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Academic Programs

  1. Unit of Credit

    The semester hour shall be the unit of University academic credit that shall represent approximately three hours of work per week by an average student throughout a normal semester, or its equivalent in total work for short courses and summer sessions. Any reference to credit hours, course credits, etc., shall be understood as referring to semester hours.

  2. Definitions Relating to Academic Requirements
    1. Transfer Credit is credit earned at another accredited college or university and accepted by Purdue. The University will accept transfer credit only for work done at those institutions fully approved by a regional accrediting association of secondary schools and colleges or those whose regional accreditation designation is Associate/Vocational-Technical (A/V) when agreements with academic departments exist that specify courses or blocks of credit that will transfer into specific Purdue University degree programs. In addition to regional association approval, certain programs may require accreditation by professional organizations and/or societies before credit will be considered for transfer.

      Students participating in college credit courses that are taught concurrently for high school and college credit during the regular school day by local secondary teachers must validate the credit through the subject department.

      The determination of use of transfer credit in part or in full to satisfy graduation requirements is the responsibility of the school head or his/her designated representative, in accordance with the regulations of the University faculty (University Senate Document 87-11, March 28, 1988).

    2. Dual Credit is credit earned for a college course that is used as a part of a high school's curriculum and is taught concurrently for high school credit and college credit by a secondary school employee.

      If a Purdue course is to be taught for dual credit, it must be approved by the sponsoring department at the University in the same manner it approves new courses - including approval by the school if the school requires it - and it must be offered in collaboration with an accredited high school. In addition, departmentally designated Purdue faculty must endorse and supervise the teacher as well as approve the syllabus, grading standards, and examinations.

      For students to be granted credit at Purdue for dual-credit courses offered by other postsecondary institutions, faculty must validate the credit earned elsewhere through the Purdue department responsible for the subject matter via one of the following means:

      1. Faculty must verify that the student has earned a grade of at least C in a higher-level course taken at Purdue that has as a prerequisite the course for which credit is being sought; or
      2. Faculty must certify that the student has performed satisfactorily either on an appropriate standardized achievement examination or Purdue departmental advanced-credit examination or has earned a grade of at least C on a current comprehensive final examination for the Purdue course in which the student wishes to gain credit; or
      3. Faculty must affirm that a dual-credit course offered at a specific high school by another postsecondary institution is essentially the same as a specific Purdue course by approving at least the syllabus and the examinations. In addition, faculty must confirm that the student earned a grade of at least C in the course (University Senate Document 95-8, April 22, 1996).
    3. Directed Credit is academic credit awarded by the University on bases other than a student's enrollment in and satisfactory completion of a course.
      A student eligible to receive directed credit shall be a student newly admitted or currently enrolled in the University who has not received a grade or directed grade in the course, other than a grade of W.
      Directed credit may be established by any of the following methods:
      1. Credit by Examination. Credit awarded to a student on the basis of achievement in a Purdue departmental proficiency examination.
      2. Departmental Credit. Credit for a course offered by a department and awarded to a student on the basis of substantially equivalent experience. May be granted only by the head of that department or his/her designated representative.
      3. Achievement Credit. Credit awarded to a student on the basis of demonstrated achievement in a nationally administered college-level examination (University Senate Document 79-5, October 15, 1979).
    4. To Substitute is to replace a course required in a specific curriculum by another course specified by the head of the school in charge of that curriculum or his/her designated representative.
    5. To Excuse is to replace a course required in a specific curriculum by an equal number of credit hours in courses not specified.
    6. To Exempt is to waive a course required for graduation together with its equivalent hours.
      1. Undergraduate students, without respect to the school in which they are enrolled, may be exempted by the University faculty from any general requirement that has been established by the University faculty.
      2. An undergraduate student in a specific school may be exempted by the faculty of that school from any requirement established by that school faculty.
    7. Advanced Placement is the assignment of entering students to courses beyond the first course or courses in a normal sequence without allowing credit for courses not taken.
    8. Advanced Standing means that an entering student has credit for or exemption from one or more courses.
  3. Academic Classification of Undergraduate Students
    1. A student at Purdue University is any person who has been admitted to the University and who is currently enrolled in one or more courses for which there will be a permanent academic record.
    2. Each student shall be admitted and identified as one of the following:
      1. Degree. A student who has been admitted and registered for the purpose of earning a degree.
      2. Nondegree (University Senate Document 88-17, April 24, 1989). A student who is not in a program of study leading to a degree. A nondegree student has a limited purpose for his/her registration. A nondegree student is enrolled for personal or professional enrichment or to strengthen his/her academic background to gain degree-seeking status. Such a student must provide evidence that he/she is qualified to enroll in the course(s) he/she desires. An applicant currently enrolled in high school will be admitted as a non-degree student only when all of the following conditions are met:
        1. The student ranks in at least the top half of the high school class and maintains an above-average grade(s) in subjects related to the course(s) in which he/she wishes to enroll, and
        2. The high school guidance counselor or principal has signed a recommendation for the student and has included a current copy of the high school transcript for review by members of the admissions committee.

