Academic Policies and other policies
Change Your Program of Study
Students may change their program or areas of concentration by completing a change of program through the Enrollment Center or at the administrative offices at the other campuses. International students attending BCC on an F-1 visa must receive approval for program changes from the Registrar’s office. Grades already received in courses not applicable to the new program remain when computing the student’s G.P.A. on the permanent record and stay. Students may request Academic Forgiveness.
Transfer into certain programs, such as Culinary Arts, Clinical Laboratory Science, Complementary Healthcare, Dental Hygiene, Medical Assisting, Healthcare Information, Histology, Nursing, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Phlebotomy, Pre-Radiology Technology, and Therapeutic Massage may be limited by space available as well as by the competitive nature of these programs.
Please refer to the description of the program of interest for additional information on admission requirements and the academic background of competitive applicants. All programs will be filled on space-available basis.
Academic Forgiveness provides a second chance to students who had an unsuccessful start in an academic degree, certificate, or program. It provides an opportunity for students who have demonstrated academic success in at least 12 credits during one semester or more to have grades removed from their Grade Point Average while retaining credit for grades of C- or better.
A student may request Academic Forgiveness one time under the academic performance option or one time under the change of program option.
In order to be eligible for Academic Forgiveness, the student must be matriculated into a program, have completed at least one semester, and earned at least 12 credits with a G.P.A. of 2.5 or better, met the requirements for either of the following options, and must be seeking his/her first certificate or degree from Bristol Community College.
Repeating a course policy
Students receiving a passing grade for a course may repeat the course once with permission of the Department Chair, Program Coordinator or Dean of the department or division in which the course resides. The grade received on the second attempt becomes official. Students may repeat a failed course (F, W, U) as many times as it takes to pass, provided they can complete their program in 150% of the credits required to graduate. (For example, a program with 60 credits must be completed within 90 credit attempts.) Students who wish to repeat clinical courses must apply for readmission to the program. Students may retake the developmental courses that they have failed or failed to meet a prerequisite in as often as necessary, but the total number of developmental credits may not exceed 30. A student with extraordinary circumstances may use the appeals process to request allowing the first attempt grade to be used and/or the grade received following an additional attempt to repeat a course.
Past Academic Performance A student must have been absent with no recorded grades at Bristol for a minimum of three years. A student must be seeking his/her first degree from Bristol Community College.
Courses taken before the three-year absence will count toward the degree or certificate if applicable in the student’s program and if the grade earned was C- or better. These credits are subject to the maximum number allowed for transfer credits.
Courses taken before the three-year absence for which a student received a grade lower than C- will not count toward the degree or certificate.
Grades for courses taken before the three-year absence are still listed on the transcript but are excluded from the calculation of the student’s cumulative grade point average (G.P.A.) but not student completion rate (S.C.R.).
Change of Program
Courses taken before the change of program will count toward the degree or certificate if applicable in the student’s program and if the grade earned was C- or better. These credits are subject to the maximum number allowed for transfer credits. Courses taken before change of program for which a student received a grade lower than C will not count toward the degree or certificate. Grades for courses taken before change of program are still listed on the transcript but are excluded from the calculation of the student’s cumulative grade point average (G.P.A.) but not student completion rate (S.C.R.)
Internal Transfer BCC students in a degree program who want to transfer into a program with limited enrollment (Clinical Laboratory Science, Complementary Healthcare, Culinary Arts, Dental Hygiene, Healthcare Information, Histology, Medical Assisting, Nursing, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Phlebotomy, Pre-Radiology Technology, and Therapeutic Massage) should contact the Office of Admissions and submit a request for an internal transfer after October 1 but before February 1 for the following fall semester. Applications, catalogs, and interviews are available in the Admissions Office, located in G Building, or call ext. 2516, 2179. In addition, information sessions are held for those interested in any of BCC’s Health Science Programs. Please visit the admissions web page for dates and times.
Commencement, awards, and recognition
To be eligible for the Associate in Arts degree (A.A.), the Associate in Science degree (A.S.), or Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.), students are recommended by the faculty if they:
- Complete at least 60 credits (excluding developmental courses) of passing work.
- Fulfill course requirements established in the selected program of study.
- Earn a G.P.A. of at least 2.0 in work taken at the College applicable to their program.
- Complete at least 30 semester hours at the College.
