Academic Policies and Regulations

Academic standards exist at every college and university. Many are common throughout higher education and 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. Susquehanna’s academic year is composed of 30 weeks of instructional time, and in each semester a full-time student must complete at least 12 semester hours of credit. 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 in a 14-week course or one week of class in a seven-week course, the faculty member may remove the student from the course with a final grade of F),
  • To meet frequently with the faculty adviser,
  • 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 advisers during Welcome Week. Their initial discussions focus on course choices and the university in general. After that, students meet with their advisers as often as necessary—at least once each semester. These are opportunities to talk about academic goals and decide upon a major. Advisers can also help students gain approval for independent study and find out more about off-campus study programs. While academic advisers may provide guidance and support as described here, students are ultimately responsible for their academic choices and the consequences of those choices.

In March and November, students register for the upcoming semester after selecting their courses with the guidance of their advisers. In addition, during the first two days of each semester, all students go through a mandatory electronic registration check-in process.

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 required for the major. 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 schedules through WebSU without charge during the drop/add period. After that time, there will be a $25 late-change fee for each new course added.

Students may withdraw from a course through WebSU and receive a grade of W until the end of the third week of the semester in full-semester courses or the end of the eighth day of classes in seven-week courses. For first-semester, first-year students, the withdrawal period is extended to six weeks for full-semester courses and three weeks for seven-week courses. After these dates, students may obtain a special late-course withdrawal and still receive a grade of W in a full-semester course until the end of the 10th week of the semester and in a seven-week course until the end of the fifth week of the course. A student may use this special late-withdrawal option for a maximum of 12 semester hours of credit while at SU. To take advantage of the option, the student must fill out a special late-withdrawal form and submit it to the Office of the Registrar by the appropriate deadlines. A student may not use the late withdrawal policy to withdraw from a course if the faculty member has already withdrawn the student with a grade of F for excessive absenteeism. After the times indicated above, students may withdraw from a course only for extraordinary circumstances, such as medical emergency or family crisis, as approved by the vice president for student life; in such situations, the student must provide written validation from the appropriate authority. In all other cases, the instructor will assign a final grade. Failure to attend class does not in itself constitute withdrawal, and students who stop attending a class without going through the official withdrawal procedures will receive a final grade for the course, with Fs being factored in for all missing coursework.

Dropping a course can delay graduation and may affect a student’s eligibility for financial assistance, for insurance or for some academic honors. For further information, please refer to the costs and financial aid section.

All students are responsible for their own enrollment. Failure to add, drop or withdraw from a course properly may result in no course units awarded and/or a failing grade.

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 and up to a total of 24 semester hours with the permission of their adviser 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 2.50 or higher and underclassmen with a cumulative GPA of 3.00 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. Students who have a cumulative GPA below 2.00 are not eligible to take an overload under any circumstances.

Semester Hour. A “semester hour,” used interchangeably for Susquehanna courses with “credit hour,” is a course unit normally involving three to four hours of student effort per week during one 14-week semester. This includes both in-class contact hours and out-of-class activities. The major parameters influencing the in-class/out-of-class division include the mode of instruction and the level of the course. A special or compressed term shall meet a number of hours per credit equivalent to a semester but in a compressed or extended time frame, as determined by the registrar in consultation with the provost.

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 3.00 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.

Internships. Most academic disciplines offer internships during the junior or senior year. These work experiences allow students to apply what they have learned in courses to the real world of professional organizations. A faculty intern adviser and a supervisor in the place of work design internships together and each evaluates the student’s performance following completion of the internship.

Before arranging an internship, the student consults the academic department in which credit is to be earned. Department faculty must approve the student for the internship and determine the nature of the academic responsibilities and the amount of credit. Academic good standing (2.00 GPA or better) is required for all internships. Many departments require a 2.50 GPA or better for internship approval. Students must complete and submit to the Office of the Registrar a Student Learning Contract before beginning their internship. The university will not grant retroactive internship credit.

Students participating in summer internships for academic credit or part-time students pay 50 percent tuition on a credit-hour basis. Normally, the university awards one to four semester hours for a summer internship. Summer internship credit is registered through the Office of the Registrar.

Practica are typically unpaid work assignments required in conjunction with a major program. Student teaching within the Department of Education is one example of a practicum experience. Practica typically involve supervised experience and training in professional, academic, clinical, community and research settings. Faculty from their major department inform and guide students in the practicum requirements. Internships or practica are possible for any Susquehanna student who meets the basic eligibility requirements. Interested students should consult their faculty advisers or department heads.

