Ursinus College Catalog

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Academic Policies

Choice of Studies

At matriculation, students designate possible areas of academic interest. In the second semester, first-year students may declare a major field to study in depth. Students who have not decided on a major by the end of the second semester will retain their first-year advisers. In the fourth semester, students must designate a major field. The chairpersons of the students’ major departments will assign their academic advisers. The approval of the adviser is necessary before a student may register for or enter any course of study, or discontinue any work.

Registration

First-year students register for the fall semester in consultation with their advisers on freshman orientation days held during the summer. Returning students register for the fall semester during the spring registration period published by the Registrar. Registration for the spring term is completed for all students during the fall registration period published by the Registrar.

Before the registration period published by the Registrar, students consult with their advisers to prepare schedules of courses for their college careers. Students must remember that they alone are responsible for making sure they have completed College requirements and departmental requirements. When students change their majors, they must fulfill the requirements of the most recent major department in order to be graduated.

Students may add or drop courses at any time during the first two weeks of classes. No course may be added after the second week of classes. Courses dropped after the second week of classes but before the midpoint of the course will be designated by a W on the student’s record. Students who withdraw after the midpoint of a course will receive a grade of WF. Students who withdraw from a course without permission will receive a grade of F. The midpoint dates of a course or the semester are published by the Registrar.

Class Attendance

In keeping with a strong liberal arts tradition that encourages active learning and complete participation in the education process, the college expects students to attend class. Specific attendance policies are set by individual instructors and indicated on the course syllabus at the beginning of each term. Academic warnings will be issued by instructors for all students failing to meet the stated course attendance policies. Excessive absences by first year students and students on academic probation will be reported to the Dean’s Office. Students may be dropped from a course with a grade of F for failing to meet the stated policy.

Statement on Academic Honesty

Ursinus College is a small community which functions by a social contract among students, faculty, administration and alumni. In order for the spirit of community to endure and thrive, this agreement, based upon shared values and responsibilities and a sense of mutual respect, trust and cooperation, must be preserved. Students have an obligation to act ethically concerning academic matters and the faculty has a responsibility to require academic honesty from students and to be vigilant in order to discourage dishonesty.

Lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty violate this spirit of mutual respect and collaboration and corrode the atmosphere of openness and free inquiry upon which the educational process is based. Such activities are demeaning and potentially damaging to those who undertake them. Moreover, academic dishonesty is damaging to the student body as a whole, in that it cheapens the achievement of the honest majority of students and subverts the integrity and reputation of the institution with which they will be identified for the rest of their lives.

Students should be aware that there are many legitimate sources of help available on campus. Academic departments often provide help sessions, and the library provides research assistance. The Writing Center and the Tutoring Center are only two examples of academic assistance provided to all students and are designed to enhance the learning process rather than circumventing it, which occurs in cases of academic dishonesty.

The student body, the faculty, and the administration of Ursinus College therefore unanimously condemn academic dishonesty in all its forms and affirm that it is the responsibility of all members of the college community to prevent such activity.

Grades of Scholarship

When a course has been completed, the standing of the student is expressed by one of the following grades: A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, F; or, if the course is a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) course, the student’s standing is expressed by the grade S or the grade U.

Letter grades have the following equivalence assigned:

GradeGPANumeric Grade
A+ 4.00 98.33
A 4.00 95.00
A- 3.67 91.67
B+ 3.33 88.33
B 3.00 85.00
B- 2.67 81.67
C+ 2.33 78.33
C 2.00 75.00
C- 1.67 71.67
D+ 1.33 68.33
D 1.00 65.00
D- 0.67 61.67
F 0.00 45.00

The mark of S signifies that a student has earned the course credits in an S/U course at the B (3.00) level or higher; this mark is not included in the computation of a student’s average. The mark of U in an S/U course is calculated into the student’s average as F (0.0).

The mark of W signifies that a student withdrew from the course prior to the midpoint of a course, and is not calculated into a student’s average. The mark of WF signifies that a student withdrew from the course after the midpoint of the course, and is calculated into the student’s average as an F (0.00). The mark of I, which may be given only with the written permission of the dean, is reserved for cases of incomplete work, due to documented physical incapacitation or other extenuating circumstances beyond the student’s control. A plan and schedule for completing the remaining work, agreeable to student and professor, must accompany the request for an I. If the mark of I is not removed within one month after the end of the semester in which the I was given, the grade F will be assigned for the course.

Dean’s Honor List

All full-time students achieving an average of 3.50 for a semester are announced six weeks after the end of that semester as members of the Dean’s Honor List. It is an Ursinus tradition to publish at the Ursinus Day Academic Convocation the names of those students who have been carried on the Dean’s Honor List for the preceding two semesters.

Commencement Honors and Graduation with Distinction

Two commencement honors are assigned: one, the Valedictory, to the person attaining the highest standing in the graduating class; the other, the Salutatory, to the person attaining the next highest standing.

