A Misericordia University Education
According to a recent national survey, 93% of Misericordia seniors rated their educational experience as good to excellent, while 82% said they would choose Misericordia again if they could start their college career over again. Seventy-seven percent of Misericordia seniors reported acquiring job or work-related knowledge and skills at Misercordia, compared to 70% nationally. Survey results also stated that 95% of seniors formed quality relationships with fellow students and 97% said faculty members were very available and helpful.
Undergraduate Educational Goals
In fulfillment of its mission, Misericordia University provides a learning community which prepares its baccalaureate graduates to:
- Reflect the values of mercy, justice, and hospitality in their actions.
- Contribute to their communities through service and leadership.
- Consider ethical issues and values and make reasoned judgments about them.
- Think independently and creatively, analyze information critically, and solve problems.
- Respect and understand cultural differences.
- Understand global perspectives.
- Communicate and interact effectively.
- Understand and appreciate the arts, humanities, science, and technology.
- Succeed in their academic disciplines.
- Pursue life-long learning.
Undergraduate Academic Policies and Procedures
Students are assigned an academic advisor, ordinarily within the department in which a student is majoring. Advisors will also be assigned to students who are undecided about a major.
The academic advisor is the student’s liaison with other university offices. Advisors should be consulted often for guidance and advice. In addition to offering academic guidance, advisors can provide information on where to obtain and how to complete necessary forms pertaining to academics.
Advisors must approve student schedules and all other academic paperwork. Students meet with advisors individually for pre-registration consultations each semester. The academic advisor assists the student in preparing his/her curriculum and in pre-registration; however, the student is ultimately responsible for meeting the requirements of the curriculum selected.
The dean’s list, which is issued at the close of each semester, recognizes students who have completed a minimum of 12 graded undergraduate credit hours and have earned a grade point average of 3.55 (on a 4.0 system) for the semester. The dean’s list is an award earned at the end of each semester.
Undergraduate students are awarded baccalaureate degrees with distinction for exceptional academic achievement. A student must have completed at least 60 credits at Misericordia University to qualify for these honors. Honors are awarded as follows:
|Grade Point Average at Graduation
|Summa Cum Laude
|3.90 and above
|Magna Cum Laude
|3.70 - 3.89
|3.50 - 3.69
The class valedictorian is determined by the full-time matriculated student with the highest cumulative undergraduate average who has completed all course work at Misericordia University with the exception of credit allowed through off-campus requests or any advanced placement credits. A separate valedictorian for the Winter and Spring Commencements shall be determined from the graduating students. In the event that multiple graduating students possess identical grade point averages, all will be recognized as valedictorians, and the student speaker for the commencement ceremony shall be determined as follows:
- The valedictorian with the highest percentage of credits taken at Misericordia University out of the total number of credits required for the undergraduate degree according to the major (as stated in the catalog) will serve as the student speaker.
- Should a tie remain, a selection committee comprised of the Vice President of Academic Affairs, the College Deans, and a faculty representative from each College will determine the student speaker from the remaining valedictorians, who each will submit a draft of her/his speech to the selection committee. The selection committee will decide on the basis of the drafts which valedictorian will serve as the student speaker.
If the scheduling of the ceremony does not allow the determination of valedictorian to take place prior to the ceremony, the student speaker shall be the graduating student with the highest grade point average at the start of the semester immediately prior to the commencement ceremony, and will be determined using the criteria above.
Students who complete the Misericordia University Honors Program while achieving a GPA of 3.25 or higher will be awarded an honors designation (see program requirements for a description).
Any form of cheating or dishonesty, including plagiarism, is a fundamental violation of the nature and purpose of Misericordia University. Such behavior will not be tolerated and will result in at least lowered grades, possibly failure in a class, program dismissal, and, in the most serious cases, dismissal from the university.
Plagiarism is using someone else’s ideas or words and claiming them as one’s own. Students who use another person’s words must copy them accurately, enclose them in quotations marks, and identify the source clearly. If another person’s ideas are used in a student paper, the source must still be identified and the author of the ideas given credit. Students are responsible to make sure they are using sources properly and documenting them properly.
The responsibility for maintaining personal integrity and honor in academic activities rests with the student. Each faculty member will provide information on academic integrity to students in the course outline at the beginning of the semester, including any necessary explanation of violations, possible infractions of academic integrity and the scope of sanctions, e.g., warning, lowering of the grade on the assignment or course, course failure, or dismissal from the program or university.
Should a violation of academic integrity occur, the faculty member must inform the student of the violation before imposing any sanction. Should the violation be considered serious enough to merit any grade of “D” or lower on any major assignment, or a more serious penalty, such as course failure or dismissal from the program, the faculty member must notify the vice president of academic affairs (VPAA) and supply any supporting evidence. In the case of multiple violations, the VPAA will discuss this issue with the student and may impose additional sanctions up to and including dismissal from the university. In a case where dismissal from the university is contemplated, the VPAA will consult with the faculty member, student’s advisor, department chair/program director, and college dean.
In cases where the student contests the accusations of academic dishonesty, the student may file a grievance under either the undergraduate or graduate grievance procedure, whichever one is applicable.
Academic Program Definitions
Academic programs fall into six inter-related groups: majors, minors, specializations, certificates, certifications, and elective areas of study. These program areas are defined below.
|Areas of study in a formal discipline for which a degree is awarded; for example, a Bachelor of Arts degree in History, a Bachelor of Social Work degree in Social Work, or a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics.
|Focused programs of study which involve specific clusters of courses around a general area of study. Minors are not associated with particular degree programs and are therefore open to all undergraduate students.
|Specializations are focused programs of extended study closely associated with a specific degree program. Specializations are generally available only to students who have been accepted into the major for the specific degree.
|Certificates are awarded to students who complete specified coursework independent of a defined degree program. NOTE: Completion of a certificate program does not equate to certification in any of the programs.
|Certifications are prescribed programs of study designed to meet requirements of official agencies which recognize the certification as a valid credential. For example, certifications are available in early childhood education which is recognized by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
|Elective Areas of Study
|There are clusters of courses which are not as a group directly associated with a specific degree program. Elective courses are intended to augment the liberal arts background of any interested students. For example, electives are available in philosophy or sociology.
