships require a minimum of 2,250 minutes for each hour of credit.

Course Load

The average course load for a 16-week semester is 15 or 16 semester hours; 18 semester hours is the maximum load for fall and spring semesters, with a maximum of 12 semester hours for summer semester. During fall and spring semesters, students with cumulative MSU Denver grade point averages (GPAs) of 3.25 or higher may take 19 or 20 semester hours, and those students with GPAs of 3.50 or higher may take 21 semester hours for the fall and spring semesters or 14 semester hours for the summer semester. Students must complete at least 15 semester hours at MSU Denver to qualify. Authorization for overloads for students without these qualifications must be obtained from the student’s major department chair and the appropriate dean. Forms are available from the department, deans’ offices, or online.

Student Classification

Students are classified according to the number of semester hours of credit earned: freshman status equals fewer than 30; sophomore status equals 30 or more, but fewer than 60; junior status equals 60 or more, but fewer than 90; senior status equals 90 or more.

Declaring/Changing a Major

New students indicate their intended major on the MSU Denver Application for Admission. While students may select "Undeclared" as a major at the time of admission, all degree-seeking students must declare a major before completion of 45 credits. Degree-seeking students who transfer in more than 45 credits must declare a major before registering for a second semester. Degree-seeking students who wish to change a major must complete a Declaration/Change of Major form, which is available from the major department or from the Academic Advising Center. Non-degree-seeking students who wish to declare a major must first change to degree-seeking status by completing a Change of Status form with the Admissions Office.

Selection of Catalog for Degree Requirements

Students must use a single, MSU Denver catalog to meet all degree requirements, including major and minor requirements.  Students must select a degree catalog in effect while they are enrolled at MSU Denver unless they are transferring from a regionally accredited, Colorado community college (see below), provided that the degree catalog contains their complete program of study. Students not enrolled in classes for three consecutive semesters or more, including summer, are governed by the catalog in effect upon their return. For effective dates of catalogs, students should consult their academic advisors. All degree programs must adhere to current, overriding policies at MSU Denver. Students transferring from a regionally accredited, Colorado community college may complete degree requirements using an MSU Denver catalog in effect while enrolled at the community college, subject to the following conditions:

  • The degree catalog selected does not predate the current catalog by more than three years.
  • The degree catalog selected may have been in use at any time from the time the student was continually enrolled at a regionally accredited, Colorado community college to the semester for which the student is enrolling in MSU Denver. Continuous enrollment is defined as not interrupting enrollment for three or more consecutive semesters (one academic calendar-year) including the summer semester.  Continuous enrollment must be maintained from the period of the designated MSU Denver University catalog to degree completion at MSU Denver.
  • The degree catalog clause applies, except for overriding college or state policy, except where specific programs otherwise require. Consult the pages describing your program for these requirements.

Posthumously Awarded Degree Policy

  1. Earned Posthumous Degrees:

Metropolitan State University of Denver will award an earned posthumous degree to a student who applied for graduation, was attending the final courses sufficient to meet the University’s graduation requirements, and maintained good academic and financial standing with the University without a significant disciplinary incident. Upon receiving notice of the death of such a student, the Registrar will notify the chair(s) of the student’s major (and minor) department(s). The Registrar will also determine that the instructors teaching the student’s final classes agree to assign a pass (P) notation as a final grade for each of these courses. The Dean of the school will notify the student’s next of kin that the University intends to award the earned Bachelor’s degree posthumously and that the family may elect to receive the degree at the next Commencement ceremony.

The degree will be represented as a Posthumous Bachelor of (Arts, Science, etc.) degree on the college transcript and diploma. The diploma will be mounted on a plaque to be presented to the family. As this will be an earned degree, it will be counted among the University’s awarded degrees.

  1. Honorary Degrees:

Metropolitan State University of Denver may award an honorary degree posthumously to a student who had successfully completed at least 60 semester credits (transferred in and taken at MSU Denver), 24 of which were classroom credits from the University, and maintained good academic and financial standing without a significant disciplinary incident. Such awards may be made at the President’s discretion upon the request of a surviving family member of the deceased student and upon the recommendation of the major Department chair and Dean. This request must be made within one year of the semester of the student’s death. With the President’s approval, the Dean will notify the student’s next of kin that the University intends to award the honorary Bachelor’s degree posthumously.

