Aug 16, 2022  
Academic Catalog (2021-2022) 
Academic Catalog (2021-2022)

Academic Information

Academic Policies

Academic Forgiveness

Current students changing their major from one program of study to another program of study or previously enrolled students who have been absent 18 months or more may petition to have former courses in which they earned a grade of D or F exempted from the calculation of their grade point average. Courses, both general education and program requirements, that are required for both majors must be retaken and are not eligible for academic forgiveness. All grades will remain on the student’s transcript. Students shall be eligible for Academic Forgiveness one time only.

Students interested in applying for Academic Forgiveness must obtain the proper request form from the Registrar’s Office to begin the process.

Academic Grievances

The student grievance process is available to students who have concerns regarding academic matters such as violations of College policy. If a student resolution cannot be achieved or differences have not been resolved through discussion with the faculty or staff and the student seeks additional mediation, the student may initiate a formal grievance process.

  1. Students must submit a letter to the Deans of Faculty Office within 10 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 15 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 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 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 5 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 for Academic Affairs. This appeal must be in writing and submitted no later than 5 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, such as a procedural error (someone was involved who should not have been, a timeline was not met, or substantiated bias) or evidence that was previously unknown or unavailable. Within 10 working days of receipt of the student appeal the Vice President for Academic Affairs will issue a decision regarding the appeal. This decision will either uphold the decision of the Student Academic Appeals Committee or will issue other remedies as the Vice President for Academic Affairs deems appropriate. The decision of the Vice President for Academic Affairs is final.

In the case where a complaint is levied against any member of the Academic Grievance Committee, the Vice President for Academic Affairs will appoint a substitute.

Except as otherwise specified, an appeal of an application of College policy or College decision must be made within one year. Policy determinations or results of decisions are considered to be final without opportunity for appeal at the one-year point.

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. College preparatory 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 College’s Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the Beta Epsilon Omega Chapter, 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 college preparatory courses)
  • Have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5.

Academic Integrity Policy

The Academic Integrity Policy is intended to ensure that students enrolled in all courses at  Pennsylvania Highlands Community College, regardless of delivery mode (face-to-face, online, hybrid, video-conferencing, and independent studies), complete the required coursework and go forth prepared to meet the next challenges in their academic progression or employment.

Actions that may violate the College’s Academic Integrity Policy include (but are not limited to):

  • Intentionally presenting inaccurate information and/or forging documents
  • Altering or inventing results, data, or conclusions for any assignment
  • Altering or making up information or quotations that are passed off as authentic for any assignment
  • Forging College personnel’s signature or information on any academic document
  • Plagiarism
    • Presenting the work of another as one’s own (i.e., not citing a source)
    • Using ideas from any source without providing proper citation of the source
    • Improper citation consists of excluding a source or misrepresenting a source
    • Copying or presenting material word for word from any source without using quotation marks and the proper citation of the source
    • Copying and/or altering a few words from a source in order to avoid exact quotation, without providing the proper citation of the source
    • Rewording (i.e., paraphrasing) an idea found in a source without providing proper citation of the source
    • Submitting the same paper or assignment to fulfill separate course requirements, in either the same or different courses
    • Submitting a previously graded paper, assignment, or speech to a different instructor
  • Cheating
    • Copying answers from another person or submitting another person’s work as one’s own
    • Collaborating on any assignment that is intended to be completed individually
    • Submitting as one’s own any course assignment created by someone else
    • Using any unauthorized resources while completing an exam, quiz, or assignment
      • Unauthorized resources include (but are not limited to):
        • Notes
        • Electronic devices
        • Solutions manuals
        • Cliff’s Notes®
        • Anything not permitted by the instructor or proctor
  • Stealing (or having in one’s possession without permission) any exams, materials, or property belonging to faculty, staff, or another student
  • Receiving the answers to exam questions or other assignments
  • Having another person take a class and/or exam for the enrolled student
  • Facilitating academic dishonesty (i.e., helping or attempting to help another to commit a dishonest academic act)
  • Doing another student’s assignment (excluding collaborative learning assignments or joint assignments approved by the instructor)
    • Some examples may include (but are not limited to):
      • Completing a student’s assignment
      • Writing (or re-writing) a major portion of a student’s assignment
  • Giving a student answers to exam questions or other assignments


