Academic Policies

Grading System

Each instructor will explain the grading system used in a course. Students are responsible for obtaining a clear understanding of the system.

Grades Numerical Quality
A Excellent 90-100 4
B+ 87-89 3.5
B Good 80-86 3
C+ 77-79 2.5
C Average 70-76 2
D+ 67-69 1.5
D Lowest
Passing Grade
60-66 1
F Failure Below 60  
W Withdrawn
I Incomplete (A grade of F is automatically
recorded if course work is not completed within
thirty calendar days after the start of the following
academic year semester.)
AU Audit

Advisory Grades

At the third week and midpoint of each semester an S (Satisfactory) or U (Unsatisfactory) grade is reported for each student officially enrolled in a course. This grade is advisory only, indicates the quality of the work up to that point of the semester, and is not a permanent part of the academic record.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

To continue to be eligible for financial aid, students are required by federal and state regulations to make satisfactory academic progress towards the completion of their major.

To continue to receive financial aid from the federal aid programs, students must adhere to the "Satisfactory Academic Progress" policy outlined in the Financial Aid section of this catalog.

To continue to receive financial aid from the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA), state regulations require that students be in good academic standing and progress an academic grade level for each year of assistance received. For the PHEAA Grant Program, students must successfully complete (Grade A, B, C, or D) at least twenty-four (24) credits for each academic year of state grant that is received.

Course Load

A full time course load is 12-18 credits. A part time course load is 1-11 credits. Students wishing to register for more than 18 credits in a semester must obtain approval for the overload from their academic advisor or the Department Dean.

Credit Hour Policy

All courses taken for credit at Bucks County Community College that are applied to completion of degree and certificate requirements must conform to applicable federal and state regulations concerning the assignment of credit hours.

Bucks County Community College adheres to the U. S. Department of Education (34 CFR Section 600.2) definition of credit hour as ... an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than:

(1) One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester or trimester hour of credit, or ten to twelve hours for one quarter hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or

(2) At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution, including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.

Pennsylvania Department of Education regulations state Degree requirements stated (in this section) may be stated in terms of semester credit hours or quarter credit hours, as determined by the institution and conforming to generally accepted academic practices (PA Code §32.32.b), and require that each semester and session shall include no fewer than 750 minutes per credit of instruction. Further, according to PA regulations, a semester credit hour represents a unit of curricular material that normally can be taught in a minimum of 14 hours of classroom instruction, plus appropriate outside preparation or the equivalent as determined by the faculty (PA Code §21.21.b).

All semester/credits awarded by Bucks County Community College will conform to the definitions provided above.

Registration, orientation and final examination periods shall be in addition to the periods described above.

The semester credit hour is the basic unit of academic credit. One semester credit is equivalent to one 50-minute hour of faculty instruction time per week for 15 weeks, and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work per credit hour per week. Fall and spring semesters run for 15 weeks, which does not include registration, orientation, or final examination periods. Summer, winter session, and modular (accelerated) sessions are typically less than 15 weeks but adhere to the policy in terms of meeting time and the amount of work required.

Typical instructional times for a standard (15 week) academic semester are three 50-minute sessions, or two 75-minute sessions, or one 150-minute session. Typical instructional times for summer, winter session, and modular classes are increased, based on number of available weeks, to provide the same number of instructional minutes (i.e. 750 minutes per credit).

Lecture Courses

Credit Hours/Instructional Time/Student Work Time

Credits awarded

Minimum Instructional time per week

Minimum instructional time over 15 weeks

Minimum out-of-class student work time over 15 weeks

Total instructional time and out-of class student work time over 15 weeks

1 50 contact minutes 750 contact minutes 1500 minutes 2250 minutes
2 100 contact minutes 1500 contact minutes 3000 minutes 4500 minutes
3 150 contact minutes 2250 contact minutes 4500 minutes 6750 minutes
4 200 contact minutes 3000 contact minutes 6000 minutes 9000 minutes
5 250 contact minutes 3750 contact minutes 7500 minutes 11,250 minutes

Laboratory, Studio and Clinical Classes

These are courses with a focus on experiential learning under the direct supervision of a College faculty member wherein the student performs substantive work in a laboratory, studio, or clinical setting. The courses require at least an equivalent amount of work as required in the U. S. Department of Education definition of credit hour (above). Laboratory, clinical and studio courses credit hours are directed by requirements of accrediting agencies, course-to-course equivalencies with transfer institutions, and compliance with the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Oversight Committee (TAOC).

Nursing clinical courses follow a formula of 3 contact hours per credit.

Studio art courses follow the formula required by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). All studio art courses meet a minimum of 4.5 hours per week in a 15-week semester.

STEM laboratory class ratios range from 1.3:1 to 2:1, depending on the course.

Credits are assigned per semester as follows

Class Format Credits/Time
Lecture/Seminar 1 hour class instruction and 2 hours out-of-class student work time per credit per week
ELearning 1 hour contact instruction and 2 hours out-of-class student work time per credit per week
Nursing clinical 3 contact hours per credit per week
Studio art 4.5 contact hours per week
STEM lab courses 3-4 contact hours and 2-3 lab hours per week

Grade Changes and Challenges

The College provides an appeal procedure for students who believe that a recorded grade is not the one earned in a course. Students should first see the course instructor to resolve the matter. If resolution is not achieved, then the Department Dean should be consulted. The final step in the appeal process is the Committee on Academic Performance. It should be noted that only the instructor of a course makes a grade change. Other steps in the appeal process are advisory. Students are urged to retain all graded work until final grades have been received from the College.

No appeal for a change of a grade will be considered after three years have elapsed since the end of the semester or session in which the grade was received.

Student Academic Scale

Students enrolled at the College are governed by this student academic scale:

Cumulative Grade Point Average (C.G.P.A.)
Probation Academic Warning Acceptable
0-8 - .00-1.99 2.00
9-16 .00-0.99 1.00-1.99 2.00
17-30 .00-1.59 1.60-1.99 2.00
31-45 .00-1.74 1.75-1.99 2.00
46- .00-1.84 1.85-1.99 2.00

A student's cumulative grade point average is determined by dividing the number of credits attempted into the quality points. For example:

  Credits Grade Quality Points
COMP110 English
Composition I
3 B 3x3=9
PSYC110 Intro
to Psychology
3 C 3x2=6
MATH101 Mathematical
Concepts I
3 C 3x2=6
BIOL101 Biological
Science I
4 B+ 4x3.5=14
HLTH103 Life
and Health
3 B 3x3=9
  16   44
Thus, the Cumulative Grade Point Average is 44/16 = 2.75.

Acceptable: Cumulative grade point average (C.G.P.A.) of 2.00 or greater.

Academic Warning: An indication that students are experiencing academic difficulty and are "at risk" of not successfully completing their academic program.

Enrollment restricted to a maximum of 12 billable credit hours for the Fall and Spring semesters and a maximum of 6 billable credits in any summer session.

Academic Probation: A second level warning category. Students falling into this category are in serious academic difficulty and "at risk" of academic dismissal.

Enrollment restricted to a maximum of 7 billable credit hours for the Fall and Spring semesters and a maximum of 3 billable credits in any summer session, as well as other conditions as specified by the College. Appeals to enroll above the 7 credit limit will be heard by the Academic Performance Committee. Guidelines denoting acceptable and unacceptable appeals will govern all Academic Probation students.

Students who fall into one of the above categories and who pre-register for an upcoming semester will be restricted according to the conditions stated. Students who improve their academic status may adjust their schedules accordingly.

Academically Dismissed: A student who is on "Academic Probation" for two consecutive semesters and who earns less than a 2.0 semester G.P.A. will be separated from the college for the subsequent (fall or spring) semester. Further, the student will be prohibited from registering for any summer or intersession course while academically dismissed.

Students who have been dismissed must apply for readmission to the college. Permission to register (with attendant conditions) will be determined by the Academic Performance Committee. A formal appeal for reinstatement must be submitted to the Academic Performance Committee in the semester preceding the student's intended re-enrollment. Readmitted students will be designated "Academic Probation" and the conditions described for that category will apply.

A mandatory period of separation of two semesters will be required for students who are "Academically Dismissed" for a second time. If a student is "Academically Dismissed" for a third time, a three year period of separation will be required, at which time the student may be eligible for the "Academic Restart" program.

Credits Attempted: Includes all academic credits taken at Bucks County Community College for which the final grades of A, B+, B, C+, C, D+, D, F were recorded. If a student repeats a course, the most recent grade will take precedence over the former in determining credits attempted. (See Repeating Courses.)

Credits Earned: Includes all academic credits taken at Bucks County Community College for which the final grades of A, B+, B, C+, C, D+, D, CX, P were recorded. Credits earned also include credits accepted through CLEP, AP, and other means.

Quality Points: Are determined by multiplying the academic credit hours of a course by the quality point value of the grade received (A=4, B+=3.5, B=3, C+=2.5, C=2, D+=1.5, D=1, F=0).

Academic Restart

This program is for students who attended Bucks in the past and compiled an unsuccessful academic record. The Academic Restart program provides certain students with an opportunity to redirect their academic goals or renew their college careers. This one-time-only option permits students to reset the Bucks County Community College grade point average (GPA) and the cumulative credits earned total to zero.

In order to be eligible for this program, you must meet these criteria:

  • You have not been enrolled at Bucks County Community College for a period of three (3) consecutive years. The effective date of the restart is the semester you return to the College after the three year absence.
  • You were never granted the Academic Restart option previously.
  • You must take the College’s battery of placement tests administered by the Office of Testing.

Test scores are valid for placement purposes for three years. If a student does not enroll in the College within three years or register and fulfill courses tested into, new placement scores will be required.

For more information about Academic Restart or to make an appointment with Counseling Services, please contact us at 215-968-8189 or at You can also visit our webpage at

Completing the Semester, Completing the Major

Final Examinations

Final examinations, for those courses in which instructors require them, are scheduled during the week following the last day of classes. Examination periods are two hours long.

The schedule of final examinations is posted throughout the campus several weeks before the end of classes and instructors giving final examinations in their courses announce in class the day, hour, and place of the examinations.

Students with conflicts in their final examination schedule take one of the examinations during the scheduled hour and arrange in advance with the department office to take the other at another hour. All final examinations are to be completed by the close of the final examination period.

If students must miss a final examination, notice should be given to the instructor or Department office in advance to avoid a failing grade on the examination. The instructor will determine if and when the final examination will be given.

Repeating Courses

Students may repeat courses in which they earned grades of D or F to improve these grades. Students wanting to repeat a course in which a C or higher grade was earned must petition the Assistant Academic Dean of the department in which the course is offered for permission to register for the course.

The grade earned by retaking a course is the grade, other than W, counted in the cumulative grade point average. The previous grade will continue to be recorded on the transcript but the semester hour and quality points will not be used in computing the total semester hours or cumulative grade point average.

Revisions in Major

If revisions occur in a major, the College follows the principle that students will not be required to spend more time taking additional credits to complete the revised major or be hindered in their normal progress toward the completion of the major in which they are already enrolled.

Students changing their major to one with revised requirements must meet the new requirements in effect at the time of their entry into that major, regardless of the date of their admission to the College.

Students already enrolled in a major in which revisions occur may elect to follow the revised major. In this case, students assume the responsibility if they must spend more time taking additional credits to complete their requirements.

Honors Lists

The academic distinction of students is recognized by placement on either the President's Honor List or the Dean's Honor List.

For the President's Honor List, full-time students are recognized when they have completed twelve or more semester credit hours with a semester grade point average of 4.0. Part-time students are recognized at the end of the semester when they have completed a unit of at least twelve semester credit hours with a unit grade point average of 4.0.

For the Dean's Honor List, full-time students are recognized when they have completed twelve or more semester credit hours with a semester grade point average of 3.5 or higher with no grade below C. Part-time students are recognized at the end of the semester when they have completed a unit of at least twelve semester credit hours with a unit grade point average of 3.5 or higher with no grade below C.

A student on the President's Honor List will not be included on the Dean's Honor List.

If a part-time student who has not yet accumulated a unit of twelve semester credits enrolls as a full-time student, he or she is evaluated at the end of the full-time semester. If he or she then returns to part-time status, the accumulation of a new unit of twelve credit hours begins.


Students anticipating graduation should report to the Office of Admissions, Records, and Registration during the first month of the semester in which they expect to graduate.

Students expecting to earn a degree, certificate, or complete a major must complete the specific requirements of that major as listed in the College Catalog. The waiver or substitution of any course requirements must be exceptional and educationally justifiable. An official waiver or substitution must be approved by the appropriate Academic Department and the Associate Provost and must be forwarded to the Office of Admissions, Records, and Registration before any substitution will be considered.

Teacher Certification

In Public Schools

Credits earned at Bucks County Community College are not acceptable for the renewal of the Instructional I (provisional) Certificate and conversion to the Instructional II (permanent) Certificate. According to Section 49.84 of the Certification Regulations, credit "must be earned at a State approved baccalaureate degree granting institution."

In Private Kindergartens, Private Nursery Schools, and Private Child Day Care Centers

Assistant teachers may become certified after two years of successful teaching experience and 24 additional credits. This experience must be accomplished through the supervision of a certified director or someone holding a comparable public school certificate. The additional credits must be taken after the issuance of the assistant teacher certificate and be related to early childhood education.