School of Professional Studies

Academic Policies

Absence Due to Religious Beliefs

Any student who is unable, due to his or her religious beliefs, to attend classes or to participate in any examination, study or work requirement on a particular day shall be excused from that activity. He/she will be given the opportunity to make up missed work with no adverse or prejudicial effects.

Academic Advising

School of Professional Studies considers academic advising a vital component of its educational programs. An academic advisor is available during the day and evening to answer questions and support students' academic goals at Clark. It is crucial that those students who wish to pursue a degree--or who may wish to pursue a degree in the future--meet with an academic advisor. Successful completion of 32 units does not necessarily signify completion of a degree; major and distribution requirements must be met for the baccalaureate to be conferred.

All students, including new students, should contact: 508-793-7217, to arrange an appointment for academic advising.

Academic Integrity

School of Professional Studies rigorously upholds principles of academic integrity. These principles are based on a commitment to ethical standards and the integrity of the Clark degree. Academic integrity can be violated in many ways: by submitting someone else's paper as one's own, cheating on an exam, submitting one paper to more than one class, copying a computer program, altering data in an experiment or quoting published material without proper citation of references or sources.

To ensure academic integrity and safeguard students' rights, all suspected violations of academic integrity are reported through the associate dean or dean of School of Professional Studies to the Academic Integrity Board. Such reports must be carefully documented, and students accused of the infraction must be notified of the charge. In the case of proven academic dishonesty, the student may be required to withdraw from the University. Further explanation of violations and procedures involving academic integrity may be found in the Student Handbook.

Academic Standing/Degree Requirements

Credit toward the bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees is expressed in terms of courses. With few exceptions, each course is equivalent to one unit (four semester hours). A minimum of 32 units and satisfactory completion of major and distribution requirements are necessary to attain the bachelor's degree.

To maintain minimal academic standing, students must earn a grade of C or higher in at least two of every four courses taken. Students who fail to meet these requirements will be placed on academic probation, with their progress subject to continual review. Students who do not maintain good standing may be dismissed from the University. No more than four D grades, with 32 attempted units, will be counted toward graduation. This number is adjusted on a percentage basis for students transferring credit to School of Professional Studies. (For example, to transfer the maximum of 16 units, students are allowed only two D grades at Clark as credit toward graduation.) Students must earn a grade of B or better in all courses in their majors.

The adjustment, or readjustment, to university demands may be a difficult process. Students who fail a course in their first semester are required to meet with the associate dean to determine whether a different course track, additional preparatory courses at another institution, or non-credit courses through Clark would be beneficial. School of Professional Studies reserves the right to curtail continuous registration if a student fails two courses completed in his/her first year at Clark. This policy is designed in the interest of School of Professional Studies students. Once a semester has begun, if a student believes a course is too advanced, he or she should consult immediately with the associate dean of undergraduate programs.



The University has no attendance requirements; however, instructors have the prerogative of establishing such requirements for their own courses.

Daytime Course Offerings at Clark University

Matriculated School of Professional Studies/Undergraduate Evening Division students are permitted to register for a day course. Students who plan to register for two or more courses during a semester may take one day course on a space available basis with priority given to seniors. Students are allowed to take four day courses during your academic career. Students must meet any prerequisites for the course. The associate dean must approve the course prior to registration. Students may register for the course on the last day of add/drop.

Facility in Writing

School of Professional Studies holds rigorously to the requirement that University students meet high standards in verbal expression. All School of Professional Studies students are required to take both "Introduction to Composition" and "Intermediate Composition" at Clark. Transfer students may receive credit for composition courses taken at other accredited institutions; however, transfer credit for composition is allowed only on the introductory level. Intermediate or advanced composition credit will be considered elective, and it will not fulfill School of Professional Studies writing requirements. If a student feels that his or her writing is already at an advanced level, a portfolio of the student's previous work may be submitted for review for waiver consideration. Should the course be waived, the student may take an English course with a significant writing component in its place, with the approval of the associate dean.


The following letter grades are awarded upon completion of a course: A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, F (no credit is awarded for an F grade), W (withdrawn), COM (completed non-credit course) and WDN (withdrew from non-credit course). The grade of W has two versions: W (withdrawn), and WR (withdrawn with reason). A grade of WR requires the approval of the associate dean. A student wishing to withdraw from a course must do so according to the dates listed on the academic calendar. A "drop" form must be completed and will become effective upon submission to the School of Professional Studies office. A withdrawal prior to the third class session will not appear on your permanent record. No withdrawals are allowed during the last three scheduled class meetings.

