2017-2018 Academic Catalog 
    Apr 20, 2024  
2017-2018 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Undergraduate Academic Policies

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, including but not limited to:

  • plagiarism;
  • unauthorized collaboration;
  • cheating on an exams;
  • submitting one paper to more than one class without the explicit approval of the professors involved;
  • copying a computer program;
  • altering data in an experiment;
  • attempts to alter or altering an official academic record;
  • forging the signature of a faculty member or administrator.

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

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 maintain a 2.0 grade-point average. In order to remain in academic good 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.  Students who fail to meet these requirements will be placed on academic probation by the Dean of Students for the next semester for which they enroll at the institution. The progress of students, who are placed on academic probation, is reviewed by College Board at the end of the semester.
Students on academic probation are required to complete four courses with a minimum 2.0 term and cumulative grade point average or face the possibility of a required withdrawal for the subsequent semester. A second required withdrawal requires the student to complete two courses at another institution within one academic year semester with grades of C or higher, prior to their application for readmission to Clark. A third required withdrawal is final.

Audit Status

To audit a course in a given semester, a student must maintain full-time enrollment status in that semester (that is, must be registered for at least three (3) units of credit, excluding the course to be audited). With the permission of the instructor, full-time undergraduate 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 payment of tuition. In limited or sectioned courses, regularly enrolled Clark students are given preference for available openings. For students who choose to audit a course, a final grade of “AU” will be reflected his/her transcript; the grade doesn’t count as earned units and does not get factored into the GPA.

Class Attendance

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

Class Standing

Current class level for undergraduate students is calculated by the number of units earned.

0-7.99 units completed = First Year class standing

8-15.99 units completed = Sophomore class standing

16-23.99 units completed = Junior class standing

24 or more units = Senior class standing

Online registration priority dates for undergraduate students, however, are determined by the student’s anticipated class as of the next semester, which includes BOTH earned units and currently registered units. For example, if a student has 12 earned units (current sophomore class) and is registered for 4 units this semester (total of 16), then that student’s anticipated class for the next semester is junior. Thus, the student’s “class for registration purposes” is junior.

Consortium Registration

Full-time (registered for at least 3.0 units) Clark undergraduate day college students may take one course each fall or spring through the Higher Education Consortium of Central Massachusetts (HECCMA). Consortium registration is permitted for sophomores, juniors, seniors, and transfer students beyond their first semester. Consortium courses must be taken for letter grade. The final grade will be calculated into the student’s GPA and will count in earned units 1.0 Clark unit. Students may not enroll in a Consortium course in the same semester in which the course is being offered at Clark unless that course is filled or conflicts with a required course which the student must complete in the same semester.

Courses in the Summer & Evening Division

Beginning in their sophomore year, undergraduate students may register for Summer & Evening Division (SED) courses that have been approved for day college credit. Students may take one Summer & Evening Division course each semester during the academic year (fall and spring) up to a maximum of four courses toward their undergraduate program. Summer courses in SED are limited to no more than 2 courses per summer and are not included in the four course maximum.

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.

Enrollment Status

At Clark, academic credit is expressed in terms of course units. Most Clark courses are awarded one unit which is equivalent to four semester credit hours or 180 hours of engaged academic time.  

Enrollment status is determined on a semester-by-semester basis based on actual registration. A student is considered to be enrolled as of the first day of classes of that particular semester.  Registration enrollment statuses and criteria are defined as follows:

Enrollment Status Unit Criteria
Full-Time 3.00 and up
Three-Quarter Time 1.75 to 2.75
Half-Time 1.50
Less than Half-Time 0.25 to 1.25


Enrollment statuses are used to determine financial aid eligibility, loan deferment, FICA exemption, health insurance, and for international students, immigration status.   After each term begins, enrollment statuses are reported to the National Student Clearinghouse several times in the semester to ensure that loan agencies have accurate and up-to-date enrollment information, as is required by federal regulations.  

