Academic Policies

Below is a summary of the policies pertinent to students and is supplemental to the Academic Policies described in the official College Catalog.

Academic Honesty
Academic Conduct
Academic Petitions & Procedures
Academic Progress & Review
Appeals
Attendance Policy
Auditing
Class Standing
Commencement
Concurrent Enrollment Policy
Credit by Examination (AP/IB)
Credit Hour
Dean's List
Declaration and Change of Major
Directed Study
Distinction in the Major
Dual Enrollment
Expected Graduation Date
Final Examination Policy
Grade Appeal Process
Grade Definitions
Grading Philosophy
Grading Policy
Graduate Standing
Honors at Commencement
Incomplete Grades Policy
Independent Study
In-Progress Grading
Internship, Practicum, Student Teaching, & Community-Based Learning
In-Progress Grades Policy
Non-Degree Standing
Readmission
Registration and Class Scheduling
Registration Changes
Repeated Coursework
ROTC
Special Course & Laboratory Fees
Student Grade Report
Student Privacy (FERPA)
Study Load
Transcript
Transferability of Coursework
Withdrawal

Academic Honesty

When we engage in scholarship, we seek answers to questions we care about; we learn from others' work, and we add our contributions to a growing body of knowledge.However, we cannot honestly value that knowledge unless we also value truth.Acts of academic dishonesty are lies. They degrade our shared search for understanding as a community of scholars, and they undermine the integrity of that community by injecting falsehood into our dialogue. As a historically Quaker college, Whittier honors the Friends testimonies of truth, community, and equality, where equality reflects our conviction that we are all worthy of equal respect. Thus, when members of our community commit acts of academic dishonesty, they are not committing victimless crimes. By violating even in secret the respect which they owe their colleagues, they tear the fabric of our community. Further, by shrinking from the self-defining work of scholarship, they hurt themselves.

General Policy on Academic Honesty

Because the preservation of academic honesty is as fundamental to our shared enterprise as the transmission of knowledge, the faculty and administration of the College regard educating students in academic integrity to be as important as inspiring them to rise to the challenge of learning. Students are expected to produce independent work and to cite sources of information and concepts. When these principles are breached and a student misrepresents his or her level of knowledge, the basic framework of scholarship is broken. In these instances, students will be held accountable and will face sanctions that range from a warning to expulsion from the College. Ignorance of what constitutes plagiarism or cheating is not a valid defense. If students are uncertain of policies, they should consult the instructor for clarification. Adherence to the policies delineated below reflects the commitment of our community to a single standard of truth, a standard binding on students, faculty, and administrators alike.

Definitions

These definitions do not represent a complete list of possible infractions; rather, they are intended to generally reveal the range of conduct which violates academic honesty.

  1. plagiarism - Submitted work should be one's own work and it should properly acknowledge ideas and words from others: ideas from another source should be cited in both the body and the works cited section of the paper, and exact words from another source should be placed within quotes. Plagiarism is submitting work done by others as your own work, and it is the failure to properly and appropriately reference and acknowledge the ideas and words of others. This can include submitting an entire paper downloaded from a website or another source, copying and pasting parts of different papers to form your own paper, failure to put quotes around exact wording used from another source, and failure to appropriately reference ideas from another person. Citation guidelines can be found in any writing handbook. While incorrect citation format may not necessarily be defined as plagiarism, individual instructors may penalize students for using an incorrect citation format. Please be aware that different disciplines use different forms for citing work. While each department should make these citation styles available, one is ultimately responsible for finding out this information. Students will be instructed on when and how to appropriately cite other people's work in their own papers in the College Writing Seminar and in the Writing Intensive Courses. Departments are also strongly encouraged to instruct students on appropriate citation in their introductory courses;
  2. cheating - Honesty involves presenting one's own level of knowledge as accurately as possible. Misrepresentation of one's knowledge is considered cheating; examples include copying or sharing exam answers, presenting work done by others as one's own, changing in any way work which may be reviewed in response to a grade consideration request, having a falsely identified person take an exam, or using notes, books and the like in closed-book examinations;
  3. misrepresentation of experience, ability, or effort - One is expected to accurately and fairly present one's experience, ability, or effort for any purpose. Providing false information concerning academic achievement or background in an area of study is academically dishonest. Examples include falsely reporting the substance of an internship, falsely representing the content of prior coursework, or falsely representing effort on a group project;
  4. unauthorized collaboration - In many course activities, other than examinations, collaboration is permitted and encouraged. Course syllabi and in-class instructions will usually identify situations where collaboration is permitted, but the student shares responsibility for ascertaining whether collaboration is permitted. Collaboration on homework, take-home exams, or other assignments which the instructor has designated as "independent work" will be considered academically dishonest;
  5. submission of same work in two courses without explicit permission to do so - Presenting all or part of work done for one course in another course requires permission of the instructors of the involved courses. Connected or paired courses may require submission of the same work in the two associated courses; this will be explicitly stated for this type of assignment. Failure to gain permission from the instructors in submitting the same work will be considered academically dishonest;
  6. falsification of records - Records document a person's past accomplishments and give one measure of assessing those accomplishments. Any attempt to change grades or written records pertaining to assessment of a student's academic achievement will be considered academically dishonest;
  7. sabotage - Valuing community means that one should respect another person's work and efforts. Destruction of or deliberate inhibition of progress of another person's work related to a course is considered academically dishonest. This includes the destruction or hiding of shared resources such as library materials and computer software and hardware to tampering with another person's laboratory experiments;
  8. complicity concerning any of the above - Valuing community also means that one is honest with respect to another person's work as well as with one's own work. Any act which facilitates or encourages academic dishonesty by another person is itself an act of academic dishonesty.

