May 06, 2021  
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog 
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog

General Academic Information

Academic Integrity: A Community of Faith

Lipscomb University is a community of scholars and learners committed to the teachings of Jesus Christ. Our core values of Christ-likeness, truth, excellence and service integrate our Christian faith with the practice of academic pursuits. As citizens of this community, students, faculty and staff share the responsibility for promoting a climate of integrity.

As a distinctively Christian university, the desire is for each member of the community to grow in Christ’s image. The pursuit of truth is a constant goal of the Christian life and lays the foundation for lifelong integrity. In every facet of our work, we seek excellence in the pursuit of knowledge and the courage to make difficult choices even at personal cost. In our service in this community, our actions should reflect the second great command “to love your neighbor as yourself.” This command compels us to respect others, to treat others fairly and honestly and to assume personal responsibility.

The life of the Christian is built on the foundation of serving others and living in truth. A community built on these principles cannot accept cheating, lying, fraud, theft and other dishonest behaviors that jeopardize the rights and welfare of the community and diminish the worth of academic integrity of the community.

The “community of faith” sets out broad principles. From these broad principles follow policies and practices for members of the Lipscomb University community. The community of faith, judicial code and academic integrity policies can be found in myLipscomb in the Office of the Provost section.

Multiple Masters’ Degrees

Graduate students may request to concurrently pursue more than one master’s degree. Guidelines for requesting admission to multiple masters’ degrees (other than admission to specifically developed dual degree programs) can be obtained from the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs. For guidelines regarding specifically developed dual degree graduate programs refer to the following section entitled Dual Degree Programs.

Dual Degree Programs

Admissions: All stated admissions policies and procedures outlined in the graduate catalog for each cooperating graduate program offering dual degree options will apply during the catalog year of admission and enrollment.

• Candidates must apply to each individual graduate program. One application can be forwarded to both programs when selecting the “dual degree” option on the application.

• Separate admission must be sought from a cooperating program if the student chooses a dual degree option AFTER being admitted to an individual degree program.

• Prospective dual degree candidates can apply for dual degree status from cooperating programs at any time prior to graduation from the former admitted graduate program.

• If a student has already received a diploma from a cooperating graduate dual degree program, the student is ineligible for the dual degree option.

Course work: Dual degree programs represent curriculum developed and agreed upon by both cooperating graduate programs, with approval by their respective academic supervisors, graduate academic leadership team, academic leadership team and the registrar, with appropriate SACSCOC notification.

• All dual degree program course work is clearly described and listed in the graduate catalog.

• The majority of course work within cooperating graduate dual degree programs should be completed as outlined and arranged by the cooperating programs. However, some cooperating dual degree program courses may be taken where they are normally offered within the context of a concentration or within the context of elective selection.

Academic Standards and Policies: All Lipscomb dual degree programs adhere to existing policies in all participating academic units that are consistent with the policies described herein.

• Upon completion of the minimum requirements for graduation from each cooperating dual degree program, two diplomas will be issued.


Registration for graduate courses is done in conjunction with the appropriate graduate studies office. Students will be able to register for classes at myLipscomb on the Web after meeting with their academic adviser, program director, or the registrar’s office. Registration will be permitted prior to the first class session. For information on adding or dropping courses, see General Financial Information .

Student Advising

The appropriate graduate studies offices provide advising to students throughout their programs of study. Students will pursue a master’s or doctoral degree in close consultation with an advisor.


Students not enrolled for two or more consecutive semesters (fall or spring) must reapply by submitting the graduate studies application at least two weeks prior to the start of the semester in which they plan to enroll. Students not enrolled for two years or more must submit a complete admission file before the admissions deadline of the graduate program. Refer to the specific graduate program’s admission policies and procedure for official documentation required.

New Graduate Student Orientation

The Office of The Vice Provost for Academic Affairs will host a new graduate student orientation prior to the beginning of fall and spring semesters. The orientation is designed to give new students the opportunity to meet one-on-one with offices across campus and become familiar with the Lipscomb campus. Every new student is strongly encouraged to participate in this program before attending classes.


A student is permitted to audit a course as a nondegree seeking student provided (a) there is space in the classroom and (b) the number of auditors is not more than 20 percent of the credit students. The fee for auditing a course is 50 percent of regular tuition and no credit is earned. With permission of the professor, a student may change his or her registration from credit to audit or from audit to credit during the first four weeks of the semester or equivalent time in non-semester terms. After this time the options are to continue as registered or to withdraw from the course.

