2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog - Belmont University

Academic Policies

Definition of Academic Terms

The following terms are provided for clarification.

Undergraduate Student – one who has not attained a baccalaureate degree, but is taking courses for credit.

Tuition – the money charged students for academic courses.

Semester Hour – the basic unit of measurement in determining the time spent in class. For example, a course giving one semester hour of credit usually meets for one hour of instruction each week during the semester.

Credit – the unit of academic value placed on every university course. A student is given a credit for each semester hour of academic work satisfactorily completed.

Quality Points – units for measurement to determine the quality of work a student does. See the grading system under Academic Standing for quality point equivalency for letter grades.

Grade Point Average – The average quality point earned per semester hour. It is computed by dividing the total number of quality points earned by the number of hours attempted 4.0 is a perfect GPA.


Each student is personally responsible for completing all requirements established for his or her degree by the university and department. It is the student’s responsibility to inform herself/himself of these requirements. A student’s advisor may not assume these responsibilities. Any substitution, waiver, or exemption from any established requirement or academic standard may be accomplished only with appropriate approval.

Advisors help students with their schedules, but the primary obligation for knowing and meeting all graduation requirements rests with the student.

Class Load

The normal class load for a university student during the fall or spring semester is 16 hours of course work per week. The minimum load for full-time status is 12 hours of course work per week, and the maximum load is 19 hours of course work per week. To register for more than 19 hours, the student must gain permission from the Appeals Committee before he/she registers. The student must present to the committee: 1) a properly signed “Petition to Take an Overload” form; 2) a letter of endorsement from his/her major advisor; 3) a written statement specifying the amount of extracurricular activity including work to which he/she will be committed during the overload semester. Any student who enrolls for more than 19 hours without proper authorization will be required to reduce the load to 19 hours or less. Students on probation may register for no more than 13 hours. Further, such students are required, when at all possible, to repeat courses in which they received a grade of D or F.

During each summer term, the minimum load for full-time status is 6 hours for undergraduates and the maximum is 7 hours. To register for more than 7 hours, the same procedure must be followed as for an overload in a regular semester.

Class Attendance

Belmont University is committed to the idea that regular class attendance is essential to successful scholastic achievement. Absence is permitted only in cases of illness or other legitimate cause. Attendance is checked from the first class meeting, so late registrants will have some absences accrued when they first meet a class.

In cases of legitimate absence from the class, the student has the opportunity and responsibility to make up all class work missed. If a class absence is necessary because of an activity by another class or university organization, the sponsor of the activity will give the Provost a list of participants in advance, and the students involved will obtain from the Provost an excuse to present to the instructor. In case of absence for any other reason, the student will present his reason directly to the instructor. Students on the Dean’s List of Honor Students, based upon the record of the previous semester at Belmont, may be granted unlimited absences by the instructor for which only the excused ones carry make-up privileges.

When the number of absences for any reason exceeds four times the number of scheduled class meetings per week (25% of class meetings during Summer term), the student is involuntarily dropped from the course with a grade of “WF.” Appeal is to the Provost.

Be advised that certain departments and individual professors enforce policies which differ from the above policy. See the departmental section of this catalog for the attendance policy for each department and the syllabus for each course for that course’s specific attendance requirements which may be different from those stated here.

Changing a Schedule

Courses dropped after the date specified in the academic calendar are not subject to refunds. Courses may not be dropped in the 30 calendar days immediately prior to the end of the semester.

Change of Name or Address

Any current student needing to change pertinent personal data during a semester should fill out “Personal Data Change Request” at Belmont Central or fill out a request on the web and email to the appropriate university office. Changes of address must be made prior to exam week each semester. In order for a name change to be processed, the student must bring an official document for a copy to be made in Belmont Central. An official document includes: a marriage certificate, a court order, a driver’s license with a picture ID, or a social security card.

Course Policies

Belmont University reserves the right not to offer any course in which fewer than 10 students enroll.

Any department may offer special studies courses under the number 1990-4990 for 0-3 hours credit. In these courses an opportunity is provided for the student to pursue an area of special interest under the supervision of a faculty member. Approval of the appropriate department chairperson, the dean, and the Provost is required before enrolling in these courses. Directed study courses may be offered by some departments (see departmental course listings). Such courses are created and overseen in the same manner as special studies courses.

This bulletin is a listing of courses. The mere listing of a course does not guarantee its offering any particular semester or year. Certain courses may be offered only when demand warrants their offering.

Course Numbers

At Belmont, the first digit in the course number indicates the year level of the course, as follows:

Courses which begin with number 1 are primarily for freshmen; those beginning with 2, primarily for sophomores; 3, primarily for juniors and seniors; 4, primarily for seniors. Certain courses are numbered below 1000 (e.g. 0900) and are offered as remedial courses. Remedial courses do not count toward graduation requirements.

