Academic Rules & Procedures for Graduate Programs
Registration is required of all students in accordance with the University’s procedures and regulations. Late registration requires payment of an additional late registration fee. Students will not be permitted to register after the late registration period.
Upon admission, students will be assigned Academic Advisors who will assist them in planning an appropriate course of study. At a later date, students choosing to undertake a project or a thesis will be assigned a Thesis / Project Advisor.
1.2. Course Load
The normal course load for a full-time student is 9 credit hours per semester and the maximum is 12 in regular semesters and 6 in summer. Graduate students with a full or part-time employment are strongly advised to take a reduced load
For information about course load allowed in case of graduate assistantship, check section 5.2 (Rights and obligations).
A student may request permission from the concerned School / Department to cross-register at another institution of higher education that is of academic standing comparable to LAU if a course needed for the student’s graduation is not offered at the university, provided that the number of credits transferred / cross-registered does not exceed the number of credits allowed to be transferred as stated in section 2.4 (Transfer of credits).
Only candidates who have satisfied all the admission requirements may audit graduate courses. Auditing will only be permitted when places are available.
1.5. Program Shifts
Any shift from one graduate degree program at LAU to another requires submission of a new application for admission.
1.6. Course Changes after Registration
Course changes after registration are permitted subject to the following provisions:
- Any course change must be made during the “Drop and Add” period.
- Students will get no refund for courses dropped after the “Drop and Add” period
- All course changes which increase the student’s tuition obligation will be noted by the Business Office, and the added fee shall be collected before the change is finalized; changes decreasing the tuition obligation are subject to the Refund Policy.
II. Academic Rules and Procedures
2.1. Grading System
The University grading system uses a series of letters to which are assigned grade quality points. The Grade Point Average (GPA) is calculated according to a procedure outlined in the following section.
* Not computed in GPA
- Grade A Indicates work of excellent quality (4 points per credit hour).
- Grade B Indicates work of good quality (3 points per credit hour).
- Grade C Indicates work of unsatisfactory quality (2 points per credit hour).
- Grade D Indicates work of poor quality (1 point per credit hour).
- Grade F Indicates work of unacceptable quality (O point per credit hour).
- Grade W Indicates official withdrawal from a course after the late registration period and within the withdrawal deadline.
- Grade P Indicates that the student has successfully passed the defense of the Thesis / Project.
- Grade NP Indicates that the student has failed to pass the defense of the Thesis / Project.
- Grade U Assigned to a course taken on audit basis. It adds no credits and it has no quality points.
- Grade I indicates incomplete work. This grade is exceptionally given by the Instructor when a student, with a valid excuse, did not sit for the final exam, and/or did not present the final project. Students will not be entitled to an “I” grade, unless they have a passing grade of the completed material, throughout the course, and so long as they have not exceeded the allowed number of absences.
- The “I” grade does not count in the average, and it adds no credits to the student’s record.
- Section VIII. A-3 of this document explains how to have the grade of “I” changed to a different grade.
- WI : (Early Withdrawal) indicates withdrawal from the course, after the Late Registration Period and until the end of the 5th week of the Fall and Spring semesters, and until the 14th day of the Summer module. It has no quality points. It does not count in the GPA, and no credits will be added to the student’s record.
- WP : (Withdrawal Pass) indicates withdrawal from the course, after the 5th week and until the end of the 10th week of the Fall and Spring semesters, and from the 11th day of classes until 25th day of the Summer module. It has no quality points. It does not count in the GPA, and no credits will be added to the student’s record.
- WF : (Withdrawal Fail) indicates withdrawal from the course, after the 5th week and until the end of the 10th week of the Fall and Spring semesters, and from the 11th day of classes until 25th day of the Summer module. It has no quality points. It does not count in the GPA, and no credits will be added to the student’s record, but is counted as repeat.
A Withdrawal Form must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office.
2.2. Academic Standing and Probation
Graduate students are considered to be in good academic standing if they maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.00 on all graduate course-work. Students whose GPA falls below 3.0 at any time after the first nine credits will be placed on probation. Only one probation (besides probation upon admission) is allowed during a graduate program.
- Students on probation must get back into good academic standing (GPA ≥ 3.00) upon the completion of nine credits. Otherwise they will be dismissed from the program in which they are enrolled.
- Students who have at any time two repeats and more than two grades of C+ or lower will also be dismissed from the program in which they are enrolled.
