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Haverford College

Course Catalog

Academic Regulations

The responsibility for knowing and meeting the applicable degree requirements as well as the academic regulations of the College rests with each student. If there are any questions regarding these regulations, they should be raised with the student's advisor or dean.

First-Year Program

Since the College requires that students be exposed to areas of knowledge and ways of thinking which may be new to them and which may radically change their ideas about eventual specialization, and since it is important that this diversified experience be gained early, the faculty strongly recommends that first-year students take no more than one course in any department in either semester of the first year. For the same reasons, sophomores normally will not be permitted to take more than two courses simultaneously in any one department. The Committee on Student Standing and Programs exercises general supervision over unusual combinations of courses.

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Registration Procedures and Policies

Detailed information concerning registration is issued by the registrar each year and is published in the annual course guide. All deadlines for registration are the same at Haverford and Bryn Mawr. The dates are different at both Swarthmore and the University of Pennsylvania.

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Course Load and Credit

Students normally register for four course credits per semester, but since exceptions to this rule exist, they may arrange their programs with some flexibility. With consent of their advisors, students may enroll or pre-enroll for five credits in a given semester, or more than five credits with the approval of their dean. Students may also register for as few as two credits, provided they are making normal progress toward completion of the 32 course credits in four years required for graduation. The latter condition may be met either by having accumulated extra credits or by evidencing, to the Committee on Student Standing and Programs, an ability to make up a deficit in the future.

If a student wishes to carry fewer than four credits in a semester and does not have sufficient extra credits by the end of that semester to be on schedule for the four-year graduation limit, he or she must seek approval of his or her dean, who acts for the committee in such matters. A student dissatisfied with the dean’s decision may have the case reviewed by the full committee. Students permitted a credit overload or an underload during any given semester must pay full tuition, regardless of the number of credits taken.

Students are expected to achieve the following in order to be making satisfactory progress toward the degree and be advanced to the next grade level:

end of first year - 8.0 course credits;
end of sophomore year - 16.0 course credits;
end of junior year - 24.0 course credits, full senior standing;
end of senior year - 32.0 course credits and fulfillment of all other requirements for the degree.

Should a student fail to achieve any of the above, he/she will not be advanced to the next grade level but will, instead, be referred to the Committee on Student Standing and Programs for action regarding the student’s continuing status at the College.

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No Numerical Grade Option (Pass/Fail)

Students who are carrying four full course credits may elect one course credit for which no numerical grade will be recorded on the transcript unless the course is failed. The grade entered on the record for the NNG course will be “P,” if passed, “0.0,” if failed, and “W,” if withdrawn. Students may extend the option to take an NNG grade to any courses in excess of the normal load of four course credits, provided they are not behind schedule in total earned credits at that time. Therefore, those on schedule who choose to carry five credits in a given semester may elect the NNG option for two course credits.

The purpose of NNG is to encourage experimenting when the student fears that, despite conscientious work, the grade may be low. If a student desires to take a course NNG, he or she must inform the registrar in writing, on a form obtainable from the registrar, by the end of the third week of classes for quarter courses and by the end of the sixth week of classes for full-semester courses, of his/her intention to do so. Furthermore, the student’s advisor must sign this form indicating approval. When the instructor of the desired course is the student’s advisor, the approval of the student’s dean may be substituted. Students further have the option to change the NNG designation to a numerical grade upon application to the registrar no later than the end of the first week of classes of the following term. Even if the numerical grade is recorded, the course will still count toward the four NNG course-credit limit allowed of each student during his/her Haverford career. Finally, even if students decide to uncover the NNG after seeing the course grade, the course will not fulfill any degree requirement except cumulative credits.

Certain courses may not be taken NNG. Among these are courses approved to fulfill the freshman writing requirement; courses meeting the social justice requirement; the quantitative requirement; the distribution requirements; and the foreign language requirement.

The instructor is not informed of the student’s election of the NNG option, since that status should in no way affect the student’s responsibility in the course. The student and his/her advisor will receive an official grade report showing the actual numerical grade in the course. At the time of choice of a major in the sophomore year, the major advisor and the student may jointly authorize the changing of the NNG designation to a numerical grade in courses which become part of the student’s major program. Additional limitations upon the NNG option include:

  1. No courses may be taken NNG which fulfill any requirement in a student’s major, minor, or concentration;
  2. During the junior and senior years, courses taken NNG must be outside the division of the student’s major department except that, with the permission of the major advisor, such a course may be taken in the division of the major provided it is not offered to meet major requirements;
  3. All Haverford students are limited to four NNG course credits in their time at the College. Courses in which the instructor decides to use the NNG option for all students are not included in this limit;
  4. All NNG regulations in effect for courses taken at Haverford apply equally to courses taken at Bryn Mawr, Swarthmore, and the University of Pennsylvania;
  5. Haverford students may take one course credit NNG or one course credit CR/NO CR each semester, but not both, unless on schedule in earned credits and enrolled in five course credits. No student may take two courses CR/NO CR in any one semester;
  6. Courses taken on Haverford’s approved international academic program may not be taken NNG.

