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Academic Information

Orientation

New students, (including transfer students), must attend an 8-hour orientation on a designated day before each semester. During orientation, students will be informed about Presbyterian Theological Seminary in America’s school life, faculty, curriculum, degree program and library information. An orientation workbook is provided. ELSP placement testing is usually scheduled for new student on this day following the orientation.

Registration Procedure

Registration for continuing students opens three weeks before a new semester. Within the preceding two months, current students receive the schedule of classes and registration information by website. They are to compare the new class schedules with their Student Progress Worksheets. After deciding the courses in which to enroll, and during the one-week registration period, a student is to meet with the Dean of Academic Affairs or Dean of Student Affairs or SEVIS officer for academic counseling and their required signature.

Students registering after the registration period will be charged a $30.00 late registration fee. If the student registers in the first week of class a $50.00 late registration fee will be charged ($100 for the second week of class).

After one week, students may not add new classes but can withdraw and get pro-rated refund of the class. International new students who are delayed in their arrival or any student who may be delayed in enrolling/registration will not be allowed after the end of the third week of the semester to register, and may be subject to termination of their F-1 status.

Registration for new or transferring students occurs on the new student orientation day (see above). New students are under the same registration requirements as all students.

IMPORTANT: A student must receive a signature from the Dean of Academic Affairs regarding course schedule and the Registrar regarding financial issue on their registration form to be officially registered.

Class Eligibility

Before enrolling in any course, the student is responsible to ensure that all prerequisite courses or requirements have been fulfilled. Please consult the student progress worksheet and the course curriculum.

Adding/Dropping of Courses

A student may add or drop courses by filing a properly completed “Change of Course Form” in the Registrar's office. A $10 fee will be applied for each transaction.

Academic Advising

The Dean of Academic Affairs is available for academic advising, and should be consulted prior to each semester for academic advising, and for the required signature for registration.

Unit of Credit

The unit of credit is a semester-hour. A semester-hour consists of a one 50-minute class session per week. Fifteen-semester-hours are a normal academic load per semester.

Grading System

The following criteria are used in assigning letter grades:

• "A" designates outstanding work; superior achievements of course objectives.

• "B" designates good work; commendable achievement of course objectives.

• "C" designates acceptable work; satisfactory achievement of course objectives.

• "D" designates minimal work; marginal achievement of course objectives.

• "F" designates failure; unacceptable work.

When test or similar tasks are administered on the scoring scale from 0 to 100, the letter grades correspond in the following manner to the scores given:

A:             95-100  4.0    grade points per semester hour.

A-:            90-94   3.7    grade points

B+:           86-89   3.3    grade points

B:            84-85   3.0    grade points

B-:            80-83   2.7    grade points

C+:           76-79   2.3    grade points

C :            74-75    2.0    grade points

C-:            70-73    1.7    grade points

D+:           66-69              1.3    grade points

D:            64-65   1.0    grade points

D-:            60-63   0.7    grade points

F:            59 or less   0.0    grade points

I:            59 or less   Incomplete   

P:           Passing

NP:           Non Passing

W:            Withdrawal

AU:           Audit

Acceptable passing rate : I, P, NP, AU, W count as units attempted with Zero unit earned.

It is important to note that PTSA has the following grading policy:

To control the possibility of grade inflation or student favoritism PTSA is requiring the class GPA to be no higher than 3.2 for B.Th. and 3.5 for M.Div.

Attendance Policy

Students are expected to attend all class meetings.  The instructor will take attendance at all class meetings. Upon registration, the student accepts the responsibility of attending all classes and completing all the work the instructor gives.  The instructor shall record and report the absences of all students to the school director.

A student who is late up to 15 minutes is considered being tardy.  Three incidents of tardiness will be considered as one absence.  Any tardiness over 15 minutes is considered as one absence. 

Students are subject to dismissal for failure to meet minimum attendance standards, for failure to meet minimum academic progress standards, or for failure to meet financial obligations.  The minimum attendance requirement is 75% attendance of all class meetings.

Leave of Absence Policy

Should your circumstances be such that a leave of absence is needed, please submit a written request for a leave of absence to the Office of the Registrar. In case of illness, the student needs to include the physician’s statement. The request for a leave of absence may be granted for up to 1 year. The request may be granted only once during the course of studies. The period of the leave of absence will not count toward the maximum period of time granted for the completion of a degree. The student must submit a written notice of intention to resume studies before returning to PTSA. A request for a leave of absence longer than one year may be granted only under an exigent circumstance.

