Graduate Academic Policies

Academic Policies and Procedures

Academic Honesty Leave of Absence
Admissions Probation/Suspension
Attendance Credit Waivers
Course Drop/Withdrawal Program Withdrawal
Grade Appeal Readmission
Incomplete Transfer of Graduate Credit

Academic Honesty

Honesty - A college is a community of students and faculty interested in the search for knowledge and understanding. Essential to that search is a commitment to honesty and integrity. Honesty on the part of every college student has and always shall be an integral part of the plan of higher education at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. Acts of dishonesty conflict with the work and purpose of the entire College and are not merely a private matter between student and instructor.

Violations of academic honesty include but are not limited to:

  • Submitting the work of others as one's own in class or electronically
  • Plagiarism (as defined below)
  • Communication during an examination of any kind, including text messaging and other forms of electronic communication
  • Using crib notes (hard copies or electronically) in an exam, except as allowed by the instructor
  • Obtaining prior knowledge of examination questions
  • Substitution of another student in an examination in class or electronically
  • Altering College academic records
  • Knowingly using false statements for academic benefit
  • Collaborating on material after being directed not to collaborate
  • Forging a signature of a College official or faculty member
  • Soliciting an official signature under false pretense


Plagiarism -The academic departments of the College have varying requirements for reporting the use of sources, but certain fundamental principles for the acknowledgment of sources apply to all fields and levels of work. The use of source materials of any kind and the preparation of essays or laboratory reports must be fully and properly acknowledged. In papers or laboratory reports, students are expected to acknowledge any expression or idea that is not their own. Students submitting papers are implying that the form and content of the essays or reports, in whole and in part, represent their own work, except where clear and specific reference is made to other sources.

Even if there is no conscious intention to deceive, the failure to make appropriate acknowledgment may constitute plagiarism. Any quotation - even of a phrase - must be placed in quotation marks and the precise source stated in a note or in the text; any material that is paraphrased or summarized and any ideas that are borrowed must be specifically acknowledged. A thorough reordering or rearrangement of an author's text does not release the student from these responsibilities. All sources that have been consulted in the preparation of the essay or report should be listed in the bibliography.

Upon an occurrence of alleged academic dishonesty instructors may exercise their discretion in imposing a sanction. Instructors may further file charges with the Academic Appeals Committee against students if they believe that additional sanctions would be appropriate. Instructors shall notify the Registrar in writing of any occurrence of academic dishonesty whenever they have imposed sanctions. Such notification shall include the student's name, course title, date of occurrence, type of dishonesty, sanction(s) being imposed, and any further action requested. This notification shall be effected within fourteen days after discovery of the incident. A copy of said notice shall be sent to the student involved, including the charges made against the student and the grounds, if proven, that would justify failure or other academic sanction. If the student involved wishes to appeal the sanction imposed by the instructor, the student must initiate an appeal within two weeks after receipt of this notification.

The Academic Appeals Committee shall consider as a basis for a hearing that: a) the student claims not to have been academically dishonest;
b) the student claims the instructor imposed an inappropriate sanction;
c) the nature of the offense merits further action.

In academic dishonesty cases the Committee may receive requests for hearings from students, from individual faculty and staff members, and from the Registrar.  The Academic Appeals Committee reserves the right not to hear any appeal in any case where data is not sufficient, the necessary steps have not been followed, and when the committee jurisdiction is not clear.

Further information regarding instructor and student rights and responsibilities and appropriate procedures to be followed in applying this policy may be obtained from the Office of the Dean of Academic Affairs or the Registrar.  

