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2014-2016 CATALOGUE

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Principle of Academic Integrity

The Principle of Academic Integrity The faculty of Hobart and William Smith Colleges has oversight of the curriculum and the class room experience, and insists that students undertake all academic exercises with the utmost honesty and integrity. This principle of academic integrity lies at the heart of our learning community and forms the foundation for everyone’s academic efforts. Starting with adherence to the principle of academic integrity, the individual student bears responsibility for his or her own education and must undertake all academic work with complete honesty and integrity. As well, each student must do his or her best to assure that this principle extends to all others in the community. Categories of academic work covered by the principle of academic integrity include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Examinations: Giving or receiving assistance during an in-class or take-home examination, quiz, or any other academic exercise, except as specifically authorized by an individual course instructor, violates this principle.
  • Papers: The presentation or reproduction of ideas, words, or statements of another person as one’s own, without due acknowledgment, is considered plagiarism and violates this principle.
  • Library Use: Failure to sign for materials taken from the library, destruction or theft of any library materials, and similar abuses of library privileges infringe upon the rights of other students to fair and equal access and violate this principle.
  • Reports and Laboratory Exercises: Giving or receiving unauthorized assistance and the fabrication of data or research results violate this principle.
  • Computer Use: Any deliberate attempt to prevent other users’ access to computer services, deprive them of resources, or degrade system performance violates this principle. The use of programs or files of another computer user or the use of another person’s account number or password without permission also violates this principle. Failure to attribute the source for any information or writing derived from any computer source (database, website, internet, etc) and incorporated in any academic work submitted is also a violation.
  • Advising and Registration Forms: Forging an adviser’s signature or altering any signed document will result in the student’s de-registration. The student will not be allowed to re-register until the adviser has approved any changes. Any student suspected of forgery of any faculty or administrator signature may face disciplinary action by the student’s dean or the Committee on Standards.

Academic dishonesty is determined in every case by the evidence presented and not by intent. Questions of intent and circumstances under which an infraction occurred may be considered in determining a sanction. For more information on plagiarism, please see “Plagiarism Defined” at the end of this chapter.

General Academic Regulations

1) Advanced Placement: Admitted students who have achieved a score of four or five on an advanced placement test receive course credit toward graduation to a maximum of seven course units. In most programs, advanced placement examinations covering a semester’s work receive one course credit; examinations covering a full year’s work are given two course credits. Advanced placement scores of four or five are also considered for advanced placement by the appropriate department or program at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

2) Credit Hour and Out of Class Supplementary Work: Hobart and William Smith Colleges are on a course unit system. Students are required to successfully complete 32 full credit units for a degree. Each full credit course carries 1.00 unit and is equivalent to 4 semester hours.

Hobart and William Smith Colleges comply with the New York State definition of credit hours, "A semester hour means a credit, point, or other unit granted for the satisfactory completion of a course which requires at least 15 hours (of 50 minutes each) of instruction and at least 30 hours of supplementary assignments." The expectation of the Provost and Dean of Faculty is that for every hour of in-class instruction, students spend an average of 2-3 hours outside of class working on supplementary assignments.

3) Course Load Policy: The normal course load for Hobart and William Smith students is eight full-credit courses in an academic year, evenly distributed across the two semesters. Students in good academic standing may take three, four, or five courses in any particular semester. Enrollment for a fifth course must occur during the drop-add period (first week of classes) and processed in person using the registration/drop/add form, not through PeopleSoft Student Self Service. Students should be aware that 32 total credits are required for graduation, and therefore an average course load of less than four courses in any semester may lengthen the time required to complete the degree requirements and to graduate. Students who have fallen behind in credits must submit to their dean an academic recovery plan that they have created in consultation with, and approval by, their academic advisor.

Good academic standing will be defined as maintenance of a minimum GPA of 2.0 (C), while accruing 7 courses passed in the First Year, 15 by the end of the Sophomore Year, 23 by the end of the Junior Year, and 32 by the end of the Senior Year.

Course withdrawals carry no penalty but do not diminish the minimum requirements for the degree. Tuition remains the same if a student takes three, four, or five full credit courses in a semester. Additional tuition will be charged for more than five full credit courses.