International Students: Written requests for leave of absence are considered at the discretion of the school administration and a decision will be based upon SEVIS laws for the request of leave of absence: Two options will be exercised by school administration:

      1. Drop below full-time authorization (exception to the full-course of study requirement)

             2. Termination

Please note that a reduced course load for an F-1 student on an I-20 for ELSP must consist of at least "half the clock hours required for a full course of study." Therefore, the period that a student engaged in language studies can be placed on reduced course load for:

             Academic difficulties

             Illness/medical condition

             Initial difficulty with English language

             Initial difficulty with reading requirements

             Unfamiliarity with American teaching methods

             Improper course level

            

Reduced course load for completion of the course of study is limited to one term at the end of the course of study and only if additional courses are required to satisfy the requirements for completion.

For Federal Student Financial Aid purpose, the leave of absence, together with any additional leaves of absence, must not exceed a total of 180 days in any 12-month period beginning on the first day of the student’s initial leave of absence and must be approved by the Dean of Academic Affairs and by the Financial Aid Officer. Students who received Federal Student Financial Aid loans and who fail to return to PTSA from an approved leave of absence will be considered as withdrawn and will be reported to the lending institutions by PTSA. Consequently, loan deferment and repayment schedule may be affected. The student’s withdrawal date and the beginning of the student’s grace period for loan repayment is the last day of academic attendance as determined by PTSA from attendance records. PTSA may be required to refund unearned funds to the Federal Student Financial Aid Programs when a student withdraws from PTSA. Non-compliance with Federal regulations regarding leave of absence can affect a student’s eligibility for future Federal Student Financial Aid and loan payment deferment.

Transferred Credits Policy

A maximum of 75 percent of the units or credit that may be applied toward the award of a bachelor's degree may be derived from a combination of any or both of the following:

(A) Units earned at institutions approved by the Bureau, public or private institutions of higher learning accredited by an accrediting association recognized by the U. S. Department of Education, or any institution of higher learning, including foreign institutions, if the institution offering the undergraduate program documents that the institution of higher learning at which the units were earned offers degree programs equivalent to degree programs approved by the Bureau or accredited by an accrediting association recognized by the U.S. Department of Education;

(B) Challenge examinations and standardized tests such as the College Level Placement Tests (CLEP) for specific academic disciplines.

No more than 20% of graduate semester units or the equivalent in other units awarded by another institution may be transferred for credit toward a Master's degree. An institution may accept transfer credits only from the institutions of higher learning accredited by an accrediting association recognized by the U. S. Department of Education, including foreign institutions, may be transferred for credit toward a Master's degree.

Grading Grievance Procedure

1. When the student submits all his or her assignments after the end of the semester, the faculty needs to submit a request form to correct the grade of the student. The highest grade the student can receive in that case is B.

2. If a dispute involving a final grade occurs, the student and the faculty member should try to resolve their differences through a private conference. If the faculty agrees to revise the grade, he or she needs to inform the Dean of Academic Affairs and the Registrar of the decision with supporting documents.

3. If the efforts to resolve the dispute fail, the student may initiate a grievance by submitting a written appeal to the Dean of Academic Affairs. The Dean of Academic Affairs shall within seven (7) working days of receiving the appeal and making the necessary investigation, shall render a decision and communicate the following to the student:

A summary of the investigative report;

A written notice setting forth the decision regarding the student’s grade.

Student Records

The school’s student recordkeeping policy will require that all student records must remain onsite for five (5) years, and transcripts kept permanently. The academic and financial records shall be maintained in separate files.

Student record file cabinet is fire proof, lockable, and to be maintained in a secure administrative office at the school.  In addition, as an extra measure for security and safekeeping of records, all academic and financial records will be electronically scanned and/or photocopied and stored at an offsite location.  This will insure that, should one copy be destroyed, a back-up copy exists.

Only the authorized staff will have access to the student records, and the privacy of these records is considered to be of paramount importance.

In addition to permanently retaining student transcripts, the institution shall maintain for a period of 5 years the pertinent student records from the date of completion or withdrawal.

The student records to be kept include:

A copy of the signed and dated enrollment agreement

A copy of the students’ grades.

A record of the courses attempted, whether or not completed.

A copy of all documents signed by the student.

A copy of all complaints received from the student.

A record of any refund made, the date made, and the check number, as applicable; the refund record will show how the calculation for the refund was made.

