Catalog 2011 - 2012

Academic Policies and Procedures

Academic policies can be changed at any time by the School of Public Health. Students should review the Student Handbook for additional policies and procedures concerning their roles as students.

Enrollment of Continuing Students

A continuing student is defined as a student who enrolls in one of three consecutive semesters. Example: student enrolls Summer 2011, no enrollment Fall 2011 or Spring 2012, re-enrolls Summer 2012. Continuing students do not need to reapply to the School of Public Health to take classes if they meet all of the following conditions:

  1. The student has not received a degree from the Health Science Center since last enrollment;
  2. The student does not have any current holds on his or her record (i.e., immunizations or academic); and
  3. The student has not attended any other academic institution during his/her absence from the Health Science Center.

Students who do not meet these requirements must give a written explanation of the facts surrounding the situation to the School of Public Health Office of Student and Academic Services for consideration. Students who are unsure if they meet all of the above conditions for re-enrollment should contact the School of Public Health Office of Student and Academic Services at mailto:sph@unthsc.edu or 817-735-2401 before the registration period.

Re-Admission of Former Students

Students who previously have been admitted to the School of Public Health but have not enrolled during the last three consecutive semesters (i.e., Fall, Spring, Summer) must follow these re-admission procedures:

  1. Submit an updated admissions application (contact the Office of Student and Academic Services to have application emailed).
  2. Submit transcripts from all colleges attended (if any) since leaving the Health Science Center showing eligibility to re-enroll at each institution.
  3. Former students who have not enrolled elsewhere since leaving the Health Science Center and are in good academic standing are required only to submit an admissions application and the application fee.
  4. All completed applications are reviewed by the department chair for which the student is re-applying. Admissions decisions will be communicated to the student by the Office of Student and Academic Services.

Non-Degree Admission of Students

Admission to the School of Public Health as a non-degree seeking student may be granted subject to the following provisions:

  1. The applicant must meet all of the general admission requirements described in the non-degree section and must meet all application deadlines.
  2. The student in this status is required to receive credit in all courses taken and must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better.
  3. A student who is admitted to non-degree status has no assurance that work completed under this status will be applicable toward degree requirements if he or she is subsequently admitted to a degree program at the Health Science Center. Completion of departmental graduate courses by non-degree students does not obligate the School of Public Health to grant admission to a degree program at a later date, unless all general and specific requirements for admission to that program have been met. Use of Transfer Credit policies are listed in the SPH Academic Policies and Procedures section of the catalog.
  4. A maximum of 12 SCH are allowed while in this status.
  5. Non-degree seeking students are not eligible for financial aid.

Use of Transfer Credit

A student who holds a bachelor's degree may apply up to 12 SCH of appropriate graduate work completed elsewhere toward the completion of a graduate degree at the School of Public Health if the coursework has not been used toward the completion of another degree. A maximum of 12 SCH of graduate work beyond a master's degree may be accepted and credited toward a doctoral degree if the coursework has not been used toward the completion of a master's or doctoral degree. All transfer credits are subject to the approval of the department chair. Requests for waiving a core course with transfer credit must be approved by the appropriate department chair and instructor associated with the course. The request must be accompanied with documentation showing that the previous coursework is comparable to the requirements of the core course. Only those courses with a grade of B or higher from an accredited institution will be transferred. These courses must have been completed within six years of the date of first acceptance for the MPH or MHA program and seven years for the DrPH or PhD program. Any course work from a prior degree may not be transferred toward the MPH, MHA, DrPH or PhD degree. It is the student's responsibility to make sure official transcripts of courses completed elsewhere are furnished to the School of Public Health Office of Student and Academic Services.

Change of Department/Concentration Area

Students who wish to change departments or their area of concentration must submit a new application, statement of professional goals and resume to the Office of Student and Academic Services. There is a $25 processing fee. The student's new application and academic file will be forwarded to the chair/faculty of the new department/concentration for review and an admissions decision will be sent to the Office of Student and Academic Services.

The Office of Student and Academic Services will then notify the student of the admissions decision. If the student is admitted to the new concentration, the outgoing department will be notified by the School of Public Health Office of Student and Academic Services.

Academic Misconduct

Cheating and plagiarism are types of academic misconduct for which penalties are described and assessed under the Health Science Center's Code of Student Conduct and Discipline. Students in the School of Public Health who are found in violation of this policy will be suspended for the remainder of the current semester plus one full semester.

