Academic Regulations and Information: Bachelor’s Programs

Classification of Students:

Academic classification of students is determined by semester hours earned toward a degree:

Semester Hours Earned Class
0-23 Freshman
24-53 Sophomore
54-84 and Declaration of Major filed  Junior
85+  Senior

Other Academic Policies

Registration: By the beginning of each semester, students are required to formally register for classes. Currently enrolled students should register during advance registration for maximum opportunities to obtain a satisfactory class schedule. Late registration extends through the first five days of the fall or spring semester. Students should refer to the Registrar’s home page for registration information and for details concerning course offerings, procedures, and requirements.

Course Loads: A full-time student is one who carries at least 12 semester hours per semester. A student who carries fewer than 12 semester hours is classified as a part-time student. The following restrictions are placed on the maximum course load a student may carry in a given semester; exceptions to these policies may be made only with the written endorsement of the student’s faculty advisor and the approval of the Provost:

  • Freshmen and first-semester transfer students are counseled by their advisors according to their past record as to whether they should limit their registration to three or four courses during their first semester at Virginia Wesleyan.
  • The maximum academic credit load for a student on academic probation is 16 semester hours.
  • Any student with a cumulative grade point average of less than 2.0 is limited to 16 semester hours.
  • Any student with a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or above is limited to 18 semester hours.
  • All semester hours of “Incomplete” from the previous term (counting summer and Winter Session as a term) are considered part of the student’s academic load.

Adding and Dropping Courses: Students may add or drop a course, or change a section of a course through WebAdvisor or by completing a Course Selection form at the Registrar’s Office. Students wishing to add a course after the first week of classes must have the approval of the professor and the Provost. The added course will increase the total hours in a student’s course load even though the student may have dropped another course (see “Withdrawal from Course”).

Dropping a course after the first week of classes does not reduce the total number of semester hours charged for the semester. Drops after the first week of classes and prior to the automatic “WF” period (see Academic Calendar) result in a grade of W. From the beginning of the automatic “WF” period until the last day of classes for the semester, a drop will result in an automatic WF or WU. Exceptions to this policy may be made for students who withdraw from the college for reasons of documented illness. Students cannot evade the imposition of a course grade of F as the result of an Honor Code violation by withdrawing from the course.

Class Attendance Policy: The College expects students to attend all class meetings of courses in which they are enrolled. Each professor sets an attendance policy and includes it in the course syllabus. Professors best understand the responsibilities of individual students in their courses; thus they have sole authority over course attendance policies as they evaluate all excuses for absence and decide whether to permit students to make up work missed. Professors may request written confirmation of illness from the Health Services director or from a physician. They may request written confirmation of other significant reasons for absence from the Dean of Students.

Academic Alert System: The College has established the Academic Alert System to identify students experiencing academic difficulty and to provide appropriate counseling, tutorial, and advising services to enable such students to succeed in their coursework. The purpose of the system is to help every student achieve success, and the reporting and record keeping are strictly non-punitive.

When a student fails to attend class, struggles to complete assignments, performs poorly on examinations or papers, or otherwise encounters problems in coping with academic life, a faculty or staff member who has direct knowledge of the student’s situation may file an online report to the manager of Academic Alert, who then links the student to appropriate campus personnel who can address the student’s needs.

The Academic Alert System notifies affected course instructors, counselors, faculty advisors, coaches, and support staff of the record of institutional intervention on a need-to-know basis. Sharing of Academic Alert information beyond those faculty and staff with a direct interest in an individual student’s case is subject to the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Grading System: Virginia Wesleyan College uses a 4.0 grading system. The table below lists the letter grades that professors use, the meaning of each letter grade, and the number of quality points that each grade represents. Quality points are used to determine a student’s grade point average (GPA). The procedure for calculating a GPA is described below, under “Grade Point Averages.”

Letter Grade Meaning Quality Points per Sem. Hr. Used to Calculate GPA
H Exceptional quality work in an honors course 4.00 Yes
A Excellent work 4.00 Yes
A-   3.67 Yes
B+   3.33 Yes
B Good work, definitely above average 3.00 Yes
B-   2.67 Yes
C+   2.33 Yes
C Average work 2.00 Yes
C-   1.67 Yes
D+   1.33 Yes
D Below average work 1.00 Yes
D- Work meets minimum requirements for credit 0.67 Yes
F
Failure
0.00 Yes
WF Withdrew while failing 0.00 Yes
W Withdrew 0.00 No
S Satisfactory work in pass/fail course 0.00 No
U Unsatisfactory work in pass/fail course 0.00 No
WU Withdrew with unsatisfactory work in pass/fail course 0.00 No
Z Satisfactory work in audited course 0.00 No
UZ Unsatisfactory work in audited course 0.00 No
I Work that the instructor considers justifiably incomplete 0.00 No

