Course Policies

Overload/Max Credits Per Semester

An overload is enrollment in more than 18 credit hours in the fall or spring semester, or more than seven credit hours in an individual summer or winter session. The minimum cumulative GPA required to carry an overload is 2.75.

Permission will not be granted for more than 24 credits in a fall or spring semester or 10 credits in an individual summer or winter session.

Student may request an overload through the myWCU portal. All requests must be made prior to the add/drop deadline. Detailed instructions are available on the Registrar’s website.

Students who carry more than 18 credits in a fall or spring semester will be responsible for additional tuition charges at the standard rate per credit hour.

Repeating Courses

The Repeat Policy is divided into two sections, i.e., a policy covering developmental courses (Q00-level) that do not count towards graduation, and a policy covering college-level courses.

Policy Covering Developmental Courses

Students who enter the University beginning with the 1991 fall semester may have three attempts to pass each developmental course (Q00-level). The repeat privilege for developmental courses will not count within the six-repeat allotment for college-level courses. Credits for these courses do not count towards graduation but are computed in the cumulative grade point average. Students may repeat a single course twice, which results in eliminating the grades from the first and second attempts. The third attempt, however, will be the grade of record. Students must pass the developmental basic skills courses (English and mathematics) with a C- or better before enrolling in a more advanced course in the respective discipline. Students enrolled in the basic skills developmental course(s) who do not pass with a C- or better after three attempts will be permanently dismissed from the University regardless of overall grade point average. Students who fail developmental courses at West Chester University may not repeat those courses at another university or transfer in the college-level (100 or higher) course.

Policy Covering Undergraduate College-level Courses

Students may repeat undergraduate college-level courses to improve a grade of F, D, C, or B (not A).

  1. No student may use the repeat option more than six times TOTAL. For example, this means repeating six DIFFERENT courses once each, or repeating three different courses twice.
  2. A single course may not be repeated more than twice.
  3. The most recent grade, regardless of whether it is higher or lower, will be the grade used for the GPA calculation.

Undergraduate students who take and complete a course at West Chester may not repeat the course at another institution and have the credits or grade count towards a West Chester degree.

Undergraduates who take a course for graduate credit are subject to the graduate repeat policy. See the Graduate Catalog for information.

Because all students must take and pass WRT 120 to graduate, a student who fails this course after three attempts will be dismissed immediately following the third failure, regardless of GPA.

Repeat Course Procedure

The first time a student completes a course for a grade it is considered the first attempt. The second time a student completes a course for a grade it is considered the second attempt and the first repeat. The third time a student completes a course for a grade it is considered the third attempt and is the second repeat. The most recent grade (regardless of whether it is higher or lower) and credit will be used for the GPA calculation. Students who complete a course with a fourth attempt or more are in violation of the Repeat Policy and will not earn credit.

Pass/Fail Policy

  1. All degree students who are sophomores, juniors, or seniors with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.00 are eligible to take courses pass/fail.
  2. The pass/fail privilege is limited to one course per semester; only free electives may be taken on a pass/fail basis. Free electives may not be used to satisfy major, core, cognate, or general education (including distributive) requirements. Interdisciplinary, diverse communities, and writing emphasis courses taken to satisfy these requirements may not be taken pass/fail.
  3. A grade of pass carries credit value but does not affect the cumulative grade point average.
  4. A grade of fail is computed into the cumulative grade point average.
  5. After contracting for pass/fail, the student may not request or accept any grade other than a P or an F.
  6. This process must be completed by the end of the ninth instructional week of the semester or the equivalent in summer school or winter session. Forms are available in the Office of the Registrar.

Auditing Privileges

Anyone may attend the University for the sole purpose of auditing courses by first scheduling for the course, paying the regular fee, and then completing an audit application form available from the Office of the Registrar. An undergraduate student may declare "audit" status in a course through the end of the ninth instructional week of class but may only audit one course per semester. Faculty may refuse to grant auditor status. Full-time students have the privilege of auditing, provided they obtain approval from the course instructor and the course does not create an overload situation. If an overload results, students are assessed the per-credit rate for each credit in excess of 18. Part-time students may audit, provided they obtain the instructor's approval, enroll in the course through the Office of the Registrar, and pay the regular course fees.

Credit is never given to auditors. The auditor status may not be changed after it has been declared. The grade of audit (AU) is recorded on the student's transcript. An audited course will not fulfill any requirement toward graduation including interdisciplinary, diverse communities, and writing emphasis attributes.

