Undergraduate Catalog 2018-19 
    Jul 17, 2024  
Undergraduate Catalog 2018-19 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Policies

It is important that students fully acquaint themselves with the various academic policies of Castleton University. A thorough knowledge will help students successfully complete their academic experience with minimum difficulty and confusion.


Academic Honesty

Castleton University is a learning institution committed to the highest standards of scholarly conduct. The students, faculty, and administration make up a scholarly community whose integrity and success necessarily stem from a mutually agreed upon code of academic standards and principles that promote trust and honesty and prohibit the attempt to gain unfair academic advantage. Membership in the Castleton community means sharing responsibility for upholding and safeguarding these academic standards and principles. Any violation of academic honesty will be considered cheating and will be dealt with accordingly by the appropriate authorities.

Procedures: Castleton considers all cases of academic dishonesty serious and encourages all full- and part-time faculty to treat each case with the seriousness it deserves. The recommended course of action in those cases where academic dishonesty is suspected is listed below.

  • A faculty member suspecting academic dishonesty should discuss the alleged infraction(s) with the student(s) involved and explain the grounds for concern.
  • If after meeting with the student, the faculty member concludes that the university's academic honesty policy has been violated, the faculty member should notify the student in writing of the violation and the penalty that has been levied. Penalties for academic dishonesty levied by the instructor may range from failure on the assignment to failure for the course. (Although the faculty member has authority to issue failing grades without such notification, the establishment of a written record is the only acceptable means of determining whether a student is responsible for repeated misconduct.) In determining penalties, faculty may take into consideration whether or not a student either knowingly or unknowingly committed an infraction. University policy, however, makes no distinction about whether or not plagiarism has occurred on the basis of a student's intention.
  • Instructors will notify the Dean of Students about all academic honesty infractions. Reports of academic dishonesty should be made using the "Academic Misconduct Referral Form," which can be downloaded from the university's web site.
  • If a student feels that the instructor's allegations or penalties are erroneous, then she/he must arrange to meet with the instructor to discuss and attempt to resolve the matter prior to appealing a decision. If a student/instructor conference fails to achieve adequate resolution, any penalty levied by the instructor may be appealed in writing to the Academic Dean or his or her designee within seven days from the date of the instructor's written notice of penalty. Should the instructor fail to give written notice, the student may appeal within seven days of learning of the penalty. In all cases of appeal, the decision of the Academic Dean or designee is final.
  • The Dean of Students may, at his or her discretion, levy additional penalties up to and including dismissal from the university for serious or repeated violations. In cases where the Dean of Students concludes that an additional penalty may be necessary, the student will be notified within fifteen days of the receipt of the instructor's notice of imposition of a penalty that a further sanction is being contemplated. If the severity of the offense warrants, the Dean of Students may lodge a complaint against the student in accordance with the Due Process procedures.

Definitions of Infractions: The following list is intended to illustrate the types of behaviors that are considered academically dishonest at Castleton. It is only a partial list; other behaviors may, as well, violate the basic principles of academic honesty.

  1. Plagiarizing in any form. Plagiarism is stealing. Castleton University defines plagiarism as the act of submitting someone else's work, words, or ideas (in part or in whole) as if they were one's own, without proper attribution of credit.

Credit must be attributed to both print and online source materials, including books, periodicals, articles, video, music, and images. The Internet has become a powerful research tool, but students should note that its power also has a double effect: the Internet makes committing and detecting and proving plagiarism much easier.

Additionally, Castleton makes no distinction in the definition of plagiarism on the basis of a student's intent. Students are responsible for taking pains to familiarize themselves with the citation standards and practices in their respective disciplines and courses to avoid plagiarizing.

Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to the following:

            • using a source's exact words without putting those words in quotation marks-this is plagiarism whether or not there is a note attributing the material to a source;
            • putting a source's exact words in quotes but failing to provide an endnote, footnote, parenthetical note, or other appropriate form of citation indicating the original source;
            • paraphrasing the words of a source but failing to provide an endnote, footnote, parenthetical note, or other appropriate form of citation indicating the original source;
            • splicing together exact phrasing and/or paraphrases from multiple sources but failing to give credit for each element borrowed ("patchwork" or "mosaic" plagiarism);
            • copying and pasting information from a website without correctly citing the Internet source from which the material was taken. The Internet is not public domain;
            • providing only a list of references without properly attributing specific credit for individual quotations or ideas in the body of the text;
            • creating a paraphrase that does not substantially reword the original text-for example, leaving long phrases of the original wording, substituting synonyms for key words but not rephrasing the material, or simply rearranging the original words;
            • receiving excessive critical input from others to the extent that the final text can no longer be viewed as the work primarily of the student submitting it.
  1. Buying, copying/downloading from the Internet, or commissioning term papers, essays, or comparable documents and/or submitting the work of another (including the work of another student) as one's own.
  2. Submitting work that had previously been prepared for another course in fulfillment of the requirements of a subsequent course, except when the student has obtained the explicit prior permission of the current instructor to do so.
  3. Communicating during an examination session with the intent of supplying information to or receiving information from another student. 
  4. Receiving aid in taking examinations through such means as crib sheets or supplementary notes (unless expressly permitted by the instructor); through looking at others' examinations and/or allowing others to look at yours; or through the use of electronic devices such as cell phones, calculators, portable hard drives, PDAs, mp3 players, etc. 
  5. Soliciting, obtaining, or providing an examination or portions thereof either prior or subsequent to an examination session, except as authorized by the instructor.
  6. Substituting for another student or allowing a different individual to represent oneself in any context, including but not limited to class meetings, exams, and online discussions. 
  7. Knowingly assisting any person committing an act of academic dishonesty. 
  8. Altering, changing, or forging university academic records for either oneself or another. 
  9. Infringing the rights of other students to fair and equal access to university library materials and other academic resources. 
  10. Degrading, erasing, or in any way tampering with the computer assignments or computer files of others.
  11. Attempting to prevent other users from having access to the university's computers, computer terminals, or other resources, or degrading the performance of computer equipment.

Any student who is unsure whether a particular behavior is permissible under Castleton's academic honesty policy should consult either the instructor of the course for which the work is being done, the student's faculty advisor, or the Academic Dean.

