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All graduate students are expected to read and comply with all written regulations. The policies, minimal requirements for good standing, and procedures listed below are for all graduate students at Norfolk State University. They may be supplemented by written departmental or program requirements.


Qualified graduates of accredited colleges and universities are eligible to seek admission to Graduate School at Norfolk State University. Applicants are accepted for admission on the basis of qualifications, without regard to sex, age, race, religion, or national origin.

  • Applicants must request that the graduate and undergraduate institutions that they have attended send copies of their official transcripts to the Graduate School.
  • Each transcript must show the complete scholastic record, bear the official seal of the institution, and be signed by the issuing officers.
  • A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 on a 4 point scale is required for admission to the Graduate School.

Additional Requirements
Some graduate programs have additional requirements such as standardized test scores (e.g., Graduate Record Examination, VCLA, Teacher Licensure) and letters of recommendation. Some programs require grade point averages greater than 2.5. Applicants should refer to the appropriate graduate program description or inquire at the program office for information regarding additional departmental requirements for degree programs.

To ensure adequate time for processing prior to enrollment, the Graduate School must receive application forms, transcripts, letters of recommendation and other credentials by November 1 for spring enrollment; and by May 1 for summer or fall enrollment. Visual Studies only offers enrollment in the fall. Transcripts and other credentials become the property of the University and must remain on file in the appropriate office.

Admissions Procedure

Admission to pursue graduate study at Norfolk State University is accomplished by completion of an online application ( and payment of the application fee. All application materials should be submitted electronically. Unofficial transcripts will be accepted for review. However, if accepted for admission and prior to enrollment, official transcripts must be mailed to the Graduate School, Norfolk State University, 700 Park Avenue, Norfolk, Virginia 23504.

When the applicant’s file is complete, a decision will be made on admission, and the Graduate School will convey the decision, in writing, to the applicant with a copy to the appropriate graduate program office.

Admissions Requirements

Applicants are admitted to study at the graduate level in one of two classifications: degree-seeking (regular/matriculating) and non-degree seeking (non-matriculating).

Degree Status:
To be admitted as a degree-seeking student in a graduate program at Norfolk State University, a student must hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution with a minimum overall grade point average of 2.5. Higher grade point averages may be required for admission to particular graduate degree programs.

Non-Degree Status:
Applicants for non-degree status are required to complete an application form, pay an application fee and submit official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. Non-degree status is reserved for (a) individuals who meet all requirements for regular admission but do not wish to take courses leading to a particular degree (b) individuals who hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution but whose academic record reflects less than the required minimum G.P.A. for regular admission and (c) individuals seeking certification/endorsement in a teacher preparation program. Such persons may be admitted as non-degree seeking students. Financial aid and housing are not available for non-degree seeking students, except in restricted situations.

A non-degree seeking student may apply for admission to a graduate program as a degree-seeking student. However, non-degree status does not guarantee future admission. Additionally, admission to a graduate program does not imply that all course work completed as a non-degree seeking student will be automatically applied to degree requirements.


Re-admission is required when a student has not enrolled for classes for one or more semesters. and has not, during that time, been enrolled in a Continuous Registration course. The re-admitted student must consult with his/her advisor to determine if any of the courses previously taken will count toward the fulfillment of curriculum requirements.

Time Limit

A student matriculating at Norfolk State University in a master’s degree program will be expected to complete all requirements within a four calendar year period. Doctoral students must complete degree requirements within a seven calendar year period. Failure to complete the program within the required time frame will result in the student being dismissed from the program.

A reasonable exception to the time limit may be granted to a student by written petition to the Graduate
Program Coordinator prior to the expiration of the time limit. Exceptions are granted for one year and only two exceptions are allowed. Students requesting an exception must also submit a plan of action for completing all degree requirements.

International Students

In addition to the usual admission requirements, all foreign applicants whose native language is not English are required to demonstrate the necessary level of proficiency in the English language by taking the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Information on the TOEFL can be obtained by writing to TOEFL, Educational Testing Service, Princeton, New Jersey 08540.


Senior Level Undergraduate Students

A Norfolk State University student who is classified as a graduating senior may enroll in a 500 level graduate course if the student:

  • has a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 or better;
  • is eligible for graduation at the close of the academic year in which he/she is registered for the course;
  • is enrolled full-time during the semester in which the course is taken;
  • does not expect to use the course to fulfill an undergraduate requirement, and
  • has received approval to register for the course from the coordinator of the graduate program in which the course is to be taken.

Course Numbers and Credits

At Norfolk State University, the point of credit is the semester hour. This represents one hour a week of prepared work or its equivalent during a period of sixteen weeks. No less than two weeks of laboratory work are regarded as the equivalent of one hour of recitation.