Fifth Course Approval

Juniors and seniors with a minimum of a 3.0 cumulative GPA or a minimum of a 3.0 term GPA from the most recent completed full-time semester may register for a fifth course unit at no additional cost. Sophomores with a minimum of a 3.6 cumulative GPA may also register for a fifth course at no additional cost. The standard number of units that any student may register for in a given semester is 4.5 units; the fifth course approval will raise the allowable unit maximum for the term to 5.5 units.

Final Examinations

Final examinations are given at the end of most courses; however, not all courses will have a face-to-face exam. 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. Final Exams are prescheduled and will appear on the Registrar’s website at the start of each semester. Professors are expected to inform their classes of their final exam schedule at the start of every semester and may only change the date or time of a scheduled final exam if they obtain the consent of the entire class. Should a student be scheduled for three back-to-back final exams on a single day, the middle exam may be rescheduled in coordination with the instructor.
Absence from a final examination, except for the most compelling reasons, may result in a failure for the course. If an absence is necessary due to a medical or personal reason, the student must file a petition to the College Board for an incomplete in the course.
Comprehensive final exams may not be given (or due) during the last week of class or during the scheduled reading period. Other examinations and tests may be given at any time during the course at the discretion of the instructor.

General University Graduation Requirements

To earn a Bachelor of Arts degree at Clark, a student must complete a minimum of 32 course units (128 semester credit hours equivalent) with a minimum overall (cumulative) 2.0 grade-point average (GPA).  Bachelor’s degree candidates must also successfully complete the requirements of at least one major, a first-year intensive, a course with a Diversity & Inclusion attribute, all Program of Liberal Studies requirements, and a capstone.  A student may opt to pursue additional majors, minors, or concentrations and will be required to complete requirements for all declared programs prior to the award of the degree.

In addition to meeting all academic requirements, a student’s disciplinary record must be in good standing in order to be eligible to receive a degree from the University. Clark may place a hold on the conferral of the degree along with other student records if any of the following exist with regard to a student’s disciplinary record: any pending disciplinary proceeding, any pending appeals of a disciplinary proceeding or sanction, or any pending or active sanctions.

General Readmission

When an undergraduate student is readmitted to Clark University, he/she will be required to fulfill the major, minor, and/or concentration requirements as stated in the term when the student was admitted. Program substitutions or waivers of requirements may be made at the discretion of the department chair upon being readmitted. Students will be required to complete all university-wide and PLS requirements as of their original term of admittance. Any exceptions or waivers of university-wide requirements require approval from the chair of College Board.

General Registration

Continuing students are expected to register in November for the spring semester and again in April for the following fall semester. Newly admitted first-year and transfer students for fall will register during the summer advising period; newly admitted students for spring will register for the spring semester in early January. Students may add and drop courses during each semester’s add/drop period; schedules must be finalized by the end of each semester’s add/drop period. Thereafter, a student may enter a course only with the permission of both the instructor and the College Board. Notification of the dates for registration is published by the Registrar’s Office and sent via email to all active students, therefore, and failure to register within the announced period results in a $100 late fee. For more information about tuition charges associated with registration, please visit the Tuition and Financial Aid  page.


Grades are an indication of individual performance in each course taken at the University. At Clark, two 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

• D indicates marginal work

• F indicates unacceptable work

  1. The Pass/Fail Option: This option uses the symbols P and F. 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 Fail (F) grade. Students must choose this grading option within the first three weeks of the semester. Many departments will not permit students to complete major courses with a P grade. Students must consider this before electing a P/F grading option.

A student may receive no more than four D or D+ grades.  Excess D grades (D or D+ above the allowable limit of 4) will be calculated into the GPA but will not count in earned hours.

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.
To compute your GPA, use the scale below to assign a numerical value to each letter grade, then multiply that value by the number of units assigned to each course. Add all of the numerical values together and divide the sum by the total number of units taken.