Academic Honors

President's List

Each semester, at the President's discretion, matriculated undergraduate students who have achieved a semester GPA of 4.0 may be placed on the President's List. In addition to meeting the GPA criterion, those appointed to the President's List must have completed at least 12 credit hours of graded courses and have no "I" (incomplete) or ''F'' or ''NP'' grades recorded at the close of the semester.

Dean's List

Each semester, matriculated undergraduate students who have achieved a minimum semester GPA of 3.50 are placed on the Dean's List. In addition to meeting the GPA criterion, those appointed to the Dean's List must have completed at least 12 credit hours of graded courses and have no "I" (incomplete) or ''F'' or ''NP'' grades recorded at the close of the semester.

Honor Societies

  • Alpha Psi Omega (Theater)
  • Iota, Iota, Iota (Women's Studies)
  • Kappa Delta Pi (Education)
  • Phi Alpha (Social Work)
  • Phi Alpha Theta (History)
  • Phi Eta Sigma (First-Year Students)
  • Psi Chi (Psychology)
  • Salute (Veterans)
  • Sigma Beta Delta (Business)
  • Sigma Delta Pi (Spanish)
  • Sigma Zeta (Science and Math)

Academic Status

Class Level

  • First Year:      0-29.9 credits
  • Sophomore:  30-59.9 credits
  • Junior:           60-89.9 credits
  • Senior:          90 credits and above

Good Academic Standing

Academic standing is based on the student's GPA, which is determined exclusively on the basis of grades achieved in courses taken at Castleton University prior to Summer 2002 or at any of the Vermont State Colleges starting in summer 2002, and on grades received in courses taken under a consortium or contractual agreement that are recorded on a student's Castleton transcript.  The requirements change as students advance through their studies.  The minimum cumulative GPA required for good standing depends on the cumulative total of "credits earned" or "GPA credits," whichever is higher.  Each of these totals appears on the academic transcript that students may review online at any time.

The requirements for Good Academic Standing (as of summer 2017):

Fewer than 30 credits: 1.75 cumulative GPA or higher
30 credits and above: 2.00 cumulative GPA or higher

Probation and Dismissal

A student whose cumulative GPA falls below the minimum level required for good standing will be placed on probation and may be dismissed.

Probation alerts students to the fact that their academic performance to date has been substandard, informs them that continued poor performance may result in their dismissal, but advises that with diligence and extra effort they can raise their GPA above the minimum level required to be in good academic standing. The Academic Dean may set other parameters regarding academic probation, academic warning, and extra-curricular eligibility.

The university may determine that dismissal is the necessary course of action when a student's academic performance falls substantially or chronically below the minimum accepted level.  Students may also be dismissed for disciplinary reasons.  A student already on probation whose cumulative GPA remains below good standing is subject to dismissal.  In cases of extreme academic insufficiency, dismissal may be in order even when the student had not previously been placed in a probationary status.  A dismissed student may not enroll for any courses offered by Castleton until after at least one semester of the regular academic year has passed.  At this or a later time, should a dismissed student seek to register for courses on a non-matriculated basis, she/he, with permission of the Academic Dean or the Dean of Students, may take not more than six credits in any one semester.  Dismissed students may seek, but are not guaranteed, readmission to Castleton on a full-time, matriculated basis upon demonstrating their academic success in at least one six-credit, non-matriculated semester.  The readmission process will therefore take no less than one academic year to complete.  Decisions involving dismissal may be appealed to the appropriate dean. Students subject to academic dismissal or who take a leave of absence from Castleton while on probation will remain on probation upon their return.

Students dismissed from one VSC institution for academic reasons may, if admitted, take courses at another VSC institution.

Students should also be aware that departments may elect to establish minimum standards for academic performance in a particular degree that exceed the minim level required more generally by the university.  In such cases, students may be dismissed from their respective degree programs even when they are otherwise in good academic standing.

Extra-curricular Eligibility

To be eligible for intercollegiate athletics, leadership positions in student organizations, and certain other prominent roles in Castleton activities, students must be in good academic standing, that is, they must achieve a GPA that meets or exceeds the minimum described in the previous section. In addition, student athletes are also governed by satisfactory academic progress standards and applicable policies of the NCAA.  The Academic Dean may set other parameters regarding academic probation, academic warning, and extra-curricular eligibility.

Ameliorating an Unsuccessful Semester

Castleton recognizes that occasionally a student who otherwise performs well academically may have, for a variety of reasons, one very poor semester. Amelioration may be only while a student is still an undergraduate at Castleton. The student must have completed two semesters of acceptable work before applying for it. As a way of providing students with an opportunity to remove the damaging effect of a poor semester from their transcripts, Castleton developed the policy on Amelioration described below.

  1. The policy on Amelioration applies only to full-time, currently matriculated students who received D's or F's in at least 65 percent of their courses in one particular semester.
  2. Students who wish to request an amelioration of an unsuccessful semester may not do so until one year has passed following the end of the semester in question.
  3. Students seeking amelioration must do so by submitting a written request to the academic dean, which includes:
    1. A specification of the semester for which amelioration is requested.
    2. A statement supporting the request. The statement should include an analysis of the reasons for the poor semester and documented references to an intervening successful effort in some aspect of life which may include, but is not limited to, academic pursuits, work experience, or military service.
  4. Upon receiving the written request, the dean in consultation with appropriate other individuals will grant or deny it and communicate the decision to the student.
  5. When Amelioration is granted, all grades of ''C'' and above and the credits derived from those grades (in the semester for which amelioration was granted) will remain on the record. All other grades and credits will be removed from the index and from graduation consideration, but they will remain on the record with appropriate notation.
  6. Students may use this policy only once in their academic careers.

Fresh Start (for returning students)

Students who completed course work at Castleton, which did not lead to the granting of a degree, after a five-year absence, have the option of having all the grades they previously earned at Castleton not calculated into their present grade point average. Returning students not wanting their previously earned grades calculated into their present GPA must complete a Fresh Start form available at Financial & Registration Services by the time they complete 12 credits. A "fresh start" requires the approval of the associate academic dean. Full-time students who want the effect of "Fresh Start" must complete the Fresh Start form by the subsequent semester. Students who do not complete a Fresh Start form in the allotted time will have their previous grades calculated into their new GPA. Regardless of whether or not grades are calculated into students' GPAs, their previously earned credits will be used for all completed course work at Castleton.