Academic Restart Policy
Full-time undergraduate students who have been academically dismissed or have been withdrawn for at least two academic years from Misericordia University may apply for readmission to the university one time under the academic restart policy. Readmission to Misericordia University under this policy will be granted at the sole discretion of the vice president of academic affairs. In order to qualify, a student must not have attended Misericordia University for 24 months following the dismissal or withdrawal date, or must have completed at least 12 credits approved in advance by the Misericordia University director of student success center earning a “C” or better in each course. He/she will be academically advised by the department chair of the student’s declared major, or by both the department chair and the college retention liaison in the Student Success Center for at least the first semester of his/her return.
Part-time undergraduate students who have been academically dismissed or have been withdrawn for at least one academic years from Misericordia University may apply for readmission to the university one time under the academic restart policy. Readmission to Misericordia University under this policy will be granted at the sole discretion of the vice president of academic affairs. In order to qualify, a student must not have attended Misericordia University for 12 months following the dismissal or withdrawal date, or must have completed at least 6 credits approved in advance by the Misericordia University director of the Center for Adult and Continuing Education (CACE), earning a “C” or better in each course. He/she will be academically advised by the department chair of the student’s declared major, or by both the department chair and the director of CACE for at least the first semester of his/her return.
Students admitted under the academic restart policy will have their cumulative index reset to 0.00 at the time of their readmission. Courses taken and grades earned before the restart will remain on the student’s transcript (permanent record), but they will be treated as the equivalent of transfer credits. Any required courses which were taken at Misericordia University earning a grade below a “C-” will not be awarded credit and will need to be retaken. Students admitted under this policy are not automatically readmitted to any given program.
All students must maintain an acceptable cumulative grade point average to remain in good academic standing. Failure to do so will result in either academic probation or dismissal. Some majors have academic performance criteria which are program specific.
Alternate Format Course Requests for Students in Traditional Programs
This policy does not apply in the summer semester, as students generally take a lighter course load. The accelerated evening, weekend, and online formats are ordinarily available to the University’s nontraditional/adult students. Nontraditional students can be full or part-time. A nontraditional student is defined as an adult learner who is starting or returning to college and is generally 25 years of age or older; or because of life circumstances has assumed such responsibilities as family and career, and would be classified by Financial Aid as an independent student. In restricted circumstances, a full-time, traditional student may be granted permission to register for these adult focused formats. In such a case, registration will only be accepted for a full-time, traditional student prior to the beginning of the semester.
Criteria to be considered for approval of a full-time traditional student are:
- The student has senior standing and is not able to complete necessary degree requirements for graduation without enrollment in the alternate course format.
- The desired course is not available in the traditional schedule or a conflict with the required course exists.
- The student’s total semester credit load with the alternate format course does not exceed 18 credits.
- The student has a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or above.
- The student has received specific written permission to register for the alternate format course from his/her advisor and the Director of the Center for Adult and Continuing Education (CACE).
Process for approval for traditional students to register for alternate format course:
- Student completes a Traditional Student’s Approval to Take Alternate Format Course form and submits to the Registrar after obtaining the advisor’s signature.
- The Registrar evaluates the student’s request per the criteria indicated on the form (and above) and submits the form to Center for Adult and Continuing Education (CACE).
- The Center for Adult and Continuing Education (CACE) reserves the right to make the final determination, which will be based on the criteria met, special circumstances, or other significant factors. After a decision is rendered, the form is returned to the Registrar for communication to the student of the outcome of his/her request and for processing, if approved.
(Note: CACE will inform student of the demands of online courses, direct students to the Blackboard tutorial and other resources available to ensure student’s success.)
Cancellation of Classes
Students may call (570) 674-6311 or log onto myMU for information regarding the closing of the university. If the university is to be closed, open for part of a day, or placed on compressed schedule because of weather or other unforeseen events, the decision will be made as soon as possible and posted on the portal and relayed promptly to local television stations. Individual class cancellations are posted on myMU by the vice president of academic affairs office as they are reported. To locate the list of cancellations, click on the Student tab.
Change of Major
Students who wish to change from one major program to another will consult with their assigned academic advisor. The student must secure approval for the change from the department chair of the major program into which the student wishes to transfer. Forms which must be completed in order to change one’s major may be obtained in either the registrar’s office, on myMU, or in the Center for Adult and Continuing Education. The change of major does not take place until the appropriate form is properly executed and filed with the registrar.
Change of Name/Address
Students are responsible for notifying the Registrar’s Office of any change in name and/or address. This change will be appropriately processed throughout the university.
A change of name will require submission of the following: photo identification showing the change of name, the social security card showing the change of name, and the legal document that verifies the change of name (international students will only be required to show a passport indicating the change of name).
Changes of legal home permanent address only may be made through the MyMU portal by editing the address in the “Personal Information” field. All other changes of address must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office in writing.
Changes to be made prior to first enrollment at the University would be made through the Office of Admissions. Changes made after the student has graduated should be made with the Office of Alumni Affairs. The name indicated on the student’s transcript will remain the name as it was when the student was last in attendance.
Change of Status
Students who wish to change from full-time to part-time status or from part-time to full-time status must address a letter to the director of admissions stating their intention. Students considering such a change should also consult with their academic advisor and the office of student financial services for information about the implications of the decision on financial aid eligibility.
It is the responsibility of the student to be aware of the attendance policy of each faculty member in whose classes they are enrolled. It is the responsibility of the student to consult with the appropriate faculty member prior to a necessary absence to determine and confirm arrangements for make-up work.