Failure to withdraw formally from a course will result in the grade of F. Students who receive four grades of W within a two-year period may be placed on academic probation and are required to meet with the associate dean.



Students may elect the Pass/Fail alternative. The non-graded preference must be stated either at the time of registration or through submission of a form to the School of Professional Studies office no later than the date of the seventh class meeting. Under this option, an award of P (pass) indicates successful completion of the course at the level of C- or better; and an award of F (fail ) indicates unacceptable (below C-) work. The P (pass) grade is not calulated in the GPA.
The P/F option may not be selected for courses in the student's major, except when a professor chooses to offer a course on a P/F basis only.

Audit Policy

Certain courses at School of Professional Studies can be audited. The cost is one-half tuition per course. Please check with the School of Professional Studies office to be sure the course you are interested in can be audited.


An incomplete is given at the discretion of the instructor when extenuating circumstances prevail. An incomplete in a course given in the fall must be made up by April 1. An incomplete given in the spring or summer must be made up by October 1. An incomplete is automatically converted to the grade of F if a grade change is not received by the specified due date. If there are sound reasons for an extension beyond these dates, the student should file a Petition for Special Action, which includes a statement of support from the instructor. The petition must be filed on or before the specified due date. Extensions of undergraduate incompletes are granted solely at the discretion of the School of Professional Studies associate dean.

Honors/Latin Honors

General course of study honors are awarded at three levels: cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude. Students receiving bachelor's degrees through School of Professional Studies may be candidates for graduation honors if they meet the following criteria: a minimum of 16 units (64 semester hours credit) have been completed at Clark University and at least three quarters of all courses taken at Clark have been completed for a letter grade. To achieve these honors, the following minimum GPAs are required: summa cum laude: 3.8; magna cum laude: 3.6; cum laude: 3.5. Latin Honors designation appears in the commencement program.

The University reserves the right to review and establish new honors standards at any time, and any changes determined by the School of Professional Studies Honors Board become effective immediately and apply to all students, regardless of matriculation date. There are no set cutoffs for the three levels of Latin Honors; these are determined yearly by the School of Professional Studies Honors Board based on the academic performance of the graduating class. The National Honor Society Alpha Sigma Lambda, established in 1947 as the National Evening College Honor Society, is dedicated to the recognition and encouragement of outstanding scholarly achievement in liberal studies. The society was founded to honor those persons who meet high scholastic standards while artfully coping with their lives as nontraditional students. Each year, the School of Professional Studies chapter inducts candidates who are matriculated students, have completed more than 16 graded units at Clark, have completed four units outside the major field, and have performed with outstanding scholastic achievement (3.50).


Independent Study/Directed Readings/Internships/Special Projects

Students who will benefit from independent study, directed readings, special projects, and internships ("contract courses") may do so under the guidance of a faculty member. Projects must be clearly defined, and equivalent study unavailable in the regular curriculum. Information regarding Special Projects may be obtained through your academic advisor.

Independent Study courses involve independent work/project research by the student on a particular problem or in a specific area of interest. An independent study may, for example, involve a research project, an original creative piece of work, field study or an experiment. Such study is reserved for matriculated students in their junior or senior years.

Directed Readings differ from Independent Study Projects in that they are more reading intensive and require a bibliography of a minimum of 2-3 pages. Such study is reserved for matriculated students in their junior or senior years.

Internships involve placements in outside agencies and organizations. Students must meet with the associate dean of undergraduate programs to choose a faculty member who will work with the student concerning the academic project that will be completed as part of the internship. All internships are graded on a P/NR basis only.

Contract forms for independent study, directed readings, and internships are available at the School of Professional Studies office. Students should design the study with a faculty member and then submit a formal proposal outlining work to be done, an appropriate bibliography and the frequency of meetings planned with the instructor. The proposal form should be submitted, with signature of both faculty and student, to the School of Professional Studies associate dean during the two-week period prior to final registration. It is wise for students to plan independent study well in advance of the beginning of the semester. Consultation with the associate dean of undergraduate programs will help to assure that the project meets appropriate criteria if it is to fulfill an area requirement.

The School of Professional Studies dean or associate dean must approve all independent study, special projects, directed readings and internship projects. A student must have completed at least 16 units before undertaking an independent study, special projects, internship or directed reading, with at least four of those units completed at Clark. Only one such project is allowed each semester; five are allowed toward the degree. For more information, contact the School of Professional Studies office.