4) Full-Credit Requirement: A minimum of 30 of the required 32 courses presented in satisfaction of the Colleges’ graduation requirement must be in full-credit courses.

5) Incompletes: The incomplete, or “I”, is a temporary grade indicating that a student has been granted permission by the instructor or the dean to complete work for a course after the end of the semester without penalty.  A request for an incomplete must be supported with a credible account of the student’s problem and with documents (a note from a physician, for example) wherever appropriate.  An instructor may grant an incomplete for any part of the semester’s work except the final examination; only a dean can excuse a student from a final examination.  It is understood by both the student and faculty member that when an incomplete is granted, the student is responsible for submission of work and the faculty member is responsible for submission of grade by the following deadlines. For fall semester incompletes, it is required that all outstanding student work be completed and submitted by the fourth week of spring semester and the final grade submitted by the faculty member to the registrar by the end of the sixth week or the “I” grade becomes a grade of “F”.  For spring semester incompletes, it is required that all outstanding student work be completed and submitted by the end of the fall semester drop/add period and the final grade submitted by the faculty member to the registrar by the end of the second week of classes for the fall semester or the “I” grade becomes a grade of “F”.  An extension in time to complete the work may be granted if a petition is submitted to the appropriate dean’s office on or before the deadline.  An accepted petition is an agreement between the student and faculty member that the work will be completed and graded by a specific time, and allows the grade to be changed from “I” to the grade earned. Any student who takes more than two incompletes over three consecutive semesters is reviewed by the Committee on Standards.

6) Course Withdrawals: There are two kinds of course withdrawals. The voluntary course withdrawal (see “a” below) is available to students twice in their career. The first course withdrawal may be used during the first two years and the second during the second two years, and at the discretion of the student. The authorized course withdrawal (see “b” below) is available to students only under exceptional circumstances beyond their control. Changes of grade once submitted are described in point 7 below:

  1. Before the end of the 11th week of a semester, a student may petition his or her dean for withdrawal from one course during his or her first two years, and another course during his or her second two years. The appropriate Voluntary Course Withdrawal Form must be filed (including all required signatures) by the student at the dean’s office by noon on Friday of the 11th week of the semester. Approved voluntary withdrawals are communicated immediately to the student’s adviser and instructor.
  2. With the exception of the two unchallenged voluntary withdrawals described above, withdrawal from any course after the first five days of class and prior to the due date for the semester’s grades is granted only for serious and compelling reasons beyond the student’s control. A student seeking to withdraw under such circumstances must petition the Committee on Standards. The Committee makes its recommendation to the dean in consultation with the student’s dean and others it deems appropriate. Medical or other appropriate documentation is normally required. Approved withdrawals are communicated immediately to the student’s adviser and instructor.

Withdrawals under this policy carry no penalty, but do not diminish the minimum requirement for the degree. A reduction in course load carries no reduction in tuition.

7) Unauthorized Withdrawals: A student who withdraws from a course without official permission receives the grade of “F” on his or her permanent transcript.
8) Grades: Students’ transcripts include a record of each course taken at the Colleges. Students may choose between a letter-grade and a “CR/DCR/NC” grading option in many of the courses taken. This choice is indicated at the time of registration for the course but may be changed with the signed approval of the advisor at any point prior to the end of the 11th week of the semester. The appropriate Change of Grading Option Form must be filed by the student at the registrar’s office by the end of the 11th week of the semester.

For the purpose of calculating grade point averages, the following designates the numerical values of various grades: 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- = .7; F=0.

Courses taken “CR/DCR/NC” are not calculated in the GPA. For the purpose of review, a grade of CR indicates course work was C- or better. A grade of DCR indicates course work sufficient for credit for the degree, but lower than a C-. A grade of NC indicates work lower than a D- and is not sufficient for credit towards the degree. No more than four grades above F but below C- (D+, D, D-, or DCR) may be counted toward the 32 semester equivalent courses toward the degree.

9) Grade Changes: No student is permitted to submit any academic work, examination, or revision of previously submitted work with the intent of affecting a grade change after a final grade has been entered by the instructor with the Registrar’s Office. An instructor may change a grade only when a computational error exists. Such changes must be submitted to the Dean’s Office for approval.

10) How to Calculate GPA:
Quality Points = Points that are awarded based upon grade received times the credit that each course is worth.

