Jul 13, 2024  
NCU Catalog - December 2016 
NCU Catalog - December 2016 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic & University Policies

Program, Course Start Date

The program start date is the start date of the first course in the student’s program. Courses are available to begin on Monday of each week.

Once a student is registered for a course, the start date may not be moved. To start the course at a later time, the student must drop the course and re-register. Compliance with the Attendance policy is mandatory regardless of any courses dropped or added.

The University recommends students request courses 14 days in advance to allow sufficient time before the course start for delivery of course materials. Students may contact their Academic Advisor for assistance in determining the latest date they may start a course without violating the Attendance policy.

The course outline and syllabus, and the course room page, are available to the student as soon as the Course Registration Information (CRI) is issued. Coursework may not be submitted until the course start date.

Educational Materials and Resources

Appropriate course materials, course syllabi, and course outlines are used for each course. Required course materials are indicated in the course syllabus by title, author, publisher, and ISBN. Students that opt out of the Course Materials Fee (CMF) are responsible for purchasing course materials identified in the syllabus they are issued for each course. Students that opt in to the CMF will have materials provided for them. Note: required course materials, textbooks, or other readings are not eligible for interlibrary loan in the Library.

It is students’ responsibility to make sure they purchase the primary course materials if they opt out of the CMF and or other textbook(s) and resources required in the syllabus the student is issued. Students must determine from their syllabus what course materials are required. Northcentral University may have more than one version of a particular syllabus issued to students. Northcentral University is not responsible for student purchases of course materials that do not match assigned syllabi.

Northcentral University’s online textbook supplier is RedShelf. Students having difficulty finding required textbooks and course materials may contact his or her Academic Advisor or email bookstore@ncu.edu for assistance. Books can be obtained through other vendors, and for those looking for alternate formats, such as e-texts, students should be aware that they need to purchase the correct edition of the book.

Attendance Requirements

Northcentral University requires students to be in attendance at least once every 28 calendar days from the last date of recorded attendance.

When doctoral candidates are not actively enrolled in a course, they have limited communication with NCU support staff and may not engage in certain activities related to their research. Specifically, doctoral candidates must be actively enrolled in a course to have contact with their dissertation chair. Doctoral candidates must also be actively enrolled in a dissertation course with NCU in order to recruit, obtain informed consent, have any contact with participants, or perform data collection if their Institutional Review Board (IRB) application has been approved.

Attendance is officially recorded each Sunday at 11:59 P.M. Arizona time. The student is determined to be in attendance if he or she has engaged in an Academically Related Activities  such as:

  • Submitted a course assignment on any day during the current week (Monday through Sunday), or
  • Participated in an academic-related activity on any day during the current week (Monday through Sunday)

Continuous Enrollment

All students are required to maintain continuous enrollment as defined below:

Initial Course Participation: For each course for which a student is registered, the student must enter the course room and agree, when prompted, to participate in the course and accept financial responsibility for the course. Failure to agree to the prompt within the first 7 days will render the course unavailable to the student. The course will then automatically be dropped, and a “DR” grade will be issued.

Program Attendance: To comply with continuous enrollment, students must be officially recorded in attendance at least once every 28 consecutive calendar days or they will be dismissed from the University.

Doctoral Candidates in Dissertation Sequence: Doctoral candidates are encouraged to remain continuously enrolled throughout the dissertation sequence. However, a maximum one-week break between dissertation courses is allowed. If a candidate exceeds this one week break, they will be dismissed from the University.

Student Services monitors continuous enrollment for each student and the Office of the Registrar will administratively dismiss a student on the 29th day after their last date of attendance. Notification by the Academic Advisor does not need to occur for dismissal to take place.

Semester Credit Hours

Northcentral University awards credit earned based on semester credits. Most courses carry 3 semester credits. It is expected that a student taking a 3-credit course will need to spend approximately 135-144 hours on learning experiences such as reading and study; research; faculty-student interaction; demonstration of defined learning outcomes through assignments, papers and projects; examinations; and assessment of performance.

Student Workload

Active students enrolled in undergraduate courses may take a maximum of 12 credits at a time without Dean approval. Undergraduate students requesting to take more than 12 credits simultaneously must be approved by their school Dean.

Active students enrolled in graduate courses may take a maximum of 6 credits at a time without Dean approval. Graduate students requesting to take more than 6 credits simultaneously must be approved by their school Dean. 


The University awards letter grades in recognition for academic performance in each course.  Grade points are assigned to each academic performance grade, with the exception of S, U, R, and RD grades are used to calculate a Grade Point Average (GPA) for each student. 

Appealing a Final Grade

A student may appeal a final course grade if the grade posted does not reflect the grade earned or there were unforeseen, extenuating circumstances during the course. The appeal must be made through the appeals link to the faculty member from whom the grade was received. Appeals must be submitted, along with supporting documentation, no more than 10 business days after the student received notification of the final course grade. All appeals are reviewed by the applicable School Dean or designee. The appeal decision made under the authority of the Dean or designee is final.

Note: The final grade appeal process is not designed to accommodate issues such as, but not limited to, time management concerns, submission of an assignment after course end date, IT related issues, or job demands.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is the standard by which Northcentral University measures students’ progress toward completion of a degree or certificate program. The three components of SAP are Grade Point Average (GPA), Course Completion Rate (pace), and Maximum Timeframe. If, at any time, a student is not meeting the minimum requirements for SAP, he/she receives an email notification in his/her University Student Portal as well as an email to the address on file. However, it is ultimately the student’s responsibility to know these requirements, and failure to receive notification does not nullify the SAP status.

