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Academic Policies

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 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 point per semester hour

 

I:              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

 

PTSA emphasizes the need for all students to attend classes on a regular and consistent basis.  All students are expected to maintain in all courses a satisfactory attendance requirement which is 75% of all class meetings.  Absences in excess of 25% of class meetings will result in a failing grade for the course.  This means each student is allowed a maximum of three absences per course per semester and fourth absence will result in a grade of “F.” 

 

Regarding punctuality, being tardy for more than fifteen minutes three times will be equivalent to one absence.  Attendance Warning Letter will be sent out to students from the Academic Dean’s Office after two absences.  As for the details of the attendance policy, students are expected to read and follow the attendance policy stated in the syllabus for each course by the instructor and the school catalog.

 

 

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 50% 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.

 

For the graduate students who obtained PTSA’s bachelor degree with more than 85 units (over GPA of 3.3) taken in PTSA can get 9 units of electives as transferred credits.

 

 

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 (4 semesters), the B.Th. in 4 years (8 semesters), the M.Div. in 3 years (6 semesters), the M.A.C.C.P. in 2 years (4 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), for the M.Div. student 4.5 years (9 semesters), and for the M.A.C.C.P. student 3 years (6 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 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.

 

 

Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

 

The Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy (“SAP”) is composed of Qualitative Standard and Quantitative Standard.

 

 

Qualitative Standard

 

Students have to maintain a good academic standing. PTSA requires undergraduate students and ELSP student to maintain a 2.0 GPA in all courses attempted at PTSA and a 2.0 cumulative GPA. Graduate students are required to maintain a 2.5 GPA in all courses attempted at PTSA and a 2.5 cumulative GPA. Repeated courses which the student previously passed are not counted toward satisfactory academic progress requirements.

 

 

Quantitative Standard

 

There are two components in quantitative standard; (a) Acceptable Passing Rate and (b) Unit and Time Limit to complete an education program.

(a) Acceptable Passing Rate: Excluding transfer units, an overall ratio of units earned at PTSA to units attempted is calculated. Withdrawn and incomplete units are attempted with zero units earned. Students must complete 67% of units attempted.

(b) Unit and Time Limit: To complete the program, no more than 150% of the number of units required can be attempted. For determination of satisfactory academic progress, all attempted units at PTSA are counted. For transfer students, only transferred units that apply to the degree program are counted.

 

 

SAP for full time ELSP Students

 

A full-time status of ELSP students is obtained by completing minimum 5 classes (20 hours per week) per semester or 15 classes per academic year. A full-time ELSP is also required to complete the requirements of 30 classes and take 5 classes each semester while maintaining a 2.0 GPA in all courses attempted at PTSA and a 2.0 cumulative GPA.

A student on Academic Probation who does not successfully remove himself/herself from Academic Probation at the end of three consecutive semesters of Academic Probation will be recommended for dismissal from the institution.

The maximum period granted for the completion is 3 years, 9 semesters (150% of the published length of two years)

 

 

SAP for Undergraduate Students (Bachelor of Theology)

 

A full-time status of undergraduate students is obtained by completing minimum 12 credits per semester or 24 credits per academic year. A full-time undergraduate student is also required to complete the requirements of 128 credits while maintaining a 2.0 GPA in all courses attempted at PTSA and a 2.0 cumulative GPA.

A student on Academic Probation who does not successfully remove himself/herself from Academic Probation at the end of three consecutive semesters of Academic Probation will be recommended for dismissal from the institution.

The maximum period granted for the completion is 6 years, 12 semesters (150% of the published length of four years)

 

 

SAP for Graduate Students (Master of Divinity)

 

A full-time status of graduate students is obtained by completing minimum 9 credits per semester or 18 credits per academic year. A full-time graduate student is also required to complete the requirements of 98 credits while maintaining a 2.5 GPA in all courses attempted at PTSA and a 2.5 cumulative GPA.

A student on Academic Probation who does not successfully remove himself/herself from Academic Probation at the end of three consecutive semesters of Academic Probation will be recommended for dismissal from the institution.

The maximum period granted for the completion is 4.5 years (9 semesters). (150% of the published length of three years)

 

 

SAP for Graduate Students

(Master of Arts in Christian Counseling Psychology)

 

A full-time status of graduate students is obtained by completing minimum 9 credits per semester or 18 credits per academic year. A full-time graduate student is also required to complete the requirements of 48 credits while maintaining a 2.5 GPA in all courses attempted at PTSA and a 2.5 cumulative GPA.

A student on Academic Probation who does not successfully remove himself/herself from Academic Probation at the end of three consecutive semesters of Academic Probation will be recommended for dismissal from the institution.

The maximum period granted for the completion is 3 years (6 semesters). (150% of the published length of two years)

 

 

Academic Standing

 

At the end of each semester, a student’s progress will be monitored. When there is evidence of lack of satisfactory academic progress toward meeting graduation requirements, the Academic Committee may place students on academic warning or probation or disqualify them from attendance at the university.

 

 

Academic Warning

 

PTSA will notify students in writing for failing to make satisfactory academic progress and place the students on academic warning at the end of each semester. Warning status lasts three semesters. Students who fail to make satisfactory progress after the academic warning period may be dismissed from PTSA unless they successfully appeal and are placed on probation.