Externships. Additional opportunities for education majors are available through EXPLORE, the Susquehanna Externship Program. The externships are short-term, one- to two-week experiences in an educational work setting related to the student’s career plans. The student observes a professional at the work site, either spending time with one person or rotating assignments. Students interested in the EXPLORE option should contact the Department of Education.

Attendance Policy. It is the university’s policy that when a student has accumulated more absences than weekly class meetings in any particular course during the semester, the faculty member may warn the student in writing of the consequences of additional absences. When a total absence accumulation has reached the equivalent of two weeks’ class meetings (one week’s class meetings for a seven-week course), the faculty member may award a grade of F, which automatically withdraws the student from the course. As with any grade, appeal may be made through normal channels if gross unfairness or illegal discrimination is alleged.

Each faculty member may choose to establish more stringent or less stringent attendance requirements than those set by the university or to abide by the university’s policy. In either case, for each course the attendance policy must be clearly stated in the syllabus and distributed on the first day of classes.

Participation in university-sponsored events does not constitute an automatic excused absence from classes. The instructor may require student attendance if, in the context of the course, this appears to be in the student’s best interest. In any case, the student is responsible to inform the instructor of an intended absence as early as possible and at least by the class period preceding that absence. If circumstances make such notification impossible, the student must see the instructor on the first day of returning to class.

Grades and Grading. Normally, 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. Any grade conflict that cannot be resolved between the faculty member and the student shall be referred to the department head. If the conflict cannot be resolved at the departmental level, the issue may be referred to the dean of the school.

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 number of quality points earned that semester 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:

W

Withdraw

S

Satisfactory (C- or higher)

U

Unsatisfactory (D+ or lower)

TR

Credit (credit by examination or transfer credit from other institutions)

AU

Audit

EC

Extended Course

I

Incomplete

N

Not Reported (final grade delayed for administrative reasons)

CIP

Course in Progress

Coursework 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 U does not earn 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 coursework 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. Audited courses carry no academic credit, but the university does note audited courses on transcripts. Students planning to audit a course must notify the Office of the Registrar before the conclusion of the drop-add period 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.

Coursework at Other Institutions. First-year students, sophomores and juniors 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. Students 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 in advance by the appropriate department heads. Susquehanna will accept transfer credit only from U.S. institutions that 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.

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, and Susquehanna will not award more transfer credit for a course than the parent institution offered for that course.

Off-Campus Summer School. In keeping with university policy on coursework at other institutions, Susquehanna students 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 assistant registrar and appropriate department heads with course descriptions 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 are shown here:

Designation

Cumulative GPA

Cum laude

3.40–3.59

Magna cum laude

3.60–3.79

Summa cum laude

3.80–4.00

Students who successfully complete the Honors Program, fulfill the semester-hour requirements above and earn a cumulative GPA of 3.40 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 3.40 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 at Susquehanna.

Academic Standing and Satisfactory Progress Toward Degree. To be in good academic standing, a student must maintain a 2.0 or better cumulative GPA.

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.

Credits Earned

Class Standing

Warning

Probation

Suspension

<26 credits

First–year

<2.00 overall

or <C- in ≥8 credits in a semester

<1.80 overall

or <2.00 (i.e., on warning) for second semester

or <C- in ≥8 credits while on warning

<1.50 overall

or second semester on probation

or <C- in ≥4 credits while on probation

26–57 credits

Sophomore

<2.00

or <C- in ≥8 credits in a semester

<1.90

or <2.00 (i.e., on warning) for second semester

or <C- in ≥8 credits while on warning

<1.70

or second semester on probation

or <C- in ≥4 credits while on probation

58–93 credits

Junior

None

<2.00

<1.901

>93 credits

Senior

None

<2.00

<2.00

1A junior who has attempted more than110 semester hours, including withdrawals, is subject to loss of federal financial aid if his/her GPA is <2.00.

A second semester on warning leads to probation, but warning is not a prerequisite for probation.

In a case of catastrophic academic performance (e.g., D, F or W in all courses for a given term, leading to a term GPA of 1.00 or less), a first-year student may be placed on suspension without having been on probation. Otherwise, a student must be on probation for at least one semester before suspension, and a second semester below the relevant probation criterion leads to suspension.

If a first-year student or sophomore completes a semester on probation above the relevant probation criterion but below the relevant good academic standing criterion, he/she will be continued on probation. Juniors and seniors must return to good academic standing or be liable to suspension.

A student on probation must complete an academic recovery plan with the Center for Academic Achievement, signed by his/her adviser, within the first two weeks of the semester every semester he/she is on probation. The student must meet the academic performance milestones and any other requirements of the plan or be subject to suspension.