- File an application for graduation. Intent to graduate forms are available in the Enrollment Center and at the administrative offices in New Bedford and Attleboro.
- Students may transfer back up to 34 credits with approval of the pertinent academic program/department in order to complete a degree, the Continuous Enrollment Policy notwithstanding.
Each year, the College confers the honor of Valedictorian for one graduating student who demonstrates academic and service excellence. S/he gives the Valedictory address at the Commencement ceremony and is a member of the Commencement Platform Party. Students who will graduate with the highest grade point averages among all graduating students will be notified and invited to apply for the honor during the spring semester. Those who are interested in applying will be asked to submit an essay and a list of College activities and services. These submissions and the candidate’s academic record at Bristol Community College are used to select finalists for consideration.
Vice President’s List and Graduation Honors A student who achieves a semester Grade Point Average (G.P.A.) of 3.2, and who earns at least 12 credits with no grade below “C,” is named to the Vice President’s List for that semester.
A student who maintains a cumulative G.P.A between 3.2 and 3.49 will graduate cum laude; one who maintains a cumulative G.P.A between 3.5 and 3.79 will graduate magna cum laude; and one who maintains a cumulative G.P.A of 3.80 or higher will graduate summa cum laude.
Student Awards Night
Once each year, the College honors graduating students who have made significant contributions to BCC at an event in the Jackson Arts Center. All students, faculty, and staff are welcome to attend.
Named scholarships and awards are presented at Awards Night. A list of current awards can be found in the College catalog.
Curriculum Awards are given to those graduating students who within their program emulate the characteristics of perseverance, reliability, growth and development and academic achievement. Curriculum awards may be given in all of the College’s program areas.
The Bronze Shield Award is given to students who have performed continuous outstanding service to a particular student club or student organization of the College.
The Silver Shield Award is given to students, faculty, and staff who have made significant contributions to the College.
The Sceptre and Scroll Award is given to students, faculty, and staff in recognition of outstanding College-wide service and/or leadership and contributions in service to the College Community.
Each year, early in the spring, award nomination forms are distributed. You are encouraged to nominate someone you feel is deserving of an award, and please remember its only a nomination. The Awards Committee deliberate and evaluate all nominations. The evening is planned by the BCC Awards Committee. If you would like to be part of this committee, please contact the Office of Student Engagement at ext. 2222.
Grade Point Average
Letter grades are assigned these point values:
Plus Grade Minus A 4.0 4.0 3.7 B 3.3 3.0 2.7 C 2.3 2.0 1.7 D 1.3 1.0 0.7 F -- 0.0 --
The semester’s Grade Point Average (G.P.A.) is calculated by adding the grade points earned in all courses that semester, and then dividing by the total credits attempted in those courses. The cumulative G.P.A. is found by adding all grade points earned since entry in courses taken for the student’s program, and dividing by the total credits attempted. Courses with grades of “I,” “L,” “S,” “U” and “W” are not considered.
Developmental coursework will not be computed into the student’s cumulative G.P.A. The credits are also not included in the Student Completion Rate (S.C.R.). A student should meet with an advisor each semester, but especially before attempting to take the same developmental course more than twice.
A two letter grade designation will be used for developmental courses based on the following scale:
AA = A+A = 4.0 AB = A- = 3.7 BA = B+ = 3.3 BB = B = 3.0 BC = B- = 2.7 CB = C+ = 2.3 CC = C = 2.0 CD = C- = 1.7 DC = D+ = 1.3 DD = D = 1.0 DF = D- = 0.7 FF = F = 0.0
Calculating your G.P.A.
A student who receives these grades in three courses would calculate G.P.A. as follows:
Credits Grade Grade Point Value Point First Course 4 B 3 12 Second Course 3 C 2 6 Third Course 3 W 0 0
To calculate the G.P.A. for the example given, add grade points earned (12 + 6) and divide by credits for the courses in which they were earned (4 + 3).
G.P.A. = Quality points earned in all courses.
Total credits in those courses = 187 = 2.57
G.P.A. = Grade points earned in all courses = 18 = 2.57 G.P.A.
Total credits in those courses = 7
Student Completion Rate Students must complete their academic programs within 150% of normal time frame as measured by credit hours. This sets a credit attempt limit on each student. (NOT A TIME LIMIT). Students therefore have to maintain a “pace” or “completion rate” of about 67% success of attempted credits. Transfer credits are included in the student’s 150% credit time frame.