Sanctions

Various sanctions exist which may be applied in response to an act of academic dishonesty. The severity of sanctions will correlate to the severity of the offense. Judgment of the severity of an academic dishonesty offense is the responsibility of the faculty member. The faculty member is encouraged to seek counsel of faculty colleagues, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and/or the Dean of Students in gaining perspective concerning the severity of the offense.

All grade related sanctions shall be levied by the faculty member teaching the course within which the offense occurred. The Associate Dean of the Faculty and the Dean of Students are available to provide guidance concerning appropriate sanctions. In addition, the following are some recommended sanctions for various degrees of academically dishonest acts.

Violations: Examples may include plagiarizing anywhere from one sentence to one paragraph in a paper, submission of the same work in two classes without the instructor's permission, and unauthorized collaboration on a minor assignment.

Recommended range of sanctions: Reduction in letter grade for the assignment up to a failing grade on the assignment. Repeated violations in the same course may result in a failing grade for the course.

Flagrant Violations: Examples may include plagiarizing an entire paper or most of a paper, cheating on a quiz or exam, and unauthorized collaboration on a major assignment.

Recommended range of sanctions: Failing grade on the assignment up to a failing grade in the course.

Faculty members who wish to apply sanctions other than the recommended range of sanctions listed above, must explicitly state this in their syllabus for a course.

The Process

Faculty members must provide the student with a written account of the offense and the sanction. Faculty members must also report cases of academic dishonesty to the Office of the Dean of Students, including a brief written account of the offense and the sanction levied through an on-line form, and a copy of the plagiarized paper. The Dean of Students must take a student to the Hearing Board if the student has a minimum of two flagrant violations or three total violations. The Dean of Students has the discretion to take students to the Hearing Board for fewer violations if there are other outstanding circumstances. Also, the Dean of Students must communicate with involved faculty members if a student is scheduled to appear before the Hearing Board.

The Hearing Board considers whether any further action should be taken which may include suspension or expulsion from the college. The Hearing Board does not reconsider the grade sanction given by the faculty member earlier in the process, but rather considers whether additional sanctions are merited. The Board will consider the entire student record of misconduct when making its decision and it will not limit itself just to acts of academic dishonesty.

Top of Page

Academic Conduct

Students are expected to attend class regularly, arrive on time, come to class prepared, participate actively, demonstrate courtesy and respect to the instructor and other students, and to contribute to a classroom environment supportive of learning and intellectual development. Students who, in the opinion of the instructor, fail to abide by these expectations may face academic penalty.

Students involved in misconduct, disruptive, obstructive, negative or endangering behavior that interferes with the faculty member’s obligation to set and meet academic and behavioral standards in each class, may be withdrawn from the course. Misconduct or disruption does not apply to the content of speech or written work protected by freedom of expression or academic freedom. Poor performance or failure to submit work does not constitute reason for withdrawing a student.

Instructors may withdraw a student from a class for cause at any time provided that, a reasonable time beforehand, he or she has given the student written warning and has, by copy, informed the Dean of Students, the Associate Dean of Faculty, and the Registrar. Readmission may be allowed only after consideration by a committee composed of the professor, the Dean of Students and the Registrar or a member of the Academic Review Committee. Appeals to the committee’s decision will be heard by the Associate Dean of Faculty. If a student is withdrawn for cause from a course, a grade of W or F is recorded on the permanent record, depending on whether the student is passing or failing the course at the time of the withdrawal.

Top of Page

Academic Petitions Policy and Process

The Petitions Committee, composed of faculty and the Registrar, reviews and makes decisions on student petitions regarding admissions requirements, specific graduation requirements as outlined in the College catalog, and other academic requirements. The committee normally grants exceptions only in the presence of strong and sufficient evidence supplied by the student. The Committee considers petitions on an individual basis and does not grant blanket exceptions to graduation or other requirements. Ignorance of College requirements and financial hardship are not sufficient reasons for the granting of a petition.

The procedure for filing a petition is as follows:

  1. The Student discusses a petition request with his or her faculty advisor, the Registrar, or the Associate Dean of Faculty.
  2. The Student fills out the petition form as completely as possible, paying particular attention to Petition Request and Rationale for Request.
  3. The Student reviews the petition with his or her faculty advisor and has it signed by the advisor. If necessary, the advisor provides additional comments.
  4. The Student returns the petition and any supporting materials that may assist the committee in the evaluation of the request to the Registrar's Office.
  5. The Petitions Committee reviews the request and provides a written response to the petition.
  6. Students may appeal Committee decision. The procedure for appeal is as follows:
    a. The Student reviews the Committee's decision with the faculty chair of the Petitions Committee (the name of the chair can be obtained from the Registrar's Office).
    b. The Student reviews with the faculty advisor the decision of the Committee and the explanation given by the chair of the committee. Before an appointment to appeal the decision is made, the student should be sure to discuss any new and relevant arguments or materials that might persuade the Committee to re-evaluate the original request.
    c. The Student makes an appointment, through the Registrar's Office, with the Petitions Committee. All appeals must be made in person before the Committee. Students are entitled to bring an advisor to the meeting. Most students bring their faculty advisor, but any member of the faculty may accompany a student to the appeal.

