2021-2022 Academic Catalog 
    
    Oct 24, 2021  
2021-2022 Academic Catalog

School of Professional Studies - Graduate 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 Academic Review Board who will review the case. 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, student will receive a sanction, which may range from an F in the assignment or course to suspension or expulsion from the University. 

Academic Integrity Sanctions  

In determining the appropriate sanction, the Academic Review Board will take into consideration the student’s prior history of academic integrity, and the seriousness of the violation. Sanctions may include but are not limited to one or a combination of the following responses depending on if it is a first or second offense:

  • Letter of warning to the student
  • Grade of zero for the particular assignment
  • Grade of F for the course
  • Academic probation, the length of which will be determined by the ARB.
  • Notation of sanction on student’s academic record
  • Suspension: student may be suspended for one semester or one year; the ARB may suspend the student without opportunity for transferable credit
  • Expulsion from the University

Appeals of Academic Review Board Decisions

  1. An appeal of an Academic Review Board decision in an academic integrity case may be made only either by the respondent or by the complainant.
  2. Any appeal of the ARB’s decision must be filed in writing within 10 business days of notification by the ARB. Exceptions to this limit may be made at the discretion of the ARB, if circumstances warrant.
  3. Appeals must be based either on new information not available at the time of the original hearing or on flaws in the procedure of the original hearing. Appeals may not be based solely on dissatisfaction with the decision of the ARB.
    1. Appeals of the ARB’s decision based upon submission of new information are filed with the chair of ARB and will be reviewed by the full Board.
    2. Appeals based upon a perceived flaw in the hearing process are filed with the Dean of the School of Professional Studies. Appeals are heard by the Dean of the School of Professional Studies or by the Dean’s designee(s).
  4. When appeal is heard by the Dean of the School of Professional Studies, all documents and recordings of the hearing will be made available to the Dean or the Dean’s designee(s).
  5. The decision of the Dean of the School of Professional Studies or the Dean’s designee(s) will be final.

Academic Review Board

The Academic Review Board (ARB) for the School of Professional Studies is chaired by the Associate Dean of Professional Studies.  The primary function of the ARB is to monitor student academic progress and respond to requests for exceptions to established university academic regulations or procedures.  Common cases that are heard by the ARB include: grade dispute, academic dismissal decision, and academic integrity cases.

The ARB evaluates each request/petition based on the individual student’s circumstances. 

SPS students who wish to submit a petition to the Academic Review Board must first consult with their academic advisor.   

The primary function of the ARB is to monitor student academic progress, respond to requests for exceptions to established university academic regulations or procedures, and respond to accusations of suspected university academic policy violations.  Common cases that are heard by the ARB include grade dispute, academic dismissal decision, and academic integrity violation.

The ARB evaluates each request/petition based on the individual student’s circumstances. 

SPS students who wish to submit a petition to the Academic Review Board must first consult with their academic advisor. 

Academic Standing

Good Standing, Academic Probation, and Dismissal

Credit toward the SPS Master Degree is expressed in terms of course units. With few exception, each course is equivalent to one unit (four semester credit hours). A minimum of 10 one credit course units, 8 of which must be completed at Clark University for a master’s degree, and satisfactory completion of major and other requirements with a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 are necessary to attain the master degree.  All SPS certificates fall under the Academic Standard policy of maintaining a 3.0 GPA regardless of the number of units taken in the certificate program.  The academic standing for each student is reviewed at the end of every semester.

Good standing indicates that a student’s cumulative grade point average is at least 3.0 (B). While the grade of C earned in a course is a passing grade, a cumulative average of B (3.0) is required for graduation. A cumulative grade point average below 3.0 is considered inadequate academic performance. Students are placed on academic probation when their GPA is below 3.0 after completing a semester regardless of the number of units.  SPS academic advisor will assist the student with a mitigation plan to get back on track.

A student is academically dismissed if, after already having been placed on academic probation, their cumulative GPA remains 3.0 after attempting another 2 units.  An F grade in any course may constitute grounds for immediate dismissal from the program without a probationary period. An F grade received as a consequence of a violation of academic integrity will result in permanent expulsion from the University. The School of Professional Studies reserves the right to curtail continuous registration if a student fails two courses completed in their first year at Clark. This policy is designed in the interest of the SPS graduate students.  A student will receive notification about their dismissal and has the right to appeal the dismissal decision to the Academic Review Board within one week of receipt of such notification.