Adding/Dropping Courses

If a student is receiving financial aid, adding or dropping courses may affect his/ her eligibility. The student should contact the Financial Aid Office to determine the impact of such a change.

Adding Courses

Students may add a class to their schedule only through the use of an ADD/DROP form available at Financial & Registration Services. Each course added requires the date and signature of the instructor or designee. Students are encouraged to obtain the instructor's and their advisor's signature early to avoid late fees. One copy of the form will be given to the student who should retain it to show that the add was properly completed.

Full semester courses may be added during the first two weeks of the semester. Less than full semester courses (session X or Y) may be added as late as one week after the beginning of the course. However, any request to add any course after the first two weeks of the new semester is subject to the approval of the course instructor and an associate academic dean and requires payment of a late add fee of $25 per course. Students are strongly cautioned against anticipating approval for the late addition. Only in extraordinary circumstances will a late add be approved.

Dropping Courses

Students approved for online registration may drop courses online through the two week add/drop period. Students not approved for online registration must use an ADD/DROP form. One copy of the form will be given to the student who should retain it to show that the drop was properly completed.

Students may drop full semester courses (with the exception of Soundings I and II) as well as less than full semester courses (session X or Y) without academic penalty during the first two weeks of the semester. Courses dropped after the "no academic penalty" date (up to 60%) will carry a grade of ''W'' on the transcript.

Students may drop full semester courses (with the exception of Soundings I and II) through the ninth week of the semester after payment of a $25 fee per course. Students may drop less than full semester courses prior to the completion of 60% of the course upon payment of the same fee as for full semester courses. After the initial two-week add/drop period, there will be no billing adjustment for classes dropped. Please consult the semester Course Schedule on line for exact dates and the Expenses section of this catalog for financial policies.

A faculty member has the authority to drop a student from the class roster who does not attend any class meetings within one week of the start of the class unless 1) the student contacts the faculty member before or during this period, or 2) the student contacts an academic dean before or during this period, or 3) the student is enrolled in a course that meets only once a week, in which case the faculty member may drop the student from the class roster if the student fails to attend all meetings scheduled for the first two weeks of the semester.

Note: students who do not officially drop a course, but stop attending, will generally receive a grade of "F."

Students enrolled in courses at other VSC institutions will need to abide by their drop deadlines.

Completion Requirements

To earn any degree from Castleton, a student must be formally admitted to the university and maintain appropriate continuous progress. A student who loses matriculated status must be readmitted to the university in order to resume studies toward a degree.

Associate's Degree

To earn an Associate's degree, a student must be formally admitted to Castleton, complete the General Education requirements, satisfy specific degree program requirements, and earn a minimum of 64 credits of which at least 15 credits must be earned at Castleton. A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 is required for graduation.

Note that the May graduation ceremony takes place before grades from the spring semester are recorded, hence the student's GPA at the end of the previous fall semester is used to determine eligibility for "walking" at Commencement.

While Castleton's Associate's degree programs are normally completed in two years, Castleton does not guarantee that all students will necessarily be able to complete their chosen degree program in this time frame.

Bachelor's Degree

To earn a Bachelor's degree, a student must be formally admitted to Castleton, complete the General Education requirements, satisfy specific degree program requirements, and earn a minimum of 122 credits of which at least 30 credits, including substantial advanced work in the major or concentration, must be earned at Castleton. A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 is required for graduation. (Some programs, including those leading to licensure in teaching, require a higher GPA.)

Note that the May graduation ceremony takes place before grades from the spring semester are recorded, hence the student's GPA at the end of the previous fall semester is used to determine eligibility for "walking" at Commencement.

While Castleton's Bachelor's degree programs are normally completed in four years, Castleton does not guarantee that all students will necessarily be able to complete their chosen degree program in this time frame.

Declaration of Major

In deciding on a major academic field, the student should consult an academic advisor. Some programs require departmental acceptance; if so, students should complete the Academic Program Approval form for their program as soon as they are qualified to do so.

If a student changes their major and/or advisor, they must file a CAP form immediately at Financial & Registration Services.

Application for Degree

The final responsibility for fulfilling the requirements for any degree granted by Castleton rests with the student.  To assist students and their advisors, the Registrar's Office will prepare a degree audit for each student during the semester immediately after he/she submits an Application for Degree. Students should review their degree audits with their academic advisors and report any discrepancies to the Registrar's Office.

  • For May graduates, the Application for Degree must be submitted by May 1 of the year previous to the intended graduation date. 
  • For August graduates, the Application for Degree must be submitted by June 1 of the year previous to the intended graduation date. 
  • For December graduates, the Application for Degree must be submitted by December 1 of the year previous to the intended graduation date. 
  • For Graduate students, the Application for Degree must be submitted the semester previous to the intended graduation date. 

Graduation Honors

Bachelor's and Associate's degree graduates who have attained high academic standing receive degrees with one of three distinctions.  The particular distinction is based on the student's complete scholastic record at Castleton and is determined as follows:

Cumulative GPA of 3.9 or higher: summa cum laude
Cumulative GPA of 3.7 to 3.89: magna cum laude
Cumulative GPA of 3.5 to 3.69: cum laude

Of the total credits required for graduation, at least 30 graded credits for a two-year degree and 60 graded credits for a four-year degree must be earned at the Vermont State Colleges.

For the May graduation ceremonies, Honors are tentative, and are recognized on the basis of the number of credits completed and the GPA earned as of the end of the previous fall semester. Officially, and for the record on a student's transcript, Honors are determined on the basis of total number of undergraduate credits taken at Castleton and final GPA.

Receiving the Diploma

Diplomas are awarded shortly after the May commencement ceremonies. To receive a diploma a student must meet the following requirements:

  1. Be an admitted student with appropriate continuous progress
  2. Fulfill all degree requirements
  3. File an Application for Degree form by the stated deadline
  4. Satisfy all financial and administrative obligations to Castleton.