Courses which have an odd number in the third place are more likely to be offered in the fall and/or in odd years. Courses which have even number in the third place are more likely to be offered in the spring and/or in even-numbered years. For the purpose of determining course offerings, both the Fall and Spring semesters of the 2002-2003 school year are considered odd years.

Beginning in the Spring 2004 semester, Belmont University converted from a three digit academic numbering system to a four digit academic numbering system. For example ENG 110 became ENG 1100. In the majority of cases the new number was generated by added a zero (0) to the end of the existing digit.

Withdrawal from the University

Students wishing to completely withdraw must obtain a withdrawal form from Belmont Central. Upon completion of the form, it is returned to Belmont Central for processing.

No financial credit will be given after the fifth week of classes. Withdrawals must be handled in person. A telephone call giving intent to withdraw does not constitute an official withdrawal. Students may not withdraw during the last 30 days of a semester.


As a graduation requirement for all undergraduate students, the program reinforces Belmont’s unique mission of providing “an academically challenging education that enables men and women of diverse backgrounds to engage and transform the world with disciplined intelligence, compassion, courage, and faith.” Belmont’s Convocation program is a shared experience that encourages the development of well-rounded individuals. Through Convocation, students participate in various programs that encourage:

  • Learning outside the classroom
  • Pursuing life-long learning
  • Valuing the arts
  • Exploring issues relevant to life, culture, and faith
  • Serving others
  • Contributing to community life at Belmont University.

Convocation includes lectures, presentations, discussions, performances, art exhibits, and a community service component. Academic Lectures focus on the presentation of topics relating to a field of scholarly significance, current event, or prominent issue. Christian Faith Development programs focus on introducing a student to the Christian faith, exploring connections between the Christian faith and life, or offering opportunities for worship and teaching. Culture & Arts programs focus on cross-cultural experiences or the visual and performing arts. Personal/Professional Growth programs focus on enhancing students’ emotional development, personal skills, or professional competencies or opportunities. Community Service is an activity which is not required as part of an academic syllabus or academic honor society, does not offer any remuneration (pay, goods, services) to the student, and is of benefit to the university or greater community.

Students earn credits by participating in programs. Traditional undergraduate students gain credits by attending approved programs that are listed on the official Convocation schedule. Students enrolled in the University College program for non-traditional students may choose the portfolio method that allows them to also gain credits for programs offered outside of the university’s approved schedule of programs. Community Service credit is obtained by completing a form that indicates and verifies the nature of the service.

Students must complete a specific number of credits in each category. Requirements are based on the catalog under which the student graduates and the number of academic hours transferred to Belmont at the time of enrollment. Specific requirements can be found in The Bruin Guide or on the Convocation Website ( www.belmont.edu/convocation).

Academic Honor System Summary
Approved by Faculty Senate on March 21, 2005

The members of the Belmont University community seek to provide students a high-quality education while encouraging in the entire community a sense of ethics, social responsibility, and interdependence. We believe that trust is a vital part of this enterprise and that self-discipline and responsibility to one another are also essential elements. We also believe that any instance of dishonesty is a violation of the values of the Belmont University community. Therefore, the Belmont University Academic Honor System aims to cultivate a community based on trust, academic honesty, and social responsibility that:

• Ensures that students, faculty, staff, and administrators understand that the responsibility for upholding integrity at Belmont University lies with them;
• Ensures that all members of the Belmont University community understand that all forms of dishonesty represent a profound violation of the values of the Belmont University community;
• Clarifies what constitutes academic dishonesty and defines standards of behavior expected of all members of our community;
• Promotes an environment at Belmont University where integrity is expected and respected and where dishonesty is not tolerated;
• Defines a statement of expectations at Belmont University regarding behavior, as well as a mechanism for a consistent and reasonable adjudication process for violations of our community.

Affirmation of Academic Integrity

The Belmont community values personal integrity and academic honesty as the foundation of university life and the cornerstone of a premiere educational experience. Our community believes trust among its members is essential for both scholarship and effective interactions and operations of the University. As members of the Belmont community, students, faculty, staff, and administrators are all responsible for ensuring that their experiences will be free of behaviors, which compromise this value. In order to uphold academic integrity, the University has adopted an Academic Honor System. Students and faculty will work together to establish the optimal conditions for academic work of the highest integrity.

Academic Honor Pledge

"In affirmation of the Belmont University Statement of Values, I pledge that I will not give or receive aid during examinations; I will not give or receive false or impermissible aid in course work, in the preparation of reports, or in any other type of work that is to be used by the instructor as the basis of my grade; I will not engage in any form of academic fraud. Furthermore, I will uphold my responsibility to see to it that others abide by the spirit and letter of this Honor Pledge."