The term “cheating” includes, but is not limited to: (1) use of any unauthorized assistance in taking quizzes, tests, or examinations; (2) dependence upon the aid of sources specifically prohibited by the instructor in writing papers, preparing reports, solving problems, or carrying out other assignments; and (3) the acquisition, without permission, of tests or other academic material belonging to a faculty or staff member of the Health Science Center.

The term “plagiarism” includes, but is not limited to, the use, by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgement.

Plagiarism also includes the unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another person or agency engaged in the selling of term papers or other academic materials. All sources (i.e., internet web pages) must be cited appropriately.

Specific penalties can be assigned by a faculty member for certain cases of academic misconduct (including cheating and plagiarism). These penalties include: giving a failing grade for the test or assignment; reducing or changing the grade for the test, assignment, or course; requiring additional academic work not required of other students; and assigning a failing grade in the course. Other specific penalties can be recommended by a faculty member to the appropriate administrative/academic authority, including denial of the degree, expulsion from the Health Science Center or revocation of a degree already granted.

All students are responsible for making themselves aware of the definitions and implications of academic misconduct. For further information on academic misconduct, penalties and appeal procedures, the student should refer to the Student Handbook available through the Office of Student Affairs.

Academic Standing of Student Officers

A student in the School of Public Health must be in good academic standing to run for office in any student organization and must remain in good academic standing throughout the term of office, if elected.

Appeal/Grievance Process*

Specific policies and procedures have been established for students seeking to appeal an admissions decision, a grade in a course, or an extension of time to complete a degree. The policies are outlined below:

  1. Appeals concerning admission to the School should be addressed to the chair of the department for which the student is seeking admissions.
  2. Advice concerning how to pursue appeals on any other matter can be sought from the School of Public Health Office of Student and Academic Services.
  3. The policy and procedures for requesting an extension of time to complete a degree are available through the Office of Student and Academic Services. A petition for an extension of time must be submitted to the Office of Student and Academic Services. Upon review of the student's academic record, the petition is forwarded to the appropriate department chair for approval.

Grade Appeal Policy and Procedures*

  1. Any student who believes a grade has been inequitably awarded should first contact the instructor who awarded the grade in order to discuss and attempt to resolve the issue. Any instructor no longer associated with the Health Science Center at the time of the appeal will be represented in these proceedings by the department chair over the concentration in question. The student who is unable to resolve the differences with the instructor has 30 days following the first class day of the succeeding semester to file a written appeal with the appropriate department chair. If the instructor is the department chair, the appeal should be submitted to the Dean, who will act as a substitute for the department chair in the following action.
  2. The department chair may follow any of the four procedures below or a combination of them:
    • The department chair may confer with the instructor
    • The department chair may request that the instructor submit a written reply to the student's complaint
    • The department chair may conduct a meeting of the two parties
    • The department chair may refer the case directly to the dean, as outlined below In following any of the first three procedures noted above, the department chair should make a judgment on the merits of the case and determine a specific action in regard to the disputed grade. Either the student or the instructor may appeal the decision of the department chair to the Dean who will in turn establish an ad hoc committee to review the case. This appeal must be submitted in writing within two working days of the notice of decision from the department chair.
  3. The ad hoc committee shall be constituted as follows and shall perform the following duties:
    • The ad hoc committee will consist of three School of Public Health faculty members. One faculty member will be selected by the student and the other by the instructor. If either party involved in the dispute declines to choose a member of the committee, the dean will select that member. The third faculty member of the committee, who will serve as chair, will be chosen by agreement of the student and the instructor. If they cannot agree upon a third member, the member will be chosen by the dean
    • This ad hoc committee should require written statements from each participant in the dispute. Judgments may be rendered upon the basis of these statements, upon other evidence submitted in support of the statements, and upon the facts outlined in an oral hearing, if such a hearing is deemed necessary
    • The committee must make a recommendation for disposition of the case within 30 days of its appointment
    • All records in the case will be filed with the School of Public Health Office of Student and Academic Services.
  4. If the appeal is based solely upon alleged violations of established procedures, either party to the dispute has 5 working days following the rendering of the ad hoc committee's decision to appeal that decision to the dean. Substantive matters, up to and including the refusal of the instructor to act in accordance with the ad hoc committee's recommendation or the student's refusal to accept the decision, may not be appealed to the dean.
  5. The Dean, after a review of the submitted written materials (and oral hearings if necessary), will make (within 15 days) a ruling about procedural questions.

