Academic Policies and Regulations
Academic standards exist at every college and university. Many are common throughout higher education, while others are specific to a particular campus. Standards are both an indicator of general educational quality and a means by which an individual student's achievement and progress can be measured. In order to receive the full benefit of a Susquehanna education, each student has these basic responsibilities:
- to attend class regularly (if a student misses the equivalent of two weeks of class, the faculty member may remove him or her from the course with a final grade of F),
- to meet frequently with the faculty advisor,
- to make steady progress toward graduation, and
- to understand and follow University policies outlined in this catalog and the Student Handbook.
Advising and Course Selection. Academic advising is one of the most important services available at a college or university. The process helps students plan an educational program that satisfies their individual needs.
First-year and transfer students at Susquehanna first meet their advisors during orientation week. Their initial discussions focus on course choices and the university in general. After that, students meet with their advisors as often as necessary - at least once each semester. These are opportunities to talk about academic goals and decide upon a major. Advisors can also help students gain approval for independent study and find out more about off-campus study programs. While academic advisors may provide guidance and support as described here, the student is ultimately responsible for his or her academic choices and their consequences.
Students register for classes each spring for the year ahead after selecting their courses with the guidance of their advisors. Students confirm their final schedules during a registration check-in period at the start of each semester. The university charges a $25 late registration fee for students who fail to confirm their registration without prior permission.
Susquehanna reserves the right to limit the size of any course. Students majoring in a department are normally given enrollment priority in that department's courses. Every effort is made to accommodate individual needs, but the university cannot guarantee placement in a specific course in a particular semester.
Adding and Dropping Courses. Students may change their course schedule without charge during the drop/add period. Such changes, including moving from one section of a course to another, require approval of the instructors involved. They must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar by the seventh day of classes. After that time there will be a $25 late change fee for each new course or section added.
Students may withdraw and receive a grade of W until the end of the third week of classes in full-semester courses. They may withdraw until the end of the eighth day of classes in seven-week courses. For first-semester freshmen the withdrawal period is extended to six weeks for full-semester courses and three weeks for seven-week courses. After the times above, students may withdraw only for medical reasons and must provide a written excuse from a physician to the Dean of Students for validation. To withdraw, the student must also complete the necessary form in the Office of the Registrar. Failure to attend class does not in itself constitute withdrawal. In all other cases, the instructor will assign a final grade.
Dropping a course can delay graduation and may affect a student's eligibility for financial assistance or for some academic honors. For further information, please refer to the costs and financial aid section.
Course Loads. The normal course load for a full-time student is 16 semester hours (typically four courses) per semester. Students may take 12 to 18 semester hours each semester without losing their full-time status or incurring extra charges. Students may take more than 18 semester hours with the permission of their advisors and the registrar if they do not have any outstanding grades of EC, I or N, and meet a specified GPA. This option is open to seniors with a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher and underclassmen with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. Other students in good academic standing without grades of EC, I or N need approval from the dean of their school to exceed 18 semester hours.
Independent Study is an option for students who would like to investigate a topic not covered by the regular curriculum. It can also provide an opportunity for more in-depth research on an issue raised in another course. To qualify for independent study, a student must have completed 48 semester hours with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. Independent study also requires written approval of the supervising faculty member and of the head of the department offering the course. Other students who are in good academic standing and who have no grades of EC, I or N may attempt an independent study if they also receive permission from the dean of the appropriate school. Individual faculty and departments may establish higher standards of eligibility. Normally an independent study project earns from two-to-four semester hours of credit. No more than four semester hours of independent study may be taken in a single semester.
Internships. Students register for internship credit in the semester in which the grade is to be earned as part of the full-time course load. Students participating in summer internships for academic credit, or part-time students, pay 50 percent tuition on a credit-hour basis. Academic good standing (2.0 or better) is required for all internships. Many departments require a 2.5 or better for internship approval.
Before arranging an internship, the student consults the academic department in which credit is to be earned. Department faculty must approve the student for internship placement and determine the nature of the academic responsibilities and the amount of credit. Candidates then formally apply through the Center for Career Services by the end of the semester prior to the work assignment.
Also available are non-credit internships which can be placed on the academic transcript. For more information on this option, please contact the Center for Career Services.
Studio and Applied Art Courses. Students who do not major or minor in art, communications, music or theatre arts may only apply up to 24 semester hours (no more than 16 hours in a single department) in studio art, music or theatre arts courses to credit for graduation.
Grades and Grading. Instructors inform their classes of the general criteria used for grading at the beginning of each semester. Faculty evaluate the work of all students periodically during the semester. The Office of the Registrar issues an official midterm grade report after the seventh week of classes. The university mails final grade reports directly to students at their home addresses in January and May.