If a student is unable to attend class, she/he is to contact the faculty member directly in accordance with the class syllabus, if applicable. Should a situation arise where a student will be missing classes for an extended period of time, the student is to contact the office of the Vice President of Student Life (570-674-6238) who will then notify the office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs. The Office of Academic Affairs will notify the student’s course instructors of the absence. It is the student’s responsibility to contact his/her instructors for information on fulfilling course requirements.
Course Repeat Policy
Students can only receive credit for a course once. Students are eligible to repeat courses a maximum of five times; however, the same course can be repeated only one time for the purpose of forgiving the grade of the first course. All repeated courses must be taken at Misericordia University. The repeated course will appear on the transcript twice. The original grade will be indicated with an “*” notation on the transcript, and the repeated course will be indicated with an “R” notation. Only the new grade, even if it is lower than the original, will be used in calculating the student’s grade point average (GPA). A directed study may not be used as a course repeat without the permission of the chair of the department offering the course and the approval of the college dean.
If a student has repeated a course and receives a failing grade (either “F” or “U”), and is required to pass the course to achieve the degree, he/she may request the opportunity to take the course a third time. This must be approved by the department chair of the program offering the course. The second grade can not be forgiven, and will be calculated into the student’s GPA.
Once a student has graduated, the student’s record prior to graduation is not subject to change through this policy.
Two types of contract learning are available at Misericordia University: (1) directed study and (2) independent study. Student must be formally admitted to the university to register for contract learning. A student can earn no more than 15 credits via the contract learning option. A maximum of six contract learning credits may be carried in a semester.
Credit Load Full-time
A Misericordia University baccalaureate degree requires a minimum of 120 credits (refer to the program description for the minimum number of credits required). A maximum semester load for full-time students is 17 credits. An undergraduate student who wishes to take 19 or more credits must receive written permission from the student’s advisor, department chair/program director, and college dean prior to registration on a course registration or drop/add form, and must submit that form to the Registrar’s Office, where the overload course will be entered manually. Students will pay an additional per credit charge for every credit taken over 17 (see tuition and fees section of the catalog). No student may take more than 21 credits in one semester.
Credit Load Part-time
Students who are classified as part time and are enrolled in traditional degree programs offered at the Dallas campus may take no more than 11 credits per semester. Students in the Expressway program may take up to 13 credits if one of the courses is a 1-credit lab-based science course or a 4-credit course. Part time students are charged tuition at the per-credit tuition rate of their specific program.
Determination of Requirements Governing Undergraduate Degree or Certificate Conferral
An undergraduate student seeking a degree or certificate at Misericordia University is responsible for adhering to the following policies:
- Students must meet the graduation requirements of the Catalog under which they first enroll. These requirements will be in effect for a period of ten (10) academic years beginning with the term of initial enrollment.
- As a result of changes mandated by external accrediting or licensing agencies, students may be required by their programs to complete additional and/or alternate requirements for their current major necessitated by a curriculum change that occurs after their initial enrollment and within that initial ten (10) year period. Decisions to require additional and/or alternate requirements that are a direct result of those accreditation or licensing changes will be communicated in writing to students by the chair of the department in which the program is housed, a copy of which will be sent to the registrar to be included in the student’s official academic file.
- All students enrolled in a given major may opt to complete the requirements of the newest approved curriculum within their major. Such students must meet all the requirements for their major as described in the most recently published Catalog and must obtain approval for this change from their academic advisor and department chair, and submit the appropriate documentation to the Registrar’s Office. Students will complete the core requirements under which they entered the University, provided that the change of major does not require the students to exceed the ten academic years under which the catalog of entry is in effect; however, students may also choose to meet the Core Curriculum requirements that are contained in the same Catalog as the newest approved curriculum within their major. If the students wish to opt for the later Core Curriculum requirements, they must indicate that choice, have it approved by their academic advisor and department chair, and submit the appropriate documentation to the Registrar’s Office.
- Students wishing to change their major(s) must obtain approval for the change with the chair of the department in which they are seeking to enroll. Students who change their major(s) must meet all requirements for the new major(s) as described in the most recently published Catalog at the time the student officially confirms this change with the chair of the appropriate department and submits the appropriate documentation to the Registrar’s Office. Students will complete the core requirements under which they entered the University, provided that the change of major does not require the students to exceed the ten academic years under which the catalog of entry is in effect; however, students may also choose to meet the Core Curriculum requirements that are contained in the same Catalog as the newest approved curriculum within their major. If the students wish to opt for the later Core Curriculum requirements, they must indicate that choice, have it approved by their academic advisor and department chair, and submit the appropriate documentation to the Registrar’s Office.
- Students wishing to declare a minor, certificate, or specialization with their major(s) must obtain approval for the change with the chair of the department in which they are seeking to enroll. Students must meet all requirements for a minor, certificate, or specialization as described in the most recently published Catalog at the time the student officially confirms this change with the chair of the appropriate department and submits the appropriate documentation to the Registrar’s Office.
When a student must take a specific university course in a given semester but it is not part of the offerings in that semester, the student may petition for a directed study. Students may apply for directed study only in exceptional situations. Students may not use a directed study for grade replacement. Students who wish to apply for a directed study must have at least a 2.5 GPA.
A student interested in this option must first discuss this possibility with his/her advisor, and then approach the appropriate department chairperson and college dean sponsoring the course under consideration. If the contract is approved at that level, the student will approach the appropriate faculty member to determine his/her availability. Faculty retain the right to decline a request for a directed study. Final approval of this arrangement is made by the college dean. A written contract is required between the instructor and the student. The minimum number of times that a student and instructor are to meet will be included in this contract. Copies of the contract are to be forwarded to the college dean, the student’s advisor, the instructor, and the registrar. The student must register prior to the beginning of a semester for a contract learning directed study. Ideally the contract should be completed during the previous semester. Students will be expected to assume the majority of responsibility for actually writing the contract. Forms are available in the offices of the registrar, Center for Adult and Continuing Education, and online through the student portal.
Students should consult the academic or adult education calendars for the dates of the drop/add period, during which time schedule changes may be made with the registrar, or through the online registration system in MyMU.