Application for the Completion of the Degree

It is the responsibility of the student to keep track of their progress toward the degree and to file an Intent to Graduate Form in the School of Public Health Office of Student and Academic Services. Consult the Academic Calendar for the appropriate dates. The applicant's grade point average on all work attempted must be at least 3.0 to be considered for candidacy.

Because of the time required to receive transcripts, students otherwise eligible for graduation who complete their last course or courses elsewhere will not graduate at the end of the semester or summer session in which the work is completed, but will receive their degrees at the close of a subsequent semester. This delay is needed to receive and evaluate transcripts.

Information concerning graduation fees is available in the Tuition and Fee Register, on the University of North Texas website or may be obtained from the Office of Student and Academic Services. Students anticipating graduation should consult the Academic Calendar for important dates regarding payment of fees and other graduation requirements.


To audit a course, an individual who is not enrolled as a student in the School of Public Health must contact the Office of Student and Academic Services, submit a resume, and complete the appropriate forms. Final approval to audit must be received by the Instructor and the Department Chair before sitting in a course. An auditor will not receive credit for the course. The auditor's name will not be entered on the class roll, and the instructor will not accept any papers, tests, or examinations.

Attendance as an auditor may not be used as the basis of a claim for credit in the course. Students who are enrolled for credit may audit classes without payment of additional fees; others may be subject to pay an auditor's fee ($175).

A person 65 years of age or older may enroll as an auditor and observer without credit and without payment of an audit fee if space is available and if approved by the instructor. Such enrollment entitles the person to library privileges, but not the use of laboratory equipment, supplies, or health/hospital benefits.

For additional questions, students should contact the Office of Student and Academic Services.

Class Attendance

Regular and punctual class attendance is expected. Although, in general, students are graded on intellectual effort and performance, absences may lower the student's grade where class participation is deemed essential by the faculty member. In those classes where participation is considered as part of the grade, the instructor should give written notice of the requirement at the beginning of the semester. An instructor may request the Registrar to drop a student from a course for lack of participation or one unexcused absence.

If the instructor-initiated drop action falls within the time that the student is eligible to drop with instructor consent, a W will be assigned. If the drop falls after this period, a W or WF will be assigned as appropriate.

Concentrations and similar academic units have authority to establish a concentration-wide or course-wide policy so long as the policy is in accord with the above stipulations.

For information on absence due to religious observances, visit the policy website at www.hsc.unt.edu/policies/policieslist.cfm.

Participation in Commencement Exercises

Students must complete all degree requirements for graduation to participate in commencement exercises.  If a student who has submitted their Intent to Graduate form has failed to satisfactorily complete all academic requirements for graduation, the Director of Student and Academic Services may permit the student to participate in commencement exercises and receive a blank diploma in accordance with the stipulations listed below, at the discretion of the School of Public Health so long as degree requirements are anticipated by the completion of the current academic year (i.e., end of the summer semester).

Students who have three (3) or less semester credit hours remaining to fulfill degree requirements may be permitted to participate in commencement. Such students must be in good academic standing (3.0 or better grade point average). 

To participate in commencement, students must submit a written request to the Office of Student and Academic Services to receive permission to participate.  The School of Public Health reserves the right to deny any request.  Appeals to decisions pertaining to participation in commencement exercises may be made to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

No diploma will be awarded until the student has been certified by the School of Public Health as having completed all academic requirements and certified by the Office of Student Financials as having met all financial obligations to the health science center.  Diplomas will be mailed by the Office of the Registrar to those students who have been granted this option and who have subsequently satisfied all requirements. 

Concurrent Enrollment at Another Institution

Students must secure written permission from the advisor and department chair before registering for any course or courses at another institution while registered for any courses at the Health Science Center. Failure to secure the required permission for concurrent enrollment prior to registration at the second institution may cause the Health Science Center to refuse degree credit for the work taken elsewhere.

Course Offerings

Individual courses are subject to change or withdrawal at any time and may not be offered each semester of every year. Any course may be cancelled from current offerings if the number of registrants is too small to justify conducting the course.

