May 16, 2022  
2021-2022 Catalog 
2021-2022 Catalog

Academic Standards and Academic Progress

For students in Catalog Years 2019 and earlier, please consult the appropriate edition of the Catalog based on the student’s Catalog Year.  Previous years’ Catalogs are archived online at

Definition of Full-time Status for Academic Purposes


For students in Catalog Years 2016 and later

Full-time status for undergraduate students for academic purposes is defined as 12 or more credits of registered coursework at the end of the drop/add period. 

Exception: Doctor of pharmacy program students in the sixth year (P4) of the program are defined as full-time with a minimum of 10 credits of registered coursework at the end of the drop/add period.

Full-time status for graduate students for academic purposes is defined as 9 or more graduate credits of registered coursework at the end of the drop/add period.

General Information

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The information in this section presents only university-wide academic standards.

Students in graduate degree programs (MS, MBA, MPH, PhD) and those in graduate level-certificate programs should consult with their academic department for any information relevant to their discipline or the profession.

It is also important to note that individual colleges and many major programs have specific academic standards for academic standing, progression, graduation, etc. Please refer to the individual college or program sections of the University Catalog ( for information related to these standards. Academic departments may also have additional handbooks containing information relevant to the discipline or the profession; students should check with their academic departments.

The minimum passing grade in all undergraduate courses taken at the University is “D-.” At the conclusion of each semester of study, students are expected to have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.00, unless a higher GPA is specified by their program. For the purposes of these academic regulations, “good academic standing” shall be defined as maintenance of a cumulative GPA of at least 2.00 and not more than one failing grade (“F”) in the most recent semester, irrespective of cumulative GPA.

To progress into advanced or professional coursework, students must have completed and passed all required courses. Depending on curriculum, these may be first-, second-, or third-year courses. Students also must have achieved at least the minimum cumulative GPA required by their major.

All undergraduate students must achieve a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00 by the end of the spring semester of their second year, unless a higher standard is specified by their program (see specific requirements in the University Catalog). The minimum cumulative GPA must be achieved by the end of the spring semester of the second year. A second-year undergraduate student who has achieved the minimum cumulative GPA as of the end of the spring semester but who has not completed or has failed a required course must satisfactorily complete the required course by the end of Summer Session II of the same year with the minimum cumulative GPA or above, in order to progress into the third year of a curriculum. Students in the doctor of pharmacy program must complete all required first- and second-year courses by the end of the spring semester of the second year.

The academic records of all second-year undergraduate students are evaluated by the corresponding program director/department chairperson and the college dean responsible for their degree program. Those students who do not meet the criteria for progression into the third year (fourth year for doctor of physical therapy students) of the curriculum will be referred to the appropriate faculty college council.

The faculty college council may:

  • Drop the student from the University rolls; or
  • Provide the student an opportunity to attain the required GPA within a maximum of two additional semesters while assigned a full course load, including reassignment to courses in which a minimum final grade of “C” was not achieved (subject to policies on Repetition of a Course and Grade Replacement - see the Registration and Student Records section of the University Catalog for additional information).

Academic Probation


For students in Catalog Years 2014 and later

The college deans will review the scholastic progress of all students at the end of each semester. Students, whether full-time or part-time, who have not achieved the required minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.00, or who have received a failing grade (“F”) in two or more courses in the most recent semester (whether full-time or part-time), will be placed on academic probation. A semester is a 15-week unit of instruction and assessment.

Students on academic probation are required to meet with academic advisor to develop and complete an Academic Improvement Plan (AIP). Students are required to develop this plan in consultation with their academic advisor and comply with the AIP. Please see the Academic Improvement Policy for further details.

No student will be permitted more than two semesters of academic probation, whether full-time or part-time. 

Approved by Faculty Senate: November 4, 2014. 

Academic Improvement Policy


Students who are not performing at a level of achievement that is consistent with success in their academic program at the end of a semester are placed on academic probation (see Academic Probation). Students placed on academic probation will complete an Academic Improvement Plan (AIP). The AIP is designed to help students increase their academic performance to achieve their academic goals.

  • Students on academic probation are required to meet with their academic advisor. Students are expected to develop their AIP in consultation with their academic advisor who must sign-off on their plan. Students will be required to communicate with their academic advisor throughout the semester regarding the progress they are making with their personalized plan.
  • Students are expected to implement their AIP immediately after earning academic probation. Students on academic probation after the fall 2016 semester must meet with their advisor no later than the end of the second week of classes of the spring 2017 semester. Students earning an academic probation during the spring 2017 semester are required to develop their AIP over the summer and must obtain their advisor’s approval prior to June 15.

It is the student’s responsibility to schedule and attend any meetings, workshops, tutoring, etc., associated with the development and implementation of this plan. The AIP includes utilizing resources in the Division of Student Affairs (Academic Advising, Academic Support Services, Tutoring, Counseling, Career Counseling, etc.) and other appropriate resources (e.g. their instructors, the Writing Center).

Students who do not complete and follow through with their AIP will have a dean’s hold placed on their record preventing further registration activity until they meet with their academic dean and/or a dean of students. Students who do not develop or implement their AIP and earn a second academic probation may be administratively withdrawn from the University.

