Course credits are measured in Semester Credit Hours. Semester Credit Hours are awarded, in a standard 15-week semester (14 weeks of instruction plus a final examination week), as follows:
- Lecture, seminar, or discussion format – One credit hour represents one hour per week of scheduled lecture/seminar/discussion plus two additional hours of work by students outside of class.
- Laboratory format – One credit hour represents one hour per week of scheduled lecture/discussion, plus 1-2 hours per week of either scheduled and supervised laboratory instruction or independent laboratory work, plus two additional hours of work by students outside of class.
- Supervised or independent practice format (practicums, internships, clinical rounds, arts and design studio, student teaching, field work, etc.) – One credit hour represents 3-4 hours per week of supervised or independent practice.
For courses offered in a longer or shorter academic term, the times indicated for a standard 15-week semester are appropriately prorated. For courses taught in non-traditional formats, the academic department offering the course is responsible for ensuring that the levels of faculty and student activity are appropriately comparable to those for the same course taught in a traditional format.
Fall and Spring Semesters: 7, 10, 12, and 15-week terms.
Summer Semester: 6, 9, and 12-week terms.
Winter Semester: 3-4 week term.
A grade reflects the faculty member’s evaluation of a student’s achievement in a specific course. The grading system at RVCC is as follows:
Grade Points/Credit Hour
Between Satisfactory and Good
Lowest Passing Grade
*Applies to developmental courses, ENGL 070, MATH 015 and MATH 020s.
An Incomplete grade (I) is given only when a documented emergency occurs after the final withdrawal date for that course, thus preventing a student from completing all of the required work.
A student receiving an Incomplete grade has four weeks from the end of the semester in which the grade was assigned to complete the missing work. It is the student’s responsibility to contact the faculty member to make arrangements to complete the missing work. When the work is completed, the faculty member assigns a final grade, replacing the “I” on the student’s permanent academic record. If the required work is not satisfactorily completed within the four-week time period, a grade of “F” is assigned, replacing the “I.”
Repeating a course for which an Incomplete grade was received has no effect on the resolution of the original grade. An Incomplete grade is counted as an “F” in computing a student’s cumulative grade point average for the awarding of a degree or certificate.
A Pass grade (P) may be given in certain developmental courses. Courses in which Pass grades are assigned are not counted in computing the student’s grade point average.
No entry is recorded on a student’s permanent academic record for a course withdrawal executed before the official enrollment certification date. For a withdrawal executed after the official enrollment certification date, a Withdrawal (W) grade is entered on the student’s record. Withdrawal dates are published in the term Schedule of Classes.
Reminder: It is solely the student’s responsibility to drop or withdraw from a course in accordance with printed and published deadlines.
Grade Point Average
A student’s grade point average (GPA) is computed by dividing the total number of grade points earned by the total number of semester hours counted, which may vary according to the use for which the GPA is intended.
GPA = [Total Grade Points Earned]
[Total Credit Hours Counted]
Only credit hours and grades in courses taken at RVCC are used in computing a student’s RVCC grade point average.
How to Compute a GPA
|Grade & Honor Pts.
*A developmental course for no college credit.
|Grade Point Average (GPA)
|=Value Points =
| = 2.2
A final examination is given at the end of most courses at the time and place published by the Registrar’s Office. Faculty members may not alter their examination schedules unless a specific change has been authorized by the appropriate Division Dean.
Students are not expected to take more than two final examinations on any given day. If a student has more than two final examinations scheduled on a single day, they may appeal to have one of the examinations rescheduled. The line of appeal is first to the faculty member(s) and then to the appropriate Division Dean.
Students are expected to take final examinations when they are scheduled or rescheduled. Missed examinations may be rescheduled at the discretion of the faculty member. Schedules for final examinations are posted in Lion’s Den.
Within the first few weeks of each semester, any student who is perceived by their instructor to be in academic difficulty or at risk of not performing at the level necessary to pass a course—not attending, not logging in to Canvas, not submitting assignments, performing poorly on homework/quizzes/exams, etc.—will be contacted by letter by a Division Dean. Students who receive an early alert should consult with their instructors to determine ways to improve their academic performance; meet with an academic advisor to create additional success strategies; and/or visit the Tutoring Center.
Midterm Warning Report
At midterm, students in academic difficulty will receive a midterm warning letter from the Director of Advising & Counseling. These letters are advisory in nature and will not become part of the student’s permanent record.
Students doing unsatisfactory work at this time should consult their instructors to determine ways to improve their academic performance. In cases where additional studying, tutoring, or changes in study habits cannot improve the student’s grade, withdrawal may be recommended.