Time Limits for Degree Completion

Students at Northcentral University are held to two standards regarding time to degree completion: Satisfactory Academic Progress and Academic Maximum Time Frame.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is a standard by which Northcentral University measures students’ progress toward completion of a degree or certificate program. The three components of SAP are Grade Point Average (GPA), Course Completion Rate (pace), and Maximum Time Frame. For Academic Maximum Time Frame, NCU sets the deadline in calendar years. SAP Maximum Time Frame rules will supersede Academic Maximum Time Frame when it comes to financial aid eligibility.

Changing Degree Programs

Changes of school, degree level, specialization, and changes from a professional doctorate to a doctorate of philosophy or vice versa, require Dean approval.

All degree program changes also require re-evaluation of the student’s transcript in accordance with guidelines stated in the Transfer of Credit Policy. If approved by the Transcript Advisor a new degree plan and Enrollment Agreement will need to be signed by the student. The Registrar and Accounting Offices will be notified of the change, including the tuition and fees applicable to the new program.

Students who change degree programs after federal financial aid has been disbursed must be evaluated by Student Financial Services to determine the impact on federal financial aid eligibility. In some cases, the change will result in a return of federal aid per the withdrawal from the initial program and the immediate re-packaging of federal aid that will apply towards the new program.

Dropping a Course

Students may drop a course during the first seven days of the course session. The dropped course will be given a “DR” grade, and will not be counted in the units attempted.

Once a student is registered for a course, the start date may not be moved. To start the course at a later time, the student must drop the course and re-register.

Students who discontinue a course after seven days are subject to the Withdrawal policy.

Refunds of tuition for a dropped course will be made as described in the Financial Information Section .

Academic Leave of Absence

Northcentral University programs are designed to allow students to pursue their educational efforts full-time while managing other responsibilities. Northcentral will consider granting an Academic Leave of Absence (ALOA) for a student who is experiencing hardships that make effective progress in his/her academic course of study unusually difficult. A leave of absence is defined as a temporary break from academic registration with a clear intent to return to the program of study.

Leaves are only available to students who have provided their official transcripts and have been officially admitted to the university, are currently in active status and have proceeded beyond the drop period in at least one course since beginning their program of study. Students on approved ALOA who receive Federal Financial Aid are not considered withdrawn, and a return of funds is not required. Students may not receive Federal Financial Aid disbursements while on an ALOA.

Policy and procedure for students who require a leave of absence due to military deployment are given in the Military Leave of Absence policy.

Military Leave of Absence

A student may request a Military Leave of Absence (MLOA) online or by contacting his or her Academic Advisor and submitting a copy of supporting documents. A copy of the student’s military orders, a letter from his/her commanding officer, or other documentation will be required to support the request for military leave. The student may request any length for the leave, so long as it does not begin more than 30 days prior to the assignment date, and does not conclude more than 90 days after the end date stated on the assignment papers. The return from the MLOA must coincide with a valid course start date.

Students are eligible for readmission if, during their leave, they performed or will perform voluntary or involuntary active duty service in the U.S. armed forces, including active duty for training and National Guard or Reserve service under federal authority, for a period of more than 30 consecutive days, and received a discharge other than dishonorable or bad conduct. In general, the cumulative length of absence and all previous absences for military service (service time only) must not exceed five years.

Student Withdrawal from the University

Students have the right to withdraw from the University at any time. Northcentral University team members who receive a student request to withdraw from the University will process the request on behalf of the student using the date they received the student’s request as the Request Date. The Registrar issue a “W” grade if the last day to withdraw without academic penalty, as stated in the student’s Course Registration Information (CRI), has not passed. Students who withdraw after 60 days for 12 week courses or 40 days for 8 week courses will receive a letter grade, A through F, (or S or U for designated courses), based on all work required for the course. For those students who withdraw after 71% of the course duration, unsubmitted assignments will be issued an “F” grade, and the grade on all unsubmitted assignments will factor into the final course grade issued after withdrawal. The Office of the Registrar will notify:

  • Student’s Academic Advisor
  • Student’s instructor(s), if withdrawing (receiving a “W”) from course(s)
  • Accounting Department
  • Student Financial Services

See the Refund Policy and Procedure  for applicable financial policies. 

Administrative Dismissal

Students who violate the University’s student Code of Conduct and/or Academic Integrity policy may be subject to immediate administrative dismissal.

Students who have been dismissed due to a violation of the student Code of Conduct or Academic Integrity policy, or due to any other legal or ethical matter, do not qualify for readmission to Northcentral University.

Students in violation of the University’s Attendance policy may be withdrawn. Dismissal of students who fail to meet their financial obligations to the University is handled by the Accounting department.

The student Code of Conduct, Attendance policy, and a summary of the Academic Integrity policy are published in the Catalog. Complete information concerning Academic Integrity is provided on the student Portal. 

Honor Societies

Northcentral University schools hold membership in honorary societies listed below. Acceptance into these programs is based on academic excellence.

Graduation Requirements

To graduate, all degree-seeking students must complete their degree program within the maximum time limits specified in the University’s catalog under the Time Limits for Degree Completion policy.

Licensure and Certification

Professional organizations, societies, states, and licensing jurisdictions have specific requirements for membership, certification, or licensure. Students intending to seek licensure of any type must take full responsibility for ensuring that their degree program at Northcentral University meets the licensing requirements of their local states, school districts, professional associations, or agencies. Northcentral University cannot provide assistance to a student regarding the interpretation or understanding of a state’s licensure requirements.