Academic Dismissal Appeal

Students do have the option of appealing their dismissal by demonstrating extenuating circumstances through the Academic Review Board.  Students appealing a dismissal decision may not be eligible to enroll in classes the term following their dismissal to allow time for the appeal process.   A student who wishes to appeal an academic dismissal decision must first discuss the grounds of appeal with their academic advisor, e.g., illness, emergency.  If the student believes firmly that there are grounds for appeal and can provide documentation to support the appeal, they must submit a formal appeal to the SPS Academic Review Board (ARB). 

Upon receipt of the SPS ARB’s decision, the student has five (5) business days to appeal the decision to the Dean if they have new information that could not reasonably have been made available during the original appeal and may have been sufficient to alter the Board’s decision.  The decision of the Dean is final and cannot be appealed further.

Note: Student academic standing impacts financial aid and international student visa status. 

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Clark University is committed to providing equal access to otherwise qualified students with disabilities who are able to effectively function in a rigorous, liberal-arts campus environment.

Any student with a documented disability is eligible to receive services from the Office of Student Accessibility Services (SAS). Clark University offers a range of legally mandated accommodations to students with documented disabilities to give them access to full participation in equal educational opportunities. Eligibility for these services is based on documented need and is determined on a case-by-case basis. The purpose of accommodations is to reduce or eliminate any disadvantages that may exist because of an individual’s disability. The law does not require institutions to waive specific courses or academic requirements considered essential to a particular program or degree. Instead, they are mandated to modify existing requirements to ensure that individuals are not discriminated against on the basis of their disability.

Reasonable accommodations are not intended to eliminate a student’s disability, but to support the student’s own efforts to circumvent obstacles to learning. Students are expected to meet the essential course and degree requirements. When necessary, SAS staff will consult with faculty regarding essential standards in order to determine reasonable accommodations. Accommodations are not substitutions for faculty academic decisions such as course content, grading, or syllabus requirements. These determinations are not within the jurisdiction of Student Accessibility Services.

Disclosure of a disability is voluntary; however, it is important to note that the university is not responsible for providing accommodations to a student who has not provided appropriate documentation of a disability to Student Accessibility Services and requested a reasonable accommodation.

Filing a Discrimination Grievance Based on Disability

Students have the right to file a discrimination grievance based upon disability. These guidelines provide information on how to proceed if a student believes they have been denied equal access in the form of appropriate accommodations, modifications, auxiliary aids, or effective communication or suffered discriminatory harassment as described in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. These guidelines are not mandatory, and students may proceed with their complaint at any of the levels listed below. A complainant is not required by law to use the institutional grievance procedure before filing a complaint with The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) of the U.S. Department of Education; however, both the OCR and the university encourage using internal grievance procedures before filing a complaint with OCR.

For more information, visit: https://web.clarku.edu/policies/detailpolicy.cfm?pid=61.

Attendance Requirements

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

Weather/Class Cancellations

When School of Professional Studies classes are suspended or cancelled because of severe weather conditions or other emergency situations, announcements are made via Clark ALERT and on the Clark University website.

See also bostonchannel.com. Students are notified by email.

Absence Due to University-Sponsored Activities

Participation in university-sponsored activities, where the students are representing their university, college, or department, may cause absences from class that qualify as excused absences. Excused absences, with appropriate prior arrangement, are not subject to penalty, and missed work may be satisfied through agreement between the student and the instructor. University-sponsored activities that may justify excused absences include athletic competition, performing arts events, and research or other presentations.

Students must discuss absence(s) with instructors at least two weeks in advance of the university-sponsored activity, or as soon as possible if the activity is at the beginning of the term or is the result of an unforeseen circumstance. Instructors may require a written statement from the administrator in charge of the activity. Instructors are expected to make reasonable accommodations for these class absences, including administration of makeup assignments and exams whenever possible. It is expected that students seeking an excused absence will develop a plan and timetable to make up the missed course work with their instructor(s). Note, however, that the requirements of some courses or programs may preclude such accommodations.

Absence Due to Religious Beliefs

Any student who is unable, because of their religious beliefs, to attend classes or to participate in any examination, study, or work requirement should be provided with an opportunity to make up such examination, study, or work requirement that they may have missed because of such absence on any particular day, provided that such makeup examination or work does not create an unreasonable burden upon the university. Students should make appropriate arrangements with the instructor in advance of the absence, preferably at least two weeks before the religious observance. 

