Academic Regulations in Detail
The responsibility for knowing and meeting degree requirements as well as the academic regulations of the College rests with each student. If there are any questions regarding these regulations, they should be raised with the student’s academic advisor or dean. Since the College requires that students be exposed to areas of knowledge and ways of thinking which may be new to them and which may radically change their ideas about their eventual majors, and since it is important that this diversified experience be gained early, the faculty strongly recommends that students take no more than one course in any department in either semester of the first year at Haverford. For the same reasons, sophomores are strongly encouraged to take no more than two courses simultaneously in any one department.
Registration and Course Load Policies
Detailed information concerning registration is issued by the Registrar’s Office each semester. Registration deadlines for courses offered at Haverford and Bryn Mawr are generally the same. However, there are different registration deadlines and procedures for courses offered at Swarthmore and the University of Pennsylvania.
Students normally register for four course credits per semester, but since exceptions to this general rule exist, they may arrange their programs with some flexibility. With the consent of their faculty advisor, students may enroll or preregister for five credits in a given semester. Enrollment in more than five credits requires the approval of both their advisor and their dean.
Students who wish to carry fewer than four credits in a semester but do not have sufficient extra credits by the end of that semester to be on schedule to graduate in the maximum of four years (eight semesters) of study must seek approval from their dean. In order to maintain campus housing privileges, students must enroll for a minimum of three credits in any given semester regardless of whether they are on or ahead of schedule to graduate in the maximum of four years of study.
Students permitted a credit overload or underload during any given semester must pay full tuition, regardless of the number of credits taken.
Students are expected to achieve the following in order to make satisfactory progress toward the degree and be advanced to the next grade level:
- End of first year: 8.0 course credits;
- End of sophomore year: 16.0 course credits;
- End of junior year: 24.0 course credits;
- End of senior year: 32.0 course credits and fulfillment of all other requirements for the degree.
A student carrying at least four course credits in a semester may elect to take up to one course credit Pass/Fail. The grade entered on the transcript for a course taken Pass/Fail will be a “P,” if passed, and a “0.0,” if failed; a failing grade will be automatically factored into the student’s cumulative GPA, whereas a grade of “P,” if left uncovered, will have no impact on a student’s GPA. The Pass/Fail option exists to encourage students to take intellectual risks and to explore new and challenging areas of study without an overriding concern that such a move may have a deleterious effect on their GPA; students must nevertheless earn a passing grade (1.0 minimum) in order to earn a letter grade of P, otherwise they will fail and be assigned a numerical grade of 0.0.
To take a course Pass/Fail, a student must inform the registrar, using a form obtainable from the Registrar’s Office, by the end of the third week of classes for quarter courses and by the end of the sixth week of classes for full-semester courses. The student must obtain approval from their advisor. When the instructor of the course is the student’s advisor, the student must obtain approval from their dean.
All courses taken Pass/Fail may be converted to a numerical grade if a student chooses to uncover the numerical grade on their transcript. Any course for which a numerical grade is recorded—even if initially taken Pass/Fail—may count towards the fulfillment of requirements in a student’s major, minor, or concentration; the quantitative requirement; the language requirement; and the divisional or general education requirements .
Students have the option to convert the Pass/Fail designation to a numerical grade upon application to the registrar no later than the end of the first week of classes of the following semester.
Additional limitations upon the Pass/Fail option:
- Neither the First-Year Writing Seminar nor courses taken on Haverford’s approved study abroad programs may be taken Pass/Fail;
- A course for which a student records a “P” counts only towards the requirement for cumulative course credits. This course may not fulfill any requirement in a student’s major, minor, or concentration; the quantitative requirement; distribution requirements; the language requirement; or any other requirements;
- Students wishing to take courses Pass/Fail at Bryn Mawr, Swarthmore, and the University of Pennsylvania must follow Haverford College procedures by filling out the appropriate form and submitting it to the Haverford Registrar by the appropriate deadline.
- Students may register for a cumulative total of four Pass/Fail course credits over the course of their careers at Haverford. Every course taken Pass/Fail will count toward the total of four Pass/Fail course-credit allowed to each student, even if a numerical grade is subsequently recorded.
- Courses in which the instructor decides to use the Pass/Fail option for all students are not included in the semester or cumulative limit.
Course changes may be made during the first seven class days of any semester. Thereafter, such changes are permissible only if a student’s dean and academic advisor grant their written approval to do so and the student has given the registrar requisite notice, by filing an add/drop form, by the end of the third week of classes.
Students may not count among the 32 course credits required for graduation any course that substantially repeats the content of another course already completed, even though the course numbers may suggest an advancing sequence.
In cases where courses are comprised of a lecture and an accompanying laboratory, students must attend lectures and labs and satisfy all assignments relevant to both in order to earn credit toward graduation.
Independent Study Courses
Many departments offer independent study courses to encourage independent work by qualified students. These courses provide opportunities to investigate topics not covered in formal courses, do extensive reading on a subject, conduct fieldwork, or engage in library research. Students wishing to undertake independent study must secure permission for the project from their advisor and from a faculty member willing to supervise the work prior to registering for the course. Members of the faculty are under no obligation to supervise independent study courses. Such courses done without faculty supervision will not be given college credit. The course requirements for independent study are determined jointly by the instructor and the student. Students may register for up to one credit of independent study per term.
