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Academic Policies

Faculty Advisers

Each student is assigned a faculty adviser upon entering the M.P.H. program. It is the responsibility of the student and the faculty adviser to work together to select courses, monitor academic progress, and develop career plans.

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Course Registration

The beginning of each term is considered a “shopping period” in which students attend classes they are interested in taking. All students must complete the online registration by September 3 in the fall term and January 19 in the spring term to avoid a $50 late fee. At the end of the shopping period, all registrations are considered final. Note: Courses cannot be added after the registration deadline without permission of the registrar. See below for information on withdrawing from courses.

Students are encouraged to enroll in courses in other Yale schools if there is space available and if the instructor agrees. Students must receive written permission from the registrar of the Law School and the School of Management for any courses taken at those schools.

One course unit is awarded for any full-term course (not seminars or colloquia) taken in the Graduate School or another professional school. Credit is not granted for courses that are taken on a pass/fail or credit/no credit basis. All courses taken outside of YSPH must be graded (H, HP, P) in order to receive a course unit. Courses taken at Yale College (undergraduate) must be 300 series or above in order to receive a course unit toward the M.P.H. degree.

Note: M.P.H. students are not eligible to “audit” classes at YSPH.

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Course Withdrawal

Students may withdraw from a course with the approval of their faculty adviser. Course withdrawal forms are available online at http://publichealth.yale.edu/gateways/students. Students may withdraw from a course until October 17 in the fall term and March 6 in the spring term without the course appearing on the transcript. From those dates until the last day of classes (December 5, fall term; April 24, spring term) a student may withdraw from a course; however, the course will appear on the transcript with a letter grade of “W.”

First-year students are not allowed to withdraw from Introduction to Statistical Thinking I (BIS 505a) or Principles of Epidemiology I (CDE/EMD 508a).

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Exemption from Required Courses

Students who feel they have previously covered the material being presented in a required course (not an elective) can request a “course exemption” directly from the course instructor. The instructor must sign the Course Exemption Form (available online at http://publichealth.yale.edu/gateways/students), and the student must submit it at the time of registration. Exempted courses will be listed on the transcript with a grade of “Q.” Exempted courses cannot be used to satisfy the course unit requirement for the M.P.H. degree.

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Grading System

The YSPH grading system is designed to foster an atmosphere of cooperative learning. Consequently, YSPH does not compute the grade point average (GPA) or class rank of its students. Students are graded only to provide them with a formal evaluation of their understanding of the concepts presented in their courses.

All YSPH courses are graded Honors (H), High Pass (HP), Pass (P), or Fail (F). The Internship, seminars, and colloquia receive a grade of Satisfactory (S) upon successful completion. The grade of “Q” indicates courses for which a student has received an exemption.

  • 1. A grade of Honors should be assigned for performance that is distinguished. This reflects contributions that go beyond the requirements for the course, either in terms of the creativity of their application, the complexity of the settings in which the ideas are applied, or their ability to build on the methods and ideas taught in the class.
  • 2. A grade of High Pass should be assigned for students who have demonstrated a proficiency in the use of class material. Students earning this grade not only understand the material that was taught but can also deploy it in constructive ways for new problems.
  • 3. A grade of Pass should be assigned for students who have demonstrated an understanding of the class material. They must be able to accurately describe ideas and methods and identify contexts in which they are appropriately used. Passing grades indicate that students are capable of performing competently in this domain as public health professionals.
  • 4. A grade of Fail should be assigned to students who cannot demonstrate an acceptable understanding of the core ideas, methods, or other class material and thus lack competence in this domain of public health.

The instructor for each course will determine the specific performance criteria that correspond to each of these tiers of academic achievement. Consequently, quantitative thresholds for particular grades may vary from one course to the next and in some courses may depend on factors (e.g., class participation) that are not readily quantified.

A failure in any course remains on the student’s transcript. If the course is retaken, it is listed again on the transcript with the new grade.

In very rare cases, students may receive a grade of Incomplete (I). It is expected that instructors will require all course assignments, including term papers and exams, to be submitted by the last day of the term. The instructor and the associate dean for student affairs will jointly review each case to approve permission for a student to submit work after the end of the term. Permission may be granted because of an incapacitating illness, a serious family emergency, or another matter of comparable import. If the instructor and the associate dean cannot reach a consensus, the matter will be referred to the Committee on Academic Progress for resolution. The instructor and the associate dean will stipulate the date on which the student’s late work will be due (this date cannot exceed three months from the last day of the term) and will determine the date on which the instructor is expected to submit a course grade to the registrar. If the student’s work has not been completed by the stipulated date, the grade of Incomplete (I) will be converted to a failing grade (F).

Students with a grade of Incomplete will not be allowed to participate in YSPH Commencement activities.

The transcript is a permanent record. Grade changes may only be made if the instructor reports to the registrar that a clerical or computational error has resulted in an inaccurate grade. The University considers an instructor’s evaluation of the quality of a student’s work to be final. Disputes about a course grade that are alleged to result from discrimination based on race, sex, religion, national or ethnic origin, or handicap are resolved through the University’s student grievance procedures.

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Tutorial Support

Students experiencing academic difficulty should seek prompt assistance. Students should first discuss the problem with the course instructor. Course instructors can suggest that a student’s academic difficulties be addressed by a course’s teaching assistant (TA). If after working with the TA the student continues to experience difficulty, the course instructor can recommend that specific tutorial assistance be provided to the student. The instructor should contact the associate dean for student affairs to arrange tutorial assistance.

All M.P.H. student transcripts are reviewed by the associate dean for student affairs at the end of each term. Advisers receive a copy of each advisee’s transcript both as an early warning of academic difficulty and as an aid to planning course load and selection.

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Academic Standards

Students in the M.P.H. program must pass all core and departmental requirements. Any student who fails a required course must retake it and pass it. The Committee on Academic Progress will review the academic performance of a student whose record in any term shows significant decline, or if there is a reason for concern about the overall quality of a student’s work.

Any student who receives a failing grade in the summer session will be withdrawn from the M.P.H. program.

Academic Probation

The Committee on Academic Progress will place students whose academic work is unsatisfactory on Academic Probation. The committee will take into account the personal situation of the student, but a failing grade in any course will normally result in Academic Probation. Students who receive failing grades in two or more courses during a term, or who receive a second failing grade after being placed on Academic Probation, will be withdrawn from the M.P.H. program.

Information on Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) as it affects federal financial aid programs is available online at http://publichealth.yale.edu/gateways/students.

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Change of Department

Departmental changes may be requested during the first academic year. Students who wish to change departments must complete the Change of Department form. Students must be sure to fulfill all course requirements for the new department. Change of Department forms are available online at http://publichealth.yale.edu/gateways/students.

Note: Because of the number of requirements and the sequencing of courses, students may not switch into the Health Care Management Program after the second week of the first term.

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Other Changes and Appeals in Educational Program

Other significant changes in a student’s educational program should be discussed with the student’s faculty adviser and requested in writing to the Committee on Academic Progress. Appeals resulting from decisions made by the Committee on Academic Progress must be addressed to the dean of Public Health, with the description of the basis for appeal. Appeals are heard by the Committee of Permanent Officers, whose decision is final.

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