Absence Due to Jury Duty

Members of the university community are expected to fulfill their obligations to serve on a jury if called upon. A student selected for jury duty should inform their instructors. They will provide a reasonable substitute or compensatory opportunity for any required work missed. Student may be required to furnish their summons notice or their certificate of service when making these arrangements. A student with such an absence will not be penalized in any way.

Other Absences

Unforeseen events or circumstances, including illness, may cause a student to be absent from class. Students must notify their instructors and academic advisor, as appropriate, as soon as possible to apprise them of the circumstances leading to their absence, as well as how much time will be missed. Students must work with their instructors to develop a plan, with a timetable, to make up missed course work. Students cannot be required to provide medical documentation. Instructors are expected to make reasonable accommodations for warranted class absences, including administration of makeup assignments and exams, whenever possible.

Extended Absences

A student who is absent from school for an extended period of time must inform their academic advisor by letter, email, or telephone. The expected length of the absence may determine whether the student should apply for a leave of absence. It is strongly recommended that the student contact their academic advisor to discuss potential next steps.

Unexcused Absences

Faculty members are under no obligation to allow students to complete work missed from unexcused absences.  Faculty may have attendance policies that result in penalties that harm course grades.

Students who abuse the excused absence policy by consciously misrepresenting to the instructor the reason for the absence will be considered to have committed academic misconduct.  Examples of abuse include falsifying an illness or family emergency, falsely claiming that attendance at the event is required, falsely claiming to have attended an event, or falsely claiming that an absence has been approved by university officials.  If an instructor determines that a student is guilty of abuse, the instructor should treat it as they would any other instance of breach of academic integrity.

Nonattendance

Nonattendance does not constitute official course dropping or withdrawal, which means the student is fully responsible for the academic and financial consequences. Like all grades for courses attempted and/or completed, a grade earned due to nonattendance impacts a student’s academic progression, an international student’s visa eligibility, a federal financial aid recipient’s aid eligibility and award, and any applicable scholarship.

Audit Policy

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). Full-time resident graduate students* may audit one undergraduate or graduate course per semester with permission of instructor and based on course availability.  Students registering for credit will be given preference during the pre-registration period; audit requests will be permitted during the add/drop period only.  Faculty reserve the right to deny audit requests.  Courses that are audited may not be taken again for credit except in cases where the course is repeatable for credit and the content differs.  Students who audit a course are required to adhere to the instructor’s attendance and participation requirements to receive a transcript designation of “AU” for the course.  The audited course will not count as earned units and does not get factored into the GPA.  During the final grade submission period, faculty may request to the Registrar’s Office that a student not receive a transcript audit notation in cases where students do not meet the requirements of the audit.

*Non-resident and less than full-time graduate students may not audit courses

Courses in Other Graduate Departments

Students wishing to take graduate level courses in other Clark University Graduate programs must first get approval from their SPS Academic Advisor.  If approved, the student will also obtain approval from the course instructor in another Clark Graduate program before registering.  

Course Load

Federal financial aid recipients must be enrolled in and successfully complete a minimum number of credits each semester to maintain eligibility. For more information, contact the Office of Financial Assistance.

Students who are studying in F-1 status must be enrolled full-time each semester.

Students who are not studying in F-1 or J-1 status and who are eligible to study in the United States may be enrolled part-time or full-time. Applicants in B-1/B-2 status cannot enroll part-time or full-time; however, they may choose to apply for a change to a status in the United States and may enroll only upon approval by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Active/Inactive

  • A student is considered “active” for as long as they are registered and enrolled in at least one course. 
  • A student is considered “inactive” when there is a gap in their enrollment for one year or more.  Should an “inactive” wish to re-enroll, they will need to contact the academic advisor to formally request a return.

Only active students may have access to university resources, e.g., library, fitness center.

Course Waivers

Waivers may be granted for foundation courses if competency in the academic area can be demonstrated by prior academic work. Also, mastery of skill areas through extensive professional experience can be used to waive some foundation course requirements. If a waiver is granted, an elective may replace the foundation requirement. The waiver does not reduce the total number of courses required for graduation.

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.  

General University Graduation Requirements

To earn a Master degree at Clark’s School of Professional Studies, a student must complete a minimum of 10 course units, 8 of which must be completed at Clark University (residency requirement), with a minimum overall (cumulative) 3.0 grade-point average (GPA).  Student must complete all requirements for their degree program.  To earn a certificate within the School of Professional Studies, a student must complete the required number of courses as outlined in the Clark Catalog.  

In addition to meeting all academic requirements, a student’s disciplinary record must be in good standing in order to be eligible to earn a degree or certificate from the University. Clark may place a hold on the conferral of the degree along with other student records if any of the following exists 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.  Any hold on a student’s account may impact their ability to receive their diploma.