Top of Page

Appeals

There are two avenues of appeal, one applicable to appealing grade sanctions, the other applicable to appealing suspension or expulsion decisions. The Grade Appeal Committee of the faculty will consider appeals of grade sanctions. The Dean of Faculty will hear appeals of suspension and expulsion sanctions. No further opportunities for appeal are available.

Top of Page

Attendance Policy

Individual faculty members establish their own attendance policies for each course they teach. Students are advised to check with faculty members about the attendance policies for each class (Also see Withdrawal Policies). Faculty may, through the end of the fifth school day for semester classes, drop students who have never attended class.

Top of Page

Auditing

Lecture and recitation courses may be audited without credit with the consent of the instructor. The normal audit fee is assessed. Courses such as laboratory or studio work may be audited, but regular tuition and fee charges apply. A student auditing any course takes no examinations and receives no grade or credit.

Top of Page

Class Standing

The total number of units earned, including those transferred and accepted from other colleges or universities, determines classification of undergraduate students. Classification is established as follows:

Class Standing Semester Credits Earned
Freshman 0-29
Sophomore 30-59
Junior 60-89
Senior 90+

Top of Page

Commencement

The College conducts one Commencement each year in late May. However, the date of the degree noted on the student's permanent record is the last day of the term during which degree requirements were completed.

Commencement at Whittier College is a very special event. The faculty are proud of the College's graduates and, as such, attendance at Commencement is a College requirement if clearance from the Business Office has been secured. Students may be excused only by approval from the Office of the Registrar.

In order to be listed in the Commencement program and to participate in the graduation ceremonies, all graduation requirements must be satisfied before Commencement. To be eligible as a summer graduate and participate in Commencement, a student must register and pay (or make suitable arrangements with the Business Office) for the courses needed in the summer at least three weeks prior to Commencement.

Top of Page

Concurrent Enrollment Policy

The purpose of concurrent enrollment is to allow currently enrolled students to take approved courses at other institutions and not lose their current enrollment status at Whittier College. A student must obtain a Concurrent Enrollment Form from the Office of the Registrar and have prior approval for all courses taken at another institution. Concurrent enrollment courses may not be used for the Liberal Education requirements. A student may not register for credit at Whittier College and elsewhere simultaneously without advance permission from the Registrar. Credit will not be guaranteed unless the Concurrent Enrollment Form is filed and approved prior to enrollment at the other institution. Credit will be awarded after an official transcript has been received and evaluated by the Office of the Registrar. Actual grades from other institutions will not transfer to Whittier College; only the credits will transfer.

Top of Page

Credit by Examination (AP/IB)

Accelerated college credit totaling a maximum of 30 semester hours may be earned by satisfactorily completing approved examinations. Acceptable examinations include College Board Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate Higher Level (IB). No more than eight units may be awarded from a single department.

Entering students who have passed AP tests with a score of four or five will receive credit toward graduation if the tests are in subject areas taught at Whittier and the academic department approves. The Registrar’s Office can provide information on specific departmental policies on numbers of credits awarded and course equivalencies.

Entering students who have passed IB exams with a score of five or above will receive credit toward graduation on a case-by-case basis with the approval of the academic department.

Top of Page

Credit Hour

Whittier College awards credit hours to students as a measure of the completion of verified learning outcomes. The credit hour is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out of class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one regular semester, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time. An equivalent amount of work is required for other academic activities including: directed study, independent study, internship, laboratory work, practicum, private instruction, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.

Whittier College complies with standards for awarding credit as defined in CFR 34 §§ 600.2 and 600.24.

Top of Page

Dean's List

An undergraduate student will be awarded Dean's List honors if he/she earns a 3.70 GPA while completing 12 gradable units (letter grades of A through F) in the Fall or Spring terms. No Dean's List honors will be awarded for Summer or January terms.

Top of Page

Declaration and Change of Major Policy

Upon admission, first year students’ major will be designated as "undecided." A first-year student is not precluded from choosing a major during the first year, in fact they can choose a major as early as orientation, however, a major must be chosen by the end of the second semester of their second year.

Declaration/Change of Major Procedures

  1. Students must choose a major by the end of their sophomore year. Students will be notified in the fall semester of the second year if they have not yet chosen a major. They will be given written notification of the policy and a declaration form. They will be asked to work with their mentor (and the Advising Center and the Career Center) in developing an educational plan for completion of their degree.
  2. When declaring a major, students must submit the declaration form to the Registrar’s Office to officially change the major.
  3. Included on the Declaration of the Major form is an area to change the advisor; sophomores will be required to change their advisor by completing that section. If you are keeping your mentor on as your advisor, you must still fill out that section.
  4. If students do not change their advisor at the time they submit the Declaration of Major form, the Registrar’s Office along with the Major Department will assign the student an advisor in the new major.
  5. Students who have not completed their declaration of major by registration during the spring of their sophomore year will receive a hold on their registration. They will not be allowed to register for junior year courses until the Declaration of Major form is filed with the Office of the Registrar.

