2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog 
    Jul 19, 2024  
2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Policies, Procedures & Regulations



Student Responsibilities

You are attending Northern Vermont University with the expectation of receiving a high-quality education. We intend to make sure that you do, by providing an atmosphere ideal for nurturing growth and learning. In turn, we have expectations concerning your attitude and actions.

What follows are edited and summarized versions of existing Northern Vermont University academic rules, regulations, and policies.

Academic Advisors

When you are admitted to the University, you will be assigned an academic advisor in the area of your expressed academic interests and career objectives. You can see your advisor on regular class days each semester during his or her scheduled office hours or by appointment. Advisors should serve as your first resource for discussion of academic problems and questions on academic policies. Students may change advisors at any time by submitting a Change of Advisor Form to the Advising & Registration Center on the Johnson campus or the Student Services Office on the Lyndon campus.

The mission of NVU’s academic advising program is to assist students in the identification of academic and life goals and the development of a meaningful educational plan to achieve those goals. Through active engagement in a collaborative process, students are encouraged to become self-directed and responsible life-long learners and decision makers.


  • Clarify academic and life goals;
  • Develop meaningful educational plans;
  • Select appropriate courses and other educational experiences;
  • Interpret and keep track of the fulfillment of institutional requirements;
  • Increase student awareness of co-curricular educational resources;
  • Enhance decision-making skills, self-direction, self-advocacy, and self-responsibility;
  • Inculcate the habit of life-long learning;
  • Promote engagement in the educational community.

Course Substitution Options

Course substitutions and waiver requests may be reviewed on a case by case basis. Appeals for courses to be accepted towards the General Education Core Curriculum are reviewed by the General Education chairperson(s). Appeals for courses to be accepted toward a major requirement are reviewed by the chairperson of the department offering the major. Appeals for courses to be accepted toward overall degree requirements are reviewed by the Academic Standards Committee(s).

Course challenges - Some departments may offer students the ability to demonstrate possession of knowledge that would allow the award of credit. Additionally, the Vermont State College’s Office of Prior Learning Assessment, currently housed at Community College of Vermont, administers course challenge exams for CCV courses and are accepted at all Vermont State Colleges. VSC Policy 110 provides guidelines for course challenge opportunities within the Vermont State Colleges.  Maximum credits allowed to count toward an NVU degree through course challenge are 12.

Assessment of prior learning - Employment experience, volunteer work, vocational or professional training-  can provide a substantial body of knowledge that may complement or substitute for formal college study. In cooperation with the Office of Prior Learning Assessment of the Vermont State Colleges, NVU awards credit for demonstrated competency from prior learning and life experience. Students enroll at the Community College of Vermont for a portfolio course where they demonstrate previous learning acquired on the job, in the military, through volunteering, or self-study. The maximum credit awarded will depend on the portfolio course selected, and the individual student.

Credit Definition

The University adheres to the widely-accepted definition of a credit hour consistent with the Carnegie unit. A single credit hour over a 15-week semester is a minimum of three hours of work per week: one hour in class and two hours outside of class. Laboratory courses meet for a minimum of two hours per week. An equivalent amount of work is expected for accelerated courses or those taught in other term durations or delivery modes.

Course Offerings

NVU’s catalog of course offerings over the current academic year appears in this publication. While the University will attempt to follow this planned schedule, changes in curriculum or in course enrollments may necessitate adjustments. While you and your advisor should use the catalog for planning, NVU is not responsible for any changes in your plans that might be caused by necessary alterations in this tentative schedule of planned course section offerings.

The final version of the University’s course section bulletin for each semester is the official announcement of course section offerings for that semester. The University reserves the right to make changes regarding the announced instructors for course sections or to cancel course sections for lack of sufficient enrollment.

Internships and Cooperative Education

While there is great value in your classroom experience, one of the best ways to learn is to combine your classroom education with practical work experience under the guidance of your professors. NVU’s internship and cooperative education programs provides this important experience.

Students hold internships in diverse settings including social service agencies, local newspapers, ski areas, and radio and television stations. In all internships and co-ops, students are introduced to opportunities, duties and responsibilities in their desired career areas. In many cases, students are paid by the employer for the work experience.

