Mar 02, 2024  
2023-2024 General Catalog 
    
2023-2024 General Catalog

Academic Policies



Learn more about Academic Policies online.

Grading System and Quality Points

For the graduate student policy, refer to the GRADUATE CATALOG.

The course grades reported and recorded in the Office of the Registrar are as follows. The corresponding number of quality points per credit hour is also indicated.

Grade Quality Points/Cr.  
A Excellent   4.000  
A-     3.700  
B+     3.300  
B Good   3.000  
B-     2.700  
C+     2.300  
C Satisfactory   2.000  
C-     1.700  
D+ Less than satisfactory, but passing 1.300  
D Passing   1.000  
D-     0.700  
F Failure   0.000  
I Incomplete    
IP In Progress    
W Authorized withdrawal    
S Satisfactory    
U Unsatisfactory    

Grade Point Average is calculated by dividing the total number of quality points by the total number of graded credits. GPA calculations are truncated to three decimal places and never rounded.

Grades A through D- give credit toward graduation. A student who receives a grade of D- in a course is advised not to enroll in other courses for which the given course is a prerequisite. Candidates for graduation must have a cumulative grade point average of 2.000 or better in all their work at Valparaiso University.

The grade I (incomplete) may, at the discretion of the instructor, be given to a student under the following conditions:

  1. The work completed in the course so far is passing.
  2. The student has been unable to complete the remaining work in the course because of circumstances beyond his or her control.

An I (incomplete) grade received in one semester or summer session must be removed by noon on the last day of the classes of the next succeeding semester, or it automatically becomes a grade of F. The student’s deadline for submitting the outstanding work to the instructor shall be one week before that date. No Semester Honors will be given if the student received a grade of Incomplete at the official end of the semester concerned. Students who are not registered for the next term (Fall or Spring) and who are finalizing work from an Incomplete grade will need to complete a Campus Affiliation request.

Authorized withdrawal from a course or from the University within the published deadlines gives a grade of W to each course withdrawn. This mark carries no credit.

The satisfactory grade, S, is given under the following conditions:

  1. The course is designated in this catalog to be graded S/U, or the student officially opts or petitions to have the S/U grade in the course.
  2. The student’s work in the course is satisfactory, of a quality that is comparable to a grade of C- (1.700 quality points per credit hour) or better.

Course credit hours with grades of S count toward graduation but are not counted in computing the student’s grade point average.

The unsatisfactory grade, U, is given under the S/U grading option (condition 1 above) when the student’s work does not meet the course objectives (condition 2 above). Course credit hours with grades of U do not count toward graduation and are not counted in computing the student’s grade point average.

The failing grade, F, is given under any of the following circumstances:

  1. Work done in a course is below the minimum standard required for passing.
  2. A student fails to complete work to remove a grade of I (incomplete) before the deadline stated above.
  3. A student stops attending a course without filing the necessary form and obtaining the necessary approval.
  4. A student stops attending the University without giving official notification. F grades are given in all courses for that term.

To withdraw from a course, students use the Student Planning features in DataVU. After the withdrawal deadline, students may submit the appropriate appeal to the Committee on Academic and Professional Standards. To withdraw from the University (all classes), students should use the Change in Enrollment Status form, available online.

Admission to Courses on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Basis

Undergraduate students are encouraged to venture outside the areas of their concentration, investigate new disciplines, and discover new, perhaps unsuspected, interests. If a student chooses, the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading option may reduce the anxiety about electing a course in an area in which the student has had little or no prior experience. Students who are interested in conveying maximum information on their transcripts to professional and graduate schools should speak to their advisors and the dean of their college prior to electing this option.

Certain courses normally result in a S/U grade, as noted in the catalog course descriptions. In addition to any of these courses, the student may take one course, normally letter-graded (i.e., A to F), each semester on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis subject to the following conditions:

  1. Such courses must not be selected from:
    1. The student’s major or minor field or fields;
    2. A repeated course, if not originally taken on a S/U basis;
  2. Students in the professional colleges may choose the S/U grading option for free electives (if not taken in the major or minor fields) and for courses that fulfill their general education requirements in Core, Humanities, Social Science, Theology, World Language, Diversity, or Kinesiology. For further regulations regarding the S/U grading option for business students, please see the College of Business .
  3. Students must submit the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Grading form by the deadline specified in the University Calendar .
  4. A decision to request the S/U grading option for a course must be made by the deadline specified in the University Calendar  for the applicable term. After this deadline, the S/U grading option may not be changed.