Student Comments and Complaints


Doctor of Pharmacy Program

The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) requires that colleges of pharmacy respond to any written complaints by pharmacy students relating to adherence to the standards, policies, and procedures of ACPE. Students should submit a written comment or complaint to the Office of the Dean of Pharmacy (GH-216). All comments or complaints will be evaluated, and a written response will be provided. Students are also encouraged to visit the ACPE website at

Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

Doctor of physical therapy students have the right to lodge a formal complaint to the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) if the USciences physical therapy program is not in compliance with one or more of the evaluative criteria set by CAPTE.  

Students need to identify the specific evaluative criteria that they feel is not being met by the USciences Department of Physical Therapy. In order for CAPTE to consider the complaint to be bona fide, the student MUST have exhausted all of the avenues for redress at the institution.  The full policy on complaints to CAPTE can be found in the Department of Physical Therapy Policy and Procedure Manual. Students may also find information on filing CAPTE complaints on the USciences physical therapy webpage ( and through the American Physical Therapy Association (

Residency and Length of Time to Complete Program of Study


In order to earn an undergraduate or first professional degree from USciences, a student must complete at least 30 in-residence credits at a USciences campus. At least half of these credits must be upper-division courses required by the major (i.e., 300 level or above). In-residence credits are defined as credits for courses offered by USciences academic departments or partnership institutions that can contribute to the student’s degree requirements.

Individual USciences colleges and/or programs may impose additional residency and time to completion requirements. These policies are as follows:

Misher College of Arts and Sciences

In order to earn an undergraduate degree from Misher College of Arts and Sciences, a student must complete thirty (30) in-residence credits at a USciences campus. Fifteen (15) of the thirty in-residence credits must be at the 300 level or higher. In-residence credits are defined as credits for courses offered by USciences for which a student receives credit and a grade that can contribute to the student’s calculated grade point average (GPA).

Philadelphia College of Pharmacy

Students admitted into the first professional year (P1) of the Doctor of Pharmacy Program must be enrolled for at least four years (i.e., 8 semesters of at least 12 credits/semester) in residency at PCP, regardless of the extent or nature of previous academic experience. Such students entering into P1 will receive transfer credit for those basic sciences and general education courses that are considered equivalent in content and semester credit to similar courses included in the pharmacy curriculum as long as they receive a grade of “C” or better. 

To earn an undergraduate degree from PCP, a student must successfully complete at least 30 credits of eligible coursework offered by USciences. Eligible coursework results in a letter grade that contributes to a student’s calculated USciences grade point average (GPA). At least 15 of the 30 credits must be upper-division courses required by the major (300 level or above).  Catalog year for transfer students will be backdated to the Catalog Year when they would have started attending the University as a first-year student. (Please see Catalog Year for Degree Requirements found in the table of contents of the USciences Student Handbook).

The maximum amount of time to complete all requirements to earn a BS degree in PCP is six years from entry as a freshman to USciences. If residency exceeds 6 years to earn a BS degree in PCP, then a student’s educational plan may be adjusted to reflect current University educational requirements. For the PharmD program, students have a maximum of six years from entry into the first professional year (P1) of the program to complete all degree requirements. Inability to complete all degree requirements in the allotted time frame will result in the student being withdrawn from the program. Approved leaves of absence are not counted as part of the maximum time to degree.

Health Science Program

All students enrolled in the BSHS in health science program must complete a minimum of 30 credits at USciences in order to graduate. A minimum of 120 approved credits is required to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Occupational Therapy Program

Applications from other undergraduate majors or transfer students are welcome. The class level to which transfer students are assigned will depend on the prerequisites they have completed, but the minimum residency requirement is three years for the MOT and four years for the DrOT. All conditions regarding guaranteed admission into the professional curriculum also apply to transfer students admitted to the first or second year.

Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid


For financial aid purposes, there is a separate definition of satisfactory academic progress. A detailed description of the University’s Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy is provided in the Financial Aid   section of this Catalog.

Dean’s List


Following the close of each semester, the dean’s list is posted, recognizing those students who have achieved high scholastic distinction. Those named to the dean’s list must have taken a full-time semester of coursework in that semester, completed and passed all courses with no grade below “C,” and attained a semester grade point average of 3.40 or above. Students receiving grades of “PRG” at the conclusion of the semester will be eligible for retroactive assignment of dean’s list upon course completion. Those students who prefer not to have their names posted should notify the office of the appropriate college dean.

Students with written reprimand for an academic violation or any conduct probation or higher sanction are not eligible for the dean’s list.

English Proficiency Policy for International Students

In order to be admitted to USciences international students are required to demonstrate English Proficiency by accomplishing one of the following:

  • Have completed 24 college-level credits at a regionally accredited institution in the United States and earned a grade of B or higher in two English Composition/Writing Intensive courses; or
  • Have been studying at an English-speaking institution for at least four years; or
  • Achieve an overall score of 90 or above in the TOEFL, provided, however, that no single section has a score below 20; or
  • Achieve a score of 6.5 or above in the IELTS; or
  • Achieve a score of 58 or above in the Pearson Test of English (PTE); or
  • Have successfully completed an approved English language level at a partner English Language program.  Conditional acceptance will be granted to students who then have 1 year to complete their English language training prior to matriculating. 

Submitted by the Office of the Provost on April 5, 2019 – Approved by Faculty Senate on June 4, 2019. Revised Policy - Approved March 3, 2020