Academic Standards

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Standards of academic achievement provide fair and consistent measures for evaluating the growth and success of students, giving direction and guidance to both the student and the faculty for attaining individual and institutional goals.


The integrity of scholarship is the cornerstone of the academic and social structure of the university. It is the expressed policy of the university that every aspect of undergraduate academic life, related in whatever fashion to the university, shall be conducted in an absolutely and uncompromisingly honest manner. Violations of academic honesty are grounds for a failing grade and may result in dismissal from the university. For more information, see the Student Handbook or BOR/CSCU Code of Conduct.


The college year is divided into two semesters, each approximately 16 weeks long. Most courses carry three units (or semester hours) of credit, and meet for either three 50-minute periods or two 75-minute periods per week. Some laboratory courses follow a different schedule and may carry more or less credit. Students are expected to spend a minimum of two hours weekly on out-of-class preparation for each credit hour they carry.

Normally, a full-time student carries 15 credits each semester, but this total may vary from 12 to 18 credits. Students wishing to take more than 18 credits must request permission from their academic adviser and school dean before they register for classes.

In accordance with Veterans Administration regulations governing the amount of a veteran's benefit, 12 or more credits constitute a full program, 9-11 credits a three-quarters program, 6-8 credits a one-half program, and 3-5 credits a one-quarter program.


The following grades are used on the academic records:

Exceptional Superior Average Passing Failure
A+ B+ C+ C- F
A B C D+  
A- B-   D Incomplete:
      D- I
        Incomplete Extension:

P = Pass in a course where all students receive P or F
S = Pass in a course taken for Pass-Fail Option
Z = Satisfactory Audit

In addition, certain codes are used to indicate a course status:

E = Credit awarded via waiver exam
N = Student never attended
R = No grade reported by instructor
W = Officially withdrawn
WF = Withdrawn Failing
WP = Withdrawn Passing

Pass-Fail Option

The Pass-Fail option is open to students who have completed 45 or more credits. The courses for which the Pass-Fail option is used may not be applied to the Liberal Education Program or to the requirements of a major or minor. Students may take a total of only five courses on a Pass-Fail option, with only one taken in any given semester. Students have three weeks into the semester to change their option either back to a grade or from a grade to a pass-fail. The Pass-Fail option is "blind" in that the instructor is not aware of the student's use of the Pass-Fail option until after the grades are submitted. An "S" grade is recorded on the student's transcript for passing a course taken on a Pass-Fail option. Special Pass-Fail option forms, which must be signed by the student's adviser, are available during the registration period and up to three weeks into the semester at the Registrar's Office in the Wintergreen Building.

Incomplete Courses

A temporary grade of "Incomplete" (I) is recorded when a student has a valid reason as determined by the instructor for not meeting a partial requirement in a course prior to the termination of the semester. The student requests Incomplete status from his or her instructor. If granted, the Incomplete must be removed not more than 30 days after the next semester begins. If the student fails in his responsibility to complete the work, the grade automatically becomes a failure, "F".

If the instructor is giving the student longer than the 30 day period to complete coursework, then the instructor must file an Incomplete Extension Form with the Registrar's Office.

Students should be aware that a grade of incomplete may impact financial aid.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

In order to determine a student's Grade Point Average (GPA) letter grades are assigned grade points as follows:

A+ = 4.0 B+ = 3.3 C+ = 2.3 D+ = 1.3 F = 0
A = 4.0 B = 3.0 C = 2.0 D = 1.0  
A- = 3.7 B- = 2.7 C- = 1.7 D- = .7  

A student's GPA is determined by dividing the total number of quality points received by the number of credits attempted.

The following grades earn zero quality points, do not count as attempted credits, and have no effect on the GPA:  "I," "P," "S," "W," "WF," "WP," and "Z".

If a course is repeated outside of the Course Grade Replacement Policy (see below), both grades will be used in determining the cumulative GPA, but the credits will be earned only once. The GPA of a transfer student is based solely on the courses taken at Southern.  The GPA of a Fresh Start student excludes prior grade points and attempted credits.

