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Academic Policies for Graduate Programs
2011 - 2012
(These policies apply to all students in graduate programs except for students in the International Ph.D. program unless they are currently enrolled in regularly scheduled courses.)
For policies specific to a particular degree, visit the Master of Arts Academic Policies page or the Doctor of Ministry Academic Policies page.
The Dean will assign a faculty advisor to the student upon acceptance to the program. Students may change academic advisors with the permission of both the old and new advisor and the Dean of the Seminary.
Students are expected to initiate contact with her/his faculty advisor each semester when making course enrollment decisions and the advisor must sign the student's registration form. When faculty advisors are on sabbatical, students may meet with the Seminary Academic Advisor, Director of Educational Services, Registrar or Dean during the registration period to discuss course options for the next semester.
Academic Policy Committee (APC)
The Academic Policy Committee is comprised of faculty and senior administrative staff. This representative group is responsible for administering the academic policies that pertain to all educational programs offered by Hartford Seminary. Individual student requests for exceptions to academic policies and procedures are reviewed and decided by APC.
Changes in Audit/Credit Status
Changing from Audit to Credit
With the instructor's permission an auditor who has fully participated in a class may switch from audit to credit at anytime before the last class session (for online classes, this would be the last day of the semester). To make the change, the student must already be matriculated in a Hartford Seminary degree or Graduate Certificate program, or be eligible for "Special Student" status at the graduate level. In addition, the student must pay the full course tuition and must submit a completed "Audit to Credit Change Form." No changes will be permitted after a course ends.
Changing from Credit to Audit
Students may change from Credit to Audit only if their work has been satisfactory. Students switching from Credit to Audit after the occurrence of 25% of the class sessions will not be granted any refund in tuition. (For MA courses meeting weekly, this means after three class sessions have occurred; for D.Min. courses meeting monthly, this means after the first day-long session has occurred.) Students may change a course from Credit to Audit up to and including the occurrence of 50% of the class sessions. For MA courses meeting weekly, this means prior to the eighth class session; for D.Min. courses meeting monthly, this means prior to the fourth class session. Students may not change a course from Credit to Audit after 50% of the course sessions have taken place which means any change from Credit to Audit must take place prior to the eighth class session for MA courses meeting weekly and prior to the fourth class session for D.Min. courses meeting monthly.)
Class Session Cancellation - Inclement Weather
Hartford Seminary reserves the right to cancel classes in the event of inclement weather. Hartford Seminary notifies the following radio and television stations of cancellations and Seminary closings: radio stations WTIC AM (1080), WTIC FM (96.5), WPOP AM (1410) and television channels 3 (WFSB), 8 (WTNH) and 30 (WVIT). The voicemail on the main Hartford Seminary phone number 860-509-9511 will also be changed to reflect cancellations and closings. The main page of the Hartford Seminary website will reflect closings as well (www.hartsem.edu)
All students are required to have access to computer technology that affords them email capability and access to the internet.
Hartford Seminary is committed to providing computing services to support the needs of students, faculty, and staff of the Seminary. The policies is in place to: 1) ensure the security and integrity of computer resources available on campus; 2) to assure that users have reasonable access to the facilities and, 3) to ensure that the action of any one user will not adversely affect any aspect of the work of another. The Seminary reserves the right to control, evaluate and monitor all student computer and electronic telecommunications except as may be prohibited by Federal or State Laws. Please see the Student Handbook for the full Computer Use policy.
Hartford Seminary reserves the right to cancel any course.
Coursework Due Dates
Projects, reports, or any work required in any course offered within the limits of a semester must be completed according to the due dates announced by the faculty member teaching the course. The course grade must be recorded with the Registrar within six weeks after the end of the semester in which the course was given. The grades for courses taken during the summer session must be recorded with the Registrar by the beginning of the fall semester.
Evaluations - Course
Course evaluations are distributed and collected during the last class session for every course. Students are encouraged to complete evaluations for all courses in which they enroll during their course of study at Hartford Seminary. Students may opt not to give their name and course evaluations are not shared with course instructors until final grades for courses are on file with the Registrar.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
Hartford Seminary works to conform to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Please refer to the full policy in the Student Handbook.