Full-time Enrollment

A student must enroll for nine semester hours for the fall or spring semester to be considered full-time for that semester. Enrollment in a total of six semester hours is considered full-time for the summer.

A student who has completed all but the dissertation, thesis, or capstone requirement for the degree will be considered full-time if enrolled in three semester credit hours.

Students are responsible for meeting enrollment requirements for federal or state financial aid purposes.

Probation and Dismissal

A student who fails to achieve the required cumulative average of 3.0 GPA (B average) on all course work in a semester will be placed on academic probation for the subsequent semester. If the student achieves a 3.0 semester GPA in the subsequent semester, but the cumulative GPA is still below 3.0, the student will remain on academic probation. The student will be removed from academic probation when the 3.0 cumulative GPA is achieved.

A student who is placed on academic probation who does not receive either a semester or a cumulative 3.0 GPA during the following semester of probation will be dismissed from the School of Public Health. Upon dismissal, the student is not permitted to return to a degree program at the UNT Health Science Center School of Public Health. Appeals to a dismissal must be made to the Dean of the School of Public Health.

To graduate from UNT Health Science Center School of Public Health, a student must have a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA.

Repeating Courses

Students must repeat a required course if a grade of F is received.  Students are not obligated to repeat a course if a grade of F is obtained in an elective.  Students may repeat any course twice (maximum enrollment of 3 times).  The best grade obtained will be used in the calculation of the GPA. If a grade of "W" (withdrawal) is recorded on the student's transcript, this is considered one of the three allowable attempts at successfully completing the course.   

Withdrawal Limit

Students may withdraw from a maximum of six (6) courses throughout the completion of their degree requirements. 

Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Grading

The School of Public Health may elect to assign Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory pass grades in graduate-level courses in which the student is engaged in individual research and is not attending an organized class. The student should inquire at the time of registration for such courses whether a letter grade or a pass/no pass grade will be granted. Satisfactory/unsatisfactory grades are not taken into account in computing the student's grade point average.

Student Load

Special restrictions apply to the load permitted to teaching assistants. The total load of course enrollment and teaching assignment may not exceed 15 semester credit hours in any given semester. Approval of the advisor and department chair is required for loads in excess of this amount.

Time Limitations

All requirements for the Master of Public Health or Master of Health Administration degree must be completed within six years. All requirements for the Doctor of Public Health or Doctor of Philosophy degree must be completed within seven years.

Time limits are strictly enforced. Students exceeding the time limit may be required to repeat out-of-date credits, and/or show other evidence of being up-to-date in their major field of study. Students anticipating that they will exceed the time limit should apply for an extension before the normal time period to complete the degree expires. Holding a full-time job is not considered in itself sufficient grounds for granting an extension.

Time spent in active service in the U.S. armed forces will not be used in computing the time limit. However, career members of the armed forces should consult the School of Public Health Office of Student and Academic Services concerning credit given to work completed before or during active military service.

Leave of Absence

If a situation arises where a student must set aside his/her graduate studies for a period of time, a leave of absence (LOA) may be requested. LOA may be requested for up to three semesters. If additional leave is needed, a new request must be submitted. The maximum amount of LOA is six semesters (two academic years). A student on LOA cannot receive funding as a graduate student. LOA status may affect student loans. Graduate advisors will be notified of any change to the LOA. The student initiates the request by completing the LOA Request Form, obtaining approval from his or her advisor or major professor (depending on where they are in their academic career), and submitting it to their department chair. Upon approval by the department chair, the form is submitted to the SPH Office of Student and Academic Services and filed with Registrar's Office.

Once all required signatures are obtained, a copy will be sent to all parties via E-mail. Toward the end of a period of approved LOA, the student must take steps to resume studies at the beginning of the next semester, extend the LOA, or withdraw from the School of Public Health. To resume studies, the student obtains approval from the major professor/advisor and department chair. To extend the LOA, the student completes and submits a new LOA Request form. To withdraw from school, the student follows the normal procedures for withdrawal, including completion of the clearance process. Time taken for an approved LOA is not counted toward the course/degree completion time limits.

Curriculum Plan

A curriculum plan listing all courses must be completed by the student, approved by the student's advisor and department chair, and submitted to the School of Public Health Office of Student and Academic Services before the completion of the first semester of enrollment for all MPH, MHA, DrPH and PhD students. Please refer to the section on Use of Transfer Credit regarding transferring course work.