Student Ministry & Fieldwork

Presbyterian Theological Seminary in America students are required to participate in a supervised student ministry as field work for 2 credits during 3 years for M.Div. students, and 2 credits during 4 years for the Bachelor students. B.Th. and M.Div. students will be expected to serve a minimum of two hours per week for a full semester and six hours per week for two semesters.

Student Ministry and Fieldwork is also designed for giving the student curricular practical training (CPT) in their field of study. Thus, students can register as required for 0.25 units, or 0.50 units a semester and begin doing CPT part-time. Students are encouraged to take part in CPT as an important area of their educational development and learning. In addition, this allows the student to work legally within the USCIS laws and SEVIS guidelines, and apply for a social security number. Under the leadership of the Dean of Student Affairs, students will plan their ministry assignments and receive feedback on how to develop and grow. For more information, please see the Student Ministry Handbook, or the Dean of Student Affairs. International students must contact or see the SEVIS Officer for further information. Personal Tax report related obligation belongs to students.

Full-time Study and Time Limitation

The program of study leading to the completion of the ELSP is designated to be completed in 2 years (6 semesters), the B.Th. in 4 years (8 semesters), the M.Div. in 3 years (6 semesters) of full-time study respectively. The maximum period granted for the student to complete their ELSP is 3 years (9 semesters), for the B.Th. student 6 years (12 semesters) and for the M.Div. student 4.5 years (9 semesters).

The administration strongly urges the international students at matriculation to maintain their full-time “active” status, according to SEVIS laws and regulations. Although the permission from Dean of Academic Affairs and the SEVIS Officer may and must be granted (following SEVIS laws and guidelines) to international students who are under such circumstances as ill-health, academic problems, students should not expect to pursue any substantial portion of the curriculum by part-time study.

Bible Test

Presbyterian Theological Seminary in America administers a comprehensive Bible test to M.Div. students only who are ready to graduate. By passing the test, the student has completed the obligation to demonstrate a working knowledge of biblical content for graduation. It is highly recommend that the students take the examination in the early part of their studies to complete this requirement.

This exam is given 3 times a year. (Feb., Apr. & Sep. subject to change) Students can take the Bible test as often as they want to. If the student does not pass until the last semester the student intends to graduate, the student will be allowed only one more semester to complete this requirement. If the student fails again, the student is considered not making academic progress and not fulfilling the program requirement. The student will be given a certificate instead of a diploma. Candidates must pass the test with a score of seventy (70) percent or above in order to complete degree programs.

Petitioning for Graduation

Students who wish to graduate at the end of the coming academic year must submit an "Application for Degree" to the main office when they register for the last semester to complete their degree.

Academic Freedom Policies

PTSA recognizes that within the field of education, academic freedom is a highly held right. In that regard, PTSA will do everything possible to insure that faculty members are given the freedom to represent views, theories, research results, and opinions in the normal process of teaching their assigned courses. However, PTSA also recognizes that academic freedom must be weighed in response to the responsibilities of Christian faith and practice. The principles of developing Christian community, the responsibility of leadership by faculty members as role models to the students, and the ethics of Christian faith also provide the boundaries within which faculty members are given to exercise their academic freedom. Faculty members, who hold differing and potentially contentious theological views, may be asked to step down from their faculty positions. When this happens, PTSA will still hold the resigning faculty member in highest regard, realizing that the human perspective on theological truth is never complete and clear. PTSA has adopted the statement of Academic Freedom as developed by the Association of Theological Schools, a recognized accrediting association by the U.S. Department of Education, as its standard concerning faculty academic freedom.

The statement reads as follows:

1. The Christian faith directs all thought and life toward God who is the source of truth, the judge of all human thoughts, and the ultimate end of all theological inquiry.

2. The freedom of the Christian always involves a commensurate responsibility toward God and neighbor. It is never the freedom merely to be left alone or ignore basic obligations.

3. Christian freedom exists within the confession of Christian faith. A theological school may acknowledge specific confessional adherence as laid down in its own charter and constitution. A concept of freedom appropriate to a theological school will respect this confessional loyalty, both in the institution and with their individual members. At the same time, no confessional standard obviates the requirement for responsible liberty of conscience in the Christian community and the practice of the highest ideal of academic freedom.

4. While freedom must ultimately be realized through the spirit and loyalties of humanity, it must take form and be protected through concrete standards of institutional practice. Every statement of such standards moves somewhat in the sphere of law and regulation. We recognized that the effectiveness of stated principles depends finally upon the dedication within the Christian theological school to a genuine concern for liberty of mind and spirit in theological teaching.