Time Limit on Program Completion

Although there is no set limit for a SPS graduate student to complete their degree, there is a limit to how long a course may be used toward program completion. Course credits expire after seven years unless an extension is approved by the Associate Dean.

Curricular Changes

When there is a change to a curriculum or program requirement, students already matriculated and actively enrolled in the program may continue to follow the program requirements at the time of matriculation or to follow the new curriculum/program requirements. If a student wishes to follow the new curriculum/program requirements they must write to their academic advisor requesting a catalog change. Catalog changes are approved by the Office of the Registrar.   No catalog change request will be accepted during the student’s last semester.

Grading

Grade Scales

Grades are an indication of individual performance in each course taken at the University. The letter grades used in performance evaluation are as follows: A Outstanding (4.0); B Good-performing at a graduate level (3.0); C Marginal Pass (2.0) (The symbols + or - attached to letter grades increase or decrease the grade respectively by 0.3. There is no A+ or C- grade); F is failing (0); I (Incomplete - see notes below, only the instructor of the course may assign an incomplete). The letter W is a Withdraw: indicates that the student withdrew from the course (withdrawal requests must be submitted in writing).

Grades of Incomplete

Students who have made significant progress in the course and experience extenuating circumstances that impede their ability to complete the requirements of a course within the semester may petition their instructor for a grade of incomplete.  An incomplete in a course given in the Fall Semester or Winter Intersession   must be made up by the end of Spring Semester.  An incomplete grade given in the Spring Semester or Summer Session must be made up by the end of the Fall Semester.  An incomplete is automatically converted to the grade of F if a grade change is not received by the specified due date. If there are sound reasons for an extension beyond these dates, student should contact the Associate Dean with a statement of support from the instructor. The petition must be filed on or before the specified due date. Extensions of incompletes are granted solely at the discretion of the School of Professional Studies Dean.

Grade Changes

Grades may be changed after the initial submission only if an instructor of record has made a computational error in calculating a final grade or has reevaluated work submitted before the grading period ends. Grades cannot be changed on the basis of a second trial, such as a new examination or additional work undertaken or completed after the grade report has been recorded.  A change of grade may not be used as a substitute for an “Incomplete.” If a student has work missing at the end of a semester - exams, papers, assignments to be written or rewritten - the student must petition their instructor for an “Incomplete.”

The instructor of record is the only individual who can change a grade. The faculty member should submit a request to change a grade to the University Registrar who will make the change subject to review by the Associate Dean. Any correction must take place in the semester following the one in which the grade was assigned.  In situations where the instructor of record is not available to make a final determination of change of grade, the Associate Dean and the Registrar will consult on an appropriate resolution.

The initial reporting of a grade does not require the grade change process. If the grade was not properly recorded or if the course is listed as IN (Incomplete), an email from the instructor’s Clark University account to the Registrar’s will suffice to report the grade.

Grade Appeal

A student who wishes to appeal a grade must first discuss the grade in question with the instructor. If the student feels that the issue is not resolved at this level, the second step in the appeals process requires a review by the Academic Review Board.   A final appeal may be brought to the Dean of the School of Professional Studies after a review by the Academic Review Board. The decision of the Dean will be the final action taken. 

In all levels of the appeal process, student must articulate the grounds for the appeal and provide documentation to support their position.

Honors

Honor Societies

The National Honor Society Alpha Epsilon Lambda, established in 1947 as the National Evening College Honor Society, is dedicated to the recognition and encouragement of outstanding scholarly achievement in liberal studies. The society was founded to honor those persons who meet high scholastic standards while artfully coping with their lives as nontraditional students. Each year, the School of Professional Studies Graduate National Honor Sponsor inducts candidates who are matriculated students, have completed their master degree requirements and have performed with outstanding scholastic achievement (minimum cumulative GPA of 3.50). 

Highest GPA

The student with the highest GPA in each degree program is designated as the award winner. In the case of a tie, the program lead will determine the single degree program winner.   A certificate is presented to the recipients at the SPS Graduation Gala.

Fern Johnson Award

This award is limited to 5th year students in the Accelerated degree Programs.  The final decision by program leads takes into consideration how well the student has had a positive influence in their community during their 5th year.  The recipient receives a certificate of award at the SPS Graduation Gala.  His/her name will also be added to the Fern Johnson Award memorial plaque.

