Policies & Procedures

The university's research, scholarship, teaching, and community service are central to its mission. To achieve that mission, it is critical that the highest standards of academic integrity are articulated to all members of the university community: faculty, students, and staff. All members of the community are expected to interact professionally in those endeavors which promote and facilitate the university's common mission. Adherence to professional Codes of Ethical Conduct can and do play a central role in the matter.

Students, faculty and administrators share responsibility for the determination and preservation of standards of academic integrity. Each must adhere to their own personal code of integrity and must be prepared to educate others about the importance of academic integrity, to take reasonable precaution to discourage violations of academic integrity and to adjudicate violations.

For students, education about the importance of academic integrity begins during the admissions process. The centrality of integrity to the academic enterprise is reinforced during new student orientation when students engage in discussion about academic integrity. Specific mention of academic integrity and course-specific guidelines also may be presented in all classes. Programs and instruction about academic integrity guidelines are available throughout students' graduate school career.

Students are expected to uphold standards of academic integrity by taking reasonable precaution in the academic arena. Reasonable precaution involves implementing measures that reduce the opportunities for academic misconduct, but do not inhibit inquiry, create disruption or distraction in the testing environment, or create an atmosphere of mistrust.

The vitality of academic integrity is dependent upon the willingness of community members to confront instances of suspected wrongdoing. Faculties have specific responsibility to address suspected or reported violations as indicated below. All other members of the academic community are expected to report directly and confidentially their suspicion of violation to a faculty member or a dean or to approach suspected violators and to remind them of their obligation to uphold standards of academic integrity. To the extent possible, the identity of individuals reporting academic misconduct will be kept confidential.

Download the full text of the Academic Integrity Standards and Policies.

To report academic misconduct, submit an Academic Integrity Violation Report and supporting evidence to the Senior Associate Dean, Lynmarie Hamel.

The School of Graduate Studies assures that students enrolled for graduate credit at Case Western Reserve University have adequate access to faculty and administrative consideration of their grievances concerning academic issues. A three-step procedure guides graduate student presentation of complaints about academic actions they feel are unfair:

  1. Students with complaints should first discuss their grievances with the person against whom the complaint is directed.
  2. In those instances in which this discussion does not resolve a grievance to the student’s satisfaction, a complaint should be presented in writing to the department chairperson.
  3. If the decision still appears unfair, the student may bring the matter to the attention of the dean of graduate studies. The dean may ask for the complaint in writing. The dean will then discuss the case with the student and department chair to evaluate the details and rule on it. As the situation warrants, the dean may appoint a Grievance Committee to recommend action. That Committee will select two faculty members from the Committee on Graduate Studies of the Faculty Senate and select two graduate students either from the Executive Committee of the Graduate Student Senate or from the student members of the Committee on Graduate Studies.

The dean of graduate studies has the responsibility for the final decision, and the ruling from the Graduate Studies Office will be considered final and binding on the persons involved in the grievance. Additional information about the grievance procedure can be obtained from the School of Graduate Studies. It should be understood that this grievance procedure relates solely to graduate student complaints concerning academic issues.

These leave policies apply to students in the School of Graduate Studies who receive stipends that support their effort toward earning a degree. They apply during the support period. The policies represent the minimum to which graduate students are entitled.

If a graduate student receives a stipend, they will receive support for holidays, vacations, sick leave and parental leave as set forth below. The stipend support for those days will be at the same rate as for normal work days. For all anticipated leaves longer than two weeks, appropriate departmental approvals must be obtained and paperwork submitted to the dean of the School of Graduate Studies prior to the start of the leave.

These policies do not supersede other University policies concerning attendance or residence at the University, (e.g. participating in classroom activities as a student or teaching assistant). These policies only apply to student effort toward earning a degree.


Graduate students are entitled to observe all University closings for Holidays and other recognized events.


Graduate students are allowed two weeks of vacation per calendar year (10 traditional work days) if they receive full support during a 12-month period. Students who receive less than 12 months of support are not entitled to vacation during the period of support. Vacation is not provided during the supported period when students receive support for part of the year. The dates of vacations must be approved in advance by the student's research mentor to ensure that time-sensitive work is not disrupted.

Vacation days can be accrued from one year to the next year only with the prior written approval of the Program and only up to a maximum of 20 traditional work days, to allow for international travel, for example. There is no terminal leave.