NOTE: In the selection of the S/U grading option, students are strongly advised to discuss the implications of that option with their advisor concerning entrance into professional schools. Valparaiso University offers the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading option as described here rather than a Pass/File grading option.

Admission to the Course Intensification Plan

Students may propose a special project for earning one extra credit in one liberal arts course in which they are enrolled in a given semester. In addition, students enrolled in the College of Business  and the College of Nursing and Health Professions  have specific criteria for course intensification of their courses. This opportunity is part of the University’s course intensification plan. The following regulations pertain to this option for all students regardless of their college:

  1. The course must be offered for three or more credits. Variable credit courses cannot be intensified.
  2. The initiative and responsibility for developing a satisfactory proposal lie with the student.
  3. The student must submit the Intensify a Course form by the deadline specified in the University Calendar . The form will be sent to the student’s advisor, the instructor of the course, the chair of the department, and the dean of the student’s college for approval.

The course intensification plan is a type of honors work, and under no circumstances should be considered a substitute for regular coursework.

Admission to Courses as an Auditor

A regularly classified student may register in a course as an auditor only with the permission of his or her advisor and the chair of the department which offers the course. The deadline to submit the Audit a Course form is published in the University Calendar . An auditor may not be admitted to the final examination and is never granted credit for the course audited. No additional fee is charged when the student pays full tuition up to 19 credit hours. Any credit hour over 19 will be subject to the overload fee as published. Once in a course as an auditor, the student cannot change the status of his or her enrollment to receive a regular grade in the course.

Credit Hours

A credit hour (abbreviated Cr. in lists of courses) represents one hour of recitation or lecture, or two or more hours of laboratory, each week for one semester. If time outside the laboratory is required to prepare laboratory notes or reports, two hours may be equivalent to one period of class work. Drawing, shop work, and other courses demanding no outside preparation require a minimum of three hours for one credit hour. See specific course descriptions for the exact number of hours required.

For short (seven weeks) courses, the time per week per credit hour is twice that for the semester.

Repetition of Resident Courses for Credit

Unless repetition of a course for credit is permitted as shown in its catalog description, only the credits, grade, and quality points received the last time the course is taken by a student at Valparaiso University shall be used in determining credit for graduation and the cumulative grade point average. A grade of W shall be excluded from this policy. The student’s transcript shall record all grades, original and repeated.

Academic Standing of a Student

A student’s academic standing is determined by the ratio of the total number of quality points to the total number of credit hours attempted in all work at Valparaiso University, except courses graded S/U. Thus, a student who makes an average mark of C (2.000 quality points per credit hour) throughout the course of 124 semester hours will have 248 quality points, 124 credit hours, and a standing of 2.000. The standing for a semester’s work is understood to be the ratio of the number of quality points earned to the number of graded credit hours completed. Standing is also referred to as the grade point average. Both cumulative and semester GPAs are factors in determining a student’s academic standing. At least a 2.000 GPA is required for good academic standing. Criteria vary by college and program. Please refer to the applicable sections of the GENERAL CATALOG for details. Note the above exception regarding the repetition of a course. For information regarding satisfactory academic progress, please see the Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy  in the Financial Aid section.

Academic Deficiency

In the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, College of Engineering, and College of Nursing and Health Professions, students whose cumulative resident grade point average falls below the requirements of their college and program (at least 2.000) are considered academically deficient. Such students may be denied the privilege of continuing their studies at the University unless they succeed in improving the quality of their academic work to the satisfaction of the faculty during the following semester. The dean of each college establishes procedures to give students who are academically deficient timely warning of their being denied continuation of their studies.