All students are expected to participate in the commencement ceremonies. Academic regalia are required for participation and should be obtained through the Castleton Store. Orders must be placed before December 15 to ensure timely delivery.

Consortium and Contractual Agreements

To broaden the educational opportunities available to Castleton students, Castleton periodically enters into formal agreements with other colleges and universities so that Castleton students can pursue enriching educational work at these other institutions. Consortium agreements can be written between Castleton and other colleges and universities eligible to receive federal financial aid. Contractual agreements are similar to these but are negotiated between Castleton and other higher education institutions, often outside the U.S. that are not eligible to receive federal financial aid but are deemed fully capable of delivering instruction compatible with and supplementary to our curriculum. Students may not complete more than 25% of their degree requirements through contractual agreement study. Students participating in these programs may be eligible to receive financial aid through Castleton for their participation. (Also see related policy under "Prior Approval of Courses for Transfer" and under "Evaluation of Transfer Credits".)

Earning Additional Degrees

The university has adopted the following policies in order to recognize certain students' additional academic accomplishments.

A student who finds it advantageous to earn both an Associate's degree and a Bachelor's degree must register for the additional courses and complete a second CAP form. The student must meet the criteria for acceptance into the second program and meet the degree requirements of both programs. Two diplomas will be awarded with both programs recognized on the permanent record. Two Applications for Degree must be filed. The degrees can be received during the same or different years. Students may have an informal ''double major'' by taking the courses required for a second program. The fact that a student has met the requirements for two majors will be recognized only when a properly completed CAP has been filed. Two Bachelor's degrees will not be awarded at the same commencement but recognition that the student has met the requirements of the second program will be made on the permanent record. Students with any Bachelor's degree may earn a second Bachelor's degree in a different discipline/major (e.g. Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Bachelor of Arts in English). A student with any Bachelor's degree from another institution accredited by a regional accrediting association or by an accrediting agency recognized by both the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation may earn another Bachelor's degree from Castleton. Students in this category will be considered undergraduates even though they hold a Bachelor's degree. The second degree may be obtained through the following procedure Apply for admission or readmission to Castleton in the usual manner. Immediately after admission or readmission, declare an appropriate major and be accepted by completing a CAP form. Meet all requirements listed in the catalog in effect at the time of acceptance into the new program, including the General Education requirements for a degree program. (See "Transfer Policies for Newly Admitted Students" for information about Gen Ed exemptions for students with a previously-earned degree.) Earn a minimum of 30 additional credit hours at Castleton. Complete an Application for Degree form and pay the graduation fee.

Students receiving two degrees at separate graduation ceremonies will be charged the full graduation fee each time.

Enrollment Policies


A matriculated undergraduate or graduate student is one who has applied to Castleton, been officially accepted, and is either currently enrolled or on an official leave of absence.

Only matriculated students-those formally admitted to Castleton-will be considered candidates for Castleton degrees. Most classes are available to nonmatriculated students on a space-available basis, although some may require that students get permission from the instructor before enrolling. (Admission to a degree program is not a prerequisite for participation in classes, although first preference for access to classes must necessarily be made for matriculated degree students.)

Full-time and Part-time Status

Students admitted to Castleton may elect to attend either full-time or part-time. For undergraduate students, full-time status is 12 or more credits per semester. For each credit above 18 in a given semester, a student will be charged for overload credits at the per credit rate, based on program. Half-time status is from 6-8.9 credits per semester, while less than 6 credits is less than half-time status. When registering part-time, students are billed on a per credit basis, with other fees as applicable.

Most of the two-year and four-year undergraduate degree requirements can be met through enrollment as a part-time student. However, it is not possible to complete all the requirements for a degree by attending only evening classes.

Because eligibility for financial aid may be affected by changes in the mode of attendance, students should consult with the Financial Aid Office to determine the impact of such changes. Students' mode of attendance can also affect their eligibility for insurance coverage if they are covered as dependents on family policies. Students who are listed as dependents on a parent's federal income tax return may no longer qualify as dependents if they are not registered as full-time students within a given calendar year. Students may change their status from full-time to part-time and vice versa. Full-time status is required to reside on campus. Others affected by a change from full-time to part-time status are athletes and those with veteran's benefits.

International students must be enrolled full-time (12 or more credits) to meet the requirements of the F-1 visa.  Because of the complexity of the F-1 visa regulations, international students should consult with the International Student Office before making any changes in enrollment status or mode of attendance.


All students are required to register during the times published by the registrar. Registration for new students usually occurs during June and July (for fall semester) and January (for spring semester). During these sessions, students take academic skills tests, receive important information about the curriculum and course selection, and meet with an advisor to select their courses. Returning students register during the academic year, typically for the spring semester in November and for the fall semester in April. Students should meet with their advisor about two weeks prior to the November and April Registration dates to plan their schedules and obtain their advisor's signature.

If there is any problem with an individual student schedule, this should be brought to the attention of Financial & Registration Services immediately. In all cases, this must be done before the end of the first two weeks of classes.

Registration materials will be sent to students' campus email address. Interested persons can obtain registration information by writing, calling, or stopping by in person at Financial & Registration Services in Woodruff Hall. A link to the Castleton course schedule can also be found on the Castleton home page.

Course Prerequisites/Consent of Instructor

It is the student's responsibility to ensure that he/she meets the prerequisite(s) before enrolling in any course. The instructor or department chair has the authority to waive the prerequisite(s) and must sign the Registration or ADD/DROP form.

Undergraduates Enrolling in Graduate Courses

Taking courses for undergraduate credit
An undergraduate student who has achieved senior standing and a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or higher may enroll in graduate-level courses for undergraduate credit with the approval of the instructor, the department chair, and the academic dean. Such courses may not be subsequently accepted for graduate credit at Castleton University.

Taking courses for graduate credit
An undergraduate student who has achieved senior standing (90 or more credits earned) and has a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or higher may enroll in graduate-level courses for graduate credit with the approval of the instructor, the department chair, and the academic dean. Such students must pay additional tuition to cover the difference between undergraduate and graduate rates, should the graduate rate be higher, and may not enroll in a combined total of more than fifteen credits. Completion of graduate courses as an undergraduate does not guarantee admission into a graduate program at Castleton.