The times between academic terms and the summer are considered part of the active training period and are not to be regarded as vacation time.

Sick Leave

Graduate students are entitled to two weeks (10 traditional work days) of sick leave per year, with no year-to-year accrual. Sick leave may be used for medical conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth. Under exceptional circumstances, additional sick leave days may be granted following receipt of a written request from a physician, and prior written approval by the Program.

Parental Leave

Graduate students are entitled to paid parental leave for the adoption or birth of a child. The primary caregiver is entitled to six weeks leave and the other parent or domestic partner is entitled to three weeks leave. When both parents are supported graduate students, the leave may be used consecutively or together. The leave must be used within 12 months of birth or adoption. Parental leave must be approved in advance in writing by the Program. It is permissible to add parental leave and sick leave together for the adoption or birth of a child.

Unpaid Leave

Students who require additional leave beyond what is stipulated above must seek prior written approval from the School of Graduate Studies for an unpaid leave of absence. Approval for a leave of absence must be requested in advance by the student and the student should provide documentation for the leave request and obtain approval. Conditions for the leave and approval must be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies. Continued coverage of health insurance is allowable as permitted within the guidelines of University Health Services and with written approval by the Program and School of Graduate Studies.

Unused Leave

A student is not entitled to receive any form of compensation for any unused holidays, vacation days, sick leave, parental leave, and/or other accrued time off.


These policies do not supersede any HR policy. In addition, these policies do not create a contractual relationship with any student and the policies may be amended at any time by the Faculty and the School of Graduate Studies.

The School of Graduate Studies policies regarding continuous registration/Leave of Absence still apply.

Maintenance of leave records is the responsibility of the academic department.

The university should concern itself with matters of authorship, author-university relations, and copyright in order to stimulate faculty interest in creating learning materials and ensure that the learner, the author, and the university appropriately share the benefits of the creativity, money, and energy expended.

To fulfill these purposes, the university policy must be highly flexible and must be incorporated in an administrative process responsive to the needs of the learner, the author, and the unit of the university which sponsors and/or produces the learning material.

The complete university guidelines on authorship and policy on copyright can be found on page 77 of the Faculty Handbook.

In order to achieve excellence in student mentoring in doctoral programs within the School of Graduate Studies at Case Western Reserve University, an annual review of student progress toward the degree is required for every doctoral student. This review has two purposes: i) to support mentoring of students by providing regular and timely feedback that will enhance their success at CWRU and their career goals and professional development, and ii) to evaluate progress toward completion of the degree. To achieve these goals, the review should evaluate the previous year’s progress, detail the student’s strengths and areas that need improvement, and make recommendations for future action to complete the degree.  

Each doctoral program shall develop its own annual review format and timing within these minimal guidelines:

  1. Every doctoral student will submit an annual progress report to their program, department, or school. The report should describe progress toward the degree in the past year, future plans for completing the degree, career goals and progress toward professional development. 
  2. Faculty of the program, department, or school will review the student reports to evaluate student progress in the program. The review process shall include at least two faculty members, such as the faculty advisor, dissertation or thesis chair or committee, graduate student director, or other subset of faculty designated by the department. Additional faculty members may be asked to provide input to help the review process.
  3. The findings of the evaluation shall be communicated to the student in a written report and, whenever possible, discussed in person, that details the student’s current status in the program, progress towards completion, career goals and professional development, and makes concrete suggestions for future actions. 
  4. Master’s level students may be evaluated in a similar fashion at the discretion of the program, department, or school.

If a doctoral program already has an annual review policy in place, the program shall inform the School of Graduate Studies of what form that review takes. For programs that do not have an annual review policy, the School of Graduate Studies requests that they create an annual review policy within a year from the approval of the policy. This policy does not mandate the use of one student review format. Examples of existing formats for review of student progress will be posted on the Graduate Studies website. For some programs, the annual report can be coordinated with other reporting needs (e.g. NIH grants) so as to eliminate redundancy in reporting for the student.  

Compliance with this policy will be monitored by SGS. Programs shall provide an annual list of names of students who have been reviewed by June 30th. A template of the department review form shall be provided to SGS. Copies of an individual student’s annual reviews will be made available to SGS upon request. 

The School of Graduate Studies shall conduct a process evaluation two years after implementation of this policy.