A+ =4.30     B+  =3.30     C+  =2.30     D+  =1.30
A   =4.00     B    =3.00     C    =2.00      D   =1.00
A-  =3.70     B-  =2.70     C-   =1.70      F   =0.00

Grades of Incomplete

Students who experience extenuating medical or personal circumstances that impede their ability to complete the requirements of a course within the semester may petition for a grade of incomplete. The student must first obtain support for the petition for incomplete from the instructor, who will identify the work that is to be completed along with a deadline for submission of the work. Confirmation of extenuating circumstances must be provided either by Academic Advising, the Dean of Students Office, Student Accessibility Services, Health Services, or by the student’s physician or therapist. The completed petition must be submitted for review by the Chair of College Board.
An incomplete may also be awarded as the result of a research delay that a student experiences. Such a circumstance must be confirmed by the faculty member.

Leave of Absence

A student may apply for a leave of absence for a period up to 180 days (typically one semester at a time) during periods of enrollment, defined at Clark as Fall and Spring. Summer is considered a period of non-enrollment because it is not a required term for undergraduate students and is, therefore, not considered part of the leave of absence period. At the end of the requested leave of absence, the student may re-enroll; file an extension of their leave of absence; or withdrawal from the university. Students may request an extension for an additional period up to an additional 180 days. Two extension periods beyond the initial leave of absence are permitted, after which time the student will be withdrawn from the university. Likewise, if a student fails to re-enroll or file for an extension, the student will also be withdrawn from the university.

Medical Leave of Absence

A student may apply for a medical leave, based on the leave of absence policy and medical documentation that supports the medical necessity for the student to be away. A student may apply for a medical leave of absence for a period up to 180 days during periods of enrollment, defined at Clark as Fall and Spring. Summer is considered a period of non-enrollment because it is not a required term for undergraduate students and is, therefore, not considered part of the leave of absence period. At the end of the requested leave of absence, the student may re-enroll; file an extension of their leave of absence; or withdrawal from the university. Students may request an extension for an additional period up to an additional 180 days. Two extension periods beyond the initial leave of absence are permitted, after which time the student will be withdrawn from the university. Likewise, if a student fails to re-enroll or file for an extension, the student will also be withdrawn from the university.

Part-Time Status

Clark University students typically register for a full course load of 4.0 units. In order to be enrolled full time, a student must be registered for a minimum of 3.0 units. Students who wish to register for fewer than 3.0 units in a semester should petition for part time enrollment through the Dean of Students office. Approvals are given on a per-semester basis. Students should note that being enrolled less than full time will affect federal aid and university grants and scholarships, and might affect other forms of external financial aid.

Posthumous Degree

The University may grant undergraduate and graduate degrees posthumously. To be eligible for consideration for the awarding of a posthumous degree, the deceased student must at the time of death:

  • be an enrolled student in good standing with the university;
  • have completed 75% of the degree requirements based on normal academic progress (have achieved senior status as an undergraduate; completed 75% of course requirements for a Master’s degree; have a draft of a dissertation/degree paper and completed all other degree requirements for the Ph.D.).

When a request to award a posthumous degree to an eligible student is received, the President will consult with the Provost, Chair of the Faculty and the Chair of the Board of Trustees prior to deciding whether to proceed with the awarding of the degree.

Repeating Courses

It is the policy of Clark University to allow students to repeat any course. However, you will only get credit for one of the courses (except in cases where the faculty designate a course as one that can earn credit more than once). Both courses will appear on the transcript but only the higher grade will be computed into the GPA. Students receiving any kind of federal or institutional aid should consult with the office of Financial Aid to determine if the repeated course/s will affected their aid eligibility.


Students must complete a minimum of 8.0 of their final 16.0 units in residence. Their final two full-time semesters must also be in residence. Seniors who have completed seven full-time semesters and who wish to complete a final full-time semester in the Summer & Evening Division (formerly COPACE) must receive approval from College Board and take a leave of absence. Students with fewer than 3.0 units remaining to complete their degree requirements may elect to complete those courses either in the Summer & Evening Division or at another institution without need of a waiver of the residency requirements. In almost all such cases, students will take a leave of absence to complete their remaining unit(s) in the Summer & Evening Division or at an approved institution. Students taking their final unit(s) at an approved institution will be required to get transfer credit pre-approval from College Board.