The GPA requirement varies by college and program. Please refer to the applicable sections of the GENERAL CATALOG for details.

Dismissal for Low Scholarship

Whenever, in the judgment of an academic dean, students who are academically deficient would benefit from an interruption of their work in a particular college of the University, the dean will notify the students in writing that they have been dismissed and will specify the period of time for which they have been dismissed and the conditions which they must satisfy in order to be readmitted.

Class Standing of a Student

An undergraduate student must have successfully completed 24 semester credits to be classified as a sophomore; 56 semester credits to be classified as a junior; and 88 semester credits to be classified as a senior.

Classification of Courses

The courses offered by the University are classified as follows:

  • Lower division courses, numbered 100-299
  • Upper division courses, numbered 300-499
  • Graduate-undergraduate courses, numbered 500-599
  • Graduate only courses, numbered 600 and above

Leave of Absence - Undergraduate Students

At the end of a semester, a student who has completed at least one full semester of work in residence and who is in good academic standing may apply for a leave of absence. A leave of absence requires the approval of the academic advisor and the academic dean. The Leave of Absence form is available online under the heading “Change in Enrollment Status” on the Forms page.

All leaves must be requested before the beginning of the semester in which they are to take effect. An approved leave of absence cannot exceed 180 days in any 12-month period. Leaves are not granted to students who withdraw from the University during a semester.

Students on leave may return to Valparaiso University without formally applying for readmission, provided they resume attendance on or before the 180 days following the start of the leave of absence. Students who are unable to return from a leave may contact the Office of the Registrar for information on returning at a later date. The Office of the Registrar should be contacted for information pertaining to a military leave of absence. In accordance with SEVIS regulations, students attending Valpo on an F1 or F2 visa status should consult the Office of International Programs as there are specific guidelines pertaining to leaving the university.

Readmission of Former Students to Undergraduate and Professional Programs

Students who have fully matriculated at Valparaiso University and who have interrupted their studies for whatever reason must apply for readmission to the University. A link to the Readmission form is available online under the heading “Change in Enrollment Status” on the Forms page. Exceptions are students who took a formal leave of absence under the conditions specified above. The Office of the Registrar will process the readmission by consulting the college in which the student is seeking readmission and notify the student upon completion of the process.

Application for readmission must be made at least one week before the start date of the term in which the student wishes to enroll. Applications will not be accepted after this date. The student being readmitted must accept a payment agreement and present the necessary information such as records of attendance and grades at other colleges, along with a new medical examination report if the student has been out of school during the previous sixteen-month period, before action will be taken on the request to be readmitted.

Credit hours earned more than fifteen years before the application for readmission (either at Valparaiso University or at another accredited institution) are subject to reevaluation and, if accepted, may be subject to validation by the first year’s work (30 semester credits) completed in residence with a 2.000 grade point average.

Students with outstanding financial obligations to the University are not considered for readmission until these obligations have been paid in full.

Advanced Standing-Resident Students

Any resident student who has taken academic coursework at any other accredited educational institution must request the Registrar of that institution to send an official transcript to the Valparaiso University Office of the Registrar, where an evaluation is made for possible acceptance of transfer credits. Courses with grades of C- or above are accepted for transfer credit. Grades are not transferable; only credit transfers.

CORE 110  or CORE 115  credit may only be granted by transfer credit for courses taken prior to the student enrolling at Valparaiso University. Any credit transferred to Valparaiso University after the student has begun their career at Valparaiso University will not be considered applicable toward fulfilling CORE 110  or CORE 115  requirements.

Credit for workshops, institutes, or travel study ordinarily is granted only for work taken at Valparaiso University. In cases of exception to the preceding restriction, transfer credit for institutes or workshops will not exceed one credit per calendar week of instruction. Transfer credit for travel study programs will usually not exceed two credits per calendar week.

Resident students who wish to take courses at other approved schools concurrently with their Valparaiso work should refer to the appropriate paragraph under Residence Requirements.