Non-Tuition Audit

A student who has successfully completed a graduate degree at Lipscomb University may audit a course in that same program at no cost (conditions a and b, above, apply). The student must complete the Audit Application found on the Graduate Studies website ( Questions regarding non-tuition audits should be directed to the registrar’s office

Course Load

See individual graduate programs for course load requirements.

Special Examinations (Challenge Procedure)

Although the university does not encourage the use of special examinations, there are situations (e.g., extraordinary experience) in which it seems advisable to allow a student to challenge a course by special examination. This may be either for credit or without credit. In no case should a student expect to challenge a lower-level course in a discipline for which he or she has previously earned advanced level credit. Further information concerning special examinations is available in the registrar’s office. A fee is charged for each special examination (see fee section in this catalog). A student may challenge a particular course only once and cannot challenge a course which he or she has failed or a course in which he or she has been officially enrolled (i.e., if it appears on his or her transcript). A maximum of 6 graduate hours may be substituted by special examination credit.

Thesis/Dissertation/Capstone Project Guidelines

Some graduate programs include a thesis, a dissertation, or a capstone project as part of the academic requirements. Students who write a thesis, a dissertation, or participate in a capstone project should work closely with their advisor to make certain that they follow appropriate guidelines established by the graduate academic leadership team and their individual graduate program. Copies of thesis guidelines and forms are available on the Office of Graduate Studies website,  Dissertation guidelines are available from the participating program office. Students in the Ed.D. program should consult with the director of the Ed.D. program for capstone project guidelines.

Institutional Review Board

The role of the institutional review board is to review all proposed research involving human subjects to ensure that subjects are treated ethically and that their rights and welfare are adequately protected. The IRB is composed primarily of faculty members from disciplines in which research involving human subjects is integral to that discipline’s work, researchers whose primary interests are non-scientific, as well as members from the community. The IRB review process is administered through the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Graduate Studies. For information regarding IRB processes see

Grading System and Records

While it may be customary to refer to graduate student enrollment by the number of courses a student takes per term, the academic unit is the semester hour. The three-semester hour course is based upon three 50-minute hours of instruction each week over a period of 16 weeks. In most instances, graduate courses meet for 150 minutes per week. In the College of Education, however, graduate courses are generally 1-, 2-, 3- or 6- semester hour courses, except the 12-semester hour enhanced student teaching experience for students seeking initial teacher licensure.

Class Attendance

Regular class attendance is expected of each student. The classroom experience is considered an integral part of the institution’s educational program. Students who miss a significant amount of class time are subject to failure. Students who expect to miss class should consult with their teachers in advance and additional assignments may be required to compensate for the missed classes.

Students should be present for class unless hindered by unavoidable circumstances.  In all cases of absence, students should notify the professor of the class about the reason for the absence.  With the exception of authorized absences (see definition below), based on the reason for the absence, faculty may use reasonable discretion regarding the make-up of missed work or the applying of academic consequences for absences as stipulated in the course syllabus. However, absences that are authorized absences should always be viewed as non-consequential to the student. 

Any student who misses the equivalent of three weeks of any course may be dismissed from the course: further class attendance will be prohibited and a failing grade will be assigned. (Individual programs and/or faculty have the prerogative to establish a tolerance limit of less than three weeks.) Readmission to the class is by approval of the program director. A copy of the letter of dismissal to the student may be sent to the payer of the student’s bill where approval has been given according to the student’s FERPA rights. The appeal for readmission must be made within one week from the day the notice is mailed to the student. During the appeal interim, the student may not resume class attendance unless the instructor determines that unusual circumstances warrant it. If the appeal is not approved, further class attendance is prohibited and a failing grade will be assigned. 

Students who are removed from classes due to excessive absences and who do not appeal for readmission will be assigned a failing grade at the end of the semester.

An authorized absence is an absence resulting from a university-sponsored and university-funded activity that promotes the institution (i.e., admissions events, athletic events, student ambassador events).  This does not include events such as mission experiences, athletic practice, service-learning activities, and activities affiliated with courses, academic departments, or academic programs of study.  Therefore, an absence may qualify as an excused absence by the professor, but does not qualify as an authorized absence as determined by this definition.

If students miss class due to an authorized absence they are expected to consult with their professor in advance of the absence and arrange to complete any assignments that may be required to compensate for the classes missed.

Students who miss class due to an authorized absence and who have notified the professor before the absence occurs should not be academically penalized in any way for the authorized absence.  Failure by the student to notify the professor of the authorized absence prior to its occurrence could void the authorized absence and the associated non-consequential benefits.

Missed work includes, but is not limited to, submitting assignments due on the dates of absence (e.g., papers and projects) and completing assignments associated with in-class activities (e.g., quizzes, tests, labs, discussions, presentations, performances).  Additionally, academic benefits afforded to students who have zero absences should not be denied to students who miss class due to an authorized absence.  Make-up work should be completed either prior to the absence or within a reasonable time frame after the absence as determined by the professor.