Top of Page

Directed Study

Directed Study is a tutorial arrangement with a faculty member when a course that is offered in the current catalog is not offered in a specific term. Directed Study requires permission from the instructor, advisor, and department chair and operates under the following guidelines:

  1. Directed Study is only allowed for courses listed in the current catalog and can only be taken as they are offered. If the substance of the course is not that of any course listed in the catalog, use the Independent Study Form.
  2. On the Directed Study form, the student must explain why he/she is qualified to do a Directed Study.
  3. Directed Study is not to be used to make up a required course simply because the student found it inconvenient to take the course when it was offered.
  4. Students are limited to one Directed or Independent Study per term.
  5. The application for Directed Study must be submitted by the deadline to add a class of the term registering for in accordance with registration guidelines.
  6. The student must have completed at least 30 credits prior to this course and be in academic Good Standing.
  7. The faculty member conducting the Directed Study affirms that the academic activity complies with Whittier College standards for awarding credit (CFR 34 §§ 600.2 and 600.24).

Top of Page

Distinction in the Major

The Whittier College faculty believes that students who have achieved excellence in their majors should receive recognition at graduation. Because this is an award for academic achievement, rather than service, the criterion will be either a superior grade point average in the major (3.5 minimum, at the discretion of the department) or other extraordinary academic achievement (published or publishable papers, presentation at a conference, significant research or creative project). The GPA will be based on seven semesters, including the first semester of the senior year. For transfer students, at least 50% of the units required for the major should reflect work done at Whittier College, or in programs under the auspices of the College, in order to be considered for the award. In addition to recognition in the graduation program, the student's achievement will be noted on the transcript.

Top of Page

Dual Enrollment

Extraordinary, qualified high school students may accelerate their college education through dual enrollment in one course per semester at Whittier College. This is a highly selective program intended for outstanding, local high school students who have exhausted and mastered all the most advanced and rigorous course offerings provided by their entire high school district in participating academic disciplines. If admitted into the dual enrollment program (see eligibility criteria below), high school students may earn college credit before high school graduation. The credits that students earn count toward a college degree at Whittier College and with permission of their high school district office may count toward a high school diploma. These credits may also count toward a college degree at other institutions depending on the particular institution's policy on transfer credits.

The Dual Enrollment Program for Outstanding High School Students is administered by the Whittier College Registrar's Office, but the final admissions decision rests with the chair of the department offering the selected course. Without the department chair's approval, the student will not be admitted into the dual enrollment program.

If admitted, dual enrollment students enroll at Whittier College as part-time, non-degree seeking students and are subject to the restrictions of that classification (see "Non-Degree Standing"). Payment of the $100 per term matriculation fee and any additional fees related to the specific course (e.g. lab, materials, private instruction, etc.) is due at the time of enrollment. Instructional materials (e.g. books, supplies, etc.) are the responsibility of the student. Students are only allowed to register for one (1) class for a maximum of four (4) semester hours during a fall or spring term. The course must be at an academic level well beyond any course available to the student within their entire high school district. High School Dual enrollment is not permitted in study abroad courses or during the January Term.

If admitted, dual enrollment students are registered on a space-available basis. The Registrar's Office begins receiving High School Dual Enrollment applications following the pre-registration period for an upcoming term. No applications are accepted after instruction begins for the selected course.

Registration for an academic course initiates an official college transcript. A transcript is a permanent educational record, and cannot be removed or changed. Any courses for which a student is enrolled after the add/drop deadline will appear on the official college transcript along with the earned grade.

Eligibility criteria:

  • The student must have exhausted and mastered all advanced high school coursework available within their district, in the requested area of study.
  • The student must be a high school junior or senior.
  • The student must be nominated for dual enrollment by their high school principal.
  • The student must meet the academic requirements for the selected course (e.g. prerequisite coursework, minimum GPA, test scores, etc.). These may differ from the prerequisites published in the College Catalog.
  • The student must submit a new dual enrollment application for each term in which they wish to dual-enroll at the College.
  • The student must pay the matriculation and course fees in full at the time of enrollment.

Expected Graduation Date

Whittier College routinely sends enrollment information to the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC). This information is used by lenders to verify enrollment status and anticipated graduation date. The expected graduation date is an estimate based on the student's degree program and progress at the time of matriculation (first enrollment). It is not a guarantee or an obligation for the student. The expected graduation date may be updated if the student changes degree program or deviates from the anticipated timeline. At the beginning of each fall and spring term all expected graduation dates are reassessed and students that have exceeded the initial expected graduation date are automatically given an extension through the end of the next regular term (fall or spring). This new date is reported to the NSC with the first transmission for the term and resets the date for lenders.

Top of Page

Final Examination Policy

Official days, times, and locations for final exams during fall and spring terms are available in My.Whittier. Not all classes will have final exams. The final exam meeting day and time will most likely be different from the instructional or lab meeting times assigned to the class. It is the student's responsibility to identify her/his final exam schedule in My.Whittier.

All final examinations are to be given only at the officially scheduled time for the course as published in My.Whitter. In addition, no take-home final examinations or papers assigned in lieu of a final examination will be due prior to the scheduled time of the final examination.

