Jun 26, 2022  
2014 - 2015 Catalog 
2014 - 2015 Catalog Archives - Prior Version

Academic Information

 Academic Amnesty

Students transferring from one program of study to another program of study may petition to have courses in which they earned a grade of D or F exempted from the calculation of their grade point average as required by the program from which they transferred. The grades will remain on the student’s transcript. Students shall be eligible for Academic Amnesty one time only. Further information on Academic Amnesty may be obtained by contacting the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Services.

 Academic Forgiveness

 Students who return to the College after a two year absence may petition that the credits with D and F grades earned during their previous enrollment at the college be removed from the computation of the cumulative grade point average. The student shall meet with the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Services to initiate the process. This petition may be made only after the completion of 12 new credits with a grade point average of 2.0 or higher. Once the petition is approved by the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Services, previously earned credits with D and F grades are not used for calculating the student’s grade point average; however they remain on the transcript with an appropriate notation.

Academic Grievances

The student academic grievance procedure is available to students who have concerns regarding matters such as final grade appeals.

If resolution cannot be achieved through discussion with the faculty member and the student seeks additional mediation, the student may initiate the formal process as outlined below:

  1. A student must submit a letter to the Dean of Teaching, Learning, and Assessment within ten calendar days of the date in which the incident or the complaint occurred. In the case of a final grade discrepancy, the letter should be submitted within fifteen calendar days of the release of grades. In the written complaint, the student should describe his or her concerns, the events that led to those concerns, and provide any supporting documentation.
  2. The Dean of Teaching, Learning, and Assessment may choose to meet with both the student and the faculty member involved in an attempt to resolve the issue. If the issue is not resolved, the Dean of Teaching, Learning, and Assessment will convene the Academic Grievance Committee.
  3. The Academic Grievance Committee will review the written grievance and all documentation. The Committee may or may not interview both the student and the faculty member. A member of the Committee will notify the student in writing of the Committee’s decision within five working days.
  4. If the student remains unsatisfied with the decision issued by the Academic Grievance Committee, the student may make a final appeal to the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Student Services. This appeal must be in writing and submitted no later than five working days from the date of the decision issued by the Academic Grievance Committee. The appeal must specify in detail why the decision of the Academic Grievance Committee was unsatisfactory and must be supported with compelling justification. Within ten working days of receipt of the student appeal the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Student Services will issue a decision regarding the appeal. This decision will either uphold the decision of the Academic Grievance Committee or will issue other remedies as the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Student Services deems appropriate. The decision of the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Student Services is final.

Academic Honors

Dean’s List

The Dean’s List is announced at the completion of fall and spring semesters. The list will include those full-time students who have completed 12 or more college level credits in the semester and have a semester grade point average of 3.3 or better. Part-time students will be eligible for the Dean’s List upon completion of each 12 credit milestone (12, 24, 36, etc.) with a cumulative grade point average of 3.3 or better. Developmental credits do not calculate into the total credits or grade point average for inclusion on the Dean’s List.

Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society

Phi Theta Kappa’s purpose is to recognize and encourage scholarship among two-year college students. Phi Theta Kappa provides the opportunity for the development of leadership and service, an intellectual climate for exchange of ideas and ideals, lively fellowship for scholars, and stimulation of interest in continuing academic excellence. The Beta Epsilon Omega Chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society was officially chartered on May 2,1997. Invitations are sent to all eligible students, and those who elect to become members are inducted in a formal ceremony.

To be eligible for membership, a student must:

  • Be a currently registered, matriculated student.
  • Have already completed at least 12 credits towards a degree, diploma, or certificate (excluding developmental courses)
  • Have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5.

Tau Upsilon Alpha Honor Society

Tau Upsilon Alpha (TUA) of the National Organization of Human Services (NOHS) is the National Honor Society for Human Services. This honor society was established in 2007 which supersedes the former honor society of Alpha Delta Omega. TUA is a two and four year college honor society. Students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher in course work within a Human Services program, completing 12 credits or more, are eligible to apply for membership. In addition to evaluating academic achievements, the student’s commitment to excellence in the provision of services to others is also reviewed. Students are invited to join the organization at the beginning of the fall semester. Human Services professionals are also invited to join TUA as professional at-large or honorary members. An applicant must submit an essay describing commitment and philosophy of working within the helping professions.

