2016 Graduate Studies

Academic Affairs for Graduate Students

The mission of the Graduate Studies Programs are to provide programs that augment academic preparation for those individuals who have or may assume positions of leadership in their chosen professions. The graduate programs promote academic integrity and encourage scholarly pursuits that are designed to enhance professional performance. These programs have been developed to improve business and community leadership, professionalism, and public service in the region.

Cumberland University currently offers the following graduate programs:
Master of Arts in Education (MAE)
Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)
Master of Education (MEd) (Instructional Leadership)
Master of Business Administration (MBA)
Master of Public Service Management (MSP)
Master of Sport and Exercise Science (MSES)
Master of Arts (MA)

The Graduate Studies Programs are an extension of Cumberland University’s goal to provide opportunities for advanced study in traditional and emerging fields within a liberal arts environment and have been designed after careful study and thoughtful reflection of the needs of our graduates and the community. The programs seek to challenge the individual student in such a way that he/she can realize personal, intellectual, and career ambitions and gain skills from which the society-at-large can directly benefit.

Enrollment in graduate programs are limited. Each applicant should consult with the Program Director for each degree to ensure that the programs of study offered are suitable to the vocational goals and needs of the student.

Semester hours required for Masters Degrees

A minimum of 30 semester hours, in an approved program of study, is required for the awarding of any master's degree. Specific courses necessary to complete each program of study are listed in the academic division sections of this document. The student is cautioned to follow the programs of study, as enumerated, to ensure appropriate and timely progress toward the degree. Note: Certain majors require more than the minimum semester hours to earn a degree.

Graduate Enrollment and Financial Services

Enrollment Services

Thank you for your interest in Cumberland University for your graduate degree! The following steps will guide you through the application process.
  1. Complete the graduate application and return it to the Office of Admissions, or submit your application online at http://www.cumberland.edu/applynow/.
  2. Pay the $50 application fee. You may choose one of three options:
    1. Mail it in: Cumberland University, ATTN: Office of Admissions, 1 Cumberland Square, Lebanon, TN 37087
    2. Bring it by: Memorial Hall, Suite 101
    3. Over the phone: 1-800-467-0562
  3. Submit official transcripts from ALL colleges attended. The bachelor's degree must have been earned from a regionally accredited university.
  4. Meet the requirements set forth by each program.
  5. All students must provide documentation of the required immunizations. For further information regarding current immunization requirements please contact the Office of Admissions.
  6. Contact the Office of Admissions or your Admissions Representative to schedule a campus visit.
  7. Visit the Student Financial Services Office for specific information regarding institutional scholarships. Information concerning scholarships can be found in the current University catalog, or at www.cumberland.edu. If applying for work-study or endowed scholarships submit the application which is available on our website, or in the Student Financial Services Office.
  8. Complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.gov by January 31st. Be sure to add Cumberland University's school code (003485) to your FAFSA.

International Graduate Students

International applicants should apply at least six months in advance to allow sufficient time for completion of files and correspondence. No international student will be considered for admission and enrollment at Cumberland University until all official documents have been received and are on file. It is the applicant’s responsibility to make certain all documents are received by the appropriate deadline.

  1. All international students must file an application for admission and submit a non-refundable application fee of $50, which must accompany the application form. International students may also apply to the University online at www.cumberland.edu/applynow, or prospective students may contact the Office of Admissions to request a paper application. Students who apply online may pay their application fee online. The application form must have all the appropriate spaces completed. Failure to complete the application form or to submit the $50 application fee will result in a delay in processing and consideration of the application.
  2. Graduation from an accredited college or university is required. All students must submit English translated official transcripts of all undergraduate work (see #5 below).
  3. All students from countries where English is not the native language must demonstrate a satisfactory score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examination, 500 or higher on the written exam, 61 or higher on the internet-based exam, or a 173 on the computer-based exam, by submitting an official copy of the TOEFL grade report.
  4. All students must submit an F-1 Visa Student Financial Responsibility Form and all supporting documentation that confirms that the student has funds for the cost of living and studying at Cumberland University for two semesters on deposit at a financial institution in the United States or a foreign country. The F-1 Visa Student Financial Responsibility Form is required each academic year. All international students are also required to complete an F-1 International Student Regulation Form.
  5. International students must submit all international university transcripts to an evaluation agency that is a member of NACES (National Association of Credential Services) for translation, evaluation, and to provide a cumulative grade point average (GPA) on a 4.0 scale. Examples of agencies offering these evaluation services include, but are not limited to World Educational Services (WES), Joseph Silney & Associates, Inc. (JS&A), or Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE). An original copy of the evaluation must be on file before the student is considered for admission.
  6. International students must meet the individual requirements set forth for each graduate program. For further information about application requirements please refer to the appropriate program’s page in the graduate catalog. 
  7. All international students must enroll in health and accident insurance approved by Cumberland University and provide evidence of appropriate insurance. The Designated School Official (DSO) will assist in locating an agent to supply such service.
  8. All students must provide documentation of the required immunizations. For further information regarding current immunization requirements please contact the Office of Admissions.