Final exams during the fall and spring semesters are held during a four day period at the end of the term. During some semesters, final exams may be scheduled on Saturdays. Each class holding a final is assigned a two-hour final exam meeting time. Final examinations for January Term and summer classes are held on the last scheduled meeting day of the class.

Top of Page

Grade Appeal Policy and Process

The faculty of Whittier College believes that grading is the responsibility and prerogative of individual faculty members according to their professional judgments of students' performance, and that this responsibility and prerogative should be safeguarded. Nevertheless, the faculty also recognizes the need to safeguard students of Whittier College against possible bias or lack of uniformity in the evaluation process, and thus has provided a mechanism to address this concern.

The maximum time allowed for filing a grade appeal with the Associate Academic Dean, whether the student is enrolled or not, is one year from the date the grade was awarded.

This mechanism will be used only in cases where strong and demonstrable evidence of bias or lack of uniformity in assigning grades to members of a class exists, and only after all other avenues of appeal have failed to resolve this question.

I. The process to be observed prior to utilizing the grade appeal petition is as follows:

  1. The student will discuss a disputed grade for a course with the faculty member in person, in an attempt to resolve the differences over the grade. If no agreement is reached, then
  2. The student will consult with the chair of the department in which this faculty member is teaching. If the question is still unresolved, or in the event that the teacher giving the disputed grade is also the department chair, then
  3. The student will refer the question to the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. The Associate Dean will inquire into the matter and attempt to bring about an amicable solution. If no agreement can be reached, and the Associate Dean decides that the matter requires further attention, then
  4. The Associate Dean of Academic Affairs will direct the student to complete a Grade Appeal Petition, which will be forwarded to the Grade Appeals Committee, composed of the Dean of Faculty, the Chair of the Academic Standing Committee, and one faculty member, appointed by the Faculty Executive Council.

II. The Grade Appeals Committee

The Committee will investigate the underlying facts of an appeal, which may include interviewing the student, faculty member, and any other persons whom the committee feels might be able to help it clarify the matter. If, in the course of this process, an amicable resolution of the difference can be affected, the Committee's consideration of the matter will end.

If, after making a full inquiry into the matter, no resolution is reached, the Committee will decide the outcome of the grade appeal. Possible decisions may include leaving the grade as it is, changing the grade to correct demonstrated evidence of bias or lack of uniformity in grading, or working out other possible solutions as the Committee sees fit. No grade may be changed unless the Committee reaches consensus on the proposed change.

Academic policies and procedures for post-baccalaureate and graduate students may differ from those cited above for undergraduates. Please see the document, Academic Policies and Procedures for Graduate Programs and Programs in Education, available in the Education Department, for details.

Top of Page

Grade Definitions

A Excellent Generally reserved for the very highest level of academic work
B Good Meeting course requirements with a high level of performance
C Satisfactory Awarded for satisfactory completion of all or most of the course requirements.
D Passing Awarded for barely meeting the minimum standards of the course.
F Failing Not meeting the minimum standards of the course.

Top of Page

Grading Philosophy

The members of the Whittier College faculty regard the evaluation of student performance as one of their most important responsibilities. They further believe that grading is a vital element in this evaluation in that it allows for the reporting of student progress to the students themselves, to the college for the purposes of advisement and for the awarding of honors upon graduation, and to the outside world, at the request of the student, for the applications to graduate school and for prospective employment.

The awarding of grades by the faculty reflects the quality of the students' performance as measured against the individual faculty member's expectations based upon objective criteria, including the nature of the discipline and the faculty member's experience in evaluating student performance within that discipline. Thus, grading will not always be uniform from course to course.

Moreover, the boundaries of academic freedom allow discretion on the part of individual faculty members in the awarding of grades. However, the faculty recognizes that grades must always be rigorously fair, and awarded on the basis of criteria that are explained to the students at the beginning of each course. The following points underscore the faculty's grading framework:

  • Course expectations and grading are the sole responsibility of the course instructor.
  • Grades are determined based on the students' mastery of the course materials and demonstration of the skills required.
  • The grading standards shall be appropriate to the academic level of the course and standards shall not be set either so high that no one can attain an "A" nor so low that it is impossible to receive a grade of "F."
  • Students have the right to information about how they will be evaluated, so information about grading and grading standards should be contained in the course syllabus.

Top of Page

Grading Policy

The academic standards of an institution are largely determined by the admissions policies of the institution and by the standards of work required by the faculty. Once awarded, a grade may not be changed as a result of reevaluation of work submitted by a student. The only justification for a change of a grade is to correct a clerical error on the part of the instructor. The submission of additional work by a student (except to remove an Incomplete resulting from illness or similar circumstances) is not justification for altering a grade, once it has been recorded.

Most courses at Whittier College are graded from A to F with the awarding of (+) or (-) grades at the discretion of the instructor; however, by the fourth week of the semester, and at the discretion of the instructor, the student may be given the choice of Credit/No Credit (CR/NC). CR- and NC-grades are not used in the calculation of grade point averages. Freshman Writing Seminars may not be taken for CR/NC.

The grade option cannot be changed after it has been submitted to the Registrar's Office. All letter grades, including D's, F's, NC's, UW's and W's, will be recorded on the student's permanent transcript. When an instructor is unable to submit his or her grades by the time all grades are to be posted, then the Registrar will assign NG (no grade reported) to each student. The grade will be treated as an Incomplete for all purposes of evaluation.