Students in certificate programs must maintain the same standard for Student Completion Rate (S.C.R) that is, successfully completing greater than 66% of the attempted credits. There is no warning for certificate programs. Certificate students who do not maintain an adequate S.C.R. will be dismissed from that program.
All students will have their Student Academic Progress (both G.P.A. and S.C.R.) reviewed all 3 semester (fall, spring, and summer).
Figuring your S.C.R.
If a program requires 60 credits, students must complete the program within 90 attempted credits. Students who reach a point where it is mathematically impossible for them to complete their program in 90 credits will also lose their financial aid eligibility. For example, it becomes mathematically impossible for a student to complete a 60 credit program when they have NOT successfully completed 30 credits after 60 attempted credits.
Satisfactory Academic Progress
Satisfactory Academic Progress includes both a qualitative component (GPA) as well as a quantitative component (SCR). SCR replaces what Bristol Community College previously called Satisfactory progress index (SPI).
All matriculated students attending the College are expected to make satisfactory academic progress toward a degree or certificate. Students who do not maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress will be given one S.A.P. Warning per degree program. If they do not maintain the required Satisfactory Academic Progress, they will be dismissed from that program or certificate. Students who do not maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress cannot hold elected or appointed positions in any College activity and lose financial aid eligibility.
Change of Program
If a student changes his/her program, then the Student Completion Rate will be recalculated with the change of program.
Warning Students in degree programs get one and only one Warning if they fall below Student Completion Rate in a program. Students do not have to appeal a Warning; however, if in the next semester the student is still falling below the minimum S.A.P., s/he is recommended for dismissal.
Dismissal Appeals Process
Dismissed students may appeal to the vice president of Academic Affairs within one (1) week of the date of their dismissal letter for a hearing to request reinstatement.
Dismissed students may appeal ONE TIME. Their appeal must demonstrate:
- What went wrong.
- What they plan to do differently next time, and why it won’t happen again.
- A written education plan – Signed off on by the College and the student.
If the student completes the three items above, s/he may be reinstated ONE TIME. Failure beyond the one reinstatement means that s/he is no longer eligible for financial aid for that program of study.
Students who appeal must come before the Academic Standing Committee with a written statement explaining the reasons why they should be reinstated. Appeals are heard in September, January and June. The Committee will review each student’s entire academic record and any documented special circumstances the student provides. The Committee will make its recommendations to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. If the Vice President does not receive a request for a hearing within one week of the date of the letter of dismissal, s/he will conclude that the student has accepted dismissal.
Full-time students will have a maximum of four years to complete their degree requirements. The time frame for part-time students will be prorated. Students will be required to attain a minimum G.P.A. of 2.0 for graduation.
Students who do not attend an appeal hearing or whose appeal is denied by the Academic Standing Committee may take classes only as non-degree students. Non-degree students are not eligible for financial aid. These students may apply for admission to a different College program. Students wishing to apply for readmission to the College must do so through the Admissions office.
Academic Dishonesty Policy
A college community must be established on a foundation of truth and academic integrity. Bristol Community College has an obligation not only to promote these high standards of academic honesty, but also to address academic dishonesty. Academic dishonesty is demonstrated by cheating, plagiarism, and facilitating academic dishonesty.
- Cheating – Includes, but is not limited to: (1) use of any unauthorized assistance in taking quizzes, tests, or examinations; (2) dependence upon the aid of sources beyond those authorized by the instructor in writing papers, preparing reports, solving problems, or carrying out other assignments; or (3) the acquisition, without permission, of tests or other academic material belonging to a member of the College faculty or staff. Cheating shall also include the use, by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgement. It also includes the unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another person or agency engaged in the selling of term papers or other academic materials; taking credit for work done by another person or doing work for which another person will receive credit. Copying or purchasing other’s work or arranging for others to do work under a false name.)
- Plagiarism – Includes, but is not limited to, the use, by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgement. It also includes the unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another person or agency engaged in the selling of term papers or other academic materials. This would also include material that is obtained from the computer.
- Facilitating Academic Dishonesty: Students who allow their work to be used by other students or who otherwise aid others in academic dishonesty are violating academic integrity.
Evaluation and Reporting
When a faculty member has reason to believe and evidence to document that a student is being academically dishonest, the faculty member may handle the matter at the course level. You may also want to discuss the issue with your department chair and/or division dean.