Graded Course Credit = Graded course credit counted towards the GPA.

Grade Point Average (GPA) = Total Quality Points divided by total Graded Course Credits.

11) Academic Deficiency: Students are expected to make normal progress toward the degree. A student whose cumulative grade point average (GPA) falls below 2.0 (C) at any point is reviewed.

  1. Academic Probation is the likely outcome of a first review when a student’s cumulative grade point average is lower than 2.0 (C). Students placed on academic probation are expected to be in good standing (2.0 GPA) within two semesters.
  2. Continued Academic Probation is the likely outcome of a review when a student previously on academic probation has been successful in removing part of the deficiency but not the entire deficiency. Students on continued academic probation are expected to be in good standing (2.0 GPA) by the end of their next semester.
  3. Required Withdrawal—Academic is the likely result of a review when a student earns less than a 2.0 term average while on academic probation or continued academic probation. A student may also be required to withdraw when he or she fails to gain good standing (2.0 GPA) after being on continued academic probation, or if he or she has earned less than 1.0 for the semester, regardless of the student’s cumulative average.
  4. A student who has been required to withdraw or has been suspended may not make progress toward the degree.

12) Permanent Separation: This is the result of a second required withdrawal.

13) Leaves of Absence: Leaves of absence may be granted for personal growth or to participate in academic programs not sponsored by Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Approval of the student’s dean is required. The Colleges are not obliged to accept toward the degree coursework for which prior tentative approval had not been procured.

14) Senior Standing: All students must have passed at least 22 courses to enter their senior year.

15) Residency Restrictions: All requirements for the degree must be met by the end of the 10th semester in residence.

16) Transfer Credits: 

  • Courses that are to be taken in transfer toward degree requirements must have prior approval of the student’s dean, and, as appropriate, the department, program, or Individual Majors Committee. Only courses passed satisfactorily, with a grade of C- (1.7) or better, are accepted for transfer credit. Course credits may be transferred but grades for those classes are never entered on a Hobart and William Smith transcript and are not calculated into a student’s GPA. Grades of transferred courses therefore have no impact on the student’s GPA at the Colleges. Courses which are composed predominantly of high school students and taught by high school teachers in a high school setting are not transferable to Hobart and William Smith Colleges, even if they appear on another college’s or university’s official transcript. No college course that has been applied toward the minimum requirements for a student’s high school diploma, or which serves as substitute for a high school required course, can be transferred to Hobart and William Smith.

  • Distance learning courses cannot be transferred.

  • Only courses of three or more credit hours are eligible for transfer credit.

  • Courses must be taken at an accredited institution and must be considered by the faculty at Hobart & William Smith to be in the liberal arts.

  • Students may transfer a maximum of 16 courses.

  • A.P. credits cannot exceed 7.  Combined A.P. and transfer credits cannot exceed 16.

  • Final decision concerning transfer of credit rests with the dean of the student’s college.

17) Commencement Exercises: Commencement exercises are held annually at the end of spring semester. Students are recommended for a degree upon completion of requirements pertaining to their class. A student who has no more than two courses outstanding toward all degree requirements and at least a cumulative GPA of 2.00 may petition his or her dean in order to participate in Commencement exercises. If a student completes requirements prior to October 1, the student is considered a member of his or her graduating class.

18) Transfer Students: The requirements for the degree described above apply also to transfer students. One year of the residency requirement may be waived, provided the transfer student is capable of presenting the faculty with two years of acceptable coursework from another accredited institution of higher learning.

19) Repeatable Courses: Courses may be designated “repeatable” if they are fundamentally creative and/or experiential in nature, such that student performance is cumulative or held to a progressively higher standard of expectation across successive registrations and/or the content of student experience is substantially different with each offering of the course. Repeatable courses are identified as such in this Catalogue, subject to any published limit which may be established by the sponsoring department. Additionally, students may elect Independent Study (450) without limit. Each registration of such courses carries full credit and is calculated independently in a student’s grade point average.

20) Special Topic Courses: Courses designated as “Special Topics” registrations may vary in content by semester or by instructor. Each unique offering is considered an independent course and ordinarily carries a title extension indicating the topic in a given term. Each carries full credit and is calculated independently in a student’s grade point average.

