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Spring 2020 Graduate Policies

Dear Members of the Salem State Graduate School Community,

The COVID-19 pandemic has required all members of the Salem State University community to substantively adjust how they engage with one another, not only in teaching and learning environments, but also in how we manage the business related to academic programs. Given the speed with which the current situation has come upon us – and continues to evolve – we have all had to make important decisions in a timely fashion, all with an eye toward prioritizing the health and safety of each member of the community. At the same time, university leaders from the administration, the faculty, and the student body have sought to preserve, to the extent possible, the continued operation of the institution.

The decision to move all instruction to remote modalities for the balance of the spring 2020 semester notwithstanding, the nature of graduate education requires specific attention to matters of grading and related activities.

The information below pertains only to graduate-level courses offered by the School of Graduate Studies. (For information regarding such issues as they pertain to undergraduate courses, visit this news item.)

Graduate Course Grades

There shall be no change to the grading basis for graduate courses. Students and faculty alike are reminded that the grading scale used in each class/program is the responsibility of the program and faculty to determine.  Changes to the grading scale of a course can be affected on a student-by-student basis. Per current School of Graduate Studies policy, any change(s) to the grading scale identified in the syllabus of any graduate course must be executed in writing and presented to students. Students and faculty are also reminded that a grade of 'P' in a graduate program has consequences regarding academic standing and graduation. Please refer to the SGS Academic Information and Policies section of the SGS catalog for information regarding the impact of pass/fail grades on a student’s GPA and academic standing.

Grades of Incomplete (I)

Students who document that their health or the health of an individual under their care has impeded their ability to complete course requirements by the end of the semester, but who wish to do so at a later date, may request of their course instructor a grade of incomplete (I). Per current School of Graduate Studies policy, instructors retain the right to exercise their discretion when granting a grade of I, with a concomitant understanding in the current COVID-19 context that the health and safety challenges faced by many students and their families this term have been extraordinary.

Course Withdrawal with a Grade of W

The deadline for withdrawing from a spring 2020 course has been extended to Friday, May 1, 2020 for all students, including those enrolled in the School of Graduate Studies. Students who do so shall have a grade of W recorded for that course.

Graduate Program Admissions

For students seeking admission to a graduate program in either summer 2020 or fall 2020, unofficial transcripts for academic work completed will be accepted with the caveat that if the received official transcript is different than the unofficial transcript the admission decision may be rescinded. Such decisions shall be made at the sole discretion of the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies upon the recommendation of the appropriate Graduate Program Coordinator.

For students seeking summer 2020 or fall 2020 admission to a graduate program overseen by faculty in the School of Education, official MTEL scores must be submitted no later than December 1, 2020.

For students seeking summer 2020 or fall 2020 admission to all other graduate programs, testing requirements shall be waived.


We appreciate the disruptions you are confronting this semester have required patience, perseverance, and flexibility. For your continued exercise of these three virtues, we are most grateful. Know that the sacrifice we currently face as a community are, in the long term, investments in our future: the physical distancing in which we engage today protects the health and well-being of others, limits human suffering, and saves lives. There can be no more noble calling.

As we move forward together, please take good care of yourselves and each other.


- David J. Silva, PhD, Provost and Academic Vice President
- Monica Leisey, PhD, MSW, Interim Dean, School of Graduate Studies
- Jen Girgen, PhD, Chair, Graduate Education Council
- Marcos Luna, PhD, Vice Chair, Graduate Education Council

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