The College believes that experience in a wide diversity of courses is an essential part of a Haverford education, but the College also recognizes that students may sometimes profit from the opportunity to work more intensively in a smaller number of subjects. Therefore, with their advisor’s approval and the instructor’s permission, students may register for double credit in one course and, in unusual cases, in more than one course.
In a double-credit course, students undertake an approved program of independent work in conjunction with a regular course and submit a paper or pass an examination based on the independent work. Such work is not suitable in all subjects; the instructor of the course must be the final judge of whether it should be attempted.
Ordinarily, full-year courses must be carried through two semesters for a student to receive any credit. In some cases, a student may receive credit for one semester without taking the other, but only with the permission of the chairperson of the department. Departmental permission must be in writing on a form obtained from the registrar. In no case, though, may a student receive credit for the first semester of an introductory modern language course without satisfactorily completing the second semester.
Auditing a Course
Students who wish to audit a course should obtain permission from the instructor. There are no special charges for auditing and such courses are not listed on the student’s transcript.
Course Limits at Cooperating Institutions
Students may enroll in courses at Bryn Mawr College, Swarthmore College, and the University of Pennsylvania. At Penn, however, Haverford students are limited to a maximum of two course credits per semester. Students should note that courses at Penn will be approved by the student’s advisor and the registrar only on a space-available basis, and only for courses not offered on a regular basis at either Haverford or Bryn Mawr. Scheduling conflicts are not considered adequate reasons for seeking admission to courses at the University of Pennsylvania.
A senior electing to take a year-long or a second semester course at either Swarthmore, Penn or, with permission, at any other college or university, is responsible for verifying before the class begins that the instructor will submit a final course grade to the Haverford registrar by 5:00 p.m. on the day that senior grades are due, as indicated in the academic calendar. If the final grade is not submitted by that date and time, and the course is required for graduation, the senior should not expect to graduate until the following May.
Students who intend to continue at Haverford must complete registration during the time designated in both the academic calendar and on the instructions for registration. If students do not register on time and do not receive permission from their deans to delay registration, it will be assumed that they are not returning to Haverford. In such cases, their enrollment and housing, if any, will be considered available for assignment to others.
The following numerical grades are awarded at Haverford College:
In addition to the numerical grades issued at Haverford, the following letter grades may also be used:
|CIP||Course in Progress - Grade added at the end of second semester|
|P||Pass in a Haverford Pass/Fail course|
|NGR||No Grade Reported - Grade awarded at end of full-year course|
|NC||Fail/No Credit in a Bryn Mawr or Swarthmore|
A course may not be counted toward a student’s major if the grade earned is below 2.0.
A grade of CIP may be submitted at the end of the first semester for senior research courses conducted throughout the year and for certain other courses agreed upon by the instructor and announced at the beginning of the course.
If a student’s attendance is unsatisfactory or their conduct in the classroom is disruptive, the instructor can meet with the student to discuss the problems, but must send them a written notice, a copy of which goes to the student’s dean, specifying the reasons for the instructor’s concern and warning that any repetition of such conduct will result in being dropped from the course, resulting in a failing grade (0.0). No student may be involuntarily dropped from and failed in a course for failure to attend or to conduct themselves suitably in the classroom unless the instructor has previously sent such prior notice with a copy to the student’s dean. The instructor must present the student’s dean with a formal notification that the conduct has persisted or has renewed. Except in cases in which students must participate in group projects or are in a class in which they must critique each other’s work as an inherent part of the course (as in seminars or First-Year Writing courses), failure to meet deadlines is not grounds for dropping a student from a course; in such instances, instructors should accordingly penalize students for lateness in grading. Policies regarding late work, and subsequent grade deductions, should be clearly stated in the course syllabi or some other formal document distributed to students in advance of assignments to be graded.
If a student is permitted to withdraw from a course by a dean for unusual reasons—normally those beyond the student’s control, most typically illness—the grade recorded is W. Students may not withdraw from a course after the last day of class.
Semester, yearly, and cumulative averages are based upon Haverford, Bryn Mawr, Swarthmore, and the University of Pennsylvania numerical grades only, and only during the academic year (September through May). All other work is regarded as transfer credit, including courses taken through Haverford’s approved Study Abroad programs, summer courses (including those taken at Bryn Mawr and the University of Pennsylvania), and all credit granted for Advanced Placement, the International and French Baccalaureates, the German Abitur, the British “A” Levels, the Swiss Maturité, as well as those courses taken at colleges and universities in the United States and abroad. Course credit may be granted for this academic work, with appropriate grades (C or higher for college credit, B or higher for “A” Levels), and with appropriate scores for all ungraded work, but grades will not appear on the Haverford transcript, nor will the grades or scores earned become a part of any Haverford student’s cumulative grade point average.
The grade of 0.0 (failure) will be given for any course for which no grade is reported on time, or for which an Incomplete (INC) is reported without duly submitting previously-approved supporting documentation to the registrar.