21) Course Repeat (does not apply to “repeatable courses”):  Students may repeat courses in which they have earned a grade below a C- (1.7). Courses with a grade of C- or better may not be repeated. The deans will not approve any exceptions. The student’s permanent transcript records each time a course is taken, including the grade. In computing the student’s GPA, the highest grade will be used. Courses repeated at other institutions and transferred to the Colleges are not included in the GPA nor are they treated as HWS course repeats. Repeated courses count only once toward the 32 courses required for graduation.

22) Approved Standardized Time Periods for Schedule Development
Unless otherwise stated, all courses meet for three 55-minute or two 85-minute class periods each week.  Senior seminars meet once a week for 165 minutes.  Time periods are defined in the chart below.  See the Registrar’s published schedule of classes each semester for additional lab times where applicable. 

PERIOD 1          MWF     8:00AM-8:55AM              PERIOD 8         TR     8:45AM-10:10AM
PERIOD 2          MWF     9:05AM-10:00AM            PERIOD 9         TR     10:20AM-11:45AM
PERIOD 3          MWF     10:10AM-11:05AM          PERIOD 10       TR     11:55AM-1:20PM
PERIOD 4          MWF     11:15AM-12:10PM          PERIOD 11       TR     1:30PM-2:55PM
PERIOD 5          MWF     12:20PM-1:15PM            PERIOD 12       TR     3:05PM-4:30PM
PERIOD 6          MWF     1:55PM-2:50PM
PERIOD 7          MWF     3:00PM-3:55PM

PERIOD 2A        Any two of M,W and F, 8:35AM-10:00AM              
PERIOD 6A        Any two of M,W, and F, 1:25PM-2:50PM
PERIOD 7A        W and F, 3:00PM-4:25PM

PERIOD S1        M     1:30PM-4:15PM
PERIOD S2        T      1:30PM-4:15PM
PERIOD S3        W     1:30PM-4:15PM
PERIOD S4        R      1:30PM-4:15PM
PERIOD S5        F      1:30PM-4:15PM

College Level Examination Program (CLEP)
The Colleges participate in the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) of The College Board.  CLEP is a credit-by-examination program which provides students with the opportunity to earn course credits by taking CLEP exams in a variety of fields corresponding to the Colleges' curriculum. 

The Colleges' credit-granting score is 50, or higher, on a CLEP exam, as recommended by the American Council on Education (ACE).  Students may earn a total of four course credits through CLEP, with their combined total of AP, transfer, and CLEP credits not to exceed sixteen. 

Approval of CLEP course credit as an equivalent for the purpose of  a prerequisite for any course or of a substitute for a major or minor requirement, and establishing the total number of CLEP credits allowed toward a major or minor (not to exceed four, in any event) is at the discretion of the appropriate department or program chair.  CLEP course credits may not be used to satisfy any of the eight goals. 

Students looking for more information on CLEP should consult with their Dean and/or go to: clep.collegeboard.org. 


All students are encouraged to register on days and times specified by the Registrar and published in the Registration Handbook and Schedule of Courses. However, class or scheduled laboratory time may not be used for the purposes of registration. No registration is accepted after the fifth day of classes, and students who have not registered are asked to leave campus. A fee is charged for late registration. Students who fail to meet their financial obligations to the Colleges may be denied registration or deregistered from classes.
(See “General Payment Schedule” in Admissions, Expenses, Financial Aid.)

All students are required to consult with their faculty advisers prior to registration. If a student registers for a course without meeting all prerequisites and without written approval of the adviser, his or her enrollment in the course may be canceled at any time by the instructor offering the course. Students declare their course selections via the Web-registration system or by submitting a registration form signed by their faculty adviser. See Course Load Policy in above regulation (number 3). Any exceptions must be approved by the Committee on Standards and the Dean of the College in advance.

Hobart and William Smith Colleges reserve the right to cancel any course without prior notice should minimum enrollment not be reached, or staffing situations necessitate it.