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Course Changes

Course changes may be made during the first seven class days of any semester. After this period, course changes may be made only with permission of the dean of the College. Drops will continue to be permitted through the end of the first three weeks of classes.

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Repeating Courses

Students may not count among the 32 course credits required for graduation any course that substantially repeats the content of another course already completed, even though the course numbers may suggest an advancing sequence.

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Laboratory/No Laboratory Courses

A laboratory course taken without the laboratory, or a laboratory course taken without the lecture cannot be included among the courses required for graduation or among the courses required outside the major.

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Independent Study Courses

Many departments offer independent study courses to encourage independent work by qualified students. These courses provide opportunities to investigate topics not covered in formal courses, do extensive reading on a subject, do fieldwork, or engage in library research. Students wishing to undertake independent study must secure permission for the project from their advisor and from a faculty member willing to supervise it prior to registering for the course. Members of the faculty are under no obligation to supervise independent study courses. Such courses done without faculty supervision will not be given college credit. Course requirements are determined jointly by the instructor and the student. Written evaluation of the work performed may be submitted to the registrar in place of a numerical grade.

Students may register for only one credit of independent study per term. These courses are normally of half-credit value unless specified for a full credit by the instructor. To undertake more than one credit of such work, students must secure permission, in advance, from the Committee on Student Standing and Programs.

Students may not undertake independent study work in subjects being taught in regular courses. Those wishing to explore more thoroughly a subject covered in an existing course are urged not to undertake an independent study course, but rather to consider the course intensification option described next.

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Course Intensification

The College believes that experience in a wide diversity of courses is an essential part of a Haverford education, but the College also recognizes that students may sometimes profit from the opportunity to work more intensively in a smaller number of subjects. Therefore, with their advisor’s approval and the instructor’s permission, students may register for double credit in one course and, in unusual cases, in more than one course.

In a double-credit course, students undertake an approved program of independent work in conjunction with a regular course and submit a paper or pass an examination based on the independent work. Such work is not suitable in all subjects; the instructor of the course must be the final judge of whether it should be attempted.

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Year-long Courses

Ordinarily, full-year courses must be carried through two semesters for a student to receive any credit. In some cases, a student may receive credit for one semester without taking the other, but only with the permission of the chairperson of the department concerned. Departmental permission must be in writing on a form obtained from the registrar. In no case, though, may a student receive credit for the first semester of an introductory modern foreign language course without satisfactorily completing the second semester.

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Continuing in a Failed Course

If a student in a year-long course fails the first semester but is allowed by the instructor to continue, he or she may receive credit for the first semester if the second semester grade is 2.0 or higher. In such cases, the first semester grade will not be changed and the course instructor must state in writing to the registrar at the beginning of the second semester that this arrangement applies.

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Auditing a Course

Students who wish to audit a course should obtain permission from the instructor. There are no special charges for auditing and such courses are not listed on the student’s transcript.

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Course Limits at Cooperating Institutions

Students may enroll in courses at Bryn Mawr College, Swarthmore College, and the University of Pennsylvania. At Penn, however, Haverford students are limited to two course credits per semester. Students should note that courses at Penn will be approved by the student’s advisor and the registrar only on a space available basis, and only for courses not offered on a regular basis at either Haverford or Bryn Mawr. Scheduling conflicts are not considered adequate reasons for seeking admission to courses at the University of Pennsylvania.

A senior electing to take a year-long or a second-semester course at either Swarthmore, Penn or, with permission, at any other college or university, is responsible for verifying before the class begins that the instructor will submit a final course grade to the Haverford registrar by 5:00 p.m. on the day that senior grades are due, as indicated in the academic calendar. If the final grade is not submitted by that date and the course is required for graduation, the senior should not expect to graduate until the following May.

