When College officials award credit, degrees, and certificates, they must assume the absolute integrity of the work students have done; therefore, it is important that students maintain the highest standard of honor in their scholastic work.
The College does not tolerate academic dishonesty. Students who are not honest in their academic work will face disciplinary action along with any grade penalty the instructor imposes. Procedures for disciplinary measures and appeals are outlined at www.nvcc.edu/students/handbook. In extreme cases, academic dishonesty may result in dismissal from the College. Academic dishonesty, as a general rule, involves one of the following acts:
- cheating on an examination or quiz, including giving, receiving, or soliciting information and the unauthorized use of notes or other materials during the examination or quiz;
- buying, selling, stealing, or soliciting any material purported to be the unreleased contents of a forthcoming examination, or the use of such material;
- substituting for another person during an examination or allowing another person to take the student’s place;
- plagiarizing, which means taking credit for another person’s work or ideas. This includes copying another person’s work either word-for-word or in substance without acknowledging the source;
- accepting help from or giving help to another person to complete an assignment, unless the instructor has approved such collaboration in advance;
- knowingly furnishing false information to the College; forgery and alteration or use of College documents or instruments of identification with the intent to defraud.
Academic Advising is provided by faculty in academic departments and Counselors/Advisors in the Student Services Centers. See Counseling and Advising Services under the “Student Services ” section of this Catalog for further information.
Education is a cooperative endeavor between the student and the instructor. Instructors plan a variety of learning activities to help their students master the course content. Students are expected to participate in these activities within the framework established in the class syllabus. Faculty will identify specific class attendance policies and other requirements of the class in the syllabus that is distributed at the beginning of each term. Successful learning requires good communication between students and instructors; therefore, in most cases, regular classroom attendance, or regular participation in the case of a nontraditional course format, is essential.
It is the student’s responsibility to inform his/her instructor prior to an absence from class. Students are responsible for making up all coursework missed during an absence. In the event of unexplained absences, the instructor may withdraw a student administratively from the course.
If a student does not attend at least one class meeting or participate in an online class by the “last day to drop with a tuition refund” (census date), his/her class registration will be administratively deleted. This means that there will be no record of the class or any letter grade on the student’s transcript. Furthermore, the student’s class load will be reduced by the course credits, and this may affect his/her full-time or part-time student status. Tuition will not be refunded.
The normal academic course load for students is 15-17 credits per semester. The minimum full-time academic load is 12 credits, and the normal maximum full-time load is 18 credits or 19 if one is a one-credit Student Development (SDV) course. To enroll in more than 18 credits, students must have a 3.00 grade point average or higher on the last 12 credits or most recent semester of full-time enrollment completed at NOVA or another accredited college or university, and the approval of the dean of students at their primary campus. In the case of students with considerable professional experience, successful completion of college-level training may substitute for the credit hour and GPA requirement. Approval for an overload based on professional training may be granted by the dean of students in consultation with the appropriate program head/program director.
A credit at NOVA is equivalent to one collegiate semester hour. One credit is awarded for each of the following:
- one hour per week of lecture (15 hours per semester plus an exam period)
- two hours per week of laboratory with one hour of out-of-class practice (45 hours per semester plus an exam period)
- three hours per week of laboratory with no out-of-class practice (45 hours per semester plus an exam period)
Courses offered in a nontraditional format require an equivalent amount of time.
Grades are obtained through NOVAConnect at www.nvcc.edu/novaconnect. Grade reports are not mailed.
Grading System for Credit Classes
The Virginia Community College System (VCCS) updated its formal policy informing how the grading system across all 23 Virginia community colleges would be modified for the spring 2020 semester in light of the difficult issues related to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic therefore NOVA has activated the Pass/No Pass Grading System for all courses taken during the Spring 2020 semester. Students have the option to choose to receive a letter grade, or the P/NP mark on their transcript. This does not apply to classes finished in the first 8-week session.
- The Pass/No Pass Grading System does NOT apply to classes that ended before Spring Break.
- The Pass/No Pass grading system is only approved for use in the second half of the Spring 2020 semester (so at least for now, it is not approved for use in the Summer semester).
- The Pass/No Pass grading system includes P+, P-, W, WC and I grades. The WC grade indicates that a student did not pass the course. Unlike an F grade, the WC grade does not affect your GPA.
- The Pass/No Pass grading system is for college-level courses (those numbered 100 - 299). It is not used for developmental or English as a Second Language classes since they are already graded as Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory.
- A P+, P- or WC grade does count as a course attempt. Remember, you may retake a course one time without asking for permission to do so.
- A P+, P- or WC grade does replace the most recent grade in a repeated course. At NOVA, your GPA calculation includes only the most recent attempt at a course. That means that if you earned a C the first time you took a course, and a P+ the second time, the P+ will count as your most recent attempt and the C will not be included in your GPA calculation. ALL of your course attempts and all of your grades will show on your transcript.
- All course grading for the rest of Spring 2020 will default to Pass/no Pass unless you tell your instructor and the Chief Academic Officer that you want to be graded by the letter grading system (A-F).
- If your class ends on April 5, please email both your instructor and the Chief Academic Officer (CAO@nvcc.edu) and say that you want to receive a letter grade in a specific class section (e.g., ENG 111 09M).
- If your class ends on April 12 or later, please complete the Letter Grade Request Form provided in your student email on Friday, April 3. You can submit the form beginning April 10. The deadline for using the form to request a letter grade is May 4.
- Your decision to earn a letter grade is final. For that reason, we urge you to take time to be sure which grading system best meets your needs. The Letter Grade Request Form has not been activated yet, but you will be notified when it is.
- You must make you request for a letter grade no later than the date shown below. Once you make your selection it CANNOT be changed.
In order to receive any letter grade, a student must have attended a minimum of one class meeting or the equivalent in the case of an online course. In an online learning course, initial student attendance is determined by completing a class assignment. The College will administratively drop students who enroll in a course but do not attend a minimum of one class meeting or the online learning equivalent by the census date. Existing College policies regarding tuition refund shall remain in effect.
