Graduate Catalog 2010

Academic Policies


Transfer Policy

Graduate transfer credits policy conforms to university policy which allows up to six credit hours of graduate-level coursework in transfer from regionally accredited colleges or universities with prior approval from the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs School of Pharmacy.

Academic Progress

To receive a degree, candidates must satisfy all curricular requirements of the Belmont University School of Pharmacy and of Belmont University. The Doctor of Pharmacy program is a full-time program and courses follow a prescribed sequence. Course availability is limited to courses offered during the fall and spring semesters (exceptions: year-round Advanced Professional Practice Experience courses, Year Four) as published in the catalog. Occasional opportunities arise to provide students unique educational opportunities outside the traditional academic year.

Satisfactory academic progress is required of all students to remain in the School of Pharmacy (see Academic Probation, Suspension & Expulsion below). Academic standing is determined by the professional GPA using grades earned in courses that fulfill the School’s curricular requirements. Unless otherwise stated in course syllabi, grades are assigned using the following scale: 100-92= A, 91-90 = A-, 89-88 = B+, 87-80 = B, 79-78 = B-, 77-76 = C+, 75-67 = C, 66 and below 66 = F.

Academic Probation, Suspension & Expulsion

Probation: Normally, a student who fails a course, is found guilty of an Honor Code violation (including HIPAA & FERPA compliance), who fails to abide by Belmont University community conduct stipulations, or whose cumulative GPA is below 2.3 in any semester will be placed on academic probation for one semester, during which their activity will be guided by a Student Success Plan developed by the Academic and Professional Standards Committee as part of required counseling sessions.* Students are allowed a maximum of two semesters of probation during their time in the program. Additional failed courses, or failure to achieve and maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 2.3 at the end of all remaining semesters, will result in academic suspension or expulsion from the School of Pharmacy as delineated below.

*Probation may be waived by action of the school's Academic and Professional Standards Committee through the implementation of a Student Success Plan. The result of waiving probation is suspension or dismissal from the program.

Suspension: Students are suspended following any of the following conditions:

  • failure of a course that impedes curricular progression *
  • judgment of an Honor Code or Community Conduct violation that impedes curricular progression, * or
  • failure to resolve conditions of probation.

Students who amass two course failures and/or whose cumulative GPA is below 2.3 for two academic semesters will be suspended (placed on inactive student status) from the pharmacy program, and as part of required counseling sessions the Academic and Professional Standards Committee will develop a Student Success Plan to guide activity leading, potentially, to reinstitution of active student status. If reactivated following the prescribed suspension period, students are placed on probation for one semester. Because the level of a student's academic difficulty may be determined by the quantity of failed coursework, failed courses in a given academic semester may preclude the option of probation or suspension, and lead to dismissal. Multiple probations may preclude the option of suspension which may lead to dismissal. Regardless, Belmont University continued enrollment rules prevail.
Students suspended from the school must notify any health-related employers (i.e., hospitals, care facilities, pharmacies, etc.) of their loss of enrolled pharmacy student status so that work assignments can comply with laws and best practices governing the delivery of health care in Tennessee and other states. Failure to do so will jeopardize the student's ability to return to the program in good standing. Belmont University School of Pharmacy provides the Tennessee Board of Pharmacy with active student rosters each semester to facilitate the continuous awarding of student status necessary to accrue pharmacy internship hours.

Students dismissed from the pharmacy program or the university by judgment of the Honor Council or Community Conduct Board will be allowed to return to the program under conditions set forward by the appropriate Belmont University body. No later than three (3) months prior to the desired return date, however, the dismissed student must notify the School of Pharmacy's Academic and Professional Standards Committee (Associate Dean for Academic Affairs) to schedule a session with the committee to discuss the prior action. The committee reserves the right to establish conditions of return to the Doctor of Pharmacy program in addition to those set forth in the preceding disciplinary action. In most cases, the resulting Student Success Plan will include a one-semester (minimum) probationary period within the School of Pharmacy.