When an INC is granted, a final date for completing the course must be specified. Failure to complete the course by the specified date will result in a failing grade (0.0). Some students who fail a course because they do not complete the work or those who withdraw from a course may still wish to see the work from the course through. In such cases, the student has two options: they may pursue the work because it is interesting and not for credit or a grade. Alternatively, the student might approach the same instructor with whom the course was taken and ask if they would sponsor and grade the work during the next semester. The record would then show a grade of 0.0 or W for one semester and a grade reflecting successful completion in the second semester.
Requests for Changes in Grades
Students who believe they have sufficient reason to request a grade change must inform the instructor of their request within two weeks of the receipt of grades at the end of each semester. If the instructor believes the grade recorded is too low or too high, the grade will be changed.
A student who believes that the grade submitted by the instructor in a course is wrong, and who fails to convince the instructor of an error, may appeal the case to the chair of the department concerned. If the chair cannot be persuaded, the next (and final) appeal is to the provost of the College. Students should consult their deans before entering upon such a course of action. They should recognize, moreover, that Haverford subscribes to the principle of academic freedom for its faculty, in light of which the provost is ordinarily unable to authorize a change of an instructor’s grade. Thus, the principal value of an appeal to the provost is a possible identification of a pattern of inequities, in which case an investigation into the facts of the matter would be undertaken.
Finally, a student who receives a low grade on an examination, because of special circumstances such as illness, may petition the instructor and the Dean of the College for a special examination. If the request is granted, the grade for the special examination will replace the grade originally earned in the examination. In computing the final grade in that course, the new course grade will replace the old one on the student’s transcript, and the semester average will be revised accordingly. To invoke a review under this provision, the student must have notified the instructor immediately after stopping work on the examination, giving details to support the request for a special examination.
All required work in a course is due at the times specified by the instructor, but in no event later than the dates specified in the academic calendar.
- All written work in courses, except final examinations or papers in lieu of final examinations, is due by the last day of classes for that semester.
- Final examinations (including take home final examinations) and papers in lieu of final examinations are due on the last day of the examination period for that semester.
As a general rule, students are expected to attend classes unless excused. In some courses, class attendance is a requirement for satisfactory completion of the course. Lack of attendance in some cases may be grounds for dropping the student and assigning a failing grade. It is the student’s responsibility to learn from the instructor how class attendance will be regarded in each course.
Honors at graduation are awarded to students who have undertaken and completed academic work of high quality. There are two types of graduation honors:
- Departmental honors, awarded by the academic departments.
- College honors, awarded by the College.
The exact nature of departmental honors work and the criteria used in judging it are listed in the departmental statements in the College Catalog and on the appropriate departmental web pages. For such honors, the work in the department must be considerably superior to that required for graduation, including a demonstration of the student’s competence, insight, and commitment to the field of interest. Individual departments may award honors to students whose departmental work has been of high quality, and high honors to those who have demonstrated both high quality and originality, indicating an unusual degree of competence.
The Committee on College Honors and Fellowships will consider all students whose overall performance is exceptionally high for the following college honors awarded at Haverford College: cum laude, magna cum laude or summa cum laude.
Whereas distinguished performance in the major is the criterion for departmental honors, college honors recognize students whose work has been outstanding throughout their college career. In considering candidates for magna and summa cum laude, special attention is given to study that goes beyond the requirements of the major. Such study can be interdivisional, as evidenced by superior work outside one’s major division; interdisciplinary, as evidenced by superior work in more than one department of a single division; by superior work in several converging domains of knowledge represented by an area of concentration or the equivalent; or, by other evidence of superior work beyond the requirements of the major and the College. Both magna cum laude and summa cum laude are awarded by the faculty on recommendation of the Committee on College Honors and Fellowships. Summa cum laude is awarded to students of exceptional merit.
All students who have earned GPAs in the top 30% of the graduating class, and who are not awarded magna cum laude or summa cum laude, will be awarded cum laude.
Residency and other Requirements for the Degree
Students, other than transfer students, may arrange for reduced programs of six or seven semesters by taking advantage of several options:
- They may take five course credits per semester instead of the normal load of four.
- They may use up to four course credits earned in combination of approved pre-Haverford study, including approved summer study at other institutions while a student at Haverford; or
- They may study at another American college or university or at a Haverford-approved program abroad for a semester or a year.
It is important to note that any combination of options will need to provide for a minimum of six semesters in residence at Haverford and at least 24 Haverford course credits. Such Haverford course credits must be taken at Haverford or any of the three cooperating institutions—Bryn Mawr College, Swarthmore College, or the University of Pennsylvania—during the academic year, of which a minimum of eight course credits must be taken on the Haverford campus. In the cases of transfer students, decisions about residence and credit requirements are made by the deans, but transfer students must complete a minimum of 16 Haverford course credits and four semesters in residence to be considered for a degree at the College.
Note that the seven-semester option allows the possibility of studying abroad for one semester, while the six-semester option does not. See also the Academic Flexibility Program, described in the Special Academic Programs section of the Academic Regulations.