This degree will be represented as an Honorary Bachelor of (Arts, Science, etc.) degree on the college transcript and diploma. The diploma will be mounted on a plaque to be presented to the family at the end of the current term. As this will not be an earned degree, the Office of the Registrar will expunge the academic record during the semester of the student’s death and arrange with the Bursar's Office to refund tuition and fees for that semester to the family. Honorary degrees will not be counted among the University’s awarded degrees.

Honors and Awards

MSU Denver annually recognizes students who show outstanding leadership and service to the University and community, excellence in scholastic achievement, and outstanding personal character and integrity. Due to wide variation in definition and interpretation of class rank, the University does not (by policy) rank its students or graduates. Recognition of students includes: The President’s Award (one senior); Special Service Awards for Academic Affairs (one senior) and for Student Services (one senior); Outstanding Student Awards (one senior from each School); Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges (seniors); American Association of University Women (AAUW) Award (senior woman). Other awards include Special Service Award for Exceptionally Challenged Students, Student Government Assembly Award, Charles W. Fisher Award and the Colorado Engineering Council Award.

Applications, as well as information on these awards, are available in Student Success Building Suite 330.  Awards are presented at the annual awards ceremony held during the spring semester.

In addition to annual awards, students with outstanding academic achievements are recognized by being named on the University’s Honor Lists. The President’s Honor List contains the names of students who, at the time of computation, have achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.85 or higher. The Provost’s Honor List contains the names of students who, at the time of computation, have achieved a cumulative GPA of between 3.50 and 3.84, inclusively. Computation will occur initially when the student has completed between 30 and 60 credit hours at MSU Denver, then again between 60 and 90 credit hours, and finally after more than 90 credit hours. Honors will only be computed three times in a student’s academic life at the University. Questions should be directed to the Office of Academic and Student Affairs at 303-556-3040.

Graduation honors are awarded to students who have demonstrated superior academic ability in their baccalaureate degree while attending MSU Denver. Honors designations are determined according to the following criteria:

  • Summa Cum Laude - Top five percent of graduates within each school with cumulative MSU Denver GPA of no less than 3.65.
  • Magna Cum Laude - Next five percent of graduates within each school with cumulative MSU Denver GPA of no less than 3.65.
  • Cum Laude - Next five percent of graduates within each school with cumulative MSU Denver GPA of no less than 3.65.

To determine each honors category, GPAs from the previous spring semester graduates are arranged in rank order. This rank ordering is then used to determine the honors category thresholds for the following fall, spring and summer graduates. The current rankings are located on the commencement website.

The honors designation is calculated twice: once for the commencement ceremony; and again at the end of the final semester for the official designation. 

Commencement Ceremony

To qualify for graduation honor recognition at the commencement ceremony, a student must have the specified GPA and must have completed a minimum of 50 semester hours of academic credit at MSU Denver by the end of the term of graduation. UCD Pooled classes and other transfer credits are not considered when determining honors. Recognition at the commencement ceremony does not guarantee final honors designation on the official record. Honors announced at the commencement ceremony will be based upon a preliminary calculation not including grades from the term of graduation.

Students who qualify for recognition at the ceremony will be sent a letter from the dean's office of the School in which their major is located. This letter authorizes students to purchase honor cords at the time they rent their caps and gowns.

Graduates with an Individualized Degree Program major will be identified for honors purposes within the School most prominent in their major.

Official Honors Designation

Grades earned for the graduating term will affect honors. GPAs are not rounded up (for example: a GPA of 3.149 is not rounded to 3.15). The Official Honors designation will be calculated following the processing of final grades. This recalculation will take into consideration any grade changes submitted to the Registrar's Office during your graduating term. Only the official honors designation is added to the final transcript and diploma.  A student must maintain the specified GPA and must complete a minimum of 50 semester hours of academic credit at MSU Denver by the term of graduation. UCD Pooled classes and other transfer credits are not considered when determining honors.