*Suspension may be waived by action of the school's Academic and Professional Standards Committee through the implementation of a Student Success Plan. The result of waiving suspension is dismissal from the program.

Dismissal: Students who fail three or more courses or fail the same course twice or whose cumulative GPA falls below 2.3 for any three academic semesters will be dismissed from the school. Dismissed students are not eligible for readmission to the School of Pharmacy; those wishing to remain at Belmont University are subject to University academic progression and retention policies.

Expulsion: Expulsion is a judgment exercised exclusively by Belmont University and results from violations (single or multiple) of rules governing both academic and community conduct as defined by University Graduate Catalog and/or the Bruin Guide.

Appeals and Complaints Policy and Procedure

Student pharmacists have a right to protest any aspect of a course in the curriculum.  The chain to be followed is: Course Instructor, Course Coordinator, Department Chair, Associate Dean, and Dean.  Students are expected to adhere to this sequence.  An appeal must remain focused on the initial complaint, and only that complaint.  Multiple complaints must be appealed separately.  If an appeal is referred beyond the first step, all previous documentation should be included.
 
Grade Appeals

Students have the right to appeal grades directly to the instructor if they believe that an incorrect grade has been assigned for the course.  This must be initialized by the drop add date of the following semester. In the written appeal, the student must be prepared to demonstrate and document an unusual circumstance that warrants a review of the grade and evidences of the grade s/he believes should have been given by the instructor. All written appeals will be reviewed and responded to within ten working days of receipt and responded to in writing either confirming or changing the posted final grade. A copy of this response will be made available to the next step in the progression if appealed. If a grade is changed, a grade change form will be submitted.

Further appeal is through the same process - to the course coordinator, Department chair,   Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and Dean of the college administrative structure of the college in which the course was taken, with final appeal to the Dean of the College. Any appeal must be in writing and include appropriate documentation to support the student’s position that a grade change is warranted. Each step of all written appeals will be reviewed within ten working days of receipt and responded to in writing either confirming or changing the posted final grade.

The final grade is the instructor’s posted grade, which may be viewed in the student’s grade report on-line at the close of the term or part-of-term. It is solely the responsibility of the student to check that grades are posted for all courses taken during a semester and note the grade given for each class.  Unless an active appeal is under review, after the mid-term point of the next semester, neither instructors nor the university will consider a grade change.

Once a final grade has been posted the student may not petition the instructor to do additional work or extra credit to raise the grade awarded. Any grade change as a result of such action will be disallowed.

For grades of IP or I, once the I or IP is replaced by a grade, including a change to F, that becomes the posting date of the final grade.  Administrative grades such as W (withdrawal) are handled through the Registrar’s Office.
 
Appeals for Non-Grade Course Process Matters
 
If appeals are to be filed for grades and non-grade process matters, these appeals should be filed separately.  The chain to be followed is: Course Instructor, Course Coordinator, Department Chair, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and Dean of the College.  Students are expected to adhere to this sequence.  Further appeal is through the administrative structure of the college in which the course was taken, with final appeal to the Dean of the College. Any appeal must be in writing and include appropriate documentation to support the student’s position. All written appeals will be reviewed within one month of receipt and responded to in writing, with a statement, and next steps (including appeals) to be taken by the student, if any.
 
Appeals and Complaints for Non-Course Matters
 
Any student who believes he or she has been treated inappropriately or unfairly by a University employee or process may seek resolution through the University Dean of Students office. The Associate Provost and Dean of Students serves as the primary coordinator of response and support to students with concerns or those in crisis.  Students may file a formal complaint by e-mailing deanofstudents@belmont.edu describing the treatment, action or decision at issue and the remedy sought. Complaints will be investigated or referred to other offices as necessary. Because the University already has identified several mechanisms for dispute resolution (e.g. the Grade Appeal process), students who contact the Dean of Students Office may be redirected to established channels or the dean of an academic college if these have not already been engaged.  A written response regarding the issue will be sent to the student who initiated the complaint within 30 days.
 