All students with sophomore standing, a 2.0 grade-point average, and at least one semester at Northern Vermont University are eligible to participate in the program through departments sponsoring internships and cooperative education placements. Some departments have additional requirements (such as completion of specialized courses or the General Education Core Curriculum). Educational goals and appropriate assignments for each course are developed by the supervising faculty member in consultation with the student. Internships and cooperative education courses are measured in credit hours.

A minimum of 45 hours of approved work experience, plus documentation and evaluation of learning by the student, are required for each credit hour granted for an internship and cooperative education experience. Internships, as approved by sponsoring departments and Career Services, may be taken as P/NP or for a letter grade. See the Career Services Office on the Lyndon campus and the Career and Internship Center on the Johnson campus for complete regulations.

Veterans’ Benefits for Co-Op Courses

In compliance with the requirements of VA Regulation 14265, eligible co-op courses that are accepted by the Vermont State Approval Agency and certified by NVU as “in-residence” course work must be directly supervised by the university, be required for graduation, include regularly scheduled class attendance of at least 50 minutes per week to provide for interaction between instructor and student, consist of a planned program of activities controlled by the school and not by the official of the job establishment, and include a schedule of time required for the training that demonstrates that the student shall spend at least as much time in preparation and training as is normally required for other resident courses.

Because the Cooperative Education contract must be submitted to the State Approval Agency, there may be some delay in receipt of the first VA benefit check for the semester. Cooperative Education courses not meeting the requirements of VA Regulation 14265 shall be certified as “independent study” and as such are not treated by the VA as full-time attendance unless combined with more than halftime in-residence course work.

Independent Study

Sometimes students discover a need to cover special topics or projects which are not available in the current schedule. An Independent Study course creates a special curriculum in which a student and a faculty member may explore these areas. Independent Studies are academic and research-based in nature. Each student pursuing an Independent Study works under the direct and regular supervision of a faculty member. The goals, objectives, and performance measures are defined in a formal contract between the faculty supervisor and the student, and approved by the sponsoring department and the Provost or his/her designee. For all students, a maximum of 21 credits of independent study can be taken during pursuit of a bachelor’s degree. Students receiving Veteran’s educational benefits must comply with specific VA regulations with regard to independent studies. Independent study contracts are available in the Advising & Registration Center on the Johnson campus and in the Student Services Office on the Lyndon campus.

Attendance in Courses

At Northern Vermont University, we believe that sound scholarship includes attendance in all class meetings. When the instructor has not announced an attendance policy, a student who misses more than twice the number of class meetings per week in any on-campus or hybrid course may be dismissed from that course with a failing grade.

Students who register for a course prior to the first week of the semester or during the first day of the semester are expected to attend at least one of the first two class sessions. The instructor may fill absent places with students wishing to enter the section and refuse entry to absent students when they appear (in this case, it is the responsibility of the registered student to drop that section from their class schedule).

Individual instructors may establish their own attendance policies in online courses. In accordance with 34 CFR 668.22 Return of Treatment of Title IV Funds, attendance is mandatory in the first week for every NVU Online course, and failure to participate in an “academically-related activity” may result in a student being dropped from the course.

Academic Honesty

Academic dishonesty is a serious offense against the university and its entire community of learners. Academic dishonesty includes any act that is intended to deceive, cheat, or defraud so as to enhance or promote one’s own or another’s academic standing, or to diminish another’s academic standing. Academic dishonesty also includes plagiarism.

An instructor suspecting a student of academic dishonesty shall inform the student of the charge and its basis in fact, and give the student an opportunity to respond. Should the instructor subsequently determine that the student has committed an act of academic dishonesty, s/he may impose sanctions for the offense to include failure of the assignment, failure in the course, and dismissal from the course. The instructor will notify the student in writing of his/her decision, as well as the sanction associated with the offense, and submit a copy of that letter to the Office of Academic Affairs. Other possible judicial sanctions may be imposed by the Provost, or his/her designee, the Dean of Students, or the Academic Status Committee following appropriate notice from the faculty member. Students may appeal the action of an instructor under the general procedure for “Academic Appeals,” which is included near the end of this section.

Basic Skills Competencies

Recognizing that basic writing and mathematics skills are essential to successful completion of college-level work, and in accordance with the Vermont State College System’s Basic Academic Skills Policy, Northern Vermont University assesses the skill level of all new students in these two areas. On the basis of this assessment, students who do not possess college-level skills in either or both of these areas are directed into courses designed to address their skill deficiencies. These courses should be taken during the student’s first year. 