Who’s Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Each year the faculty and staff at Pennsylvania Highlands nominate outstanding student scholars and leaders to be recognized by the Who’s Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges. To be eligible for nomination for this prestigious award, students must have earned 25 or more credits, have a cumulative grade point average of 3.3 or higher, and have exhibited outstanding leadership and scholarship at Pennsylvania Highlands and in the community at large.

Academic Integrity Policy

The maintenance of an atmosphere of academic integrity is the responsibility of all students, faculty, and staff of the College. Complete academic integrity in fulfillment of requirements is expected of all students and faculty. Students must in no way misrepresent their work, fraudulently or unfairly advance their academic status, or in any way abet other students who fail to maintain academic integrity.

The following are violations of Academic Integrity and as such will not be tolerated:

  • PLAGIARISM: Failure to acknowledge the source of all information gathered in the preparation of all class work. Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, the direct quotation, paraphrasing, and other use of information or facts which are not common knowledge, whether published or not, without acknowledging the source through standard means of citation.
  • CHEATING: Intentional or attempted use of materials, information, or study aids other than those specifically authorized by the faculty member to complete any class assignment and/or examination.
  • FABRICATION: Falsification or invention of any information or citation in the laboratory, on an internship, or in any other academic exercise. The falsification of identity in online classes. Students may not allow any other person access to their online account to complete online coursework.
  • ETHICAL MISCONDUCT: Knowing violation of an ethical standard of conduct forming part of or incorporated into a specialized program of study.
  • ACADEMIC DISHONESTY: Obtaining and/or distributing, in whole or in part, any examination, quiz, test, or other courswork, or changing or altering an assigned grade. This includes the sharing of examinations, quizzes, tests or other coursework in online classes.
  • FACILITATION: Knowingly aiding or attempting to aid another to commit an act in violation of this Academic Integrity policy.

Faculty Obligations

In fairness to all students, faculty are required to inform students at the beginning of the semester of their obligation to respect the ethical standards of the academic community by not committing the violations herein contained. In addition, faculty are expected to inform students of the appropriate use of sources and documentation/citation and to clarify what constitutes appropriate resources for their examinations and assignments.

All infractions of Academic Integrity will be reported to the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Services including the student’s name, course and section number and nature of the infraction.


Students who commit a violation of Academic Integrity will be denied the privilege of withdrawing from that course without academic penalty. Further penalties will be initiated against the student at the discretion of the faculty member and/or the College.

The faculty member and/or the College may:

  • Assign a grade of ‘F’ for the examination, test, quiz, assignment or similar academic exercise, regardless of the effect such a grade will have on the student’s final grade in that course.
  • Assign a grade of ‘F’ for the course regardless of the quality of the other work completed by the student in the course.
  • Drop the student from the course and bar the student from further participation in the course.

The College may:

  • Suspend the student for a period of time of the College’s discretion.
  • Expel the student from the College.

Penalties imposed at the discretion of the College will be posted to the student’s permanent record.

Faculty members have the responsibility for determining final grades for their course. Students have the right to discuss their final grade with the responsible faculty member. If the student is not satisfied with the outcome of this discussion and has evidence that the grade is in error, the student may initiate the Academic Grievance Procedure.

Academic Level Advancement

Students successfully completing 1 to 24 credits within an academic program are considered freshman-level students. Students successfully completing 25 or more credits are considered sophomore-level.

Academic Standing

Pennsylvania Highlands faculty and staff consider student learning and academic success to be their top priorities. Whether or not a student achieves success, however, will depend largely on student effort, time management and study habits, class attendance, and his/her willingness to constructively utilize the College’s many learning support resources. 

Any time a student’s Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) falls below a 2.0, the student is said to be “NOT in Good Academic Standing.” The student is thereby on notice that significant changes may be necessary to meet the student’s educational and career goals since no student may graduate with less than a 2.0 GPA.       

The College will monitor a student’s grades and issue notices of warning or probation when grades do not meet these standards. Students who stay in Good Academic Standing are more likely to advance from one course to the next as needed and earn their degree in a timely fashion.     

Students who fail to maintain Good Academic Standing will be notified of their status and any conditions required for their continuation. Students who have extenuating circumstances or specific grounds to appeal either their grades or their academic standing may do so as outlined in the Academic Grievance Procedure.

Recognizing the challenges new students face in transitioning to College, first semester students with a .99 CGPA or less will not face Academic Suspension. These students will be placed on Probation with appropriate credit and/or course restrictions and urged to take advantage of the many College academic and student support services available to them.