Requests for transcripts should be made through the registrar’s homepage via the Lipscomb website (www. Such requests should be submitted at least a week before the transcript is needed. All final decisions on the issuance of transcripts will be made by the registrar. No transcripts will be issued until all financial obligations to the university have been satisfactorily paid or settled. There is a $5.00 fee per transcript.


All work in the university is graded by letters. Each letter is in turn assigned a quality-point value according to the list provided below. For example, a letter grade of “A” carries a quality-point value of four quality points per semester hour. If the student makes an “A” in a three-hour course, the total number of quality points earned for this course would be twelve quality points.

The overall grade-point average for each student is determined by dividing the number of quality points earned by the total number of hours attempted. Only classes taken at Lipscomb University is included in the computation.

In the case of courses repeated at Lipscomb, only the highest grade will be used in determining the grade point average. The hours attempted will be used only once. For duplicated work, that is, for any course taken both at Lipscomb and another school, the grade of the Lipscomb course will always be used in computing the student’s GPA.

Grades are awarded on an “A” (excellent), “B” (good), “C” (marginal) and “F” (failing) scale.

An “I” (incomplete) may be given under special circumstances, but will be computed as an “F” until the course is completed. In cases where the grade “I” is given, a grade must be established within six weeks (42 calendar days) of the grade being assigned, or the “I” grade will automatically become an “F.” The six week period begins when the grade is assigned not at the end of the term.  For example, if a student takes a short-term class that ends during the semester (i.e. a term I course) and receives an “I” grade, the six week timeframe for completing the work begins at the end of the short-term class when the grade was assigned.

A “W” is awarded if withdrawal occurs during the designated drop period.

An “X” is noted on the transcript as the designation for an audit. Quality points are awarded as follows: “A” = 4; “B” = 3; “C” = 2; “F” = 0.

Grades of “S” (satisfactory) or “U” (unsatisfactory) are typically awarded for thesis work and are not to be included in computation of grade-point average.

An “IP” (in progress) may be given for students enrolled in thesis, internship and independent study classes where progress is being made but not completed by the end of term. In cases where the grade of “IP” is given, a grade must be established by the end of the next full semester after the “IP” grade has been given. A student who does not return to Lipscomb University will automatically receive an “F” on all in-progress grades after one year. Any variation of these policies must be approved by the academic leadership team.

Grades are available to the student on the Web at the end of every term. Students who need written documentation of grades for employer reimbursement purposes should contact the registrar’s office for assistance. Once grades have been posted to the student’s record in the registrar’s office, they are considered permanent.

Definition of Credit Hour

A credit hour (one) is defined as student/teacher interaction of not less than one hour and a minimum of two hours out of class work for 15 weeks (1/2/15 formula).

Application: Since several courses and some programs are delivered in a variety of formats, including distance learning, the driving force for delivering a credit hour commences with identifying learning objectives that can be delivered in the 1/2/15 formula as noted in the definition. Using the definition and formula as noted above, granting more than one hour of credit for a course requires using the formula and increasing the student/teacher interaction, etc., via the learning objectives for the equivalent amount of credit hours desired for the course.

Academic Standing

   Good Academic Standing
     See individual graduate programs for policy.

   Academic Probation
      See individual graduate programs for policy.

   Conditional Admission
      See individual graduate programs for policy.

      See individual graduate programs for policy.


Admission to a program does not imply admission to candidacy for the master’s degree. During the course of pursuing the post-baccalaureate degree, the student must be admitted to “candidacy.” See individual graduate programs for candidacy policy.

Statute of Limitations

Each graduate program of study enforces a program-specific statute of limitations for completing degree requirements. In situations where a student has exceeded the time limit to complete a degree, the student should communicate with his or her graduate program director regarding an extension of the time limit. A form requesting an extension is available in the Graduate Studies Office. Part of the form is a written letter requesting an extension and providing justification for the request. The completed form with signatures should be sent to the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs. Decisions regarding the extension, the length of the extension, and conditions associated with the extension, are made by the program director/ administrators in consultation with the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs.

Final Examinations

A schedule of final examinations is announced by the registrar.


Students must register for GN 999X the semester in which all course work will be completed for graduation. Students who do not file their intent to graduate form in the Registrar’s Office by the end of the first week of their last semester may be delayed in graduating.  To be eligible to graduate, all coursework required for the degree must be completed prior to the degree conferral date.

Graduate students receiving degrees are hooded during the May and December commencement exercises.