Students with disabilities are invited to work with the Academic Support staff for assistance in fulfilling this requirement. Accommodations are available for students with qualifying disabilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and appropriate sections of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Academic Standing and Grading

Good Academic Standing

NVU complies with VSC Policy 111, which defines good academic standing within the Vermont State College System. A student who has 30 or more earned or GPA credits, whichever is higher, and whose cumulative grade point average is 2.00 or above (1.75 for students with fewer than 30 earned or GPA credits, whichever is higher) is considered to be in good academic standing. The cumulative and semester averages are calculated by including only the graded credits (A, B, C, D, F) earned during the current and past semesters. These averages do not include courses bearing other grade designators (e.g. grades of Incomplete).

Incomplete Grades in Relation to GPA/Good Standing

Calculation of a semester or cumulative grade point average does not include any Incomplete grade that a student has earned during the semester. Students who receive an Incomplete grade in one or more courses during a semester are held academically liable for the completion of the course. Students who have an Incomplete grade for a semester at the time final grades are recorded will not be eligible for the Dean’s or President’s Lists.

Academic Probation

Academic probation serves as an official warning from the university that a student’s performance has been substandard. A student whose cumulative GPA falls below good standing (see above) shall be placed on academic probation. Students remain on academic probation until they raise their cumulative grade point average to good standing or until they fall below the dismissal standard (see “Academic Dismissal.”) Students on academic probation may be required to work with an advsior to create a plan for academic success. When a student voluntarily withdraws from the university while on probation or is academically dismissed and later readmitted, s/he will return on probation.

Academic Dismissal

Students will be academically dismissed under the following conditions:

  • Any new, first-year student with no previously earned credits who fails to achieve a grade point average of at least 0.70 in the first semester will be academically dismissed.
  • Students on academic probation will be academically dismissed if they fail to achieve a semester grade point average of 2.00 having 30 or more earned or GPA credits, whichever is higher (1.75 having fewer than 30 earned or GPA credits, whichever is higher), during the semester on probation. Students are dismissed for one semester, and are welcome to reapply through Admissions after that semester.


Northern Vermont University recognizes the necessary right of instructors to assign grades to student academic performance. Grades given under an instructor’s informed judgment and without prejudice are an essential part of the exercise of academic freedom. Students who believe that a grade was assigned with undue treatment or procedural error should consult the “Academic Appeals” section.

With the exception of Incompletes, most changes of grade, including those requested by the instructor, must be approved by the Academic Status Committee.

Semester and Cumulative Grade-Point Averages

Quality points earned in each course are calculated by multiplying the number of quality points for each letter-grade by the number of credits in the course. Thus, a three-credit course graded “A” will yield 12 quality points, and a five-credit course graded “B” yields 15 quality points.

The semester grade-point average is calculated by dividing the total letter-graded credit hours attempted during the semester into the total quality points earned during the semester. The cumulative grade-point average is calculated by dividing the total letter-graded credit hours attempted into the total quality points earned.

The following letter grades are used at Northern Vermont University and employed to calculate the semester and cumulative grade-point averages:

Grade Explanation Grade Points
A+ High Competence 4.00
A High Competence 4.00
A- High Competence 3.70
B+ Good Competence 3.30
B Good Competence 3.00
B- Good Competence 2.70
C+ Moderate Competence 2.30
C Moderate Competence 2.00
C- Moderate Competence 1.70
D+ Minimum Acceptable Competence 1.30
D Minimum Acceptable Competence 1.00
D- Minimum Acceptable Competence 0.70
F Failing 0.00
I Incomplete  
P Pass  
NP No Pass  
NG No Grade (yet submitted)  
TR Transfer Credit  
CR Credit Granted (non-course work)  
W Withdrawn  
AU Audit  

Pass/No Pass Option

Students may enroll in a course on a P/NP basis if the course is identified in the Class Bulletin or Course Description as being offered on a P/NP basis.

Credit is received for P grades, but the grades do not affect the student’s grade point average. Failing work is recorded as NP (No Pass). NP grades do not earn credit nor does the grade affect the student’s grade point average.