Standards for Academic Standing

Cumulative Credit Hours Attempted

Cumulative Grade Point Average Below 2.0  
1 - 15 1.50 - 1.99 ACADEMIC WARNING
16 - 30 1.75 - 1.99 ACADEMIC WARNING
31 and up 1.80 - 1.99 ACADEMIC WARNING


This status serves to inform students that their performance is below the level required for successful completion of an academic program. Students in this status are strongly urged to seek academic support and assistance. Students who fail to meet the standards for academic standing at the completion of an academic semester or summer session will be placed on academic warning. While on academic warning, students should consider limiting the amount of credits they take during any subsequent semester. Students are removed from warning only when the cumulative GPA is a 2.0 or higher.


Students whose grades place them in more serious academic jeopardy as outlined above will be placed on Probation. While on Academic Probation, a student may schedule no more than twelve credits per semester. Students on Probation are strongly urged to meet with their faculty advisor and/or Student Success Center staff to assess their educational goals, learning strategies and styles, priorities, time management, and other needs.


Students whose grades are significantly below 2.0 as outlined above may be suspended. Students who are suspended may not matriculate at Pennsylvania Highlands for a period of one semester. Students who are on suspension may enroll in classes as part-time, non-matriculated students and receive tutoring services during their suspension.

Reinstatement following Academic Suspension

A suspended student wishing to be readmitted to the College as a matriculated (degree seeking) student following a period of suspension must complete an application for reinstatement to the College along with the regular College admission application. The Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Services or designee will review the student’s academic record, including high school and college transcripts, placement test scores, along with information provided on the Reinstatement Application and make an admission decision or recommendation to admit or not admit based on his/her assessment of the student’s ability to benefit from a return to matriculated status. Students who are reinstated following Academic Suspension will be reinstated on Academic Probation.

Act 34 Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance

The received official document should read that “No record exist in the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare’s statewide Central Registry …” or the existing record must comply with section E of the ACT 34 of 1985 Background Clearance Procedures as amended.

NOTE: Additional information concerning clearances referring to teaching in Pennsylvania can be found at http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/background_checks_%28act_114%29/7493.

 Act 48 Continuing Professional Education

Pennsylvania Highlands is an approved provider for Act 48 courses/training in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The College is fully accredited and offer a wide variety of course selections to suit all educators. The College’s flexible schedule and affordable tuition make Pennsylvania Highlands a popular choice for needed credits.

Educators wishing to take Pennsylvania Highlands courses for Act 48 credit should review all course selections with their appropriate administrators prior to enrolling. Educators must work with their sponsoring school district or IU for logging course activity with the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Once educators complete coursework, an official transcript can be obtained for documentation purposes through the Registrars’ Office. It is strongly recommended that the educator obtain prior approval from his or her sponsoring school district or IU prior to enrolling in courses to be applied toward Act 48 requirements.

Act 114 FBI Fingerprint Clearance

The received official document should read that the subject has “No record” or the existing record must comply with section E of the ACT 34 of 1985 Background Clearance Procedures 24 PS 1-111 as amended.

NOTE: Additional information concerning clearances referring to teaching in Pennsylvania can be found at http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/background_checks_%28act_114%29/7493.

Act 151 Pennsylvania Criminal Record Check

The received official document should read that “… has no criminal record in Pennsylvania based on a check based on the above identifiers - refer to control …” or the existing record must comply with section E of the ACT 34 of 1985 Background Clearance Procedures 24 PS 1-111 as amended.

NOTE: Additional information concerning clearances referring to teaching in Pennsylvania can be found at http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/background_checks_%28act_114%29/7493.


Students are expected to attend all class sessions. Attendance is monitored by the course instructor. Excessive absences can have negative effect not only in academic success but in the eligibility to receive Financial Aid. The completion of all requirements specified in the course syllabus is the responsibility of the student.

College Preparatory Classes

Some students need refresher courses before they can expect to succeed in regular 100 and 200 level College courses. The College Preparatory program (College Prep) at Pennsylvania Highlands is offered to prepare students for College-level work by building the basic skills necessary for academic success. College Prep faculty coordinate the instruction, policies, and procedures for students who need preparatory courses in reading, English, and math. College Prep faculty also work with students to develop the necessary attitudes and behaviors that will enable them to achieve success in College and in the work-place.