Faculty members are required to submit course grades according to the following schedule: Fall Semester: February 1; January Intersession and Winter/Spring Semester: June 21; and Summer Session: September 1. Students can view their grades through the StudentAccess portal after the submission date if they have completed their online course evaluation. It is the policy of Hartford Seminary not to allow grade changes after grades are submitted. Should a student dispute a grade received for a course, they must contact the Dean immediately and no later than 60 days after the grade submission date. (If the disputed grade was for an incomplete course then the student must be in contact with the Dean within 60 days after the grade was entered into the computer system.) Students who need grades earlier than the stated deadlines should be in contact with the faculty member before the end of the semester to negotiate an early submission.
Guidelines for Research Conducted by Persons Affiliated with Hartford Seminary
It is expected that all persons who conduct research under the auspices of Hartford Seminary will treat everyone involved in the research with respect and care. Please see the full text of our guidelines in the Student Handbook.
Because the programs offered by the Seminary are primarily designed for non-residential students, the Seminary does not guarantee on campus accommodations for students. However, limited space may be available for rent to full-time students in the Seminaryâ€™s Edith Mason Howard Ecumenical House and in other Seminary residences. International students are given priority for Seminary residential space. Any student living on-campus must receive the meningococcal vaccination (meningitis) and provide documentation to the Registrarâ€™s Office. Students who do not comply with this requirement within one month of moving on campus will be asked to leave student housing.
Hartford Seminary does not generally have short-term housing on campus for commuting students. Students are expected to make their own accommodation arrangements. However, occasionally there is a vacancy in our full-time student housing that might be made available to commuting students. Please contact the Director of Administration and Facilities for more information.
Hartford Seminary is committed to a policy of inclusion in its academic life and mission. All members of the community are expected to communicate in language that reflects the equality of genders, openness to diverse cultural and theological perspectives, and sensitivity to one another's images of God.
Connecticut state law requires that students born after December 31, 1956 and enrolled in a graduate program or pursuing studies on a full-time basis as a special student be protected against measles, rubella, mumps and varicella. Additionally, students living on-campus must receive the meningococcal (meningitis) vaccination. To assist students with complying with this requirement, Hartford Seminary has developed an Immunization Verification form. This form is included with the letter of admission and must be completed by a medical professional before you begin classes.
The immunization requirements are: two doses of each vaccine, the first to be given on or after the first birthday; and the second dose given at least 30 days after the first. (Only one dose of the meningitis vaccine is required.) The following exemptions may apply:
- Students who were born before January 1, 1980 are not required to provide proof of immunization for varicella unless they were born outside the United States. However they must provide proof of the other immunizations.
- Students who believe they have a valid medical or religious reason for being exempt from the immunization requirements should contact the Registrarâ€™s Office for more information.
While some students are able to provide the required documentation, others find it is easier to undergo a blood test, which may show that they are immune. If they are not immune, then they must receive all of the required vaccinations.
Students enrolled in classes who are not in compliance will be notified that they will be removed from classes if they fail to fully comply with this requirement. Students removed from courses may be subject to academic penalties. No financial refunds will be issued if a student is removed from classes for failure to comply with the immunization requirement. For additional information or questions, contact the Registrar.
- A student may request an Incomplete grade by filling out an Incomplete Grade Form. This form must be signed by the course instructor and submitted to the Registrar’s Office.
- When an “Incomplete” is granted, the instructor and student must agree upon a date for completion of all coursework. This date must be within three months of the last day of the semester as listed on the Academic Calendar in which the course was given.
- The faculty instructor will also include on the Incomplete Grade Form the grade the student will earn if they do not submit their remaining work by the agreed upon date.
- A hard copy of the outstanding coursework must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office by the agreed upon date. The Registrar’s Office will date stamp the coursework and forward it to the faculty instructor. If the work is not submitted by the due date, the earned grade indicated on the Incomplete Course Form will be automatically recorded by the Registrar.
- The instructor shall determine the penalty for late work.
- Only the Academic Policy Committee may grant extensions beyond the three-month limit and will do so only under rare mitigating circumstances. Written requests for extensions beyond the three-month limit must be submitted to the Registrar prior to the expiration of the three-month period. In no case will an exception of more than six months after the last day of the semester in which the course was given be granted.
