Academic Policies

It is the student's responsibility to understand and observe all academic regulations and policies outlined in this Bulletin, and in any supplements and revisions to this Bulletin that may be issued from time to time.

The academic policies and requirements of the University are intended to be firm, and the University seeks to administer them with consistency and evenhandedness. When exceptional circumstances require students to request waivers of normal academic policies and requirements, these requests should be addressed in writing with a student academic petition form. Variations in normal policies, requirements, and standards can be considered only when there is a strong rationale for divergence from the normal practice in a particular case; when there is no likelihood that the variation will set a precedent that could adversely affect the University's standards; and when in the judgment of the appropriate University authorities it is in the educational interests of the petitioning student, and not contrary to the interests of other students or of the University, that the waiver be granted. Accordingly, waivers are not considered for such fundamental University standards as credits, grades, or GPA requirements for graduation. Students' failures to plan or carry out their work appropriately or in a timely manner, or to acquaint themselves with applicable University regulations, do not constitute sufficient reason for waiver of a normal standard, regulation, requirement, or practice.

Academic credit at Fisk is given in the form of semester hours. One hour of class time per week for one semester is equivalent to one semester hour of academic credit. The typical Fisk course is for four semester hours of credit, although courses carrying other credits are offered.

Normal student course-load for undergraduates is sixteen semester hours. Twelve semester hours constitute a minimum for full-time student status at the undergraduate level; the maximum is eighteen semester hours per term. Approval to register for hours exceeding the maximum must be obtained from the Provost upon the written recommendation of the academic advisor. The permission to take an overload is restricted to students whose grade-point average was at least 3.0 in their most recent semester prior to requesting an overload, with the following exceptions: 1) Students expecting to graduate in the year in which the overload is requested; and 2) students whose suggested program plans, as printed in the Bulletin, suggest that more than eighteen hours be taken if timely graduation is to occur. Under no circumstances is approval given for a schedule in excess of twenty-two semester hours per term. Credit-hours in excess of eighteen are assessed an overload fee for each excess hour.

It is the University's assumption that students, in registering for courses, accept significant obligations for out-of-class work. Normally students should plan on spending at least two hours of work and study time outside of class for every hour spent in class. Thus a sixteen-hour course-load is apt to amount to at least a 48-hour work week for the student who keeps up appropriately with his or her studies. An eighteen-hour course-load entails a 54-hour work week, and so on.

Auditing courses is permitted when the student files an application and pays the specified audit fee. An auditor does not take examinations nor receive credit for the course, nor participate in class discussion unless invited to do so by the course instructor.

Repeat enrollment in courses is permitted in order to offer students the opportunity to improve their grade point averages or meet course requirements, following an unsatisfactory grade in the student's first attempt to complete a course. When students repeat courses, only the last course grade received is counted in computing grade point average__ though previous attempts to complete the course are shown, with the original grade received, on the cumulative record. Academic credit is awarded only for the last occasion on which a repeated course is taken; duplicate credit for a given course is never awarded. Students are cautioned to remember this policy when calculating total credit hours accumulated, so that revisions of their study plans will be accurate and applications for degrees will not lead to last-minute disappointment.

Non-degree credit is given for certain courses. Intermediate Algebra (MATH 100) and anything over four semester hours of practicum and internship courses are examples. Courses designated for only non-degree credit are not counted toward the minimum 120 semester-hour graduation requirement, and students should take this restriction into account when planning their studies.