Laura Myers Community Service Award

Students are required to have a minimum GPA of 3.5 and have made significant socially valued contributions to their community through their time, actions, talents, and dedication through the course of their program. (These contributions are outside any volunteer work done on behalf of an employer or any internship/capstone project).  Nomination papers will consist of a 750-word personal statement.  Letters of support from community leaders are optional.  Decision on the award winner is made by the SPS program leads.  The award winner  is presented a certificate at the SPS Graduation Gala and his/her name is added to the Laura Myers Award memorial plaque. 

Internal Graduate Student Transfer Process

The purpose of the Internal Graduate Student Transfer process is to ensure that the accepting Clark school or department has vetted the student’s ability to succeed in the new Clark graduate program.  The process also ensures that all proper documentation has been filed with the appropriate administrative functions. 

The following steps must be followed by the student, the academic administrative staff of the originating program and the receiving program entities.  Students must request an internal program transfer at least four weeks before the start of a semester. 

  1. Student advises their program academic advisor of the desire to transfer to another Clark graduate program.
     
  2. The academic advisor of the student’s originating unit reviews and approves the student request to contact the receiving entity for a transfer interview.  The approval is documented and sent to the receiving entity program advisor or director.
     
  3. The student is interviewed by the receiving school or department.  During this time, the new advisor will review the student’s transcript and determine suitability for admittance. The same admission criteria for a new admit will be applied to an internal transfer.  While all the student’s courses follow the student to their future academic department, eligibility of those courses for degree requirements is determined by the receiving school or department.  It is at the sole discretion of the receiving school or department to honor or deny any previously awarded tuition remission or scholarships.
     
  4. It should be noted that a student’s accumulated grade point average (GPA) represents their entire history at Clark and not only degree requirements.  Therefore, the internal transfer of program does not interfere with the overall calculation of the student’s accumulated GPA.  Students requesting an internal transfer should verify that they will be able to meet Clark’s minimum GPA of 3.0 for graduation requirements. 
     
  5. Upon admission to the new school or department, the new academic advisor completes the Dean’s Action Form (DAF) to be distributed to the following functions: Graduate Admissions, ISSO, Registrar, Office of Financial Aid, Student Accounts and the school or department from which the student is leaving.  If the student is an international student, a new letter of admission is also sent to the ISSO for adjustments to the student’s I-20 form.
     
  6. Upon approval in the new school or department, it is the student’s responsibility to ensure that he/she understands the course requirements of the new program based on the academic calendar under which they are admitted to the new entity. This can be accomplished in an advising session.
     
  7. It is the student’s responsibility to work with the new academic advisor to register for the appropriate courses for the upcoming semester.
     
  8. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that any holds on their account are addressed before registering for the upcoming term.

Leave of Absence

General 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 international 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 withdraw 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. The University Leave of Absence policy is for internal purposes only, students will be considered withdrawn to any all-external agencies, including the Federal Government.  Students receiving federally or state funded aid should consult with their financial aid counselor to understand how this may impact their aid.

Students who wish to take a leave of absence must contact their academic advisor.

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 international 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 withdraw 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. The University Medical Leave of Absence policy is for internal purposes only, students will be considered withdrawn to any all-external agencies, including the Federal Government.  Students receiving federally or state funded aid should consult with their financial aid counselor to understand how this may impact their aid.

Leave of Absence Due to Military Deployment

  • Students who are currently enrolled in and attending class(es) who receive active-duty orders need to provide a copy of their orders to their academic advisor. 
    • Under the Valor Act students have the option to complete the course when they return from Active Duty without penalty.  Students who receive active-duty orders also have the option to withdraw from the course with a full credit of fees and tuition paid. 
  • If the academic course is no longer available upon the student’s return from active duty, they will be permitted to complete a replacement course, as approved by their academic advisor, for equivalent credit without penalty.
  • With respect to any health insurance fee, the refund policy is subject to the concurrence of the carrier.
  • Students who have received any form of financial aid including a full or partial scholarship or student loan, or those who expect to receive such aid should contact the Financial Aid office to make appropriate arrangements.
  • Students shall receive non-punitive withdrawals in all courses from which they are required to withdraw.
  • Students residing in residence halls shall receive refunds on a pro rata basis for the remainder of the semester. 
  • Verification of the call to service must be provided by providing their academic advisor with a copy of the Order to Active Duty within one week of receipt of the order.
  • Also, if the student chooses to withdraw, they will follow the withdrawal procedures.  In the event of a short notice/no notice deployment, a student can have someone in their family or unit provide their academic advisor a copy of the order.
  • The Dean may waive or suspend any institutional policy or regulation that negatively impacts the students in their withdrawal or readmission to the institution due to a call to active duty.
  • Any student required to withdraw due to being called to active duty shall be given priority in enrollment in the program of their choice upon return to the institution for the two semesters immediately following their discharge from active duty.
  • International students who must take a leave of absence to engage in military service in their home country must additionally contact the ISSO.
Leave of Absence for International Students
International students should discuss maintenance of proper U.S. immigration status with an advisor at ISSO before requesting any type of leave of absence.

