Academics

ACADEMIC POLICIES AND REGULATIONS

Registration

Students are required to register on the registration day specified in the University calendar. Failure to register on that day may result in loss of space in that class. Full tuition fees and all prior debts must be paid in full on or before registration day of each academic year. Matriculation is subject to the satisfactory completion of all academic requirements and the receipt of a final transcript from all undergraduate universities attended.

Health Insurance

A health insurance plan is mandatory for all international students. All international students must have a valid health insurance plan while enrolled at SVU. Evidence of such a plan must be provided to SVU before successfully completing enrollment.

Students’ Academic Advising

Students will be assigned a faculty advisor upon matriculation. Faculty advising should be considered a privilege of the academic process. This is a valuable opportunity to develop and sustain individual contacts between faculty and students on both academic and personal levels. It is the student’s responsibility to meet with his/her faculty advisor at least once a trimester. If either the student or faculty member does not find the relationship helpful, either is free to seek a change. This request should be made to the Academic Dean.

Professional Behavior and Demeanor

Students enrolled at SVU must demonstrate professionalism while studying at school and in their real world career. Students are expected to hold themselves to high standards of ethical conduct while they attend SVU. In particular, plagiarism and cheating are not accepted under any circumstances. For more details, please consult the Student Handbook.

Changing Programs

Students can change their declared academic program of study at any time. To make a program change, the student should complete the Change Major/Program form at the Registrar’s office. The student should meet with the designated Program Director for an interview and discussion of qualifications and goals. The student’s credentials will be assessed to determine the proper classes for the new degree requirements. The specific requirements for changing the major depend on the number of credit hours the student has completed and the requirements of the intended major. Transfer credits approved for the prior degree program will be reassessed to determine the eligibility of transfer to the new degree program.

A student’s progress through the program is based on successful completion of expected competencies.

The faculty determines if the student has demonstrated the knowledge, skills, and approach necessary to be eligible to progress to the next phase. In special instances, the faculty may convene outside of class time to consider cases relating to unusual circumstances, such as probationary or dismissal cases.

LEAVE OF ABSENCE

A student in good academic standing may request a leave of absence with the occurrence of a medical problem, serious personal problems or pregnancy.

Students requesting a leave of absence must apply in writing to the Academic Dean. In the event of a medical problem, a letter from a physician describing the condition for which the leave is requested and the estimated length of time needed for recovery must accompany the request.

After consultation with the student, the Academic Dean will decide whether or not the leave is to be granted and the conditions under which the student may return to school. A student requesting a leave of absence during, or at the end of, the academic year must complete the following:

  • Written request for a leave of absence;
  • A leave of absence form from the Registrar. After completing the student’s portion, take the form to the faculty advisor who will consult with the student, sign the form, and write a conference report for the Academic Dean’s use in considering the approval for leave;
  • A personal meeting with the Academic Dean to discuss the reason for the leave; and
  • Official exit interview with the Academic Dean, the Program Administrator, and Registrar.

When all of the above have signed the form, the Registrar will again sign the form and date it, indicating final approval. At this time, the Academic Dean or designee will send an official letter to the student indicating that the leave of absence has been approved and specifying the terms of the leave.

If the leave of absence is approved, the official date of the leave of absence will be the original date of receipt of the student’s request and any tuition charged will be in accordance with the institution’s refund policy. Leave of absence requested for a full academic year may be for one year only with expected reinstatement scheduled at registration for the following year. Leave of absence requested after registration for any given academic year may be granted for a period not to exceed the number of months remaining until the registration date for the next academic year.

It is the student’s responsibility to keep the Registrar informed of any change of address while on a leave of absence.

WITHDRAWAL

Application for voluntary withdrawal from the university must be made in writing to the Academic Dean. Except in special cases, the application will be accompanied by a personal interview. Every effort should be made to assure that no misunderstanding or errors occur in the withdrawal process. Students, who leave the University without notifying the Office of the Registrar and not completing the withdrawal procedures within 30 days, will automatically be dismissed from the university. In addition, students must report to the Student Office to sign a withdrawal form before they can officially withdraw from the university. Students who do not complete this procedure will not be considered for readmission at a later date.

Readmission for students withdrawing in good standing is not assured unless it is part of the final agreement made between the Academic Dean and the withdrawing student. This final agreement must be in writing so that it is clear to all parties involved. Students who have not withdrawn in good standing may request readmission through the university’s admissions application process. The Admissions Committee will evaluate the student’s entire academic record and make a recommendation to the Academic Dean.

ACADEMIC WARNING

The instructor of the course where a student demonstrates unacceptable performance must notify the student of such performance as soon as it becomes evident. The student will be notified that continued poor academic performance can lead to academic probation and dismissal.