Academic Standing is recorded on the academic transcript at the conclusion of each term. Students whose comprehensive semester grade point average or cumulative college level grade point average falls below 2.0 will receive a Lion’s Den email letter indicating their academic standing. Students should check final grades and academic standing in Lion’s Den and Lion’s Den email each term.
Grade Point Averages Used to Determine Academic Standing
Comprehensive semester grade point average – The grade point average for the term, including developmental studies, English as a Second Language studies, and all other college level coursework.
Cumulative grade point average – The cumulative grade point average for all college level coursework at Raritan Valley Community College.
Students must maintain a comprehensive semester grade point average of 2.0 or better and a cumulative college level grade point average of 2.0 or better to be in Good Academic Standing.
Academic Alert is an initial warning to students whose comprehensive semester grade point average or cumulative college level grade point average falls below 2.0. The alert signifies that they are not making satisfactory academic progress and that they may be placed on Academic Probation if their record does not improve.
Students on Academic Alert whose comprehensive semester grade point average or cumulative grade point average is below 2.0 in their next enrollment term are placed on Academic Probation.
Students on Academic Probation whose comprehensive semester grade point average in their next enrollment term is 2.0 or higher, but whose cumulative grade point average remains below 2.0, remain on Academic Probation.
Academic Probation is a serious warning to students that they are not making satisfactory academic progress and that they may be placed on Academic Suspension if their record does not improve. Students on Academic Probation must have the approval of an academic advisor or counselor for subsequent enrollments or enrollment changes while on Academic Probation. Students’ enrollment may be restricted to certain courses, or to a limited number of courses, as a condition of Academic Probation status.
Students on Academic Probation whose comprehensive semester grade point average in their next enrollment term is below 2.0 are placed on Academic Suspension.
Students on Academic Suspension are prohibited from enrolling in the next semester. A student may petition for permission to enroll part-time to the Academic Standards Committee or to an academic advisor or counselor authorized by the Academic Standards Committee to hear such petitions. If a student’s petition is approved, the student is placed on Suspension Probation.
Students returning to the College after a period of Academic Suspension or Academic Dismissal, and students who successfully petition to enroll from Academic Suspension, are placed on Suspension Probation. Students on Suspension Probation must meet with an academic advisor or counselor before re-enrolling. These students’ enrollment may be restricted to certain courses, or to a limited number of courses, as a condition of Suspension Probation status.
Students on Suspension Probation whose comprehensive semester grade point average in their next enrollment term is below 2.0 are placed on Academic Dismissal and are prohibited from enrolling for two calendar years. Students are subject to Academic Dismissal each enrollment term the comprehensive semester grade point average is below 2.0, until achieving Good Academic Standing. Academic Dismissal is final and cannot be appealed.
Re-enrollment Following Academic Dismissal
A student returning to the College after a two-year period of Academic Dismissal must submit a written request to firstname.lastname@example.org. A meeting will then be scheduled with the Director of Advising and Counseling and a Division Dean. If reinstated, the student will be placed on Suspension Probation.
Grade Appeals and Academic Complaints
Student complaints of an academic nature should initially be discussed between the student and the student’s instructor. Failing a satisfactory resolution of the problem at this level, the student should consult with the appropriate department chairperson. Should the student still feel that a satisfactory resolution has not been achieved, the student may request the appropriate Division Dean to review the matter.
Students wishing to initiate a grade appeal must do so in writing within four weeks of the beginning of the following semester, excluding Summer Sessions. Other than in cases of computational or clerical error, grades may only be changed by following the grade appeal procedure.
Grade Appeal Procedure
A student who wishes to appeal a final grade shall proceed as follows:
- Submit a written request for a grade change along with the rationale for such a request to the instructor who assigned the grade. The appeal must be filed by the fourth week of the following semester (Summer Sessions not included).
- Within two weeks of filing such a request for a grade change by the student, the instructor shall respond in writing rendering a decision about the request for change of a grade, copying the department chair as well.
If the student wishes to further challenge the decision of the instructor as described above, they shall follow the following procedure:
- A petition for a grade change should be filed, in writing, with the appropriate chairperson after conferring with the instructor. The petition shall include a description of the student’s rationale for challenging the recorded grade with supportive documentation.
- The chairperson shall:
- Interview the student.
- Interview the instructor who assigned the grade.
- Review written material submitted by the student and instructor. The chairperson shall also consult with senior faculty members familiar with the discipline involved with respect to the graded material under challenge.