In cases of course overloads or courses that require special permission for registration, drop/add forms are available in the Registrar’s Office and online through the MyMU portal. The drop/add form must be signed by the student’s advisor before it may be processed (course overloads also required the signature of the student’s department chair, and the dean of the College in which their degree program is offered). Any course adjustment is not official unless the form is received and processed by the Registrar’s Office prior to the add/drop deadline and is visible on the student’s course schedule screen in MyMU.
Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
Misericordia University recognizes the privacy rights of individuals who are or who have been students, as guaranteed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974. No information from records, files, or data directly related to a student shall be disclosed to individuals or agencies outside the University without the express written consent of the student. FERPA does authorize disclosure without consent to school officials with legitimate educational interests who need to review an education record in order to fulfill their professional responsibilities. The following people or agencies are also allowed access to records without consent: persons or companies with whom the University has contracted (such as attorneys, auditors, or collection agents); students serving on official committees, such as disciplinary or grievance committees, or assisting other school officials in performing their tasks; persons or organizations to whom students have applied for financial aid; persons in compliance with a lawful subpoena or court order; and persons in an emergency in order to protect the health or safety of students or other persons.
The University considers the following to be public information which may be made available, at its discretion, without prior consent of the student:
student name, hometown and state, electronic mail address, dates of attendance, degrees, awards and honors received in the curricular and co-curricular life of the university, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, the most recent previous educational institution attended by the student, and individually identifiable photographs of the student solicited by or maintained directly by Misericordia University as part of the educational record.
A student wishing to prevent the public disclosure of any or all of the above information may request so by notifying the Registrar’s Office, where she or he may obtain the form prohibiting disclosure.
Except where prescribed by law, information regarding a student’s educational records may not be disclosed to a parent, guardian or spouse without the student’s written authorization on file in the Registrar’s Office.
FERPA affords students the right to inspect and review their educational records within 45 days of the day the University receives such requests. Students should submit to the Registrar official written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The Registrar will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.
Students have the right to request the amendment of any educational records that they believe are inaccurate or misleading. They should write to the University official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record that they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the University decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the University will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to appeal the decision. Additional information regarding the appeal will be provided to the student when notified.
For more information regarding FERPA, please contact the Office of the Registrar in Mercy Hall, Room 115. Students have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Misericordia University to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-4605
As of January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education’s FERPA regulations expand the circumstances under which your education records and personally identifiable information contained in such records-including your Social Security Number, grades, or other private information-may be accessed without your consent. First, the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local education authorities (“Federal and State Authorities”) may allow access to your records and private information without your consent to any third party designated by a Federal or State Authority to evaluate a federal- or state-supported education program. The evaluation may relate to any program that is “principally engaged in the provision of education,” such as early childhood education and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution. Second, Federal and State Authorities may allow access to your education records and private information without your consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when we object to or do not request such research. Federal and State Authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive your private information, but the Authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities. In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, State Authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain, and share without your consent private information from your education records, and they may track your participation in education and other programs by linking such private information to other personal information about you that they obtain from other Federal or State data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service, and migrant student records systems.
The grade point average (GPA) is computed by dividing qulaity points earned by credits attempted. Any courses failed will be charged as credits attempted through the final calculation of a student’s grade point average. A minimum of a 2.0 cumulative grade point average overall is required to graduate with a baccalaureate degree.
Some majors require a higher cumulative grade point average for graduation and program retention. Students should consult individual academic program descriptions for major requirements.
|Qualtiy Points Per Credit Hour
Please note the following implications of this grading system:
- A grade of “W” is given to students who withdraw prior to the end of the withdraw period. As noted in the university calendar, no academic penalty is incurred. Withdrawal forms may be obtained from the registrar’s office or online through the myMU portal. The date on which the form is received by the registrar’s office is considered as the date of withdrawal. The tuition refund and grade assignment are based on this date (see refund policy).
- If a student does not officially withdraw from a course and ceases to attend it, a grade of “F” is incurred, except in extenuating circumstances.
- An “Incomplete” grade (which is recorded as an “I” on the academic record) will be issued only for those courses in which a student has not completed the necessary requirements because of extenuating circumstances, such as a medical or family emergency. The student’s inability to complete required work in a timely fashion is not an acceptable reason for granting an Incomplete. An Incomplete will not count toward completed credits or be factored into the student’s semester or cumulative grade point average. It is the responsibility of the undergraduate student to contract with the instructor in writing to apply for an Incomplete grade. It is the exclusive purview of the instructor to determine if the Incomplete is to be granted. All contracted requirements for the Incomplete must be completed and submitted to the instructor within six weeks after the last day of the final exam period (for full semester courses) or the last date of the accelerated term (for those courses meeting for lass than the full semester), or an earlier date determined by the faculty member and agreed upon by the student. If the requirements are not completed in this timeframe, the Incomplete will default to the grade previously identified by the instructor.
- An “In Progress” grade (which is recorded as an “IP” on the academic record) may only be issued for very specialized courses that lead to the production of a significant final project and often require students to devote additional time beyond the one-semester norm in order to successfully complete the required project (such as a senior thesis, or an Honors Capstone Project). In Progress grades may not be submitted for undergraduate courses that are expected to be completed within a single semester. An In Progress grade will not count toward completed credits or be factored into the student’s semester or cumulative grade point average. All requirements for the In Progress course must be completed and submitted to the instructor by the completion of the Final Exam period of the semester that immediately follows the semester in which the In Progress grade was granted, or an earlier date determined by the faculty member and agreed upon by the student, or the In Progress grade will default to a failing grade.
- Pass/Fail grading is limited to those courses designated in the university catalog to be on a S/U basis. The letter grade of S (satisfactory) or U (unsatisfactory) will be assigned to these courses. S and U grades are listed on the transcript but are not calculated in the grade point average. Credits for these courses are not included in the 12 graded credit hours required for the dean’s list.