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Continuing Students

Students who intend to continue at Haverford College must complete registration during the time designated in both the academic calendar and the instructions for registration, as published in the annual course guide. If students do not register on time and do not receive permission from their deans to delay registration, it will be assumed that they are not returning to Haverford. In such cases, their enrollment, financial aid, and housing, if any, will be considered available for assignment to others. Additionally, there is a late registration fee of $40.00 for each approved registration that is filed after the appropriate deadline, and a late verification fee of $25.00 for late course confirmation. These fees apply to all students registering in Haverford courses, regardless of their home institution.

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The following numerical grades are awarded at Haverford College:

  • 4.0 (highest grade); 3.7; 3.3; 3.0; 2.7; 2.3; 2.0; 1.7; 1.3; 1.0; 0.0 (failing grade). Equivalent letter grades universally understood:
  • A (highest grade); A- ; B+; B ; B- ; C+; C ; C- ; D+; D; F (failing grade).

In addition to the numerical grades issued at Haverford, the following letter grades may also be used:

  • CIP—Course in Progress - Grade added at the end of second semester;
  • P—Pass in a Haverford NNG (Pass/Fail) course;
  • INC—Approved Incomplete;
  • W—Approved Withdrawal;
  • NGR—No Grade Reported - Grade awarded at end of full-year course;
  • CR—Credit or Pass in a Bryn Mawr or Swarthmore CR/NO CR (Pass/Fail) course;
  • NCR—Fail/No Credit in a Bryn Mawr or Swarthmore CR/NO CR (Pass/Fail) course;
  • WEA—Written Evaluation Attached, explicitly stating pass or failure.

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Grading Regulations

  1. A course may not be counted toward a student’s major requirement if the grade submitted is below 2.0;
  2. A grade of CIP may be submitted at the end of the first semester for senior research courses conducted throughout the year and for certain other courses agreed upon by the instructor and the Dean of the College, and so announced at the beginning of the course;
  3. If a student drops a course or is required by the instructor to drop it after the penalty date (see academic calendar), the grade recorded is 0.0. If, however, a student is permitted to withdraw from a course by the Dean of the College for unusual reasons—normally those beyond the student’s control, such as illness—the grade then recorded is W;
  4. Semester, yearly, and cumulative averages are based upon Haverford, Bryn Mawr, Swarthmore, and the University of Pennsylvania numerical grades only, and only during the academic year (September through May). All other work is regarded as transfer credit, including that taken through Haverford’s approved International Study Abroad programs, Bryn Mawr and the University of Pennsylvania summer sessions, and all credit granted for advanced placement, the International and French Baccalaureates, the German Abitur, the British “A” Levels, the Swiss Maturite, as well as those courses taken at colleges and universities in the United States and abroad. Course credit may be granted for this academic work, with appropriate grades (C or higher for college credit, B or higher for “A” Levels ), and with appropriate scores for all ungraded work, but grades will not appear on the Haverford transcript, nor will the grades or scores earned become a part of any Haverford student’s cumulative grade point average;
  5. The grade of 0.0 (failure) will be given for any course for which no grade is reported on time, or for which an INC is reported without previously-approved supporting documentation duly submitted to the registrar;
  6. When an INC is granted, a final date for completing the course must be specified. Failure to complete the course by the specified date will result in a failing grade (0.0);
  7. Some students who fail a course because they do not complete the work or those who withdraw from a course may still wish to see the work from the course through. In such cases, the student has two options: he/she may pursue the work because it is interesting and not for credit or a grade. Alternatively, the student might approach the same instructor with whom the course was taken and ask if he or she would sponsor and grade the work during the next semester. The record would then show a grade of 0.0 or W for one semester, and a grade reflecting successful completion in the second semester;
  8. In certain senior seminars, a department may choose to give a brief written evaluation of performance instead of a numerical grade. In such cases, the grade recorded will be WEA, and will serve in place of a numerical grade. Where such evaluation is to be used, this fact will be announced to the students at the time of registration. All students in a course must be graded according to the same system;
  9. Requests for Changes in Grades — Students who believe they have sufficient reason to request a grade change must inform the instructor of their request within two weeks of the receipt of grades at the end of each semester. If the instructor believes the grade recorded is too low or too high and the Dean of the College concurs, the grade will be changed;
  10. Disputed Grades — A student who believes that the grade submitted by the instructor in a course is wrong, and who fails to convince the instructor of an error, may appeal the case to the chair of the department concerned. If the chair cannot be persuaded, the next (and final) appeal is to the Provost of the College. Students should consult their deans before entering upon such a course of action. They should recognize, moreover, that Haverford subscribes to the principle of academic freedom for its faculty, in light of which the Provost is ordinarily unable to authorize a change of an instructor’s grade. Thus, the principal value of an appeal to the provost is a possible identification of a pattern of inequities, in which case an investigation into the facts of the matter would be undertaken;
  11. Finally, a student who receives a low grade in an examination, because of special circumstances such as illness, may petition the instructor and the Dean of the College for a special examination. If the request is granted, the grade for the special examination will replace the grade originally received in the mid-year or final examination. In computing the final grade in that course, the new course grade will replace the old one on the student’s transcript, and the semester average will be revised accordingly. To invoke a review under this provision, the student must have notified the instructor immediately after stopping work on the examination, giving details to support the request for a special examination.