The three grading options are:

Grade Option I - Letter Grade Grade Option II - Credit/No-Credit
Grade Symbol Grade Points Grade Symbol
A 4.00 CR
A- 3.70
B+ 3.30
B 3.00
B- 2.70
C+ 2.30
C 2.00
C- 1.70
D 1.00 NC (Grades of D and F in courses taken for Credit/No Credit receive no credit)
F 0.00
I (Incomplete) I (Incomplete)
IP (In-Progress) IP (In-Progress)
NG (No Grade Reported) NG (No Grade Reported)
W (Withdrawal) W (Withdrawal)

Top of Page

Graduate Standing

Those who have been granted baccalaureate degrees (or equivalent) from accredited colleges and universities are admitted for fifth-year work as graduate students if they have met the requirements for degree candidacy as determined by the Whittier College faculty.

Top of Page

Honors at Commencement

Each year Whittier College grants academic honors to deserving seniors at Commencement. The determination is based on grades received throughout all undergraduate studies at Whittier College. Honors at Commencement are based on students' grade point averages rounded to the nearest hundredth. Students will receive the highest level of honors for which they are eligible. Those students with the following grade point averages will receive the corresponding Honors at commencement:

  • 3.70 - 3.79: Cum Laude
  • 3.80 - 3.89: Magna Cum Laude
  • 3.90 and above: Summa Cum Laude

In order to graduate with academic honors, the student must have earned at least 60 credits at Whittier College. At least two-thirds of the academic credits earned at Whittier College must be for letter grades.

Top of Page

Incomplete Grades Policy

A grade of Incomplete may be issued to a student in a course for which the student has been unable to complete the requirements due to extenuating circumstances. The student must request a grade of "Incomplete" using the Application for Incomplete Grade Form. An Incomplete may be assigned at the instructor's discretion and only when exceptional circumstances, beyond the control of the student, have prevented the student from completing the final assigned work or examination. The instructor will note requirements to be completed on the application form. Incompletes may not be granted to students for improper time management, academic overload, or outside employment conflicts.

All requirements to satisfy the incomplete grade must be completed no later than 10 weeks following the last day of the term in which the incomplete is issued. Failure to complete the work within the time allotted will result in the student receiving a grade based upon the work completed prior to the incomplete. In many cases this will result in a Failure for the course.

It is understood that there may be certain situations in which an extension of an incomplete is appropriate. Such extensions will only be granted at the request of the instructor and on approval by the associate dean of the faculty. The maximum time allowed for completion of a course, whether the student is enrolled or not, is one year from the date the Incomplete was incurred. All outstanding incomplete grades must be finalized prior to the awarding of any degree or credential.

Top of Page

Independent Study

Independent Study is a tutorial arrangement with a faculty member when a student would like to do research on a topic that is not offered in the current catalog. Independent Study requires permission of the instructor, advisor, and department chair and operates under the following guidelines:

  1. The substance and/or nature of the course must not duplicate the work and title of any course listed in the current catalog. If a requirement is being met with this study, a Degree Audit form must be completed and submitted along with this form.
  2. An Independent Study cannot be used to change the substance and/or nature of any course offered by Whittier College.
  3. The student must explain why he/she is qualified to do an Independent Study.
  4. Students are limited to one Independent or Directed Study per term.
  5. The application for the Independent Study must be submitted by the deadline to add a class of the term registering for in accordance with registration guidelines.
  6. The student must have completed at least 30 credits prior to this course and be in academic Good Standing.
  7. The faculty member conducting the Independent Study affirms that the academic activity complies with Whittier College standards for awarding credit (CFR 34 §§ 600.2 and 600.24).

Top of Page

In-Progress Grade Policy

Assigned when an educational experience (e.g., student teaching, internship, or practicum) is designed to extend beyond the traditional grading term, a grade of IP must be accompanied by a date at which a final grade is due. If a grade is not submitted to the Registrar by the specified date, a grade of IN will be assigned. Thereafter, the course is governed by the policy of Incomplete Grades. A grade of IP cannot be assigned for a traditional course as a means to extend the grading period beyond the traditional term.

Top of Page

Internship, Practicum, Student Teaching, & Community Based Learning

An Internship is a supervised work experience that enables the student to explore professional opportunities in a field of interest and in which a student puts to use skills and knowledge developed in the academic program. The work can be paid or unpaid, full time or part time. Internships can be on or off campus. Internships for which academic credit is offered require the co-operation of an academic department and another body; both the sponsoring faculty member and the work supervisor evaluate the student's performance, but the responsibility for assigning credit is in the hands of the faculty member, who takes into account the supervisor's written evaluation. On-campus internships as well as off-campus ones require both a site supervisor and a faculty sponsor. In the case of on campus internships in which a faculty member is the site supervisor (e.g., with research grants in the sciences), another faculty member needs to serve as the faculty sponsor in order for an internship to receive academic credit.

Academic credit is not awarded simply because a student has put in a particular number of hours at a place of work. While some routine work may be required of an intern, it is the responsibility of the sponsoring department to make sure that the co-operating body provides opportunities for students to employ the skills and knowledge developed in their academic experience. Students may be required to do outside reading in connection with their internships, and must do regular writing in which they reflect upon their work experience and integrate it with their academic experience. This writing should include both a journal and a final paper; about twenty pages total, or the disciplinary equivalent, is appropriate for a 3 credit internship. Students must meet regularly (usually weekly), with the sponsoring faculty member; if the internship is at a distance, telephone and email conferences may be substituted. Sponsoring faculty also need to be in regular contact with work supervisors.