If the faculty member wants to document and report an incident of academic dishonesty, the faculty member is responsible to take the following steps:
- Consult with the department chair and/or divisional dean.
- Arrange for a meeting with the student to advise the student of the allegations, to present the evidence, and to make the student aware of the consequences.
- Allow the student to present evidence of innocence, explain extenuating circumstances, and/or provide relevant information.
- Report the incident to your Division Dean using the Academic Dishonesty Report.
The Dean will send a copy of the report to the Vice President for Academic Affairs who will keep it on file until the student graduates. A copy of the report and a letter explaining the due process procedures will be sent to the student.
If the faculty member determines that the student did commit an act of academic dishonesty, the faculty member has the authority to impose any of the following:
- Failing grade in the exam, paper, or other assessment. A grade of zero is recommended
- Revision of work
- Reduction in grade
- Withdrawal from course
- Failing grade in course
The above action does not negate the student’s right to due process in accordance with the Grade Appeals section of the Student Grievance Procedure as outlined in the Student Handbook and Academic Calendar. A withdrawal from class is subject to the terms of the Discipline in the Classroom section of the Student Code of Conduct.
Academic integrity is the keystone of teaching, learning, and assessment. Bristol Community College is committed to promoting and supporting this ideal. In fact, it is fundamental to our mission. All students, faculty, staff, and administrators are expected to maintain a high standard of academic honesty and integrity. College students must assume responsibility for maintaining academic integrity in their work and in the work of others. Students, as colleagues in learning, have a responsibility to document their own work and to report other incidents of academic dishonesty or negligence. Faculty and staff cooperation is necessary to ensure academic integrity, and they should serve as a model for their students. Syllabi should include their expectations and the College policy, course materials should be cited. Incidents of academic dishonesty should be addressed and reported in a timely fashion. The administrators at Bristol Community College also share in demonstrating and ensuring academic honesty and integrity. While recognizing that academic freedom is a fundamental right of higher education, it must be supported by academic integrity and honesty. For that reason, the College will not tolerate academic dishonesty or negligence and has established policies and procedures to ensure academic honesty and integrity is maintained and supported.
Academic Negligence is demonstrated by failure to do assigned work or by excessive absences. A student guilty of academic negligence may be dropped from a course with a grade of “W” or “F” by the faculty member.
Attendance is an important factor in student success. You are expected to attend all classes – either in person or online. In the absence of an individual attendance policy stated on the syllabus, the following will be enforced:
Any absences in excess of six hours from a face-to-face course may result in withdrawal from the course, unless otherwise specified in the current course syllabus. In an eLearning course, the lack of any email contact, postings or assignments for a one week period may also be considered a three hour absence, and will usually be handled the same way as the face-to-face class. Please note that individual faculty, departments, and/or programs may enact more strenuous policies as specified in the course syllabus.
Unless an announcement is made to the contrary, a class is considered dismissed if the instructor does not appear within fifteen minutes of the beginning of a class period. Students who expect to be absent for an extended period due to illness, accident, or other unavoidable problems should refer to the Student Illness section of the Student Handbook and notify the Vice President of Students and Enrollment Management. Students who attend a field trip should make arrangements with their instructors to make up any assignments missed on that day. Those who cannot attend classes, take an exam, study, or fulfill class assignments on a particular day because of their religious beliefs will be given an opportunity to make up their work at the convenience of the instructor. Students cannot be penalized for taking advantage of this right.
Changing a Course after Registration
All students should be registered in their courses by the end of the first week of classes. The Add/Drop period is scheduled at the start of each semester. To add a course after the Add/Drop period requires written approval from the instructor and may be subject to other limitations. A student may withdraw from a course at any time before the end of the tenth week of classes and receive a “W” by consulting with an advisor, obtaining the signatures of the instructor and the advisor on the Change of Schedule form, and returning the form to the Enrollment Center. Students are cautioned that grades of “W” will lower the S.C.R. and place the student at risk for probation or dismissal.
Continuous Enrollment Policy
Except for competitive admissions programs, matriculated and registered students in good standing will be allowed to retain their program of study throughout three consecutive semesters (including fall, spring, and summer semesters) with no academic progress. Subsequently, after the fourth semester, students will be moved to a non-degree status unless they make academic progress by registering and completing at least one course with a grade of D- or better.