Graduate courses taken for graduate credit by undergraduate students will be recorded on a post-baccalaureate transcript. Should such courses meet requirements for a Castleton graduate program into which a student is subsequently admitted, these courses will be accepted toward completion of the program.

Exemption and Substitution

A student wishing to be exempted from certain academic requirements, or to make course substitutions within an academic program, must complete an Exemption/Substitution of Curriculum Requirement Form available at Financial & Registration Services. Students should not presume approval for exemptions or substitutions. These are granted only in unique circumstances. Students are encouraged to seek substitution approval, from the relevant department chair, prior to taking a course for that purpose.

Transfer Credit for Current Students

Prior Approval of Course Transfer

Students enrolled at Castleton may take courses at other institutions accredited by a regional accrediting association or by an accrediting agency recognized by both the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and transfer them to Castleton by completing the appropriate approval form available from Financial & Registration Services. Credits earned within the Vermont State Colleges are not considered transfer credit.

Granting Transfer Credits

Except under the terms of consortium agreements or contractual agreements (outlined below), only courses in which a grade of ''C-'' or better is earned will be accepted for transfer credit when the registrar receives an official transcript from the institution at which the courses were taken. Approval must be obtained prior to the beginning of the course. Grades earned at other institutions will not be included in the calculation of the student's GPA. Students who do not follow the "prior approval" process may discover that the course they took is not applicable to their Castleton degree.

Under certain circumstances students may qualify to take course work at another institution through what is called a consortium agreement or a contractual agreement. In these cases, the other provisions pertaining to prior approval of courses for transfer apply fully; in addition, these students may be eligible for full or partial financial aid to cover course work taken at the other institution. Students should speak with staff of the Financial Aid Office to learn about policies and procedures regarding consortium and contractual agreements. When a student does pursue course work under such an approved agreement, all course work taken under the agreement shall transfer back to Castleton and be recorded on the Castleton transcript. In such cases, credits as well as grades will be transferred. This means that all grades earned through course work at another institution under a consortium or contractual agreement will be calculated as a part of the Castleton grade point average. Students completing a semester of study abroad as part of the Spanish major may elect to transfer in courses as pass/no pass.

Enrollment Certification for Veterans and Military Dependents

Veterans, active duty military personnel, and military or veteran's dependents who qualify for educational benefits should contact the Veteran's Certification Officer in the Registrar's Office as soon as possible after deciding to enroll at Castleton.

Military Active Duty Deployment

If a student enlisted in the armed forces is called up to active duty during the semester, he or she must provide an Associate Academic Dean with a copy of the official orders and-if possible-an indication of the length of the tour.  At that point, the student is withdrawn effective to the beginning of the semester; the student's semester charges are adjusted to zero, any financial aid is returned to the source, and the student is fully refunded any personal payments made to the University.

Exception: If the deployment takes place in the final two weeks of the semester, the student has the option to discuss with his or her professors the possibility of being given a grade of "Incomplete" and an extension to finish the course work.  In this case, there is no need for financial adjustments.

Other information regarding Veterans services at Castleton may be found at www.castleton.edu/veterans/

Grading Policies

Grading Criteria

Grades are indicated by letters with a designated "quality point'' value assigned to each as follows:

Grade = Point Value A+ = 4.0 A = 4.0 A- = 3.7 B+ = 3.3 B = 3.0 B- = 2.7 C+ = 2.3 C = 2.0 C- = 1.7 D+ = 1.3 D = 1.0 D- = 0.7 F = 0.0

A student's semester grade point average (GPA) can be calculated by assigning a numerical value to the grade, multiplying that value by the number of credits taken for that course, and dividing the total from all the courses by the total credits attempted (pass/no pass and incomplete courses are excluded.) For example, B+ = 3.3 x 3 credits = 9.9, B- = 2.7 x 2 credits = 5.4. 9.9 + 5.4 = 15.3÷5 credits = 3.06 (GPA).

Mid-semester grades or grade "indicators" may be issued after the mid-semester point, and before the deadline to drop a class with a late drop fee. Mid-semester grades are not permanently recorded but can be used as a basis for guidance and developmental work. The grades listed above may be used to indicate the progress of the student at mid-semester, or one of the following indicators may be used:

  S = Satisfactory Progress   NI = Needs Improvement   U = Unsatisfactory Progress   SI = See Instructor

Final grade reports are available online following the end of the semester. Final grades for each semester are placed on an academic transcript and become the official record of a student's work at Castleton. Courses taken at other VSC institutions (beginning with summer 2002) will appear on Castleton transcripts and grade reports and will be calculated into credit line averages and summaries. Students can access their grades online through Web Services.

The following symbols are also used on either mid-semester or final grade reports but carry no point value and are not considered in calculating the semester or the cumulative GPA:

AU- given when a student is permitted to attend class for audit purposes only.

W- given when a student has been permitted to withdraw from a course after the two week ''drop/add'' period has passed, and prior to the 60% point in the semester.

I-Incomplete applies to work of acceptable quality in a course when the full requirements have not been completed because of illness or other serious reasons. It is never applied to failing work and should never be assigned unless a specific agreement to do so has been reached, between instructor and student, prior to the end of the semester. Students should note that failing to show up for a final exam or neglecting to turn in a final term paper on time does not justify the expectation of an Incomplete. An Incomplete should be resolved by completing the outstanding work. The instructor issuing the Incomplete, in consultation with the student, shall specify the length of time, not exceeding the end of the seventh week of the following semester, for which the Incomplete will stand. Instructors have the option of assigning a default grade other than "F" if the student does not complete the outstanding work. After the seventh week, if the instructor has not changed the grade, Incompletes are automatically changed to ''F'' or the default grade by the Registrar unless an academic dean formally has approved a later deadline for course completion. The grade of ''I'' will not be used in calculating the GPA. It is the student's responsibility to see that replacement grades are reported to the Registrar prior to the deadline date.

NG-used to indicate that is not possible to assign a grade at that time (not used as a final grade.)