All required work in a course is due at the times specified by the instructor, but in no event later than the dates specified in the academic calendar. All written work in courses, except final examinations or papers in lieu of examinations, is due as scheduled by the instructor, but no later than the last day of classes for that semester. Papers in lieu of examinations are due as scheduled by the course instructor, but not later than the last day of the examination period for that semester.

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Extensions and Incompletes

Extensions and incompletes for course work not completed by the last day of the examination period for that semester are granted only in case of illness or when other extenuating circumstances of the most compelling nature are involved. A student who wishes to request an extension or an incomplete should secure the appropriate form from the registrar and, if the instructor approves the request, specify on the form the work to be done and the final due date. The form should then be submitted to the student’s dean for final approval.

To have an extension or an incomplete processed by the registrar, a student must follow the procedures outlined above. Ad hoc arrangements or commitments contrary to the regulations herein described or any arrangements to which the student’s dean has not been a consenting party will not, in all likelihood, be honored. It should be noted, finally, that both procedure and deadlines differ from Haverford’s at Bryn Mawr, Swarthmore, and the University of Pennsylvania. Students are responsible for informing themselves about the rules regarding such matters at these institutions.

Academic Year ’07-’08 Extension/Incomplete, Deadlines

Semester I
Extension work is due on Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2007.
Incomplete work is due on Friday, Jan.11, 2008.

Semester II
Extension work is due on Monday, May 19, 2008.
Incomplete work is due on Friday, Jun. 6, 2008.

The course instructor has jurisdiction over requests for extra time to complete assignments or permission to schedule make-up examinations during the semester. A student who wishes to make such a request should speak directly with the appropriate instructor. No form is required.

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Class Attendance

As a general rule, students are expected to attend classes unless excused. In some courses, class attendance is a requirement for satisfactory completion of the course. Lack of attendance in some cases may be grounds for dropping the student and assigning a failing grade. It is the student’s responsibility to learn from the instructor how class attendance will be regarded in each course.

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Graduation Honors

Final honors at graduation are awarded to students who have undertaken and completed academic work of high quality. Such honors are of two kinds: those awarded by the departments and those awarded by the College.

  1. Departmental Honors
    The exact nature of departmental honors work and the criteria used in judging it are listed in the departmental statements in the catalog. For such honors, the work in the department must be considerably superior to that required for graduation, including a demonstration of the student’s competence, insight, and commitment to the field of interest. Individual departments may award Honors to students whose departmental work has been of high quality, and High Honors to those who have demonstrated both high quality and originality, indicating an unusual degree of competence.
  2. College Honors

    The Committee on College Honors and Fellowships will consider all students whose overall performance is exceptionally high for the following college honors awarded at Haverford College: magna cum laude or summa cum laude. In addition, the committee will consider students nominated by members of the faculty.

    Whereas distinguished performance in the major is the criterion for departmental honors, the award of college honors recognizes students whose work has been outstanding overall. Special attention is given to study that goes beyond the requirements of the major. Such study can be interdivisional, as evidenced by superior work outside one’s major division; interdisciplinary, as evidenced by superior work in more than one department of a single division; by superior work in several converging domains of knowledge represented by an area of concentration or the equivalent; or, by other evidence of superior work beyond the requirements of the major and the College.

    Both magna cum laude and summa cum laude are awarded by the faculty on recommendation of the Committee on College Honors and Fellowships. Summa cum laude is awarded rarely, to students of exceptional merit.

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Residency and Other Requirements for the Degree

Students, other than transfer students, may arrange for reduced programs of six or seven semesters by taking advantage of several options:

1. They may take five course credits per semester instead of the normal load of four;

2. They may use up to four course credits earned in combination of approved pre-Haverford study, including approved summer study at other institutions while a student at Haverford; or

3. They may study at another American college or university or at a Haverford-approved program abroad for a semester or a year.