The grades of “A,” “B,” “C,” “D,” “P,” and “S” are passing grades. Grades of “F” and “U” are failing grades. “R” and “I” are interim grades. Grades of “W” and “X” are final grades carrying no credit.
The quality of performance in any academic course is reported by a letter grade, the assignment of which is the responsibility of the instructor. These grades denote the character of study and are assigned quality points as follows:
A = Excellent - 4 grade points per credit
B = Good - 3 grade points per credit
C = Average - 2 grade points per credit
D = Poor - 1 grade point per credit
F = Failure - 0 grade points
I = Incomplete - No grade point credit. The incomplete (“I”) grade is used only for verifiable unavoidable reasons that a student is unable to complete a course within the normal course time. To be eligible to receive an “I” grade, the student must have satisfactorily completed more than 60 percent of the course requirements and attendance, and must request the faculty member to assign the “I” grade and indicate why it is warranted. The faculty member has the discretion to decide whether the “I” grade will be awarded.
Since the “I” grade extends enrollment in the course, requirements for satisfactory completion will be established through consultation between the faculty member and the student and documented on the “I” Grade Assignment Form (125-076). In assigning the “I” grade, the faculty must complete documentation that
- states the reason for assigning the grade;
- specifies the work to be completed and indicates its percentage in relationship to the total work of the course;
- specifies the date by which the work must be completed; and
- identifies the default grade (“B,” “C,” “D,” “F,” “P,” “R,” or “U”) based upon coursework already completed.
Completion dates may not be set beyond the last day of the subsequent semester (to include the Summer Session) without written approval of the provost. The student will be provided a copy of the documentation. All “I” grades that have not been changed by the faculty member through the normal grade change processes will be subsequently changed to the default grade assigned by the faculty member. An “I” grade will be changed to a “W” only under documented mitigating circumstances, which must be approved by the provost.
P = Pass - No grade point credit. Applies only to nondevelopmental courses. The “P/U” grading option may be used for an entire section of any course but not for an individual student within a course. Use of this grade must be approved by the academic dean. Grades of “P” are not included in grade point average calculations. Only seven credit hours of “P” grades may be applied toward graduation. This maximum may be extended to 15 credit hours for an approved experiential learning program such as PLACE (SDV 298 ).
P+ = Equivalent to an “A-C” grade. A grade of P+ will not affect a student’s GPA. Most universities will accept a P+ grade in transfer.
P- = Equivalent to a “D” grade. Most universities will not give transfer credit for courses with a P- grade. It will apply to a student’s NOVA program and will count oward graduation. It will not affect GPA.
R = Reenroll - No grade point credit. The reenroll “R” grade may be used as a grade option in developmental and College ESL courses only, to indicate satisfactory progress toward meeting course objectives. In order to complete the course objectives, students receiving an “R” grade must reenroll in the course and pay the specified tuition. The “R” grade may be given only once per course.
S = Satisfactory - No grade point credit. Used only for satisfactory completion of a developmental studies course (numbered 1-9) or any College ESL course. Grades of “S” are not included in grade point average calculations.
U = Unsatisfactory - No grade point credit. Applies to nondevelopmental courses being offered with a “P/U” grading option, as well as to developmental studies, ESL courses, noncredit courses, and specialized courses and seminars at the discretion of the College. The “P/U” grading option may be used for an entire section of any course, but not for a single individual student within a course.
W = Withdrawal - No grade point credit. A grade of “W” is awarded if a student withdraws or is withdrawn from a course after the add/drop period but prior to the completion of 60 percent of the session, using the Withdrawal Initiated by Student Form (125-047) or Withdrawal Initiated by Instructor Form (125-031). After the 60 percent point, the student will receive a grade of “F” except under mitigating circumstances that must be documented on either the 125-047 or 125-031 Form. In all cases, the instructor and academic dean must approve the withdrawal, and the dean forwards the signed form to the Student Services Center. This documentation will be retained in the student’s record. See also “Withdrawal from a Course ” section, under “Enrollment .”
WC = Withdrawal due to COVID - Means the student was not passing the course. It is roughly equivalent to an “F” grade, but it will not affect the student’s GPA.
X = Audit - Students auditing a course may attend without taking examinations or receiving credit for the course. Permission of the instructor and the academic dean is required to audit a course no later than the census date for the course.
See “Auditing a Course ,” under “Enrollment ,” for more information.
Calculating the GPA
The grade point average (GPA) is determined by dividing the total number of grade points earned in courses by the total number of credits attempted. Courses that do not generate grade points are not included in credits attempted. The GPA is carried out to two digits past the decimal point (example 1.00). No rounding shall be done to arrive at the GPA.
Three types of GPA are defined by the Virginia Community College System (VCCS).
Semester GPA is determined by dividing the total number of grade points earned in courses attempted for the semester by the total number of credits attempted.
Cumulative GPA, which includes all courses attempted, is computed each semester and is maintained on a continuing basis as a record of the student’s academic standing. When students repeat a course, only the last grade earned is counted in the computation of the cumulative GPA and for satisfying curricular requirements unless the course is designated repeatable for credit in the Master Course File or is a General Usage course. In instances of courses designated as repeatable for credit or General Usage courses, all grades/credits are counted in the computation of the cumulative grade point average. Grades of “S,” “P,” “U,” “W,” “X,” and “I” shall not count as first or subsequent attempts when calculating cumulative GPA. Courses that do not generate grade points are not included in credits attempted.
A curriculum GPA, which includes only those courses applicable to the student’s curriculum, is computed in order to ensure that the student satisfies the graduation requirement for that curriculum. When students repeat a course, only the last grade earned is counted in the computation of the curriculum GPA.
The following table illustrates a GPA of 2.00 obtained by dividing 30 by 15.
||Credit Hours Attempted
||Credit Hours Completed
||Total Grade Points
Course Grade Appeals
Students who think that a semester grade is in error may check by contacting the appropriate instructor within 30 calendar days after the first day of classes for the next Fall or Spring Semester. If the grade is in error, the instructor will take the necessary steps to correct it. After the next semester, the grade will stand. Students should review the Student Course Grade Appeal Form (125-053) online for guidance in the process.