NP-used to signify that a student has failed an ''ungraded'' course. No course credit will be given.

P-used to signify that a student has passed an ''ungraded'' course. It is assigned for any work that in the letter grade system would give course credit.

TR-used to signify credit granted for a transfer course.

CR-used to signify credit granted on the basis of non-course work such as CLEP examinations, lifetime experience portfolios, AP courses, and military credit.

Guidelines for Evaluation*
  • Excellent mastery of course material
  • Student performance indicates a very high degree of originality, creativity, or both
  • Excellent performance in analysis, synthesis, and critical expression
  • Student works independently with unusual effectiveness
  • Good mastery of course material
  • Student performance demonstrates a high degree of originality, creativity, or both
  • Good performance in analysis, synthesis, and critical expression, oral or written
  • Student works well independently
  • Acceptable mastery of course material
  • Student demonstrates some degree of originality, creativity, or both
  • Acceptable performance in analysis, synthesis, and critical expression, oral or written
  • Student works independently at an acceptable level
  • Deficient in mastery of course material
  • Originality, creativity, or both not apparent in student performance
  • Deficient performance in analysis, synthesis, and critical expression, oral or written
  • Ability to work independently deficient
  • Serious deficiency in mastery of course material
  • Originality, creativity, or both clearly lacking
  • Seriously deficient performance in analysis, synthesis, and critical expressionsoral or written
  • Cannot work independently
  • Failure to submit ''I'' work by deadline

*From the 1974 Dartmouth College Catalog, p. 48. Reprinted by permission.

NOTE: Students should also refer to criteria established by faculty in the syllabus for each course. Such criteria may include standards for attendance and participation.

Pass/No Pass Courses

Departments may designate certain courses as ones that may be taken on a pass/no pass basis. An instructor, with the consent of the department chair, may designate a course as being (a) graded only, (b) pass/no pass only, (c) student option to be taken either on a regular graded basis or as a pass/no pass course. A regular grade will be assigned to all courses when students do not make a selection, unless a course requires a particular option.

The purpose of this option is to encourage students to explore stimulating or intellectually challenging courses that they might otherwise bypass. The option provides latitude for such exploration without the penalty of a lowered GPA if performance is below normal.

During a four-year academic program, a student may take a maximum of 24 credits on a pass/no pass basis, provided this intention is indicated at registration. Students in two-year programs are limited to 12 credits on a pass/no pass basis.

Courses taken on a pass/no pass basis count as hours toward graduation but are not calculated in the student's quality-point average.

Changes in the grade option may be made only during the add period. Note: Some institutions do not award transfer credit for courses taken pass/no pass.

Audited Courses

Courses in which space is available may be audited by students and community members who do not wish to receive credit. Those auditing a course are not required to take examinations or prepare assignments. In place of the grade, transcripts will show "AU."  So that those wishing to take courses for credit may be given priority, anyone who wishes to audit courses will be permitted to register only during the add period at the beginning of the semester.

To register for an audited course:

-Castleton students must indicate their intention to audit a course on their registration card or an ADD/DROP form. Students are charged for audited courses at half the rate that applies to courses taken for credit. Lab fees, if applicable, will be charged.

-Community members should print out a Non-matriculated Student Registration Form or pick up a form at Financial & Registration Services in Woodruff Hall. Take the form to the first class meeting, obtain the instructor's signature, and return the form to Financial & Registration Services. Community members are charged for audited courses at half the rate that applies to courses taken for credit. Lab fees, if applicable, will be charged.

-Community members aged 65 years or older may audit one CU course per semester free of charge.

Final Examinations

Final examinations are held in all courses at the close of each semester unless other arrangements have been made and approved by both the department chair and the academic dean. When a change for the final examination has been approved, the instructor is generally expected to hold a class meeting during the final examination week for alternate academic pursuits, such as reports or the presentation of final projects.

For the dates of final examination periods, see the university calendar. Examination schedules are published on the Castleton web site and will be announced in class. Examinations or quizzes missed during the semester may be rescheduled at the discretion of the instructor.

Repeating a Course for Grade Improvement

Students may repeat a course for an improved grade by registering for the course again. The grade received for the repeated course will replace the earlier grade in calculating the GPA; the old grade will remain on the permanent record with a notation. A course previously taken for pass/no pass and failed may be retaken for either pass/no pass or a grade if it is a course that may be graded. A course previously taken for a grade may be repeated for a grade only; it may not be taken pass/no pass. Students should note that if they repeat courses they have already passed, they risk losing credit for any course they fail on their second attempt.

Unless a student procures the instructor's permission, he/she cannot repeat a course more than once (unless the Catalog states that the course is repeatable for credit).

With the exception of courses specifically designated repeatable, credits for the course taken more than once are only counted once.

A course may not be repeated after a degree has been granted on the basis of the successful completion of the course.

Grade Change

Where it is justifiable and necessary, the faculty may change previously assigned grades by filing a Change of Grade form at Financial & Registration Services. For other than incomplete grades, this form will be forwarded by Financial & Registration Services to an Academic Dean for approval or disapproval.

Grade Appeals

Course grades assigned by instructors are normally final. However, a student who believes a serious grading error has occurred has several options. A student with a complaint about a grade should first speak with the instructor and explain why the student believes an adjustment is in order. If the student is not satisfied with the instructor's response, the student may speak with the chairperson of the department that offered the course, explain his/her point of view on the matter, and ask that the chairperson intervene on the student's behalf. Any student who continues to believe that a serious grading mistake remains uncorrected after these procedures has the right to appeal to the Academic Dean. Students must make such appeals in writing and explain why they believe they earned a grade higher than the one they were awarded. They should also include any evidence they have that supports their position. Absent clear and fully substantiated evidence of error or prejudice, the Academic Dean will not overturn the decision of a faculty member in regard to the assignment of grades.

Honors Scholarship Program

The Castleton Honors Scholarship Program provides high-achieving students with a generous financial aid package, a stimulating academic experience, and a supportive community of peers and professors. The goals of the program are to bolster recruitment and retention of exceptional students and to stimulate a campus climate of intellectual curiosity and academic achievement.

