Our Academic Policies

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Terms and Basic Program Information

  • Credit Hours – refers to the number of hours accredited for each course toward the degree. A course that spans one term is worth 3 credit hours. Most courses at SSU are for 3 credit hours, though some courses may have two parts (e.g. language courses) so that the student will have 6 credit hours in that subject when they have completed the two terms.
  • Core courses – refers to the three foundation courses that are required in any of our disciplines. Humanities students are required to take all of the cores in all of the humanities disciplines (history, English, philosophy and religious studies). Most majors have other specifically required courses as well as the cores.
  • Elective courses – are non-core courses that a student elects to take during their time of study. Required electives refers to courses that one must take in order to fulfill the requirements for a Major or a Minor.
  • Honours – a more demanding program of study for students who are normally considering graduate studies and choose to complete a thesis. Currently, SSU only offers an Honours for Interdisciplinary Studies.
  • Lower level courses – designate courses at the 1000 or 2000 level. These courses are introductory and/or prepare for more advanced upper level courses and are normally taken during the first two years of study.
  • Upper level courses – designate courses at the 3000 or 4000 level. These courses are more advanced than lower level courses and are normally taken during the last two years of study.
  • Major – refers to the subject area in which the student intends to focus his or her studies. A Major requires that the student take the three core courses in that subject area, as well as a minimum of 21 credit hours (seven courses) of upper level courses in that subject. Students must have a grade of at least a “C” in order to count a course toward their major. If the mark is lower the course can still count toward their total credit hours, but not their major.
  • Minor – refers to a secondary subject area in which a student may take a higher number of courses. A minor requires that the student take the three core courses in that subject area, plus an additional 15 credit hours, of which 12 credit hours must be at the upper level. Students must have a grade of at least a “C” in order to count a course toward their minor. If the mark is lower the course can still count toward their total credit hours, but not their minor.
  • Declaring Programs/MajorsStudents entering the third year must elect to follow the BIS, BA Major or BA Honours program. It is the responsibility of students to declare their Major(s) with the Associate Registrar. Students should discuss their plans with the Associate Registrar in the winter of their second year (i.e., when they are completing their first 60 ch). Students typically declare their Majors or Honours in the spring (just before or after March break).


To remain in good standing, students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.0. Transcripts in this case will include the note that the student is “in good standing” and has completed such and such a term or year of the program.


Course changes are permitted only up to the end of the second full week of classes. Courses dropped within the first two weeks of classes will not appear on transcripts. Courses dropped after that time will appear on transcripts with the letter “W” (for Withdrawn) indicated in place of a grade. Course withdrawals without academic penalty, that is, which will not show a grade or count towards the grade point average for the term, are permitted during the first seven weeks of classes. After that point courses may not be dropped without academic penalty; i.e. they will receive a failing grade (F) which will count in the grade point average.

A student who wishes to withdraw from a course must do so by emailing the Register at [email protected] Ceasing to attend class or notifying the instructor does not constitute an official withdrawal. The effective date of withdrawal will be the date the student withdrew by email to the registrar.


All written work for a given term is normally due no later than the last day of final examinations for that term. Students who wish to seek extensions on course work must make arrangements with their instructor(s). By the term end date, a final grade will be submitted for the student whether or not his/her coursework is complete. Incompletes (I) may only be given in special circumstances by the instructor in consultation with the Dean and Registrar to a maximum of two weeks after the next term begins. Any Incompletes remaining after this time will automatically change to a final grade based on submitted work (typically an “F”). Students with extenuating circumstances may appeal to the Academic Dean in writing for extensions beyond four weeks and individual cases may be reviewed by a faculty committee.


Marks are considered final at the closing date for mark submission at the end of a term, with the exception of extensions granted by a faculty member up to a maximum of two weeks into the beginning of the next academic term. Students should make an appeal in writing to the Academic Dean and the relevant professor if they would like to have late work considered after this date, or would like to appeal to have a poor mark upgraded (usually a maximum of one letter grade), by completing extra work (or re-doing work). If approval is granted (requires approval from the professor and from either the Dean or the faculty committee), the student will pay a fee of $100 to SSU prior to having the work assessed and the assessment will be undertaken by the professor.

If a student believes they have been given an unfair grade, they should first discuss the matter with their professor. If that conversation ends unsatisfactorily, they should submit their appeal in writing to the Academic Dean within four weeks of the end of term.


Any full time student who fails to earn a grade point average of 2.0 in any given term will be placed on academic probation for the following term. Should a student’s GPA remain below 2.0 over two consecutive terms, he or she may be subject to academic suspension. A student has the right to appeal the suspension, which should be given in writing to the Registrar’s office. An appeal should include the reasons for the appeal and any supporting documents (medical or otherwise) that may help in the assessment of academic difficulties. The appeal will be reviewed by the Faculty Committee.If a student believes they have been given an unfair grade, they should first discuss the matter with their professor. If that conversation ends unsatisfactorily, they should submit their appeal in writing to the Dean of Arts within four weeks of the end of term.


Students who are required to withdraw from the university for academic reasons, or who voluntarily withdraw while failing, are required to wait for at least one term before applying for readmission. Application should then be made to the Registrar’s office, and will be forwarded to the Academic Committee after review by the Dean of their program and the Registrar. Readmission after required withdrawal for non-academic reasons shall be decided by the Dean and Registrar in consultation with Community Life staff and others as appropriate. Students who withdraw voluntarily may reapply for admission at any time by letter to the university office. Their applications will be considered in the normal manner.