Students should normally spend the equivalent of 10 hours per week during a regular semester for each 3 credits earned, or forty hours per credit, including both on-site time and time allotted to the integration of the academic with the work experience. Internships ordinarily range from 3 to 12 credits. 3 to 6 is usual, although 12 may be appropriate when the site is beyond commuting distance and the student needs to be enrolled full-time. Normally, no more than 12 credits of internship or practicum work may be applied towards graduation, except in the cases of disciplines which require a one or two credit introductory experience during the first two years. Students doing a summer internship may "bank" the experience and enroll for the credits during a subsequent semester provided that the application and approval process has been completed during the preceding spring. Internships will be offered on a credit/no credit basis only.

Departments, not individual faculty, offer internships, so departments need to set criteria for who may apply for an internship, the sort of work experience that is appropriate, which organizations are suitable, how the evaluation should occur, and how many credits should be assigned in each case. Specific courses may be required before an internship, and departments may limit participation in their internships to majors, or to majors and minors.

Ordinarily, students applying for an internship should be of junior standing and have at least a 2.7 GPA. Under some circumstances, departments may wish to offer internship or practicum experiences to students who have not achieved junior standing or whose GPA is less than 2.7; an explanation of the usual rationale for this must be part of the department's initial proposal for the internship. A department that requires an internship for graduation and sets a minimum GPA requirement for the internship higher than that required for graduation must provide an alternative to the internship so that the internship does not have the effect of raising the GPA required to graduate from the college.

Internships should require explicit connection with a student's academic program. This connection should be made clear in the student's formal application for the internship, which upon approval, will become a learning contract between the student and the department. The application should also include a statement of goals; a detailed description of the work to be performed and the supervision provided; a description and an explanation of how the experience is to be evaluated. This includes both the evaluation by on site supervisors and by sponsoring faculty members, and the student's own reflective and integrative work.

Learning Agreements, to be signed by the student, the faculty sponsor, and the site supervisor are available in the Office of Internships and Community Engagement; in order to avoid problems with liability issues, all internships must be processed through that office. Actual approval of internships for academic credit is in the province of the academic department, but copies of all Learning Agreements need to be kept on file in that office.

Top of Page

IP In-Progress Grades Policy

Assigned when an educational experience (e.g., student teaching, internship, or practicum) is designed to extend beyond the traditional grading term. A grade of IP must be accompanied by a date at which a final grade is due. If a grade is not submitted to the registrar by the specified date, a grade of "IP" will be assigned. Thereafter, the course is governed by the policy of "Incomplete Grades." A grade of IP cannot be assigned for a traditional course as a means to extend the grading period beyond the traditional term.

Top of Page

Non-Degree Standing

For those interested in academic pursuits outside of any degree requirements, non-degree standing is permissible on either a part-time or full-time basis with the approval of the Office of the Registrar. A student may transfer no more than thirty credits of courses taken at Whittier College under non-degree status toward a Whittier College Bachelor of Arts and no more than twelve non-degree credits toward the Master’s degree at the College.

Top of Page

Readmission

Those students who have interrupted their studies at Whittier for a semester or more must apply for readmission through the Registrar's Office. Transcripts must be submitted from any other college(s) attended during the absence from Whittier. Readmitted students may begin classes at the beginning of the fall, January, or spring terms. If a student is away longer than six consecutive semesters or eight total semesters he/she returns under the graduation requirements in the College Catalog in place at the time of the student's re-enrollment.

Top of Page

Registration and Class Scheduling

The Office of the Registrar is the principal source of information concerning registration procedures. Details are published on the Registrar's Office website.

Students must complete registration during the assigned period at the beginning of each term by paying tuition and fees and by filing completed registration forms with the Registrar. A new, re- admitted, or continuing student who did not pre-enroll must register during regular registration periods. No credit will be given for a course in which the student is not officially registered.

Flexibility for learning is built into daily and weekly class scheduling. Fifty-minute and eighty- minute class periods are available throughout each week day. Frequency of weekly meetings varies, depending upon the credit value of the particular subject.

Top of Page

Registration Changes

Registration changes (add/drop, change to CR/NC, change to audit, withdrawal, etc.) must be completed before the deadlines published in Academic Calendar. Once classes have started, individual instructors must approve the addition of a student to their class. The faculty mentor or advisor must approve all degree program changes.

Top of Page

Repeated Coursework Policy

A course may be repeated, but degree credit will be given only once (except for courses designated in the College Catalog as "may be repeated for credit"). The grade assigned for each enrollment shall be permanently recorded on the student's transcript. A course originally taken for a letter grade may not be repeated on a CR/NC basis. In computing the GPA of a student repeating a course, only the most recently earned grade shall be used.

Top of Page

ROTC

ROTC courses are not taught on the Whittier College campus, "cross-town" agreements with other institutions exist to allow qualified Whittier College students to participate in the Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps (AFROTC) or the Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (AROTC).