The minimum number of credits required of a baccalaureate degree from Misericordia University is 120 credits. To obtain a baccalaureate degree a student must complete the minimum hours of credit required by the declared major program even if that number exceeds 120 credits. A transfer student must complete a minimum of 30 credits at Misericordia University for any given degree. That number may exceed 30 credits contingent on the number of total credits a student needs to meet degree requirements. Students should consult individual program descriptions.
A minimum of a 2.0 cumulative grade point average is required to graduate with a baccalaureate degree. Students should consult individual program descriptions for program specific grade point average requirements.
A degree application form, available from the registrar’s office, must be completed by the specified deadline by the student and advisor. This form is to be submitted to the registrar’s office during the term prior to his/her intended term of graduation. All bills must be paid in advance for a student to be eligible to receive the diploma and have transcripts released, and to participate in commencement ceremonies.
Only students currently enrolled in all courses necessary to complete all academic requirements by the end of the Spring semester will be permitted to process in the Spring Commencement ceremony held in May of that same year. Only students who have completed their degrees in the Summer semester, or who are currently enrolled in all courses necessary to complete all academic requirements by the end of the Fall semester, will be permitted to process in the Winter Commencement ceremony held in December of that same year.
Guidelines for Instructional Time Equivalencies Across Formats/Assignment of Credit Hours
While Misericordia University is committed to an outcome-based approach to curriculum and assessment in accordance with its accreditation by the Middles States Commission on Higher Education and other discipline-based national accrediting associations, it also complies with and endorses the requirements of the Pennsylvania Department of Education on what constitutes a semester credit hour of instruction as set forth in Chapter 31.21 on curricula as amended. The standard states that “a semester hour represents a unit of curricular material that can normally be taught in a minimum of 14 hours of classroom instruction, plus outside preparation or the equivalent as determined by the faculty.” Thus, a 3-credit course represents the equivalent of 42 hours of classroom instruction or its equivalent, not including final examination or homework as normally interpreted. The following guidelines are intended to assure compliance with standards across the various course delivery formats offered by the institution, a consistency in when and how the equivalency is applied across formats, and the maximum opportunity for faculty to exercise academic freedom in meeting the extant standard while achieving the goals, objectives, and outcomes of the specific course.
Traditional Semester Format
Ordinarily, courses offered within a traditional semester format (14 weeks plus one week final examinations over 2 semesters) will meet the 14-hours-of-classroom-instruction-per-one-semester-credit-hour (i.e. 42 hours for a 3-credit course, 56 hours for a 4-credit course, etc.). However, if a class or classes in a course must be cancelled due, for example, to the closing of the University for inclement weather or the illness or other appropriate unavailability of the faculty member, then additional structured instructional activity (or activities) would be required to meet the equivalency standard. For example, if classroom instruction is 38 hours “face-to-face”, 4 additional hours of appropriate “out-of-classroom” instructional activity would be required to meet the semester standard as determined equivalent by the faculty. Wherever possible, this contingency should be explained in the syllabus and documented accordingly.
There are a number of outcome-based formats at the University in which “face-to-face” instructional time is less than 14-hours-of-classroom-instruction-per-one-semester-credit-hour, but meet the equivalency standard set forth in the regulation. In these alternative formats, the “face-to-face” instructional time and the additional “outside-of-classroom” structured instructional activities must meet 14-hours-of-classroom-instruction-per-one-semester-credit-hour or its equivalent as determined by the faculty (i.e. 42 hours for a 3-credit course, 56 hours for a 4-credit course, etc.). For example, if a 3-semester course in the weekend college format meets for 32 hours of classroom-based instruction, an additional and integrated 10 hours of structured instructional activities are required to meet the standard. For the same course in a 7-week format that meets “face-to-face” for 28 hours, an additional 14 hours of structured instructional activities are required. For a 5-week course that meets 20 hours “face-to-face”, an additional 22 hours of structured instructional activities would be required. Online courses would require 42 hours of appropriate structured online activities to meet the minimum threshold. The syllabus for the course reflects the type of activities to be utilized.
Instructional-Related Learning Activities
An array of instructional-related or student engagement activities can be utilized to achieve the equivalent of the 14-hours-of-classroom-instruction-per-one-semester-credit-hour, not including a final examination, are part of the standard. Choosing a particular “learning outside the classroom” activity or combination of activities is the responsibility of the faculty in terms of achieving the stated goals, objectives and outcomes of the course, enhancing cooperative and collaborative learning in an instructor-mediated environment, demonstrating an awareness of the various learning styles and experiences of the students, and in the determining of equivalency to a semester-credit-hour. The following examples are some of the options that may be considered for utilization:
- Discussion Board structured to provide guided or instructor-mediated threaded discussions with specified timeframes and expectations for participation;
- Chat rooms for class or group projects that provide opportunities for collaborative learning that have specific expectations for participation and feedback;
- Case studies and problem-solving scenarios relative to course goals and objectives utilizing higher-order analytical skills with instructor and class-designed feedback;
- Blogs, journals, or logs in which students share the most relevant aspects with instructor and classmates;
- Web Quest activities in which students find Internet sites that address specific course objectives and are shared with class and instruction mediation;
- Library research in which instructor directs students to locate certain information or resources either online or in situ, relate them to course objectives and present them to the class in a designated manner;
- Lecture materials - written transcripts or audio recordings - from which students are expected to develop questions, comments, or observations shared with class and instructor through discussion board postings or participation in chat rooms;
- Instructional CDs
- Field trips or tours in which students may participate as an individual or group in analyzing an activity (concert, museum, art exhibit, religious service, political debate, etc.) and prepare a paper or presentation to share with instructor and class:
- Final group projects which represent a culmination of learning objectives and students collaborative via e-mail, chat-rooms, discussion boards, and “face to face” contract to research, analyze, synthesize and prepare projects with the instructor receiving periodic updates and providing feedback. Instructors should establish and control the learning-based interactions (when, where, and why), including frequency, duration, evaluation and assessment techniques. These guidelines recognize the need for the faculty to actively manage the learning space, both in and outside the traditional classroom.