Credit by Examination

Forms to register for credit by examination are available from the Office of the Registrar. Credit by Exam fees will be equivalent to the College-Level Examination Program fee. Contact the Office of the Registrar for current information.
Credit by examination is a privilege subject to the following conditions:

  1. Application occurs during the Drop/Add Period. If the student has already scheduled into the course, the course will be dropped from the schedule for that term. Grade notification for credit by exam will occur at the end of the semester. Therefore, if the student fails, the course will have to be taken in a later term.
  2. The student has a cumulative GPA of at least 2.00.
  3. The student demonstrates evidence of satisfactory academic background for the course.
  4. The student has not already completed a more advanced course that presupposes knowledge gained in the course. For example, credit by examination cannot be given for FRE 101 after the student passed FRE 102.
  5. Credits taken as credit by examination will be counted in the course load and will carry "0" billing credits. Therefore, courses will not count toward financial aid, athletics, dorms, insurance, etc.
  6. A course cannot be repeated by using credit by examination.
  7. A course that fulfills the interdisciplinary, diverse communities, or writing emphasis area may not be taken as credit by examination.

NOTE: Students who have taken a course but have not achieved a satisfactory grade may not apply for credit by examination for the same course.

Independent Study

Many departments offer an independent study course for students with demonstrated ability and special interests. This course is appropriate when a student has a specialized and compelling academic interest that cannot be pursued within the framework of a regular course. Students must obtain departmental permission for independent study courses and be registered by the end of the add/drop period. An overall GPA of 2.00 or higher and a minimum GPA of 2.00 in a student's major courses are required. The independent study form is available in the Office of the Registrar.

Individualized Instruction

Individualized instruction is the teaching of a regular, listed catalog course to a single student. Individualized instruction is offered only when the University has canceled or failed to offer a course according to schedule. Students must obtain departmental permission for individual instruction and be registered by the end of the add/drop period. The individualized instruction form is available in the Office of the Registrar.

Internships

An internship is a credit-bearing experience requiring students to provide discipline-specific, pre-professional work experience in a supervised setting. Internships consist of experiential courses offering hands-on experiences that occur in application-settings such as traditional work settings, research settings, and campaigns or private events.  Internships are pre-planned experiences, thus may not be granted after completion of a work experience. 

Earning Internship Credit

Students can expect to earn one internship credit for every 45 hours of work per semester, including site-based hours and related activities.  A three-credit internship should include 135-180 hours of student work per semester. These hours should encompass both the time spent on site and time spent on any additional internship assignments turned in to the faculty supervisor. Students should check in with their major department for information on application requirements, as well as the maximum number of internship credits that can be applied to their major.  The major department will determine if paid experiences are eligible for internship credit.

Supervision of Internships

Students taking an internship course at WCU should expect to be assigned a minimum of two supervisors: one site-based supervisor and one faculty supervisor. The faculty supervisor will act as liaison between the department and the site supervisor; grade internship assignments, such as student field logs, papers, etc.; and counsel students regarding their professional development, relating to the internship.

Graduate Credit

A senior (90 credits or more) pursuing a bachelor's degree who has an overall grade point average of 3.00 may, with the permission of the major advisor, course professor, department chair of the course, the Dean of Graduate Studies, and the vice provost, enroll in up to six credits of graduate-level course work. The student must be at the senior level with the designated grade point average at the time the course begins.

If the course is dual numbered, the undergraduate must take the undergraduate-level course and apply it towards the bachelor's degree. If the course is not dual numbered, but at the 500 level or above, the course may count either as undergraduate credit towards the bachelor's degree or as graduate credit.

If the student wishes to have the credits count towards the bachelor's degree, the student must submit a completed "application for an undergraduate student to take a graduate course for undergraduate credit.'' The form is available in the Office of the Registrar. If, on the other hand, the student wishes to have the credits count towards a graduate degree, he or she must submit a completed "application for an undergraduate student to take a graduate course for graduate credit.'' The form is available in the Graduate Office

Individual departments have the right to implement more stringent academic standards for courses within their departments. Any student not meeting University or departmental standards when the appropriate semester begins will not be permitted to enroll.

If a course is taken for undergraduate credit, no additional fees will be required. If a course is taken for graduate credit, the student must pay graduate tuition and applicable fees for that course. A student not carrying 12 hours of undergraduate credits will be charged at the appropriate hourly tuition rates for both the undergraduate and graduate credits. All other fees will be charged at the undergraduate level.

No more than six credits taken under this policy may be applied to the master's degree. Students may not elect to change between undergraduate and graduate credit after the term or semester has begun.

Undergraduate students approved to take a graduate course for undergraduate credit are bound by the undergraduate catalog policy on repeats and withdrawals. Undergraduate students approved to take a graduate course for graduate credit are bound by the graduate catalog policy on repeats and withdrawals.