Courses taken as P/NP may not be used to fulfill NVU General Education Core Curriculum requirements.

Internships, as approved by sponsoring departments and Career Services, may be taken as P/NP or for a letter-grade.


The grade of Incomplete (I) may be given to work of satisfactory quality when the amount of required work has not been completed because of illness or other reasons beyond the control of the student. A grade of I is not to be used instead of the grade of F in situations involving a student’s lack of ability or negligence. Grades of I will automatically revert to an F if a final grade, or alternate default grade, is not submitted to the Registrar’s Office prior to the Incomplete deadline submitted by the instructor. In general, grades of Incomplete are to be completed by the end of the seventh week of the semester immediately following the semester in which the Incomplete grade was given. Courses carried through with an I into the following semester do not count toward the student’s credit load for tuition billing purposes or for additional credit toward graduation in the second semester. If a grade change is received after the start of the next term, academic standing may be adjusted only if it improves standing (not to include being named to Dean’s or President’s List). Students who receive an Incomplete grade in one or more courses during a semester are held academically liable for the completion of the course.

Not Graded Work

The grade of NG may be given for a course when an instructor has not yet assigned grades for the course. This may happen when a course is still in progress at the semester deadline for grade submission. Course work carried into a second semester with a grade of NG does not count toward a student’s credit load for tuition billing purposes or for additional credit toward graduation in the second semester.

Credit Granted (CR) for Non-Course Work

Students who are granted credit on the basis of CLEP examinations, military credit, lifetime experience portfolios, AP courses or other similar circumstances (as determined by Northern Vermont University) will receive a CR in the grade field. CR distinguishes the credit from TR, which is used for credits that are transferred in from another college or university.

Auditing a Course

No credit or grades are assigned for auditing courses. For additional information, refer to the section on auditing courses.

Non-Use of Grades and Credits/Academic Forgiveness

Students may petition to the Academic Status Committee to have selected courses removed from calculation in their cumulative grade point averages. In general, there are three scenarios by which a student may appeal:

  1. A student who has not attended for two years, and who after returning for one term in Good Academic Standing, may petition to have selected grades below a C from a previous semester ameliorated.
  2. A student who has been continuously enrolled, but who changes his/her academic program, may petition to have selected courses that were required in the former program but are not required in the new program ameliorated. 
  3. A student wishes to request amelioration for any course eliminated from the curriculum by the Faculty Assembly or that has not been taught for five years, because the student had no opportunity to repeat the course to improve his/her GPA. 

Grade amelioration is noted on the permanent NVU transcript, and the course or grade being removed from GPA calculation will remain. Grade history will be removed from cumulative totals only, and grades cannot be ameliorated if they have already been included in calculations for awarding a degree.

Grade amelioration is permitted only once in a student’s Vermont State College academic career.

Class Standing/Membership

Students are classified for academic class standing/membership and administrative purposes on the basis of semester credits earned according to the following schedule:

Number of Credits Earned Academic Class
90 or more


Catalog Year and Degree Requirements

Catalog Year

Students must meet graduation and degree requirements - including satisfactory completion of appropriate graduation standards - as published in a single catalog that is in effect during or after the semester of their first enrollment, and published not more than seven years prior to the award of the degree (that is, the current academic year plus the previous six academic years). If a student takes longer than seven years to complete a degree, or is readmitted under a new catalog year and wishes to continue working under a prior catalog year, a written appeal may be made to the Registrar’s Office (current teach-out plans and course offerings will be considered when granting an appeal). Students must declare programs and catalog year prior to applying for graduation.

Catalogs, until surpassed by the next edition, have an effective date of the first day of the fall semester of the year in which they are published. A student who began study in a degree program while the program was then available, and who completes requirements within the specified time limits, may be awarded a degree from their own catalog year even if the program is not listed in the most current catalog.

Application for Award of Degree

The responsibility of your education ultimately rests in your own hands. Likewise, the timely completion of the paperwork and processes associated with the award of your degree is your responsibility. Failure to take the required steps for review and application for degree may delay your graduation even if all other graduation requirements have been completed. The Registrar and designated staff review the academic records of students who have applied to graduate. Students are encouraged to work closely with their advisors to ensure that they register for and complete all required coursework and other requirements for degree completion.