Course Levels

The three-digit number will convey the course level and certain specific information as outlined below:

  • 500/599 Senior Level Undergraduate and First Year Graduate
  • 600-700 First Year Graduate
  • 700-800 Second Year Graduate
  • 800-999 Doctoral

Within the framework outlined, the numbers from 00 through 09 and 91 through 99 at each level are used as follows:

  • 00 through 09 - Basic Education
  • 91 through 92 - Independent Study
  • 93 through 94 - Internship
  • 95 through 96 - Practicum
  • 97 through 98 - Research
  • 99-Culminating Activity (senior project or paper, directed teaching, thesis, dissertation, etc.)

Course Load

A full-time graduate student enrolled during an academic year is permitted to carry a class load of nine (9) to fourteen (14) credit hours per semester, and four (4) to six (6) credit hours during the Summer Session. To be considered in full-time status, the student must be registered for nine (9) or more credit hours each semester during the academic year. Any departure from these regulations must be approved by the Departmental Graduate Committee.

Minimum Grade Requirements

A grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 (“B”), from semester to semester, is required to (1) maintain good academic standing as a graduate student, and to (2) meet requirements for a graduate degree. Any student who fails to maintain the 3.00 G.P.A. will be automatically placed in probationary status and must, within one succeeding semesters, elevate his/her G.P.A. to the 3.00 in order to remain in the graduate program. Grades in all courses taken as a graduate student are used in determining whether a student has met the 3.00 (“B”) grade point average requirement to remain in good academic standing.

Grade Point System
The grade (point) system based upon all graduate hours graded at Norfolk State University is used to calculate student scholarship. The table below depicts the grading symbols and points used to calculate grade point averages.

  • Grade: A / Grade Point: 4.00 - 3.70
  • Grade: B+ / Grade Point: 3.30
  • Grade: B / Grade Point: 3.00
  • Grade: B- / Grade Point: 2.70
  • Grade: C+ / Grade Point: 2.30
  • Grade: C / Grade Point: 2.00
  • Grade: C- / Grade Point: 1.70
  • Grade: F / Grade Point: 0.00
  • (incomplete) no points

Grading System

The grading system reflects the level of academic achievement as follows:

  • A = Excellent
  • B = Average
  • C= Below Average
  • F = Failure
  • I = Incomplete

Transfer credits from institutions where the pass/fail grading system prevails will be interpreted as “B” unless the awarding institution submits with the transfer credits, a copy of its policies which would justify the interpretation of the transfer credits otherwise. The established University policy will prevail regarding the awarding and use of the “W” grade.

The student is responsible for knowing the academic standards of his/her academic unit and of the Graduate School. No more than two (2) grades of C are permitted in a student’s academic program. This minimum standard of scholarship is applied to all graduate courses. In some units, a grade of B- or below is interpreted as a failing grade and a student may be required to repeat the course. Students must consult with their academic advisors regarding requirements for repeating courses.

Withdrawal from Courses

A graduate student may officially withdraw, voluntarily and without penalty, from a course in accordance with the dates stipulated in the University Calendar. To withdraw, a student must file a withdrawal petition provided by the Graduate Office. The final grade for the course(s) dropped is a “W.”

Fees for students who withdraw or reduce their course load will be adjusted in accordance with the University’s Fee Adjustment Schedule which is printed in the Course Schedule Booklet and in the University’s Undergraduate Catalog.

Withdrawal from the University

A student who wishes to withdraw officially from the University should obtain approval from his/her Graduate Program Coordinator or designee, Dean of Graduate School, Registrar, and the Fiscal Affairs Office, in this order. Where applicable, the signatures of the Veteran Affairs Officer, Financial Aid Officer and Librarian must be obtained. A copy of the official withdrawal form will be filed in the office of the Graduate Program, the School of graduate Studies and Research, the Office of the Registrar, and the Office of Fiscal Affairs.

Auditing Courses

Students who desire to attend classes but do not wish to receive course credit may audit such courses. A graduate student wishing to audit a course must receive permission from the instructor. Even though no grade will be received for the course, the student is required to pay the required fee for same. To audit a course the student must complete the Course Request Form and place an “AU” in the “Tution Hours” column of the form. The instructor’s signature should be placed in the “Comments” column on the same line as the audited course.

The auditing student is expected to attend classes regularly but is not required to submit assignments or take examinations. Changing from audit to credit or from credit to audit is permitted only during the scheduled “Add” period. Audited courses may be dropped during the scheduled “Drop” period.

Residence Requirements

Each program area will have a minimum residency requirement for the graduate degree. The requirement may vary among programs depending upon the length of study and requirements of accrediting agencies. A residence requirement reflects the graduate faculty’s concern that students experience sustained academic concentration directly related to the degree sought. Therefore, it is desirable and expected that students will pursue their studies as fully participating members of their respective graduate programs. A graduate program may, under very special circumstances, waive the residency requirement.

Continous Registration

Continuous registration is required for the following graduate students: (1) those that have completed their course work and all requirements for the degree except completion of the terminal project and (2) those that have not successfully completed their course work or other degree requirements and have received “I” grades.

Students must register and pay a continuous registration fee each semester until degree requirements are met. Students in the first category also must meet with their advisor at least three times during the continuous enrollment period.