All subsequent requests for curriculum plan changes must be submitted in writing by the student to their advisor and department chair for approval. All changes must be submitted to the School of Public Health Office of Student and Academic Services. Curriculum plan must follow the guidelines outlined by the school for the academic year in which it is filed.

Definition of a Credit Hour

A credit hour is the unit by which an institution measures its course work. The amount of credit hours awarded for a course is based upon the instructional time and the type of course. Instructional time is measured in “contact hours,” which is defined as the time in which the student is involved in direct face-to-face educational contact with the faculty member(s) teaching a particular course.

According to rules outlined by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, a traditional course in a fall or spring semester is defined as containing 15 weeks of instruction plus a week for final examinations. The School of Public Health (SPH) adheres to the THECB formula of 15 contact hours for each semester credit hour (SCH) and, thus, 45 contact hours for a three semester credit hour (3 SCH) course.

For lecture style courses, one credit hour is associated with a class meeting for 50 minutes per week for an entire semester (or the equivalent 750 semester-minutes, excluding the final exam). For courses offered in an alternative format, (i.e., Summer Institute or Summer Sessions), the class meeting time is adjusted so that 750 semester-minutes of instruction are offered during the length of the course.

Quality of Work Required*

Students must make satisfactory progress toward completion of degree requirements. Unsatisfactory progress toward a degree is defined as:

  • obtaining a grade of F in any course attempted;
  • having a cumulative GPA below 3.0;
  • withdrawal from multiple courses;
  • withdrawal from the same course on multiple occasions;
  • carrying multiple incompletes; or
  • not maintaining continuous enrollment in thesis, professional report, dissertation or other course with this requirement.

MPH students enrolled in the thesis as part of their degree plan are required to demonstrate that they are actively working toward its completion. This requires confirmed submission of written materials and on-going consultation with committee members within the first and subsequent semesters of registering for thesis or professional report credit. It is the responsibility of the student to maintain contact with their major advisor and committee members to assure satisfactory progress. MPH students choosing the thesis option, but not making satisfactory progress as determined by their thesis committee may be required to discontinue thesis enrollment and enroll in six (6) semester credit hours of elective and complete the comprehensive examination as their culminating experience.   

Doctoral students enrolled in dissertation credit hours are required to demonstrate that they are making satisfactory progress toward the completion of their dissertation. Satisfactory progress will be determined on the successful completion of the following by dissertation advisor:

  • While completing the doctoral qualifying examination, students shall be enrolled in the school's doctoral capstone course;
  • After passing the doctoral qualifying examination, students shall enroll in dissertation semester credit hours while preparing and defending their research proposal;
  • Doctoral students are required to successfully defend their dissertation proposal before the dissertation committee authorizes the continuance of any dissertation work; and
  • The dissertation proposal and final defense must be judged acceptable by all dissertation committee members to maintain satisfactory progress.

Any action taken as a result of not meeting the above expectations is subject to the discretion of the department chair.

Administration of MPH Comprehensive Examination

The MPH comprehensive examination is administered twice each academic year: once in the fall semester during early November and once during the spring semester during late March/early April, depending on activities related to National Public Health Week. 

Students are required to register for a 0 semester credit hour course in the semester in which they intend to take the comprehensive examination.  Prior to registration, students must complete an Intent to Graduate form and obtain permission to take the comprehensive examination from their academic advisor. After filing an Intent to Graduate form, you will be notified by the Office of Student and Academic Services regarding enrollment procedures. 

Students who do not pass the comprehensive examination on their first attempt will be allowed to repeat the comprehensive examination during the next regularly scheduled examination date/time.  Students must re-register for the 0 semester credit hour course if retaking the examination. 

Continuous Enrollment of Doctoral Students

Unless on approved leave of absence, all doctoral students in the School of Public Health must register continuously for a minimum of two (2) semester credit hours until their degree is granted or until their status as a degree-seeking doctoral student is terminated. Students in good academic standing may request a leave of absence from the School for a defined period of time (up to three semesters), during which no academic progress is made. After consultation with the academic advisor/mentor and approval from the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, students should complete a Request for Leave of Absence form, which can be obtained from the Office of the Registrar.

*Policy is currently under review and subject to change. For more information contact the Office of Student and Academic Serivces.

This page last modified April 1, 2011