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Guidelines for Academic Progress

Good Academic Standing
Hampshire is committed to the principles of individualized education, in which each student receives the benefits of close collaboration with faculty, individually designed programs of study, and interdisciplinary work. In order to graduate, students must satisfy the requirements at each divisional level. Considering the number of factors that enter into the determination of academic progress and the particular needs of the individual student, the student and academic advisor work together throughout the academic year on the design of a rigorous and appropriate course of study to move the student toward graduation. This course of study comprises course work, independent projects, fieldwork, and other learning activities, co-curricular courses (such as OPRA) do not count.

To maintain good academic standing, students must satisfactorily complete all required educational activities. Students who do not complete seven academic courses and the CEL-1 requirement by the end of the second term will be placed on academic contract by the center for academic support and advising (CASA), and will be expected to address the deficiencies to return to good standing in the subsequent term. First-year students must successfully complete at least five academic courses by the end of their second semester of enrollment to be eligible to return to Hampshire for their third semester, or will be subject to academic withdrawal. Successful completion of a course means receiving an evaluation or a grade of C or better.

For Division II students, good standing will be determined at the end of each semester by the advisor (usually the committee chair). Students must meet with their advisors prior to the end of each term so that determination of progress can be made. The College considers students at the Division II level to be in good academic standing if they complete at least three committee-approved courses and/or equivalent evaluated learning activities each semester with an evaluation or grade of C or better. Co-curricular courses and workshops (such as OPRA) do not count. Faculty committees will be asked to comment on the progress of Division III students by the end of the first semester of Division III. 

During and at the end of the semester, CASA contacts the instructors of students who are on academic contract and requests that they provide feedback on the students’ performance. Timely information on students’ academic progress enables CASA to better assist in achieving their academic goals for the semester. At the end of a contract semester, CASA will determine if the student has satisfied the conditions of the contract and can return to good standing the following semester.

Students who fail to maintain good academic standing are subject to withdrawal from the College and/or loss of financial aid eligibility (see Satisfactory Academic Progress and Financial Aid, below). As an alternative to withdrawal, some students who have fallen behind may be placed on an academic probation contract worked out by CASA in consultation with the advisor. At the discretion of the advisor and CASA, a student may be placed on required leave status in order to complete academic work and compensate for academic deficiencies before returning to full enrollment. 

Disability-related Accommodations and Academic Contracts
It is standard practice for academic contracts to require completion of all coursework by the deadline for submitting work at the end of the semester set by instructors in individual courses. Taking incompletes in courses is not typically permitted. If there are foreseeable circumstances of any kinds that might impair or impede a student's ability to complete the terms of their contract, it is the student's responsibility to notify the appropriate dean in CASA in a timely fashion and no more than one week after receiving their contract. This includes accommodations provided under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and related legislation. If a student is unsure about whether they qualify for accommodations under ADA, they should consult with the office of accessibility resources and services immediately to begin the disclosure process. Students must arrange for accommodations with instructors before any applicable deadlines for coursework pass. Unless there are extreme, unforeseeable, and documented disability-related circumstances which arise throughout the semester, accommodations cannot be applied retroactively.

Satisfactory Academic Progress and Financial Aid
The College, in accordance with regulations concerning federal financial aid, has instituted guidelines for all students for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). The requirements have three different components:

  • a quantitative measure
  • a qualitative measure
  • a limit on length of time to graduation.

Successful completion of a course means receiving an evaluation in a Hampshire course or a grade of C or better. Because Hampshire College does not use the traditional grade point average (GPA) as a method of evaluation, the College will examine the ratio of successfully completed courses to total courses.

For students entering spring 2015 and after:

  • To meet the quantitative standard a student must successfully complete at least 67% of all courses attempted.  Attempted courses include incompletes, in-progress, and withdrawn (W) courses.
  • To meet the qualitative standard, the ratio of successfully completed courses to total courses, excluding incomplete, in-progress, or withdrawn courses, must be at least 1:2 or 50% (i.e. for every two courses attempted, one must be successfully completed).
  • Hampshire College has determined that a student may not take longer than 10 full-time semesters to complete the degree requirements. 

Additionally, for students entering fall 2015 and after:

  • Co-curricular courses, such as OPRA, do not count toward meeting any of the three standards.

Hampshire College will measure Satisfactory Academic Progress standards at the end of spring semester each academic year. Students who are not meeting the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards described above are not eligible for federal financial aid until an approved Satisfactory Academic Progress plan is developed in consultation with CASA. As long as the student is making progress toward meeting the minimum standards, the student can continue to receive financial aid one semester at a time. A new Satisfactory Academic Progress plan will be required each semester until the standards have been met. If the student does not make progress toward meeting the standards they will lose eligibility for financial aid until all three standards (quantitative, qualitative, and the limit on the length of time to graduation) are met.

Notification to Family of Academic Contract/Academic Dismissal
Under Massachusetts law, the age of majority is 18 and carries full adult rights and responsibilities. The College communicates directly with students in matters concerning academic progress. It is the policy of the College to notify in writing both students and family when an academic contract goes into effect and of dismissal from the College only when the student has granted such permission. In communicating with parents concerning other matters, it is normal College policy to respect the privacy of the student and not to disclose information from student educational records without the prior consent of the student. 

A student may appeal their academic standing by submitting a written statement to the dean of academic support and advising. The statement may cite mitigating circumstances for review.

Students who return from withdrawn status are sometimes placed on an academic contract as part of the readmission decision. This information will be provided to advisors.

Guidelines for Graduation in Four Years
The academic program at Hampshire College is a negotiated education; each student will work out a plan of study for graduation in four years with their advisor. The following guidelines are intended to encourage early and frequent discussions between students and advisors concerning a student’s academic progress:

  • Completion of the Division I course requirements by the end of the second term
  • Passing Division I in the beginning of the third term
  • Filing of the Division II contract by the beginning of the fourth term
  • Passing Division II by the end of the sixth term
  • Filing of the Division III contract at the beginning of the seventh term
  • Passing Division III by the end of the eighth term

It is important to note that students have a maximum of ten semesters in which to complete all degree requirements. In rare instances, because of injury, severe illness, or death of a close relative, it may be necessary for a student to exceed the maximum period for completing degree requirements. In such cases, the student must submit a plan for completion on extension status to their Division III committee and to the committee on exceptions to academic policy. A student who is granted such an appeal would be placed on leave of absence status for at least the following semester but for no more than two consecutive semesters, before being allowed to return to Hampshire on extension status. Extension status carries a fee rather than tuition, and does not qualify students to receive financial aid. Students on extension status for completion of degree requirements may not live on campus.

Filing Dates and Deadlines for Division II and III
Central records publishes the academic calendar, which details the filing deadlines for each academic year.