Upon the student becoming accepted for admission and receipt of the F-1 Visa Student Financial Responsibility Form and accompanying documents, the University will then issue a Certificate of Eligibility for non-immigrant “F-1” student status (I-20).


Academic Information for Graduate Studies

To be considered as a candidate for one of Cumberland University's graduate programs, applicants should:

  • Complete an application for a specific program, including payment of a $50 application fee.
  • Provide evidence of successful completion of a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university. Official transcript(s) must be received directly from the granting institution(s).
  • Submit satisfactory scores on the appropriate entrance examination, if applicable. You may find additional information within your graduate program.

At Cumberland University, a fully admitted graduate student is one who has met all admission requirements and has been given acceptance by the program director.

A provisionally admitted graduate student is one who has met at least the minimum requirement of having a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited university, submitted an application and fee, but has not met all the admission requirements. Students admitted provisionally will receive a letter from the director detailing why their admission is provisional.

Students must complete the requirements to be fully admitted prior to enrolling for more than six graduate credits or one semester. If a student does not meet the specified admission requirements, he/she may petition the director for an exception. This must be done prior to enrolling in additional graduate coursework. Enrollment in all graduate studies programs is subject to acceptance into the program.

Transfer Credit

No more than six semester hours of graduate coursework may be transferred to Cumberland University to be applied as credit toward the Master’s Degree. These hours may have been completed at a regionally accredited institution, be appropriate substitutions for course work required in the Cumberland Degree Program, and the student must have earned the grade of “B” or better for any course to be considered for transfer purposes. The program director will determine the application of the transfer credit. Any transferable coursework must be at the graduate level and must have been completed within the last 5 years prior to entering the graduate program at Cumberland. A minimum of 30 semester hours of courses must be successfully completed at Cumberland University.

Payment of Charges

Registration will not be complete and students cannot attend classes until all tuition/fees are paid in U.S. funds or appropriate payment arrangements have been made with the Business Office. Students must pay all balances owed the University before the end of each semester. Cumberland offers several payment options to facilitate the student with their final step of registration.

Methods of payment are: cash; personal check; money order; and credit or debit cards. Financial Assistance is available to students who qualify. Students should contact Student Financial Services for details.

PAYMENT IN FULL – CU will accept a personal check or money order for the total balance due. Checks should be made payable to Cumberland University and include the student’s full name on the face of the check. The University also accepts VISA, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. Payments may be made online by credit card, debit card, or electronic check at: https://charlie.cumberland.edu/estudent/login.asp

MONTHLY PAYMENTS – Students may make monthly payments by enrolling in the FACTS Payment Plan. Contracts may be completed online at: https://online.campuscommerce.com/signin/4JRVC Payments are automatically withdrawn from a checking or savings account, or a credit or debit card on the 5th or the 20th of each month. Contact the Business Office at 615-547-1218 or 615-547-1250 for details.

THIRD PARTY PROMISSORY NOTE - CU also offers a deferred payment plan to those students whose employer/responsible party has agreed to pay for their classes. Each semester students must sign a “Third Party Promissory Note” stating the employer/responsible party will pay the balance on completion of classes at the end of the semester. The students must also submit a signed statement each semester from their employer on company letterhead.

STUDENT RESPONSIBILITY - Should any pending credits to a student’s account fail to materialize or for any other reason a balance due results, the student is responsible for the balance due. In the event the account remains unpaid and is referred to a collection agency, the student will also be responsible for all collection agency fees and/or attorney fees associated with collections.

All students must have all fees paid and be official prior to moving into a residence hall, participating in university functions, participating in academic or any athletic activities, or receiving other university privileges.



Each student in a graduate program is assigned to an advisor, typically the Program Director, who guides the student in completing educational goals, including requirements for the degree.

Academic Load for Graduate Students

For the purpose of determining full-time enrollment in graduate programs, a minimum of six semester hours is required during each official registration term. Graduate students may take up to 12 hours per semester, additional hours would require an academic appeal for overload.

Graduate Grade Scale

Grading of students in each course is reported by the professor. The grading system shown below is employed for most courses, but is subject to modification by the faculty member responsible for each specific course.

Grade GPA Recommended Numerical Average
A 4.0 90-100
B 3.0 80-89
C 2.0 73-79
F 0 72 or below

I - A temporary notation used only when course requirements have not been completed due to extenuating circumstances. (Does count as hours attempted, and is calculated as “F” in grade point average until replaced with a permanent grade). The student has until the end of the next semester to complete the course. At that point, the “I” is converted to an “F.” Incomplete grades are only assigned under circumstances where it is very reasonable to assume the student can complete the delinquent material. It is inappropriate if more than 25% of the course assignments are incomplete.