- A student who has two or more incomplete courses will not be permitted to register for the next semester.
- A student who has requested an incomplete grade should be aware that their eligibility for financial aid may be jeopardized and that previously awarded student loans may go into repayment or enter the grace period if they are not allowed to register for subsequent semesters.
A student who wishes to study a topic related to their program of study, but not regularly offered in the Seminaryâ€™s curriculum, may choose to enroll in an Independent Study. Typically, a three credit independent study will include significant reading and written work and on-going contact with the faculty member. An Independent Study of less than 3 credits may be negotiated. An Independent Study may be negotiated with any resident member of the Seminary faculty (core faculty or faculty associate) for any semester of the academic year. The student must register for an Independent Study online during the scheduled registration period for that semester. Additionally, an Independent Study Contract must be obtained from the Student Forms Center (either at 77 Sherman Street or online), completed by the student in consultation with the independent study advisor and sent to the Academic Dean for approval before the end of the third week of the semester. Independent Study Contracts include the following elements: (1) project overview, (2) learning objectives, (3) methods for completion, (4) forms of accountability/assessment, (5) resources and bibliography, and (6) schedule for completion. In no case will a student be allowed to take more than six credits of Independent Study. Independent Study courses may not be used to fulfill core area requirements for the Master of Arts program. Independent Study courses are subject to all academic and course policies and procedures as outlined in the Catalogue.
Information Literacy Requirement
Students being awarded a degree from Hartford Seminary must demonstrate a degree of information literacy that includes research ability (both traditional and electronic) and communication skills (both oral and written) commensurate with graduate level academic standards as specified by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS) and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
January Intersession Courses
A limited number of one-week intensive courses are offered during a designated week in January. Normally, the course instructors allow students to complete reading and writing assignments throughout the winter/spring semester and to submit final course assignments by the end of the semester. However, the course instructor is responsible for setting his/her coursework deadline as she/he deems appropriate for completion of the course.
Once admission has been granted by Hartford Seminary and accepted by the student, all students must register for at least one course or program component each semester until all degree requirements are completed. Students needing to discontinue course registration for one semester may do so (see Program Continuation Fee). Students who are continuing to work on their final project and have already registered for the component in a prior semester or semesters must pay the program extension fee (see Program Extension Fee). Students who are unable to continue work in their degree program for more than one semester due to serious life difficulties should apply to the Academic Affairs Committee for a leave of absence. The Academic Affairs Committee may terminate the program of any student who has not requested a Leave of Absence or paid the program continuation or extension fees.
Plagiarism, the failure to give proper credit for the words and ideas of another person, whether published or unpublished, is strictly prohibited. All written material submitted by students must be their own original work; where the words and ideas of others are used they must be acknowledged. Additionally, if students receive editorial help with their writing they should also acknowledge it appropriately.
Credit will not be given for work containing plagiarism, and plagiarism can lead to failure of a course. Faculty will report all instances of plagiarism to the Academic Dean. The Academic Dean will then invoke the Student Disciplinary Policy and Procedure (see full policy in the Student Handbook). Through that process the situation will be reviewed and any additional penalties that may be warranted (up to and including expulsion from the school) will be determined.
For clarity as to what constitutes plagiarism, the following description is provided:
1. Word for word plagiarism: (a) the submission of another personâ€™s work as oneâ€™s own; (b) the submission of a commercially prepared paper; (c) the submission of work from a source which is not acknowledged by a footnote or other specific reference in the paper itself; (d) the submission of any part of another personâ€™s work without proper use of quotation marks.
2. Plagiarism by paraphrase: (a) mere re-arrangement of another personâ€™s works and phrases does not make them your own and also constitutes plagiarism; (b) paraphrasing another personâ€™s words, ideas, and information without acknowledging the original source from which you took them is also plagiarism.
- See Part II of Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses and Dissertations, (7th Edition, University of Chicago Press, 2007) for an explanation of the proper ways to acknowledge the work of others and to avoid plagiarism.