ROTC is a program that is taken concurrently with a college student's normal academic studies and offers additional opportunities for leadership, developmental, and personal growth. Scholarships and financial aid are available through the ROTC programs for students who qualify.

Please contact the Army ROTC program at California State University, Fullerton, or the Air Force ROTC program at the University of Souther California for information regarding ROTC and any scholarship programs.

Upon the Registrars's approval, academic credit earned in these programs may be counted as elective units toward fulfillment of Whittier College graduation requirements. Additional information is available from the Office of the Registrar.

Top of Page

Special Course and Laboratory Fees Policy

Some courses have expenses associated with them that are not covered by regular tuition and fees, and in such cases the College may charge additional fees in amounts approximately equal to the added instructional or laboratory costs. Special charges may be made according to current costs for the following:

  • Courses requiring equipment, facilities or materials not available on campus, for science and certain field courses.
  • Courses requiring use of high technology equipment, e.g., computer courses.
  • Private instruction in music and similar arts.
  • Courses requiring field trips or travel.
  • Noncredit courses, conferences, workshops, postgraduate seminars and similar educational offerings.

Top of Page

Student Grade Report

Grade reports are available through My.Whittier to all active students. A printed record of grades may be obtained by ordering an Official Transcript through the National Student Clearinghouse (http://getmytranscript.com).

Top of Page

Study Load

For undergraduate students in good standing, a minimum full-time study load is twelve credit hours per semester (one credit hour is equivalent to one semester hour). A normal course load for students planning to graduate in four years is thirty credits per year; this could be accomplished by taking fifteen credits each semester or, in some years, by taking thirteen credits each semester and a four-credit course during the January term. Credit hours taken in excess of fifteen require additional tuition charges. An extra study load, more than seventeen credit hours per semester, must be approved by the student's mentor or advisor. Forms for an extra study load are available from the Registrar’s Office.

Students who experience a severe intermittent or episodic medical/psychiatric complication, may qualify for a Reduced Course Load accommodation. This accommodation will be determined at the discretion of the Director of Disability Services and is intended to be temporary, generally the duration lasting for one semester. Students who qualify for this accommodation may be eligible for some services otherwise requiring full-time enrollment. The student’s actual enrollment status will be reported to the National Student Clearinghouse, United States Department of Education, lenders, employers, insurers, and other third parties requesting verification of enrollment. It is important to note that all forms of financial aid (grants, scholarships, loans and work-study) may be affected.

Top of Page

Transcript of Whittier College Record

An Official Transcript of a student's academic record may be issued when the individual's written or electronic authorization is received. An Official Transcript may be ordered through the National Student Clearinghouse (http://getmytranscript.com). Advising and Unofficial transcripts are for internal use only and are not released outside the College. Transcripts and diplomas are withheld for any student who has outstanding financial obligations to the college.

Top of Page

Transferability of Coursework

Whittier College determines the applicability of transfer coursework accepted towards completion of a degree. Whittier College evaluates coursework taken at other regionally accredited institutions on an individual basis upon receipt of the official college transcript directly from the institution where the coursework was completed. Coursework taken outside the U.S. is evaluated when official evidence of completion (e.g. transcript or diploma) is presented and accompanied by an English translation.

Liberal Education, major and minor requirements may be satisfied using transfer coursework. The Whittier College Registrar must first accept transfer coursework for the College. With the exception of Connection I, transfer coursework taken prior to matriculation may be applied to Liberal Education Program requirements with the approval of the program coordinator. Transfer coursework may also be applied to major and minor requirements with the approval of the respective department chair or program coordinator.

A minimum grade of C-, or equivalent, must be attained in a course to be applied toward a Whittier College degree. Duplicate credit is not awarded where the student has repeated coursework at one or more institutions including Whittier College. Distance learning, online, and courses offered in nontraditional formats or timeframes may be considered on a case by case basis when accompanied by a syllabus. Remedial, professional, technical, vocational, work experience, co-op, and terminal coursework are not accepted.

A maximum of 70 semester credits from a community college and a maximum of 90 credits from a four-year institution may be accepted.

Please contact the Registrar's Office if you have questions about the transferability of coursework.

Top of Page

Withdrawal Policies

Instructor Drop: Faculty may, through the end of the fifth school day for semester classes, drop students who have never attended class (also see Attendance policy). Please use the Instructor Drop Form to administratively drop students from your class.

Dropping Classes: Students may drop a class using My.Whittier without record of enrollment during the first three weeks of a semester course. Please see the Web Registration Tutorial to learn how to drop a class using My.Whittier.

Withdrawing from Courses: Until the end of the sixth week of a semester course, students may withdraw from a course for any reason using My.Whittier. A grade of "W" will be assigned. After this period, withdrawals will be allowed only for reasons of health or serious personal problems. Academic difficulties or lack of interest in the course are not sufficient reason for late withdrawals.

Withdrawing from the College: A withdrawal is generally requested when a student does not plan to return to Whittier College or plans to transfer to another school. A leave of absence is granted to a student who plans to return to Whittier within one academic year. Students who plan to do either must apply through the Dean of Students Office. Withdrawals will be recorded on the transcript as a "W" grade. It is the student's responsibility to maintain medical and health insurance coverage following a withdrawal of during a leave of absence.

No withdrawals of any type will be granted during the last week of any course.

Top of Page.

Share