Complaints regarding treatment by non-academic employees of the university should be made to the supervisor of the employee or to the Office of the Dean of Students.  Any other student complaint regarding unfair treatment should be reported to the Office of the Dean of Students.  If a student is not sure how to file a complaint or appeal, the Office of the Dean of Students will assist the student and may be reached via email at deanofstudents@belmont.edu.
 
Students also have a right to submit a formal complaint to the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) for unsatisfactorily resolved issues related to the accreditation standards.
 
NOTE:  For further detail, please refer to the Bruin Guide, the Graduate Catalog, and the Belmont College of Pharmacy Student Handbook.

Appeals for Reactivation of Student Status:

Students dismissed for academic reasons may apply in writing to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for reactivation, no later than three months before the desired return date (unless stipulated differently in the individual Student Success Plan). The letter should explain reasons for prior academic difficulty and measures taken to ensure the ability to raise the GPA, including completing stipulations contained in the Student Success Plan created by the School’s Academic and Professional Standards Committee during mandatory counseling sessions embedded in the probation and suspension process. The Academic and Professional Standards Committee decides on reactivation of student status. Reactivated students must understand that additional failed courses or failure to achieve and maintain a minimum cumulative 2.3 GPA for all remaining academic semesters may result in dismissal from the School of Pharmacy. Additionally, upon reactivation, students may find that catalog requirements for graduation have changed and they will be held accountable to these new requirements. Associated Consequences: Students on academic probation and students suspended from the School of Pharmacy may not serve as officers or committee members in campus organization, participate in extracurricular activities sponsored by Belmont University that involve appreciable amounts of time, or be employed by any Belmont department. Outside employment for students on academic probation is discouraged.

Course Prerequisites: A student may not take a course until all prerequisites for that course have been successfully completed.

Progression to Advanced Professional Practice Experiences: A 2.3 minimum cumulative GPA is required before entering the Advanced Professional Practice Experience (APPE) courses in year four.

Time to Degree Completion: Students have six (6) academic years from the original matriculation date to complete the entire prescribed curriculum.

Withdrawals and Leaves

The BUSOP curriculum is organized in a sequential and complementary manner, making it imperative that the proper sequence and timing of courses be maintained.  Students considering a complete withdrawal or wishing to explore options for formal leave from the School should schedule time with their faculty advisor to discuss their options and to follow established protocol.

Withdrawal from the School of Pharmacy requires a written request for withdrawal submitted to the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs (Pharmacy) and an exit interview with the School Dean prior to initiating formal withdrawal procedures with Belmont University to determine eligibility for readmission in the future.  Students should consult with the Office of the Registrar to determine if a tuition refund is possible. 

Situations arise that require students to leave the pharmacy program for extended periods to deal with family, health, military and other substantial obligations. To facilitate the decision-making process, students should begin the process of exploring a leave request by discussing their situation with their faculty advisor. Faculty advisors will assist students through the leave request process. Students requesting a leave from the School of Pharmacy should provide the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs (Pharmacy) with a written leave request that includes reason for the leave request, estimation of duration of leave, and any other relevant information. The Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, in consultation with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, will forward a recommendation to the Dean for review. If approved, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will provide the student with a letter summarizing the details of the leave, including duration, required timetable for communication, point of reentry into the curriculum, etc. Two signed copies of this letter will be maintained: one by the School of Pharmacy in the student file; one by the student.

Readmission to the Program may only be considered for students who were granted a readmission option at time of withdrawal and requires written notification to the Dean by May 1 prior to the academic year of the proposed return.  Readmission is subject to seat availability, successful completion of any stipulations for readmission, and the approval of the Academic Standards Committee.

Graduation Requirements

To be eligible to graduate, students must complete all curricular requirements with a grade of “C” or better, have a final, cumulative GPA of 2.3 or better, and have completed the prescribed curriculum of 150 minimum earned graduate credit hours within six years of the original matriculation date.

Financial Aid

Students in good standing are eligible for scholarships awarded by the School of Pharmacy and its community partners. Scholarship eligibility criteria and application processes are managed by the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. Information on federal loan programs is listed under “Financing Your Education” in the Belmont University Catalog.