Student Grievance/Complaint Process
If a student desires to submit a complaint or grievance about a specific course or instructor (other than an issue related to a course grade or academic freedom, which are separately addressed below), the student must first prepare a written statement outlining the complaint or grievance in detail and meet with the Associate Provost for Student Academic Support. Unless the Associate Provost for Student Academic Support determines in his or her sole discretion that the complaint or grievance is frivolous or without merit, the student will then be directed to address the matter by meeting with the appropriate instructor. If that interaction does not resolve the matter to the student’s satisfaction, the student will be directed to take the matter to the applicable department chair or program director. Should the matter remain unresolved to the student’s satisfaction after that meeting, the student will be directed to meet with the dean of the college in which the applicable department resides for a final determination of the matter.

A student may only appeal the final determination if (a) the procedural aspects of this grievance and complaint process were not properly followed, and the failure significantly affected the student’s right to a fair process, or (b) new information that was previously unavailable has emerged, which would have significantly altered the determination. Any appeal request that fails to reflect either of these grounds as the basis for the appeal will be denied. A student must submit a formal request for an appeal to the Office of the Provost in a written statement of no more than two pages within five business days from the date the student was notified of the final determination. The goal of the Provost (or his or her designee) will be to respond to the appeal within ten business days, subject to extenuating circumstances (including, without limitation, summer break or other calendar breaks in the academic year). The decision of the Provost (or his or her designee) upon appeal will be final and effective immediately.

Further, if the university does not appropriately resolve the student complaint or grievance to the student’s satisfaction, the student has the right to contact the State of Tennessee to determine the course of action. Complaints can be filed in Tennessee as follows:

  • Complaints related to the application of state laws, rules or regulations related to approval to operate or licensure of a particular professional program shall be referred to the appropriate state licensing board or agency (e.g., Tennessee Board of Nursing or Tennessee Department of Education) and will be reviewed and handled by such board or agency; and
  • Complaints related to state consumer protection laws (e.g., laws related to fraud or false advertising) shall be referred to the Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs and will be reviewed and handled by that agency.

Allegations regarding noncompliance with accreditation standards, policies, and procedures may be made to SACSCOC, 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033.  SACSCOC’s complaint policy, procedure and complaint form may be found on its website (

Student Grade Appeal Process

The university affirms its belief that the responsibility for assigning academic grades to student work must reside with the applicable faculty member. Situations may arise, however, when a student believes that a particular grade is unjustified, including, without limitation, any “Incomplete” grade that automatically becomes an “F” upon the passage of time. In that regard, the university provides the following grade appeal procedure:

1.   A grade assigned for student work may be appealed only by the student receiving the grade.  The appeal must be filed with the Office of the Provost within 60 days of the date when the grade was actually assigned. Any grade not appealed within 60 days will be considered uncontested and final.

2.   To file an appeal of a grade, a student must complete the Academic Grade Appeal form that is available in the Office of the Provost. The student must specify on the form the grade in question and include a brief statement of the grounds upon which the appeal is being made. 

3.   After completing the Academic Grade Appeal form, the student must first meet with the Associate Provost for Student Academic Support. Unless the Associate Provost for Student Academic Support determines in his or her sole discretion that the grade appeal is frivolous or without merit, the student will then be directed to address the matter by meeting with the appropriate instructor. If that interaction does not resolve the matter to the student’s satisfaction, the matter will be submitted for consideration to the review committee.

4.   Three full-time, current members of the university faculty will be appointed to serve on the review committee to consider the appeal. The student and the involved faculty member may each nominate one member of the committee. Taking into consideration these nominations, the Provost will appoint the three members of the review committee and designate one member to serve as committee chair.

5.   The Office of the Provost will select a time to conduct a hearing related to the appeal that is mutually agreeable to all involved individuals. The Provost (or his or her designee) will attend the hearing, and the university will allow a representative from the university community to accompany the student at the hearing. The representative may be selected by the student, and must be another university student or faculty/staff member. The representative will not be allowed to testify or address the review committee directly, and may be asked to leave the proceedings if insistent upon doing so, but may act as an advisor and provide moral support for the student. Parents, guardians or legal counsel may not act as a representative or accompany the student while he or she is participating in the hearing.

6.   A copy of the completed Academic Grade Appeal form will be provided to the review committee in advance of the hearing. The involved faculty member will have an opportunity to file a written response with the Office of the Provost in advance of the hearing. A copy of the response, when received by the Provost, will be given to the student and the review committee.

7.   If the student does not attend or participate in the hearing, the hearing need not take place and the assigned grade will be deemed to be final without further appeal.