- Any student who earns an F on any 3-credit course will also be dismissed from the program in which he/she is enrolled. For 1 or 2-credit courses, please refer to the specific rules of the different programs (such as EMBA).
2.4. Transfer of Credits
A maximum of 6 graduate credits for 30-credit programs and a maximum of nine credits for 39-credit programs may be transferred from another institution of higher education that is of academic standing comparable to LAU or from other LAU graduate programs. This rule applies also to graduate courses taken at LAU in the student’s undergraduate program over and above the total number of credits required for graduation. Transferred credits apply only to courses with a grade of B or above. Unless otherwise specified in the specific requirements of a program (such as Engineering Program), transferred credits should not have been used for another degree required for admission to the graduate program in which the student is enrolled. A request for transfer of credits shall be submitted to the Registrar’s Office during the student’s first semester of residence. The request shall be reviewed by the Department / School concerned, and the decision communicated to the Registrar’s Office.
2.5. Course Substitution
A student may substitute up to 6 graduate credits for an equal number of credits. A request for approval of such substitution shall be submitted to the Registrar’s Office. The request shall be reviewed by the Department / School concerned and the decision communicated to the Registrar’s Office.
2.6. Attendance Regulations
Regular attendance is required of all graduate students. A student who misses more than one-third of class hours in a course for any reason is advised to withdraw from the course within the official withdrawal deadline otherwise a grade of F will be assigned.
2.7. Removal of an Incomplete Grade
In order to have a grade of ‘I’ changed to a regular grade, the student must complete all requirements within one calendar year unless otherwise indicated in the specific program. If the requirements are not duly completed, the grade of “I” will turn into “F”.
2.8. Withdrawal from Courses
If a student withdraws from a course, a “WI”, “WP” or “WF” is assigned. A withdrawal form must be submitted to the registrar’s office within the set deadlines.
Only one “WF” is allowed from any given course. The second “WF” from the same course will result in an “F”.
2.9. Repetition of Courses
- Graduate courses with grades less than C may not be used towards graduation. Any required course with grade below C should be repeated.
- During their course of study, students may repeat one or two courses in which a grade of ‘B’ or less has been earned, depending on the graduate program in which they are enrolled. It is allowed to repeat a maximum of one graduate course in 30-credit programs, and a maximum of two graduate courses in 39-credit programs. In either case, the higher grade(s) will be counted in the determination of the grade point average.
2.10. Withdrawal from the University
Students who wish to withdraw from the university, either temporarily or permanently, must fill out the appropriate form at the Registrar’s Office and secure the signature of the Advisor, the Business Office and the Registrar’s Office. Students who withdraw from the university after the late registration period and before the withdrawal deadline, will receive “W’s” for all the courses in progress.
2.11. Time Limit
Students must complete all requirements for a Master degree within six years from their first registration in graduate courses. Students who exceed this time limit must submit a petition to request extension. In such a case their program of study must be revalidated. Revalidating a program by the concerned Department / School may impliy taking additional courses and / or repeating outdated ones. Revalidation is granted for one time only and the new requirements must be completed according to a prorated time period. Under no circumstances the extension time may exceed one year.
Once a student’s program is revalidated, the student and the academic Advisor must prepare a course completion plan that must be reviewed for approval by the Department and the School. The Registrar must be notified about the revalidation and completion plan in writing.
2.12 Academic Integrity
The University fosters an atmosphere of high integrity by maintaining an ongoing dedication to honesty and responsibility. Any act of lying, cheating, plagiarism, deliberate misrepresentation, theft, scientific fraud, dishonesty or ill use of other human beings is a blatant violation of this Code and will be treated as such.
2.12.1. Plagiarism and Falsification of Research Material
Plagiarism is using someone else’s ideas, words, or work as if it were one’s own without clearly acknowledging the source of that information. Examples of plagiarism include:
- Submitting research work (a report, project, thesis, etc…) written by someone else and claiming that it is one’s own work.
- Paraphrasing another person’s words without citing the source.
- Including material (e.g., written work, figures, tables, charts, graphs, computer programs, etc…) in one’s work without acknowledging its source.
Plagiarism and falsification or forging of research material or data are serious academic offenses subject to disciplinary action by the faculty and / or the Department / School concerned. The severity of the disciplinary action is determined according to the extent of the act. The disciplinary action could range from resubmitting the work with penalty to dismissal from the program. At the request of the faculty, the Dean of Graduate Studies / Dean of the School shall issue a written warning. A copy of the warning will be kept in the student’s file and at the Registrar’s office.