Undergraduate Student Attendance Policy

Each professor will determine a class attendance policy and publish it in his or her syllabus at the beginning of each semester. When a student fails to comply with the policy, the professor has the right to assign a grade consistent with his or her policy as stated in the syllabus. Absences cannot be used as the sole criterion for assigning a final grade in a course. Excused absences, in accordance with the Excused Absences Policy, will not result in a penalty, provided the student follows this policy. University departments or programs may establish attendance policies to govern their sections as long as those policies fall within these guidelines.

Excused Absences Policy

I. Students participating in University-sanctioned events such as, but not limited to, the Marching Band and NCAA athletic events, will be granted an excused absence(s) by the respective faculty members for class periods missed. Students will be granted the privilege of taking, at an alternative time to be determined by the professor, scheduled examinations or quizzes that will be missed. The professor will designate such times prior to the event and the make up should be as soon as possible following the missed class. Professors can provide a fair alternative to taking the examination or quiz that will be missed. Students must recognize that some activities cannot be directly made up (e.g., a laboratory, group presentation, off-campus experience), and faculty will arrange a fair alternative to the missed work. Students must submit original documentation on University letterhead signed by the activity director, coach, or advisor detailing the specifics of the event in advance. Specific requirements include the following:

  1. Responsibility for meeting academic requirements rests with the student.
  2. Students are expected to notify their professors as soon as they know they will be missing class due to a University-sanctioned event.
  3. Students are expected to complete the work requirement for each class and turn in assignments due on days of the event prior to their due dates unless other arrangements are made with the professor.
  4. If a scheduled event is postponed or canceled, the student is expected to go to class.
  5. Students are not excused from classes for practice on nonevent days.

The following are specifics for the student athlete:

  1. The student athlete is expected, where possible, to schedule classes on days and at hours that do not conflict with athletic schedules.
  2. Athletes are not excused from classes for practice or training-room treatment on nongame days.

II. West Chester University recognizes required (non-voluntary) service in the United States military including the Pennsylvania National Guard as a legitimate reason to miss up to the equivalent of 2 weeks during a 15-week semester. Service members must submit a copy of their orders to the Registrar's Office. The Registrar's Office will communicate with respective faculty members and the student will be granted an excused absence(s) for the class periods missed. All points covered in part I of this policy including make-up work and specific requirements 1-4 also apply. Service members required to miss more than the equivalent of 2 weeks during a 15-week semester can withdraw from the term in a non-punitive manner in accordance with Pennsylvania state law. Students are expected to work closely with faculty and the Registrar’s Office to ensure their academic success. Students in programs with external accrediting bodies must also be aware that there may be attendance requirements that cannot be made up.

III. In the event of a student's unplanned medical emergency, including serious health conditions as outlined in the Family and Medical Leave Act, or the death of a student's immediate family member, faculty members are expected to provide, within reason, an opportunity for students to make up work. Students are responsible for providing proper documentation and will work with respective faculty members to make up course work as described in part I of this policy. Students are encouraged to contact the Assistant Dean of Students and refer to the website on Student Assistance for additional information.

IV. Consistent with guidelines set forth by the Family and Medical Leave Act, students who become parents of new children or have children with serious health conditions that require the student-parent to miss up to the equivalent of 2 weeks during a 15-week semester shall be given an excused absence for the courses that are missed. Students will work with respective faculty members to make up course work as described in part I of this policy. Students required to miss more than the equivalent of 2 weeks during a 15-week semester can withdraw from the term up until the term-withdraw deadline. Students required to miss more than one semester should also refer to Admissions policy on consecutive non-enrollment. Students are encouraged to contact the Assistant Dean of Students and refer to the website on Student Assistance for additional information.

V. West Chester University recognizes excused absences in accordance with federal and state legal statutes including but limited to compliance with jury duty, subpoenas, and notices of deposition. Such excused absences will be dealt with as described in part I of this policy. 

Closed Captioning Policy

West Chester University is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities as defined by Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.  Individuals with hearing deficits or other documented disabilities can contact the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (OSSD) to set up alternative forms of classroom assistance.

The University recognizes that the most efficient means of providing equal access to video media is through use of products with open or closed captioning and/or subtitles. When faculty utilizes essential video material, they should ascertain if a captioned version is available. If such a version is available, the faculty member is required to use it.