Matriculation to the Undergraduate Degree Programs

Although students may wish to take courses without being formally enrolled in a degree program, most students do seek a degree through School of Professional Studies. Students are admitted into degree programs throughout the year. It is important to apply early and meet with an academic advisor to insure that course selections fulfill degree requirements and are in concert with a student's long-term goals. Financial assistance is available to matriculated students only.

To complete a degree program, a student must earn 32 units (128 semester hours) of credit. With few exceptions, each School of Professional Studies course is worth one unit of credit.To matriculate, a student must complete the application for undergraduate admission, available from the School of Professional Studies office. Proof of high school graduation or its equivalent is required for all degree candidates. Before an application can be processed, official transcripts of all previous higher education experience must be received by the director of admissions. A $35 fee is required with the completed application.Matriculation decisions are based on a combination of prior academics, person interview and review of official transcripts. Students must meet with the associate dean to evaluate any credits considered for transfer from another college or university.

Applicants are informed of their matriculation decision within eight to twelve weeks after receipt of their completed applications and all official transcripts. The matriculation decision letter will indicate any transfer credit that has been awarded.Transfer students are required to take a minimum of one-half (16 units) of their course work at Clark University. No more than one-half of the courses counting toward the major may be transfer courses. Upperlevel major requirements must be fulfilled at Clark University. The acceptance letter will outline the approved transfer courses and indicate remaining degree requirements.

Once matriculated, a student must file a petition for special action should he/she wish to take a course at another accredited institution and transfer the credit toward a degree. No request will be considered if the student has already transferred the maximum units toward the degree.


CLEP (College-Level Examination Program)

CLEP credits are accepted at the discretion of the associate dean. A minimum score of 650 is required for acceptance of the composition examination. If a student is planning to use CLEP to meet the Introduction to Composition requirement, he or she must take the CLEP English exam with essay. Scores acceptable in other area examinations vary; CLEPs are not accepted by School of Professional Studies in all areas. Students may not receive CLEP credit in an area in which they have already taken and transferred course credit. Students planning to take CLEP tests should meet with the associate dean before registering for the exams to assure that credit sought is transferable.

School of Professional Studies reserves the right to review and establish new CLEP scoring standards at any time, and such changes become effective immediately and apply to all students, regardless of matriculation date.

CLEP credit is considered transfer credit; students already transferring the maximum number of course units (16) will not be granted additional CLEP credit. Although transfer credit is usually not permitted following matriculation, matriculated students may transfer CLEP credit during their first technical semester-i.e. the period taken to complete four (4) course units at Clark.

Non-Native Speakers of English

It is the responsibility of students for whom English is not a native language to meet minimum English requirements (TOEFL score of 550) for successful performance in a class. This requirement can be satisfied in a number of ways:

  1. The International TOEFL Examination (either computer-based or written).
  2. A Clark University Institutional TOEFL exam administered every semester by the American Language and Culture Institute.
  3. The TOEFL Equivalent examination developed for our branch campus in Israel and administered in Israel and the U.S.

Students who take courses in our branch campuses outside the U.S. will be able to take courses instructed in their native language.

Students whose academic skills in English are not sufficient for likely success in School of Professional Studies courses may enroll in one of the non-credit programs offered through the American Language and Culture Institute.

Unless alternative arrangements have been made by a faculty member, all papers and exams will be available in the School of Professional Studies office following submission of grades. Work should be picked up in a timely manner; it will be retained by School of Professional Studies only until the close of the following semester.

Petition for Special Action

The staff and administration of School of Professional Studies realize that circumstances may occur in which an exception to established policies and procedures is appropriate. If a situation arises in which a student believes an exception should be made to a standing policy, he or she may file a petition for special action. Petition forms are available at the School of Professional Studies office. Petitions are reviewed by the School of Professional Studies associate dean and appropriate committee members. Please be aware that petitons requesting action on a course that was taken more than two semesters prior to the petition date will not be considered.

Weather/Class Cancellations

When School of Professional Studies classes are suspended because of severe weather conditions, announcements are made by 3 p.m. on the following radio stations: WORC, WBZ, WVBF, WARE, WSRS, WFGL, WPRO, WNEB, WKOX, WTAG, WSRO and WAAF. See also Students are also notified by email.