Academic Policies

Students enrolled in the university are responsible for familiarizing themselves with and understanding the implications of all institutional policies, procedures and requirements affecting progress toward their academic goals. These include, but are not limited to, degree and major course requirements, and the university’s grading and course repeat policies. Students who fail to comply with these policies, procedures and requirements do so at their own risk.

Graduate Course Waiver Policy

As part of a student’s acceptance, Graduate Admissions will list the courses that a student is eligible to waive.

  1. The waiver appeal process is as follows:
    1. Prior to the last day of Add/Drop in the first semester, students complete a Pre-Add/Drop Waiver Appeal (found at: bentley.edu/graduate/graduate-course-waiver-policy-and-appeal-form) and submit it to Graduate Admissions with detailed documentation about the course they completed and an explanation of why they believe the course should be waived.
    2. Fall admits must submit all documentation by July 1 of the application year. Spring admits must submit all documentation by November 1 of the application year.
    3. If requesting more than one waiver, students must complete a separate form for each contact person.
    4. Graduate Admissions will evaluate all waiver appeals between the first and third weeks of July/November of the application year.
    5. This evaluation process may require input from program directors.
    6. Students will be notified of the results of their appeal after the third week of July/November, which precedes graduate course registration.
    7. Students should not contact program directors directly to ask about appeals during this time, and program directors should refer all requests in this timeframe to Graduate Admissions.
    8. Graduate Admissions will continue with late appeals through the Add/Drop period.
  2. After the Add/Drop period ends, a student must work directly with the designated representative for each course using the Post Add/Drop Waiver Appeal Form available on  the Registrar and GSAS websites (found at: bentley.edu/graduate/graduate-course-waiver-policy-and-appeal-form).
    1. The “Waiver Appeal” form must be completed and all required documentation attached and sent to the relevant departmental representative. The departmental representative will make the final decision.
    2. If requesting multiple waivers, a separate form for each course must be submitted to the course contact person.
    3. A copy of the approved waiver form, which must include the departmental representative’s signature, will be forwarded to the Registrar’s Office. The Registrar will enter the waiver into the student record.
  3. No waiver appeals will be accepted once a student has completed his/her first semester of study at Bentley. Exceptions to this will be at the discretion of the program directors, but such exceptions should be rare and should be reserved for situations that are out of the student’s control.

Grading Policy

Grade Alphabetical Numerical Equivalent
4.0 A 95-100
3.7 A- 90-94
3.3 B+ 87-89
3.0 B 83-86
2.7 B- 80-82
2.3 C+ 77-79
F Below 77
P Pass: Equivalent to 2.7 or better
IG Incomplete
W Assigned to indicate a withdrawal during the period statring at the third week of class and continuing through two-thirds if the semester

There is no audit option for graduate-level courses.

Receipt of Grades

Term grades for full-semester courses are due from faculty within 72 hours of the final exam for a term. Once grades have been received and processed, students may learn their grades by accessing MyBentley > Student Self-Service.

Note: A status of “Good Standing” is needed to register for classes without consulting with an academic advisor, but it does not indicate eligibility to graduate. A GPA of 2.7 in the major/concentration and degree GPA is required for graduation.

International Student Distance Learning Hybrid and Online Course Policy

International students attending Bentley University on the F-1 Visa have special regulations for online and hybrid classes. The Department of Homeland Security requires F-1 students to maintain a full course of study, and the course of study must lead to the attainment of a specific educational or professional objective. A full course of study is defined as a minimum of: 12 credit hours for undergraduate and 9 credit hours for graduate students. F-1 students can count only one 100% online/distance learning class or three credits of online/distance learning course per semester toward the full course of study requirement [8 C.F.R. 214.2(f)(6)(i)(G)].

For hybrid courses, international students are required to maintain physical presence in these classes by attending at least 50 percent of the class sessions in person. Any hybrid course in which physical attendance in class is less than 50 percent will count as one of the online or distance learning courses allowed for an international student. Failure to comply with the regulation [8 C.F.R. 214.2(f)(6)(i)(G) will be a violation of a student's F-1 visa status.

Policy for Resolution of Course Grade Disputes

In very rare instances, students may dispute a course grade. Such cases will be considered by a faculty-led review process described below. Every attempt should be made to preserve confidentiality for all involved in the process.

At any point during the process, the student may terminate the process and accept the original course grade. The Bentley University administration, including Deans, has no authority to change course grades.