Developmental Course Grading
An “S” grade will be assigned to indicate satisfactory completion of the course objectives for each developmental course (numbered 1-9).
Students who are making satisfactory progress but have not completed all of the instructional objectives for a developmental course will be assigned an “R,” must reenroll, and must pay the appropriate tuition to complete course objectives.
Students who are not making satisfactory progress in a developmental course will be assigned a “U” (unsatisfactory). Such students should meet with a counselor for possible reevaluation of goals and for determination of any subsequent academic work.
Credits earned for developmental courses are not counted in grade point computations toward graduation or in determining sophomore status. They are used in determining full-time or part-time status.
Repeating a Course
Students normally are limited to two enrollments in a credit course that is not designated as repeatable for credit in the VCCS Master Course File or is not identified as a general usage course. Repeatable courses are listed below under “Course Repeat Exceptions.” General usage courses are those courses numbered 90-190-290; 93-193-293; 95-195-295; 96-196-296; 97-197-297; 98-198-298; or 99-199-299.
For students who were enrolled during any semester or session beginning in Fall 1988 and repeated a course, only the last “A” through “F” grade earned, not the higher of the two grades, is counted in computing the cumulative and curriculum GPA and for satisfying curricular requirements. If the subsequent grade is a “W,” “X,” or “I,” it does not replace the grade earned previously. When a course is repeated and the grade of “F” is earned, all grades, credits attempted, credits completed, and quality points for previous enrollments in that course are no longer applicable. Grades of “W,” “X,” and “I” shall not count as first or subsequent attempts for purposes of GPA calculation. Courses exempt from the course repeat policy (see exceptions) are not affected by this policy; each grade counts.
Repeating a course does not change a student’s GPA for a given semester. A graduate’s curriculum and cumulative GPAs and Honors designations at the time of graduation will remain unchanged if the graduate repeats a course.
Course Repeat Exceptions
Normally, students may enroll a maximum of two times in a credit course that is not a general usage course or a course designated as repeatable for credit. Exceptions to this policy will be considered on a case-by-case basis when a student submits a Course Repeat Request Form (125-013) to the academic division offering the course.
Credit courses that are designated as repeatable for credit in the VCCS Master Course File or are identified as general usage courses may be repeated for credit. Other than the general usage courses, only those courses designed to develop and maintain proficiency in the visual and performing arts, or to meet requirements for certification or recertification in allied health or applied technology fields, may be designated as repeatable for credit. Examples are applied music courses, automotive emissions inspection courses, and theatre workshops. Students will be limited to 10 credits earned through multiple enrollments in the same course.
|The following courses are exempt from the two-enrollment limit:
||AUT 215 , AUT 225 , AUT 226
||EMS 115 , EMS 173 , EMS 243 , EMS 244 , EMS 245
||MUS 136 , MUS 137 , MUS 138 , MUS 145 , MUS 148 , MUS 149 , MUS 155 , MUS 165 , MUS 166 , MUS 175 , MUS 185 , MUS 236 , MUS 237 , MUS 238 , MUS 245 , MUS 248 , MUS 249 , MUS 255 , MUS 265 , MUS 266 , MUS 275 , MUS 285
||PED 160 , PED 161 , PED 163 , PED 164 , PED 166
|General Usage Courses: 90, 190, 290; 93, 193, 293; 95, 195, 295; 96, 196, 296; 97, 197, 297; 98, 198, 298; and 99, 199, 299.
Some courses have prerequisites or corequisites. These requirements, which were established to foster a student’s success in the course, are identified in the Course Descriptions section of this Catalog. Students may not enroll in a course for which they do not meet the prerequisites by the time the course begins. (The authorization for a waiver of any prerequisite may be made only by the dean of the instructional division offering the course.) Students may be administratively dropped from any course for which they have not met the prerequisite. This includes students who wish to audit the course.
In a course that requires placement tests, students must obtain the required minimum scores to enroll in a course or complete prescribed developmental studies courses before enrolling in the desired course.
Although there is no test for computer competency, most courses do require students to use the computer for research, papers, and other assignments. Students who are not experienced using a computer can take introductory courses available to help increase their proficiency.
Course prerequisites apply to all students taking a course, including any who want to audit it.
Student Development Courses
All curricular students, except those in some career studies certificate programs with fewer than 16 credits, shall participate in a one-credit student development course designed to help them succeed in college. Depending on the program of study, this may be either SDV 100 College Success Skills or SDV 101 Orientation to (a Specific Discipline) . All SDV courses cover topics related to academic success, responsible decision making, and College information. Some sections address additional topics and some are intended for students in specific programs.
NOVA students must take an SDV course within their first 15 semester hours at the College, unless the requirement has been waived. SDV waivers may be granted for students who hold a transfer-oriented associate degree or bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. Students still must complete the required total number of credits for their degree.
Course Substitutions for Students with Documented Disabilities
Otherwise qualified students with documented disabilities covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, who are, by reason of their disability, unable to complete a requirement of the program pursued by the student, with or without reasonable accommodations, may request an approved course substitution.
Substitutions will generally not be granted for any course that is deemed essential to the program of instruction being pursued by such student, or to any directly related licensing requirement. If requirements are waived, students must successfully complete other courses to compensate for the credit hours.
Transferring Credit to NOVA
NOVA allows previous academic study, examination, or career experience to be evaluated for possible College credit. Only students who have declared a major and registered for at least one credit at NOVA may request evaluation of transfer credit or credit for prior learning. Students must have completed at least one course at NOVA before an official transcript reflecting transfer credit will be issued. No more than 75 percent of a degree or certificate may be earned through transfer credit and/or credit for prior learning. Only credit applicable to a student’s academic program will be transferred. Prior learning credits that are to be used to meet the specific requirements of a curriculum must be approved by the academic dean responsible for a student’s curriculum.