College Prep courses are assigned institutional credit, which applies only at Pennsylvania Highlands and will not count toward graduation, will not earn college credit, and will not be used in grade point average (GPA) calculations. Students are placed into College-level courses and/or preparatory mathematics, English, and reading classes through placement exams administered upon admission to College or through previous testing or coursework completed at another College or school. Students must take any prescribed preparatory class(es) during their first semester of attendance and must continue to enroll in prescribed courses until the sequence is complete.

  • Small classes offering individual attention
  • Tutoring
  • Counseling
  • Computer-assisted instruction and the use of other educational technologies 
  • Help for special-needs students

How are Students Placed into College Preparatory Classes?

Students are placed into college-level courses and/or college preparatory reading, math, or English based on their test scores from the COMPASS placement exam. COMPASS is administered upon admission to the College. Students may be exempt from taking one or more COMPASS tests if they have submitted their current ACT or SAT test scores (must be within the last five years). To see ACT or SAT exemption guidelines, please visit the Student Success Center section of the Catalog. Students can find more information about the COMPASS exam and see a practice test at www.act.org/compass.

Students are required to take any prescribed College Prep classes during their first, and if necessary, in subsequent semesters until College level proficiency is reached.

Students are required to attend a minimum of 80 percent of their College Prep classes. All preparatory classes use the following grading system:

  • A, 93 - 100 percent; B, 84 - 92 percent; C, 75 - 83 percent; F, Below 75 percent

The credits earned with college preparatory courses do not apply toward grade point average calculations (GPA) or toward graduation, nor are they generally transferable to other institutions.

Current College Preparatory Offerings:

  • ICR 020- Basic College Reading
  • ICR 031- Critical College Reading
  • ENG 010-Basic English
  • ENG 020-Introduction to Composition
  • MAT 020-Basic Math
  • MAT 041-Pre-Algebra
  • MAT 080-Basic Algebra

Distance Education

Distance Education courses offer students the opportunity to earn college credit at the time and location convenient to them. Distance Education includes online courses, hybrid courses, and courses enhanced through the use of technology. For more information, visit the Distance Education page at www.pennhighlands.edu/distance.

Delivery of Academic Programs

Courses in academic programs are taught using a variety of methods including traditional classroom and laboratories and internet-based courses.

Pennsylvania Highlands assumes that distance education will be infused into the academic environment as an accepted tool for responding to the changing educational environment, for ensuring quality on-campus and intercampus delivery, and as an integrated aspect of systemic curriculum planning.

Online Courses

Online learning is learner-driven, internet-based instruction delivered via an online platform. Online learning is ideal for students with work obligations, family obligations, travel constraints, or time/schedule conflicts. Students are able to access their online materials 24 hours a day, seven days a week via any internet-accessible computer.

Online courses are led by Pennsylvania Highlands faculty and utilize the Internet to deliver instructional materials, assignments, exams, and discussions. Online courses require the same competencies as equivalent campus courses, and are considered more academically challenging and writing intensive because all communication is written. Coursework may consist of online assignments, group work, class discussions, quizzes, exams and more. Online courses allow students to complete work and assignments at their convenience; however, weekly participation as well as on-campus meetings, labs or proctored exams may be mandatory.

For more information about online courses, course offerings and descriptions, and technical requirements for online courses, see the Distance Education website at http://www.pennhighlands.edu/distance.

Final Exams, Papers, and Projects

Course final examinations, papers, projects, and activities are scheduled as deemed appropriate by the faculty. Specific requirements should be outlined in the course syllabus. The College Calendar does not set aside a final examination period. However, faculty members are encouraged to conduct a culminating learning/assessment activity for each of their classes at the end of each term. Course grades are based on the student’s ability to meet all course requirements.

General Education Requirements and Statement

Pennsylvania Highlands Community College General Education Statement

General education at Pennsylvania Highlands Community College reflects our conviction that all associate degree graduates must demonstrate proficiency in the following foundational skills: critical thinking, scientific/quantitative reasoning, information literacy, effective communication, awareness of a diverse world, and technological expertise. These skills are essential for success in both college and career in an increasingly complex global economy, and they will ensure that students are equipped to develop as well-rounded and competent individuals through a lifetime of learning.