  1. All grading disputes shall begin with the student arranging a conference with the instructor. The student must initiate the dispute resolution process within 30 days of the posting of the final course grade.
  2. If the dispute has not been resolved after the student-instructor conference, the student may choose to request a conference with the department chair of the instructor’s primary department, which is normally the department in which the course is offered. If the course in question has a course coordinator, such as for General Business courses, the course coordinator shall be included in this meeting, even if the course coordinator is from a different academic department.
  3. If the instructor for the course with the disputed grade is the department chair, the student should contact the Chair of the Faculty Senate to request that a hearing committee be convened.
  4. Prior to the conference with the department chair, a written detailed explanation of the complaint, along with supporting documents, will be submitted by the student to the department chair.
  5. After the conference with the student, the department chair shall consult with the instructor.
    1. If the department chair believes that the instructor graded correctly, the process ends and the course grade will not be changed.
    2. If the department chair believes that the student may have been graded incorrectly, the department chair will suggest that the instructor consider reevaluating the course grade.
  6. If the instructor still does not believe a course grade change is warranted, the department chair shall request that the Chair of the Faculty Senate convene a hearing committee of three tenured faculty members to resolve the case.
  7.  The Chair of the Faculty Senate is directed to choose by lot three tenured faculty members from all eligible faculty members. Members of the instructor’s primary academic department are ineligible. The Chair of the Faculty Senate will ask the three-member hearing committee to select a committee chair, who will inform the instructor’s department chair that the hearing committee has been formed, except in the case where the instructor is the department chair.
  8. The hearing committee will examine all evidence from the instructor and from the student disputing the course grade. Within one week of the hearing committee’s final decision, written findings and the hearing committee’s decision will be forwarded to the student, instructor, department chair and course coordinator, if appropriate.
    1. If the hearing committee rejects the assertion by the student that the course grade is incorrect, the process ends and the course grade will not be changed.
    2. If the hearing committee decides in favor of the student and the instructor is unwilling to follow the hearing committee’s recommendation, the hearing committee shall direct the Registrar to replace an F or other grade with an S grade. The course will count toward graduation, but will not be included in the student’s grade point average.
  9. Within 10 days of receiving the hearing committee’s written decision, the student must respond in writing to the hearing committee chair, accepting either the hearing committee’s decision or the original grade. If the student does not respond, the original grade stands. Then the Hearing Committee Chair will inform the Registrar, department chair, instructor, course coordinator and student of the outcome of the dispute process.

Missed Exam or Quiz Policy

A student who is absent from a regular examination or quiz may take a make-up examination in that course only with the approval of the instructor. Such approval is given only when, in the opinion of the instructor, the student was unavoidably absent from the regular examination for a valid and sufficient reason, such as serious illness or death in the immediate family. If possible, the student should notify the instructor prior to the regular examination.

Final Exam Policy

If a student has three final examinations scheduled on the same day, the student has the option to work with all three faculty members to find one to reschedule. If no faculty agrees to an alternative agreeable to the student, then the middle exam must be rescheduled. Students must request rescheduling at least two weeks prior to the scheduled examination time.

Academic Standing Policy

Graduate students can carry three different types of academic standing noted on a transcript by term: Good Standing, Academic Probation or Academic Dismissal.

Academic standing is noted by term and will only be retroactively altered for a specific term in the event of a university-sanctioned grade change or reversal of an academic dismissal decision upon appeal; repeated courses will not change a student’s academic standing for a given term.

  • Good Standing: A student with an overall grade point average at or above 2.7.
  • Academic Probation: A student with an overall grade point average below 2.7, after review by the Graduate Academic Performance Committee, is sent an Academic Probation letter with directives and conditions  that must be met to avoid subsequent academic review or dismissal
  • Academic Dismissal: A student status assigned after all appeals are exhausted for a violation of the Graduate Academic Performance Policy.

Note: A status of “Good Standing” is needed to register for classes without consulting with an academic advisor, but it does not indicate eligibility to graduate. A GPA of 2.7 in both the major/concentrations, as well as the overall GPA, is required for graduation.

Grade Point Average

The overall GPA reflects the average of all coursework completed at the graduate level at Bentley. This average is calculated by multiplying each course grade earned by the semester hours of credits to figure the total quality points. Then the total quality points earned are divided by the total hours of coursework completed to arrive at the grade point average. The overall GPA is the average reflected on each semester’s grade report and on a student’s transcript. Graduate students who have completed multiple degrees at the graduate level or who have taken additional graduate-level courses beyond the course requirements specified for a degree should note that their overall GPA and degree GPA could differ. The degree GPA reflects the average of the course work required to complete the requirements of one degree or certificate program including any required Pre-Program or Business Fundamental courses. This average is calculated similarly to the overall GPA, but only includes the courses applicable to the degree or certificate program being pursued. In cases where a student has completed multiple degrees/certificates or has taken more courses than are required for a degree, the degree GPA is the GPA used to qualify a student for graduation honors and nomination to honor societies. The degree GPA is not printed on a student’s transcript.