Credit from Other Colleges and Universities
NOVA accepts credits from other regionally accredited U.S. colleges and universities for which a student has earned a grade of “C” or better. To have such credit evaluated, students must submit an official transcript from their previous institution and a request for evaluation to the Student Services Center at any campus. An official transcript is one that has the seal of the institution or testing organization and the signature of an official of that institution or organization. An official transcript must be received in a sealed envelope from the originating institution that has no overt sign of having been opened or otherwise disturbed. Official transcripts may be mailed directly from the transferring institution to a NOVA Student Services Center or delivered in acceptable condition, such that the receiving registrar has confidence that the record received is authentic. Official transcripts that are sent to College faculty also may be accepted. Contact the Student Services Center at any campus for procedures required to initiate the evaluation of transfer credit.
Students who have earned college credit from universities outside the United States must have their credit evaluated by an international credit evaluation agency before submitting it to the College. NOVA accepts international transcript evaluations from World Education Services (WES at http://www.wes.org/students/index.asp), the International Education Research Foundation (IERF at http://www.IERF.org), Educational Credential Evaluator (ECE at https://www.ece.org ), Foreign Credentials Services of America (FCSA at http://foreigncredentials.org ), or the American Association of College Registrars and Admissions Officers (www.aacrao.org). NOVA will accept AACRAO transcript evaluations dated prior to August 2016 and on a case-by-case basis, NACES approved evaluations performed prior to August 2014. Students must submit an official transcript from the evaluation agency to a campus Student Services Center and submit a request for evaluation.
Credit for Prior Learning
NOVA also evaluates prior college-level learning from nontraditional sources. Only official transcripts or other documentation specified in the Credit for Prior Learning Manual will be evaluated. Consult NOVA’s Credit for Prior Learning Manual at www.nvcc.edu/prior-learning/cpl-manual.html for complete information and a list of credit for prior learning opportunities or contact an academic advisor or counselor.
Credit for prior learning is available to students for nontraditional educational experiences that fall into the following basic categories:
- credit for military training and courses
- credit earned in nontraditional programs, including workplace and government training programs evaluated by the American Council on Education (ACE), National College Credit Recommendation Services (NCCRS), and NOVA faculty
- credit by examination, including Abitur, Advanced Placement (AP), Assessment by Local Examination (ABLE), University of Cambridge Advanced Level Examinations, College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), DSST (formerly known as DANTES), International Baccalaureate (IB), and SAT II subject exams
- credit by PLACE (Prior Learning Activity for Credit Evaluation) portfolio development, a NOVA program for adults who have gained college-level learning through life experiences, such as work, volunteer activities, participation in civic and community assignments, travel, independent study, etc.
Foreign Language Credit
Students who have completed two years of a single foreign language in high school or whose native language is not English have the following options:
- Request assessment by the College faculty if it is a language currently taught at NOVA. Such assessment could place the student into levels above the introductory course in the foreign language sequence. For students who are granted advanced placement, additional general electives may have to be completed to meet the minimum credit requirements for the degree.
- Take a CLEP or other approved foreign language exam. Students who achieve a satisfactory score will be awarded credit for the foreign language that may be used toward completion of a degree.
- Request a waiver of the foreign language requirement for those who are proficient in a foreign language not offered by NOVA or through examination. Proficiency is generally indicated if the student has at least the equivalent of a high school diploma from an institution where the primary language is other than English. If the foreign language requirement is waived, additional open electives must be completed to meet the minimum credit requirements for the degree. To receive the waiver, students must submit a high school transcript or other official documentation indicating that the language of instruction was not English.
Students are expected to take tests at regularly scheduled times. In addition, every student is required to take a final examination, receive an appropriate evaluation instrument, or continue receiving instruction during the scheduled final examination period. Any deviation from the final examination schedule must be approved by the campus provost. Students have the right to review their final exam for one semester after the end of the term in which the final exam was taken.
Academic and Graduation Honors
Academic excellence recognitions can be viewed online on a student’s unofficial transcript through NOVAConnect at www.nvcc.edu/novaconnect.
The College provides the following recognitions for academic excellence:
A student’s name will be placed on the Presidential Scholars list for any semester that his/her grade point average is 3.75 to 4.00. The student must have completed at least nine semester hours in the current semester (excluding developmental courses) and have earned a minimum of 20 semester hours of credit at NOVA.
A student’s name will be placed on the Dean’s List for any semester that his/her grade point average is 3.50 to 3.74. The student must have completed at least six semester hours in the current semester (excluding developmental courses) with no grade lower than “C.”
Students attending NOVA for a minimum of 30 credit hours in degree programs are eligible for graduation honors. Those attending NOVA for a minimum of 50 percent of the credit hours in their certificate program are eligible for graduation honors. Students must apply online for graduation to be eligible for graduation honors. Graduation honors are determined by the student’s cumulative grade point average at the completion of the semester for which he/she is certified for graduation.
Appropriate honors are based on scholastic achievements and recorded on the degree or certificate as follows:
|Cumulative Grade Point Average
||Cum Laude (with honor)
||Magna Cum Laude (with high honor)
||Summa Cum Laude (with highest honor)
Students can apply for graduation online at the beginning of the semester they intend to graduate. Visit www.nvcc.edu/graduation and click on Application for Graduation. Students must observe the application deadline dates: October 1 for Fall graduation, March 1 for Spring graduation, and June 1 for Summer graduation. Applications received after these dates will be processed for the following semester.
Associate Degree and Certificate Requirements
To be eligible for graduation with an associate degree (A.A., A.S., A.F.A., A.A.A., or A.A.S.), certificate, or career studies certificate from the College, students must have
- been admitted to a curriculum (declared a major);
- completed all curricular requirements as outlined in the College Catalog including receiving a passing grade in all of the coursework and fulfilling the credit hour requirements. The Catalog to be used to determine graduation requirements is the one in effect at the time of the student’s admission to a curriculum from which the student is graduating, or any subsequent Catalog of the student’s choice from an academic year in which he/she attended NOVA. The Catalog to be used in certifying the student’s graduation shall have been in effect no more than seven years prior to the semester of graduation;
- taken courses at NOVA that total at least 25 percent of the credit to be applied to the curriculum (able credit does not count toward the residency requirement);
- earned a grade point average of at least 2.00 in courses attempted that are applicable toward graduation in the curriculum;
- applied for graduation online on or before the published dates (no application is necessary for the General Education Certificate);
- resolved all financial obligations to the College and returned all materials, including library books; and
- certificate and career studies certificate candidates enrolled in a program of more than 15 credits must also complete a Student Development (SDV) course even if none is required for a specific curriculum.