Students caught cheating on an exam receive a score of zero on the exam in their first cheating attempt in the course and receive a warning from the Department / School concerned, at the request of the faculty. A copy of the warning will be kept in the student’s file and at the Registrar’s office. A score of zero on an exam resulting from cheating must be counted in the student’s course grade.
Students caught cheating for the second time in the same course will receive a grade “F” in the course. The act of cheating will be recorded and included in the student’s file.
III. Thesis and Project
The thesis shall be based on original research work carried out in the basic and/or applied field of study.
The Project shall be based on substantial applied work, involving, for example, critical literature review, experimental or analytical studies, development of kits / systems, empirical testing of theories, etc.
3.3. Registration and time limit
Students may register for the Thesis / Project at any time after completion of 12 credits. Before registration, the student should have secured the consent of a faculty member to serve as Thesis / Project Advisor. Once registered for the thesis / project, a student must complete a thesis within two calendar years, and a project within three regular semesters (not counting the Summer).
Registration for thesis / project will allow students to retain their status with the University for two years / three semesters with no additional tuition fees provided that the student re-registers every term (for zero credits and no fees) if they are not taking other courses. Past that date, students allowed to have a thesis or project extension by the School Academic Council will be required to register for a residence fee (0 quality point), and to pay for 50 % of one graduate credit per semester.
- A student seeks a faculty member’s consent to serve as the Thesis / Project Advisor. The Advisor should be a full-time (or retired) faculty member at the professorial rank in the concerned Department. The Dean approves the selection of the Advisor, based upon the recommendation of the Department Chair.
- A Thesis Committee shall be made up of three members, and a Project Committee of two members including the Advisor.
- The Thesis / Project Advisor and student jointly form the Thesis / Project Committee. At least one member of the Thesis Committee (besides the Advisor) must be a full-time faculty in the Department / School concerned. The Advisor, shall chair the Committee.
- The role of the Thesis / Project Advisor is to guide the student’s work until the completion of thesis / project. The role of the other Committee members is to review and assess the student’s work. The Committee members shall be kept informed of the progress of the thesis / project.
- Students must successfully defend their thesis proposal before the members of their Thesis Committee normally within the first semester in which they register for the thesis. Once the Proposal is approved, the Thesis Advisor notifies the Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies / Dean of School concerned using the Thesis Proposal Form (Appendix B1. Thesis Proposal Form).
- The grade for a thesis / project can be Pass, or No Pass (P or NP). The grade does not contribute to the G.P.A.
- Throughout their work on thesis / project, students may petition to shift to another option as allowed in the concerned program (see Program specific Rules and Regulations)
- Students shifting from Project to Thesis option will be required to pay only for the extra credits, provided that the student remains with the same Advisor.
- Students shifting from Thesis to Project / Course(s) option will pay for the additional courses.
- The changes above shall be made at least one semester before graduation, and shall carry the approval of the Department / School.
3.5. Conflict of Interest
A Faculty member shall not serve as the Thesis / Project Advisor or on the Thesis / Project Committee of a student that is either a family member or a business associate. In such cases where the academic circumstances require that a faculty member serves on the Thesis / Project Committee or be the Thesis / Project Advisor, the Faculty shall secure the prior written approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies/Dean of School concerned.
N.B.:Family member: Spouse, parents, children, siblings, siblings of parents, first cousins and any person related to one of these individuals by marriage, or any other relation who resides in the same household with the Faculty member.
Business associate: One in which the Faculty member serves as an officer, director, partner, trustee, owner, or controlling stockholder of an organization related to the student.
3.6. Preparation and Submission of Thesis / Project Reports
- Theses/Projects shall be written and prepared as specified in the “Thesis and Project Format Guidelines” (Appendix A)
- The student should submit the manuscript to the Thesis / Project Committee members prior to the announcement of the defense.
3.7. Procedure for Thesis and Project Defense
3.7.1. Thesis defense
- The Thesis Advisor sets the date of the defense in consultation with the student and the Committee members. The Advisor then notifies the Department Chair and School Dean, in writing, about the details (student’s name, title and abstract of the thesis, date and place of the defense) for the announcement of the defense.
- The thesis defense should be public and the date shall be announced by the concerned School Dean at least two weeks in advance.
- The thesis defense session shall start by the candidate giving a public presentation. This will be followed by an open question / answer / debate session. The Thesis Committee will then deliberate in private in the absence of the candidate to reach a final decision.