Standards for Academic Integrity

Generally, academic fraud and dishonesty include, but are not limited to the following categories: cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, multiple submissions, obtaining unfair advantage, aiding and abetting, and unauthorized access to academic or administrative systems.

• Cheating: Using unauthorized notes, aids, or information on an examination; altering a graded work prior to its return to a faculty member, allowing another person to do one's own work and submitting it for grading.
• Plagiarism: Submitting material that in part or whole is not one's own work; submitting one's own work without properly attributing the correct sources of its content.
• Fabrication: Inventing or falsifying information, data or citation; presenting data gathered outside of acceptable professorial guidelines; failing to provide an accurate account of how information, data or citations were gathered; altering documents affecting academic records; forging signatures or authorizing false information on an official academic document, grade, letter, form, ID card, or any other university document.
• Multiple Submissions: Submitting identical papers or course work for credit in more than one course without prior permission of the instructor.
• Obtaining Unfair Advantage: a) gaining or providing access to examination materials prior to the time authorized by an instructor; b) stealing, defacing, or destroying library or research materials which can deprive others of their use; c) unauthorized collaboration on an academic assignment; d) retaining, possessing, or circulating previously used examination materials without the instructor's permission; e) obstructing or interfering with another student's academic work; or f) engaging in any activity designed to obtain an unfair advantage over another student in the same course.
• Unauthorized Access: Viewing or altering in any way computer records, modifying computer programs or systems, releasing or distributing information gathered via unauthorized access, or in any way interfering with the use or availability of computer systems/ information.
• Aiding and Abetting: Providing material, information, or other assistance that violates the above Standards for Academic Integrity; providing false information in connection with any inquiry regarding academic integrity.

Standard for Determining Responsibility

In contrast to the prevailing legal standard in criminal matters of "beyond a reasonable doubt" and to be consistent with comparable standards at other institutions of higher education, the faculty member, Honor Court, or other officials identified in the Academic Honor System determine that a student is responsible for conduct when they assess that a preponderance of the evidence supports that conclusion. A preponderance of the evidence exists when the evidence supports the conclusion that it is "more likely than not" that the student engaged in the misconduct.


Students found in violation of the Honor Pledge may receive a grade of "F" on the assignment, a grade of "F" in the course, or the grade of "FX" in the course during which the infraction occurred. This grade on the student's transcript will indicate that the failure of the course was due to an Honor Pledge violation. The grade will be treated as an F for purposes of the student's grade point average. After appeal, any decision resulting in a grade of "FX" will automatically be reviewed by the Provost. During a student's last semester prior to graduation, s/he may have the "FX" changed to an F on the transcript in the following manner:
• The student must have retaken and received a passing grade in the class in which the "FX" was given;
• The student must have no subsequent violations of the Honor Pledge while a student at Belmont;
• The student must write a letter to the Provost requesting the removal of the "FX";
• The student must propose and perform an activity or program that promotes academic integrity on campus and which will be mutually agreed upon by student and the Honor Court. The Honor Court will certify that the program has been completed in a letter to the Provost.

If the student satisfactorily completes the four conditions above, the Provost will instruct the Registrar to change the "FX" to a grade of "F" on the student's transcript.

In addition to the sanctions listed above, the Honor Court may choose to deliver other sanctions as listed in the campus disciplinary process in The Bruin Guide. Furthermore, once a student has been found in violation of the Academic Honor Pledge by either the Honor Court or faculty member, he or she is automatically placed on probation. When a student has been found in violation of the Academic Honor Pledge any subsequent time following the first violation, all violations of the Academic Honor Pledge in the students' conduct file will be reviewed by the Honor Court. Upon the Court's recommendation and subsequent approval by the Provost, the student may be suspended or expelled from the university.

Documentation of Honor Pledge Violations

Upon completion of the adjudication process (including appeals, if any), the faculty member who determined the sanction or the faculty advisor of the Honor Court shall forward the report of the incident violation, pertinent information, and sanction to the Associate Dean of Students for documentation and filing. Reports will be filed in the Office of the Dean of Students in accordance with established office procedures. The Office of the Dean of Students will submit to the Provost each spring a statistical report of all Honor Pledge violations for the previous academic year, which shall be distributed to faculty members at the Fall Faculty Workshop the following August. This report will not include personally identifiable information on individual violations.

Note: For a complete description of the Academic Honor System, please see The Bruin Guide (student handbook) which includes definitions and procedures for confronting and adjudicating violations of the Academic Honor Pledge.