Students who do not meet the Standards of Academic Performance will be placed on probation. The duration and conditions of the probationary period will be determined on an individual basis by the Academic Review Committee. The Committee may recommend remedial study and/or repetition of a unit of study.

Students will be placed on academic probation as a result of “D” or “U” work in any unit of study.

ACADEMIC PROBATION

Probation is defined as a period of time specified by the Academic Dean during which the student’s progress will be closely monitored by the Academic Review Committee and the Program Administrator. A student will be placed on probation for any of the following reasons:

  • Immediately upon receiving a grade of “D” in any course;
  • A grade point average of less than the required grade at the end of any trimester; and/or
  • Seriously deficient ethical, professional or personal conduct.

Members of the faculty or administration will render a special report in writing to the Academic Review Committee regarding any student whose professional or personal conduct is deemed unsatisfactory. Professional and personal conduct includes attendance, cooperation with instructors, interest shown in assigned work, attitude toward fellow students and associates, as well as personal appearance appropriate to the circumstances. The terms of probation for ethical, professional, or personal conduct will be specified at the time the student is placed on probation.

When a student is placed on probation, he/she will be notified in writing by the Academic Dean and the reasons will be stated. Notification must be by certified mail or hand-delivered and acknowledged by signatures of the student and the Academic Dean (or his designee) and copies of the letter will be placed in the student’s file and distributed to the Chairman of the Academic Review Committee and the student’s Faculty Advisor. The Academic Review Committee will ascertain when the terms of the probation have been satisfied and recommend to the Academic Dean that probation can be rescinded.

The student will remain on probation until the following minimal acceptable standards are met:

  • A student will be removed from probation after one trimester provided he or she has regained a required annual grade point average;
  • A student will be removed from probation when all unsatisfactory grades have been satisfactorily remedied according to the following Remediation Section; and/or
  • A student will be removed from probation when the specified terms of probation for ethical, professional, or personal conduct are met.
DISMISSAL

A student may be subject to dismissal from the program for substandard academic or professional performance, as follows:

  • A final grade of “F” in any course;
  • Any event that could result in either academic or professional probation for a student currently on academic or professional probation;
  • Violation of the terms of probation;
  • Repeated tardiness at program-scheduled activities and in meeting deadlines set by the faculty in regards to tests and/or assignments; and/or
  • Failing to complete the required procedures for either Voluntary Withdrawal or Leave of Absence from the university.
General

The courses are designed to measure the students’ progress by written and practical examinations. Specified objectives have been defined for each course to help the students and faculty members evaluate the degree of progress.

Evaluation Methods
  • Written examinations based on analytical or logic based inference questions, multiple choice questions, short answer questions, and essay questions.
  • Practical or laboratory examinations including: classroom observation of laboratory projects, independent hands-on design projects, and presentation/discussion of projects.
  • Written reports or research papers on assigned topics.
Review of Examinations

Examinations are graded by the faculty and are usually returned to students within seven days. Questions of the examinations are kept on file for review for one year.

Grade Reports

In cases when final grades are not available at grade reporting time, a grade of “I” is submitted to the Registrar in lieu of the course grade. “I” grades entered on the grade reports must be converted to student- achieved grades by the student completing the necessary requirements within two trimesters or it will be converted to an F. An up-to-date summary of student performance is maintained in the Student Office and is available to students for review.

Final course grades are given based on the four-point letter system, as follows:

Letter Grade Grade Points
A+ 4.3
A 4.0
A- 3.7
B+ 3.3
B 3.0
B- 2.7
C+ 2.3
C 2.0
C- 1.7
D+ 1.3
D 1.0
D- 0.7
F 0.0
U 0.0

Explanation of Grading Marks:

A Highest level, showing excellence
B Performance is good, but not the highest level
C Performance is adequate
D Performance is less than adequate
F Course requirements have not been met
WF Withdrawal with Fail
I Incomplete – Performance has been beyond the student’s control. Work was passing at the time.
W Withdrawal – Student was permitted to drop the course.
AU Audit – Student was enrolled on a non-credit basis
CR Credit by examination – Credit = grade “C” or better
TR Transfer credit
NC No Credit – Below passing on challenge examination
P Pass – Student passed the course which was offered on a pass/no-pass basis
NP No pass – Performance is unsatisfactory of the course which was offered on a Pass/No pass basis.
IP In progress – Performance is satisfactory, but a final grade is not yet assigned. This applies to work normally exceeding beyond one trimester
U Unauthorized incomplete – The student did not withdraw from the course but failed to complete course requirements. For purposes of a grade point average, this symbol is equivalent to an “F”
RD Report delayed – Indicates a grade has not yet been turned in by the instructor.
RP Course is repeated
Dean’s Honors

Excellence in scholastic achievement is recognized each trimester by the compilation of a Dean’s List. An undergraduate student successfully completing at least 12 credit hours with grade points, with a minimum term grade point average of 3.35 or better; a graduate student successfully completing at least 9 credit hours with grade points, with a minimum term grade point average of 3.85 or better, qualify for the Dean’s Honor List. “Dean’s Honor List” will also appear on the transcripts of students obtaining a 4.0 grade point average.