Only students who are currently matriculated may graduate. Students absent from the college and not on a Leave of Absence who are seeking to complete a degree with NVU courses must apply for readmission.

It is highly recommended that candidates submit a graduation application through Self Service prior to registering for their last semester of enrollment and review their Progress in Self Service with their advisors every semester prior to registration.

The final deadline for applying to graduate is:

  • For December graduates - at the end of the preceding spring pre-registration period for fall classes (this is normally in April).
  • For May and August graduates - at the end of the preceding fall pre-registration period for spring classes (this is normally in November).

Applications for graduation are made for a specific degree or degrees with specific major(s), minor(s) and/or concentrations in a specific catalog year. The degree audit is based upon that application only, and any changes to the declared degree program(s) may result in a delayed graduation date.

Minimum Acceptable Grades and Cumulative Grade Point Averages

The minimum acceptable grade is a C- or P for the granting of transfer credit. The minimum acceptable grade, in courses taken within the Vermont State College System, is a D- or P with the following exceptions:

  • Some programs, including those leading to licensure, may require a higher minimum passing grade. Please consult with your academic advisor for individual program requirements.
  • Some programs may require a higher minimum passing grade for a prerequisite on selected courses.

A minimum acceptable cumulative grade point average of 2.00 is required in the sets of courses submitted to fulfill the General Education Core Curriculum, and in all undergraduate majors, certificates, Associate’s Degrees, and Bachelor’s Degrees.

Residency Requirement and Matriculation

A matriculated student is one who has been formally accepted by the university as being registered in a degree program. All matriculated students have a minimum number of credit hours that must be taken at the university. For a bachelor’s degree 30 credits, including substantial advanced work in the major or concentration must be taken at NVU. For associate’s degree, at least 15 credits must be taken at Northern Vermont University.

Conferring of Degrees

Degrees are conferred in a Commencement ceremony which takes places at the end of the spring semester. Diplomas are dated August, December, or May for students completing studies in summer, fall, or spring semesters respectively. Students will receive their diplomas in the mail after completion of all degree requirements is verified by the Registrar’s Office.

Participation in Graduation Ceremonies

Undergraduate students who meet the following requirements may participate in the graduation ceremony:

  • Matriculated students who have successfully completed all graduation requirements, and
  • Matriculated students who have successfully completed all graduation procedures, including the Academic Status Committee review of all paperwork if applicable, by the appropriate deadline.

Students who do not meet the above requirements may walk in the graduation ceremony under certain conditions:

  • Students needing six (6) credits or fewer, or
  • Students who are within one course of successfully completing all graduation requirements.

Students with more than six (6) credits or more than one course needed may petition the Provost (or designee) for permission to participate in the graduation ceremony. Petitions must be accompanied by an academic plan (approved by the student’s academic advisor) to complete the remaining credits.

Transcript of Academic Work

VSC Policy 111 outlines the policies governing academic records, including students’ academic transcripts. Since 2002, all credits taken within the Vermont State College System are considered institutional credit and show on all VSC transcripts. The VSCS institutions use school-specific transcript grouping to account for credits earned at their institutions prior to 2002, as well as school-specific transfer credit evaluation.

As of July 1, 2018, Johnson State College and Lyndon State College unified to become Northern Vermont University. The university houses the transcripts of Johnson State College and Lyndon State College, in addition to Northern Vermont University transcripts. Students who were previously enrolled at JSC or LSC and continued on to NVU had their pre-2002 credits and transfer credits associated with their most recent JSC or LSC academic program brought forward to the NVU transcript.

Northern Vermont University uses Parchment as our trusted agent for processing transcript requests as well as delivering official academic transcripts electronically.  This is a “green initiative” that provides the fastest delivery time and enables tracking of delivery and receipt.  For more information, see northernvermont.edu. Transcripts for students with past-due bills or other obligations to any of the Vermont State Colleges will not be released until all bills are paid. Students requesting a transcript toward the end of any semester should indicate whether they want the transcript sent immediately or whether it should be held until final grades are recorded.

Release of Records and Information

Northern Vermont University complies with VSC Policy 312, which defines students’ rights and responsibilities, and the definition of Education Records under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974. The NVU official academic records includes, but is not limited to, the basis of admission to the university, previous higher education and courses transferred, academic work pursued at NVU, and information pertinent to academic standing, such as notices of probation or dismissal, Dean’s/President’s List honors, and waivers or other documents affecting progress toward a degree. No information concerning non-academic discipline appears in the academic record. Students have the right to inspect their academic records and challenge any information that they believe to be inaccurate or misleading.