Violations of the Academic Integrity Policy may result in one or more of the following sanctions:

  • Required education relating to academic integrity
  • Grade of “F” for the class where the infraction occurred and expulsion from that class for the remainder of the semester
  • Grade of “F” for the class where the infraction occurred and expulsion from all classes for the remainder of the semester
    • Student(s) will be administratively withdrawn from all other semester classes, receiving a grade of “W” for those classes
  • Suspension from the College
  • Permanent expulsion from the College

When a student is found to have violated the Academic Integrity Policy by the Academic Integrity Review Team, an Academic Integrity Violation notation will appear on the student’s official transcript and student record.

Any student found to have violated the Academic Integrity Policy multiple times will be rendered ineligible for Academic Amnesty, Academic Forgiveness, and/or graduation honors for all classes/programs completed during their time at the College.

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 will 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 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.

Credit Hours

The College applies the commonly accepted and traditional Carnegie unit definition of a semester credit hour which defines one semester unit of credit as equal to a minimum of three hours of work per week for a semester. A credit hour equals 1 hour (50 minutes) of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of 2 hours of out-of-class work each week. The distribution of the credit hour usually occurs over a 15-week semester; additionally, the credit hour policy is applied consistently over different length sessions such as those that occur in accelerated sessions, summer sessions and intersessions. While applied to the standard lecture-style classroom experience, there are several other educational experiences for which credit hours can be awarded including any combination of elements described. For example, combinations can include a lecture course that has required laboratory periods or a lecture course that includes a requirement for supervised independent study or supervised educational activities. A credit hour calculation worksheet will be completed for each mode of delivery of a course to ensure credit hour policy adherence. Semester credit hours are granted for different types of instruction as follows.

  1. Lecture: One lecture credit hour represents 1 hour per week of scheduled class time and 2 hours of student preparation time. Most lecture courses are awarded 3 credit hours which equates to 45 hours of class time and 90 hours of student preparation. For accelerated and weekend courses, faculty must also document, through their syllabus addendums how courses will meet the minimum semester credit hour requirement
  2. Laboratory: One laboratory credit hour represents 2-3 hours per week of lecture, demonstration, discussion time, or scheduled supervised or independent laboratory work, and 2 hours of student preparation time.
  3. Independent study: One independent study credit hour represents 3-4 hours per week of supervised and/or independent study. For example, for a 3-credit independent study, this equates to 135 total hours of academic work per semester.
  4. Distance/Online Education: One credit hour in distance education courses is equivalent to commonly accepted and the traditional credit hour as stated above. Credit hours for online and hybrid learning courses must adhere to the credit hour policy expectation of 45 total learning hours for every 1 credit earned in a semester regardless of time frame delivery.
  5. Internships: One internship credit represents 45 hours of scheduled supervised work. Interns must have completed a minimum of 50% of the credits required for their program and earned at least a 2.0 grade point average to participate in an internship program. Programs may have additional requirements.
  6. Hybrid: A hybrid class is one which requires classroom attendance via electronic communication and the colleges Learning Management System (LMS). Classroom meetings to be scheduled for a minimum of 50% of the course’s required hours. Classroom meetings must be regularly scheduled throughout the semester. The instructor is responsible to communicate the class meeting days/times in accordance with the Master Course Schedule and on their course syllabus at the beginning of the semester.