Pass/Fail Grades: Some courses are offered only on a pass/fail basis and are so noted in the class schedule for a given semester. Students also have the option in a given semester of electing to take one traditionally graded course on a pass/fail basis, provided that the course is not needed to fulfill general college requirements, or any part of the student’s major or minor program, or a repeat of a course originally taken as a traditionally graded course. Also, the course may not be used to fulfill the requirements for graduation with honors. To place a course on pass/fail, a student must obtain the advisor’s signature on a Pass/Fail form and return the form to the Registrar’s Office before the end of the third week of the fall or spring semester or before the end of the first week of a summer session.

The following limitations apply: In any given semester, students may not enroll for more than one-third of their academic load in pass/fail courses except on the written recommendation of their advisor and the approval of the Provost. No more than one-third of a student’s total hours offered for graduation may consist of courses graded on a pass/fail basis.

Pass/fail grading may not be chosen for any honors seminar or for any course challenged for the H grade.

Incomplete: An Incomplete is given at the discretion of the professor when circumstances beyond the control of the student prevent the completion of course requirements.

Incomplete work must be made up during the ensuing term, with summer counting as a term, so that a letter grade can be turned in to the Registrar no later than the last day of classes. Otherwise, a grade of Incomplete is recorded as a grade of F. Any exception to this policy requires the approval of the Provost prior to the stated deadline.

Grade Changes: A request for a grade change must be submitted by the faculty member to the Provost for approval. Any change of grade from a reassessment must be made within 12 months of the issuance of a grade.

Course Grade Appeal Process: A student who believes that he or she has received an unjust course grade may appeal the grade. The burden of proof of injustice rests with the student. A student pursuing an appeal must follow these steps:

  • First, the student must review the course syllabus for the grading policy and calculate a legitimate grade, based on all tests, papers, and other work graded by the faculty member during the semester.
  • If the student still believes the grade is in error, then no later than the end of the second week of the subsequent semester, summer not counting as a semester, the student must confer directly with the faculty member who assigned the grade, bringing to the meeting all graded work that was required for the course.
  • If after this meeting the student is still not satisfied with the faculty member’s decision, then no later than the end of the fifth week of the same semester, the student must prepare and send to the Provost a written appeal with all supporting evidence. At the same time, the student must send copies of all materials to the faculty member. After consultation with both the student and the faculty member, the Provost, if she or he believes the case so warrants, calls together the members of the department in which the course was taken. This process is intended to ensure fairness and to ensure that all supporting materials are seen by neutral parties. After this consultation with the Provost and the other members of the department, the faculty member makes the final determination.

Repeating a Course: Students will ordinarily be permitted only once to repeat a course for which they have been charged quality points, and then only if the original grade was below a C (2.0). However, students with a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or above may take for a third time a course not previously passed if they obtain the written recommendation of their advisor and the approval of the Provost, who will consult with any professor who has previously taught the course, or with the coordinator of the department in which the course was taught. When a student repeats a course, all previous grades for that course remain on the transcript, but only the most recent grade is used in computing the grade point average.

Grade Point Averages: A student’s major and cumulative grade point averages are computed on work taken at Virginia Wesleyan, exclusive of pass/fail courses. Coursework taken on a cross-registration basis is also included in the Virginia Wesleyan grade point average, again exclusive of pass/fail courses.

A student’s grade point average is calculated by dividing the total number of quality points earned at Virginia Wesleyan by the total number of semester hours attempted at Virginia Wesleyan, including failures and withdrawal failures. Courses in which the mark was WP or W and courses taken on a pass/fail basis, are not included when computing the grade point average. In the case of repeated courses, only the semester hours and the grade points from the most recent attempt are used in the computation. (WP grade no longer used effective Fall 2013).

The following examples demonstrate the procedure for computing a grade point average:

  1. A student who completes 16 semester hours with 12 semester hours of C and 4 semester hours of S has earned 24 quality points for the C’s and no quality points for the S. To find the student’s average, divide 24 quality points earned by the 12 semester hours of traditionally graded work attempted to find the grade point average of 2.0.
  2. A student who completes 16 semester hours with 4 semester hours of B, 4 of C+, 4 of C-, 4 of D, and 4 of F has earned 12 quality points for the B, 9.32 for the C+, 6.68 for the C-, 4 for the D, and 0 for the F, for a total of 32 quality points. Divide the 32 quality points by the 16 semester hours to find the grade point average of 2.00.