Students who wish to earn a degree, diploma, certificate, or career studies certificate in addition to any other degree, diploma, certificate, or career studies certificate must complete all requirements of both programs, and the awards must differ in content from one another by at least 25 percent of the credits.
Certification of Completion
Program administrators may award a certificate of completion for successful completion of a cohesive set of courses for which no standard award (degree, certificate, or career studies certificate) is given. Certificates of completion may be given for completion of credit or noncredit courses. These awards are conferred by program administrators, not by the College, so recipients are not considered College graduates and are not eligible to participate in Commencement. Certificates of completion are not recorded on the student’s official transcript.
Upon request, posthumous degrees may be awarded to students who are in their last semester of study and/or within 15 credits of degree completion at the time of death. The degree award must be approved by the executive vice president for Academic and Student Services. The diploma will bear the notation “Awarded Posthumously.”
Issuing of Diplomas
Diplomas are issued at the end of each term after final verification of grades and completion of requirements. Diplomas will be mailed to the address the student entered in his/her online graduation application. Students will receive only one diploma for each degree or certificate earned. For students who complete additional coursework after the awarding of a degree, the cumulative and new plan grade point averages (GPAs) will be affected, but not the GPAs entered when the degree was awarded. The updated grades and GPAs will be reflected on the student’s transcript but will not have any bearing on the diploma.
The College will reissue diplomas in cases of natural disaster (such as fire or tornado), printing error, or name changes resulting from gender reassignment.
Participation in the Commencement Ceremony
Students are eligible to participate in the Commencement ceremony if they completed their program requirements during or prior to the current academic year. For the Spring 2020 Commencement this means students who complete program requirements in Spring 2020 or any prior semester may participate. Spring Semester graduation applicants who participate in the Commencement ceremony are not guaranteed the awarding of a degree. Graduation applicants still must successfully complete their program requirements to graduate from NOVA.
Students who have completed only the General Education Certificate are not eligible to participate in the Commencement ceremony.
The official NOVA transcript of a student’s academic record can be requested by searching Transcript Request and ordering it through Parchment eTranscript Service for a fee. Transcripts will be sent electronically within 24-48 hours, or students can request a paper copy for an additional fee. Financial aid transcripts are available at no cost through the College Financial Aid Office. Students may print their own unofficial transcript through MyNOVA.
Transfer from NOVA
Since admission policies and program requirements vary among four-year colleges, all students need to be acquainted with the specific requirements of the college or university of their choice. Students should consult and work closely with counselors and/or academic advisors in transfer planning and for designing an appropriate NOVA program of study.
NOVA offers transfer programs that lead to the associate of arts (A.A.) degree, the associate of fine arts (A.F.A) degree, or the associate of science (A.S.) degree. These programs are designed for students who plan to complete the freshman and sophomore years of college work at the community college and then transfer to a four-year college or university to complete the junior and senior years of a bachelor’s degree. Some four-year colleges will accept certain associate of applied science (A.A.S.) and associate of applied arts (A.A.A.) programs, but each institution has a different policy.
The College transfer website, www.nvcc.edu/transfer, is a good first stop in planning one’s transfer from NOVA to a four-year institution. Guaranteed admission and articulation agreements, four-year school transfer guides and admission information, campus transfer events, and more, are all linked on this site. After viewing the site, a follow-up visit with a campus transfer counselor is recommended.
Only courses with a grade of “C” or better are accepted for transfer even if the student has an A.A. or A.S. degree. Students must submit a completed transcript request form online through NOVAConnect or to a NOVA Student Services Center to have an official copy of their transcript forwarded to the intended transfer college or university.
The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) and the State Board for Community Colleges have endorsed a State Policy on Transfer. This policy gives guidelines for Virginia community colleges and state-supported senior institutions on admission of transfer students, acceptance and application of transfer credits, services for and responsibilities of transfer students, and guidelines for students who transfer without an A.A. or an A.S. degree.
Guaranteed Admission and Articulation Transfer Agreements
NOVA has formal guaranteed admission and articulation transfer agreements with many institutions. These agreements detail the terms of transfer for NOVA students completing associate degree programs. They define the way courses, programs, or entire categories of programs transfer to another institution and may include admission guarantees. Counselors can provide students with more specific information on how these agreements relate to individual transfer plans. For a current list of agreements, visit the transfer services website at www.nvcc.edu/transfer.
Students are considered in good academic standing if they maintain a semester minimum GPA of 2.00, are eligible to reenroll at the College, and are not on academic suspension or dismissal status.
Students who are on academic warning or academic probation but are eligible to reenroll may be considered eligible to receive financial aid assistance or other benefits requiring a “good academic standing” status.
Students who are having academic difficulty will have one of the following official indications appear in their grade report on NOVAConnect:
Students who fail to maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.00 for any semester will receive an academic warning. Students on academic warning are encouraged to consult with their advisor/counselor and take advantage of academic support services provided by the College.
Students who fail to maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 1.50 will be placed on academic probation until their grade point average reaches 1.75 or better. The statement “Academic Probation” will be included on the student’s permanent record. Students on probation are ineligible for appointive or elective office in student organizations unless special permission is granted by the dean of students or another appropriate College administrator. Students on academic probation may be required to carry less than a normal load the following semester and are required to consult with their advisor/counselor. Students shall be placed on probation only after they have attempted 12 semester credits.