In order to ensure consistency for students and faculty in meeting Pennsylvania Department of Education requirements and good pedagogy, Misericordia university has developed a rubric (“Alternative Instructional Equivalencies”) that establishes a standard amount time for setting equivalencies to hours of classroom instruction for various online and “out-of-the-classroom” instructor-mediated activities in the various formats.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education has developed certain parameters to assist in developing curricular content that is equivalent to classroom-based instruction. According to Pennsylvania Department of Education clarification: equivalent content should:
- Be related directly to the objectives of the course/program;
- Be measurable for grading purposes;
- Have the direct oversight or supervision of the faculty member teaching the course;
- Be equivalent (in some form) of an activity conducted in the classroom.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education states that equivalent content may not be homework assignments or focused on “time spent” (the amount of time the student spends accomplishing the task).
Independent study is the special investigation of a selected topic. It may be undertaken by a junior or senior student whose academic requirements cannot be met by regular catalog offerings. Only elective credits may be used for independent study. Depending on the depth and scope of an independent study, anywhere from one to six credits may be earned (determination of assigned credits is made by the appropriate department chair and faculty member).
Students who wish to apply for an independent study must have at least a 3.0 GPA. The student must have demonstrated the ability to pursue independent work. To apply for independent study, students must (a) define the topic or issue to be pursued; (b) discuss their plan with their advisor; (c) contact the chairperson of the appropriate department/program to request approval of their proposal; (d) if the independent study is approved, the student will approach a faculty member in the department that sponsors the independent study to serve as a mentor. Faculty are free to choose whether or not to mentor a student for independent study.
Part of the intent of an independent study is to foster self-directed learning. Therefore, after a student has specified the content area to be studied and has diagnosed his/her learning needs, the faculty member and student will jointly negotiate course objectives; learning resources and methodology; and procedures for evaluation. The minimum number of meeting times will also be specified. A written contract, which includes these areas, is to be drafted and signed by the faculty member and student. Copies are to be forwarded to the student’s advisor, the mentor, and the registrar.
Independent study applications (known as Contract Learning Agreement forms) may be obtained from the offices of the registrar and online through the myMU portal.
Misericordia University supports the development, production, and dissemination of intellectual property by members of its community. For those members of the community interested in creating intellectual property as part of their work or learning experience, please be advised that the University’s Intellectual Property Agreement can be found at: http://www.misericordia.edu/IntellectualProperty
Midterm grades will be assigned in all traditional format undergraduate courses, at mid-semester, at a date and time specified by the university registrar. Midterm grades will only be assigned for courses in session for the full fall and spring terms. Students will receive a grade of “S” (satisfactory progress) or “U” (unsatisfactory progress) based on their work to date in the course. For the purposes of midterm grades, progress commensureate with a grade of “C-“, “D”, or “F” should be considered Unsatisfactory, and progress commensurate with a grade better than “C-” should be considered Satisfactory. In academic programs that require a grade higher than a “C-” for a course to meet requirements, the grade of “S” would be assigned for progress commensurate with the lowest acceptable grade for the course, and the grade of “U” would be assigned for all progress below the lowest acceptable grade.
Misericordia students have three options for taking courses offered at other postsecondary institutions, both domestically and outside of the United States:
- Consortium with Wilkes University and King’s College
Students at Misericordia University may register for courses at King’s College and/or Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, if those courses are not part of Misericordia’s course offerings in the semester in which the course is requested. Full-time students in good academic standing who meet specific course prerequisites are eligible. With the exception of students participating in required courses for the Army ROTC program at King’s College, cross registration is available only to juniors and seniors who have received permission from their major department to participate in the program in order to complete degree requirements. Cross-registered courses are considered part of a student’s regular course load; courses carry full academic credit and grade value. Upon completion of the coursework, King’s or Wilkes will notify Misericordia of the completed grade, which will be recorded on the Misericordia transcript - no transcript record will exist at King’s or Wilkes for coursework completed as part of the consortium program.
Please refer to the section of the catalog on Consortium Programs for more specific information on the process for requesting registration for courses through King’s or Wilkes.
- Study Away through approved affiliated institutions
Misericordia University works with program providers for semester-long study abroad opportunities. Courses completed through approved, affiliated programs are considered part of a student’s regular course load; courses carry full academic credit and grade value. Upon completion of the coursework, the affiliated institution will notify Misericordia of the completed courses and grades, which will be recorded on the Misericordia transcript. Students must consult with their academic advisor regarding courses and number of credits to be taken during the study away term. Students who wish to use courses taken away to satisfy specific degree requirements at Misericordia University, whether in the core, major, or program, must secure the approval in advance of the chair of the department (and program director if applicable) that would offer the equivalent course at Misericordia. Students who wish to take courses in an academic area that is not offered at Misericordia must have the courses approved by the registrar, who will verify that the student may apply the credit as free electives to meet degree requirements.
Please refer to the section of the catalog on Study Away Programs for more specific information on the process of applying for study away programs and receiving approval to take specific coursework.
- Transfer credit through courses taken at other postsecondary institutions
During the summer, or in a fall or spring semester when a bachelor’s degree seeking student is not currently enrolled in coursework at Misericordia, students may opt to take courses at other regionally accredited, postsecondary institutions, or an approved equivalent institution outside the United States. Students may receive approval to transfer in a maximum of three (3) 3-4 credit courses (no more than two (2) of which may be 3-4 credit core classes) for a total of no more than 12 credits.
A student who has completed sixty (60) credits of academic work, whether on campus or in transfer, may only apply to take any transfer credits at regionally accredited bachelor’s level institutions (or approved equivalent institutions, if taking credits through a nonaffiliated study away program).