Quality Point Ratio (QPR)

For programs that may require students to meet a certain Quality Point Ratio (QPR) standard, it is determined using the same method as described above for the GPA, except that there are no exclusions for Course Grade Replacement or Fresh Start programs.


A student may retake a course for a different grade by registering for the course again. Although both grades will appear on the student's transcript, the higher of the two course grades will be used to calculate the student's University GPA. The student shall receive credit for the course only once. Students are strongly encouraged to meet with their academic advisors before pursuing a replacement grade. Replacement may be pursued only once per course, and only for a total of five courses. The first five courses retaken will be the ones for which the grade will be replaced. If a course taken as writing intensive "W" course is retaken without a “W” designation, the higher of the two course grades will be used to calculate the student's University GPA. The original “W” may still be used to fulfill a “W” requirement, as long as the student received a passing grade for the "W" course. Once awarded a degree, a student may not go back and replace individual courses within that degree. Note that some SCSU programs may require that all grades be used to calculate the student's University GPA.


Any entering student who places into the non-credit bearing course MAT 095 — Elementary Algebra must complete it within the first 24 load credits of university work. If a student fails to complete the course within 24 attempted credits of coursework, he or she will not be allowed to register for courses at any Connecticut State University System institution. This policy reflects a resolution passed by the Board of Trustees for the Connecticut State University System on July 16, 2003.


As part of the course evaluation process, students will receive a midterm grade for courses directly from their instructors.The midterm grade will be given to the student either online or in writing during the eighth week of classes for full semester courses, and by the end of the fourth week for eight-week courses. A student who has not received a midterm grade should confer with the instructor. If this meeting does not result in the student's receiving a midterm grade, the student should contact the chairperson of the department in which the course is offered. For additional information the student is advised to consult with the appropriate academic dean.

Any student, especially a freshman who is doing unsatisfactory work ("D" or "F") at the time of midterm grade reporting, is encouraged to initiate conferences with his/her instructor and academic adviser.


All students shall demonstrate their ability to do college level work. The University requires a minimum cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.0 to be eligible for a bachelor's degree. Any student with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 shall be considered in Good Standing by the university (some programs may have additional GPA requirements). Students who fall below the required 2.0 shall be placed on academic discipline. The three categories of academic discipline are:

Academic Warning

Students shall be placed on Academic Warning the first semester in which their cumulative GPA falls below 2.0. Students on Academic Warning shall be allowed to register for a maximum of 15 credits and shall register prior to the first day of the semester.

Academic Probation

Students who are on Academic Warning and fail to raise their cumulative GPA to a minimum 2.0 in the following semester shall be placed on Academic Probation. Students on probation shall be allowed to register for a maximum of 14 credits and shall register prior to the first day of the semester.

Students on Academic Probation shall be allowed to continue at the university but shall remain on probation provided their semester GPA is at least 2.3. Once the cumulative GPA reaches 2.0, the student shall be removed from Academic Probation and shall be replaced in Good Standing. Students shall have three (3) semesters to raise their cumulative GPA to 2.0. If the cumulative GPA is below 2.0 after the third semester of probation, the student shall be academically dismissed.

Academic Dismissal

Students on Academic Probation shall be Academically Dismissed if (1) their semester GPA is below a 2.3 and cumulative GPA is below a 2.0, or (2) their cumulative GPA remains below 2.0 after the third semester of probation. Students who are academically dismissed from Southern Connecticut State University shall not be allowed to register for the subsequent semester. If students choose to appeal for reinstatement, they may do so during or subsequent to the semester in which they are off. All appeals shall be made to the academic Standing Committee. Students shall be permitted to appeal for reinstatement only once.


Regular class attendance is expected by the University and is the responsibility of the student. It is the responsibility of the student to understand the attendance policy in each course he or she takes, as outlined in each course syllabus.

When absent, students remain responsible for finding out what class activities occurred during the absence, and making up missed work if the instructor permits it. When a student knows in advance that it will be necessary to miss a class session, the student should inform the instructor.

When a student has missed a significant portion of coursework, which may be difficult or impossible to make up, the student should confer with the course instructor to explore options, including withdrawal or late withdrawal from the course. The student also may consult with an Academic Adviser, the Dean of Students or designee, or the withdrawal coordinator in the Registrar's Office to consider various options.