Change to Another Program

If a student transfers from one major or interdisciplinary program to another, all requirements of the new specialization must be met. Such a transfer subjects credits previously earned to a reevaluation. In certain cases, the change of program may result in some loss of credit (e.g., if a course taken as a General Education Requirement is superseded by another course required for the new major). Therefore, such transfers may not be made without the approval of the advisors and deans concerned. Necessary forms are available through the Office of the Registrar website.

In the case of transfer from one college to another, students should be sure to review the requirements for the degrees of the new college and note any restrictions on credit hours which may be transferred from the former college.

Examinations

Written tests and quizzes are given from time to time during the semester at the discretion of the instructor.

A final examination is required in all courses of 3 credit hours or more. Exceptions may be made for such courses as independent study, practica and internships, performance, studio, and activity courses. Final examinations are held at the close of each semester and, for courses of 3 credit hours or more, must be conducted according to a schedule published by the Office of the Registrar.

Final examinations in courses of less than three credits are conducted during regularly scheduled class periods.

In order to give students adequate opportunity to prepare for final examinations, no tests may be given in courses of 3 credit hours or more within seven days before the beginning of the examination period.

Instructors must obtain approval in advance from the appropriate academic dean for any changes to the Final Exam Schedule for a course of 3 credits or more, including changing days, times, and rooms for exams. Instructors may, however, work out alternate exam times for individual students with legitimate conflicts.

Absence from Class

All students are expected to attend every one of their classes unless their absence has been approved by the instructor concerned or the appropriate dean. Absence from class is primarily a matter between the student and the instructor of the class. It is the student’s responsibility to discuss with their instructors the reason for their absence and to learn what makeup work may be required.

Withdrawal from the University

A student who wishes to withdraw from the University for the remainder of a semester or session must apply using the Change in Enrollment Status form by the deadline in the University Calendar . Upon approval, tuition and fee adjustments will be in accordance with the published refund schedule (see Refund Policy ). If students withdraw after the seventh week of the semester, they are ordinarily not granted readmission for the following semester, unless extreme contributory circumstances such as severe illness caused the withdrawal.

The term “honorable dismissal” refers to conduct and character only, not to class standing and grades. It is not granted unless the student’s conduct and character are such as would entitle them to continue in the University.

Academic action such as probation can be taken by a college for any student failing to meet the college’s academic standards regardless of whether they have full-time or part-time enrollment status.

A student who stops attending the University without completing the appropriate paperwork is not entitled to refunds of any kind, and the instructor of each course in which the student is enrolled is required to report a final grade of F to the Office of the Registrar.

Transfer Credit

How Credits Transfer to Valparaiso University

Valparaiso University will accept transfer credit for coursework successfully completed at regionally accredited institutions of higher education as documented on an official transcript. The applicability of specific transfer credit(s) toward a Valparaiso University degree program depends on the requirements of the department, college, or school in which the student is enrolled at Valparaiso University. A student who feels they have been unjustly denied credit for transfer courses may appeal to the Office of the Registrar.

General Standards for Transfer Credits

  • Valparaiso University accepts college-level (not remedial) courses in which the student has earned a grade of “C-” (scale is 4.00 = “A”) or better from regionally accredited institutions.
  • The maximum number of advanced standing credits that can transfer:
    College of Arts and Sciences: 94 credits
    College of Business: 94 credits
    College of Engineering: 102 credits
    College of Nursing and Health Professions: 94 credits
  • Acceptable academic credits earned at other institutions that are based on a different unit of credit other than the semester system are subject to conversion before being transferred to Valparaiso University. All students must meet graduation requirements in order to earn a bachelor’s degree.
  • The Valparaiso University college of a student’s major determines how transfer courses fulfill the degree requirements. The student should review the degree requirements of the intended degree program and talk with an academic advisor about the transfer credits and how they will apply to that program.

Transfer Credit Not Accepted

Transfer credit is not awarded for the following, except as allowed by the Prior Learning Assessment.

  • Courses for which the student earned a final grade that was lower than “C-“
  • Not accredited by a regional accrediting agency
  • Life experience
  • Courses taken at non-collegiate institutions (e.g., governmental agencies, corporations, industrial firms, etc.)