The instructor is the final authority for all grades. Grades are changed only in the event of error, and changes require authorization by the faculty member and approval by the dean of the appropriate school. All grade changes must be submitted within one month from the end of the semester in which the grade is assigned. A student may not raise a final grade by doing additional assignments after the course has concluded or by revising previously submitted assignments.
Grading System and the GPA. Each letter grade from A to F carries a designated number of quality points per semester hour. These points are used to calculate the grade point average (GPA). To determine the GPA for each semester, the total number of quality points earned is divided by the number of semester hours taken that semester. To compute the cumulative GPA, all quality points earned at Susquehanna are divided by all semester hours attempted.
The following values are used in the computation of quality points:
|A||4.00 quality points||C||2.00 quality points|
|A-||3.67 quality points||C-||1.67 quality points|
|B+||3.33 quality points||D+||1.33 quality points|
|B||3.00 quality points||D||1.00 quality points|
|B-||2.67 quality points||D-||0.67 quality points|
|C+||2.33 quality points||F||0.00 quality points|
The following grades carry no quality points and do not affect the GPA:
|S||Satisfactory (C- or higher)|
|U||Unsatisfactory (D+ or lower)|
|CR||Credit (credit by examination, or transfer credit from other institutions)|
|N||Not Reported (final grade delayed for administrative reasons)|
Course work accepted for transfer from other institutions will be recorded only as credit earned toward graduation. It will not be included in the student's GPA.
Extended Course (EC) Grades. Some courses, especially senior seminars and advanced research courses, may require more than one semester to complete. In such cases, the instructor will give a temporary grade of EC. Students then submit all remaining work by the end of the next semester, or before graduation, whichever is earlier. Students who fail to complete all assignments by the required date will be graded on the work submitted up to that point. Grades of zero or F may be calculated for missing assignments.
Incomplete (I) Grades. Occasionally an illness or family emergency may prevent a student from completing all assignments before the end of the course. Under these circumstances a professor may award the temporary grade of I. If the I is for a seven-week course in the first half of the semester, the student must complete all outstanding work by the end of the 14th week of classes. If the I is for a full-semester course or a seven-week course in the second half of the semester, the student must complete all outstanding work within the first two weeks of the next semester. Extensions of this deadline must be approved by the instructor and filed with the registrar. Students who do not finish all assignments by the required date will be graded on the work submitted up to that point. Grades of zero or F may be calculated for missing assignments.
The S/U Option. Susquehanna encourages students to explore different disciplines and pursue new interests by enrolling in a wide variety of courses. The S/U or satisfactory/unsatisfactory option allows students to take an elective in an area in which they have had little or no prior experience without taking a chance of lowering their GPA. Under the S/U option, students who earn a grade of C- or higher receive a grade of S or satisfactory. Students who earn a grade of D+ or lower receive a grade of U or unsatisfactory. Neither grade is calculated into the student's GPA, but a course completed with a grade of S earns credit toward graduation.
Students must officially declare their intention to use the S/U option during the first two weeks of the semester by submitting a completed S/U form to the Office of the Registrar. A student may not take more than four semester hours of S/U course work in any one semester except in the case of certain internships. A maximum of 10 semester hours of electives may be taken on an S/U basis. Courses graded only on an S/U basis, such as the accounting internship, are not included in the S/U maximum total.
Auditing. Another way to take advantage of the university's diverse curriculum is to audit a course. Students who choose the audit option are not required to take examinations. They are expected to attend and participate in class regularly. The university does not apply audit credit toward graduation but does note audited courses on transcripts. Students planning to audit a course must notify the Office of the Registrar during the first week of classes and pay the appropriate fee. See the costs and financial aid section.
Repeating a Course. There are times when students wish to retake a course, either to improve their knowledge or to earn a higher grade. In such cases, the university calculates both grades into the cumulative GPA and records both grades on the transcript. Students will not earn additional credit toward graduation by repeating a course in which they previously received a passing grade.
Course Work at Other Institutions. Freshmen, sophomores and juniors in good standing may take courses at other accredited institutions and transfer the credit to their record at Susquehanna. Seniors may do so only if they are not in violation of the residence requirement explained below. The student must file a notice with the Registrar’s Office of their intention to take coursework at another college or university, and all such work must be approved by the appropriate department heads. Susquehanna will accept transfer credit only from U.S. institutions which are accredited by federally recognized regional accrediting agencies, such as the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Transfer credit from foreign institutions will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. The university will not accept community or junior college courses for transfer as the equivalent of any 300-, 400-, or 500-level course at Susquehanna.
Students must earn a grade of at least C- in courses accepted for transfer. The university does not calculate grades from courses taken at other colleges into a student’s Susquehanna GPA.