Return from a Leave of Absence

Students must contact their academic advisor before their planned return.

  • Students seeking to return in the spring term should contact their academic advisor in November.
  • Students seeking to turn in the summer term should contact their academic advisor in March.
  • Students seeking to turn in the fall term should contact their academic advisor in June.

International students need to also consult their ISSO advisor.

Multiple Graduate Credentials/Degrees*

The School of Professional Studies offers several post graduate certificates in addition to master’s degrees. While enrolled in graduate level programs (post-baccalaureate certificates, master’s degrees, post-master’s certificates, CAGS, and doctoral degrees) students may only declare and pursue one credential at a time; except in cases when dual degree programs have been intentionally developed to be concurrently awarded as outlined in the University Catalog. Please refer to the Clark Academic policy designed to help students who are interested in earning multiple graduate credentials at Clark University. Multiple Graduate Credentials/Degrees.

*Degrees are conferred after a student completes the requisite number of degree program classes. Credentials are attestations about the individual’s ability made by a third party who is qualified to do so. Credentials can come in a variety of forms, including degrees, certificates, as well as professional licenses. Degrees are always credentials, but credentials are not always degrees.

Pass/Fail

A Pass/Fail grade option may be elected: P (pass) signifies performance at a B- or above level; a grade below B- will show as an F (fail) on transcripts. Good standing is still determined by the letter grade submitted by the faculty member.

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.

Prior Experiential Credit

Students with significant professional experience may be awarded academic credit for that work.  For more information, please consult with the Associate Dean in the School of Professional Studies.   Students are eligible to apply for Prior Learning credit once they begin their degree program studies.  No prior learning credits are excepted during the student’s last semester.

The Prior Learning Assessment process is as follows:

The student prepares a portfolio outlining their experience.  The portfolio shall map the student’s experiences directly to the learning outcomes of the course and provide evidence of how those outcomes have been met or exceeded.  The evidence in achieving the outcomes can include (but is not limited to) industry certifications, professional job descriptions, documented professional development, training sessions etc.

 An evaluation of the student’s portfolio is conducted by an academically qualified individual within the academic unit.  The evaluation should focus on the intersection of the student’s professional experiences and the curriculum’s learning outcomes. The evaluation should result in a clear and unambiguous assessment of the file and recommend that the student receive 0, 1 or 2 course equivalents. The evaluation may include interviewing the student and calling upon professional references to triangulate and verify the information presented.

The assessment is submitted to the dean or director of the academic unit for final approval.  Award of academic credit cannot proceed without this approval.

A documented review of the assessment is submitted to the student in a timely manner.  In the case where the student has shown evidence of academic merit for credit, the evaluator shall also notify the Clark Registrar of the award of credit.

Credits assigned through this process shall be treated as transfer credits and therefore do not apply as university residency requirements.

Students will be assessed a fee for each portfolio submitted.

The following Prior Learning Assessment steps should be taken to secure a Prior Learning Credit:

  1. Student must be an accepted student and actively taking courses in their degree program.
  2. Student completes application for Prior Learning Assessment available from the academic advisor. Application covers employment and job-related training both formal and informal as well as other Professional experiences such as volunteering, community advocacy, etc.
  3. Student meets with the academic advisor to discuss correlation between curriculum offerings and his/her Professional experience to gain approval to proceed with the application.  Professional experience and job training outcomes must map to the learning outcomes for the particular course that the student is seeking for credit.
  4. Student works with the advisor reviewing pertinent syllabi from the Clark Catalog to determine if the professional experience is related to graduate course learning outcomes.  
  5. Student submits completed application to the academic advisor for review to assess if the application documentation is sufficient to award credit. Job experience must clearly demonstrate in the narrative the alignment with learning outcomes.
  6. If the application is in order, the academic advisor will arrange for a review meeting with SPS Program Leads.  The student may be asked to present his/her case for Prior Learning Assessment portfolio.
  7. The decision for approval will be made by the School of Professional Studies program lead and the Associate Dean.  The decision will be sent by the academic advisor to the student within 3 days of the meeting.
  8. Upon SPS approval, the approval for Prior Learning Credit is forwarded to the Registrar’s Office for inclusion in the student’s transcript.
  9. Student Accounts will assess a fee for the processing of the prior learning credit if approved.