Students who are on academic probation and fail to attain a semester GPA of 1.50 or better shall be placed on suspension only after they have attempted 24 semester credits. Academic suspension will be for one semester. The statement “Academic Suspension” will be placed on the student’s permanent record. Students who are placed on academic suspension and wish to appeal should follow the appeal process established by the College. Students may be reinstated at the conclusion of the suspension period by following the process established by the College. Students who have been reinstated from academic suspension must achieve a 2.00 GPA for the semester of their reinstatement and must earn at least a 1.75 GPA in each subsequent semester of attendance. The statement “Subject to Dismissal” will be placed on their permanent record. Students who have been reinstated from academic suspension will remain subject to dismissal until their cumulative GPA is raised to a minimum of 1.75. Reinstated students may be required to carry less than a normal course load the following semester and are required to consult with their advisor/counselor. Reinstated students are encouraged to take advantage of additional academic support available to them.
Students who do not attain at least a 2.00 GPA for the semester of reinstatement following academic suspension will be academically dismissed. Students who achieve at least a 2.00 GPA for the semester of their reinstatement following academic suspension must earn at least a 1.75 GPA in each subsequent semester of enrollment. Failure to attain a 1.75 GPA in each subsequent semester until the cumulative GPA reaches 1.75 will result in academic dismissal. The statement “Academic Dismissal” will be placed on the student’s permanent record. Academic dismissal is normally final, but students who believe they have an exceptional case may appeal to the dean of students for reinstatement following an absence of five years (60 months). To appeal, the student must submit a written request to the dean of students explaining why he/she did not do well in the past and why the student thinks he/she will be successful if allowed to return to the College. The student must submit an appeal at least 30 days before the start of the semester when he or she wishes to return. Students who are readmitted after dismissal should consult College policy on academic renewal, which follows. Students who are reinstated after academic dismissal will remain subject to dismissal until their cumulative GPA is raised to a minimum of 1.75. Reinstated students may be required to carry less than a normal course load the following semester and are required to consult with their advisor/counselor. Such students are encouraged to take advantage of additional academic support available to those who have been reinstated following academic dismissal.
College Procedures for Students Academically Suspended or Dismissed
The procedures listed below apply to students who have been academically suspended or dismissed:
- Notice of a student’s academic suspension/dismissal is provided through both his/her grade report on NOVAConnect and a letter sent from the College that describes the suspension/dismissal policy and the steps available for appealing.
- A “hold” will be placed on the student’s record so that he/she cannot register. The hold will indicate “academic suspension” or “academic dismissal” and is a part of the student’s academic record.
- Students who choose to appeal are required to write a letter to the chair of the Admissions Committee requesting an exception to the policy. The letter should detail the causes for academic difficulties and describe remedies the student proposes to improve his or her academic performance.
- Students who are requesting reinstatement to the College must meet with a counselor and/or dean of students.
- The campus dean of students will make the reinstatement decision.
- The dean of students’ reinstatement decision may be appealed to the campus provost.
Students who return to the College after a separation of five years or more may petition for academic renewal. The request must be in writing and submitted to a campus Student Services Center.
For students who are found to be eligible for academic renewal, “D” and “F” grades earned prior to reenrollment will be deleted from the cumulative and curriculum grade point average (GPA), subject to the following conditions:
- Prior to petitioning for academic renewal, the student must demonstrate a renewed academic interest and effort by earning at least a 2.50 GPA in the first 12 semester hours completed at NOVA after reenrollment.
- All grades for credit courses received at the College will be a part of the student’s official transcript.
- The student will receive degree credit only for courses in which grades of “C” or better were earned prior to academic renewal, providing that such courses meet current curriculum requirements.
- Total hours for graduation will be based on all coursework taken at the College after readmission, as well as former coursework for which a grade of “C” or better was earned, and credits accepted from other colleges or universities.
- The academic renewal policy may be used only once and cannot be revoked after approval by the dean of students.
- Academic renewal cannot be applied to a degree or certificate that has already been conferred.
Apprenticeship training programs are approved through the Apprentice Division of the Virginia State Department of Labor and Industry. Formal apprentice training programs are subcontracted by the Virginia Community College System to local school boards. These programs include approved on-the-job experiences and related instruction classes. NOVA offers many of the related instruction classes specified in apprenticeship programs. In addition, NOVA offers certificates associated with apprenticeship programs in air conditioning and refrigeration at the Woodbridge Campus and culinary arts at the Annandale Campus.
Cooperative Education and Internships
Cooperative Education and Internship courses provide the opportunity for students to apply the concepts and skills learned in the classroom to a job situation. The professional and technical experience gained through Cooperative Education establishes a record of performance in one’s career field and eases entry into a permanent career position. Students who co-op with a federal government agency can be retained noncompetitively in a permanent position upon graduation.
To be eligible to participate in Cooperative Education or Internship courses, students must have
- declared a major in a NOVA degree or certificate program;
- successfully completed 15 semester hours of college work or the equivalent, including transfer credit;
- successfully completed a minimum of two courses in a major area of study at NOVA;
- obtained a 2.00 or better grade point average; and
- obtained divisional approval after a review of the student’s academic/employment record and a determination of his/her potential for success in a co-op position or internship.
Credit earned in Cooperative Education and Internship courses may be used as a substitute for up to 10 credits of coursework in selected degree programs if approved by the student’s academic advisor, used for elective credit, or earned as additive credit. For more information, see www.nvcc.edu/co-op.
Developmental courses are offered to prepare students to succeed in the College transfer and career/technical programs. These English (ENF) and mathematics (MTT, MCR) courses are designed to develop the basic skills and understanding needed for success in other courses and curricula.
After taking the placement test, advisors will help students determine which ENF and MTT courses they may need. In some cases, students must complete developmental courses before enrolling in certain courses or being admitted to a curriculum. In other cases, students can take college-level courses along with developmental courses.
Credits earned in these courses are not applicable toward associate degree, certificate, or career studies certificate programs.
A wide variety of instructional methods and materials are used at the College for developmental courses. ENF courses are offered in a variety of formats. MTT courses use individualized technology-based instruction. Students who have any questions should check with a counselor or academic advisor.