Graduate Academic Performance Policy

A  2.7 cumulative grade point average in all courses required for the degree or certificate and in the selected major/concentration is required to graduate. The Graduate Academic Performance Committee, a body of faculty and administrators acting on behalf of  the  Dean  of  Business  and  the  McCallum  Graduate School, will review all student academic records for a violation of the Graduate Academic Performance Policy when:

  • A graduate student earns an overall GPA below 2.7; or
  • A graduate student earns two or more grades below 2.7.

The Graduate Academic Performance Committee reviews students after the fall, spring and summer terms. Upon completion of the Graduate Academic Performance Review Process, the chair of the Graduate Academic Performance Committee will send those students reviewed official correspondence. The correspondence will explain the outcome of the review and any specified sanctions.

Academic Sanctions

Actions taken by the Graduate Academic Performance Committee after an academic record has been reviewed include:

  • Academic Warning: results in an official email sent by the Graduate Academic Performance Committee Chair acknowledging the violation of the Graduate Academic Performance Policy; student is notified that further reviews can result in additional sanctions up to and including Academic Dismissal; there is no opportunity for appeal.
  • Academic Probation: results in an official email sent by the Graduate Academic Performance Committee Chair acknowledging the violation of the Graduate Academic Performance Policy; student is notified that adjustments are necessary to continue making progress toward a degree and that further reviews can result in additional sanctions up to and including Academic Dismissal; academic adjustments may include, but are not limited to, repeating failed courses, changes in current course load or a short-term leave of absence; there is no opportunity for appeal.
  • Academic Dismissal: results in an official email sent by the Graduate Academic Performance Committee Chair acknowledging the violation of the Graduate Academic Performance Policy; student is notified of the decision and the Committee's reasoning behind the decision; there is an opportunity for appeal of the decision, as noted below.

Academic Performance Appeal Process

Any appeal must be made in writing to the Dean of Business and the McCallum Graduate School via the Chair of the Graduate Academic Performance Committee within seven calendar days of the original official email. The Dean, or designee, will review written appeals and documentation and determine whether to uphold, alter or reverse the decision of the Graduate Academic Performance Committee. The Dean will notify the student in writing of the final outcome of the appeal once all materials have been reviewed.

In the interim, sanctions issued by the Graduate Academic Performance Committee, including dismissal, will not take effect until a final decision on an appeal is communicated to the student in an official email by the Dean or designee.

All written appeals must include the rationale for disputing the initial appeal decision. Appeals should meet one of the criteria listed below:

  1. New material or information unavailable to the Academic Performance Committee at the time of the hearing becomes available. New information must highlight unusual or unexpected circumstances, beyond a student’s control or planning, and occurring during the term/s in question. In addition, students must supply official documentation for stated information.
  2. Evidence is provided that the stated process or protocol has not been followed.

Incomplete Grade Policy

  • Students who have two or more Incomplete Grades (IG) will have holds placed on their accounts until the incompletes are reduced to one incomplete grade.
  • Students who have an incomplete turn to F may be subject to dismissal per the Graduate Academic Performance policy (see Academic Performance section).
  • It is the student’s responsibility to make arrangements with the instructor to clear the deficiency.
  • An incomplete grade is not counted in computing grade point averages. However, the incomplete will turn to an F on or about November 15 for spring/summer courses and on or about March 15 for fall/winter courses.
  • A faculty member may request an extension beyond these dates by providing a written explanation to the Registrar’s Office detailing the remaining student work to be submitted and the expected completion date.
  • There is no change of grade one year after the incomplete submission without permission of the Associate Dean of Academic Services.

Grade Change Policy

University policy requires all grade changes to be submitted within one year of the grade’s original submission. The acceptance of grade changes beyond the one-year period may be requested of the Associate Dean of Graduate Programs and will only be considered in cases where extreme circumstances have prevented the student from completing the requirements within the one-year allowable time period. Requests to have a grade changed beyond the one-year allowable time period must be submitted in writing to the Associate Dean of Graduate Programs. The petition must include: a) the reason why the course could not be completed within the one-year time frame; and b) a plan to complete the course that has been agreed upon by the student and faculty member. This plan must include the date by which the work will be complete and the date that the final grade will be submitted. This appeal process does not require a faculty member to allow a student more than one year to complete a course and does not guarantee the acceptance of the grade by the Dean beyond the expired time period.

Course Repeat Policy

The following policy applies to repeating any course:

  • A student may only repeat the same course in which an F grade has been earned; this is the only way to remove the F grade from the student’s overall GPA.
  • A failed course may be repeated only once.
  • A student may only repeat a total of two courses.
  • Only the second grade enters into the grade point average, but the F grade will remain on the transcript.
  • If the course is no longer offered or not available prior to a student’s graduation, the student must seek approval from the program director or the department chair of the failed course to select an appropriate replacement course.
  • Students cannot repeat Global Business Experience (GBE) courses to the same country with the same professor, nor can a GBE to another country count as a repeat for an F grade obtained in a previous GBE regardless of a different destination and/or professor.  
  • If the student chooses not to repeat the course, the F will always be calculated in the student’s GPA.