Graduation

Responsibility of the Student

Every candidate for a degree is personally responsible for meeting all requirements for graduation. No University official or advisor can relieve the student of this responsibility.

Students in an undergraduate program of the University may fulfill the requirements for graduation under any catalog issued during their years of attendance, beginning with the year they first entered the University, provided there is no absence of five or more years between periods of attendance. All requirements in one catalog issue must be met. Students must resolve all Incomplete and NR grades prior to graduation. NR grades are used as temporary grades on transcripts if the final grade has not been reported to the Office of the Registrar.

Valparaiso University has three graduation periods per academic year: May, August, and December. These graduation periods begin on the last day of each academic term and continue for 30 days. Any student with unmet requirements at the close of the graduation period must defer to the next graduation period, regardless of the circumstances. In order to graduate, students must complete the Graduation Application, available through DataVU, for each degree or certificate separately by the deadlines published in the University Calendar .

Students who return to the University after an absence of five or more years may no longer be a candidate for a degree on the basis of the catalog requirements covered by their previous years of attendance but must fulfill for graduation all the requirements and provisions beginning with the catalog of the year in which they reenter the University. In addition, credits earned at Valparaiso University more than fifteen years before reentry are subject to reevaluation and shall not be accepted toward graduation requirements unless approved by the Committee on Academic and Professional Standards.

After a student has been awarded a degree from Valparaiso University, that degree cannot be altered. Students may not take courses after graduation for the purpose of adding a major, adding a minor, or changing a GPA. Students cannot add a major or minor after graduation, even if their previous coursework corresponds to an additional credential, major, minor, or certificate within their catalog. Degrees, diplomas, and transcripts are withheld for students whose account with the University has not been settled in full.

Second Degrees

In order to receive a second degree, a student must earn at least thirty semester credits and sixty quality points in excess of the total number of semester credits required for the first degree and, in addition, the student must fulfill all the specific course requirements for the second degree. No course used to fulfill a major or minor requirement for one degree may be used to fulfill any major or minor requirement for a second degree. This restriction refers to courses within the major or minor field, not to additional courses required from outside of the major or minor field. A student who selects an individualized major or minor for any degree may not use the designated courses to fulfill any other graduation requirement.

Each degree must contain all of the components necessary for each to be a complete program, including those described in the major field requirements (see College of Arts and Sciences ). Approval of applications for dual degrees must be given by the appropriate advisors and deans. No student may graduate at one commencement with more than one degree of the same notation.

Students in graduate programs should refer to the GRADUATE CATALOG for specific information.

Credit and Quality Point Requirements

Candidates for graduation with an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree must have a grade point average of 2.000 or more in all their work at Valparaiso University. In addition, candidates for a bachelor’s degree must have a grade point average of 2.000 or more in all majors, minors, or interdisciplinary programs, based on their work at Valparaiso University. Candidates for the Associate in Science degree must have a grade point average of 2.000 in all of their science courses at Valparaiso University. Candidates for the Associate of Arts degree must have a grade point average of 2.000 in their concentration area. In the computation of the students’ standings, grades of D+, D, D-, and F are included. Grades of S, U, and W are not included.

Candidates for a graduate degree should consult the GRADUATE CATALOG for the corresponding requirement.

Residence Requirements

Regardless of other degree requirements, candidates for all bachelor’s degrees must meet the following requirements in residence at Valparaiso University:

  1. At least one-half the number of credit hours required for all majors or interdisciplinary programs (a minimum of 15 credit hours in the area of world languages)
  2. At least one course required for all minors
  3. At least three credits in theology
  4. At least thirty of the last forty credits presented for the degree

Residence requirements for graduate programs may be found in the GRADUATE CATALOG.

Ordinarily, credit is not given for courses taken concurrently at other approved schools or for correspondence courses taken during a student’s enrollment at this University. Any exception to this policy must have the approval of the student’s academic advisor, the dean of the appropriate college, and the Committee on Academic and Professional Standards. Note that credit for courses taken under one of the international study semesters or special semester programs described beginning on pages 5 and 18 apply as taken in residence at this University.