Anti-Hazing Policy

The purpose of the Anti-Hazing Policy is to enumerate the obligations of this institution as outlined in the amendment to Title 18 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes via Senate Bill 1090. These amendments, also known as the “Timothy Piazza Anti-Hazing Bill” define hazing as follows:

“Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly, for the purpose of initiating, admitting or affiliating a student into or with an organization, or for the purpose of continuing or enhancing a student’s membership or status in an organization, causes, COERCES OR FORCES a student to do any of the following:

  • Violate Federal or State CRIMINAL law.
  • Consume any food, liquid, alcoholic liquid, drug or other substance, which subjects the student to a risk of emotional or physical harm.
  • Endure brutality of a physical nature, including whipping, beating, branding, calisthenics, or exposure to the elements.
  • Endure brutality of a mental nature, including activity adversely affecting the mental health or dignity of the individual, sleep deprivation, exclusion from social contact or conduct that could result in extreme embarrassment.
  • Endure any other forced activity, which could adversely affect the health and safety of the individual.

For purposes of this definition, any activity as described in the definition upon which the initiation, admission into, affiliation with, or continued membership in a Pennsylvania Highlands Community College organization is directly or indirectly conditioned shall be “presumed to be ‘forced’ activity, the willingness of an individual to participate in such activity notwithstanding.” This policy applies to all College organizations, groups, and individuals and is equally applicable for activities that occur on and off campus. Any alleged act of hazing brought to the attention of College officials will be fully investigated and adjudicated in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct. Anyone found in violation of this policy will be subject to disciplinary sanctions. The severity of the sanctions will depend upon the circumstances surrounding the violation. Disciplinary action by the College will be in addition to any penalties imposed by civil authorities for violations of state law and may include expulsion from the College and/or the revocation of an organization’s permission to operate as a student-recognized organization.

Leniency in sanctioning will be considered for those that have acted in good faith to report violations or seek medical attention for another. 

The College’s Security Office and Student Activities and Athletics Department shall maintain a record of all violations. On January 15, 2019, an initial report of all incidents that have occurred during the previous five years that meet the definition of this policy will be reported on the college website. This report will be updated on August 1 and January 1 of every year and will not include any personally identifiable information.


Students are expected to attend all class sessions. Attendance is monitored by the course instructor per the class attendance policy noted in the class syllabus. 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 require added support in order to meet the prerequisite College-level 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 do not meet the prerequisite for 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 workplace.

College Prep courses are assigned institutional credit, which applies only at Pennsylvania Highlands. While these courses do not and will not count toward graduation, do not earn college credit, and are not used in grade point average (GPA) calculations, they are a required prerequisite for College level classes. Students can determine if they meet the prerequisite coursework for college-level courses by taking the AcuPlacer placement exam.  

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

Placement Testing

In order for students to determine college-level readiness for coursework and to meet college-level course prerequisites, a placement exam is administered to all students upon admission to the College.  Scores from the placement exams are used to assist students with appropriate course selection, including college preparatory reading, math, and English coursework.

Students are required to take any prescribed college preparatory classes during their first semester 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, 90 - 100 percent; B, 80 - 89 percent; C, 70 - 79 percent; F, Below 70 percent, IP = In Progress

Credits earned from college preparatory courses do not apply toward grade point average calculations (GPA) or toward graduation, nor are they generally transferable to other institutions. They are, however, used for financial aid calculation.

Current College Preparatory Offerings

  • ICR 031 - Critical College Reading
  • ENG 020 - Introduction to Composition
  • MAT 085 - Algebra Fundamentals

Placement Testing Waiver Policy

Assessment and placement is required of all new curriculum students unless exempt by a waiver. Placement testing is also required for non-matriculated students planning to enroll in an English or mathematics course, a course that is heavily based in English or mathematics (i.e. Chemistry, Physics, etc.), and is strongly encouraged for non-matriculated students planning to complete multiple courses during a semester. Transfer students will not be required to test if proficiency is documented by official transcripts. The placement test assesses a student’s skills in writing, reading, and math and identifies which course or courses best fit the student’s skill level.

Students must achieve a satisfactory score in the discipline to be able to register for a college-level course in mathematics or English. Students scoring below satisfactory may remediate independently of the College or enroll in college-preparatory courses in mathematics, English or reading at Penn Highlands. Students are encouraged to prepare for placement testing by reviewing sample test questions and test subject resources. This information is available in the Student Success Center or the Admissions Office.