NOVA Online offers online learning courses. NOVA Online courses are designed to offer “anytime access” to higher education from the convenience of one’s home or office. Online courses are primarily web-based and require access to the Internet. Courses are designed to do the following:
- create a community of learners
- support communication between student and faculty
- guide students to valuable and appropriate resources
Some things to consider when choosing an online learning course are the following:
- To be successful, students need strong reading and time-management skills, and must be self-disciplined and motivated.
- Additional technology may be required, including web conferencing software for live meetings or office hours, using live chat or social media tools like Twitter, or using interactive websites in addition to accessing materials in Blackboard.
- Some online courses require in-person meetings or labs, and some require live meetings attended from home via web conferencing.
- All NOVA Online courses require at least two proctored exams. Students should follow the instructions in their course syllabus for specific requirements. Examinations in NOVA Online online learning courses can be taken at any NOVA campus Testing Center during open Testing Center hours. Individuals living outside the Washington, DC metropolitan area may arrange to have exams proctored by a NOVA-approved proctor. Exams in most courses may also be taken from home using NOVA Online’s online proctoring service.
- Some online learning courses allow students the flexibility to work ahead on their own and complete a course early, while others require students to keep the same basic pace as their classmates. Be sure to check individual course descriptions for specific requirements or contact the individual instructor with questions.
Some degrees and certificates can be completed partially or entirely through NOVA Online. Prospective degree candidates should contact a NOVA Online counselor, a campus counselor, or an academic advisor to plan their program of study.
Textbooks for NOVA Online courses might not be the same as those used on campus, so students should check the NOVA Online bookstore specifically when looking for textbook information. NOVA Online books may be purchased or rented through the Alexandria Campus bookstore or ordered online at https://nvcc-alexandria.bkstore.com, by fax, or mail. Typically, books ordered from the bookstore by mail are shipped the same day.
Students are required to submit assignments by specific due dates. Students who do not submit these assignments on time can be administratively withdrawn from the course with a grade of “W.”
Qualified, highly motivated students may enrich their study through participation in NOVA’s Honors Program or by enrolling in individual Honors courses. Honors Lead Faculty and Honors counselors are available at each campus to help students decide if the Honors Program or specific Honors courses will help focus their academic goals. Student Services Center staff, counselors, and advising specialists also can provide students with further information.
Honors courses differ from regular sections as they incorporate REAL components: Research, Enrichment, Academic rigor, and Leadership, which go beyond the basic course material. Within these courses, students are encouraged to think independently and critically, to participate actively in discussions, and to collaborate with their fellow Honors students, building a community of highly engaged peers. These courses stimulate broader and deeper consideration of the subject matter and encourage the exploration of the interrelationships of ideas across disciplines.
Each Honors course has a special transcript indicator. Universities and employers often favor students who seek the greater challenge offered through Honors courses.
Honors course offerings may vary from campus to campus. Typically, Honors courses are offered as follows:
- Honors Courses: special sections are designated as full Honors courses with an average of 16-18 students in a seminar-style setting, restricted to Honors students only, and
- Honors Options: regular sections in which Honors students complete the REAL Honors components.
Eligibility for Honors Courses
Students must complete all course prerequisites AND meet at least ONE of the criteria listed below:
- score at least 1200 out of 1600 on the SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, and Math sections with a score of at least 600 on each section; OR
- place into Honors English and/or Honors math based on placement test scores as indicated by a Testing Center representative; OR
- document a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 at the last academic institution attended (high school, college, or university); OR
- provide a recommendation from the Honors chair, Honors counselor, or Honors instructor teaching the requested Honors course(s). This recommendation should indicate the student’s life experience, special aptitude, or interest that indicates potential for success in an Honors course.
Once a student completes 6 credits of college coursework, the GPA requirement (3.5+) takes precedence over all other criteria.
Eligibility for the Honors Program
Students who meet at least one of the criteria listed above must request an interview with a campus Honors Lead Faculty to be considered for admittance into the Honors Program. Depending upon other factors, students may be required to have successfully completed at least 3 credits of Honors courses in order to be admitted to the Program.
- To be eligible for the Honors Interdisciplinary Experience requirement, students must have completed a minimum of 3-6 semester hours in Honors courses.
- Elective credits may come from any discipline offering an Honors course.
- At least 9 credits of full Honors courses must be applied toward the total Honors Core Curriculum credits. Other courses may be Honors option or full Honors courses.
- NOVA Online Honors courses will be considered on a case by case basis (contact a campus Honors Lead Faculty for more guidance).
The Honors Program provides a comprehensive, educational experience for Honors students and allows them to interact as a community of learners. The Honors Program is designed to provide motivated students with an enriched program of study that includes, but is not limited, to
- academic scholarships
- presenting at Honors symposia and conferences
- field trips
- campus and community service projects
- leadership opportunities
- campus- and College-wide honors events
- exemplary guest speakers
- letters of recommendation
- Campus Honors Club
- special transfer opportunities to selective institutions
The Honors Program is distinguished by its Honors Core Curriculum, comprised of specific courses within the categories listed in the following chart:
|Physical and Life Sciences/Mathematics
|1 Elective 1
|1 Elective 2
|2 Honors Interdisciplinary Experience
1 Elective credits may come from any discipline offering an Honors course. You must take at least two 3-credit elective courses to satisfy this requirement.
2 To satisfy this requirement, a student must submit to their campus Honors Lead Faculty member a proposal for how they’re going to meet this requirement. This proposal is due by end of semester before the beginning of the term in which the experience will take place. The student will also submit a reflection or report describing how they grew from this experience. This report is to be submitted before the end of the term during which the experience was undertaken. The Interdisciplinary Honors Experience requirement may be satisfied by engaging in one of the activities listed below:
- The student will complete a supervised, reflective interdisciplinary research paper produced separately from an Honors course; or
- a presentation at Honors symposium or approved Honors conference of which NOVA is a member; or
- at least twenty hours of supervised, verifiable community service; or
- completion of a credit-bearing internship* (3-credit minimum) to be taken in the place of an Honors elective; or
- non-credit internship* of at least 20+ working hours; or
- credit-bearing study abroad to be taken in place of an Honors elective; or
- completion of an Honors Portfolio, which reflects upon or summarizes their Honors experience at NOVA.