Residence requirements for the undergraduate baccalaureate degrees awarded by the College of Business can be found in the College of Business .

Application for a Degree

Students initiate the graduation process by discussing their plan of study with their advisor and completing a Graduation Application online through DataVU. An undergraduate student who wishes to receive a degree at the end of a Fall Semester must formally apply no later than the preceding February 1st. An undergraduate student who wishes to receive a degree at the end of a Spring Semester or a Summer Session must formally apply no later than the preceding October 1st.

Once this application has been processed, the student’s degree requirements will be audited by the Office of the Registrar, and students will be notified of any requirements they have yet to fulfill after registering for their last semester. Each student will be placed on a mailing list to receive all communications regarding commencement and Grad Finale, an event at which candidates can complete tasks in preparation for graduation related to their cap and gown, verifying their diploma details, and gathering important information from several departments. Being on the mailing list will also allow the student to receive tickets for guests to attend commencement.

Candidates who expect to complete requirements in absentia must be sure that all coursework is completed by the deadline for candidates who are registered on campus. Official transcripts for transfer work must be on file in the Office of the Registrar no later than ten days after the close of a semester or session. Further information will be furnished upon request from those candidates completing degree requirements in absentia.

Commencement Ceremonies

All students are strongly encouraged to participate in the commencement ceremony. The University conducts one commencement ceremony annually. The ceremony in May is conducted in the Athletics-Recreation Center and includes those candidates completing their requirements in the Spring Semester, Summer Session, or Fall Semester of the same year. Students who complete their work toward a degree at the end of a Summer Session or Fall Semester will be granted the degree at the end of the final academic term.

Bachelor’s Degrees with Honors

Students who have been in attendance at Valparaiso University for at least two years (a minimum of sixty credit hours) and who have maintained a grade point average of 3.800 in their work at this institution will be graduated Summa Cum Laude.

Students who have been in attendance at Valparaiso University for at least two years (a minimum of sixty credit hours) and who have maintained a grade point average of 3.600 in their work at this institution will be graduated Magna Cum Laude.

Students who have been in attendance at Valparaiso University for at least two years (a minimum of sixty credit hours) and who have maintained a grade point average of 3.400 in their work at this institution will be graduated Cum Laude.

Please note that Academic Honors for the purposes of the Commencement program are estimated based on the student’s cumulative GPA at the end of the semester prior to the term in which they are anticipated to graduate. Actual Academic Honors as posted on a transcript or diploma may differ based on all completed work.

Semester Honors

An undergraduate student (freshman through senior) who achieves a grade point average of 3.500 in any semester will be awarded honors under the following restrictions:

  1. The student received no grades of I or U at the official end of the semester concerned
  2. The student completed at least fourteen credit hours of work for that semester on campus or at least twelve credit hours in an international studies semester, special off-campus semester, or any other approved cooperating program (Academic Programs  and Global Education Programs )

Semester Honors are also referred to as the dean’s list. Posting and granting of semester honors are at the discretion of each college within the University. Questions should be referred to the dean’s office of the appropriate college.

Transcripts of Academic Records

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (Buckley Amendment) provides, in part, that the institution will maintain the confidentiality of student academic records. No one outside the University shall have access to, nor will the University disclose any information from, student academic records without the written consent of students, except to persons, organizations, or agencies which are permitted to receive such information under the act. Please visit the Office of General Counsel online (valpo.edu/generalcounsel/policies/academic-and-student-life-policies) for more information.

Official transcripts of academic records are released only after an online request has been made. Diplomas and transcripts are withheld for students whose account with the University has not been settled in full. The University’s transcript policy may be found online at valpo.edu/transcript.

The table below outlines the cost of transcript services through Valparaiso University’s approved transcript vendor. Other ordering options, including expedited shipping, are available in the ordering system. All orders are placed as described on the Transcript web page: valpo.edu/transcript. These prices are subject to change, but current information will be made available online on the website of the Office of the Registrar.

$10.61 Official transcript delivered electronically.
$16.01 Official transcript on paper, delivered via USPS domestic first-class mail. Expedited shipping of paper transcripts is available for an additional fee.