Absences occasioned by official University activities, such as participation in conferences, intercollegiate athletic events, musical performances, and other events, must be documented in advance through the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs. A student that knows that such absences will occur shall confer with the instructor in respect to such absences.

Students may contact the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs with questions about the University's policy on class attendance.


A student who has not been accepted to full-time matriculated status by the Admissions Office may pursue a part-time program (up to 11 credits). Prior to attempting 30 credits, a non-matriculated student must apply for matriculated status through the Admissions Office in order to qualify for continuation either on a part-time or full-time basis. A 2.0 GPA or better is required for matriculation.


A student who leaves the University in good standing and does not attend another institution can apply for readmission through the Office of the Registrar, Wintergreen Building. A student who left the University in good standing and attended another institution for 12 or more credits must reapply through Undergraduate Admissions as a transfer student. Once readmitted, students are held to the academic requirements in effect at the time of their readmission. These requirements are outlined in the Undergraduate Catalog.

A student who leaves the University while on academic warning or probation must take classes as a non-matriculated student in order to raise his/her GPA to a 2.0 prior to applying for readmission.

Any student who has been academically dismissed from the University must take a minimum of one semester off and appeal for reinstatement through the Academic Standing Committee. Reinstatement is not guaranteed. Only one reinstatement is permitted once a student has been academically dismissed.


The Fresh Start Option offers options for formerly matriculated students. The purpose of the Fresh Start Option is to retain and offer support to students who experience a poor start and were dropped from matriculated status or withdrew from the University. (However, this option is not available to education majors.) This option allows them to be readmitted to the University and to disregard their previous record in calculating their Grade Point Average.

All courses and grades will remain on the student's permanent record and the date the Fresh Start Option was invoked will also be entered on the student's permanent record. The student will receive credit for courses taken before that date in which he or she received an "A", "B", or "C." (This does not include C- grades). The GPA will be calculated solely on the basis of courses taken after that date.

The option is available only once and only to students who have completed the following conditions:

  • Had a GPA below 2.0 and status changed to non- matriculated;
  • Have been non-matriculated for at least one year;
  • Since being made non-matriculated, have completed 9-12 credits and earned a 2.75 GPA (If credits are from another university or college, please have official transcript sent to Southern Connecticut State University Registrar's Office, Wintergreen Building);
  • Have not reached junior status (60) credits at Southern;
  • Not an education major. (The School of Education does not endorse the Fresh Start Option.)
  • For more information regarding Fresh Start, please contact the Registrar's Office.


Teacher candidates must maintain good standing in the program in order to qualify for student teaching and a recommendation from Southern Connecticut State University for State of Connecticut initial teacher certification. They also must demonstrate the following:

  • Personal attitudes and dispositions that will affect her or his performance as a teacher;
  • Professional behavior appropriate to the context which demonstrate that actions reflect directly upon the status and substance of the profession;
  • Confidentiality of all information concerning colleagues and students obtained in the educational process; 
  • Integrity and honesty in written and verbal communication and in all coursework related to the professional program for teacher certification; and
  • An undergraduate academic performance of at least a 2.7 GPA average. A candidate, who after acceptance into a teacher education program completes 9 or more credits with a cumulative GPA of less than 2.7, will be placed on School of Education academic probation. The student will have one semester to raise the GPA to 2.7 or higher. Failure to do so will result in dismissal from the School of Education.

Revocation for Admission to Teacher Certification Programs

Students may be dismissed from professional education courses for any of the following reasons:

  • Demonstrated unprofessional behavior or an inability to respond appropriately in various contexts which affects her or his performance as a teacher;
  • Falsify or misrepresent any documentation or information provided for programmatic, academic, or professional qualification/competency purposes;
  • Does not achieve acceptable standard on the performance assessments required by the School of Education;
  • Been convicted in a court of law of a crime involving moral turpitude or of any crime of such nature that in the opinion of the University would impair the standing of the School of Education professional program; or
  • Other due and sufficient cause.


