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College of Humanities & Sciences

Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture

Appeals of course program requirements

The Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture has a process for students to appeal certain requirements regarding the prerequisites for taking a course or entering a sequence or for graduating with a mass comm degree. Here’s how the process works:

First, we can consider appeals only regarding requirements set by the Robertson School. We can’t hear appeals involving requirements set by the University or the College of Humanities and Sciences. (The University, for example, requires all students to complete at least 120 credits, including at least 45 upper-level credits; the Robertson School can’t waive those kinds of requirements. Nor can we waive requirements concerning the VCU Core Education Program. The College’s Academic Regulations Appeals Committee handles those types of issues.)

The School’s program and graduation requirements are listed in the VCU Bulletin. There, we spell out what courses you must complete in order to be admitted to a sequence (the upper-level courses in advertising, public relations or journalism). The School also sets graduation requirements that are higher than the university’s requirements. For example, we require students to have a cumulative and major GPA of 2.5 and to earn at least a C in their senior-level capstone courses. We also set course prerequisites, which are listed in the mass communications course descriptions.

You can submit an appeal regarding any School requirement to the School’s Undergraduate Studies Committee. As committee members, we give every appeal a fair hearing. We weigh appeals against the fact that the vast majority of students meet all of the School’s course and program requirements. We cannot lower the School’s high standards; we will not grant appeals that reduce the academic rigor of our program.

We grant appeals on relatively rare occasions that involve factors outside the student’s control. For example, we might temporarily waive a non-mass comm course as a prerequisite for admission to a sequence if the student shows that he or she made a good-faith effort to take the course but it was full. (In such cases, we would require the student to complete the course at the next opportunity.)

We will not grant appeals that are based solely or primarily on the appellant’s convenience or financial circumstances. For example, we deny appeals that have been submitted simply because a student failed a course (and now wants to take it as a co-requisite, instead of as a prerequisite, with a higher-level course). And we do not budge on GPA requirements: To graduate, students must have a minimum 2.5 GPA overall and in mass communications.

We expect students to take personal responsibility and to seek assistance from the School’s advisers in staying on track academically and meeting course and program requirements. If you believe you have encountered circumstances beyond your control and wish to seek a waiver, fill out this form.. Attach your transcript (as a Word document or PDF from eServices; we don’t need an official transcript). The appeal must be submitted by the student — not by a parent or other party.

Give your appeal form and transcript to Natasha Long, the School’s Coordinator of Advising. Ms. Long, in turn, will pass along your appeal to the Undergraduate Studies Committee.

The committee includes representatives from all of the School’s sequences. The committee’s recommendation then goes to the school’s interim director, Dr. Marcus Messner, for review. We usually decide appeals within a week.

If you have questions about the appeals process, feel free to contact Ms. Long or Professor Peyton Rowe, the School’s director of undergraduate studies.

Approved by members of the Undergraduate Studies Committee

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