Jul 25, 2024  
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Regulations

Ferrum College maintains a tradition of a comprehensive academic program rooted in the liberal arts. The College strives to maximize students’ success through a system of individual attention. The curriculum includes opportunities for career preparation as well as self-development and the fulfillment of personal educational goals.

Regulations Governing Catalog

The catalog for the year in which a student enters Ferrum College is the governing document for requirements for graduation. However, students who change their program of study after their first year of enrollment must apply the regulations in the current year’s catalog. Students must submit a new degree plan indicating the catalog change.

If a student leaves Ferrum College and enrolls as a full-time student in another institution or is dropped for academic or disciplinary deficiency and subsequently re-enrolls at Ferrum College, the governing catalog for the student will be that for the year of re-enrollment. (Refer to the Admissions section of this catalog under Readmission for Former Ferrum Students  for additional clarification.)

Campus-wide Assessment Program

As part of the Institutional Effectiveness process, Ferrum College maintains a continuing assessment program to achieve quality and to ensure alignment with the institutional mission. As part of a comprehensive assessment program, the College also regularly evaluates each academic major and program. Instruments and tools are used to gather evaluative information. Course evaluations, standardized as well as campus-generated questionnaires, interviews, written essays and written performance evaluations are all used as components in a scheduled cycle of assessment activity. Students and employees are expected to participate in assessment activities.

Credit By Exam

Currently enrolled, qualified students demonstrating satisfactory academic competency in particular subjects may earn credit by successfully completing a departmental exam. A departmental exam may be taken only one time for a course, and the student must attain a grade of 70% or better in order to receive credit for the exam. No more than 10% of a student’s coursework at Ferrum College may be earned by credit by exam.

Credit by exam is not available for all courses taught at the College. In general, courses that are experiential (such as labs, physical activity, E-Term, and those designated writing or speaking intensive, etc.) are not available in credit by exam format. An exam may not be used to remove grades of “D”, “F” or “WF” or to improve a grade already earned. Requests for departmental exams must be initiated with the academic advisor and approved by the Program Coordinator, School Dean and the designated faculty member who will design and administer the exam. A special fee is charged and must be paid prior to taking the exam (see Miscellaneous Fees ). For credit to be obtained in a given term, the exam has to be administered no later than three weeks prior to the beginning of the regularly scheduled exam period of the Fall and Spring terms. Credits awarded by credit by exam may apply toward graduation requirements and will become part of the student’s permanent record. If the student passes the exam, a “P” grade will be assigned. However, the grade earned on the exam will not be calculated into the student’s cumulative GPA. Courses completed in credit by exam format will be noted on the transcript as such.

Class Attendance

College policy dictates that attendance is required at a minimum of three-fourths of all class meetings in order to receive credit in a course. The instructor, in consultation with the School Dean or the Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs, may determine that unusual circumstances and the student’s work in the course justify the assignment of a grade other than “F”. Unusual circumstances include extended illness or other emergencies, the student’s participation in college-sponsored activities, or some combination thereof. The policy governing the remaining one quarter of class meetings is established by the individual professor and is recorded on the course syllabus.

The College expects consistent, punctual attendance in regularly scheduled classes. There should, therefore, be no absences except those due to sickness or other emergencies, or those incurred in representing the College in an organized activity, such as athletic events or musical or theatrical performances. In these cases students must obtain written explanation of an absence from an appropriate source (faculty member, coach, medical professional), in order to be excused for the absence. Students assume full responsibility for advising professors of their absences and for initiating the procedure for making up work missed.

In the case of absences in excess of the limit established in the class syllabus, instructors may adjust the course grade (in accordance with stated course policy) according to the number of absences, or the student may be advised to drop the course within the guidelines outlined in the current drop-add policy.