Students enrolled in the ROTC program at WPI may have their courses recorded on their Clark transcript upon approval from the Dean of the College. The ROTC courses will be recorded with a letter grade; the grades are not calculated into the GPA and no credit will be awarded toward earned units.

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.

Study Abroad/Study Away Programs

Clark University requires that prior to your departure for your study abroad program, the student must:

• be in residence at Clark for at least one year
• be in good academic standing; the student may not be on academic probation
   at the time of application, or during the period of study abroad
• have a minimum GPA of 3.0 (some programs may require a higher GPA)
• declare a major; this is required in order to assess if the student will be able to
   meet all requirements needed to graduate on time
• have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond the intended date of

Final approval of all applications is made by the program overseas; applications may be rejected for any number of reasons, including space availability.

Senior residency requirement and study abroad

Clark University has a residency requirement for the senior year. First semester seniors may study abroad and still fulfill this requirement as long as the student attends a Clark-affiliated program. It is not recommended that second semester seniors study abroad.

Transfer Credit and Advanced Standing

To earn a bachelor’s degree at Clark, a student must earn at least 16.0 units in residence at Clark; therefore the total number of external credit that may be awarded to an undergraduate student is 16.0 units. “External credit” is credit earned in the following categories:

  1. Advanced placement
  2. Credits transferred from other regionally accredited 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) is normally granted for advanced standing credit. AP credit is defined as one unit of degree credit assigned for a score of 4 or 5 on a CEEB AP examination taken prior to matriculation and before the student formally enrolls. Students also may receive advanced placement credit for college work completed while enrolled in high school, prior to their matriculation at Clark University if that credit is in a content area deemed academically acceptable to Clark and is from a regionally 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 three Clark units.
  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 a maximum of 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.

University Honors

Dean’s List
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 point averages. To be eligible, students meet the following conditions:

• register for and pass at least four units
• have at least three units of letter graded credits
• have at least three units in the undergraduate or graduate college
• have received no grade lower than a “B-“

Latin Honors
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. GPAs are not rounded up for Latin honors calculations. To be eligible for Latin honors, students must have completed at least 75 percent of their Clark courses with a letter grade.
Honor Societies
Clark has three honor societies.

  1. The Society of Phi Beta Kappa. To be considered, students must show diversity as well as a depth in coursework outside the major; demonstrate knowledge of a second or non-native language through the completion of the intermediate college level or its equivalent; and have completed at least one course in college-level mathematics, logic or statistics. 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.
  2. Gryphon and Pleiades, the senior honor society, has a long history at Clark University. The organization is the result of a merger of two earlier honor societies, Gryphon, the men’s honor society founded in 1909 and Pleiades, the women’s honor society founded in 1948. Membership is awarded annually to no more than 12 outstanding juniors who personify the society’s motto, “Scholarship, Leadership, and Citizenship,” as demonstrated by outstanding achievement in academics, extra- and co-curricular activities, and community service. Members must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.40. Annual admission into the society is determined by the current members.
  3. 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.

Withdrawals or Failure to Register

An active student who is not enrolled (i.e., has 0 units registered) prior to the start of the semester through the institutional Add/Drop period for a given semester (generally about 10 days into a semester) will be administratively withdrawn by the university. Students who wish to enroll for a semester in which they have been administratively withdrawn will need to contact the Dean of Students office to discuss re-enrollment.  A student who is reactivated from administrative withdrawal must petition College Board to enroll in courses with the endorsement of the instructors.

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. After the add/drop period ends, students may withdraw from courses through Friday of week 10 in any given semester by completing a course withdrawal form. In cases of course withdrawals a final grade of a W will be recorded; the W grade will not be calculated into the GPA and no credit will be awarded toward earned units. Students compelled to withdraw from a course due to exceptional circumstances (e.g., serious illness) may petition the College Board for a withdrawal with reason (WR) grade; the WR grade will not be calculated into the GPA and no credit will be awarded toward earned units.