Incomplete Grades

In circumstances where a student is unable to complete the coursework required prior to the end of the trimester, the student may, with the instructor’s approval, file a petition to receive a grade of Incomplete. Incomplete grades will be indicated by a mark of “I” on the student’s grade report and transcript until the student either successfully completes the course requirements (at which time the “I” will be changed to a letter grade) or fails to complete the course requirements (at which time the “I” will be changed to an “F”).

Students have two trimesters, following the trimester for which an incomplete is given, to successfully complete any deficient coursework. The trimester extends to the last day of scheduled final examinations. Failure to complete all work within this time period will result in the student receiving a failing grade for the course.

Auditing Courses

Students who wish to take courses without formally enrolling in a degree program may do so on an audit basis. Students who wish to audit courses must:

  • File an Application for Admission and pay the admission fee (if not currently enrolled);
  • Demonstrate proficiency in English;
  • Pay applicable tuition; and
  • Meet attendance and other requirements as specified by the instructor.

A course which is audited will be indicated by an “AU” on the student’s transcript.

Standards of Satisfactory Progress

All students must maintain satisfactory progress. A student is making satisfactory progress if:

  • Every trimester, the student earns a GPA of 2.0 or above for undergraduate students, or 3.0 or above for graduate students.
  • After attempting 25% of the maximum program length, the student’s percentage of course completion is above 55%, and cumulative GPA is above 1.5 for undergraduate students and 2.5 for graduate students.
  • After attempting 50% of the maximum program length, the student’s percentage of completion is above 60%, and cumulative GPA is above 1.75 for undergraduate students and 2.75 for graduate students.
  • For programs of more than two academic years, at the end of the second academic year and at the end of each subsequent year, the student must have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or above.

Maximum program length is determined for each student at admission. Maximum program length is equal to the number of credit hours required for the student to complete the program times 1.5.

Students who completed a program or degree at Silicon Valley University and plan to obtain a second or higher degree at SVU will be treated with new admission status. A new student ID will be issued and the student will have to submit all the required credentials and documents (e.g. all official transcripts previously obtained, diploma copy, etc.; for more information please refer to General Admission on page 3) in order to be accepted in the program.

The Family Educational Rights Act grants students significant rights of access to their records. This Act also protects the privacy of the student records and requires the University to inform students of all their rights and safeguards. The following explains the various sections of the Act.

Students may gain access to any written records directly concerning them by asking the official (the Registrar) holding the records. Where a record contains information on more than one student, students requesting inspection must be informed about the information pertaining to them. The student does not have the right to inspect personally such records, as this would violate the privacy of another student. There are some records to which the student has no access. These are:

  • financial records of parents;
  • confidential letters and recommendations written prior to January 1, 1975;
  • confidential letters and recommendations for which a waiver of rights to access has been assigned, provided the student is given the names of those writing letters (there are three areas in which a waiver may be signed – admissions, employment, and honors); and
  • doctors’ and psychiatrists’ records – which, however, may be reviewed by the students’ own physicians.

Students have the right to the interpretation and explanation of all records subject to review. Furthermore, the subject matter of the files can be challenged directly with the official holding them. If students are not satisfied with the explanation or reach an impasse with the record holder, they have the right to appeal the case to the Academic Dean, who has been designated as the hearing officer.

In addition, students have the right to copies of their records. The student may, however, be charged for this service, but the amount cannot exceed the actual cost of producing them.

The Act also entitles students to the privacy of their records. Only material classified as “directory” information can be released without student consent. Directory information, as defined by SVU, includes the student’s name, address, telephone number, school of enrollment, periods of enrollment, degree awarded and honors, field of study, and date or place of birth. With reasonable notice, students can have any or all of the information withheld.

However, the Act does allow persons serving in official capacities to have access to student records. These include:

  • University officials who have a legitimate interest, i.e., those performing their official duties;
  • officials of other universities in which the student seeks enrollment, provided the student is given notice and the opportunity to review the records sought; Government officials acting in their legitimate functions;
  • those persons needing them in connection with a student’s application for, or receipt of, financial aid;
  • organizations conducting surveys, provided that the information will not reveal the students name, and when the information is no longer necessary it will be destroyed;
  • accrediting organizations; and
  • those persons named in a judicial order.

Students may consent to have others review their files. To protect students, a record will be kept of those granted access, other than SVU officials. Such records will be maintained for each file reviewed.

The university will maintain student transcripts for a minimum of fifty years either from the date of the student’s graduation or from the last date of the last trimester in which the student was officially enrolled.