Readmission

After a period when a student is neither enrolled or on an official leave of absence from the University, a student may apply for readmission to seek permission to continue pursuing a degree for which they were admitted. Readmission is at the discretion of the academic department and the Dean of Research and Graduate Studies (or in IDCE, SOM or SPS the Dean/Director is the final action). Any requests received after 5 years will require the student to go through the departmental admissions process again to ensure the student continues to meet the admissions standards. A readmitted student is subject to the degree requirements in the academic catalog at the time of readmission; course equivalents and substitutions from the original enrollment period will be made at the discretion of the academic department.

Registration and Taking Courses

General Registration

Continuing students are expected to register in November for the spring semester, in April for summer courses, and July for the following fall semester. Students need to connect with their academic advisor to receive a PIN for registration for fall and spring; no PIN is required for summer course registration.  This is an opportunity for students to review their academic progress toward degree completion.

Newly admitted and transfer students for fall will register during the summer; newly admitted and transfer students for spring will register for the spring semester in winter. 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. The dates for registration are published by the Registrar’s Office and sent via email to all active students. Registration after the announced period results in a $100 late fee.

The Registrar’s Office publishes the course schedule usually two weeks prior to the opening of registration for the following term.

Step-by-step web registration instructions are available on the Registrar’s Website.

Late Registration

Students are expected to register for courses before the term starts and within the add/drop period.  Should a student need to add a course after the add/drop period, they will need to seek permission from the instructor and the academic advisor.  If approved, student will be assessed a late fee in addition to the regular tuition cost for the course.

Repeating a Course

It is the policy of Clark University to allow students to repeat any course. However, the student 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 and both will be computed into the term and cumulative GPA. Students receiving any federal or institutional aid should consult with the Office of Financial Assistance to determine if the repeated course/s will affected their aid eligibility. Note: some courses (e.g., directed studies) may be considered repeatable for credit; in those cases, students will earn credit for each occurrence up to any limits that may exist for the specific course.

Auditing a Course

Certain courses in the School of Professional Studies Graduate Programs can be audited. There is no cost reduction for auditing a course. Audited courses do not satisfy major requirements.  Please check with your academic advisor to be sure the course you are interested in can be audited. Non matriculated students are prohibited from auditing a course.

Course Prerequisites

Course prerequisites are courses that are required to have been completed prior to enrolling in another course. Before registering for a course, students, regardless of matriculation status, should consult the course description to determine whether they have completed the course prerequisites.

Course Substitution

In some cases, a course that a student wishes or needs to take is not offered. In certain unusual circumstances, a student may request up to three course substitutions to satisfy degree requirements. The substituting courses (and transfer credit courses) must be comparable in content and rigor.   Student must consult with their academic advisor and seek approval.  Academic advisors/program leads must indicate on the graduation clearance from the course substitutions.   

Independent Study/Special Projects

Students who will benefit from independent study, may do so if approved by the program advisor.  Independent studies must be clearly articulated in the Independent Study syllabi when the equivalent study is unavailable in the regular curriculum. Information regarding Independent Studies may be obtained from the degree program advisor.

Internships

Internships involve placements in outside agencies and organizations. Students must meet with the Internship advisor for internship site selection. All internships are graded.  Students participating in an internship must work with the Internship director to complete the necessary paperwork before registering for the internship course.  The Internship advisor will provide the course override for the student to register for an internship.  International students are eligible for internships upon completion of two semesters of graduate study.

Course Add/Drop Policy

Refer to the Clark Academic Calendar for specific Add/Drop dates. Students should consult with their academic advisor before adding or dropping classes. 

Students who drop a course before the deadline will not be charged for the course and will not have a W (withdrawal) on their transcript. Thereafter, students are responsible for the tuition charges and applicable fees in accordance with the University refund policy, and the earned grade will be on their permanent academic record. All such dates are specified in the Clark Academic Calendar

Students must add/drop courses using their ClarkYOU account to access the CUWeb Registration.