Critical Thinking: Students must be able to read and think critically in order to synthesize knowledge gleaned from a wide range of sources. Students must demonstrate the ability to use higher-level thinking and analytical skills and to support their judgment, in their disciplines and in resolving ethical dilemmas.
Scientific/Quantitative Reasoning: Students must be able to apply quantitative reasoning and methods, including the experimental method, mathematical formulae, and statistical analysis, to solving problems.
Information Literacy: Students must be able to determine the extent of information needed, access the needed information effectively and efficiently, evaluate information and its sources critically, incorporate the information into their knowledge base, and understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information, and access and use the information ethically and legally.
Effective Communication: Students must demonstrate fluency in both written and oral communications. They must use information literacy, rhetorical training, and critical thinking to create clear written reports, speeches, and oral reports in Standard English. They must be able to comprehend written material.
Awareness of a Diverse World: Students must develop an understanding and appreciation of various cultures in order to live in a diverse world and to compete in the global marketplace.
Technological Expertise: Students must perform fundamental computer operations, use software applications, and demonstrate basic knowledge of computer theory. These are all essential skills in a technological society for problem-solving, communication, information access, and data analysis.

Summary Statement: Students must present an associate degree level of academic and professional competence to the college and community. They must possess the skills necessary for lifelong learning.

Degree and Program Requirements

Pennsylvania Highlands Community College offers three associate degrees: the associate of applied science degree, the associate of science degree, and the associate of arts degree. This foundation demonstrates the College’s vision of an informed, literate and educated person. It also expresses its commitment to developing a dynamic and renewed regional community through the contributions of our graduates.

The Associate of Applied Science Degree (60-66 credits) is designed to be a two-year terminal degree with a primary goal of getting the student ready for entry into the workforce. As such the program requirements-those courses aimed at providing competency in a particular career-related discipline-make up the bulk of the coursework for the AAS degree.

To complete an AAS degree, students must complete the following degree requirements:

  • 1 credit FYE (Strongly suggested to be taken during the student’s first semester)
  • 1 credit ACE
  • 3 credits English (ENG 110)
  • 3 credits communication (COM 101)
  • 3 credits math (MAT)
  • 3-4 credits science
  • 3 credits technology (CIT 100)
  • 3 credits wellness (LIF 111)
  • 3 credits social science

This is a total of 23 or 24 credits, depending on whether a 3-credit or 4-credit science course is required by the program. In addition to the degree requirements, students must complete 36-42 program credits, depending upon the specific program the student seeks to complete.

The Associate of Science Degree (60-67 credits*) is designed to provide a substantial program experience while optimizing the transferability of the course work for those students who may later decide to seek further education at a baccalaureate institution.

To complete an AS degree, students must complete the following degree requirements:

  • 1 credit FYE (Strongly suggested to be taken during the student’s first semester)
  • 1 credit HUM 115
  • 6 credits English (110 and 200, 205, or 225)
  • 3 credits communication (COM 101)
  • 6 credits social science
  • 7-8 credits including at least one lab
  • 3 credits math (college algebra or higher)
  • 3 credits humanities
  • 3 credits technology (CIT 100)

This is a total of 34 credits. In addition to the degree requirements, students must complete 26-33 program credits, depending on the specific program the student seeks to complete.

*Some Associate of Science degrees may follow the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) option, which is designed to allow students in transfer majors with more math and science requirements to complete fewer humanities and social science requirements.

The Associate of Arts Degree (60-66 credits) is designed for those students interested in earning a two-year degree while working toward a bachelor’s degree. To this end the degree is designed to optimize transfer by focusing on highly transferable general education requirements while still providing the student with opportunities to work in the major field of interest.

To complete an AA degree, students must complete the following degree requirements:

  • 1 credit FYE (Strongly suggested to be taken during the student’s first semester)
  • 1 credit HUM 115
  • 6 credits English (110 and 200 or 205)
  • 3 credits communication (COM 101)
  • 6-9 credits social science*1
  • 4 credits lab science
  • 3 credits math (college algebra or higher)
  • 6-9 humanities*2
  • 3 credits technology (CIT 100)

This is a total of 40 credits. In addition to the degree requirements, students must complete 20-26 program credits, depending upon the specific program the student seeks to complete.

1 Depending on the program, either 9 credits of social science & 6 of humanities or 9 credits of humanities and 6 of social science (to allow for depth as well as breadth of study, at least 6 credits of the 9 must be in the same discipline)
2 See note 1 above.