Course Loads

To be classified as full-time and to be eligible to occupy college housing and participate in intercollegiate athletics as well as other college-related activities, a student must register for a minimum of 12 hours of coursework per semester. The recommended course load is 15 hours per semester, and the maximum recommended course load is 19 hours per semester. Students carrying more than 19 hours per semester must obtain the approval from the Provost and will be assessed an overload fee (see Instructional Fees ).

Students are considered part-time if they register for fewer than 12 semester hours of work. Part-time students are not eligible for campus housing and may not be eligible for Financial Aid. 

Student Classification by Credit Hours

Freshman A student who has been admitted to the College and has earned fewer than 24-credit hours.
Sophomore A student who has earned at least 24-credit hours but fewer than 56-credit hours.
Junior A student who has earned at least 56-credit hours but fewer than 88-credit hours.
Senior A student who has earned at least 88-credit hours but who has not earned a bachelor’s degree.

Independent Study

Students may arrange to take a course by independent study when they need a course that is not being offered. A student wishing to take a course by independent study must petition the appropriate School Dean and the Provost for course approval by submitting the required independent study form available in the Office of the Provost. Once all signatures are collected, forms and required documentation are to be submitted to the Office of the Provost for approval. Formal approval for any independent study course must be granted by the end of the add period of the semester in which the course is taken. No more than twelve credit hours of independent study courses may apply toward a bachelor’s degree. An independent study should normally be completed in the semester in which it is approved. After an independent study has been approved, the fee will be added to the student’s account (see Instructional Fees ).

Experiential Learning

Many programs offer experiential learning opportunities. These opportunities consist of supervised work experience in an area related to the student’s major field of study. Typically, this experience takes place over the period of one semester in the student’s junior or senior year. Experiential learning opportunities may be offered on a pass/fail basis at the discretion of each appropriate School Dean. This decision will be made and posted well in advance of class registration.

All students participating in an off campus learning opportunity are expected to provide their own transportation as well as assume responsibility for other expenses incurred while in the field. Students interested in establishing an internship should consult department guidelines and the Internship Handbook published by the Office of the Provost and should consult the Program Coordinator in their major. The student will be charged a fee in addition to tuition when an internship is enrolled along with other courses during fall and spring semesters. Students enrolling in an internship during the summer or when not enrolled in any other courses during the regular academic year are charged an internship fee (see Instructional Fees ).

Eligibility for internships includes:

  1. Successful completion of at least 24-semester hours of 300-400 level credits.
  2. Achievement of a minimum grade point average of 2.0 on all coursework attempted at Ferrum College and a 2.0 on all coursework in the major.
  3. Written approval of the student’s internship contract by the Program Coordinator and the appropriate School Dean.
  4. Internship Request Form must be signed and submitted to the Office of the Registrar.
  5. An internship may not be added after the last day to add classes each semester.

The complete list of procedures and requirements can be viewed in the Internship Handbook.

Grading System

Grade point averages are determined by dividing the total quality points earned by the number of semester hours of attempted coursework. A semester hour is the value of one class hour per week throughout a semester. Ferrum College uses the following grading scale:

  • “A” - Excellent, 90-100 = 4.0 quality points per semester hour.
  • “B” - Good, 80-89 = 3.0 quality points per semester hour.
  • “C” - Average, 70-79 = 2.0 quality points per semester hour.
  • “D” - Passing, 60-69 = 1.0 quality points per semester hour.
  • “F” - Failing, below 60 = 0 quality points.
  • “FF” - A “Penalty F” may be given only by the Honor Board as a result of being found responsible for an Honor Code violation. While the course may be repeated, the “F” will always be computed in the GPA. This “F” will be recorded on the transcript as “FF”. The Honor Board is responsible for notifying the Office of the Registrar if there is a violation that warrants a penalty of “FF”.
  • “I” - In special cases, such as a lengthy illness, the student (with the permission of the instructor) may petition the Provost before the end of the seven weeks to extend the period of completion. The “I” will convert to an “F” unless a petition to extend the completion time is granted.
  • “W” - Withdrawn with documented extenuating circumstances. See Withdrawal from College
  • “WF” - Withdrawn when failing; computed into the grade point average as an “F”.
  • “WP” - Withdrawn when passing; not computed into the grade point average.
  • “R” - Repeat; a non-credit, no penalty grade which may be awarded only in ENG 101  and MTH 100 . The grade is intended for underprepared students in English or mathematics who work diligently and show potential but do not attain sufficient skill to proceed in the sequence. To do so, students must first repeat the course.
  • “S” - This grade can only be given to a student as a mid-term grade. It must not be used for a final grade at the end of the semester. The “S” means that a student is making satisfactory progress in the course.
  • “U” - This grade can only be given to a student as a mid-term grade. It must not be used for a final grade at the end of the semester. The “U” means that a student is making unsatisfactory progress in the course.
  • “P”/”F” - Pass/Fail; the courses in which students may earn a “pass/fail” grade must be designated by the offering department. Such courses are included in the computation of the student’s course load and total hours earned; however, no quality points are assigned for “P” grades. A failure of a “pass/fail” is considered as an “F” and does affect the student’s grade point average.
  • “AU” - Audit; a non-credit course grade designation elected by the student within the first week’s add period. The audited credits count as hours carried and are subject to fee assessment. Approval to audit a class must be granted by the instructor and email notification sent to the Office of the Registrar.


An incomplete (I) for a course will be granted only in cases of prolonged illness, family emergency, or some other documented unforeseen circumstance that prevents the student from completing the course requirement on time. A student who wishes to receive an “I” may make a request with the instructor of the course to initiate the process. This must be done before final grades are due in the Office of the Registrar.

All incomplete work must be completed within seven weeks after the end of the semester in which the “I” is given. In special cases, such as a lengthy illness, the student, with the consent of the instructor, may petition the Provost before the end of the seven weeks to extend the period of completion.

Upon completion of the coursework, the “I” will be replaced with a final grade. If the course is not completed by the end of the seven weeks, the “I” will be converted into an “F” grade. A student may not be permitted to enroll for credit in any course that has the incomplete course as a stated prerequisite without permission of the instructor.


Grades may be viewed on the student’s Panther Portal (from the student Portal go to Self-Service, then Webadvisor for Students, then Academic Profile, click the Transcript link, and submit.) Grades are viewable immediately after the grades are entered by the professor. If a student needs an official verification of grades, transcripts may be requested on the Panther Portal (same process as above) after clicking on Academic Profile, select the “Transcript Request” link. If using the GoApp to request transcripts, Click the menu then the Transcript Request.

Grade Review Process

Concerns about a course grade should be directed to the faculty member who taught the course within six weeks after the grade is given. In cases where the student feels the problem has not been resolved, he or she may speak to the appropriate School Dean and, finally, to the Provost. The student will be notified of a decision within two weeks. In no case may a grade be changed after one calendar year without the permission of the Provost.

Graduating with Honors

To graduate with honors, a student must achieve the following grade point averages based on all credit work attempted at Ferrum College:

  • Summa Cum Laude – 3.80
  • Magna Cum Laude – 3.60
  • Cum Laude – 3.40

Dean’s List

The Dean’s List is made of students whose grade point average is at least 3.40 out of a possible 4.0 and is confirmed at the end of the fall and spring semesters. A student must be full-time (have earned 12 hours) to qualify.

President’s List

The President’s List is made of students whose grade point average is 4.0 and is confirmed at the end of the fall and spring semesters. A student must be full-time (have earned 12 hours) to qualify.

Repeating Courses

For the purpose of improving their overall academic average, students are permitted and encouraged to repeat courses in which they have grades of “D” or “F”. Only the higher grade obtained in a repeated course is included in a student’s grade point average. For transfer purposes, note that other institutions may consider total hours attempted in calculating the GPA. A “Penalty F” (Grading System) may be repeated, but the “F” is still computed in the grade point average. (Quality Points are not factored into transfer work.) Federal Financial Aid may be affected by repetition of courses (see Using Federal Financial Aid for Repeating Courses).