Honors designations are added to the student’s official academic record; no other notification will be sent. For additional information regarding graduation honors, contact the Office of Academic and Student Affairs at 303-556-3040.

Grades and Notations

Faculty MUST assign a grade or grade notation for each student enrolled in a particular course. The appropriate grade and grade notations will appear online in the grade drop-down box for each student. Faculty members cannot leave the grade box blank.


  Alphabetical grades and status symbols are as follows:
  A 4.00 quality points per semester hour attempted
  A- 3.67 quality points per semester hour attempted
  B+ 3.33 quality points per semester hour attempted
  B 3.00 quality points per semester hour attempted
  B- 2.67 quality points per semester hour attempted
  C+ 2.33 quality points per semester hour attempted
  C 2.00 quality points per semester hour attempted
  C- 1.67 quality points per semester hour attempted
  D+ 1.33 quality points per semester hour attempted
  D 1.00 quality point per semester hour attempted
  D- 0.67 quality point per semester hour attempted
  F 0 quality points per semester hour attempted
  (Grade)# — Preparatory 0 quality points per semester hour attempted


  AP — Advanced Placement
  CC — Continuing Correspondence Course
  CL — College Level Examination Program (CLEP)
  EX — Credit by Exam
  I — Incomplete (incompletes will change to an “F” if not completed in three semesters, including summer)
  NC — No Credit
  NR — Not Reported. No grade was reported by the faculty by the deadline to submit grades. Student must see faculty for an explanation or assignment of grade. Courses taken through interinstitutional registration are normally assigned the “NR” notation until grades are received and posted to the academic record. Students who receive an “NR” notation on their final grade report may be severely impacted. Financial aid, enrollment status, veterans’ status and probation/suspension depend on students receiving all of their grades.
  P — Pass
  PL — Portfolio Assessment
  PP — PEP Exam
  S — Satisfactory (limited to internships, practicums, field experience courses and workshops)
  SA — Study Abroad
  SE — Satisfactory/Education or Music Recital Attendance (limited to ECE 4390, EDS 4290, EDU 4190, EDU 4590, SED 4190 and SED 4500; MUS 0020)
  SN — Study Abroad - no credit
  U — Unsatisfactory (equals “F” and computed in GPA)
  UE — Unsatisfactory/Education or Music Recital Attendance (equals “F” and computed in GPA)

I (Incomplete)

The Incomplete (I) notation may be assigned when a student, who was achieving satisfactory progress in a course and who had completed most class assignments, is unable to take the final examination and/or did not complete all class assignments due to unusual circumstances such as hospitalization or disability. Incomplete work denoted by the Incomplete “I” notation must be completed within one calendar year or earlier, at the discretion of the faculty member. If the incomplete work is not completed within one year, the “I” notation will convert to an “F.” Students must have completed at least 75% of the course work to qualify for consideration for an incomplete. The student must be passing the course in order to be granted an incomplete.

Determination of eligibility does not guarantee that an incomplete will be granted. Students who do meet the qualifications may request an incomplete from the faculty member who is teaching the course. The decision to grant an incomplete is up to the faculty member or at the department chair's discretion. The decision to grant an incomplete as an accommodation based on a student's disability shall be made by the faculty member or the department chair, if the faculty member is not available, in consultation with the Director of the Access Center.

If an incomplete is granted, the student and instructor should fill out and sign an Incomplete Agreement form to clarify what the student needs to do to complete the course.

Graduating seniors may not graduate with an “I” on their MSU Denver academic record if:

  • The course in which the “I” was assigned is required for graduation, or
  • a “D” or “F” assigned for that course would result in an overall GPA less than 2.00.

The “I” notation may not be given for a self-paced course. If a student does not complete a self-paced course within the semester that he or she enrolled in the course, he or she must re-enroll in the course in order to complete it.