In accordance with FERPA, NVU will not release personally identifiable records of a student to any individual, agency, or organization without the student’s prior written consent, except as provided by the law. NVU may maintain student “directory information”, which is information that would not generally be considered harmful to the student or an invasion of privacy, if disclosed. VSC Policy 312 contains a full description of items considered “directory information” at the Vermont State Colleges. Unless the student notifies the institution that no information should be released, directory information may be made available at the discretion of university officials.

Transfer Credit

Transferring Credits from Other Colleges & Universities:

Official transcripts are required for NVU to evaluate credits earned elsewhere for possible transfer. NVU complies with VSC Policy 108 which outlines the requirements for acceptance of transfer credit within the Vermont State Colleges. NVU will accept credit from other colleges and universities under the following conditions:

  • Credit from regionally accredited institutions will be accepted if grades are C- or better.
    • In a sequence of inter-related courses, if the first course is passed with a grade below C- but the second grade is C- or higher, both courses will be accepted.
    • Credits applied to a previously earned degree will be accepted as transfer credit.
  • While credits may be accepted toward overall credit requirements, the extent to which transfer credits fulfill specific major or program requirements will depend on the courses taken and their applicability to NVU’s requirements.
  • Students will be considered to have fulfilled the entire General Education Core Curriculum (GECC) at Northern Vermont University if they transfer from another accredited institution with an Associate Degree (A.A. or A.S.).

Courses may be transferred in to a program at NVU in one or more of these ways:

  • As a course equal to a course at NVU (e.g., Introduction to Psychology = Introduction to Psychology). The standard for a true course-to-course “equate” is high, as the course being transferred in must meet the same requirements as the course at NVU. In some cases, a course accepted for transfer credit may count toward a general-education requirement but not be specific enough, or delve deeply enough into the subject matter, to count as a course or prerequisite required for a certain major.
  • As a general-education requirement equivalent (not necessarily a course-to-course equivalent)
  • As a major requirement equivalent or substitution (not necessarily a course-to-course equivalent)
  • As an elective credit counting toward total credits needed for graduation.

Registration in Course Sections

Students pursuing a bachelor’s or associate’s degree from NVU must be formally accepted through the Admissions Office before they may be registered for courses.

Continuing undergraduates are expected to register for their courses in November for the following spring semester and in April for the following summer and fall semesters. Students are notified of exact dates and instructions via email one to two weeks prior to the registration period.

NVU Online students receive registration materials well before the start of each semester, and confer with their advisors, who must approve course selections and who can register the students for classes. When registering for courses at institutions outside of the Vermont State Colleges, NVU Online students submit a tuition transfer form available from the NVU Online Office. Class attendance does not in itself signify registration. Students must properly register for each of their courses in order to receive academic credit for work completed.

All students must meet state immunization requirements and must be cleared by Student Administrative Services (see Tuition and Fees section for details) in order to register for classes.

Course Add/Drop/Withdrawal

Students approved for online registration may add and drop courses through Self Service.

For full-semester courses, students may add courses through the first week of the semester without instructor permission. After the add period, students may only add a course after obtaining the instructor’s permission. Students who drop a full-semester course within the first two weeks of the course will have the course removed from their record. This may result in an adjustment to the student’s bill and financial aid.

After the 2-week drop period, and through the 60% point of the semester (usually the 9th week in a 15-week semester), a dropped course is listed with a grade of “W” on the official transcript (a.k.a. course withdrawal). A “W” grade will not impact a student’s grade point average. In most cases, dropped courses with a “W” grade do not affect a student’s bill or financial aid award but may affect other eligibility such as VA benefits, athletic participation, and student visa status.

If a student drops all enrolled courses for a term, the student will be considered as having fully withdrawn from the university (see Leave of Absence & Withdrawing).

After the 60% point, the student may not drop the class and receives the grade earned at the end of the semester.

Students unable to meet registration adjustment deadlines due to extenuating circumstances may appeal for late add/drop adjustments to the Academic Status Committee. 