Students in competitive admissions programs (Clinical Laboratory Science, Complementary Healthcare, Culinary Arts, Dental Hygiene, Histology, Medical Assisting, Nursing, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Phlebotomy, Pre-Radiology and Therapeutic Massage) must reapply after a break in fall or spring semester attendance. Readmission to these programs will be subject to space availability and the specific readmission policies of individual programs. International students are cautioned that United States Custom and Immigration Services (USCIS) policies regarding non-enrollment supersede College policies. For information about this policy, contact the Registrar.
Unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including peer-to-peer file sharing, is illegal and is subject to civil and criminal liabilities. The College may also impose academic penalties in accordance with the Academic Dishonesty policy as published in the BCC Catalog and/or disciplinary sanctions as outlined in the Student Code of Conduct as printed in the Student Handbook.
Copyright infringement is the act of exercising, without permission or legal authority, one or more of the exclusive rights granted to the copyright owner under section 106 of the Copyright Act (Title 17 of the United States Code). These rights include the right to reproduce or distribute a copyrighted work. In the file-sharing context, downloading or uploading substantial parts of a copyrighted work without authority constitutes an infringement.
Penalties for copyright infringement include civil and criminal penalties. In general, anyone found liable for civil copyright infringement may be ordered to pay either actual damages or “statutory” damages affixed at not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per work infringed. For “willful” infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per work infringed. A court can, in its discretion, also assess costs and attorneys’ fees. For details, see Title 17, United States Code, Sections 504, 505.
Willful copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense.
For more information, please see the Web site of the U.S. Copyright Office at www.copyright.gov, especially their FAQs at www.copyright.gov/help/faq.
A full time course load is 12 credit hours or more per semester. Students on academic probation are limited to registration for no more than 13 credits. A load of five courses (15 to 17 credit hours) is considered to be a normal load, although in some programs more credits may be required in some semesters to complete the program in two years. Honor students (3.2 or higher average) may register for six courses (18-20 credit hours). Request for exceptions may be made in writing to the Academic Standing Committee.
Plan for at least two to three hours of study time for each class hour. A student carrying 15 credits, for example, should schedule 30-45 hours of study each week.
Incomplete Grade Policy
The mark of an Incomplete “I” is given to a student if work in a class is unfinished because of illness, accident, or other unavoidable absence.
An Instructor must submit a “Report of Incomplete Grade “form for each “I” grade assigned. The student must arrange with the instructor or Divisional Dean in the instructor’s absence, to make up the deficiency. The arrangements should be made no later than the end of the third week of the semester following the receipt of the Incomplete.
To receive credit for the course, the student must complete and turn in the missing work by the last day of class of the semester which follows the semester in which the “I” was received, unless other arrangements have been agreed upon by the student and instructor. This policy will be applied regardless of whether the student is then enrolled at BCC.
If the work is not completed, the “I” grade will convert to the grade specified by the instructor on the “Report of Incomplete Grade Form.” If no form has been submitted, the grade will be converted to an “F”.
Petition for Waiver of a Course Requirement
Under special circumstances, a student may petition to waive a program requirement or request to substitute another course for a required course in a program of study. The student should consult with an advisor or counselor to discuss the appropriateness of the petition.
The petition process requires approval signatures from the following people: an advisor, the student’s Program Director, the Department Chair of the course for which the waiver is requested, and the Academic Vice President or her designee. For additional information, please contact Advisement and Counseling Services, ext. 2234 or Academic Affairs, ext. 2185.
Other Academic Policies
For information about other academic policies, refer to the College Catalog.
Affirmative Action and Title IX Section 504
Bristol Community College’s policy is to provide equal opportunity in employment and in education for all qualified persons without discrimination because of disability status, race, color, gender, sexual orientation, age, or national origin.
In full and affirmative compliance with the laws of the United States and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and all applicable regulations thereto, this policy applies in all matters of the employment of professional and non-professional personnel, all other personnel practice, College admissions, educational programs and activities, as well as contracts for goods and services.
Inquiries regarding compliance with Affirmative Action and Title IX may be directed to the Tafa Awolaju, Vice President of Human Resources and Affirmative Action, at 508.678.2811, ext. 2194; or to the Assistant Secretary for the Office for Civil Rights. The Section 504 Compliance Officer and Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator, Dean Susan Boissoneault, may be reached at ext. 2379 or 2234.