Assessment for writing, reading, and math is mandatory. However, the student may qualify for a placement test waiver for one or more of these areas by the following means:

  1. Unweighted high school GPA ≥ 2.6 on a 4.0 scale meeting certain college ready requirements.
    Documentation needed: Official H.S. transcript within 5 years of graduation.

    High School GPA Waiver Qualifications

    For Reading and Writing: High school transcript shows at least three English courses completed with a grade of C or higher in each.
    For Math: High school transcript shows at least three math courses completed, of which one is Algebra II with a grade of C or higher.

  2. SAT scores of at least 500 on Critical Reading OR 500 on Writing will exempt the student from the reading and writing sections of the placement test. SAT scores of at least 500 on Mathematics will exempt the student from taking the math sections of the placement test. ACT scores of at least 22 on Reading or 18 on writing will exempt the student from the reading and Writing portions of the placement test. ACT scores of at least 22 on Mathematics will exempt the student from taking the math sections of the placement test.
    Documentation needed: Official SAT or ACT scores within 5 years of testing.
  3. Non-degree, special credit students registering for a course that has no prerequisite. Check the college catalog for course prerequisites.
  4. Successful completion (with a grade of “C” or higher) of a college-level math and/or writing course from a regionally accredited institution.
    Documentation needed: College-issued transcript.
  5. Successful completion of college preparatory level courses in writing and/or math from a regionally accredited institution.
    Documentation needed: College-issued transcript.
  6. Appropriate scores on Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or College Level Exam Program (CLEP) exams.
    Documentation needed: Official AP / IB transcript.  Policies for AP, IB, and CLEP can be found in our catalog.
  7. Students who achieve GED College Ready designation on the GED test will be exempt from placement testing. Students must submit a GED transcript reflecting a minimum score of 165 in each of these subject areas: Mathematical Reasoning, Reasoning through Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies.

Students who qualify for a waiver must obtain the proper documentation from the Registrar’s Office or an Advisor.

Students who qualify for a waiver in either math or writing, but not both, will need to complete the placement test assessment for the skill area not exempted.

Students must present all appropriate documentation when requesting a waiver.

Grading and Exams

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 degree to which students meet all course requirements.

Final Grade Challenges

Faculty members have the responsibility for determining final grades for their courses. Students have the right to discuss their final grade with the responsible faculty member. If resolution cannot be achieved through a student/faculty member conference and the student has evidence their grade is in error, he/she may initiate the formal Academic Grievance process as outlined in the College Catalog.

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  
IP 0 In Progress  
F 0 Failure  
W 0 Withdrawal  
S 0 Satisfactory  
U 0 Unsatisfactory  
RD 0 Report Delayed  
AU 0 Audit  

Calculating Your Grade Point Average (GPA)

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, 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 will change the grade. If the Vice President changes the grade, the faculty member will receive written notification of the grade change.

Graduation Requirements and Honors

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 (60-65 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 ACP 100 - Academic and Career Planning (strongly suggested to be taken during the student’s first semester)
  • 6 credits English/communication: ENG 105 or ENG 110 and one (1) additional course in ENG or COM
  • 3 credits math (MAT)
  • 3-4 credits science
  • 3 credits technology (CIT 100)
  • 3 credits social science/humanities

This is a total of 19 or 20 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 41-46 program credits, depending upon the specific program the student seeks to complete.

The Associate of Science Degree (60-64 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 ACP 100 - Academic and Career Planning (strongly suggested to be taken during the student’s first semester)
  • 9 credits English/communication: ENG 110 and two (2) additional courses in ENG or COM
  • 3 credits math (MAT 145 College Algebra or higher)
  • 7-8 credits science, including at least one lab science
  • 6 credits social science/humanities

This is a total of 26-27 credits. In addition to the degree requirements, students must complete 34-38 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 (60-64 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 ACP - 100 Academic and Career Planning (strongly suggested to be taken during the student’s first semester)
  • 9 credits English/communication: ENG 110 and two (2) additional courses in ENG or COM
  • 6-8 credits quantitative reasoning/technology: MAT 116, 126, 145, or higher and one (1) additional MAT course at the aforementioned level OR one (1) technology course (CIT 100 or higher)
  • 3-4 credits science
  • 9 credits social science/humanities (at least one in each area)

This is a total of 28-31 credits. In addition to the degree requirements, students must complete 32-36 program credits, depending upon the specific program the student seeks to complete. 