Benefits of the program

  • scholarship of up to $10,000 per year, for four years
  • option to live in Honors housing every year
  • priority registration for classes during the first year
  • enroll in four Honors courses
  • opportunity to serve on the student-run Honors Council

Honors Courses

In order to continue to receive the Honors Scholarship, students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 and complete four Honors courses.  Honors courses at Castleton provide a robust, engaging, and enriching experience because:

  • Honors classes have a maximum enrollment of just 20 students.
  • Honors courses are academically rigorous in order to challenge exceptionally motivated students.
  • Honors courses are intellectually stimulating in order to satisfy uncommonly curious students.
  • Honors courses delve into topics with more depth, greater breadth, and at a faster pace, than most courses.
  • Honors courses require a bigger time commitment than most courses (as the students are expected to read more complex material, perform more extensive research, and write more sophisticated analyses).
  • Honors courses are filled with Honors students.

Students take these four courses:

Honors Housing

The purpose of Honors housing is to create a vibrant community that promotes the social life of our Honors students while supporting their academic endeavors. Accordingly, beautiful Audet House is reserved for any Honors students who would like to live with their peers. Honors Housing is staffed by two Community Advisors who are themselves Honors students. The house features special programming geared to Honors students (barbecues, special advising sessions, field trips to graduate schools, etc.). In addition, residents are eligible to participate in the student-run Honors Council, which meets periodically to develop programming and suggest improvements to the Honors Program.

Eligibility for the Honors Program

Reading and Math Combined SAT / ACT Composite Score High School GPA Scholarship Amount
1100 or higher / 24 or higher 3.3/4.0 or higher (88/100)  Up to $10,000

Eligible students are awarded scholarship upon acceptance to the university. Students who choose to accept the scholarship and matriculate at Castleton will be expected to participate in the program. Scholarships are renewable for up to four years of continuous enrollment at Castleton without regard for need as long as the student maintains a 3.0 GPA. Students must meet all eligibility criteria. GPA is calculated by Castleton Admissions using academic courses only on an unweighted 4.0 scale. Scholarships are awarded on a first come, first served basis to bachelor degree seeking students. Amounts are non-negotiable and may be used for tuition only.

First-year students who earn a 3.75 GPA and are nominated by their FYS professors are eligible to receive the Academic Recognition Scholarship, which includes membership in the Honors program.

Independent Study

Independent Study is designed to provide the student with the opportunity to work individually with a faculty member in a subject area, or on a project, that is normally not available through regular course work. Effort should be consistent with the usual expectations of fifteen hours of class time and thirty hours of study time for each credit.

The student must initiate the application with a written proposal to the instructor with whom the student wishes to work. The student must complete an Independent Study Contract form, which can be obtained at Financial & Registration Services. The form requires signatures of the student, the instructor, the department chair, and an academic dean. The completed form must be filed at Financial & Registration Services at the time of registration.

Independent Study may be taken more than once. Students are limited to a maximum of three credits of Independent Study in any one department for a given semester. Veterans or veterans' dependents registered for Independent Study must report their total number of Independent Study credits to the Veteran's Certification Officer at the Registrar's Office.


Recognizing the educational value of activities and studies other than traditional course work, Castleton provides opportunities for individualized learning through engaged learning opportunities that include, but are not limited to Internships, Job Shadowing, Field Experience, Independent Foreign Study, Independent Study, and Tutorial Study. Internships provide positions of responsibility for the student in a professional environment under the supervision of an on-site professional and a faculty member. Students are placed with participating employers for work terms during which they may earn up to 12 academic credits per semester in addition to acquiring on-site experience. While internships may be either on or off-campus experiences, they are generally characterized by an independent design and the integration of classroom work with practical experience. Internships should include critical and reflective components.

An internship is designed to introduce the student to the opportunities, duties, and responsibilities of personal career objectives through an experience collaboratively planned by the student, academic department, the employer, and the Center for Community Engagement. Thus the student becomes aware of what a potential career looks like on the ground, and also how his or her courses relate to and support the career choice.

Internship work locations may include distant sites to more fully satisfy student requirements and preferences. While all internships carry academic credits, some internship roles also provide financial remuneration.

While the departments may enforce more stringent acceptance standards, Castleton requires as minimum qualifications:

  1. Students must be in good academic standing at Castleton to participate in an internship.
  2. Students must have completed 12 credits at Castleton University.
  3. Students must be matriculated prior to applying for an internship.
  4. The Internship Application form requires approval of the Castleton faculty supervisor and the on-site supervisor. The department awarding credit determines specific prerequisites for internships.
  5. Internships may be taken either on a pass/no pass basis or for a grade. 

The following guideline identifies the general number of internship hours expected for a specified credit award:

40 hours per week for 14 weeks = 12 credits
30 hours per week for 14 weeks = 9 credits
20 hours per week for 14 weeks = 6 credits
10 hours per week for 14 weeks = 3 credits
100 hours = 2 credits
50 hours = 1 credit

Hours for internships worth more than twelve credits are determined by arrangement. Information may be obtained from the Director of Community Engagement on the ground floor of Woodruff Hall.

Student Records Review & Release (FERPA)

In conformance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, Castleton University provides students the right to inspect and review their educational records and to challenge the contents of these records to ensure that such records are not inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student's privacy or other rights.

In addition, Castleton will not release personally identifiable records of students to any individual agency or organization without the prior written consent of the student, except as provided by the law. The university has a policy of disclosing educational records to Castleton and VSC officials with a legitimate educational interest without prior consent. The VSC has defined directory information as the following: name, home and university address, telephone listing, email address, date of birth, major, enrollment status (full-time or part-time), enrollment level (undergraduate of graduate), dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, weight and height of athletic team members, photographs, most recent and previous educational institutions attended, and participation in officially recognized sports and activities. Castleton will maintain this information and it will be available, at the discretion of University officials, unless the student notifies the University in writing that none of the directory information should be released. Students who wish to restrict access to directory information may do so by completing a Request to Withhold Directory Information form at the Registrar's office. Upon receipt of this form, the VSC shall release no directory information to any third party without prior student consent except as may be otherwise permitted by law.