W - Withdrawal (does not affect grade point average)

Any student who discontinues class attendance and does not officially withdraw will be assigned the grade of “F” in that course or courses. To withdraw officially, a student must obtain the required signatures on the Withdrawal Form (found in the Registrar's Office, MH-107). Failure to follow proper withdrawal procedures may result in a student’s receiving an “F” in these classes.

WP - Withdrawal Passing (does not affect grade point average)

WF - Withdrawal Failing (same as a "F", indicates the student withdrew from the course while failing)

Any student dropping a course within the time limit noted in the Cumberland University Register, while performing satisfactorily, will receive a grade of “WP” (withdrawal from a course, having completed work to that point satisfactorily); otherwise a grade of “WF” (withdrawal, having done unsatisfactory work) will be assigned. The "WP" does not calculate into the GPA. The "WF" calculates into the GPA as an "F".

AU - To audit a course, the student must obtain permission from the Program Director. Audit must be clearly marked on the registration form and, if a change from audit to credit is desired, the change must be made prior to the second class meeting.

Graduate Probation and Suspension

Students enrolled in a Master’s degree program are required to maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale) in all courses taken for graduate credit. Good academic standing indicates that the graduate students has earned a GPA of 3.00 or above, and is meeting the minimum academic standards of the institution. No candidate may receive a master's degree with a graduate course grade of "F" that has not been successfully repeated as indicated in the Cumberland University Graduate Catalog. Each student must successfully complete the required semester hours of graduate coursework for the master's degree within seven calendar years from the date of entry as a degree-seeking student.

A student who is not in good academic standing will be designated as being either 1) on academic probation, or 2) on academic suspension. A graduate student who is not in good academic standing, on probation, or on suspension shall not receive a degree from the institution until such time as the student is returned to good academic standing. See the table in the Probation, Suspension, Dismissal, and Good Standing section of the catalog for specific requirements.

A student is NOT in good standing if any of the following situations occur:


No more than two grades of "C" in graduate course work are acceptable for degree completion. Upon earning a third grade of "C" a student will be placed on Academic Probation, regardless of cumulative GPA. No student will be allowed to continue in his or her respective program without permission of the Graduate Council if they have earned more than two "C" grades in any course.

The student must repeat one of the three courses in which they earned a grade of "C" in its entirety at its next immediate offering. Once one of the three courses with an earned "C" is repeated and the student earns a grade of "B" or better they will be returned to good academic standing. If the student earns a "C" or below in the repeated course, they will be placed on Academic Suspension.


A grade of "F" in any course automatically places the student on Academic Probation, regardless of cumulative GPA. The student must appeal to the Graduate Council for approval prior to re-enrolling in the course. No other courses may be taken in the program until the course is repeated.

If approved to retake the course by the Graduate Council, the student must repeat the failed course in its entirety at its next immediate offering. The student must earn a grade of "C" or higher in the repeated course, the student shall be placed on Academic Probation. If the repeated grade earned is a third "C" on the student's transcript, they remain subject to the policy above.


A graduate student who earns a grade of "FC", failure due to cheating, will be automatically placed on suspension, and may be dismissed from the University.

Appeal to the Graduate Council

Students have the right to appeal their probation or suspension to the Graduate Council. The student is required to submit a letter to the Registrar's Office by the deadline included in the probation or suspension letter. The Graduate Council will meet to consider the students' appeal. The student will be notified via email/U.S. Mail of the outcome.

The Graduate Council's decision about allowing students to repeat courses will be made on a case-by-case basis. The decision of the Graduate Council may be to allow or disallow a student to repeat a course. A student not allowed to repeat a course will result in dismissal from the program.

Students who wish to appeal a decision of the Graduate Council are required to submit a letter to the Office of Academic Affairs within five (5) business days of receiving notification of a decision made by the Graduate Council. The appeal will be reviewed on the basis of the letter provided by the student, the student transcript, and the response from the Graduate Council. If the student fails to submit an appeal by the deadline, the decision of the Graduate Council will go into effect immediately. The decision of the Vice President for Academic Affairs is final.

0.0 Grade Point Average

Any full-time graduate student earning a 0.0 GPA for an academic semester will be place on Academic Suspension. This is automatic and without consideration for any previous semester’s work or the student’s cumulative GPA. Suspension may be appealed in writing through Graduate Council.

Graduation Requirements for Graduate Studies

Candidates for Cumberland University’s Masters programs must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.00. A student is allowed a maximum of six semester hours of “C” grades. No student will be allowed to continue in his/her respective program without permission of the Graduate Studies Council if they earn more than two “C” grades or below in any courses.

If a grade of “F” is earned in any graduate course, the student must repeat the course in its entirety. No student will be allowed to continue in his/her respective program without permission of the Graduate Studies Council if a grade of “F” is earned in any graduate course. If allowed, a grade of “B” or better must be earned in the repeated course. If, after repeating the entire course one time, a grade of “B” or better is not earned, the student may not continue in the program.

Each student must successfully complete the required semester hours of graduate coursework for the Master's Degree within seven calendar years from the date of entry as a degree-seeking student.