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.

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 50% of the program 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.

Minimal Credit Requirement

To be awarded an Associate Degree from Pennsylvania Highlands, students shall complete a minimum of 50% of the required 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 a degree, diploma, or certificate program, 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.

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

Use of Cords and Stoles at Commencement

Honor Cords - an honor cord is a token consisting of twisted cords with tassels on either end. Their wearing signifies specific academic achievement or membership in a recognized academic honor group or society. By tradition, more than one cord may be worn at the same time.

  • Honor Cords shall represent graduates that have distinguished themselves with GPAs ranging from 4.0-3.50.
  • Cords shall represent academic and leadership-based, College-recognized, honor societies.
  • The College provides Honor Cords to graduates at no cost.
  • Graduation stoles may also be worn to signify achievement or participation through college organizations.

Graduation Stole - a graduation stole is a decorative vestment worn by students who are members of college organizations for the purpose of recognizing achievement. A stole takes the form of a cloth, scarf-like garment worn over the shoulders and adorned with the organization’s colors and/or insignia. Stoles may be worn by College recognized honor societies and student organizations that are registered with, and recognized by, the Student Activities Office.

  • Members of these organizations are eligible to wear graduation stoles with the approval of the Vice President of Student Services.
  • A graduating student may wear no more than two stoles of their choosing.
  • The student is responsible for the cost of any such regalia. The Student Activities Office can assist students with the ordering of graduation stoles.
  • For a complete list of registered student organizations, please see the Activities tab on myPeak.

Medallions - may be worn for Academic purposes only. For example, medallions that represent your role in the All PA Academic Team may be worn. Students are responsible for obtaining their medallions via the honoring organization or group.

Multiple Degrees, Certificates, and Diplomas

A second associate degree is awarded only when all the program requirements for the second associate degree have been met and when students have successfully completed 15 additional credits that are not duplicated in the first associate degree program. A second diploma is awarded only when all the program requirements for the second diploma have been met and when students have successfully completed 9 additional credits that are not duplicated in the first diploma program. A second certificate is awarded only when all the program requirements for the second certificate have been met and when students have successfully completed 6 additional credits that are not duplicated in the first certificate program. Appeals for exceptions to this policy must be made in writing to the Vice President of Academic Affairs.

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 established 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

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 Registrar’s Office 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 Registrar’s Office 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 and submitted for faculty review. The faculty will review and evaluate the portfolio and recommend whether credit is to be awarded. The student is charged a fee for the portfolio review process. Students wishing to learn more about this process are advised to inform the College during the admissions, advising, and registration process. The evaluation request process is started online through the College Credit FastTrack website at 

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.

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 Registrar 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. Transfer evaluation results will be communicated to the student through the application of credit on the official college transcript.

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 50% of the required 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 college preparatory/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 College’s Registrar’s Office. 

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 or designee.

The steps for appeals are as follows:

  • The 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.

Independent Study

Requests for independent study are initiated by the student’s academic advisor and must be approved by the appropriate Dean 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.

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 labs or proctored exams may be mandatory.

Pennsylvania Highlands offers complete academic programs in an online environment thorough the College’s Online Campus. The programs that have been selected for Penn Highlands Online have been designed to ensure that students get the same learning experience as those on campus. All online courses are taught by the same faculty that teach the College’s face-to-face courses. Students taking online courses have access to the same support services as all Penn Highlands’ students but, have the flexibility to learn at a place and time that is convenient for them.

For more information about online courses and Penn Highlands Online, visit the website at

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 a variety of courses.