Castleton University may forward education records to other agencies or institutions that have requested the records and in which the student seeks or intends to enroll or is already enrolled so long as the disclosure is for purposes related to the student's enrollment or transfer or to the student's dual enrollment.

A complete statement of Castleton policy regarding the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act is available from the Registrar or on-line at http://www.castleton.edu/servicecenter/ferpa_summary.pdf

Study Abroad Opportunities

Castleton encourages study abroad as a wonderful way to understand the world and our place in it. Student travelers are expected to have a 2.5 GPA and they must be in good standing as outlined by the "Code of Conduct" in the University Handbook.

Study Abroad: Any student with good advance planning may study abroad. The Spanish and Global Studies majors require all students to spend time abroad, arranged in consultation with the Study Abroad Advisor or the International Resource Coordinator. Students wishing to participate in non-Castleton programs abroad should first consult with their departmental advisor and, after selecting a program, get pre-approval for course work to ensure that credits will transfer back to Castleton.

Short Travel Courses: Travel courses of shorter duration (10 to 14 days) are offered with some frequency. These courses are listed in the semester or summer course schedule and have gone to Machu Pichu in Peru, St. John for coral reef checking, the Galapagos, and Belize to explore Maya culture. For examples of the kinds of courses that have been offered, see https://www.castleton.edu/academics/studyabroad/; courses change regularly.

Semester in the Southwest: Castleton's Semester in the Southwest provides a hands-on, multicultural experience in the American Southwest. Faculty from Castleton teach in Santa Fe for the semester. Students live in Santa Fe learning about the cultures (Native American, Mexican and Anglo) and history of the area through course work and service. They also make field trips to Native American sites and other national parks.

Tutorial Study

Tutorial studies are designed to alleviate scheduling conflicts. Students may be allowed to take an existing course independently, provided that the faculty member involved wishes to offer the course on this basis. The student must initiate the process with a written proposal to the appropriate instructor. The form, which can be obtained at Financial & Registration Services, requires signatures of the student, the instructor, the department chair, and an academic dean. The completed form must be filed at Financial & Registration Services at the time of registration.

Withdrawing from the University

Students are expected to be enrolled for one or more courses, or on an official leave of absence, every academic semester from the time of matriculation to the completing of degree requirements.  Students who leave without taking an official leave of absence may need to reapply through Admissions and complete the degree requirements found in the Catalog at the time of readmission.  In some cases, students may petition their department chair and the academic dean to be readmitted under previously effective degree program requirements.

Leave of Absence

Any student may request a Leave of Absence prior to the start of classes for one or two consecutive semesters. In special circumstances the Leave of Absence may be extended beyond the approved period; an academic dean must approve the extension.

To request a Leave of Absence, students should complete an interview at the Associate Academic Dean's Office in Woodruff Hall and then complete a Student Exit Information Form and Student Exit Survey. The leave is not official until the Student Exit Information Form and Student Exit Survey are received and the Academic Dean issues written approval.

Students in the Nursing program who take a Leave of Absence will have to reapply to the Nursing Department.

For information on refunds see "Refunds for Resignation or Leave of Absence" under Tuition, Fees, & Financial Aid .

A student approved for a Leave of Absence is considered no longer enrolled for federal financial aid purposes. Financial aid recipients considering taking a Leave of Absence should contact the Financial Aid Office to determine the impact of such action on their eligibility for financial aid. See "Repayment of Financial Aid" under Tuition, Fees, & Financial Aid .


A student who resigns from the university is required to complete a Student Exit Information Form and Student Exit Survey in the Associate Academic Dean's Office in Woodruff Hall. No resignation is official until the Student Exit Information Form and Student Exit Survey are received and acknowledged.

Grades of "W" will be issued for course withdrawals resulting from resignations received during the first nine weeks of the semester. Resignations after the first nine weeks will normally result in the assignment of the earned grades. Students forced to resign due to circumstances beyond their control may petition the Academic Dean for an exception to this policy. Ceasing to attend classes does not constitute the dropping of classes or resignation from Castleton.

All students considering resigning must meet with Financial & Registration Services to determine the impact on their student tuition account. Once 60% of the semester has passed, there will be no billing adjustments.

Resident students must also notify their Residence Director of their intention to leave the university.

The university, with proper documentation, reserves the right to administratively withdraw a student from class and end their program. When a student's physical or mental condition requires services beyond the reasonable scope of the university's capabilities, or when a student's physical condition is deemed by the Dean of Students to present a serious threat to the welfare of the student and/or members of the university community, the student may be required to withdraw, pending resolution of his or her condition. The Dean of Students will act on the basis of reliable information obtained from appropriate professional services.

Academic Status of Returning Castleton Students

Students returning from a Leave of Absence retain their academic standing and may continue their education where they left off if they return to Castleton within the terms of the official Leave of Absence. The university will make reasonable efforts to accommodate students in programs that have quotas, are being phased out, or have been dropped from the curriculum. Students on extended leave may encounter difficulty when program course changes have been made. The student retains the right to use either the degree requirements in the catalog in effect at the time of admission or the degree requirements of any other catalog published during the period of active enrollment.

Students who resign, withdraw, or are dismissed from Castleton lose their academic status in any program for which they might have been previously accepted. Upon readmission, the student must again declare a major by filing a CAP form. Where program approval is required, the student must apply for program acceptance again. The student must then fulfill the degree requirements either of the catalog in effect at the time of readmission or of a subsequent catalog. Readmitted students are responsible for meeting degree requirements in effect at the time of their readmission. If they wish to be permitted to meet requirements in effect for the program in which they were originally enrolled, they must petition their department chair and the academic dean.

A dismissed student returning to Castleton as a result of a favorable appeal must meet with an advisor and file all necessary paperwork. The Academic Dean, however, may, in consultation with the appropriate department chair, agree in writing that the student can retain the academic status in effect at the time of dismissal and can retain his/her right to use the degree requirements in the catalog under which he/she was admitted (or any subsequent catalog).


The University expects students to work at least two hours a week outside of class for each academic credit they receive.  (Typically, therefore, students perform six hours of homework per week for a normal 3-credit course.)