- The result of the defense is reported on the Thesis Defense Result Form (Appendix B2). If the Committee recommends changes, the student shall deliver the corrected / changed thesis manuscript to the Advisor within a period that shall not exceed one month. The Advisor must verify that the corrected version complies with the Committee’s requested corrections. The Thesis Approval Form (Appendix B3) is then signed (on 5 copies) by all Committee members. The Advisor submits the Thesis Approval Form and the Thesis Defense Result Form to the Dean of Graduate Studies / Dean of School concerned.
3.7.2. Project Presentation
Each Department / School will set its own guidelines for Project presentations. Once the Committee approves the project, members should sign the Project Approval Form (Appendix B4), which should be included in the final approved project report.
3.7.3. Submission of Thesis and Grading
- The candidate must provide the Library with two copies (one soft in PDF format on a CD and one hard copy) of the final approved manuscript of the thesis for format verification and binding. Each copy should include a completed and signed Thesis Approval Form (Appendix B3). The librarian shall fill and sign the Library Clearance Form (Appendix B5). Besides the student’s copy, two copies of the thesis report will remain at the library, and one copy should be sent to the Thesis Advisor.
- The Advisor sends the grade / Change-of-Grade form together with the duly filled and signed Thesis / Project Approval Form and Library Clearance Form to the Registrar’s Office, after securing the Department Chair’s and the School Dean’s signatures.
IV. Clearance for Graduation
Students shall apply for graduation at the beginning of the semester in which they expect to graduate. They shall fill out the appropriate form at the Registrar’s Office. Candidates for graduation will be officially notified of any requirements that they have not completed.
V. Graduate Assistantship
Graduate assistantship is intended to enhance students’ educational experiences, through providing academic services to their Department / School, such as teaching and research. In return, a percentage of their tuition fees is waived.
5.2. Rights and Obligations
- To be eligible for graduate assistantship, a student shall take a minimum of 6 credits and a maximum of 9 credits in the Fall and Spring semesters and a minimum of 3 credits and a maximum of 6 credits in Summer. Students who are left with one course to graduate may be granted assistantship during that last semester.
- Students with the status of special undergraduate and students on probation are not eligible for graduate assistantship.
- Graduate students granted full (100%) assistantship are entitled to 100% tuition waiver. In return, the student is required to provide twenty working hours per week.
- For partial assistantship grants, the percentage of tuition waiver and the number of weekly work hours are prorated.
- Graduate assistants are not entitled to the benefits granted to University Faculty and Staff members according to the Personnel Policy. The tuition waiver does not cover any repeated course, irrespective of the reason for repeating it, including withdrawal.
- Only graduate courses are covered by the assistantship tuition waiver. Undergraduate courses taken as pre-requisite, remedial or complementary courses are not, except in cases to be approved by department / school.
5.3. Applying for Graduate Assistantship
Eligible graduate students interested in graduate assistantship shall submit an application to their Department / School within the specified deadline. Decisions on the applications are made by a committee appointed by the Department / School and chaired by the Department Chair / School Dean. The committee shall assign graduate assistantship grants taking into consideration the allocated budget. Decisions are to be recorded in minutes of meetings and communicated to the applicants and to the Business Office in writing. The assistantship contracts are to be signed by the Department Chair and the Dean, as well as the student.
5.4. Selection Criteria
Graduate assistantships are granted on a competitive basis and guided by the following criteria:
- GPA and Entrance Exam scores.
- The student’s interests and skills fit departmental needs for teaching, research, or other duties.
To renew their graduate assistantship, students must keep a good academic standing, and must have performed assigned duties satisfactorily in the preceding semesters, as determined by the supervising faculty’s positive evaluation. Evaluation is performed every semester using a Departmental / School form.
Appendix A: Thesis and Project Report Format Guidelines
This guide is designed to provide graduate students with the formatting requirements for all theses and project reports. It covers structure, layout, form, and style. Departments may use additional requirements that do not conflict with the guidelines provided in this document.
1. Thesis and Project Guidelines
Details of this section are found on the LAU Libraries website.
The following presents a framework for a thesis. The information is offered as a general guideline. Students should always consult their advisor for additional guidelines. In particular, the layout of project reports can be different depending on the type and scope of the project. Note that each chapter should start on a new page.
- Introduction: background; statement of the problem; definition of terms; purpose of the study; theoretical basis; contributions of the study; organization of the remainder of the study.
- Literature Review: chronological, categorical or related theoretical viewpoints related to topic.
- Proposed Solution/Methodology: research design or approach (quantitative, qualitative or algorithmic); population and / or sample; collection and tabulation of data; and data analysis procedures.