Off-Campus Summer School. In keeping with University policy on course work at other institutions (see above), Susquehanna students in good academic standing may also take summer courses at other institutions. Students planning to do so should complete the necessary form in the Office of the Registrar and provide the registrar with a summer session bulletin from the other school at least two weeks before the end of the spring semester.
Academic Honors. The university sponsors a variety of programs to encourage and recognize outstanding academic performance. These include the Dean's List for each semester, honors awards at commencement and the annual University Scholars program.
To graduate with honors, a bachelor's degree student must have completed no fewer than 65 semester hours in residence at Susquehanna. Students who have done work of honors caliber while at Susquehanna but who have not satisfied this requirement are so recognized at commencement, but they do not receive degrees with honors.
The cumulative grade point averages required for honors designation at commencement, effective for the class of 2006, are:
|cum laude||3.4 - 3.59|
|magna cum laude||3.60 - 3.79|
|summa cum laude||3.80 - 4.00|
Students in the Honors Program who fulfill the semester hour requirements above and earn a cumulative GPA of 3.30 or better are also awarded University Honors.
The university awards Departmental Honors to recognize students who exhibit superior performance in their major field. Specific requirements for departmental honors appear under department listings.
The Dean's List recognizes students who earn a GPA of 3.4 or better in a particular semester. To be eligible, students must complete at least 12 semester hours and receive a letter grade for at least eight of those hours during the semester. Any student who receives an I or EC during the semester is ineligible.
The university also annually designates University Scholars to recognize superior academic achievement. This honor goes to full-time students who have achieved or maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.75 or better after at least one full academic year of study.
Academic Standing and Satisfactory Progress Toward Degree. To be in good academic standing, a student must maintain a 2.0 or better cumulative GPA. He or she must also earn sufficient credit toward graduation each year to maintain the appropriate academic level. The university uses the following standards to determine the academic level of degree candidates:
|semester hours completed|
Students may lose their financial aid if they fail to maintain acceptable progress toward their degree or if their GPA falls below acceptable levels. For further information, see the costs and financial aid section.
Susquehanna also uses an academic deficiency system to track academic standing. Students receive academic deficiencies for each grade below C. They can remove deficiencies with each grade of A or B. Every grade of D in a four-semester-hour course creates four deficiencies, every F creates eight. Conversely, each B in a four-semester-hour course removes four deficiencies from the student's record, while each A removes eight. The addition of a + (plus) to a grade in a four-semester-hour course removes one deficiency, while a minus to a grade adds one.
At the end of each semester, the Academic Standing Committee reviews the records of all students with a cumulative GPA below 2.0. Freshmen and sophomores with a GPA between 1.99 and the values below are placed on academic warning. Other students with grades below 2.0 are placed on academic probation. If they have excessive deficiencies, students on probation are dismissed or suspended from the university.
|Semester Hours||Academic Warning GPA|
Students on academic probation at the end of the spring semester must enroll in eight semester hours of credit in the Susquehanna University Summer Session. In certain instances, a student on academic warning may, with the prior permission of the dean of the student's major school, take courses at another accredited institution.
Graduation Requirements. To earn a baccalaureate degree, a student must:
- complete at least 130 semester hours (with no more than 65 semester hours in a single department),
- satisfy major requirements,
- fulfill all sections of the university Core curriculum,
- have a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 (C average) or better for all courses attempted at Susquehanna,
- satisfy the university residence requirement, and
- have program approval from his or her academic advisor and the Office of the Registrar.
Each student is responsible for ensuring that he or she completes all degree requirements. The Office of the Registrar provides degree worksheets to help students chart their progress toward graduation and recommends that students periodically check their records against official records.
Candidates must declare their anticipated graduation date at least two semesters before they intend to graduate. The university expects graduating seniors to attend commencement ceremonies to receive their degrees. Only those students who have completed all of the requirements for graduation are permitted to take part in commencement ceremonies. Susquehanna will award degrees in absentia only on approval of a written request addressed to the dean of the faculty.
Residence Requirement. Baccalaureate candidates must take at least 65 semester hours of their total course work, including 32 of their last 38 semester hours, in residence or in approved off-campus programs, such as study abroad or the Washington Semester. At least half the courses applied to a student's major or minor must also be taken in residence. The faculty must approve any variation from this policy.
Second Bachelor's Degree. Students who have earned a bachelor's degree, whether from Susquehanna or from another institution, must fulfill the following requirements if they wish to enroll at Susquehanna for a second bachelor's degree:
- be formally admitted to the bachelor's degree program at Susquehanna,
- complete a minimum of 32 additional semester hours in current residency at Susquehanna,
- satisfy all the current requirements for the university Core and for the chosen major, and
- complete at least half of the course work for the major at Susquehanna.
