The semester hour credit for each course is listed in the course description of this catalog.
Each semester hour of credit given for a course is based on one academic hour (50 minutes) of formalized, structured instructional time per week for 15 weeks. This totals 750 minutes of instruction. In addition, each course requires an examination/evaluation period. Courses may consist of lectures, out-of-class study, online study, laboratory and/or shop study, or combinations thereof, with credit awarded as follows:
- Lecture: One academic hour of lecture (including lecture, seminar, discussion or other similar activities) per week for 15 weeks, plus the examination/evaluation period equals one collegiate semester-hour credit.
- Laboratory: Two to five academic hours (depending on the discipline) of laboratory, clinical training, supervised work experience, coordinated internship, or other similar activities per week for 15 weeks, plus the examination/evaluation period equals one collegiate semester-hour credit.
- Asynchronous eLearning Courses: Traditional contact hours combined with learning activities in which students and faculty are separated by time and place; content is equivalent to that of traditional lecture/ laboratory classes.
Courses numbered less than 100 are not applicable toward associate degree programs. Some developmental courses, with the approval of the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer (or designee), may provide credit applicable to certificate programs. These courses may not qualify for federal financial aid.
Courses numbered 100 through 299 are freshman and sophomore courses typically applicable toward associate degree and certificate programs.
The quality of performance in any academic course is reported by a letter grade, which the instructor is responsible for assigning.
The grades of A, B, C, D, P and S are passing grades. Grades of F and U are failing grades. R and I are interim grades. Grades of W and X are final grades carrying no credit.
P - PASS
No grade point credit. This grade applies only to non-developmental specialized courses and seminars approved by the appropriate academic dean. A maximum of seven semester credit hours with a P grade may be applied toward a degree or certificate.
S - SATISFACTORY
No grade point credit. The grade of S indicates satisfactory completion of course objectives in developmental studies and ESL courses.
U - UNSATISFACTORY
No grade point credit. The grade of U is assigned when the student has not made satisfactory progress in developmental studies, ESL courses, or courses taken on a Pass/Unsatisfactory basis.
R - RE-ENROLL
No grade point credit. The R grade may be used as a grade option, in developmental and ESL courses only, when the student has made satisfactory progress but has not completed all of the instructional objectives for developmental studies or ESL courses. Students must re-enroll in the course and pay the specified tuition to complete the course objectives.
W - WITHDRAWAL
No grade point credit. A grade of W is awarded to students who withdraw or are withdrawn from a course after the add/drop period but prior to the completion of 60 percent of the session. After that time, the student will receive a grade of F except under mitigating circumstances, which must be approved by the course instructor and the appropriate academic dean. A copy of the withdrawal form and supporting documentation will be placed in the student’s academic file.
X - AUDIT
No credit. Permission from the appropriate academic dean or designee is required to audit a course. Students must register through the usual registration process and pay the normal tuition. Audited courses do not count as part of a student’s course load. Students desiring to change status in a course from audit to credit or from credit to audit must do so within the add/drop period for the course. Students who desire to earn credit for a previously audited course must re-enroll in the course for credit and pay normal tuition to earn a grade other than X. Advanced standing credit shall not be awarded for a previously audited course.
I - INCOMPLETE
No credit. The grade of I is used only for verifiable unavoidable reasons that a student is unable to complete a course within the normal course time. To be eligible to receive an I grade, the student must (1) have satisfactorily completed more than 60% of the course requirements and attendance and (2) must request the faculty member to assign the I grade and indicate why it is warranted. The faculty member has the discretion to decide whether the I grade will be awarded. Since the “incomplete” extends the enrollment in the course, requirements for satisfactory completion shall be established through student/faculty consultation. In assigning the I grade, the faculty member must complete documentation that (1) states the reason for assigning the grade; (2) specifies the work to be completed and indicates its percentage in relation to the total work of the course; (3) specifies the date by which the work must be completed; and (4) identifies the default grade (B, C, D, F, P, R, or U) based upon course work already completed. Completion dates may not be set beyond the last day of the subsequent semester (to include summer session) without written approval of the campus provost. The student will be provided a copy of the documentation.