- The chairperson shall render a written recommendation to the student and instructor involved within one month from the date the chairperson received the petition, and copy the Division Dean.
- If the grade was changed through the above process, the student may further appeal to the appropriate Division Dean. The Dean will review all materials and determine whether a grade change shall be approved, and shall advise the involved student and faculty member in writing of the decision. The decision of the Dean shall be final.
Students are expected to attend all classes, laboratories, and clinical sessions for every course in which they are enrolled. To accommodate students’ reasonable, personal situations that might prevent them from attending classes, each student is entitled to excused absences amounting to the equivalent of one week’s class time in a semester. Any absences in excess of this standard can prevent students from achieving the course learning outcomes as evaluated by the instructor. It is the student’s responsibility to read their syllabus for course or departmental attendance policies.
A faculty member may schedule required or optional field trips in addition to, or in place of, regularly scheduled class meetings. Information regarding required field trips must be included in the course syllabus. If students are required to attend a field trip, the faculty member should make every effort to schedule the trip so that it does not conflict with students’ other classes, laboratory sessions, or other outside obligations or commitments. If such a conflict is unavoidable, students may be excused from participating in the field trip or from attending the conflicting class or laboratory session.
All field trips and related activities must meet the College’s obligation to comply with the applicable requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Field trips must be approved in advance by the appropriate department chair and/or administrator.
Break in Enrollment
A student who has been continuously enrolled at RVCC must fulfill graduation requirements that were published at the time the student matriculated into the program, unless the student requests to update to a more recent catalog year.
A student who interrupts their studies for more than three years must apply for re-admission and fulfill the requirements in place upon re-enrollment. A student with a break of more than three years may use requirements in place during initial enrollment only if the student earned 50 credits prior to the break in enrollment and if the degree is still being offered.
A student whose program has been discontinued will be permitted two years to complete the program. RVCC will not award degrees for programs that have been discontinued for more than two years.
Auditing a Course
Auditing a course means enrolling in the course on a non-credit basis. A student who wants to attend the class meetings in a course, without receiving credit for the course, may request to audit the course. To audit a course, the student must register for the course as an audit.
Unless otherwise exempted by the faculty member, a student auditing a course must meet all prerequisites and/or co-requisites for the course and must consult with the faculty member to determine course expectations and restrictions.
A student must request permission from an instructor to change from credit status to audit status in a course at any time prior to the last day to withdraw from a course as published in the College’s Academic Calendar. A student enrolling to audit a course in a particular term may not change to credit status in that course.
Credit hours in audited courses are not counted in the total number of hours used to determine the student’s full-time or part-time enrollment status. Credit hours in audited courses are counted in determining whether the student’s total credit hour enrollment is in compliance with any enrollment limitations or restrictions. Auditing a course does not satisfy any prerequisites for enrolling in subsequent courses. Courses taken under audit status do not count toward a student’s financial aid eligibility requirements.
Course Substitution Policy for Students with Documented Disabilities
Raritan Valley Community College is committed to providing equal access for individuals with disabilities in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1998, and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments (ADAA) of 2008 and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. An individual with a disability who has been admitted to RVCC will have the same access to programs, services, and activities as all other students. Raritan Valley Community College will make reasonable accommodations to its policies, practices, and procedures unless doing so would fundamentally alter the nature of the service, program, or activity, or pose an undue administrative or financial burden. The College will provide services in a manner that promotes independence and inclusion in all aspects of college life.
In limited circumstances, substitution of a course requirement may be determined to be a reasonable and appropriate accommodation for a student with a properly documented disability. Consideration of a course substitution is done on a case-by-case basis. A decision about the essential nature of a course will be made in conjunction with the academic department.
For further information, please contact the Center for Accessibility and Inclusive Education, email@example.com or (908) 526-1200, extension 8534.
Both degree-seeking and visiting students may enroll for a maximum of 19 credit hours during the Fall or Spring Semesters, 12 credit hours during the Summer Semester, and up to five credits during the Winter Session unless permission is granted by an Academic Advisor or Counselor in consultation with a Department Chair or Division Dean. Non-degree students are limited to 9 credits per semester.
Students with 29 or fewer credits will be classified as freshmen. Students with 30 credits or more will be classified as sophomores.
The College offers students the opportunity to study individually with an instructor. The two methods available are Independent Study and Guided Study. Any student interested in either of these options should contact the appropriate department and have all forms completed before registering. All forms must be signed by the appropriate Division Dean.
- Guided Study: Guided study is an existing course independently taught by an RVCC faculty member to accommodate student needs. The course outline will remain consistent with the College catalog. All forms must be signed by the Department Chair and appropriate Division Dean.
- Independent Study: Independent study is a course of study independently taught by an RVCC faculty member to enhance student learning at the student’s request. The faculty member will design the course outline to meet the student’s goals and needs. All forms must be signed by the Department Chair and appropriate Division Dean.
Field Experience is a service learning opportunity for pre-service teaching candidates to observe and/or facilitate the teaching and learning experiences in area P-12 classrooms in cooperation with practicing educators.
A Practicum is an educational opportunity where the student is provided with experience(s) to integrate/apply theory knowledge to hands-on experiences in various settings with or without direct supervision. This is a requirement in many certificate and degree programs, particularly within the Department of Health Science Education.
Within departments and specialties different terms may be used in order to correlate with terminology used by accrediting and licensing bodies. For example, in the Prelicensure Nursing Program and the other Allied Health programs there are Clinical Experiences where the student applies knowledge and critical thinking from the theory (didactic) component of the course to actual patient care in appropriate medical environments such as hospitals, clinics and, where necessary, via simulation exercises. Additionally, in this program the term Practicum refers to skills testing in the campus learning laboratory.
Students should consult their program coordinator for specific information related to the required experience for their certificate and/or degree.
Students may repeat most college-level courses once without specific authorization. Students may not repeat a lower level course in any sequence if they have passed a higher level course in that same sequence. For example, a student may not repeat English 111 after having passed English 112 or Spanish 103 after having passed Spanish 104. To repeat a college-level course more than once, a student must have the approval of the Dean of Student Affairs.
Courses in which students have received grades of W, AU, or P are not included in counting repeated courses.
When a college-level course is repeated, all enrollments in the course are included on the student’s permanent academic record, but only the highest grade earned at RVCC will be included in the student’s grade point average (GPA).
To take a developmental math course for the third time a student is required to meet with an academic advisor and may be restricted to certain courses or to a limited number of courses. To repeat any developmental English course a student is required to meet with an academic advisor and may be restricted to certain courses or to a limited number of courses. After taking the same developmental English course for the third time without success, the student must meet with the appropriate Division Dean to discuss academic and career options. To take an ESL course for the third time a student must have the approval of an academic or faculty advisor and may be restricted to certain courses or to a limited number of courses. After taking the same ESL course for the fourth time without success, the student must meet with the appropriate Division Dean to discuss academic and career options.
Students receiving financial aid should consult with the Financial Aid office before repeating a course, since some financial aid programs do not pay for repeated courses.
Academic Renewal Program
The Academic Renewal Program is designed for students who attended RVCC, compiled an unsuccessful academic record, and subsequently left the College for an extended period of time. As a result of their work experience, maturity, or new interests, these students may now wish to return to college to pursue a program of study towards a degree.
To qualify for the Academic Renewal Program, a student must:
- Be matriculated into a degree or certificate program.
- Have been away from RVCC for a minimum of three years (36 months).
- Upon returning to RVCC, complete a minimum of 12 credit hours, earning a GPA of 2.4 or better.
- Be currently enrolled.
Under the Academic Renewal Program:
- All grades earned prior to the three-year period are eliminated from the student’s GPA calculation.
- Only the GPA is affected by this program. All other previous academic records will remain on the transcript.
- Grades earned after returning to RVCC will be included in the new GPA calculations, including the 12 credits required to qualify for this program.
- All courses taken prior to the three-year absence in which a grade of C or better was earned may be used to meet graduation requirements.
- Credits awarded through evaluation (transfer, CLEP, credit by in-house examination, military experience and Advanced Placement) are not changed by this program, regardless of their date.
Students are cautioned that not all colleges honor academic renewal. Transfer institutions may recalculate the GPA based on all credits attempted for purposes of admission consideration, scholarship and award eligibility, program admission, and other matters regarding academic standing.
Academic Renewal will not affect Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid recipients. All courses in a student’s academic history are considered for financial aid eligibility. Students receiving Veterans Administration benefits will not be reimbursed for repeating courses that have already been passed.
The Academic Renewal option may be used only once; it is not available a second time, even after another three-year separation from the College.
Graduation Requirements and Commencement
Raritan Valley Community College confers degrees three times a year – at the conclusion of Spring (May), Summer (August) and Fall (December).
Students should generate their degree audit, available on Lion’s Den, to determine whether all graduation requirements are met. Students who have any questions regarding their degree audit should reach out to Advising, Counseling and Transfer Services at ACTS@raritanval.edu.
At the beginning of the semester during which graduation is anticipated, a student must complete an Graduation Diploma Application and submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org or the Student Enrollment Center, email@example.com. The application can be found in Lion’s Den. Without filling out the graduation diploma application, a student’s degree will not be granted/conferred.
Students who have applied for graduation but fail to meet the requirements at the conclusion of the semester must re-submit an Application for Graduation when they intend to graduate.
In addition to all course and credit requirements, students must also have a minimum grade point average of 2.0, both overall and within their program. Courses numbered below 100 are not applicable toward graduation requirements.
A student who has been continuously enrolled at RVCC must fulfill graduation requirements that were published at the time the student matriculated into the program, unless the student requests to update to a more recent catalog year. A student who interrupts their studies for more than three years must fulfill the requirements in place upon re-enrollment. A student with a break of more than three years may use requirements in place during initial enrollment only if the student had earned 50 credits prior to the break in enrollment and if the degree is still being offered.
Students may transfer up to 45 credits toward an associate degree or 75 percent of the required credits for a certificate program, including those from other accredited institutions and those earned through other means. The course requirements of some selective programs may limit the application of transfer credits to degree requirements.
Students who have studied at RVCC and transfer prior to receiving a degree or certificate may transfer back coursework in order to complete graduation requirements, if the degree or certificate program is active at the time of readmission.
Students whose programs have been discontinued will be permitted two years to complete the program. RVCC will not award degrees for programs that have been discontinued for more than two years.
RVCC holds Commencement Exercises in May of each year. A student may participate in Commencement Exercises if the student meets any of the following criteria.
- Completed all program requirements at the end of the previous Fall Semester or at the end of the previous Summer Session.
- Will have completed all program requirements at the end of the current Spring Semester.
- Has three or fewer courses remaining to be completed to fulfill all program requirements and is enrolled in those courses in the following Summer Session.
Graduation-with-honors designations for the Commencement Ceremony are based on the student’s grade point average (GPA) as follows.
- Summer and Fall Graduates – GPA at the end of the Graduation term.
- Spring Graduates – GPA at end of the previous Fall Semester.
Recognition of Academic Achievement
The Dean’s List of outstanding students is compiled and published at the end of each Fall and Spring Semester by the appropriate academic division. To be included on the Dean’s List a student must meet all of the following requirements.
- Have earned a minimum of 12 cumulative credit hours at RVCC in college-level courses.
- Earn a minimum of six college-level credit hours in the current Fall or Spring Semester.
- Achieve a minimum semester GPA of 3.5 in college-level courses.
- Receive no grade lower than a “C” in any course for the semester.
- Not be eligible for inclusion on the President’s List of outstanding students.
The President’s List of outstanding students is compiled and published at the end of each Fall and Spring Semester. To be included on the President’s List a student must meet all of the following requirements:
- Earn a minimum of 12 credit hours in college-level courses in the current Fall or Spring Semester.
- Earn “A” grades in all courses for the semester.
- Have no “W” or “I” grades for the semester.
Degrees and Certificates with Honors
Students completing associate degree requirements and meeting all of the following additional requirements receive degrees with honors:
- Achieve a minimum total cumulative RVCC GPA of 3.40.
- Achieve a minimum cumulative RVCC GPA of 3.40 on all courses applied toward the awarded degree.
- Receive no grade lower than a “C” in more than one college-level course applied toward the awarded degree.
- Complete, at RVCC, a minimum of 30 credits hours in courses applied toward the awarded degree.
Students completing certificate requirements and meeting all of the following additional requirements receive certificates with honors:
- Complete a certificate requiring at least 30 semester credit hours.
- Achieve a minimum total cumulative RVCC GPA of 3.40.
- Achieve a minimum total cumulative RVCC GPA of 3.40 on all courses applied to the awarded certificate.
- Receive no grade lower than a “C” in any college-level course applied toward the awarded certificate.
- Complete, at RVCC, a minimum of 15 credits hours in courses applied toward the awarded certificate.
Honors are awarded on the basis of the student’s cumulative RVCC GPA on all courses applied to the awarded degree or certificate as follows:
|3.40 – 3.59
|Cum Laude (with honor)
|3.60 – 3.79
|Magna Cum Laude (with high honor)
|Summa Cum Laude (with highest honor)
Honors Achievement Award
To receive the Honors Achievement Award a student must meet all of the following requirements:
- Complete a minimum of 15 credit units in Honors-level courses.
- Receive no grade lower than a “B” in any of the Honors-level courses being counted for the award.