Grading System 

Letter Grade Grade Points Description  
A 4 Superior/Excellent  
B 3 Good/Above Average  
C 2 Satisfactory/Average  
D 1 Pass/Unsatisfactory  
I 0 Incomplete  
F 0 Failure  
W 0 Withdrawal  
S 0 Satisfactory  
U 0 Unsatisfactory  
RD 0 Report Delayed  
AU 0 Audit  

How to Calculate Your Grade Point Average

The Grade Point Average (GPA) is computed by multiplying the point value of each grade earned by the number of semester hours of credit of the course for which the grade is received The total of these products is then divided by the total number of semester hours of credit.

Example of Grade Point Average Calculation Point Values: A=4, B=3, C=2, D=1, F=0.

    Point Value
of Grade
Semester Hours
of Credit
    Grade Points  
C =   2.0 X 3   = 6  
B =   3.0 X 4   = 12  
A =   4.0 X 3   = 12  
C =   2.0 X 3   = 6  
B =   3.0 X 3   = 9  

45 grade points divided by 16 semester hours = 2.81 grade point average or GPA.

Incomplete Grade Policy


An incomplete grade (I-Grade) is reserved for students who have completed at least 75 percent of the coursework and have a passing grade in the course at the time of the request. Consideration for an incomplete grade may only be given if there are extenuating documentable circumstances such as a serious illness or personal adversity that prevents completion of the course by the scheduled end date for the class. The request is made by the student to the instructor of the course. The instructor has the sole discretion to award or not award an incomplete grade. The instructor will complete the “Incomplete Contract (I-Grade)” form, stating the conditions to be met, including the following: any assignments to complete, date by which assignments and tests must be completed, and the grade if those conditions are not met. Both the student and instructor will sign the form, and one copy will be given to the student, and one will be submitted to the Registrar on or prior to the date when final grades are due. If a grade change form is not submitted to the Registrar by the date specified on the “Incomplete Contract (I-Grade)” form, then the Registrar will change the incomplete grade to the grade entered on the “Incomplete Contract (I-Grade)” form.

Grades Policy

Only teaching faculty members can assign grades. No student’s grade may be altered without the approval of the faculty member assigning the grade, in consultation with the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Services, except as follows:

  1. If a faculty member leaves the employment of the College for any reason, the College shall assume the responsibility for grading the students.
  2. If a student has successfully appealed his/her grade through the appeals process, the faculty member or Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Services will change the grade. If the Vice President changes the grade, the faculty member will receive written notification of the grade change.

Graduation Honors

Students who have earned a minimum of 30 credits in a certificate, diploma, or degree program and have graduated with at least a 3.5 grade point average will be eligible for graduation honors. Any student who has been officially documented for violations of the Academic Integrity Policy will not be eligible for Graduation Honors. Students who have earned an overall GPA of 4.0 are graduated Summa Cum Laude (highest honors). Students who have earned an overall GPA of at least 3.75 and below 4.0 are graduated Magna Cum Laude (high honors). Students who have earned an overall GPA of at least 3.5 and below 3.75 are graduated Cum Laude (honors).

4.0 Summa Cum Laude
3.99-3.75 Magna Cum Laude
3.74-3.5 Cum Laude

Graduation Requirements

Meeting graduation requirements is ultimately the responsibility of the student. Students are encouraged to work with their academic advisors in selecting courses to meet their educational objectives. Students must apply for graduation before the specified deadline for the semester. Application due dates are announced throughout the year and are communicated through the Registrar’s Office via newsletters and communications. Applications are available at all College sites as well as on the College’s website and portal. Commencement ceremonies are the culmination of the student’s program of study. Each spring Pennsylvania Highlands Community College conducts a graduation ceremony at which time faculty, staff, family, and friends come together to recognize the academic achievements of the year’s graduates. All eligible degree, diploma, and certificate candidates are encouraged to participate in commencement activities.

In order to be eligible to graduate, all students must have:

  • Satisfied all requirements for the course of study.
  • Taken at least 30 credits at Pennsylvania Highlands
  • Achieved a grade point average of 2.0 or better as required by program of study.
  • Fulfilled all of their financial obligations to Pennsylvania Highlands.
  • Filed an Application for Graduation.

Independent Study

Requests for independent study are initiated by the student’s academic advisor and must be approved by the appropriate Associate Dean of Instruction four weeks prior to the start of the semester in which the course will be offered.