3. Reuse of your own work: Coursework submitted for credit in one course cannot be submitted for credit in another course. While technically not plagiarism, this type of infraction will be treated in the same manner as plagiarism and will be subject to the same penalties. If you are using small amounts of material from a previous submitted work, that work should be referenced appropriately. When a student is writing their final program requirement (paper, project or thesis) it may be appropriate, with their advisorâ€™s permission, to include portions of previously submitted materials if properly referenced.
Program Continuation Fee
Students who have begun a degree program but have decided not to enroll in courses during a given semester, are not in the final requirement writing stage, and are not on an approved leave of absence will be charged a per semester program continuation fee.
Program Extension Fee
Students who have taken all of their coursework and are not currently registered for their final requirement (paper, project or thesis) will be charged a per semester program extension fee. This fee will be charged for each semester (or fraction thereof), not including summer terms, necessary to complete the degree.
Students who have previously been admitted to a graduate level program at Hartford Seminary who have decided to return to the program after initially withdrawing, may apply for readmission. Students wishing to be readmitted must complete a new application and personal statement. The personal statement should address the reasons the student withdrew and why they feel they are able to return at this time. If the student has been away from the Seminary for an extended period, an interview may also be required. Assuming the student is seeking readmission to the same graduate level program, previously earned credits from Hartford Seminary will be allowed to count toward the degree or certificate, but only if they were taken within the last 10 years. Readmitted students will be required to fulfill degree requirements as listed in the Hartford Seminary Catalogue at the time of readmission.
Matriculated Students: Registration for courses and program components must be completed with the Registrar by the registration deadlines indicated in the Academic Calendar. The Registrar sends registration packets to students approximately six weeks prior to the registration deadline.
All matriculated degree program students are required to meet with their faculty advisor to determine their course selections. Registration deadlines and advising periods for each semester may be found in the Academic Calendar. Registration after the registration deadline results in a $40 non-refundable late fee. Students may confirm that their registrations have been processed by viewing their schedule through the student access portal.
When faculty advisors are on sabbatical, students may meet with the Seminary Academic Advisor, Registrar or Dean during the registration period to discuss course options for the next semester.
Special Students: Special students may register for courses up to and including the first day the course begins without penalty. Special students seeking assistance with course selection may meet with the Seminary Academic Advisor or Registrar. Special students may take 18 credits prior to applying to the Master of Arts degree program. Special students may take no more than 12 credits before applying and being accepted to a Graduate Certificate program of study.
Student Discipline Policy and Procedure
It is the policy of Hartford Seminary to conduct an impartial investigation of the facts, an impartial hearing and review of those facts and to make recommendations as to what action should be taken with regard to any issue concerning student conduct brought to the attention of the Dean in writing. Details of the Student Discipline Policy and Procedure are provided in the Official Policies section of this Catalogue.
Student Grievance Policy and Procedure
It is the intention of this policy to encourage and facilitate resolution of a grievance that a student may have with a faculty member, supervisor, administrator, member of the staff, or another student. The desire is to resolve the grievance in the early stages of the procedure. However, the procedure does provide for full mediation in a fair, equitable and timely manner. Please see the Official Policies section of this Catalogue.
Summer Session Courses
The Summer Session offers a number of courses in the month of June. Most summer courses are full-day sessions one week in length. Typically, an evening course is also offered. Normally, the course instructors allow students to complete reading and writing assignments over the summer and to submit final course assignments prior to the fall semester. However, the course instructor is responsible for setting his/her coursework deadline as he/she deems appropriate for completion of the course.
Termination of Program
A student's degree program may be terminated on the written request of the student, or by action of the Academic Affairs Committee, if the student's performance is deemed unsatisfactory or if tuition and fee payments are not made as required. The termination of a student's program by the Academic Affairs Committee does not cancel financial obligations the student incurred at the Seminary while enrolled.
Students who have not received an approved leave of absence, registered for a course or paid a program continuation or extension fee for four consecutive academic semesters will be removed from the program with notification. A student who has been inactive within this period may reactivate by petitioning the Academic Affairs Committee and paying any unpaid tuition or fees within 30 days.