A semester’s grade point average is computed under these rules by considering only courses undertaken in a given semester. The cumulative grade point average of all work taken at Virginia Wesleyan is simply computed by considering all traditionally graded courses undertaken. A cumulative grade point average cannot be computed by averaging semester grade point averages.

Final Examinations: Final examinations are given in most courses during the final examination period at the end of each term. Any student who has three examinations scheduled for three successive exam periods should discuss a possible schedule adjustment with the faculty members involved.

Midterm and Final Grade Reports: The college provides mid-semester progress reports for students with comments for students with midterm grades of C- or below. These may be viewed on WebAdvisor on the college’s home page beginning in the eighth week of each semester. Students with grades in need of improvement should consult their professors and advisors for suggestions. Final grades may be viewed and/or printed directly from WebAdvisor.

Dean’s List: Students who achieve a grade point average of 3.5 or above during a given semester are named to the Dean’s List for that semester. Students with an average of 3.25-3.49 are named to the Honorable Mention List. To qualify for these honors, students must have full-time status, have taken at least 9 semester hours of traditionally graded courses, and have no grades of F or Incomplete for the semester.

Course Limitations: Students may have more than one major listed on their transcripts, but may present no more than 64 semester hours in any one discipline in fulfillment of graduation requirements. A student who wishes to take more than 64 semester hours in one discipline must take additional hours beyond the 128 semester hours required for graduation.

Graduating with Honors: To be considered for any category of graduation with Latin honors, students must fulfill all institutional and degree requirements described in the catalog under which they are to graduate or as subsequently amended in accordance with institutional policies. Students guilty of violating academic honesty policies, such as through cheating or plagiarism, are not eligible for Latin honors. Eligible students must also satisfy the following more specific criteria:

Each of the following requirements must be satisfied to graduate with Latin honors:

  • Minimum of 60 semester hours completed at VWU
  • Minimum cumulative 3.50 GPA
  • cum laude
    • cumulative GPA of at least 3.50
  • magna cum laude
    • cumulative GPA of at least 3.70
  • summa cum laude
    • cumulative GPA of at least 3.90
    • four semester hours of independent research at the 400 level, completed with distinction as certified by the supervising independent research committee.*
    • faculty vote

* The independent research requirement can be completed through an independent study or through an existing capstone or other 400-level course designed to support independent research. If undertaken through an existing course, the student must still meet the special requirements pertaining to independent research, as described in the catalog with the exception that research projects undertaken for an established course do not require divisional approval.

Courses such as BIO 489, CHEM 489, CLAS 450, CJ 480, CS 489, EES 489, ENG 489, HIST 426, 460, INST 482, MATH 489, MUS 480, PSY 480, SOC 480, and certain others may be used to satisfy the independent research requirement.

Honors status of August candidates for graduation is determined after all summer coursework is completed.

Name Changes: Accuracy in record keeping is of the utmost importance in the Registrar’s Office as the staff strives to protect the privacy of students’ academic records. Students with name changes should notify the office at once by bringing an original birth certificate, marriage certificate, or court order. Name changes affect only the last name; whereas the first and middle names given at birth remain the same, except in cases of a court-ordered change.

Non-Resident Credit: While a student is enrolled at Virginia Wesleyan, no credit is awarded for courses taken at another college unless the student obtains permission from the Registrar’s Office prior to registering for such courses.

Cross-Registration: Virginia Wesleyan’s member­ship in the Virginia Tidewater Consortium provides students with opportunities for enriching their educational programs through a process of cross-registration at other institutions of higher education located in Hampton Roads. Subject to available space at another school, Virginia Wesleyan students may cross-register at other member institutions for a course that is not currently available. Students requesting to cross-register for a course at another school must have the written approval of their advisor and the Registrar and be in good academic standing (2.00 GPA). Grades earned through cross-registration become part of the student’s grade point average. Complete information covering the conditions of cross-registration is available in the Registrar’s Office.

Transient Registration: Virginia Wesleyan students may take courses at other institutions of higher education and transfer the credit in. To do so, they must be in good academic standing, complete an application, and receive the written approval of their advisor and the Registrar prior to registering for any courses at other institutions. Approved credit is accepted for transfer only when the student has earned a grade of C (2.0) or above. Transfer credit does not affect the student’s grade point average at Virginia Wesleyan. Complete information covering the conditions of transient registration is available in the Registrar’s Office.