8.   At the hearing, the chair of the review committee will make introductions and explain procedures. The student will be given 15 minutes to present his or her reason for appealing the grade, as well as any relevant evidence. The faculty member who assigned the grade will then be given 15 minutes to present his or her position and any relevant evidence related to the grade.

9.   The review committee may ask questions of the student and the faculty member as they arise or after testimony is presented. After the student and the faculty member are finished, both will have an additional five minutes to make final comments. After final comments are delivered, both the student and the faculty member will be dismissed by the review committee.

10. Each hearing should be transcribed by a member of the review committee. A student will not have the right to review or receive a copy of any minutes or notes taken from the hearing.

11. The review committee’s determination with respect to the student’s grade will be made by majority vote in private session and will be based on a preponderance of the evidence (i.e., whether the student has shown it is more likely than not that the grade should be changed).

12. The review committee will report its determination in writing to the Provost, and the Provost (or his or her designee) will make the final decision concerning the grade in question.  This final decision of the Provost (or his or her designee) will be reported in writing to both the student and faculty member, and will be final and effective immediately.

Academic Freedom Grievance and Complaint Process

Each member of the faculty is free to pursue and teach truth in his or her respective field of learning. In addition to the right of each teacher in the classroom to present his or her discipline in the manner deemed best, the faculty is given opportunity to discuss any problems of a personal, philosophical, or academic nature. A faculty member’s exercise of academic freedom may not, however, violate specific religious tenets held by the university or undermine the basic purposes of the institution. If a student believes that a faculty member’s expression of academic freedom has violated the university’s religious tenets or undermined the university’s basic purpose, the following procedure should be followed:

1.     The student should follow the student grievance and complaint process described above.

2.     If the concern is not resolved through this process prior to any appeal of the final determination, the student should submit a letter to the Provost describing the circumstances surrounding his or her challenge to the faculty member’s expression of academic freedom. The Provost will send a copy of the letter to the appropriate faculty member, department chair and/or program director, and college dean.

3.     The Provost (or his or her designee) will meet with the faculty member and student to discuss the situation.  Based on these conversations, the Provost (or his or her designee), in consultation with the appropriate college dean and the President, will determine if the faculty member’s expression of academic freedom has violated religious tenets held by the university or has undermined the basic purposes of the institution.

4.     In the event that the Provost (or his or her designee) determines that the faculty member is not in violation, the grievance and complaint will be final and effective immediately.  A copy of the final decision will be included in the faculty member’s file.

5.     In the event that the Provost (or his or her designee) determines that the faculty member is in violation, the faculty member may choose to appeal the decision by following the Grievance and Appeal process outlined in the Faculty Handbook.

6.     The final decision will be communicated to all involved parties.

International Students

Individuals are considered international students if they:

  1. Are not a United States citizen; or

  2. Do not have permanent resident status.

Applicants with permanent resident status do not have to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language exam, but will need to use a transcript evaluation service if any undergraduate work was taken outside the United States.

  1. Financial aid opportunities are extremely limited.

  2. For Lipscomb to provide a student visa, international student applicants must supply proof of financial status (enough savings to pay for at least one year’s tuition and living costs). Lipscomb requires that the first semester’s tuition and fees be paid in advance. Lipscomb also requires proof of health insurance coverage.

  3. International students are required to be proficient in written and oral English before enrolling. International students whose native language is not English must present the results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language OR the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam OR Duolingo with the application. Preferred Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores are in the 75th percentile rank (approximately 570 on the paper-based test, or 80 on the iBT). An IELTS exam with an overall band score of 6.5 is the minimal accepted for admittance. The minimum Duolingo score of 105 will also satisfy the English language proficiency requirement for admittance.

  4. International students must make application at least six months prior to the desired date of entrance with a non-refundable international student application fee of $50.

  5. All applicants whose academic records are from colleges, universities, and institutes located outside the United States must order a course-by-course report from an approved evaluation service. Application for admission will not be considered without having this detailed review on file. All applicants are required to order a course-by-course report.

The services that Lipscomb University uses are:

Lisano International
Foreign International Credential Evaluation
P.O. Box 407
Auburn, AL 36831-0407 U.S.A.
Fax: 334.745.0425


World Education Services (WES)
P.O. Box 01-5060
Miami, FL 3310104
tel: 305.358.6688


Official copies of satisfactory standardized test scores on TOEFL, IELTS, and the GMAT, GRE (or acceptable alternative), must be submitted six months in advance.

NOTE: Graduate credit will not be granted to students who do not comply with the above requirements. Admission to graduate study does not imply admission to candidacy for the degree.

For more information, contact the director of transfer and international admissions at 615.966.1776, email, or visit