Drop-Add Procedure

Students are allowed to add a course to their schedules or change sections of a course online with their academic advisor during the add period of each semester. They may drop a course, without penalty during the drop period of each semester. Courses dropped during the drop period are not entered on students’ academic records and may be dropped via an online process by the academic advisor. A student must complete credit for two-thirds of courses for which they are enrolled as of the census date (last day of drop period). After the census date, courses dropped from a student’s schedule will be reflected by a “WP” or “WF” grade, to be determined by the course instructor. In cases of extenuating circumstances, a student may petition the Provost for a “W” grade. All such petitions should be in writing and must satisfy one of the following criteria: 1) prolonged illness; 2) family emergency; or 3) documented unforeseen circumstances. 

In adding or dropping courses, students should:

  1. Determine the schedule adjustment through consultation with the faculty advisor. Advisors can add or drop classes online using the Academic Planning tool.
  2. If a “WP” or “WF” grade is required, students should promptly discuss the implication with their Academic Advisor. Students should also discuss the grade and any extenuating circumstances with the professor. Students can access a drop form on the Panther Portal and submit a completed form to the Office of the Registrar signed by both the advisor and professor.
  3. Students should verify the accuracy of their schedule on their Panther Portal when any adjustments are made.

Unless a course change has been made in this manner it does not have official standing and will not be recognized as valid by the College. In such a case where the proper drop procedure is not followed, a grade of “F” will be recorded at the end of the semester. A student whose status changes from full- to part-time as a result of classes dropped after the first week will not be eligible for any refund of tuition except as required by federal regulations for Title IV financial aid recipients.

Withdrawal from College

Students with extenuating circumstances that make it necessary to withdraw from Ferrum College should do so officially to maintain good standing. The following are considered extenuating circumstances: 1) prolonged illness; 2) family emergency; or 3) documented unforeseen circumstances. They should obtain an official withdrawal form from the Office of the Registrar to initiate withdrawal procedures. The Office of the Registrar facilitates the withdrawal process including contacting faculty to ascertain grade status and last day of attendance. Withdrawing students are instructed to turn in their identification cards, residence hall or apartment keys, post office box key, and clear any charges on their student account, at the time of the exit interview.

Failure to complete formal withdrawal procedures will result in grades of “F” for courses in which students were registered that term and in general, cannot be appealed to the Academic Appeals and Readmission Committee. 

  • Official withdrawals prior to the census date will result in the deletion of courses from a student’s permanent record.
  • Official withdrawals after the census date and prior to the date indicated on the current academic calendar will result in grades of “WP” or “WF” as granted by each faculty member.
  • A student with extenuating circumstances (including documented medical excuses) may petition the Provost for “W” grades prior to the last day of classes.

Medical withdrawals will be administered by the Office of Student Life & Engagement. (Refer to the Student Handbook for guidelines and processes related to medical withdrawals.) In order for the College to consider granting a medical withdrawal, the student must provide evidence, supported and documented by a physician, of a serious, personal medical issue. Any refund for which withdrawing students are eligible will be based upon the date of the official withdrawal. Students who withdraw early may be subject to a return of Title IV aid programs (Stafford loan, PLUS loan, Pell grant, SEOG, etc.). Students should review the Return of Title IV Policy for further clarification. All withdrawals will be subject to the Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress and Financial Aid Eligibility chart. Students that withdraw from the College may seek readmission by emailing readmit@ferrum.edu.

Leave of Absence

Students in good standing prior to completion of a semester may be granted a leave of absence from the College for up to two semesters for specific vocational, educational, or medical reasons. Students desiring such a leave of absence must apply in writing to the Office of the Registrar. Financial aid recipients should check with the Office of Financial Aid as federal guidelines do not allow for more than a 180 day leave of absence without impacting your aid. Students withdrawing should refer to the Institutional Withdrawal Policy. “Withdrawal from College” section.