Students who experience difficulty adding, dropping, or withdrawing from a course should promptly email the Registrar’s Office at registrar@clarku.edu. If it is determined that there is an issue with ClarkYOU access, they need to contact the Service Desk:

ITS Help Desk, Academic Commons, Plaza Level
508-793-7745 | helpdesk@clarku.edu

Students with holds (e.g., financial, judicial) may have restricted access to add, drop, or withdraw from a course. In such instances, students are responsible for resolving the hold immediately and to meet the established course registration deadlines.

A reduction in a student’s course load could affect a student’s international student visa status or financial aid eligibility.

Course Withdrawal and Refund Policy

Students may withdraw from course/s by completing the withdrawal form with the Registrar’s Office up to one week prior to the last day of classes for any given semester.

Students who withdraw from a course after the add/drop deadline and before the last day to withdraw will receive a W grade. The W grade does not affect the calculation of the cumulative GPA, but it does impact a student’s academic progression, which may result in the student being placed on academic probation or dismissal.  Reference the  tuition refund schedule to determine refund eligibility. 

Students with holds (e.g., financial, judicial) may have restricted access to add, drop, or withdraw from a course. In such instances, students are responsible for resolving the hold immediately and to meet the established course registration deadlines.

A reduction in a student’s course load could affect a student’s international student visa status or financial aid eligibility.

Students who fail to withdraw from a course by the deadline, regardless of their level of class participation or attendance, are financially and academically responsible. A student’s lack of participation/attendance will likely result in a final grade of F.

All students are encouraged to consult with their academic advisor prior to withdrawing from a course. Withdrawals may impact a student’s time to degree completion.

Repeat Course

It is the policy of Clark University to allow students to repeat a course. However, credit will only be earned once, the most recent course occurrence.  Both courses will appear on the transcript and both grades will be computed into the term and cumulative GPA.  Students receiving any federal or institutional aid should consult with the Office of Financial Assistance to determine if the repeated course/s will affected their aid eligibility. Note: some courses (e.g., directed studies) may be considered repeatable for credit; in those cases, students will earn credit for each occurrence up to any limits that may exist for the specific course.

Required Withdrawal

Students may be required to withdraw from the University for financial reasons or failure to register by the registration deadline.  Students who are required to withdraw from the University may not be eligible for a refund, but may be eligible for reinstatement.

Residency Requirement

An academic year or a minimum of eight (8) Clark units is the minimum residency requirement for students in graduate programs. Individual departments or programs may require longer periods of residency.  Please see the An academic year (generally eight course units) of study in residence is a minimum requirement for a master’s degree, specific programs may have higher standards and will be outlined in the University Catalog.
 page regarding graduate certificates and residency requirements.

Transfer Credits

The School of Professional Studies awards transfer credits for eligible courses completed successfully at regionally and programmatically accredited graduate institutions. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation provides information about the organizations responsible for these two forms of accreditation. Official transcripts from all institutions should be sent directly to Clark University Graduate Admissions office at the time of application. Credit of a maximum of two course units at another institution can be transferred while ensuring the minimum residency requirement is approved by the Registrar’s office.  Transfer credits will be converted Clark units and if awarded as less than a full unit, students are still responsible for meeting the minimum units required of the degree program.

Academic credits earned at institutions outside the United States are considered for transferability on a case-by-case basis. Students should submit an official English evaluation completed by an approved credential evaluator. Course descriptions and/or syllabi also should be translated into English and submitted to the Clark University Graduate Admissions Office.

Once a new student has been accepted into a Master’s degree program or a certificate program and all official transcripts and/or exam results have been received, the School of Professional Studies conducts an official transfer credit evaluation within the first academic term.  Students may be required to provide additional documentation for transfer credit evaluation. The residency policy is applied during the transfer credit evaluation.  Credit for a maximum of two course at another institution may be approved by the Dean upon recommendation of the department academic lead while ensuring the maximum residency requirement is met.

The School of Professional Studies reserves the right to revise transfer credit awards due to course duplication, a student’s change in program of study, or other reasons deemed necessary by SPS.

Students who wish to transfer credits earned at the School of Professional Studies to another institution need to consult with that institution to determine eligibility.

University Withdrawal

Students seeking to withdraw from Clark University for any reason must meet with their academic advisor.  Students should review the financial implications of withdrawing from all classes.

Note that withdrawal from the university will impact an international student’s immigration status. Thus, international students should discuss the means to maintain proper U.S. nonimmigrant status with an advisor at ISSO before requesting or after having been placed on withdrawal.

Students could be withdrawn by SPS or the University for cause, e.g., poor academic performance; violation of code of conduct; violation of SPS or University policy.