A student completing a thesis or dissertation will develop his/her plan in consultation with her/his major advisor. The thesis/dissertation must include a significant problem and be demonstrative of the student’s competence in research methods and overall scholarship.

It is the responsibility of the student to obtain information and instruction from his/her department concerning such matters as format, fees, paper, and copies to be filed.

Incomplete Grades

A grade of “I” is assigned when a student has maintained a passing average but for some reasons beyond his/her control the course requirements have not been met. It is the responsibility of the student to make arrangements with the instructor to remove the “I” grade. The instructor will set a time limit, usually no later than mid-term of the next semester, for the removal of the “I”. After a one (1) year time limit, the “I” grade will automatically change to the “F” grade. No student will be allowed to graduate with an “I” on his/her record.

Course Substitutions

Substitutions for the prescribed courses in the curriculum are permitted under exceptional circumstances. To substitute a course, students must have an approved petition from the Program Coordinator, Dean of the School, Dean of Graduate Studies. Only requests for justifiable substitutions will be considered.

Change of Curriculum

Students wishing to change their curriculum from one track/concentration to another within a graduate degree program must execute the Change of Curriculum form. This form must be signed by the program officer of the graduate program in which the student is enrolled. This form will be processed in the Graduate School.

The Change of Curriculum form may not be used to make a change from one graduate degree program to another because admissions requirements for graduate programs vary. Current students must submit a new application and pay the application fee of $20.00 to be considered for admission to another graduate program.

Transfer of Credit

Generally, a maximum of twelve (12) credit hours of graduate work at another accredited institution may be accepted as transfer credit, provided that:

  • (a) the credits have not previously been used or applied to a degree at another institution; (b) the grade earned in the course is “B” or above;
  • (c) the courses are comparable to those offered in the program to which the applicant is applying;
  • (d) approval is granted by the graduate program area; and (e) the credits were earned within five (5) years prior to registration.

Graduate programs which require 60 semester credit hours may approve up to 24 credit hours of transfer credis. This policy also applies to courses taken at Norfolk State University.

Transfer credits will not be counted when computing the GPA. Applicants seeking transfer credit should consult the graduate coordinator of the graduate program to which they are applying for clarification regarding transfer of credit for specific courses.


Registration for graduate students takes place at the departmental registration site and is required for each graduate student who is enrolling in any course at the graduate level. The graduate student must consult with an advisor in his/her respective department to plan her/his program of study.

All graduate students are classified as “Day” students and are required to secure an I.D. card appropriately marked “Graduate Student.” I.D. cards are issued or updated during the registration period.

I.D. cards provide access to the following: (1) library and media center; (2) recreational facilities; (3) the Student Activities Center; (4) parking privileges on campus, and (5) financial offices at the University.

Tuition and Fees

All payments of fees which are mailed should be by money order or certified check made payable to Norfolk State University and mailed directly to the Cashier’s Office. Also, the University participates in the MasterCard and Visa credit systems for tuition payments. A Deferred payment plan is available through the Office of Student Accounts. Transcripts and records are not released until the student’s account is paid in full. The University reserves the right to change fees without notice.

Candidacy for Degree

Each student will be assigned a faculty member in his/her field of specialization to serve as advisor as he/she begins work towards completion of degree requirements. The student is expected to develop early, in consultation with his/her advisor, a plan for his/her total program of study toward the degree. It is the responsibility of each student to file a properly executed Statement of Program bearing the signature of approval of his/her advisor. A copy of this statement must be forwarded to the Graduate School. The filing of the statements should be accomplished upon completion of one-half of the credit hour requirements.

Application for Degree

Prospective graduates should see the University Calendar for the deadline to file an application for graduation. Applications must be filed in the major department. Students must have the required 3.0 grade point average prior to filing an application for graduation. The application for graduation form will initiate clearance for graduation. The student is asked to pay the graduation fee at the time that he/she files the application. If all requirements for the degree are not met by the end of the student’s final semester in the program, the student will be required to file an update with the Graduation Audit Office to have the correct graduation date reflected on the diploma.

Commencement Attendance
The candidate for an advanced degree is expected to be present at the commencement rehearsal and the commencement exercises unless permission to be absent has been approved by the coordinator of the Graduate Program at least ten (10) days prior to the rehearsal date.

Release of Student Information


A student’s scholarship record is not available without the student’s written consent. Exceptions: school officials, teachers and local educational agencies with legitimate educational interest, and officials of the school in which the student intends to enroll.

Directory Information
The following information has been declared “Directory Information” and may be released by the University without prior consent of the student: name, address, date and place of birth, major field of study, participation in official activities, weight and height of athletic team members, dates of attendance, degree, honors and awards received, and previous educational agency or institution attended. Directory Information will not be released for commercial purposes. A student may request that “Directory Information” not be released by so directing the Registrar in writing.

Access to his/her records and files is guaranteed to every student, and subject only to regulations as to time, place, and supervision. Members of the faculty with administrative assignments may have access for internal educational, administrative, and statistical purposes.