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Haverford College
Haverford College Course Catalog

Course Catalog: Academic Regulations

First-Year ProgramCourse Load and CreditNo Numerical Grade Option (Pass/Fail)Independent Study CoursesAcademic Regulations Guidebook PDF

First-Year Program

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.

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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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.

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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.

For more information on Academic Regulations, please see the Academic Regulations Guidebook. PDF

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