Matriculated students in good standing (2.0 GPA or higher) who plan to take courses at other institutions must obtain prior approval from the Registrar's Office in order to apply this course work toward the degree requirements of the University. Transfer Credit Approval forms are available in the Registrar's Office in the Wintergreen Building and on the Registrar's office website.


A student who wants to withdraw from the University should consult with a representative in the Registrar's Office to discuss the withdrawal and make a preliminary evaluation of readmission possibilities. The student then completes an official withdrawal form. Students who are withdrawing are advised that:

  • Readmission at a later date is not automatic; application for readmission may be made in the Registrar's Office.
  • Students readmitted to the University after a withdrawal are held to the academic requirements in effect in the catalog at the time of their readmission.
  • For students who withdraw from the University before the last scheduled class, a grade of "W" will be assigned for all courses taken that semester.
  • Students who do not officially withdraw but cease to attend classes are considered enrolled and are likely to receive failing grades.
  • Students who plan to complete the semester but do not intend to return the following semester should complete their withdrawal forms prior to their last final examination dated effective after the end of the semester.
  • Failure to withdraw officially may result in failing grades being recorded on the academic transcript. It may also lead to problems with debt to the University and affect future financial aid awards.
  • Leave of absence may be discussed with a representative from the Registrar's office A leave of absence is designed for students who have a specific time frame in which they plan to return to SCSU.
  • The refund policy, if applicable, may be found in the Tuition and Fees section of this catalog.


Full-time and part-time students may withdraw from a full semester course prior to the tenth week of classes; for an eight-week course prior to the sixth week of classes. Such a withdrawal is recorded as a W on the transcript. Each faculty member should provide some kind of formal evaluation so that each student will know his or her class standing prior to the end of the period for course withdrawals.

A student can withdraw from a course online through the student's web account prior to the end of the withdrawal period. It is understood that every student should confer with his or her instructor and academic adviser in order to ensure proper faculty advisement before withdrawing from a course. The deadline for students to change their status to part-time is at the end of the period for adding and dropping courses as listed in the Registration Calendar on the Registrar's Office website.

Withdrawals after the ten-week period (or after five weeks for eight-week courses) must be done with the consent of the instructor. Late course withdrawals are to be viewed as exceptions to the general policy. In a case where the instructor feels a late withdrawal is justified, the instructor should obtain and fill out a Late Course Withdrawal Form available in the Registrar's Office. At this time the instructor will assign a grade of either "WP" (Withdrawn Passing) or "WF" (Withdrawn Failing).The Late Course Withdrawal Form must be approved and signed by both the instructor and the department chairperson. In the event that the instructor teaching the course is the department chairperson, then the dean must also sign the original form. The entire form is then submitted to the Registrar's Office.

If a student is denied a late course withdrawal, he or she may grieve that decision as the assignment of an allegedly improper grade in accordance with the procedures outlined in the Student Handbook.

No late course withdrawals will be allowed after the last scheduled class. No late course withdrawals will be allowed during the final exam period.


Audit status is a reasonable alternative for a student who wants to take a particular course, but does not have the proper background. Students who audit a course pay the same tuition and fees they would if they opted for a grade. However, they receive no academic grade or grade points, and the course may not be included in the 12 credits needed for full-time status. Although no final grade is submitted, students do have the right to take exams, write papers, and have them evaluated.

Students may register as auditors, or change from credit to audit, anytime before the end of the third week of classes. However, the deadline for changing back to a traditional grade is the end of the period for adding or dropping courses. Prior to auditing, students must discuss with the instructor the criteria for a successful audit and receive the written approval of the instructor. Forms for this purpose are available in the Registrar's Office and must be returned to the Registrar's Office by the deadline.


Sophomores who are not in liberal arts programs must apply to one of the professional programs during the first half of their fourth semester in the University. Each student must be interviewed by the personnel in charge of his or her chosen area. Those tentatively approved for acceptance may preregister for the junior year.

At the end of the fourth semester the application is reviewed by a personnel committee of the department to which the student has applied as his or her major area of study. Students may be denied acceptance if either academic or personal qualifications are unsuited for a particular area. When fixed quotas exist in an area, it is sometimes necessary to deny acceptance even though students may meet minimal standards.