Academic Policies

Policies not included here can be found in the college catalog as well as the student handbook.

Academic Degrees and Credit

Definition of Credit Hours

In accordance with federal policy, Elms College defines a credit hour as an amount of work represented in the achievement of the intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that reasonably approximates:

  1. One hour (50 minute period) of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out of class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or
  2. At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) for other academic activities as established by the institution, including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours. Laboratories, internships, clinicals and practica vary by program in terms of the number of hours required, but in general are 2-3 hours/week per credit.

For courses with non-traditional formats, e.g. accelerated, Weekend, online or hybrid/blended, students are required to spend the equivalent amount of total time per credit hour as spent in traditional courses. However, the mix of time spent in direct instruction and time spent on assignments and other work, per week, will vary.

Academic Degrees

Undergraduate Degrees

An undergraduate associate degree (A.A., A.S.), normally represents the equivalent of two academic years of full-time study (and requiring a minimum of 60 semester credits) or its equivalent in depth and quality of experience. An undergraduate baccalaureate degree (B.A., B.S.) normally represents about four academic years (and requiring a minimum of 120 semester credits) of college study.

Graduate Degrees

A first graduate degree (Master's-level, including M.A., M.S.), represents at least one year of post-baccalaureate study (requiring a minimum of 30 semester credits). Professional and specialty degrees (M.B.A., M.S.N., M.Ed., M.A.T.), normally require two or more years of full-time study. Extensive undergraduate preparation in the field may reduce the length of study to one year. Graduate degrees include a significant component of coursework in addition to any supervised research or practice.

Credit Transfer Evaluation

It is possible to transfer up to 75 credits from other institutions towards a bachelor's degree, and 30 credits towards an associates' degree for courses completed within the last 10 years and for which students have achieved a "C" grade or better. Elms College evaluates the transcripts of all transfer students for content in the liberal arts to determine if they satisfy the intent of the college's core requirements. This transcript evaluation has as its goal providing the student with the opportunity to complete, as quickly as possible, a baccalaureate degree in a way that is in keeping with the purpose of a four-year liberal arts college. Courses required for the nursing major must have a grade of "C+" to be accepted for transfer credit.

Students already enrolled at the college who wish to take courses at another institution must complete and file the required form in the Registrar's Office. Transfer credits earned at another college or university will not be computed in the student's GPA, but may be applicable to degree requirements at Elms College. However, credits earned under the Cooperating Colleges of Greater Springfield (C.C.G.S.) program are computed in the student's GPA.

Verification of Student Identity (for Distance Education)

For students enrolled in online or hybrid courses, or students utilizing online materials through a course management system associated with a traditional course, identification is determined by the use of a unique username and password that is securely distributed to every student once enrolled in the school. Elms College protects student privacy in compliance with the Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), and will notify students at the time of registration or enrollment if there are any projected additional student charges associated with the verification of student identity.

Contact Us

Office of the Registrar