*Additional specific guidelines may apply for both credit-bearing and non-credit Interdisciplinary Experience opportunities. Please confirm with the Honors Lead Faculty on your campus for additional details.
3 Only 9 credits of Honors option courses can be used toward the total Honors Core Curriculum credits.
Honors Program Completion
Students may satisfy the requirements of both the Honors Program and their degree program by enrolling in the Honors or Honors options courses within the degree program requirements. Campus Honors Lead Faculty, advisors, and counselors can assist students with course selection.
Continuation in the Honors Program is contingent upon a student maintaining good academic standing and adhering to the Student Code of Conduct. Receiving more than one grade lower than a “C” in an Honors course will result in dismissal from the Program or probation based on GPA status. To graduate with Honors, a student must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher AND an Honors GPA of 3.275 or higher with no Honors course grade below a “C.”
Completion of the Honors Program will be designated on the student’s official transcript and diploma. Students will also receive the Honors Certificate of Completion. This represents a significant enhancement of one’s academic credentials.
Learning Communities are part of an innovative program for enriching student success. NOVA offers selected pairs of courses that form learning communities by linking developmental studies, Honors courses, or courses related to a particular major. A common cohort of students enrolls in the linked classes and works together with faculty on shared assignments and learning opportunities. Learning Communities will focus on helping students become a better learner, while learning more about themselves and how they learn. This is an opportunity for students to get to know their professors and classmates better, to build a supportive academic network, and to improve their study skills to become a successful college student. The Student Services Center on each campus has more information about Learning Communities at NOVA.
ROTC (Army/Air Force)
NOVA, the Air Force ROTC, and the University of Maryland have established an agreement to make the Air Force ROTC General Military Course and/or Professional Officer Course available to qualified NOVA students who wish to earn an appointment as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Air Force. For more information, contact the University of Maryland Air Force ROTC office.
Professional Studies Coursework
Some individuals may wish to prepare for study leading to advanced professional degrees in such fields as dentistry, law, medicine, occupational therapy, optometry, pharmacy, physical therapy, and veterinary medicine. Through NOVA, students can pursue some foundation coursework to facilitate this goal.
NOVA does offer a number of programs in the allied health professions; however, these programs have restricted admission. Visit www.nvcc.edu/medical to learn about admission to these programs.
Students who wish to meet professional goals by enrolling in nonrestricted foundation coursework should consult an advisor or counselor.
NOVA offers occasional study abroad opportunities under a variety of disciplines. They are treated as regular credit courses, requiring registration for the course, satisfaction of prerequisites, and assignments completed for a final grade. Study abroad courses count toward the residency requirement for program completion. The related travel expenses are the responsibility of the student. Contact the instructor or academic dean for information about study abroad.
Weekend Courses and Programs
Weekend courses and programs provide students with additional opportunities to pursue their education. Weekend courses are offered at all campuses. Students may accelerate work toward a degree or seek professional enrichment and growth in a time frame conducive to their professional and personal lives through weekend courses. Any student can register for weekend classes; there is no special permission required.
Some campuses offer programs leading to a degree or certificate entirely through weekend coursework. The Annandale Campus offers a Weekend Express Program and a Weekend Studies Degree Program. For further information about these programs, go to www.nvcc.edu/annandale/special-programs/index.html. The Woodbridge Campus offers weekend programs in Business Administration and Information Technology. Weekend courses and programs may be found in the regular course listings in the Schedule of Classes.
Workforce Development, Continuing Education, and Community Education Services
The Workforce Development Division helps to plan and provide many types of credit and noncredit programs to meet special interests within the community. The topics vary from job skills to personal enrichment interests. Various community education programs and seminars focus attention on social issues. Workforce development services for business, industry, and professional organizations provide special courses at NOVA for their employees. These programs can be taught at the College or in the workplace.
Many noncredit programs are offered each semester to serve special community service needs. A listing of the continuing and community education courses offered at each campus can be found online at www.nvcc.edu/workforce.
Courses and workshops often result from requests by individuals or groups within the community. The programs pay for themselves through fees charged to participants. State funds are not used for setting up or offering a course or paying the instructor. Fees for community education courses vary depending upon the actual cost of each course. Community education course information and registration instructions are available at each campus Workforce Development Office.
Payment for courses may be made by cash, check, money order, contract, Visa, MasterCard, or American Express. Checks and money orders (payable to NVCC or NOVA) can only be accepted for the exact amount due. A fee is charged for any check that is dishonored, except when the bank is at fault. Requests for refunds must be made at least four calendar days before the date of the first class meeting.
Cultural affairs are available through short courses, special lectures, music presentations, and art festivals. Community groups and organizations may also make special arrangements to use facilities of the College for their own programs or meetings.
To qualify as a community education College course, the following standards must be met:
- The noncredit activity is planned in response to an assessment of educational needs for a specific target population.
- There is a statement of objectives and rationale.
- Content is selected and organized in a sequential manner.
- There is evidence of preplanning.
- The activity is instructional and is approved by an academic or administrative unit of the institution best qualified to affect the quality of the program content and to approve the resource personnel utilized.
- There is provision for enrollment for individual participants.
- Evaluation procedures are utilized.
- Criteria are established for awarding Continuing Education Units to individual students prior to the beginning of the activity.
Continuing Education Units (CEU) for Noncredit Courses
The College awards Continuing Education Units (CEU) upon completion of most noncredit courses. One CEU represents 10 hours of participation in workforce development and continuing education courses. CEUs are a nationally recognized standard unit of measurement that has been adopted for postsecondary courses not carrying academic credit. Permanent CEU records are maintained by NOVA. CEUs are increasingly accepted as evidence of educational accomplishment and for professional certification.