Dropping and Adding Courses

Students may drop and add a course during the first five days of class via the Web-registration system or in person with an add/drop form. No signatures are necessary to make changes during the add/drop period unless the student needs permission to enroll, does not meet pre-requisites, or is being overloaded into a class. Registrations and student class schedules are finalized at the end of the five-day drop/add period. Students are accountable for all courses for which they are enrolled from that point on, and those courses are reflected on the permanent academic transcript. If a student has attended a course in which he or she was not properly registered, no credit or grade is recorded. If a student stops attending a course but fails to drop or withdraw properly, a grade of “F” may be assigned by the instructor of the course and recorded on the permanent academic transcript.

Under certain circumstances, changes may be allowed beyond the add/drop period. Half credit courses may be added/dropped with the approval of the instructor(s). Half credit courses may be dropped until the end of the eleventh week of classes with the approval of the instructor(s). Students seeking to only add a full credit course beyond this period require the approval of their instructor for the late add. Normally any full credit course dropped beyond the add/drop period will require the student to withdrawal (voluntary or authorized- see the dean of the College) from the course. If the student receives dean’s approval to swap (add/drop) beyond the add/drop period, the student will need the approval of the instructor of both the class to be added and the class to be dropped, and the advisor in addition to the dean’s approval.

For a voluntary withdrawal, students only need the permission of their dean. Authorized withdrawals go through the Committee on Standards and require input from the instructor of the course and the student's dean.


The faculty of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, recognizing the responsibility of the individual student for his or her own education, assumes class attendance to be crucial to academic success at the Colleges. This responsibility is three-fold:

I. The Colleges: No student shall be suspended or refused admission because he or she is unable to participate in any examination, study, or work requirement because of religious obligations and practices. The Colleges accept responsibility for making available accommodations for students who wish to observe their religious observations or participate in their religious practices. The course instructor will provide each student who is absent from class because of religious obligations and practices an equivalent opportunity to make up any examination, study, or work requirement missed because of such absence. It is the student’s responsibility to communicate to the instructor, in a timely manner, his or her intention to observe. The student must consult with the instructor regarding an alternative time and place for an examination or other academic exercise. No fees shall be charged to students for costs incurred in providing special classes, examinations, or work requirements. The deans and provost will jointly mediate any difficulties between a student and a faculty member in implementing any appropriate accommodation.

In effecting these provisions, the Colleges’ administration and faculty agree to exercise the fullest measure of good faith and agree that no adverse or prejudicial effects shall result to any student who avails himself or herself of the Colleges’ policy on religious observances. It is not institutional policy to provide medical excuses when a student has been absent from class.

Regarding incompletes and absences from final examinations, either a student’s dean or the instructor may allow an incomplete based on coursework, but only a dean can excuse a student from a final examination. Incompletes and excuses from final exams are given normally only for reasons beyond the student’s control. In this instance, the dean communicates with both the student and the instructor of the course.

II. The Faculty: Each faculty member is responsible at the beginning of the semester for announcing in writing his or her attendance policy and the effect that absences may or will have on a student’s final standing and grade in the course. Each instructor respects the time allotted other academic and extracurricular exercises by not rescheduling academic exercises for which attendance is required. Rescheduling classes at times other than those published by the registrar causes conflict with other regularly scheduled classes and activities. Should it be necessary to meet at non-regularly established times, the instructor of the class provides an alternate opportunity for making up the rescheduled meeting if a student requests it. Faculty members may require additional activities, such as individual conferences with the professor, attending symposia, films, etc. Faculty members should include a schedule of such additional activities in the syllabus at the start of the semester.

III. Student Responsibility: Students are expected to attend all their regularly scheduled classes, laboratory periods, and other academic exercises. Should an absence from regularly scheduled academic exercises be unavoidable (beyond a student’s control), it is the student’s responsibility to communicate with the professor, preferably beforehand, concerning the absence. Individual faculty members have the authority to drop students from a course for non-attendance on the first class day, unless the student has made prior arrangements with the dean or have extraordinary circumstances. The Deans cannot excuse a student from class.  However, at the request of the student, the student’s Dean or designee may convey to the faculty information about personal emergencies, including medical illness, faced by students when students are unable to convey the information themselves. Students are advised that absence from class, for whatever reason, does not excuse them from meeting course requirements and objectives.

When a conflict exists between the attendance policy of an instructor and the student’s planned extracurricular activities, the student must decide where his or her priorities lie before enrolling in the course. By remaining in the course, the student agrees to accept the attendance policy set by the professor.