Any course work which a student has taken at another college or while earning his or her first bachelor's degree at Susquehanna must be approved by the appropriate department in order to be applied to the new major.
Susquehanna graduates who wish to complete a second major but who do not wish to earn a second degree need to notify the Office of the Registrar of their intention. Such students must satisfy all of the current requirements for the chosen major and must complete half of the course work for the major at Susquehanna. Any course work which the student has taken at another college or while earning a bachelor's degree at Susquehanna must be approved by the appropriate department in order to be applied to the new major. After the student has completed the second major, the double major will be recorded on the transcript.
Dual Degree. Students who complete majors in two different degree programs (e.g. the B.S. with a major in physics and the B.A. with a major in mathematics) may be awarded both degrees if they complete a total of 162 hours of course work. A second degree presumes not just completion of a dual major but the completion of a greater amount of course work than would be required by one degree. The additional course work is also needed to give the breadth which a liberal arts education should provide. Students who complete majors in two different degree programs and who do not wish to take a total of 162 semester hours of course work will be awarded one bachelor's degree.
Accelerated Degree. Most majors, with the exception of accounting, education and music, adapt to Susquehanna's accelerated degree option, which allows highly motivated students to complete degree requirements in three or three and one-half years of study. To do so, students plan carefully from the beginning to:
- earn exemption from some first-year courses through placement testing,
- use the full 18 hours of tuition "credit" each semester by taking the maximum number of courses,
- take advantage of the Honors Program credit option (if applicable), which allows four additional semester hours per year, and
- add summer courses at modest cost.
For further details, please contact the Office of Admissions.
Transcripts. The Office of the Registrar will issue official transcripts of the student's permanent academic record upon written request. Susquehanna reserves the right to withhold transcripts and grade reports of a student who has any outstanding financial obligations to the University.
Academic Dismissal and Suspension. The Academic Standing Committee will ordinarily dismiss a student who:
- is on academic probation for more than two consecutive semesters without reducing his or her academic deficiencies, or
- accumulates 20 or more academic deficiencies, or
- falls more than 16 semester hours behind his or her appropriate academic level because of failing grades.
Dismissal is for a period of two semesters, not including the summer session. After that time, students who have been dismissed for unsatisfactory academic performance must apply for readmission to Susquehanna throught the Academic Standing Committee. To do so, they complete an application for readmission, provide letters of support, and write a letter to the Academic Standing Committee in care of the registrar. The committee will review these materials and determine whether they believe the student to be ready to return to Susquehanna. After the committee has voted on the readmission request, the student will be notified in writing whether or not the committee has agreed to readmit him or her. Readmitted students must make progress toward eliminating their remaining academic deficiencies. Those who do not meet this requirement within the time prescribed by the committee are subject to a second and final academic dismissal.
Students with serious academic problems may be suspended from Susquehanna for one semester if the Academic Standing Committee feels that they are not benefiting from their association with the university. Suspended students may request readmission after one semester by submitting the appropriate materials to the Academic Standing Committee and going throught the same procedures outlined in the preceding paragraph. They must rapidly remove the deficiencies from their records after returning.
Leave of Absence. Students may take leaves of absence for personal, medical or financial reasons, or for study at other institutions with which Susquehanna has no formal cooperative program. Any interested student may arrange a leave of absence by filing the appropriate form with the Office of the Registrar. Students in good academic standing may reenter the university after their leave by writing to the registrar. Students on academic warning or academic probation who take a leave of absence must be formally reinstated by the Academic Standing Committee before they may return to Susquehanna.
Withdrawal from the University. To be eligible for any refunds under the schedule listed in the costs and financial aid section, students must complete the formal withdrawal form available from the Office of the Registrar. Simple departure from campus does not constitute official withdrawal. Students who do not immediately notify the registrar of their intention to withdraw will lose all fees and deposits.
Degree candidates who withdraw from the university for more than one year are subject to any changes made in their academic program requirements during that time. Students who have left the university for one year or less may fulfill either their original major and Core requirements or the revised requirements.
Each year Susquehanna publishes a directory listing each student's name, major, class, home and university addresses, and campus telephone extension. The university may release this information publicly without prior consent from the student. The university may also release the date and place of birth, student activities, home telephone number, class schedule and class rosters, dates of attendance and graduation, degrees awarded, honors received, and other educational institutions attended. Weight and height for varsity athletes may also be released. The university may also release photographs of students for use in the news media and in university publications in printed, video and electronic formats. A student may request that any of this information not be released by writing to the dean of students.
The university may release information to parents of a dependent student at any time.
In accordance with the Student Right-to-Know Act, Susquehanna University publishes the graduation rate of full-time bachelor's degree students. Anyone interested in receiving this information should write to the Office of the Registrar for a copy of the report.