- Solution Validation, Analysis of the Data, Results, and Discussion: presentation and discussion of the findings, including limitations.
- Conclusions, Recommendations: summarizes the entire research effort; addresses the initial purpose of the study (stated in the introduction); stresses the importance of the work accomplished; leaves a final impression on the reader. It can also include suggestions for further work.
- Bibliography/References: references should acknowledge any work done by someone other than the author. The reference should also include work performed by the author if presented or published at an earlier date. References should adopt one of the standard international styles; the American Psychological Association style for references and citation is recommended. For more information, contact the library.
- Appendices: material too detailed or lengthy for inclusion in the body of the study (e.g. questionnaires, maps). Appendices may also contain information that might clarify the thesis but is routine in nature or indirectly related to the thesis. Raw data and examples of calculation could be incorporated.
3. Style and Form
3.1 Paper: Use high-quality acid-free A4-size paper, with only one side of the paper.
3.2 Printing: A high-quality laser printer should be used for the final copy.
3.3 Headings: In disciplines where section numbering is normally used, the following guidelines apply:
- Chapter title: 18 – 24 pt size, bold.
- Main Section Headings: can be numbered as chapter-number.section-number (e.g., 3.2 for chapter 3, section 2) in 14 pt size, bold. Second Headings: can be numbered as x.y.z (e.g., 3.2.4 for chapter 3, section 2, subsection 4) in 12 pt size, bold.
- First Subheadings: can be numbered as w.x.y.z (e.g., 126.96.36.199 for chapter 3, section 2, subsection 4, sub-subsection 1) in 12 pt size, regular.
- Second Subheadings: preferably unnumbered, 12 pt, italics.
3.4 Text Font: Acceptable fonts generated by word processing programs include, but are not restricted to: Times Roman 12, Helvetica 12, Letter Gothic 12. The font provided through LaTeX is acceptable. Bold and italics should not be used excessively in the text. Furthermore, colored text should not be used.
3.5 Spacing: Double or one and a half spacing is required for the text. Only footnotes, long quotations, bibliography entries (double space between entries), table captions, and similar special material may be single spaced.
3.6 Margins: Left, 4 cm; top, bottom, and right, 2.5 cm. These are necessary to allow for binding and trimming.
3.7 Page Numbering: Preliminary pages of the thesis, that is, those preceding the text are to be numbered in Roman numerals. The first page must not show its page number. Pages of the text itself and of all items following the text should be numbered consecutively throughout in Arabic numbers, beginning with number 1 on the first page of the first chapter. Page numbers should be placed in the lower right corner or center of the page. Only the number should appear, not page 9.
3.8 Tables and Figures: Figures and tables should be inserted at the appropriate place in the text. Figures must have numbers and captions under the figures. Tables have their titles and numbers above.
3.9 Drawings: Any material which cannot be typed or computer generated should be drawn with permanent black ink in neat and heavy lines. Photographs of drawings are acceptable. Xerox reproductions of drawings are acceptable if they are of high contrast.
3.10 Photographs: Mount small photographs with glue. Do not use rubber cement or tape. High-clarity Xerox copies of photographs are also acceptable. However, high-quality scanned e-images can also be inserted into the thesis text.
3.11 Footnotes: In disciplines where footnotes are normally used, they should appear at the bottom of the same page as their reference. Footnotes should be numbered in Arabic numerals. The footnote reference is superscripted and the explanation at the bottom of the page begins with the footnote reference number. Footnotes should have a smaller font size than the text (e.g. 10 pt).
3.12 CDs and DVDs: identify with title, name of student, and date.
3.13 Computer Software: Describe in separate section in prefatory pages (e.g., list of figures and tables). If applicable, state requirements for the use of the software (e.g., hardware, screen resolution type) and any other information necessary for proper viewing of the software.
3.14 Oversized Material: Oversize foldout pages may be included, though ample margins for binding must be included. Leave oversize page unfolded. The bindery will fold and insert them. All pages must appropriately numbered if found in the text.
3.15 Binding: Binding will be arranged by the library, for a fee, in order to ensure consistency. At least two copies of the thesis should be submitted to the library of the campus concerned.
Appendix B: Administrative Thesis and Project Forms
Appendix B1: Thesis Proposal Form
Appendix B2: Thesis Defense Result Form
Appendix B3: Thesis Approval Form
Appendix B4: Project Approval Form
Appendix B5: Thesis Library Clearance Form