Time to Degree Completion Policy

Students must complete their degree program/s (including any concurrent degrees and certificates) within five years of their initial admit term. Beyond five years, without an approved Leave of Absence, a student would be required to apply for re-admission to the Graduate School with the understanding that previous course work and GMAT/GRE scores would no longer be counted toward the degree program/s; exams and courses must be retaken. A student can apply for a leave of absence for a period of up to two years. An approved leave of absence can allow a student up to seven years maximum to complete a degree program/s. For information on taking a leave of absence, contact Graduate Student Academic Advising.

Leave of Absence Policy

Academic Services, in conjunction with the Dean of Students office, will oversee the consistent application of approving/denying requests across the Graduate School for extenuating life circumstances that prevent degree progress. Examples of such circumstances include, but are not limited to, having a child, serious illness, or the death of a close family member. In rare cases, leaves may be retroactive. In a case of a retroactive Leave of Absence, sufficient documentation must be provided and the requested extension must be within seven years total of the date of matriculation at the university. These circumstances may require documentation.

In some situations, a documented Leave of Absence is not required for domestic students. However, F-1 visa holders must submit a Leave of Absence form regardless of the duration of the leave. A student's active academic status will remain in place for two semesters, not counting summer and winter terms.

Domestic students wishing to take a term or year away from school for work or reasons not covered above are not required to request a leave of absence as long as the degree is completed in accordance with the Time to Degree Completion Policy.

Withdrawal from the University

If a student decides that s/he is unable to continue attending Bentley, the student must officially withdraw from the university by filling out the Leave of Absence/Withdrawal form. It is recommended that students considering withdrawal from the University consult with an advisor in Graduate Student Academic Advising. Once a decision has been made to withdraw, the student must contact the Registrar's office by email  requesting to be withdrawn from the degree program and the university.

Discontinuing class attendance or not taking exams does not constitute an official withdrawal from Bentley, nor does it reduce a student’s financial obligations. A withdrawal from the university must be completed by the last day of classes for the current semester.

Withdrawal from individual courses is a different procedure; all students process course withdrawals through My Bentley. If there is a hold on the student’s account, the student may withdraw from a course by contacting the Registrar's office.

Residence Requirements/Course Away Policy

Students must complete all degree requirements in residence at the Bentley Graduate School. Under rare and special circumstances after matriculation, a student may petition for a waiver of the Residence Requirement for a maximum of two courses (6 credits). Petitions for up to two courses (6 credits) of work completed at another institution will be considered. Courses must be completed at an AACSB- or EQUIS-accredited institution. Courses must also be the final two courses needed to complete the degree program. In all cases,courses must be at the graduate level and carry credits equivalent to meeting the requirements of the Bentley degree. Boston-area colleges and universities will not be considered for a waiver of the residence requirement. Such appeals should be addressed to the Graduate Student and Academic Services. A course-away grade of 2.7 must be earned for credit to be awarded toward a Bentley University degree.

Commencement Participation Policy

Along with those students who have completed degree requirements within an academic year, other graduate students may be allowed to participate in the spring commencement ceremony, provided the following conditions are met:

  1. A student’s account must be paid in full;
  2. After the spring semester, no more than six credits must remain for degree completion;
  3. A minimum 2.7 GPA is required for both the cumulative average of courses that qualify for a degree/certificate and major/concentrations average;
  4. The student must register for his or her final course(s) prior to the graduation ceremony;
  5. The student must submit, no later than March 31, a petition to graduate via MyBentley > Student Self-Service for Students.
  6. The student must not be subject to review by the Academic Performance Committee.

Additional Commencement Participation Information

  1. The above policy in no way obliges the Graduate School to offer any specific summer course.
  2. A student allowed to participate in commencement prior to the completion of final courses will have his or her name listed in the commencement program with the May completion candidates. A special annotation, “Anticipated completion of degree in October of XXXX,” will appear and no graduation honors will be listed.
  3. Diploma orders will be requested during the semester in which the degree will actually be completed.
  4. A student who participates in commencement prior to the completion of studies will also have his or her name listed in the subsequent year’s commencement program. If graduation honors are earned, they will be noted in this listing.
  5. Diplomas will be awarded only after all degree requirements have been completed.
  6. Beta Gamma Sigma nominees will include only those students who anticipate completion of their degree requirements within the nomination year.

Graduation Honors

Honors at graduation are awarded to those students receiving degrees who have achieved the following Degree GPA:

  • High Distinction: 3.80 to 4.0
  • Distinction: 3.60 to 3.799

Graduation honors are not awarded to certificate candidates. GPAs are not rounded. Honors are calculated on the degree grade point average, not the overall grade point average, if both exist. See Grade Point Average for explanation of GPA.