Members of the graduating class who have shown great proficiency in their study at Ursinus College may be graduated with distinction if, in the opinion of the faculty, their credentials warrant such honors. These distinctions, Summa Cum Laude, a cumulative average of 3.85 or above, Magna Cum Laude, 3.67 but less than 3.85; and Cum Laude, 3.5 but less than 3.67, are given only for unusual excellence in all subjects pursued by the candidate. Graduation honors will be calculated at the end of the fall term. If as a result of work done in the spring semester a student should merit distinction or a higher distinction, such honors will be awarded ex post facto.

Grade Appeal

Faculty must follow practices of fairness and objectivity when assigning student grades. Since it is assumed that the final grade is obtained after a careful evaluation of a student’s entire academic performance in a class, the course syllabus must contain a clear statement of how a final grade is computed. Even though grading may be considered to be inherently subjective, it does not follow that grading is an arbitrary or capricious practice. Normally, no grade appeal will be accepted unless there is an error in computation or there is evidence of prejudice or caprice.

Grade Appeal Procedure

  1. A student who wishes to appeal a final grade must contact the instructor and attempt to resolve the issue.
  2. If, upon consultation with the instructor, there is no resolution, the student contacts the chair of the department in which the course is offered, or in the case where there is no chair, the Dean of the College. The chair attempts to resolve the conflict by discussing the issue with the instructor involved. Every effort should be made to resolve the conflict at the departmental level.
  3. If there is still no resolution, the student contacts the Office of the Dean of the College, and in writing, describes the nature of the complaint. The Dean discusses the matter with the chair and the instructor and makes a recommendation to the instructor.
  4. If there is still no resolution, the Dean will bring the issue to the Academic Standards and Discipline Committee and/or appoint an ad hoc committee of three faculty to make a recommendation to the instructor. The committee will be composed of members acceptable to both the student and the faculty member.

Time Frame

Students must initiate the grade appeal no later than two weeks after the start of the next semester. The appeal process should take no longer than four weeks from the student’s initial contact with the instructor to the final recommendation of the ad hoc committee.

Repeating Courses

Students may retake any course, but they shall receive credit only once for the same course. Although a course may be retaken as many times as necessary to receive a passing grade, students may repeat only once courses they passed on the initial try. All grades for courses taken at Ursinus will appear on the transcript, but the last grade earned will replace the previous grades for the purpose of calculating the GPA. Credits earned elsewhere and accepted as transfer credits will not alter the GPA or serve as a replacement grade.

Academic Probation

Any students who have a GPA below C (2.00) at the end of any semester or who have a semester GPA below 2.00 will be placed on academic probation by the Academic Standards and Discipline Committee or by the faculty. Students on academic probation may be restricted in their extracurricular activities. On-campus employment and Ursinus College financial aid may be restricted for a student whose average for the preceding academic year is below C (2.00).

Dismissal

Students will be dismissed from the College if at the end of their first semester their GPA is below 0.67; if at the end of their second semester their GPA is below 1.33; if at the end of their third semester their GPA is below 1.67; if at the end of their fourth semester or 64 semester hours (including transfer credits), or any subsequent semester, their GPA is below 2.00. Students will also be dismissed if they achieve a semester average below C (2.00) for more than two successive semesters, regardless of their cumulative average. Students who earn a semester average of zero will also be dismissed. Exceptions to the above policy must be approved by the faculty, or by the Academic Standards and Discipline Committee acting for the faculty. The action of the faculty, or the Academic Standards and Discipline Committee acting for the faculty, in all cases is final.

Any student may be dismissed from the College for academic violations such as cheating or plagiarism, regardless of the student’s academic average. Non-academic reasons for dismissal are outlined in the Student Handbook.

Readmission

Students who have been discontinued for academic reasons may apply for readmission. Unless there are unusual circumstances, applications for readmission will not be considered unless one academic year has passed before the readmission date. Readmission is not automatic. To be considered for readmission, students must demonstrate that they are able and prepared to return to the College for serious academic work. They should take courses at an accredited institution and obtain at least a B (3.00) average. They may work or engage in community service or other volunteer activities that will demonstrate a seriousness of purpose.

Application for readmission is made to the Office of Admission. Students’ previous academic performance and social activities at Ursinus will be important factors in the readmission decision. The faculty or the Academic Standards and Discipline Committee must approve readmissions.

Withdrawal

Students who seek to withdraw from the College must notify the dean of the College in writing of this intention and its effective date, and must satisfy all obligations (including bills, the return of keys, equipment, and other College property). Failure to meet any such obligation will render the student liable to dishonorable dismissal.

Study Elsewhere

Students are permitted to earn credit toward graduation from Ursinus College from another accredited college or approved study abroad program in a semester, interim or summer program if they have been granted permission by their academic advisers and the Registrar or the Dean or the Committee on Academic Standards and Discipline Committee. Required courses in the department of a student’s major should be taken at Ursinus. Approval to take such courses elsewhere will be granted by Registrar or the Dean or the Academic Standards and Discipline Committee only with the approval of the chairperson of the major department and if special or mitigating circumstances exist. Credit, but not grades, for approved courses taken elsewhere will be transferred upon successful completion of the course with a grade of C (2.00) or better and upon receipt of an official transcript from the other college. It is recommended that students take these courses at a four-year institution. Students planning to study abroad for a semester, interim or summer program must consult with the study abroad office and receive approval from the International Education Committee. All courses must be approved before the start of the courses at another college or program.