Catalog of Entry: Students who have left the college for a time, have not earned additional credit, and have been readmitted to Virginia Wesleyan may choose to satisfy either the requirements listed in the catalog that was current at the time they first enrolled in the college or the requirements that are in effect at the time of their application for graduation. Students who have left the college and earned additional credit prior to readmission to Virginia Wesleyan must satisfy the requirements listed in the catalog at the time of their application for graduation.

Withdrawal and Readmission to the College: A student who wishes voluntarily to withdraw from the college during a given term is not considered officially withdrawn until he or she notifies the Registrar in writing of this intention and completes an official withdrawal form. Assigned grades of W or WF are determined by the date of withdrawal and the discretion of the professor. Any course registrations for the semester following the withdrawal are deleted. If a student fails to register for two consecutive major semesters by the last date for late registration, he or she is assumed to have withdrawn from the college.

A student who needs to withdraw for medical reasons during a given semester will be required to provide medical documentation and a letter which addresses the following: the specific nature of the illness, the approximate date of the onset of the illness, the date at which the doctor first diagnosed the illness, and how the illness and treatment precluded one’s ability to engage in studies.

A student who withdraws and desires to return to the college must reapply to the Office of Enrollment Services for consideration by the Committee on Academic Standing.

A student who has been academically dismissed may apply for readmission once, and only after meeting the criteria as outlined in the Selective Retention Policy.

Effective Fall 2013, any student readmitted to the college will be required to complete 128 semester hours for graduation, with their last 32 hours and at least 16 semester hours in their major area in residence at Virginia Wesleyan.

Academic Standing

Selective Retention Policy: Except under extraordinary circumstances as determined by the Committee on Academic Standing, the following policy governs the academic status of students with regard to academic probation, suspension and dismissal.

Because a 2.0 cumulative grade point average (GPA) is necessary for graduation, a GPA of 2.0 (C) is required for good academic standing. A GPA below 2.0, whether or not a student is placed on probation, is a warning that one’s academic performance falls below acceptable standards.

When a student’s GPA falls below 2.0, the student’s academic status (no probation, suspension, dismissal) will vary according to the number of semesters of coursework taken. “Probation” is a
severe warning that failure to raise the cumulative GPA to a 2.0 in the next semester after probation may result in suspension or dismissal. Probationary status always requires students to schedule special conferences with their advisor, with an academic counselor, and, in some cases, with the Provost. “Suspension” occurs when the Committee on Academic Standing determines that a student’s academic performance merits separation from the institution for two semesters (with the summer counting as one semester). In rare cases of academic non-performance, the Committee may “dismiss” a student for a period of five years.

A freshman who does not achieve at least a 1.6 after undertaking the equivalent of one semester of full-time academic work is automatically placed on academic probation. A first-term freshman who does not achieve at least a 1.4 is eligible for suspension or dismissal, but may at the discretion of the Committee on Academic Standing, be placed on probation. Any student whose cumulative average is below 1.8 after undertaking the equivalent of two semesters of full-time academic work is automatically placed on probation. Students with two semesters of work and an average below 1.6 are eligible for suspension or dismissal, but may, at the discretion of the Committee on Academic Standing, be placed on probation.

Students with a cumulative average below 2.0 after three semesters are automatically placed on probation; those with an average below 1.8 are eligible for suspension or dismissal, but may, at the discretion of the Committee on Academic Standing, be placed on probation.

All students must have at least a 2.0 cumulative average after undertaking the equivalent of four semesters of full-time academic work. Those who do not achieve this standard are eligible for suspension or dismissal, but may, at the discretion of the Committee on Academic Standing, be placed on probation.

Any student who fails more than half of the semester hours in his or her academic load in any semester after completion of one or more semesters is subject to suspension for two terms or dismissal.

As a general rule, a suspended student may not receive transfer credit for any course work taken at another institution during the two terms immediately following the suspension. With the prior approval of the Provost, a suspended student may take one or more courses at another institution for transfer credit at Virginia Wesleyan; a student granted approval must submit an official transcript of all such course work at the other institution as one condition of readmission to the college.

After being out of college for two terms, summer counting as a term, a suspended student may apply to the Committee on Academic Standing, through the Office of Enrollment Services, for readmission. If the student is readmitted, the conditions are established by the Committee on Academic Standing at the time of readmission and communicated to the student in writing by the Office of Enrollment Services. Once suspended, students who do not meet the conditions of their final probation will be dismissed from the college.