 

 

Academic Probation / Dismissal

 

When a student fails to make satisfactory academic progress after the academic warning period, he may appeal that result on the basis of: his injury or illness, the death of a relative or other special circumstance. His appeal must explain why he failed to make satisfactory progress and what has changed in his situation that will allow him to make satisfactory progress at the next evaluation. If based on the appeal PTSA determines that the student should be able to meet the satisfactory academic progress standards by the end of subsequent semester, PTSA may place him on probation without an academic plan. This probation status lasts only one semester. If based on the appeal PTSA determines that the student will require more than one semester to meet progress standards, PTSA may place him on probation and develop an academic plan for him. According to the requirements specified in the plan, PTSA will review the student’s progress at the end of each semester as is required of a student on probation status, to determine if the student is meeting the requirements of the academic plan.

 

A student failing to meet the minimum standards by the end of probation period may be dismissed from PTSA. As well, those students who do not complete the degree program requirements within the maximum period granted will be dismissed from PTSA upon the decision of the Academic Committee and will be terminated as an F-1 student from the SEVIS/I-20 system. See Full-time Study and Time Limitation for maximum periods granted.

 

 

Academic Integrity Commitment

 

The maintenance of academic integrity and quality education is the responsibility of each student at PTSA. Cheating or plagiarism in connection with an academic program is an offense for which a student may be expelled, suspended, or given a less-severe disciplinary action. Academic dishonesty is a serious offense which diminishes the quality of scholarship and defrauds those who depend upon the integrity of the educational system. Academic dishonesty includes:

 

1. Cheating: Intentionally using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, or study aids in any academic exercise.

a. Students completing any examination should assume that external assistance (e.g., Books, notes, calculators, conversations with others) is prohibited unless specifically authorized by the instructor.

b. Students may not allow others to conduct research or prepare any work for them without advance authorization from the instructor.

c. Substantial portions of the same academic work may not be submitted for credit in more than one course without authorization.

2. Fabrication: Intentional falsification or invention of any information or citation in an academic exercise.

3. Facilitation of academic dishonesty: Intentionally or knowingly helping or attempting to help another to commit an act of academic dishonesty.

4. Plagiarism: Intentionally or knowingly representing the works, ideas, or work of another as one's own in any academic exercise.

 

 

Federal Student Financial Aid Students

 

One of the requirements of eligibilities for Federal Student Financial Aid is a student must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) and be in good academic standing. At the end of each semester, PTSA will measure the student’s performance according to Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy. Those who fail to make satisfactory progress will be given one semester of financial aid warning for Federal Student Financial Aid.

 

1. Financial aid warning - PTSA will notify students in writing for failing to make satisfactory academic progress and place the students on financial aid warning at the end of each semester. Warning status lasts only one semester, during which the student may continue to receive Federal Student Financial Aid. Students who fail to make satisfactory progress after the warning period lose their aid eligibility unless they successfully appeal and are placed on probation.

 

2. Financial aid probation - When a student loses Federal Student Financial Aid eligibility because he failed to make satisfactory progress, he may appeal that result on the basis of; his injury or illness, the death of a relative or other special circumstance. His appeal must explain why he failed to make satisfactory progress and what has changed in his situation that will allow him to make satisfactory progress at the next evaluation.

     If based on the appeal PTSA determines that the student should be able to meet the SAP standards by the end of subsequent semester, PTSA may place him on financial aid probation without an academic plan. This probation status lasts only one semester.

     If based on the appeal PTSA determines that the student will require more than one semester to meet progress standards, PTSA may place him on probation and develop an academic plan for him. PTSA will review the student’s progress at the end of each semester as is required of a student on probation status, to determine if the student is meeting the requirements of the academic plan. If the student is meeting the requirements of the academic plan, the student is eligible to receive Title IV aid as long as the student continues to meet those requirements and is reviewed according to the requirements specified in the plan.

 

Consequences of Failing

Failing to maintain SAP can adversely affect a student’s eligibility for current and future financial aid. The student will not be eligible to receive PTSA scholarships, Pell or Campus Based funds until he regains eligibility or a petition is approved on his/her behalf. Even if a student’s petition receives approval, he may not be eligible to receive funds from past semesters.

 

Financial Aid SAP Petition Policy

PTSA acknowledges that there are certain circumstances that may limit a student completing his/her courses or maintaining SAP. Students can request a petition for a SAP waiver if they meet one of the following criteria:

·         Death in the family;

·         Illness or medical emergency; and

·         Other performance factors beyond a student’s control.

 

To petition, a student must submit the following documentation:

·         A letter explaining the exceptional circumstances that affected the student’s ability to meet the Financial Aid SAP requirements.

·         A resolution or plan of action explaining how the student will assure future academic success.

·         A statement from the student’s academic advisor confirming his/her ability to meet the SAP requirements.

Documentation of illness or medical condition: The student must provide a letter from his/her attending physician confirming that his/her condition will no longer hinder the student’s ability to succeed academically. The letter must include the dates the condition occurred. The dates must coincide with the period in which the student failed to meet Financial Aid SAP requirements. The Academic Committee will make a decision and notify the student in writing of a decision within 30 days of submission. Decisions of The Academic Committee are final.