Courses that do not meet for the standard term duration follow a formula-based add/drop calculation. Course duration is the number of calendar days between the start and end date of the section.

  • Add: 6% of course duration
  • Drop: 60% of course duration. A grade of W (a.k.a. course withdrawal) is assigned after 13% of the course duration.

Student Course Load

A typical, full-time course load is 15 to 16 credit hours per semester. Full-time undergraduate students must carry at least 12 credit hours. To carry more than 18 credit hours, a student must obtain written approval from the advisor and the Associate Academic Dean, and should have a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.00. 

Auditing Course Sections

Students may audit a course section with the approval of the Registrar and the course instructor. No grade or credit is conferred. After the deadline for adding a course, no change will be made either to allow credit for a course audited, or to change a regular course to the status of an audited course. For financial implications of auditing a course, please see the section on Tuition and Fees.

Repeating Courses

Students may repeat, once, any course* that they have previously taken to attempt to earn a higher grade. When a course has been repeated within the Vermont State College System (VSCS), the initial grade remains on the transcript but is taken out of the student’s cumulative GPA. The most recent grade will be the only one computed in the student’s cumulative average. Credit in the course may be earned only once. If the credit value of the course has changed, the repeated course is worth the new credit value. A student must contact the Registrar’s Office to repeat a course more than one time.

When repeating a course at another institution outside of the VSCS, the initial grade remains on the transcript and is still counted in the student’s cumulative GPA. The grade from the repeated course being transferred to NVU will show as transfer credit and may fulfill degree requirements but will not be counted in the student’s cumulative VSCS GPA.

Students may request to use the Pass/No Pass option when registering for a repeat course, except for courses in their major or minor, or in the NVU General Education Core Curriculum. Grades of P/NP will have no impact on the student’s GPA. 

*Some courses as indicated in the Course Descriptions  section of the catalog may be taken multiple times for credit.

VSCS Cross Enrollment

The Vermont State Colleges System Consortium agreement enables students in degree or certificate programs at one VSCS institution to enroll in courses at another VSCS institution. The agreement outlines the impact on registration, billing, financial aid procedures as well as academic policy considerations. Students wishing to stay in their current degree program and enroll exclusively at another VSCS institution must complete a VSCS Non-Home School Enrollment form. Students may enroll exclusively at another VSCS institution for a maximum of two semesters while maintaining an active program at their home school.

Taking Courses as a Non-Degree Student

Non-degree students are students who wish to take one or more undergraduate course(s) at NVU for credit but who are not formally admitted as matriculated (degree-seeking) students. To be eligible to enroll in courses as a non-degree student, students must have a high school diploma or a GED, unless they have been approved to take courses through one of NVU’s Dual Enrollment or Early College programs. Students who wish to enroll as a non-degree student should request registration information from the Registrar’s Office. Non-degree students may enroll in all courses listed in the catalog, if space is available. In most cases, non-degree students are ineligible for state, federal or college-sponsored financial aid; however, they may be eligible for the VSAC non-degree grant. (Graduate courses are generally available only to students who have completed a 4-year degree.)

Leave of Absence and Withdrawal

Withdrawing from the College

A student voluntarily exiting from the university must do so formally by completing a Student Withdrawal Notification & Leave of Absence Form.

Students withdrawing prior to or during the first week of a semester will be dropped from all courses, and granted a full refund of tuition and fees.

The transcripts of students withdrawing from the university after the first week of a semester and prior to the 60% point in the semesters (week 9 for a 15-week term) will show W grades for all courses in that semester. The transcripts of students exiting the university after 60% point in the semester will show earned grades of A-F submitted by their instructors at the end of the semester.

Students who withdraw from the university and who are not eligible for a Leave of Absence (see below) may reapply by making formal application with the Admissions Office.

For refunds on room, meal plan and tuition charges, see the Tuition and Fees section in this catalog.

Leave of Absence

Students who have earned academic credit at NVU, and are in good academic standing (minimum 2.00 GPA if 30 or more earned credits; minimum 1.75 GPA if fewer than 30 earned credits), may take a leave of absence from the university for up to three consecutive semesters (including summer).

Students who have not enrolled for four consecutive semesters at the university are considered inactive and must reapply for admission prior to re-enrollment. Inactive students who subsequently return to the university may be subject to the applicable catalog degree requirements of the semester of their re-enrollment.