If a student receives an “I” in an online class, the instructor should contact the Educational Technology Center, whose staff will add the student to the online course roster so that the student will be able to logon to the course. This step must be done by the instructor each semester that the student continues to work on the course.

In order for an “I” to be changed to a letter grade, the incomplete work must be completed for the course for which the student originally registered. The student should NOT re-enroll for the same course, unless intending to retake the entire course. In this case, the student will pay tuition and fees.

NC/Withdrawal (No Credit)

  • The No Credit (NC) notation is not a grade. It may indicate withdrawal from the course or course repetition. (The NC deadline should not be confused with the add/drop deadlines for each semester.) During the add/drop period, a student may drop a course, and it will not appear on the student’s academic record.) 
  • Students can withdraw from a class online at ConnectU according to the published deadline in the Academic Calendar, msudenver.edu/MetroCal/tools/acal.jsp Proportional time frames are applied for part-of-term courses, weekend courses, workshops and summer terms. These deadlines are available from the Office of the Registrar or the Office of the Bursar. Deadlines for full-term, summer classes are published in the class schedule.
  • After the NC Deadline (or proportional time frame for part-of-term courses, weekend courses, workshops, and summer terms) of the semester, students cannot withdraw from a course. The “I” notation may be used during this period, as long as the conditions specified are included in the incomplete policy. 
  • Students who fail to withdraw from their course or courses by the published NC deadline will be assigned the grade they had earned, based on the course syllabus.
  • Students who need to withdraw from a course or courses because of the death of an immediate family member, serious illness or medical emergency, or employment changes beyond their control may request a tuition refund by filing a Tuition and Fees Appeal Form through the Office of the Bursar. Students who receive financial aid are encouraged to speak with a counselor in the Office of Financial Aid prior to filing a ‘Tuition and Fee Appeal’.
  • The “NC” notation is used in self-paced courses to indicate that the student has not completed the self-paced course(s) and requires additional time to increase the student’s proficiency. In this case, to earn credit the student must re-register and pay tuition and fees for the course in a subsequent term.

Last Date of Attendance

Faculty who report a “U,” “UE,” or “F” grade to a student for any reason will report the student’s last date of attendance when entering grades online.

For reporting purposes, the last date of active participation in the class will be considered the last date of attendance, which must be one of the following:

  1. Physically attending or participating in class (such as a class activity)
  2. Submitting an academic assignment
  3. Taking a quiz or exam, interactive tutorial, or computer-based instruction
  4. Attending a school-assigned study group
  5. Participating in online discussions about academic matters and/or initiating contact with faculty to ask questions about subject matter

Active participation does not include:

  1. Logging into an online course without active participation
  2. Academic counseling

If a student never attended class, the date of the first day of class will be reported as the last date of attendance.

Grade Changes

Grade changes must be submitted within the first seven weeks of the semester following the completion of the class. Spring semester grades are changed throughout the summer semester and through the seventh week of the fall semester. A Grade Change Form is required to change a student’s grade. Faculty may submit the form to their designated department or to the Office of the Registrar with appropriate photo identification (preferably an MSU Denver ID).

The faculty member may change an Incomplete (I) grade using the same form at any time within three consecutive semesters (including summer semester) after the completion of the class. At the end of the third consecutive semester (one calendar year), it the incomplete grade remains on the academic record, it will become an “F”.

Grades may NOT be changed on the basis of revised standards of evaluation, new examinations, or additional work undertaken or completed after grades are submitted to the Office of the Registrar. Grades may only be changed on the basis of an error in evaluation, computation, or transcription.

Computing Grade Point Average/Quality Points

The number of quality points awarded for a course is determined by multiplying the number of semester hours for that course by the quality point value of the grade received. The cumulative GPA is calculated by dividing the total number of quality points by the number of semester hours attempted.

To be eligible for a degree, a candidate must have a minimum number of quality points equal to twice the number of semester hours attempted in addition to meeting other prescribed requirements. The following notations have no effect on the GPA: AP, CC, CL, EX, I, NC, NR, P, PL, PP, S, S#, SA, SE, SN, U#.