A student returning from suspension will be on probation until meeting the criteria for good academic standing and must complete an academic recovery plan. Students returning from suspension are expected to achieve good academic standing by the end of two semesters after being readmitted. If, after two semesters, the student remains below the relevant probation criterion, he/she will normally be permanently suspended from the university. If, after two semesters, the student is above the relevant probation criterion but still below good academic standing, he/she may have a third and final semester to achieve good academic standing.

The first suspension must include at least one semester and one summer and, depending on circumstances, may require two semesters and one summer. If the student again meets the criteria for suspension after readmission, he/she will be permanently suspended from the university.

Warnings are not subject to appeal. Academic probation or suspension may be appealed in writing to the provost. The appeal must include new information that was not available to the Academic Standing Committee and must include a recommendation by the student’s adviser and dean. An appeal based on discrimination or on capricious or negligent action by the Academic Standing Committee may also be addressed to the provost.

Graduation Requirements. To earn a baccalaureate degree, a student must do the following:

  • Complete at least 130 semester hours (with no more than 65 semester hours in a single department unless the student is pursuing a major accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music or by the Pennsylvania Department of Education which explicitly mandates more credit in a particular department),
  • Satisfy major requirements,
  • Fulfill all sections of the university Central Curriculum,
  • Have a cumulative grade point average of 2.00 (C average) or better for all courses attempted at Susquehanna and a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.00 (C average) for all courses in the major, unless the department has a higher standard (unless otherwise indicated in the departmental listings, every course applied to the major will be included in the major GPA calculation),
  • Satisfy the university residence requirement, and
  • Have program approval from his or her academic adviser and the Office of the Registrar.

Each student is responsible for ensuring the completion of all degree requirements. The university provides an automated degree audit program to help students chart their progress toward graduation and recommends that students periodically check their records and immediately bring any questions or concerns to the Office of the Registrar.

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 provost.

Residence Requirement. Baccalaureate candidates must take at least 65 semester hours of their total coursework, including 24 of their last 32 semester hours and their major capstone course and any other course a major program may designate, in residence or in approved off-campus programs. At least half the courses applied to a student’s major or minor must also be taken in residence. The faculty or the Residence Waiver Committee as its designee 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 Central Curriculum and for the chosen major, and
  • Complete at least half of the coursework for the major, the major capstone course and any other course a major program may designate at Susquehanna.

Any coursework that a student has taken at another college or while earning a 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 coursework for the major at Susquehanna. Any coursework that 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 two majors may be awarded both degrees if they complete a total of 162 hours of coursework. A second degree presumes not just completion of a dual major but the completion of a greater amount of coursework than would be required by one degree. The additional coursework is also needed to give the breadth that a liberal arts education should provide. Students who complete two majors and who do not wish to take a total of 162 semester hours of coursework will be awarded one bachelor’s degree.

Accelerated Degree. Most majors, with the exception of accounting, music and elementary education, 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 complete an accelerated degree, students plan carefully from the beginning to do the following:

  • 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,
  • Pursue course overloads when appropriate, 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 (electronic signatures are not accepted for this purpose). Susquehanna reserves the right to withhold transcripts of a student who has any outstanding financial obligations to the university. See the costs section for more information.

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 re-enter 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. The procedures for such reinstatement are identical to the procedures for readmission after academic suspension.

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 or take a leave of absence 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 distributional requirements or the revised requirements.

Privacy Policy and Student Right-to-Know Act. The offices of admissions, the registrar and student life and the Career Development Center maintain records on degree candidates. Enrolled students may review their records by submitting a written request to the appropriate office. They may not remove documents from their files without the administrator’s permission. University employees, including the university attorney, emeriti faculty and educational consultants employed by the university, may be given full access to student records.

Each year Susquehanna publishes an online directory listing each student’s name, program, class, home and campus addresses, campus mailbox, and campus email address. 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, photographs, home telephone number, 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 vice president of student life.

As of Jan. 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education's FERPA regulations expand the circumstances under which students' education records and personally identifiable information (PII) contained in such records—including Social Security number, grades or other private information—may be accessed without student consent. First, the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local education authorities ("Federal and State Authorities") may allow access to student records and PII without student consent to any third party designated by a Federal or State Authority to evaluate a federal- or state-supported education program. The evaluation may relate to any program that is "principally engaged in the provision of education," such as early childhood education and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution. Second, Federal and State Authorities may allow access to students' education records and PII without student consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when we object to or do not request such research. Federal and State Authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive PII, but the authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities. In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, State Authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain and share without student consent PII from education records, and they may track student participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information about students that they obtain from other federal or state data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service and migrant student records systems.

The university may release academic 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 may access the university website at http://www.susqu.edu/documents/about/graduation_rate_report.pdf.