Policy on Disruptive Classroom Behavior

  1. Definition of disruptive classroom behavior
    1. Disruptive behavior is defined as an act that is disorderly, that might include but is not limited to that which disrespects, disrupts, harasses, coerces, or abuses, and/or might threaten or harm property or person, so that it interferes with an orderly classroom, teaching process, or learning function.
    2. Such behavior originates in a classroom, faculty member's office, or other site so long as it is related to the academic classroom or classroom function.
  2. Limitation of Policy
    1. This policy addresses only student classroom behavior as defined here. Nonacademic student behavior is addressed in the Student Code of Conduct and the Judicial Board process as outlined in the Ram's Eye View.
  3. Classroom Management
    1. This policy acknowledges the need for protection of academic freedom in the classroom, for faculty authority in classroom management, and for faculty and student safety in the classroom.
  4. Due Process
    1. This policy respects faculty and student rights to due process in any event emanating from disruptive student behavior in the classroom.

Process

  1. The first instance of disruptive behavior shall result in an immediate verbal warning by the faculty member. The faculty member shall advise the student of the existence of the Disruptive Classroom Behavior Policy and where it is published.
    Exception: A first instance in which disruptive behavior appears to compromise the safety of or is threatening to a faculty member or student(s) shall result in immediate removal of the student from the classroom by the faculty member. In the event of imminent danger to person or property, Public Safety will be called and immediate removal shall result. Extreme or severe behavior can result in removal from the course and not merely from the immediate class.
  2. A second instance of disruptive behavior shall result in the removal of the student from class for the remainder of the class period. The faculty member should log the behavior and the steps taken in writing.
  3. A third instance of disruptive behavior shall result in permanent removal of the student from the class.

Temporary Removal

  1. A student who has been asked to leave the classroom must meet with the faculty member prior to returning to the next class.
  2. A student may, as the result of removal from the classroom and having met or tried to meet with the faculty member without success, request a third party agreeable to both the faculty member and him/herself to assist in resolving his/her difference with the faculty member. He/she can do so by applying to the chairperson of the department in which the course in which the event occurred is housed.

Permanent Removal

  1. In the event of permanent removal from the class, the faculty member shall notify the chairperson of the department in which the course is housed, who shall then notify the dean of his/her college, the dean of students, and the chairperson of the student's major department.
  2. A student who has been permanently removed from the classroom shall be assigned a grade consistent with course requirements depending upon the point in the course at which the removal took place. A written statement of the reason for permanent removal shall be provided to the student by a review panel, in the event of an appeal by the student, or by the faculty member, in the event there has been no appeal. The review panel shall be the only venue for a hearing on permanent removal from the classroom.

Appeal Process

  1. The student may, within five University calendar days of removal, appeal permanent removal. That appeal shall be made to the review panel which shall be constituted and charged by the dean of the college, or his/her designee, in which the event occurred. The panel shall include an academic manager, a faculty member, and a student. It shall, within five University calendar days, conduct fact finding and make a written recommendation to the dean who shall provide copies to the faculty member and the student. Extension based on compelling circumstances may be granted by the dean or his/her designee.
  2. A student who appeals removal shall be given an opportunity to keep up with classroom assignments during the time it takes the review panel to reach its decision.
  3. In the event that the student's behavior was perceived as sufficiently threatening or severe, either party may invoke the right to a separate interview or may submit written testimony to allow for fact finding by the panel.

School Assignments for Field Experiences

Students are assigned early field and student teaching experiences at schools with which the University has a formal agreement. Students will not be assigned to schools that they attended or where members of their families are employed or attend.

Special requests for school assignments will be considered by the student's major department.

Before an undergraduate student may register for independent study or research, practicum, internship, externship, or any field placement, he or she must have an overall GPA of 2.00 or higher, and a GPA of 2.00 or higher in his or her major courses.

This policy does not supersede current departmental policies that have established higher standards. This policy does not prevent departments from setting higher GPA standards for undergraduate students within their major. Departments may also establish a minimum required GPA for all cognate courses for undergraduate students who wish to register for any of these courses.

Taking Courses Out of Sequence

Students may not enroll for credit in a more elementary course in a sequence after having satisfactorily passed a more advanced course in that sequence. For example, a student may not enroll for credit in FRE 101 after having satisfactorily passed FRE 201. Similarly, students who enroll in a course that requires less proficiency than placement or proficiency tests indicate they possess may be denied credit towards graduation.

Clearance Requirements for Field Experiences in the Professional Education Unit

All students participating in West Chester University academic courses that require participation in observation, practicum, field experience, or student teaching must provide up-to-date criminal background clearances prior to the fourth day of the semester in which they are enrolled in such courses. Students will provide clearances to the University in a manner stipulated by the dean of the College of Education and Social Work in accordance with the WCU Professional Education Unit Policy Requiring Current Criminal Background Clearances for Enrollment in Field Experience Courses and Student Teaching. Students who fail to provide the proper clearances, as stipulated, will have their enrollment in the course revoked.