Full-time students are degree or diploma students taking 9 or more credit hours per term. NOTE: The normal course load for full-time students is currently 15 credit hours or five courses per term. Students may not register for more than 6 courses or 18 credit hours per term. Part-time students are degree candidates taking fewer than 9 credit hours per term. A special student is one who chooses such a status and is not a candidate for an SSU degree.


St. Stephen’s University expects all its members to conduct their work responsibly and with integrity. Honesty in academic matters is a major aspect of living by the academic principles and the spiritual principles on which our life is based. Accordingly, the University expects the following principles of behavior to be observed at all times:

  • Work done in tests, examinations, reports and in any other assignments designed to evaluate the student’s progress or achievements must be the work of the student whose name appears on it
  • That a work be submitted for credit in one course only
  • That a work, words and opinions presented as one’s own be genuine and not “borrowed” without acknowledgement from someone else
  • That any information obtained from a source be documented unless it is common knowledge.

Violation of this is plagiarism – defined as presenting another person’s words, work or opinions as one’s own. A person who commits plagiarism does so by submitting any of the following as his or her own work:

  1. Part or all of a written or spoken assignment copied from another person’s manuscript or notes
  2. Part or all of an assignment copied or paraphrased from a source such as a book, magazine, pamphlet, or web site
  3. Someone else’s line of thought, argument, arrangement, or supporting evidence without indicating such dependence
  4. A paper, project, report, or other assignment that is written by someone else – in short, submitting someone else’s work, in whatever form, without acknowledgment

NOTE: None of the above means that students may not help one another with homework or essays, or that instructors may not assign work to be done by groups. However, the final writing of essays, and the bulk of the work involved, must be that of the student who submits it.


An instructor who believes that a student has committed an act of academic dishonesty should first discuss the matter with the student individually. In any case where a student feels unjustly charged with plagiarism or some other form of dishonesty by an instructor or the invigilator at an examination, the student may appeal in writing to the Registrar or Dean, who may bring the matter to the faculty.

For the first offence of academic dishonesty the student may be required to submit a satisfactory and genuine replacement of the piece of work or be given a failing grade for the assignment at the discretion of the instructor. The infraction will be noted in the student’s file. In the case of any subsequent charge of dishonesty, the instructor must give the assignment an “F,” submit the student’s name and provide evidence of the offence to the Academic Committee, and may recommend that an “F” be assigned for the entire course.

The Academic Committee will review the circumstances surrounding the offence and may interview the student if further clarification is needed. The Academic Committee will make a decision regarding the penalty to be imposed, and will notify both the student and the instructor in writing. The minimum penalty is a grade of “F” on the assignment, and the maximum penalty is expulsion from the university.


Our educational philosophy is based on small classes and learning “in community.” As such, we place a high value on regular attendance and participation in classes. For this reason, students are expected to attend all classes, and other class meetings as required. Professors expect to be informed of any necessary absences and will usually excuse up to two missed 3 hour classes (or four 80 minute classes) in a term. Students who miss more than this for reasons other than serious health or family crises should expect to see their grades reduced (whether or not this is specified in a syllabus) or credit refused (F). Professors may request medical documentation if such verification is deemed necessary.


  • It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that all degree and course requirements for graduation have been successfully completed.
  • Students must declare a major and meet all the requirements for that major.
  • Students must earn a graduation average of at least 1.8 GPA; and an average of at least 2.0 GPA on all courses applied to their major (and minor).
  • Students in the honors track must earn no mark lower than a B- after the first year and complete a baccalaureate thesis in their 4th year. Honors students must earn a graduation average of at least 3.3; and honors, first class students must earn a graduation average of at least 3.7.
  • Graduating students are required to earn a minimum of 120 credit hours.
  • All financial obligations to St. Stephen’s University must be paid in full.
  • Students are required to complete the last two years of their undergraduate program at St. Stephen’s University in order to graduate.


Candidates applying for admission with advanced standing must arrange to have official transcripts of their post-secondary records forwarded to the Registrar’s Office. Upon completion of the transfer credit review, applicants will be notified. Students are typically required to complete the last two years of their undergraduate program at St. Stephen’s University. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that all degree and course requirements for graduation have been successfully completed.

Transfer Credits
Students transferring to St. Stephen’s University will be considered for advanced standing subject to the following:
1.  that they are transferring from a recognized post-secondary institution
2.  that program requirements are met
3.  that a minimum GPA of 2.0 is met
4.  that the maximum number of transferable credit hours typically do not exceed 60 credit hours
5.  transfer credit is normally given at the introductory level

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR)
Prior learning assessment and recognition (PLAR) is the evaluation and recognition of non-formal, informal and/or experiential learning that may result in academic credits. Prior learning assessment and recognition is commonly used to evaluate learning acquired outside the classroom for the purpose of assigning academic credits. A PLAR process may include activities such as interviewing, competency assessment, learning outcome assessment and portfolio development.

Transfer Credits: CEGEP
Candidates who have completed an appropriate two-year CEGEP program are considered for advanced standing to a maximum of 30 credit hours.

Grading Legend







90 plus

Outstanding work, exceptional in all respects




Excellent in all respects




Excellent in most respects




Competent work, above expected standard in some respects




Competent work, meets expected standard in all respects




Competent work, but below expected standard in some respects




Below expected standard in many respects




Below expected standard in most respects




Consistently below expected standard




Barely meets requirements to receive credit towards degree








Pass as pertaining to courses that are graded on a pass/fail basis. Student meet expected standards in all respects




Withdrawal from course after deadline for course changes but early enough not to count as a failure or affect the grade point average




Incomplete: Temporary course extension




In Progress