Students who have completed less than 60 credits may apply to take any transfer credits at regionally accredited associate’s level institutions, so long as the total number of credits earned at the time of course completion does not exceed sixty (60) credits. (For example, if a student has earned 57 credits, is taking a course at Misericordia in the first summer term, and also wished to take a course elsewhere during the summer term, the course would have to be taken at a bachelor’s level institution, as the student would have completed 60 credits at Misericordia prior to the awarding of the credit for the course taken elsewhere).
All courses taken for transfer credit must be evaluated and approved as to their equivalency to Misericordia University courses. This determination will be made in consultation between the department chair in the discipline which sponsors the course at Misericordia University and the registrar. Grades of C- or better may be accepted for transfer in accordance with individual program requirements and/or restrictions.
Transfer course requests for currently enrolled students must be submitted to the registrar, and must be accompanied by a course or catalog description of the course the student intends to complete. Department chairs may request additional information if deemed necessary. If a course is not approved in advance of taking the course, it will not be accepted in transfer. (Revision approved 12/12/2014)
All registration will be done online through the myMU portal. Registration priority is determined by current credit hours earned for undergraduates seeking the first bachelor’s degree according to the schedule circulated prior to registration. Undergraduates in certificate programs, the Expressway program, and the part-time evening Nursing program, and those pursuing a second bachelor’s degree register in the same registration window as graduate students.
Students must make an appointment with their advisor to approve course selection prior to registration. Students who have not been cleared for registration by their advisor will be unable to register. In addition, students with financial holds, student conduct holds, or other restrictions will not be able to register until those holds are cleared.
Students should check their hold status on the portal and resolve any conflict with the Registrar’s Office prior to registration.
Students holding a baccalaureate degree who wish to obtain a second baccalaureate degree may do so if they meet the following conditions:
- The student must be officially admitted into the major program in which the second degree is desired.
- The student must meet all of the curriculum requirements of the second degree.
- The student must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours in addition to the credits taken in the first degree program.
- For the purposes of a second degree, the core curriculum is waived with the exception of those courses required for the major.
Students in degree-seeking programs who wish to complete a second major may do so by completing the appropriate request and receiving the approval of the chair of the second major and the student’s advisor. Only one baccalaureate degree will be awarded, which is determined by the degree associated with the first major; all majors completed are noted on the student record.
Graduates of Misericordia University who wish to return for a second major may do so by completing only the requirements necessary for the second major. The registrar will post a statement on the official transcript stating “requirements completed for a second major in ….” Students cannot declare second majors in Professional Studies. See individual department policies regarding requirements for second majors.
Student Identity Verification Procedures and Distance Education
All Misericordia University distance education courses and the Blackboard Learning Management System employ a secure portal login process that requires a student use his or her unique Misericordia email address as his or her identification and personal secure password selected by and known only to that student for entry into a course through Blackboard and for access to the university portal. This ensures verification of student identity and is of no additional cost to the student.
The secure log-in and password verification process ensures the protection of the student’s privacy under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
The process for resetting student passwords is established by the portal vendor through an electronic system student-selected security questions.
The Office of Information Technology is responsible for the application of the student identity verification procedures and monitoring of the university portal security.
Students with Special Needs
The university, through the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD), coordinates the efforts to integrate students with disabilities into all areas of campus life. All accommodations are coordinated through the OSD office. Services from the OSD are provided based on receipt and acceptance of specific documentation requirements.
Misericordia University does not discriminate on the basis of disability in admission to its programs, services, in access to them, in treatment of individuals with disabilities or in any aspect of their operations. The university also does not discriminate on the basis of disability in its hiring or employment practices. Should a student with a disability feel that he/she is a victim of discrimination based on ability, he/she can file a grievance through the OSD office.
This notice is provided as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Questions, complaints or requests for additional information regarding the ADA and Section 504 may be forwarded to the Office for Students with Disabilities.
This notice is available from the OSD in large print, on audio tape, and in Braille.
(See also Special Programs)
Undergraduate Academic Grievance
The university provides a uniform method by which students can pursue grievable issues. Grievable issues are either complaints about alleged violations of the institution’s academic policies or about unfairness in the application of policies.
In all cases, formal grievances must be filed and resolved within one semester of the occurrence of the event being grieved. Summer enrollment period is considered as a semester.
A student who has a grievance must attempt to resolve it by using the following procedures:
- Prior to initiating a formal grievance, the student must attempt to resolve the matter on an informal basis by speaking to the person with whom the complaint rests.
- If unable to reach a resolution, the student must discuss the matter with the department chair who supervises the person against whom the complaint is lodged to attempt to resolve the matter.
- If the matter is not resolved at that level, the student proceeds to the dean of the college in which the grievance resides.
To initiate the formal grievance process the student must submit in writing a letter to the dean of the college in which the event being grieved resides and the vice president of academic affairs informing them of his or her intent to seek formal redress through the grievance procedure, indicating the nature of the complaint.
Within 14 university business days of receipt of the written complaint, the vice president of academic affairs will convene the academic grievance committee, provide the chair of the committee, and the person against whom the complaint rests, with the student’s statement of complaint. The academic grievance committee is composed of one administrator and one faculty member appointed by the vice president of academic affairs, and the academic affairs coordinator of student government.
At least five university business days in advance of the hearing, the chair of the committee will notify the grievant and the individual charged with the complaint of the date, time and place of the hearing, the specification and nature of the complaint, and the composition of the committee. Notification will occur by telephone with confirmation that all parties have been notified.
The grievance hearing is an internal review and, as such, shall be private. The grievant may be assisted by a faculty representative. However, persons external to the university, including outside counsel, shall be excluded from the grievance hearing.
Both the grievant and the person being grieved have the right to be present when charges and evidence are presented to the committee, and to provide evidence in support of their respective positions. Committee members may question witnesses to evaluate all the relevant facts of a given case. Witnesses shall be excluded except for the period of their questioning.
The report and recommendation of the committee shall be in writing, including the committee’s rationale for the decision; the report may include any dissenting opinions. Only those committee members who have heard all testimony and evidence in a given case may vote on the committee’s recommendation.