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All students applying for admission to the MBA program are required to complete the designated application process. (See MCLA website for admissions criteria and application process.)
An undergraduate major in business is not a requirement. The program requires 45 credits of graduate business courses. Credit waivers may be available for those students who already possess an undergraduate business degree. (See Waiver policy)

Transfer credits are accepted up to a maximum of six (6) credit hours for core or elective courses with grades of B or better and must be no more than five years old, taken at an accredited institution. (See Transfer of Graduate Credit Policy)

Prior to consideration for admission, international student applicants whose primary language is not English, must receive a passing score on the TOEFL or have completed a prior degree from an accredited college or university in a primarily English speaking



Class attendance is taken very seriously, and students may be penalized for unexcused absences within the grading process.  Students are expected to attend classes regularly, since this is a necessary means of learning and of attaining the educational objectives of the College.  Since course design and objectives vary, attendance policies are set forth in each instructor's course syllabus.



Course Drop/Withdrawal

If an MBA student must drop from a course for extenuating circumstances (such as family situation, military service, or extremely urgent work-related issues) he/she must complete a drop form including signatures from the Professor and the MBA Program Director and submit to the Registrar within seven academic days of the start of class. After the drop period the students will receive a grade of "W" and will be financially responsible for the course.

The student has an option of taking an incomplete if he/she completed 50% or more of the coursework with a passing grade, and may complete the specific course with the next MBA cohort or withdraw from the program.

(See Readmission policy)

Any student who enrolled, but did not attend a course and did not officially withdraw will receive an F in the specific course.

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Grade Appeal

In cases involving appeals of a course grade, a student has 21 days following the completion of the course to initiate an appeal relating to a grade earned in the most recently completed MBA course. The appeal begins with the Faculty member. If unable to be resolved, it then goes to the Program Director and then the Graduate Education Council. Students should contact the Registrar's office for appropriate paperwork . All appeals must follow this chain and the specified time frames as outlined.



A temporary grade of "I" - incomplete - will be used when a student, having completed at least 50 percent of the course, cannot complete the remainder of the course due to documented illness, family or work situation, or other extenuating circumstances. Arrangements for completing the work must be made with the professor and documented in written correspondence with the Program Director. Students assigned a grade of "I" will be allowed one year to complete the outstanding course requirements or they must repeat the course with the next cohort. If the course is repeated, the grade of "I" will be changed to "W".  If the course is not repeated, the "I" grade will be converted to an "F."


Leave of Absence

A student whose personal, family, work or medical circumstances require a temporary interruption of graduate study may apply for a leave of absence for up to one year.  Requests will be reviewed by the Program Director and the Dean of Academic Affairs. Since the MBA is a cohort program, when a student returns from a leave of absence, he/she will be required to make up the missed courses with the next cohort, or may request the option of joining the next cohort. (See Readmission policy.)



Graduate students at MCLA are expected to maintain a GPA of 3.0 or better in all of their coursework. A student who fails to achieve a cumulative GPA of 3.0 will be placed on academic probation and must meet with the Program Director to discuss the situation which may cause the student's inability to maintain the required GPA. Failure to show improvement in the next two courses may lead to suspension. All MBA students must have at least a 3.0 cumulative average in order to graduate from the program.

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Credit Waivers

Credit waivers for up to five of the foundation courses may be available to those students who have an undergraduate degree in business from an accredited school. Students must be prepared to show documentation including a transcript of the grades received in those courses, a course syllabus and the text and/or materials used in the course. Waivers are given at the discretion of the Program Director.

Program Withdrawal

Students who have been accepted into the MBA program may defer admission for up to one year. If the student does not enroll in courses within that year, he/she must formally withdraw from the program by completing a Withdrawal from College form obtained from Advising Services. The form must be signed by the Program Director.



Students who are admitted to and enroll in the MBA program, but who take a leave of absence, may be away from the program for up to one year without being required to reapply for admission. After one year, they must complete another application form and submit an updated resume. The application will be evaluated based on the current admission standards at the time of the request for readmission, and reentry to the program will be based on qualifications and space available in the current cohort.


Transfer of Graduate Credit

Transfer of graduate credits from another institution will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The decision criteria include currency, relevance to the MBA curriculum, and the quality (accreditation) of the institution at which the course was completed. Any potential transfer credit must have earned a grade of B or better. Requests for transfer credit (maximum of six credits) must be submitted to the Program Director.

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