It is important to note that any combination of options will need to provide for a minimum of six semesters in residence at Haverford College and at least 24 Haverford course credits. Such Haverford course credits may be taken at Haverford or any of the three cooperating institutions—Bryn Mawr, Swarthmore, or the University of Pennsylvania—to be counted as credits while in residence at Haverford. Students, however, must realize that no student may graduate from Haverford College without having taken a minimum of eight course credits at Haverford College on the Haverford campus. In cases of transfer students, decisions about residence and credit requirements are made by the deans, but transfer students must complete a minimum of 16 Haverford course credits and four semesters in residence to be considered for a degree at the College.

Note that the seven-semester option allows the possibility of studying abroad for one semester, while the six-semester option does not.

See also the Academic Flexibility Program.

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Monitoring Academic Performance

The Committee on Student Standing and Programs (CSSP), a standing committee of the faculty, is composed of three faculty members (one from each of the three divisions of the College) appointed by Academic Council, three students (one of whom must be a sophomore) appointed by Students’ Council, the director of multicultural affairs, and one of the deans. The committee is charged with reviewing students’ academic performance in consultation with their deans and, if necessary, with members of the athletic department, the admissions office, and (to the extent consistent with confidentiality) the counseling staff.

CSSP relies on the faculty to convey notes of concern to the deans of those students in their courses who are experiencing academic difficulty. The committee reviews these faculty reports at the middle of each semester and sends letters to some students apprising them of its concerns, urging them to consult with their advisors, counselors, deans, and instructors, and recommending, where appropriate, that they make use of the College’s peer tutoring system and other academic help resources. CSSP will also apprise such students of the consequences of failure and may put them on one of several levels of “academic warning” that requires them to maintain regular contact with their deans and places their academic performance under close supervision for at least a semester.

In dealing with academic deficiencies, the committee has broad authority to set requirements for a student’s continued enrollment or to require him/her to take a College Leave for a minimum of one year; such decisions are typically made at the end of each semester. Students are accountable to themselves and to the College (as embodied in the committee) for the use to which they put both their talents and the resources of the College. Each case that comes before the committee is treated individually within the context of College policy, and from this perspective, accountability means that some students who perform poorly but manage to pass their courses may still be placed on College Leave and ones who are failing may, on occasion, be permitted to continue. However, although it may permit students who fail some of their courses to continue at the College, the committee must first be convinced that there is a high probability that such students will do work that is at least consistently adequate in the immediate future.

Second-semester seniors should note that simply meeting the College requirements and accumulating 32 credits is not necessarily sufficient to ensure graduation. For example, the committee (which reviews all senior academic records before the faculty votes on granting degrees each spring) may decide that a student who has failed two out of the four courses in which he/she was enrolled in the eighth semester may not be permitted to graduate even though he/she has the 32 credits required for graduation. Similarly, seniors who fail courses in their major may be judged to have failed to meet the academic standards of the College and may not be permitted to graduate even if they have successfully completed the required number of courses and satisfied all distributional requirements.

When CSSP is considering the possibility of placing a student on College Leave, it will postpone making its final decision until it has held a second meeting, known as a “drop hearing.” The student will be invited to appear before the committee at the drop hearing and will be permitted to attend the hearing in the company of an academic advisor or other faculty member who knows him/her well. If the student does not appear, the committee will make a decision in the student’s absence and will inform him/her of its decision in writing.

Students placed on College Leave may appeal CSSP’s decision to the President of the College on procedural grounds only. Appeals must be in writing, must state the grounds for the appeal, and must be received by the president within seven days of receipt of the committee’s letter.

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Areas of Concentration

An area of concentration must be elected the same time a student declares a major: that is, during the fourth semester of attendance. As with the major, earlier elections are not permitted.

Areas of concentration exist at Haverford in order to afford students a formal opportunity to pursue an area of study distinct from, but relevant to, their choice of major. Students who undertake such study select their concentration courses from among the existing courses offered by the departments, including the department of general programs.

To fulfill an area of concentration, a student must normally complete six course credits selected with the aid of an informal faculty committee for that concentration, drawn from at least two departments of the College. Of the six course credits, no fewer than two and no more than three of them will also form part of the student’s major. In this respect, concentrations differ from the traditional minor, which is conducted entirely within one single department other than the student’s major department, and which may be wholly unrelated to that department.

Haverford College currently offers the following areas of concentration:

African and Africana studies, Biochemistry and Biophysics, Computer Science, Education and Educational studies, Gender and Sexuality studies, Latin American and Iberian studies, mathematical economics, Neural and Behavioral sciences, and Peace and Conflict studies. These are described in the catalog under Courses of Instruction with other curricular offerings. Concentrations in creative writing and environmental studies are available at Bryn Mawr College.

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