Term Papers, Project Papers and Theses
A paper submitted for credit in one course cannot be submitted for credit in another course without the prior permission of both instructors. Hartford Seminary strictly adheres to the Plagiarism Policy as written in the Student Handbook. Written papers and theses must be typed and should conform to the styles and format for footnotes and acknowledgments announced by the course instructor. For additional information on format, proper footnotes, acknowledgments, etc., students are directed to consult the Hartford Seminary General Guidelines for a Research Paper. These guidelines can be picked up in the student forms center or downloaded from our website. Students may also consult Kate L. Turabian's, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses and Dissertations, (6th Edition, University of Chicago Press, 1996), upon which the guidelines are based.
For the protection of students and former students, all transcript requests must be submitted in writing and personally signed. Requests that are sent via e-mail cannot be honored. Transcripts will not be issued by fax. Upon written request and submission of the transcript fee of $10 to the Registrar, students and alumni may, at any time, request the Registrar to send their "official" transcript to a school or organization of their choice. Please allow 3-5 business days for transcript requests to be processed by the Registrar. Transcripts are issued only when all financial obligations to the Seminary have been met. Students may view and print an unofficial course report through the student access portal at anytime.
Veterans Administration Benefits
Eligible students may use Veterans Administration benefits to pursue an approved degree or certificate program. (Students in the Cooperative Master of Divinity program and the International Ph.D. program are not eligible for Veterans Benefits through Hartford Seminary.) Students are advised to make their initial application for VA benefits well in advance of their first semester. Once a student has registered for a given semester, the Seminary upon request will certify the student’s enrollment to the Veterans Administration, which will then determine the student’s eligibility and award. Students are responsible for paying all tuition and fees to the Seminary. Continued certification by the Seminary is contingent on the student’s maintaining good academic standing and making satisfactory progress toward completion of program requirements. The Seminary must report unsatisfactory progress to the Veterans Administration.
Students already receiving benefits through the Veteran’s Administration who are continuing their enrollment and wish to use their benefits for the upcoming semester should make a formal request to Registrar’s Office so we can submit an enrollment certification to the VA on your behalf. The request can be in the form of an email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Students who have not previously used VA benefits at Hartford Seminary, but wish to do so, should contact the Registrar as soon as possible. Veterans should also keep in mind that they must notify the VA and the Registrar of any program changes or adjustment to the number of courses and type of courses they are taking in a given semester.
Withdrawal from a Course
Students may withdraw from courses at any time before a course ends. However, financial and academic consequences will be imposed according to the following schedule:
- Withdrawal before 25% of classes occur: None
- Withdrawal after 25% of classes occur and up to and including 50% of classes: A "W" will be posted to the student's transcript. A "W" has no effect on the student's grade point average.
- Withdrawal after 50% of classes and up to and including the last class: Faculty member will be asked to assign a grade of either "WF" (Withdraw Fail) or "WP" (Withdraw Pass). A "WF" is counted in the student's grade point average as a failure.
- Withdrawal before 25% of classes occur: None
- Withdrawal after 25% of classes occur and up to and including 50% of classes: Student will receive a 50% refund.
- Withdrawal after 50% of classes and up to and including the last class: No refund.
- Withdrawal from on-line courses will be allowed according to the above guidelines but will be based on the number of weeks a course will be in session.
A student who needs to withdraw for health reasons may petition the Academic Affairs Committee for a waiver of the above penalties and must provide documentation from a medical professional. A student who fails to complete requirements of the class receives a failure. Notification of intent to withdraw must be made in writing to the Registrar's Office. Failure to attend classes does not constitute a withdrawal. Withdrawal after a class stops meeting is not possible without a review by the Academic Affairs Committee. However, a student with a medical reason can petition the Academic Affairs Committee for a "WP" if the faculty member agrees that the student was passing at the time of withdrawal.
Hartford Seminary is committed to providing our students with the tools they need to successfully complete our program. One service we offer is writing assistance. Writing assistance services may consist of individualized work with a Writing Consultant or group workshops. Writing assistance is available to all matriculated students upon request, and at no charge. Writing assistance may also be recommended to newly admitted students by the Admissions Committee, or recommended to enrolled students by the Faculty. Further information about these services is available from the Dean's Office.
Should a student be placed on academic probation, he/she will be required to meet with the Hartford Seminary Writing Consultant for a minimum of ten hours each semester until her/his cumulative average resumes a non-probation level. The purpose of the meetings will be to focus on written work in current or incomplete courses.