Academic Standards and Advisement

Academic Advising, Course Registration and Concentration Selection

Each MPA student is assigned a faculty advisor to guide them through the course registration and concentration selection process. Students and advisors meet a minimum of one time per semester to jointly determine an appropriate schedule of courses based on current course offerings, curriculum requirements, and student preferences. This meeting can be held in person or conducted via telephone or videoconferencing.

The current MPA Course Rotation Schedule should be used to determine course schedules and desired graduation dates.

Picture of login area on homepage

Course Registration

Students can register for courses through myWCU. To do this, students need to first activate their student account. Directions for Activating a Student Account .

Once students have activated their account, they can follow the Scheduling Classes in myWCU guidelines. These instructions can also be found by visiting the Registrar’s homepage and selecting the General Registration tab.

Sequencing of Core Courses, Required Concentration Courses and Electives

All students entering the program will register for PPA 500, Foundations of Public Service. Based on the MPA Director’s assessment of each student’s application materials, PPA 512, Communication for Public Administrators, may also be required.

PPA 501, Analysis and Decision Making I, is a pre-requisite for PPA 502, Analysis and Decision Making II.

The sequencing of subsequent required core and concentration courses as well as electives will be determined by each student and their faculty advisor, taking into consideration current course offerings, curriculum requirements, and the student’s desired graduation date.

Grades and Academic Standards

Grades of A, B, or C are the only grades to be considered as passing. A maximum of six semester hours with a grade of "C" may count toward the completion of degree requirements. However, each of the six administrative core courses must be completed with a minimum grade of "B-." Students must also maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 point scale. 

A student must maintain a B average to remain in good standing in the MPA program. Students whose graduate GPA falls below 3.0 are placed on academic probation. Such students must bring their GPA up to 3.0 within a semester. Students who fail to do this will receive a notice of termination from the program.

A student who accumulates a combination of three or more No Grade (NG) reports will not be permitted to register for more courses.

A student who has received a grade of C or D may repeat that course upon approval of the MPA Director and The Graduate School. When a student repeats a course, the grade point average is calculated on the basis of the last grade attempted.

A student earning an F grade in any course will be dismissed from the MPA program and the University. An F earned at WCU may not be made up at another institution of higher learning for the same course.

MPA Communication Policy

All official advising and course communication will utilize WCU’s webmail, myWCU, and D2L systems. Students who prefer to use alternate email addresses should arrange to have their WCU emails forwarded to that account. If you are experiencing problems with your webmail or D2L account, you can visit or call the Student HelpDesk at (610) 436-3350.

Accessing D2L

All MPA courses, both online and in-class, are administered through the University’s learning management System (LMS), Desire2Learn (D2L). To access D2L students should:

  1. Open up an Internet browser (i.e., Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Safari)
  2. Go to (You can also access D2L from the WCU main page.)
  3. Enter the same network USERNAME and PASSWORD you use for Webmail and myWCU.
    1. Your username is your initials followed by your 6 digit
    2. Example: John Smith =
  4. Generic password for first-time WCU students is WCU-full birthdate (MMDDYY. Ex. WCU-062482. This should be changed once you set up your e-mail or myWCU account.

After successfully logging into D2L, students should:

  1. Look for the box labeled My Courses on the RIGHT of the MY Home screen. The names of the courses will be underlined and in blue type.  Click the name of the course that you wish to access.
  2. Once inside a D2L course, use the navigational tool bar along the top of your course homepage. The links located on this tool bar allow you to access materials within your course. 
  3. This course will use the following tools:
    1. Content will include the course syllabus, course reference materials, assignment prompts, and class presentations.
    2. Dropbox will be used for the electronic submission of all assignments.
    3. Collaborations/Discussions forums will be used for peer editing.
    4. Collaborations/Online Rooms will be used for online synchronous individual progress meetings.

Faculty will activate individual course pages no later than one week prior to the first day of the semester. Until they are activated, courses will not show in your My Courses list.

Academic Integrity

The MPA program at WCU is dedicated to holding its students and faculty to the highest standards of academic integrity. To that end, students cannot claim ignorance when it comes to such violations as plagiarism, cheating, and academic misconduct, and must equip themselves with tools to avoid such violations. 

“I didn’t mean to cheat” or “I didn’t realize that was plagiarism,” are not excuses that will be acceptable to faculty members.

For complete information on violations of academic integrity, penalties, sanctions, and hearing procedures, please refer to the Graduate Catalog

For tips on avoiding plagiarism, citing sources properly, and other helpful information, please refer to Plagiarism: Sharing or Stealing Information on the Library Services site.  There you will find:

For questions on intellectual property (including questions on copyright), please refer to Library Services' Research Guide on Intellectual Property.

Notification of Withdrawal from Classes or the Program

If a student needs to withdraw from a class, they must notify the university using the instructions on the Graduate School's website.

1.     Students may drop any course from their schedule through the myWCU portal during the drop period. See the academic calendar published on the Registrar's Office website for the official drop deadline dates for each semester.

2.     A grade of W will be entered on the academic record of any student who drops a course between the end of the drop/add period and before the end of the ninth class week or the equivalent in summer sessions. Course withdrawal forms are available on The Graduate School website.

If a student is only scheduled for one course, then withdrawal from the course at any time is considered a withdrawal from the University.

Withdrawal from the University

Students wishing to withdraw from the University must contact the Graduate School and follow the prescribed procedures. If illness or some other emergency interrupts the student's work, they must notify the Graduate School immediately. Unless a student withdraws officially, F grades will be recorded for unfinished courses.

Leave of Absence

Students in a degree program who will not be registering for coursework during the Fall or Spring semesters should file a request for a leave of absence with the Graduate School. A leave of absence may be granted for a minimum of one calendar year. The request should be filed in advance of the semester in which course work is halted. Approved leaves of absence do not release the student from the six-year time limitation stipulated for the completion of degree requirements. Leave of absence request forms may be obtained online through The Graduate School. Please also read the Enrollment Policy about continuous registration in the Graduate Catalog.

Grade Appeals

If a student receives a grade, which is believed to be unfair, the first course of action should be to speak directly with the instructor in order to try to resolve the problem. If the discussion does not result in a satisfactory resolution, the student is free to pursue the issue further by following the University’s grade appeals policy.

Grade appeals in the MPA program follow the guidelines published in the University Graduate Catalog. Please note that the grade appeals policy stipulates specific reasons for which a grade may be appealed and imposes very strict time limits for each step of the appeals process.

Petitions for an Exception to Policy

In certain instances, students may wish to submit a petition for an exception to policy. Petitions are student generated and submitted to the MPA Director. The MPA Director indicates whether the department supports the petition and forwards it to the College of Business and Public Management Dean’s Office where the Dean or Dean’s designee indicates their decision to support or deny the petition. The petition is then forwarded to the Graduate School, where the Graduate Dean or Graduate Dean’s designee makes a final decision. 

The Petition for an Exception to Policy form can be found at the Graduate School homepage > Current Students > Graduate School Forms and needs to be submitted in excel format.


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