Pass-Fail Option

The pass/fail option encourages students to venture out of their major and minor fields and thereby broaden their educational experience. A student must declare interest in the pass/fail option no later than the 12th day of classes for fall and spring, the eighth day of classes for summer or the second day of classes for parts-of-term of any semester (for specific deadlines, see the Academic Calendar on MSU Denver’s website, msudenver.edu/MetroCal/tools/acal.jsp) by contacting the Office of the Registrar and completing the Request for Pass/Fail Option. Once approved, the request for the pass/fail option is irrevocable. A student who requests the option and later is declared ineligible will receive written notification from the Office of the Registrar.

Students who have completed at least one MSU Denver course with at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA may choose to be evaluated for a certain course on a pass/fail basis rather than by a letter grade. Major, minor, General Studies and other courses required for a degree and courses for teacher licensure may NOT be taken on a pass/fail basis. Self-paced courses may NOT be taken under the pass/fail option. Maximum graduation credit for pass/fail courses is 18 credit hours earned in no more than six courses and limited to one course per semester or part-of-term. Course work must be graded to determine if it is pass or fail.

The “pass” grade (P) has no effect on the GPA; the “fail” grade is equivalent to the grade of “F.” The “pass” grade (P) is equivalent to the grade of D or better. Pass/fail courses fall under the same “NC” guidelines and deadlines as other courses in the institution, whether those guidelines and deadlines are established college-wide or by individual schools or departments.

The instructor will assign and record the pass/fail grade on the final grade list that identifies students electing and eligible for pass/fail grading. Some institutions do not accept credit in transfer for courses in which a “pass” grade is given. Therefore, students who plan to transfer or take graduate work should determine whether the institution of their choice would accept the credit before registering for courses under the pass/fail option. Additionally, the student is responsible for ensuring that the course is not a major, minor or General Studies requirement.

Repeated Courses (Last Grade Stands)

A student may repeat certain courses taken at MSU Denver regardless of the original grade earned. Only the credit and the grade for the last attempt of the course will remain on the student’s official academic record. The grade(s) for all prior attempts will be changed to the “NC” notation unless a permanent "F" has been assigned. Repeated courses must carry the same title, course number and semester hours as the original course. To affect the grade change, the student must re-register and pay the full tuition for the class in question, complete the class earning a letter grade, and complete the Last Grade Stands form in the Office of the Registrar. Otherwise, the grade change will be made administratively. Credit duplication involving transfer, interinstitutional, or state college system courses may be treated differently from the above procedures (see below). A FAILING COURSE GRADE ASSIGNED AS A RESULT OF ACADEMIC DISHONESTY IS CONSIDERED A PERMANENT “F” AND CANNOT BE CONSIDERED UNDER THIS POLICY. A student may not repeat a course and request “last grade stands” after the completion of an MSU Denver degree that includes the course in question. Specifically:

  • In all cases, except for grades assigned for academic dishonesty, the grades of all but the last entry of the particular course will be changed to an “NC” (no credit, withdrawal) notation. The NC notation does not affect the credit total and GPA.
  • The determination of course equivalency will be made by the Office of the Registrar in consultation with the academic department.
  • If the student does not request that the previous grade(s) of a course be changed to an “NC” after the course is repeated, the grade change will be made administratively prior to graduation. The Last Grade Stands Policy cannot be used after the student graduates from the University for courses taken prior to the date the degree is awarded.
  • Students who have earned a degree at MSU Denver and subsequently take additional courses or work toward a second degree may use last grade stands for courses for which the original enrollment occurs after the first degree is awarded.
  • The same policy applies when a course taken at another institution and transferred to MSU Denver is later repeated at MSU Denver. The transferred credit is then revoked.
  • An exception to this policy occurs when a student takes a course at MSU Denver, then repeats the course at another institution and returns to or is still in attendance at MSU Denver. In this case, since the course is not repeated on the MSU Denver records, the MSU Denver course will not be changed to an “NC,” but rather, the transfer credit will be disallowed.
  • The Last Grade Stands policy applies only to MSU Denver courses. Courses taken under the Interinstitutional/Consortium or “pooled” programs do not qualify for consideration under this policy. However, this policy does apply to a UCD course if repeated through the MSU Denver/UCD-pooled program.
  • Courses repeated prior to the summer quarter of 1971 are not affected by this Last Grade Stands policy. A grade in a course taken prior to the summer quarter, 1971 and repeated after summer, 1971 may be changed to an “NC” notation with the use of the grade exception form.