Internships are coordinated by the appropriate academic program coordinator. The purpose of internships is to integrate classroom study and practical work experience for academic credit. Students intern with a host organization for a required number of hours based on credit assignment. Internships enhance the partnership between the College and the community.

Please review the pages in this catalog regarding your program of study to verify if an internship is required. Because students are expected to be prepared to succeed in entry level projects, interns must have completed at least 2/3 of their program of study and earned at least a 2.00 grade point average. Some programs may have additional conditions of eligibility so students are urged to consult with the appropriate internship advisor for further information.

Students must begin the internship process in the semester prior to the internship semester by contacting their academic advisor. Detailed information about the internship process is available on the College’s website.

Library Services

The College offers full library services to all students. Library services include access to library materials at campus libraries, an online catalog, complete inter-library loan services, and remote access to library databases. The College has adopted an information-literacy strategy that incorporates library research in all academic programs. Information-literacy instruction is available to all students and is offered through the First Year Experience and other courses.


Tutoring is available to all students enrolled in courses at the College. Tutors must be requested by completing a Tutor Request Form. These forms are available in the Student Success Center at the Richland Campus or at the Information Desk of our Education Centers. Tutoring is dependent upon tutor availability.

Peer Tutors

Students with an overall grade point average of 3.0, an “A” in the course they wish to tutor, and a recommendation from the course instructor are eligible to become peer tutors. Interested students may pick up a Request to be a Tutor Form in the Library at the Richland Campus.

Minimal Credit Requirement

To earn an Associate Degree from Pennsylvania Highlands, students shall complete a minimum of 30 credit hours at the College.

The following types of successfully earned credits shall constitute the student Minimal Credit requirement:

  • Credits earned from Pennsylvania Highlands courses taught on or off-campus, including Dual Enrollment.
  • Pennsylvania Highlands distance learning courses originating from or received at the College.

Although Pennsylvania Highlands Community College evaluates prior learning and will apply credits as appropriate to degree, diploma, or certificate programs, the following types of credits do not contribute to a student’s minimal credit requirement:

  • Credits transferred from another institution.
  • Credit awarded for successful completion of a course examination (credit by exam).
  • Credit awarded through the College Level Examination Program (CLEP).
  • Credit awarded for Advance Placement Examinations.
  • Credit awarded for Military Training.
  • Credit awarded by an area Career and Technology Center.
  • Credit awarded for Life Experience.

Options for Earning College Credit

Students may receive academic credit for prior learning enabling them to begin college work at advanced levels and shorten the time required to obtain degrees, diplomas or certificates. Credit for prior learning may be graded by any of the following methods: transfer credits, courses taken at area career and technology centers, College Level Examination Program (CLEP), credit for examination, and credit for experiential learning.

Credit can be granted only for those courses which are listed in the Pennsylvania Highlands catalog. The courses must meet the requirements of the program in which the student is enrolled. Credits obtained for prior learning are not used in the computation of the grade point average. These credits are not applied to VA benefits, Selective Service deferment, Social Security benefits, or scholastic honors. A maximum of half of the credits needed for degree completion may be awarded to a student for all credits earned for prior learning.

Accelerated College Education for High School Students (ACE)

The Accelerated College Education (ACE) program, formerly known as Dual Enrollment, is a partnership between high schools and the College. ACE allows high school students to earn Pennsylvania Highlands’ credits while in high school. The courses are taught by qualifying high school faculty who assure that students’ performance in the high school course is equivalent to a course taught at the College. College credits can be applied toward a degree at Pennsylvania Highlands Community College or transferred to another college. More information is available online at http://www.pennhighlands.edu/ace/.

Advanced Placement Examinations

Credit may be awarded to students who attain a score of three or higher on the College Board Advanced Placement (AP) Examination. A list of all acceptable AP tests is available at the Pennsylvania Highlands Student Success Center. Test scores must be sent directly to the Student Success Center from the College Board. Contact the Student Success Center or the Admissions Office for further information.

College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

Credit may be awarded to students who achieve satisfactory scores on the CLEP general examinations and selected CLEP subject examinations. A list of all acceptable CLEP test scores is available at the Pennsylvania Highlands Student Success Center. Test scores must be sent directly to the Student Success Center from the College Entrance Examination Board. Contact the Student Success Center or the Admissions Office for further information.