The committee’s report and recommendation shall be forwarded to the vice president of academic affairs within 10 university business days of the hearing. The vice president of academic affairs will make the final determination and formally advise the parties involved in the grievance within five university business days.
Students who wish to grieve circumstances that prohibit immediate continuation in a program or in a sequence of courses (e.g. dismissal from a program or a failing grade), must begin to attempt to resolve the issue based on the procedures outlined above immediately, but no longer than five days upon receipt of the grade or of the dismissal notification. An expedited grievance process is then followed, and the process must be completed before the end of the add period of the subsequent semester. In the event a sequential course begins during the grievance process, the student may be granted permission to register for the course; however, if the resolution of the grievance is not in the student’s favor, the student will be withdrawn from the course by the student’s department chair or in the chair’s absence, by the college dean.
Note: University business days are the business days of Monday through Friday during which the university’s administrative offices are open.
The university academic status committee meets each semester promptly after grades are run to deliberate the standing of students relative to the university probation/dismissal policy. University academic probation is the automatic and minimum penalty for failing to maintain an acceptable cumulative grade point average (GPA). Students failing to maintain an acceptable cumulative GPA are also subject to dismissal from the university.
Acceptable Cumulative Grade Point Average:
|12 to 23 credits
|24 to 37 credits
|38 credits and above
Full-time students on university academic probation are required to carry a restricted academic load of 12 credits and are mandated to meet with their respective College Retention Liaison. Part-time students are required to carry a restricted academic load of no more than 6 credits. A student on university academic probation is prohibited from representing the university in any official capacity. This prohibition includes, but is not limited to, holding an elected or appointed office or seat in student government, or on the executive board of student government, serving as a resident advisor, or participating in intercollegiate athletics. Furthermore, students may have their participation in non-prohibited extracurricular activities curtailed if, in the judgment of the academic status committee, such activities interfere with their academic performance.
Initial university academic probation will begin with the first class meeting of the semester (fall or spring) following the decision to place a student on academic probation. Students who are placed on probation will have one semester to raise their cumulative GPA to the acceptable level referenced above. Students who take summer courses and raise their cumulative GPA to the acceptable level will be removed from probation prior to the start of the fall semester.
Failure to make satisfactory academic progress after initial probation will result in a student being placed on final university academic probation. Final university academic probation will begin with the first class meeting of the semester (fall or spring) following the decision to place a student on final university academic probation. Students who are placed on final university academic probation will have one semester to raise their cumulative GPA to the acceptable level referenced above. Students who take summer courses and raise their cumulative GPA to the acceptable level will be removed from probation prior to the start of the fall semester. Full-time students on final probation are assigned an academic advisor in the Student Success Center by the Director of the center. Students on final university academic probation will complete an academic probation contract with their new academic advisor that includes the semester cumulative GPA necessary to mathematically increase their current cumulative GPA to the acceptable level, as well as other academic support necessary to do so.
Failure to make satisfactory academic progress after final probation will result in dismissal from the university. A student may be retained if the Academic Status Committee determines that sufficient academic progress has been attained, but an additional semester is needed to mathematically raise his/her current cumulative GPA to the acceptable level. After a student has been dismissed, he/she may submit a written letter of appeal to the Academic Status Committee requesting to remain enrolled at the university. The date by which appeals must be submitted is stated in the student’s dismissal letter from the Vice President of Academic Affairs.
Students who have been removed from academic probation must maintain the above acceptable GPA level throughout the remainder of their academic program. Probation status does not restart. If a student was removed from initial probation and his/her cumulative GPA falls below the acceptable level in a future semester, s/he will be placed on final probation. If a student was removed from final probation and his/her cumulative GPA falls below the acceptable level in a future semester, s/he will be dismissed from the university.
Withdrawal from the University
Full-time, undergraduate students must complete the following before an official withdrawal can be granted:
- Contact the retention specialist located in the Student Success Center, Alumni Hall, to begin the process
- Contact his/her advisor or department representative
- Return books to the library
- Return residence hall keys to a member of the residence life staff.
- Return parking permit, student ID, and mailbox key to the retention specialist.
- Clear student balance in Student Financial Services.
- Complete withdrawal form and exit interview.
Part-time, undergraduate students must complete the following before an official withdrawal can be granted:
- Notify in writing the director of the Center for Adult and Continuing Education (CACE)
- Contact his/her advisor or department representative
- Return books to the library
- Return parking permit and/or student ID to CACE.
- Clear student balance in Student Financial Services.
- Complete withdrawal form and exit interview.
The date of withdrawal will be determined by the completion of the above. That date will determine if any refund of tuition is warranted. Cancellation of charges will depend on the date that the withdrawal is official (see refund policy).
In the event that the student returns, this policy does not bind the institution to offer the student’s curriculum or major program, which may have been discontinued or substantially altered during the period in which the student was not enrolled. Please see the Determination of Requirements Governing Undergraduate Degree or Certificate Conferral policy for further clarification.
Withdrawal from a Course
A student may withdraw from a course in a traditional semester format from the end of the add/drop period through the tenth week of the semester (see academic calendar for specific date) only with the signatures of the instructor, the student’s academic advisor(s), and the chair of the student’s major. A grade of “W” will be issued for the course at that time. A student may withdraw from a course for medical reasons, supported by a written excuse from a physician, or for other serious circumstances, approved by the vice president of academic affairs in consultation with the course instructor, provided a grade has not yet been submitted for the course. Students taking courses on alternative calendars should refer to the published deadline for their program.
The student is responsible for initiating the withdrawal process by obtaining a withdrawal form from the registrar’s office or the myMU portal, having it signed by the appropriate personnel, and returning it to the registrar’s office within the period described above. A grade of “F” will be recorded for all courses in which no official withdrawal has been completed by the student.
Note: Students taking classes exclusively on weekends, at an Expressway site, or online must communicate their intent to withdraw to their advisor, their instructor, the chair of the student’s major program, and the registrar via Misericordia email.