Students who have been dismissed by the Committee on Academic Standing for five years or more may apply for readmission. Conditions for readmission include submitting a statement, along with relevant supporting documentation, of academic and/or work-related accomplishments since last being enrolled at the college. The material is intended to offer evidence that the student has grown in maturity, ability to handle responsibility, and commitment to achievement such that he or she should be able to experience academic success if permitted to begin their studies again at Virginia Wesleyan. If readmitted, the student is given the option of Academic Clemency.

Under the college’s selective retention policy, “the equivalent of one semester of full-time academic work” is defined as a minimum of 12 semester hours; two semesters, 24 semester hours; three semesters, 36 semester hours; four semesters, 48 semester hours.

The maximum course load for a student on academic probation is 16 semester hours. Any student with a cumulative grade point average of less than 2.0 is also limited to 16 semester hours. The limit can be exceeded only with the written endorsement of the student’s faculty advisor and the approval of the Provost.

Each student is responsible for being aware of his or her own academic standing relative to the college policy and is entitled to appeal the decision of the Academic Standing Committee. Letters of appeal should be directed to the committee chairperson located in the Registrar’s Office.

Probation and Suspension Thresholds for Full-Time Students

Number of semesters

Automatic Probation Eligible for Susepnsion or Dismissal
After one semester Below 1.6 Below 1.4
After two semesters Below 1.8

Below 1.6

After three semesters Below 2.0 Below 1.8
After four semesters See Note*

Below 2.0

Special case, applicable to any semester  

Failure of half or more of semester hours after completion of one or more semesters

* After four semesters, students with a GPA below 2.0 can be placed on probation by the Committee on Academic Standing, or suspended or dismissed by the Committee.

Selective Retention Policy for Part-Time Students

The general standards applicable to full-time students cover part-time students in both the day and Evening & Weekend Program programs. For part-time students, however, the thresholds for probation and suspension are set out in terms of credit hours rather than semesters, according to the following table.

Number of semesters

Automatic Probation Eligible for Susepnsion or Dismissal
After 8 credit hours Below 1.6 Below 1.4
After 16 credit hours Below 1.8

Below 1.6

After 24 credit hours Below 2.0 Below 1.8
After 32 credit hours See Note*

Below 2.0

Special case, applicable to any semester  

Failure of half or more of semester hours after completion of one or more semesters

* After 64 credit hours, students with a GPA below 2.0 can be placed on probation by the Committee on Academic Standing, or suspended or dismissed by the Committee.

Academic Clemency

Virginia Wesleyan College recognizes that some students may, for a variety of reasons, develop academic records that do not reflect their true abilities. Students who leave the college with poor records may wish to request academic clemency upon their return. To encourage students to try again after an unsuccessful experience, the college is prepared to extend academic clemency based on the following policies:

  • A student who returns to the college after an absence of at least ten consecutive fall and spring semesters may submit a request to the Provost for academic clemency.
  • A student must request academic clemency at the time of first readmission following his or her return to the college. If clemency is granted, previous coursework with a grade below 2.0 (C) is not used to satisfy any graduation requirement, nor is it calculated in the cumulative GPA or hours earned.
  • Academic clemency is granted only once, and once granted may not be rescinded. It is available only to degree-seeking students and applies only to previous coursework with grades below 2.0 (C). Students must identify the semester(s) for which clemency will be applied.
  • Students readmitted under this provision must satisfy the requirements listed in the catalog that is current at the time of readmission.
  • All coursework and forgiven grades remain on the academic transcript, but a statement of academic clemency is entered after each semester for which grades are forgiven.
  • A student who has been granted academic clemency is not precluded from graduating with honors.

Student Rights and Responsibilities: Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974

All educational records of students enrolled at the college are maintained in accordance with the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as Amended. The Act was designed to protect the privacy of educational records, to establish the right of students to inspect and review their educational records, and to provide guidelines for the correction of inaccurate or misleading data through informal and formal hearings.

Student consent is required for the release of records covered by the Act to outside parties (i.e., prospective employers), except for those agencies entitled to access under the provisions of the Act (i.e., college personnel with a legitimate educational interest, federal education and auditing officials, federal and state law enforcement and judicial officials, and requests related to the application for or receipt of financial assistance).

Any other access must have written authorization from the student, with the exception of certain “directory information,” which includes the name, address, and telephone number of the student, e-mail address, major field of study, dates of attendance, degrees, awards and honors received (including dates), photographic view or electronic images, and the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended.