2010-2011 Academic Catalog 
    May 24, 2024  
2010-2011 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Undergraduate Academic Policies

Academic credit toward the bachelor of arts is expressed in terms of course units. Each Clark course is awarded one unit (equivalent to four credit hours). To earn a bachelor’s degree, a student must complete a minimum of 32 course units (128 credit hours) with a minimum overall 2.0 grade-point average. He/she may receive no more than four D or D+ grades. Bachelor’s degree candidates must also successfully complete all institutional, major departmental and Program of Liberal Studies requirements for graduation. Transfer credit for students with fewer than 32 course units in residence is established by the Transfer Evaluation Committee. Students may accelerate their progress toward graduation by no more than one semester without special approval of the College Board. For the purpose of transfer, a full Clark unit is equivalent to four semester hours of credit.

Transfer Credit

To earn a bachelor’s degree at Clark, a student must earn at least one half of the total number of course units taken for fulfillment of a major in a Clark program. Students must be enrolled full time at Clark for both semesters of their senior year. Units earned through Clark programs off campus also meet the requirement. “External credit” is credit earned in the following categories:

  1. Advanced placement
  2. Credits transferred from other American colleges and universities
  3. Credit earned in foreign-study programs administered by American or foreign institutions of higher learning other than Clark.

The amount of transfer credit that can be applied to a bachelor’s degree at Clark is limited by category.

  1. No more than one semester (four units) may be granted in advanced placement (A.P.). A.P. credit is defined as one unit of degree credit assigned for a score of 4 or 5 on a CEEB A.P. examination taken prior to matriculation and before the student formally enrolls. Students also may receive credit for college work completed prior to their matriculation at Clark University if that credit is in a content area deemed academically acceptable to Clark and is from an accredited college or university.
  2. Students who present an IB Diploma and who also earn a minimum of 36 composite points with a score of 5 or higher in all six of their IB examinations will receive eight Clark units (one full year). Students who present an IB Diploma (a minimum of 24 composite points) will receive four Clark units (one semester). Students who do not complete the full IB Diploma will receive one Clark unit for each higher level examination with a score of 5 or better up to a maximum of four Clark units (one semester).
  3. Students transferring to Clark from another institution may transfer in no more than 16 units of course credit. Students who begin their course work at Clark may subsequently transfer up to 12 units of course credit from other schools.
  4. Normally, no more than one year (eight course units) may be taken in study-abroad programs.

Academic Regulations

Full-time study is defined as a three- or four-unit program. Normally, undergraduates enroll in four courses per semester. Students should consult their faculty advisers, or in some cases, the Academic Advising Center or major departments when questions about course or program selections arise. With approval from the College Board, juniors and seniors with a minimum GPA of 3.0 in their prior semester, or with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, may enroll in a fifth course.

While first-year students and sophomores may choose any course designated by a department as open to them, 200-level courses are normally designed for juniors and seniors. Juniors and seniors may elect any 100- or 200-level course, provided they have met all required prerequisites and have the permission of the faculty member, if necessary.

Undergraduates may be admitted to 300-level graduate courses with the approval of the instructor.


Grades are an indication of individual performance in each course taken at the University. At Clark, four grading options are currently in use:

  1. Graded courses: This option uses the symbols A, B, C, D, and F with the modifying symbols “+” and “–” for A, B, and C. The lowest passing grade is D.
    The faculty has approved the following qualitative description of grades:
    • A indicates work of distinction, of exceptionally high quality
    • B indicates good work, but not of distinction
    • C indicates average work and satisfaction of University degree requirements
    • D indicates marginal work
    • F indicates unacceptable work
  2. The Pass/No Record Option: This option uses the symbols P and NR. P indicates work at a level of C- or better. Neither the P grade nor its credit is included in the calculation of the grade-point average. Performance below a C- results in a No Record (NR) grade. NRs do not appear on students’ transcripts. Students must choose this grade option during the add/drop period. There is no limit to the number of NR grades that a student may receive. However, NR grades do not carry credit and are not counted toward graduation or University requirements.
  3. The Credit/No Credit Option: This grading option, assigned by the University to a course, uses the symbols CR/NC. CR indicates work at a level of C- or better. The NC is treated like an F.

Grade-point averages are calculated by the University to determine academic good standing, semester academic honors, Latin honors at graduation and eligibility for various honor societies. The grade-point average is calculated as the average of grades earned in all Clark University graded courses. Neither external credit nor ungraded Clark University courses are included in this calculation.

Pass/No Record Option

The availability of the pass/no record option is designed to offer students the opportunity to take a course, usually unrelated to their major, without risking a negative impact on their GPA.

All students should bear in mind that the majority of graduate and professional schools encourage applicants to have graded courses. Preprofessional students and those for whom graduate school is a goal should exercise caution in selecting the pass/no record option. Students who are interested in attaining honors, such as Phi Beta Kappa, Dean’s List and Latin honors at graduation, also should exercise use of the option cautiously.

Noncredit Audit Status

With the permission of the instructor, full-time undergraduate and reident graduate students are eligible to audit one undergraduate course per semester. There is no additional charge for this privilege. Part-time matriculated students also may register as auditors with the permission of the instructor and the payment of a per course fee. In limited or sectioned courses, regularly enrolled Clark students are given preference for available openings.

Matriculated students who successfully complete audited courses (as determined by the instructor) will have the audited courses posted on their permanent records.

Withdrawal From Courses

A student may withdraw from a course at any time during the add/drop period without having a W recorded on his or her transcript. Students may withdraw from a class up until the end of the tenth week of classes, but any withdrawal after the add/drop period will result in a W being recorded on the transcript. Students compelled to withdraw from a course due to exceptional circumstances (e.g., serious illness) may petition the College Board for a WR grade (withdrawal with reason.)


A record of incomplete may be permitted by approval of the College Board only when sickness or some other unavoidable circumstance prevents completion of the course. Individual instructors may not assign incompletes without College Board approval. A record of incomplete incurred in the fall semester must be made up no later than the following April 1; if incurred in the spring semester, it must be made up no later than the following Oct. 1. If a course is not completed within the specified time, the record of incomplete is changed to F.


All students are expected to register in November for the spring semester and again in April for the following fall semester. Registrations must be finalized by the end of each semester’s add/drop period. Notification of the dates for registration is given, and failure to register within the announced period results in a $100 late fee.


Final examinations are given at the end of most courses. Approximately one week is set aside for each examination period, and an attempt is made to distribute examinations for individual students evenly throughout this period. Absence from a final examination, except for the most compelling reasons, may result in a failure for the course.

Comprehensive final exams are not to be given (or due) during the last week of class, nor during the scheduled reading period. Other examinations and tests may be given at any time during the course at the discretion of the instructor.

Class Attendance

There is no university-wide class attendance policy. However, many individual instructors do set attendance requirements for their courses.

Student Absence Due to Religious Beliefs

According to Massachusetts state law, any student who is unable, because of his or her religious beliefs, to attend classes or to participate in any examination, study or work requirement on a particular day, will be excused from that requirement. He or she will have an opportunity to make up any examination, study or work requirement missed because of such absence, provided the makeup examination or work does not create an unreasonable burden on the University. No fees will be charged by the University for making such opportunities available. No adverse or prejudicial effects will result to any students availing themselves of these provisions.

Course Changes

Students may add and drop courses during each semester’s add/drop period. Thereafter, a student may enter a course only with the permission of the instructor and the College Board.

Partial Programs

In special circumstances, students may be permitted by the dean of students to register for a semester program of fewer than three course units. These students are designated as part-time students.

Guest And Special Students

Guest students from other colleges and universities who want to study at Clark for one or two semesters, and special students who want to take only a few courses without enrolling as degree candidates, may seek approval to do so. Students who wish to enroll as guest students should contact the Admissions Office. Those interested in special student status should contact the Registrar’s Office.

Academic Standing

Academic standing is reviewed each semester and is based upon performance during the previous semester. All students are required to pass at least two courses each semester and to maintain a 2.0 grade-point average. In order to remain in good academic standing, first-year students must complete at least five courses with a minimum 2.0 grade-point average by the conclusion of their first year. Sophomores, juniors and seniors must complete at least six courses with a minimum 2.0 grade-point average for the year. In addition, students may earn no more than four D or D+ grades for credit towards graduation. Students who fail to meet these requirements will be placed on academic probation for the next semester for which they enroll at the institution.

Students who do not maintain good academic standing may be placed on academic probation or may be dismissed by the College Board. The progress of students, who are placed on academic probation, is reviewed by the board at the end of the semester on probation.

Students on probation are expected to complete four courses with a 2.0 average or face a required withdrawal for the subsequent semester. A second required withdrawal requires the student to complete two courses at another institution within one semester with grades of C or higher, prior to their application for readmission to Clark. A third required withdrawal is final.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a basic value for all higher learning. Simply expressed, it requires that work presented must be wholly one’s own and unique to that course. All direct quotations must be identified by source. Academic integrity can be violated in many ways: for example, by submitting someone else’s paper as one’s own; cheating on an exam; submitting one paper to more than one class; copying a computer program; altering data in an experiment; or quoting published material without proper citation of references or sources. Attempts to alter an official academic record will also be treated as violations of academic integrity.

To ensure academic integrity and safeguard students’ rights, all suspected violations of academic integrity are reported to the College Board. Such reports must be carefully documented, and students accused of the infraction are notified of the charge. In the case of proven academic dishonesty, the student will receive a sanction, which may range from an F in the assignment or course to suspension or expulsion from the University.

Leaves of Absence

A student who is in good standing may apply to the dean of students for a leave of absence, after which he or she may return to the University without formal application for readmission.


Students who fail to enroll without taking a formal leave of absence will be administratively withdrawn from the institution. To be considered for readmission, students must apply to the dean of students.

Departmental Honors

Students may be admitted to a program leading to a bachelor’s degree with honors in a particular major at the beginning of the junior year or, in some cases, at the beginning of the senior year. In most cases, each student will work with a faculty member who serves as his or her honors adviser and assists with planning the honors research and thesis during the student’s junior and senior years. The program may include a maximum of six courses in which the student works under the adviser’s supervision. In some cases, students must pass a comprehensive examination given by the department in the senior year.

Students should check with the major department to obtain guidelines for the specific requirements for honors before the end of the sophomore year (although in some departments, applications for honors may be made in the second half of the junior year).

Admission to an honors program does not relieve students of any of the standard major requirements. A student’s candidacy for honors will be terminated at the end of any term in which he or she has not maintained a standard of work satisfactory to the department. If candidacy is terminated for any reason, the amount of course credit to be allowed for honors courses will be determined by the College Board.

The department may recommend that a student graduate with honors, high honors or highest honors. Consult individual departments for details concerning acceptance into their honors programs.

University Honors

Each semester, the dean of the college publishes a list of students who have distinguished themselves by outstanding academic performance in the preceding semester. Honors are awarded to the top students in each class based on semester grade averages.

Upon graduation, Latin honors are awarded at three levels: cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude. Latin honors are based on the following cumulative grade-point averages: summa cum laude, 3.80 and higher; magna cum laude, 3.60-3.79; and cum laude, 3.40-3.59. Also, to be eligible for Latin honors, students must have completed at least 75 percent of their Clark courses with a letter grade.

Honor societies at Clark include the Society of Phi Beta Kappa, founded at the College of William and Mary in 1776 and dedicated to the recognition and encouragement of outstanding scholarly achievement in liberal studies. The Clark chapter, Lambda of Massachusetts, was established in 1953. Every year a select group of seniors and juniors, who exemplify what the constitution of the United Chapters of Phi Beta Kappa describes as “high scholarship in the Arts and Sciences and good character” are invited to join the Chapter. Selection is made on the basis of overall academic achievement, as well as breath and depth of studies in the liberal arts. To be eligible, students must have studied a second language and have done course work in science and math that satisfies Clark’s perspective requirements for the Program of Liberal Studies. Elections are held in the spring semester. A committee of faculty members who are members of PBK determines the final selections on the basis of the academic records of candidates and recommendations from the faculty at large. Gryphon and Pleiades is the senior honor society at Clark. Its 12 members include students who have outstanding records of academic achievements and leadership in campus extracurricular activities. The Fiat Lux Honor Society was created in 1988 as a student honor and service society recognizing combined qualities of scholarship and citizenship among Clark juniors and seniors. Qualifications for selection include a minimum 3.3 grade-point average and significant community service.