Student Grade Appeal Procedure

If students have reason to question the validity of a grade received in a course, they must make their request for a change before the end of the fourth week of the semester following the completion of the course (the following fall semester in the case of the spring semester). The Grade Appeal Guidelines can be obtained from the students’ respective deans. It is the responsibility of the student to initiate a grade appeal within the time limit, and to follow the procedures specified for grade appeals in the current Student Handbook. The handbook may be obtained from the Office of Student Services. All decisions of the Grade Appeal Committee are final.

Warning/Probation/Suspension Policy

Academic Satisfactory Progress/Good Standing

A student is deemed to be making satisfactory progress toward his or her academic goal if the student maintains a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher. This student is deemed to be in academic good standing with the institution. However, other academic standards may apply to specific programs. A student must satisfy those other academic standards in order to be deemed in academic good standing with that program. See information on the program of interest to determine specific standards for that program.

Academic Warning Status

A student in good standing whose cumulative GPA falls below 2.0 will be on academic warning status with the institution during his or her next semester. A student will be removed from this warning status and returned to good standing if he or she achieves a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 at the end of his or her semester on warning status. More restrictive standards may apply to certain programs or schools. See information on the program of interest.

Academic Probation

A student who fails to achieve a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 at the end of his or her semester on warning status will be put on academic probation with the institution during his or her next semester at MSU Denver. A student will be on academic probation as long as he or she has a cumulative GPA below 2.0, but is making progress toward good standing as explained below and has not been on academic probation for more than three semesters. Other conditions may apply to given programs or schools. See information on the program of interest.

A student is removed from academic probation and is in good standing the semester after achieving a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0.  During any semester that a student is on academic probation, the student must make progress toward good standing with the institution by taking all of the following actions:

  • achieve a semester GPA of 2.2 or higher
  • register and complete a minimum of 3 but no more than 12 semester hours (3 to 6 semester hours for summer semester)
  • take required activities as negotiated with the director of Student Intervention Services (may include certain classes, probationary tutorial, repeated courses, tutoring or other activities)

While on academic probation, a student may pre-register for the first semester following the academic warning status semester, but is prohibited from pre-registering any other semester. For subsequent academic probation status semesters, a GPA of at least 2.2 must be verified prior to registration. If a 2.2 semester GPA is not obtained, the student will be place on Academic Suspension.

Academic Suspension

A student on academic probation not making progress toward good standing will be prohibited from registering for one calendar year from the date of suspension. Appeal of suspension for this reason will be submitted to the Associate Director of Student Academic Success and Intervention and is due by the Monday prior to tuition deadline for the anticipated semester. Students that do not submit an appeal by the deadline who have registered for the anticipated semester will be dropped from their courses. The Associate Director will deliver the appeal materials to the Student Academic Review Committee, which will review the appeal and notify the student of its decision. A student may appeal a suspension only two times in his or her academic career at the University.

A student making progress toward good standing, whose cumulative GPA remains below a 2.0 after three or more semesters on probation, will have his or her academic progress reviewed each semester by the Student Academic Review Committee. The committee will determine whether the student should be placed on suspension. In both cases, the decision of the Student Academic Review Committee is final.

Any student returning to the University after the one-calendar-year suspension must reapply and will be re-admitted on academic probation with the institution. For these students, all probation rules outlined above will apply.

A student who is suspended for a second time will be re-admitted only if he or she has successfully completed an associate degree program from a community college after suspension from MSU Denver or can demonstrate to the Student Academic Review Committee that chances for successful completion of an educational program are greatly improved.

Contact Student Intervention Services at 303-556-4048 for further information.