The instructor must submit a Grade Change form to change the I grade to the grade earned after course work is completed. If the work is not completed on time, another grade (B, C, D, F, P, R, or U) must be assigned based on the course work already completed. An I grade will be changed to a W only under documented mitigating circumstances, which must be approved by the campus provost. A copy of the withdrawal form and supporting documentation will be placed in the student’s academic file.
Computing The Grade Point Average (GPA)
To determine the GPA, multiply the number of credits for each class by the number of points awarded for the grade received and divide the total number of grade points earned by the number of credits attempted. Credits that do not generate grade points, such as credits for developmental courses, are not included in the calculation of credits attempted. Grades of P (pass), R (reenroll), S (satisfactory), U (unsatisfactory), and W (withdrawal), I (incomplete), or X (audit) do not receive grade points.
To determine a semester GPA, divide the total number of grade points earned in all courses taken in a given semester by the total number of credits attempted for the semester.
To determine a curriculum GPA, divide the total number of grade points earned in all courses applicable to the student’s curriculum by the total number of credits attempted in courses applicable to that curriculum.
To determine a cumulative grade point average, divide the total number of grade points earned in all courses by the total number of credits attempted.
See Repeated Course Policy below for information on calculating GPA for non-developmental courses taken more than once.
Repeated Course Policy
Only the most recent attempt of a repeated course is used to calculate the cumulative GPA, and only credits earned in the most recent attempt are counted toward meeting curriculum requirements. Grades earned during previous attempts remain on the permanent records of students. Note: This policy applies only to courses first attempted in the summer 1988 or later, and does not affect GPA adjustments made for courses completed and repeated under the previous repeat policy (summer 1994 - summer 1996).
Some courses are exempt from consideration as repeats and an adjustment to GPA is not made. Exempted courses are those numbered in the 90s, 93s, 95s, 96s, 97s, 98s, and 99s; courses identified by the phrase “may be repeated for credit”; and selected other courses. Periodically, the VCCS will rename or renumber courses, but they remain equivalent to the courses as previously named or numbered. In such cases, completion of a renumbered/renamed course may be determined to be a repeat of a course completed previously under a different department and/or course number. These determinations are made on a college-wide basis, and exceptions cannot be made for individual students.
Implementation of this policy does not affect GPA calculations for prior terms or academic, financial, or administrative events that have occurred in the past. Direct any questions to the coordinator of Enrollment Services.
Limit on Repeating a Course
Students are limited to two attempts in the same credit or developmental course for the purpose of improving their grades. (Grades of A, B, C, D, F, I, P, R, S, U, X and W count as attempts.). The appropriate academic dean must approve exceptions to this policy. This limitation does not apply to certain courses identified as repeatable for credit.
The process for appealing final course grades is outlined in the Student Handbook.
Students are expected to take examinations as scheduled by their instructors. No exceptions will be made without permission of instructors and academic deans.
Students should be present and on time for all scheduled class and laboratory meetings. Instructors do not have to admit students who arrive late. In a distance learning course, student attendance is determined by instructors and requires substantive course participation, such as completion of a class assignment or participation in a course discussion.
If students add classes or register after the first day of classes, the students are counted absent from all class meetings missed. If students are absent more than 15 percent of scheduled instructional time, attendance may be defined as unsatisfactory. This calculation includes absences occurring during the add/drop period.
Instructors may establish more stringent attendance policies, and students are responsible for understanding the attendance requirements for each course in which they are enrolled.
When instructors determine student absences constitute unsatisfactory attendance, students may be withdrawn from courses. Students will receive W grades during the first 60 percent of courses. If students are withdrawn after 60 percent of courses, grades of F (or U in the case of developmental courses) will be assigned unless students can document mitigating circumstances. Students who are withdrawn from courses because of unsatisfactory attendance are not eligible for refunds of tuition and fees.