Credit for Life Experience

Guidelines for awarding credit for life experience are essentially those suggested by the American Council on Education. Students with substantial business, career and technical, or other life experience may present a proposal describing the broad outline of the learning experience and how that experience may be equivalent to the learning outcomes of one or more College courses. A comprehensive, detailed portfolio is then prepared under the direction of faculty as appropriate. The faculty will review and evaluate the portfolio and recommend whether credit is to be awarded. The student is charged a fee per credit awarded according to the published fee schedule. Students wishing to learn more about this process are advised to inform the College during the admissions, advising, and registration process.

Credit for Military Training

College level courses taken while in the U.S. Armed Forces and submitted on college transcripts or on transcripts from the military may be transferable. Military courses may be submitted and reviewed on an individual basis. Credit is normally awarded based upon the recommendation of the American Council on Education.

Excelsior College Examinations (ECE)

Credit may be awarded to students who achieve satisfactory scores on the Excelsior College Examinations (ECE) in selected subject areas. A list of acceptable ECE tests is available in the Student Success Center. Test scores must be sent directly to the Student Success Center from the ECE testing centers. Contact the Student Success Center or the Admissions Office for further information. .

Transfer to Pennsylvania Highlands

Students who have earned credits at other colleges or universities may request to have those credits applied to their program of study at Pennsylvania Highlands. Those wishing to do so must submit official transcripts from the other institution(s) in which they were enrolled along with the Pennsylvania Highlands Application for Admission.

Upon receipt of the Application for Admission and any other materials required for admission, the College will review the student’s official transcript(s) and determine which credits, if any, are to be applied to the student’s intended program of study. A written transfer evaluation will be sent to the student.

Pursuant to AACRAO (American Association of Collegiate Registrar and Admissions Officers) guidelines, Pennsylvania Highlands will award transfer credit for courses in which a 2.0 (“C”) or higher grade is earned and which are deemed equivalent to required or elective courses in the student’s program of study. 

To earn an Associate degree from Pennsylvania Highlands, students shall complete a minimum of 30 credit hours at the College. 

Transfer grades are not referenced on the Pennsylvania Highlands transcript nor are they factored into the student’s cumulative grade point average.

Transfer credit will be awarded for courses in which the student has earned a 2.0 (“C”) or higher grade. Credit will not be awarded for courses in which the student earned a grade of “D”, “F”, “W”, “Inc”, “Au”, “P/F”, or “In Progress.” Coursework older than ten years is generally not eligible nor are Continuing Education Units (CEU’s). 

Pennsylvania Highlands does not accept developmental/remedial courses for transfer. Those courses, commonly numbered 000 - 099, include pre-college English, math, reading, and study skills courses. Typically, Pennsylvania Highlands does not accept First Year Experience (freshmen seminar) courses for transfer. 

If Advanced Placement and/or CLEP credits are listed on another college’s transcript for credit, Pennsylvania Highlands will require an official copy of the score report to evaluate. 

For additional information on credit transfer and non-traditional options for earning College credit at Pennsylvania Highlands, please contact the Admissions Office, an Academic Advisor, or the Student Success Center. 

Credit Transfer Appeals

Students unsatisfied with the outcome of their transfer credit petition have the right to appeal that decision to the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Services.

The steps for appeals are as follows:

  • Student must write a letter of appeal accompanied by a syllabus of the course(s) in question along with any other documents that may support the appeal.
  • The Vice President will review the request.
  • The student will receive a response to the appeal within 10 business days of the receipt of the appeal.

Transfer Partnerships

Some Associate of Applied Science degree programs are offered in cooperation with area vocational-technical schools or comprehensive high schools. In each of these programs, students complete specialized or major courses at the participating school and general education and advanced technical courses at Pennsylvania Highlands. Students must apply separately to both the participating school and Pennsylvania Highlands. A maximum of 30 credits may be transferred to Pennsylvania Highlands under this program.

Second Associate Degree

A second associate degree is awarded only when all the degree requirements for the second degree have been met. Appeals for a waiver of this policy must be made in writing to the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Student Services. 

Student Evaluation

Students are entitled to frequent feedback on their academic progress. The instructor is encouraged to employ, but is not limited to, the following criteria: attendance, class participation, weekly quizzes, periodic hourly exams, graded homework assignments, lab reports, oral reports, journals, and notebooks.

Student-Faculty Evaluation

At least once each term, students will be asked to provide an evaluation of their classes, their faculty and the methods in which they receive instruction. These student assessments are used in the ongoing process of program evaluation and development.