          A nondegree student is generally limited to enrolling in a maximum of seven hours per semester during the fall and spring semesters, and is generally limited to enrolling in no more than four hours during the summer session; however, a nondegree student who has earned a bachelor's degree is eligible to enroll on a full-time basis. In order to continue to register as a nondegree student, he/she must meet the same minimum grade index required of degree students. A student may apply no more than 18 semester hours of work completed as a nondegree student toward an undergraduate degree at Purdue University. The dean of the school to which the student applies may determine which credits will be accepted toward a degree in that school. A department may limit the number of nondegree students acceptable in any course (University Senate Document 87-13, April 25, 1988, revised by University Senate Document 02-6, February 17, 2003).

        3. A student's academic classification for an associate or bachelor's degree shall be classified by numerals 1, 2, 3, etc., corresponding to the total number of credit hours of college work earned.
          Total Credits EarnedSemester ClassificationStatus
          14.0 or less 1 First-year Student
          15 to 29 2
          30 to 44 3 Sophomore
          45 to 59 4
          60 to 74 5 Junior
          75 to 89 6
          90 to 104 7 Senior
          105 or more 8
  4. Transfer of Students between Curricula (University Senate Document 71-11, January 17, 1972; approved April 19, 2010)

    A student who wishes to transfer from one curriculum to another within the University shall:

    1. Prepare the prescribed request form.
    2. Secure the approval of the deans or their designee of both colleges/schools concerned.
    3. Submit the completed form at the Office of the Registrar before the end of the second week of the effective term. Forms received after the second week will be effective for the next term. The request form may be honored after the second week if it is accompanied by a special petition setting forth the extenuating circumstances. Any student who has been inactive for three consecutive semesters may request a change of curricula as part of his/her application for reentry.
  5. Transfer of Credits between Curricula

    When a student transfers from one curriculum to another leading to a different associate or baccalaureate degree, the courses that have been completed and are acceptable in satisfying the degree requirements of the new curriculum shall be determined by an authorized representative of the dean of the school into which the student wishes to transfer.

  6. Credit in Courses by Examination (University Senate Document 74-15 [amended], April 21, 1975)

    The establishment of credit by examination is encouraged in order to expedite the education of qualified students. Toward this end, each instructional department shall determine which of its courses are available for credit by examination and shall establish procedures to determine the eligibility of candidates, to administer, and to grade such examinations. The examinations shall be as comprehensive as those given in the course and shall be graded as satisfactory (performance comparable to that expected of students who receive A, B, or C in the course) or unsatisfactory. The registrar shall establish forms and procedures to assure proper distribution of results, and for satisfactory performance, shall record credit for the course on the student's record. The testing coordinator in the Office of the Dean of Students shall schedule and administer written examinations if requested by the instructional department.

    The registrar shall collect from each department a list of courses that are available for credit by examination. The registrar shall also make this information available to current students, prospective students, and academic advisors. In addition, each department shall make available information about courses appropriate for credit by examination and shall identify faculty members responsible for administering these examinations.

    A student eligible to request examination for credit in a course shall be a newly admitted student or a currently enrolled student who has not received a grade or directed grade in the course, other than a grade of W.