Students who do not have any earned NVU credits, or whose cumulative GPA is not in good standing, are not eligible for a leave of absence and must reapply to the university when they would like to resume their studies.


Graduating with Distinction

Effective with the graduating class of Spring 2006, of the total credits required for graduation, at least 30 graded credits for a two-year degree and 60 graded credits for a four-year degree must be earned within the Vermont State College System (VSCS) by the end of the previous fall semester. (Credits earned before 2002 are not used in this calculation unless earned from either Johnson State College or Lyndon State College.)

Graduating students who have earned a cumulative grade point average of 3.90 or better will be awarded the distinction “summa cum laude.” Those who earn a 3.70 average will be awarded the distinction “magna cum laude.” Those who earn a 3.50 average will be awarded the distinction “cum laude.

(If the above standards are obtained by the end of the spring semester of the graduating year, and not prior to, the appropriate distinction is recorded on the diploma and transcript but is not acknowledged at Commencement.)

Graduation honors for certificate programs require final, cumulative GPA as follows: honors, 3.00-3.49; high honors, 3.50 or above.

Other curricular awards are also presented at the close of the spring semester to graduating seniors in specific areas of study.

Dean’s and President’s Lists

Matriculated (degree-seeking) students who complete 12 or more Vermont State College System (VSCS) graded credits in a single semester and who have no Incomplete, NP, NG, F, or blank grades are eligible for the President’s and Dean’s List under the following standards.

  • Students who achieve a 4.00 semester average will be placed on the President’s List.
  • Students who achieve between a 3.50 and 3.99 semester average will be placed on the Dean’s List.

Academic Appeals

Appeals of Academic Standing

A student who has been academically dismissed may appeal his/her academic status by writing a letter to the Academic Status Committee (for campus-based students) via the Registrar’s Office or to the Academic Review Board (for NVU Online students). This letter of appeal should include any mitigating or extenuating circumstances that may have contributed to the poor academic performance. Decisions of the Academic Status Committee/Academic Review Board may be appealed to the Provost or his/her designee, then to the President of the university. Students who successfully appeal academic dismissal may be placed on stipulated probation and may be required to sign a contract to abide by conditions set forth by the Academic Status Committee or the Provost, or the Academic Review Board. Failure to comply with any portion of the contract/stipulations may result in immediate dismissal from Northern Vermont University.

Appeals of Section 504 (the Rehabilitation Act of 1973) and of ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990)

For this section, working days are defined as days when the majority of university administrative offices are scheduled to be open for business.

An NVU student who feels that she or he has not received appropriate accommodations from the university for a documented disability has a right to file a complaint under the ADA. Students may also file complaints under Section 504. This procedure is designed to protect the rights of qualified disabled persons while also preserving the discretion of the university under the above statutes.

Students with complaints may use an informal process, presenting their complaints to the Provost or designee. A complaint must be submitted within 30 working days of the date on which the complainant could reasonably have known of the alleged denial or omission of an appropriate accommodation. Consulting with faculty or staff as well as the student, the Provost or designee will issue a written statement of resolution within 30 working days.

Formal appeals from a complaint resolution must be presented in writing to the President within 15 working days of receipt of the resolution. The President shall conduct an investigation of the complaint within a reasonable amount of time. The complainant may be represented by another university student or employee during the university process of appeal. Within 30 working days of the receipt of the appeal, the President shall issue a written decision, which shall be the final university ruling on the complaint.

There are four government avenues of complaint for alleged discrimination or failure to provide reasonable accommodations under Section 504. The second U.S. District Court has held that Section 504 permits private actions and that exhaustion of administrative actions is not a prerequisite to judicial action. Thus, a student may simultaneously or separately file complaints:

  1. through the Vermont Attorney General’s office;
  2. through a civil action in a Vermont district court;
  3. through the college’s appeals process; or
  4. with the Regional Civil Rights Director.

Appeals of Other Academic Policies

Students may appeal actions and decisions involving academic policies where they allege unfair and/or wrongful treatment or procedural errors. Students are entitled to due process and this policy is intended both to preserve academic freedom and to recognize students’ rights.

Both an informal and a formal appeal process are available, and students may initiate an appeal by contacting the Provost’s Office.