    Requests to take an examination for credit normally shall originate with the eligible student who must obtain the consent of his/her advisor and the approval of the instructional department; however, newly admitted students whose previous records indicate high degrees of competence in particular areas may be invited and authorized to take specific examinations at the discretion of the instructional department and the academic advisor. Any student receiving such invitation or approval must meet the examination schedule of the instructional department. In consenting to requests from currently enrolled students, the advisor and the instructional department shall be guided by their assessment of the student's need and ability as demonstrated by performance in conventional coursework at Purdue.

  7. Courses Taken in Postbaccalaureate or Teacher License Status (Graduate Council, April 16, 1992)

    Although there is no limit to the number of course credit hours that an individual may accumulate while registered in either of these classifications, no more than 12 total hours of credit earned in postbaccalaureate or teacher license status may be used on a graduate plan of study. However, if an application to a graduate degree program is approved during the session in which a person is enrolled for the 12th credit hour as a postbaccalaureate or teacher license student, all credits taken prior to and during that session will be eligible for inclusion on a plan of study for a graduate degree program, providing the courses are appropriate to the degree program and the courses and grades are acceptable first to the department and then to the Graduate School.

  8. Excess Undergraduate Credits (University Senate Document 10-9, March 21, 2011)

    Graduate course credits earned while an undergraduate at Purdue University or other accredited institutions of higher learning may be applied toward an advanced degree if these credits are in excess of any requirements for the baccalaureate degree. Such credits must be certified as available for graduate credit by the institution from which the student received his/her baccalaureate degree, but will be accepted only if:

    1. The student had junior or senior standing when taking the course,
    2. The student received a grade of B or better (work taken under the pass/not-pass option is not acceptable),
    3. The course was designated as a graduate course, and
    4. If the work is completed satisfactorily on this basis, the academic advisor (or candidate coordinator or other designee) shall then complete the Academic Record Change Form 350, which indicates that the course may be used for graduate credit, and submit the form to the registrar, along with the grade reported, at the close of the student's final semester. The academic advisor's (or candidate coordinator’s or designee's) signature will attest to the fact that the credit is in excess of that required for the baccalaureate degree so that the registrar can then enter the notation available for graduate credit on the student's record.

    The sum of credits earned as undergraduate excess and the credit earned in post baccalaureate and teacher license status that can be used on a plan of study is limited to 12 credit hours except as stated in Section II-G above. Any additional conditions under which excess undergraduate credit may be used for graduate credit are determined by the various departments (Graduate Council, April 16, 1992).

  9. Correspondence Courses (University Senate Document 90-29, April 22, 1991)
    1. All Purdue courses that are proposed for correspondence credit, including existing courses, must be approved through a school's normal approval process before being offered. Correspondence courses are defined as those courses that are characterized by instructor-student interaction that occurs primarily outside the traditional classroom setting.
    2. Courses offered for credit will be taught by instructors approved by the department offering such courses. Whether a correspondence course is to be considered a normal teaching responsibility or an overload will be at the department's discretion.
    3. Courses offered as correspondence courses will count toward degree requirements the same as any other approved course within the curriculum. Limitations on correspondence courses applicable toward a degree will be determined through a school's normal course and degree approval process.
    4. Correspondence courses taken for credit will require the individual to be admitted to the University and officially registered for the course. Fees will be assessed separately from any other fees in accordance with the current standard per-credit-hour fee structure for the University or, if warranted, a special fee structure for the course will be requested through the Office of the Executive Vice President and Treasurer. The grade in the correspondence course will be incorporated in the computation of the scholastic index for the student, and a permanent academic record will be maintained.
    5. The beginning date and time period allotted, up to one calendar year, for a correspondence course will be established by the department and recorded by the registrar. A student withdrawing during the first half of the time period established may be assigned a grade of W, WF, or WN by the instructor. Within one calendar year of enrollment a final grade will be reported to the registrar by the instructor for each enrolled student. If, due to extenuating circumstances, an incomplete grade is issued, the established regulations for removal or assignment of a permanent grade will apply.
    6. Departments may wish to offer non-credit correspondence courses under an alternate course number that does not require the individual to be admitted to Purdue. No permanent academic record will be maintained, and fees will be established in accordance with the policies administered by the Office of the Executive Vice President and Treasurer.