Terms & Policies

Academic Terminology

Clarification of Terminology

The purpose of this notification is to promote a more standardized approach to the usage of these terms within our Institution by publishing the meanings that the Registrar’s Office is currently associating with this terminology. The terms under consideration are: "Exempt," "Variance," "Transfer," and "Advanced Standing." The distinguishing features of each term are as follows:


  1. Since "Exempt" or "Exemption" are not viable academic options, they should NOT be used in reference to our academic context;
  2. "Exempt" implies that one is "excused from the requirements of a given program" when, in fact, none of the credits of any prescribed program are considered optional;
  3. "Exempt" is often confused with "Variance," which is more accurately called a "substitution;"
  4. All general education credits for all disciplinary components of a liberal arts degree must be accounted for in some way: by "Course Grade," "Variance," "Transfer Credit" or "Advanced Standing." To be considered "Exempt" from a course or program requirement is a misnomer;
  5. "Exempt" is not an accurate reference for anything that happens with Credits, Grades, Financial Aid, the Student software (QX) or the Degree Analysis sheet.


  1. "Variance" implies "a substitution of coursework taken at North Central University" whereby permission by the Department Chair(s) and the Registrar is granted for one course to equivocally take the place of another in one’s prescribed program;
  2. "Course Requirement Variance Petitions" are available in the Registrar’s Office. Verbal agreements or promises to individuals are NOT sufficient to constitute a "Variance." An approved Course Requirement Variance Petition must be on file in the student’s record in order for it to be considered valid. If approved, this "Variance" will also be denoted as such on the student’s Degree Analysis sheet;
  3. The Registrar, the Department Chair of the student's major and the Department Chair of the course that the variance is requested for jointly grant approval of the Course Requirement Variance Petition;
  4. Approval of a Course Requirement Variance Petition does not affect a student’s overall program credits, grades or financial status. It does, however, impact the student’s Degree Analysis sheet. Any approved variances are indicated as such on the student’s Degree Analysis sheet by the Registrar’s Office.


  1. To "transfer" credits means "to accept the qualified academic semester credits (Carnegie units) from another educational entity;"
  2. To "transfer" credits implies academic compatibility and equivalency of academic quality standards and competencies that are synonymous with at least "C-" (70%) at NCU;
  3. On the transcript, transfer credits appear as "TR" and do not affect GPA;
  4. Transfer credits come from external academic sources such as:
  • Qualified Colleges or Universities (most often, accredited);
  • CLEP (College Level Examination Proficiency) test;
  • AP (Advanced Placement) exam;
  • IBE (International Baccalaureate Exams).

"Advanced Standing"

  1. "Advanced Standing" implies that one is eligible to receive college credit for life experiences and competencies that "translate" into similar competencies gained through specific coursework at NCU;
  2. "Advanced Standing" means that the student does not have to take the class;
  3. "Advanced Standing" credits, along with transfer credits, together, may not exceed 6 such credits of the last 33 in one’s program. Therefore, students interested in this sort of credit on their transcript are strongly advised to complete the petition process before their senior year, that is, prior to accumulating 90 credit hours towards graduation (HG);
  4. On the transcript, "Advanced Standing" shows as an Institutional Grouping with "AS" for the grade. In essence, Advanced Standing recognizes life experience or competency that is being assessed and transliterated into academic credit;
  5. Credits earned under Advanced Standing do not impact GPA;
  6. "Advanced Standing" credits - whenever awarded - do not qualify for Financial Aid;
  7. Degree Analysis sheets, like transcripts, show "Advanced Standing" coursework as "AS" only after the course has been paid in full at the current pro-rated tuition rate, determined at the time of payment. "Advanced Standing" is awarded whenever the Advanced Standing Petition is approved and upon receipt of that completed (fully paid) Petition in the Registrar’s Office;
  8. If the student is currently enrolled in the same course for which he/she is seeking "Advanced Standing," the student must submit a "Schedule Change Form" to drop the enrolled class. When dropping a course in conjunction with applying for "Advanced Standing," any tuition refund for the enrolled course is subject to the normal timing of the pro-rated refund policy.
  9. "Advanced Standing" eligibility allows for academic credit to be awarded through a (potentially) reduced tuition for the following:
  • Demonstrated competency on an assessment by a Department Chair; (e.g., "in-house" competency exam or personal portfolio assessment); or
  • An institutionally-approved program arrangement (e.g., Master’s Commission).


The academic year consists of two semesters; a fall semester of approximately 17 weeks and a spring semester of about the same length ending in early May. There are also various summer session options. It may be possible to complete a total of 15 credits during the summer sessions. Summer sessions are optional. Courses are offered at the discretion of each academic department. All credits are computed on a semester basis, including the summer session courses.

Final Examinations

Final examinations must be taken at the designated times, except in the case of a life-threatening family emergency with documentation or a personal medical problem documented by a physician or health care professional. One week is provided for final examinations at the close of each semester. Two hours are allotted for each course exam.


Students are expected to register during the scheduled registration periods designated on the school calendar. The registration process is complete only after all classes have been scheduled, tuition and fees have been paid and registration forms have been submitted to the appropriate offices.  The Late Registration Period begins 5 weeks prior to the start of each term, and students will be assessed a late registration fee of $25.

    All freshmen, transfer students and returning students who have not been enrolled at North Central University for more than one semester are required to participate in the new student orientation for the semester in which they wish to re-enroll. 

 North Central reserves the right to cancel any course for which enrollment is considered insufficient.


Internship is a requirement for graduation for most majors and may be involved in the curriculum of all majors. The internship is usually to be done on a full-time basis in the summer months between the student’s junior and senior years. Students may also do an internship for two full semesters on a part-time basis. 
    Students should sign up for internships during their sophomore year with the director of the program in order for arrangements to be made to help them fulfill their program on time. Students in the Pastoral Studies major can take specific internships as practics elective credits, which give them opportunities to explore specialized ministries such as Teen Challenge, College Ministries, Youth Ministries and Children’s and Family Ministries. Students should seek guidance from their major departments regarding requirements for internship within their majors. 
    Students pursuing a double major must fulfill the internship requirements for each major.  While this may be accomplished through one internship experience, this is only possible with the permission of the Department Chair of both majors.  If permission is granted, a Course Requirement Variance Petition must be submitted to the Registrar's Office for final approval and, if granted, recording on the Degree Audit Sheet.  If either Department Chair is not in agreement that one internship experience will fulfill the educational objectives of each of the majors, then the student will need to register for and complete one internship per major.

Teaching Assistants

North Central University is committed to training individuals for all disciplines of ministry. Therefore, to promote interest in post-secondary academic teaching ministry, select students who demonstrate excellence within the college academic environment are provided the opportunity for involvement as a teaching assistant under the following guidelines:

  1. With the approval of the department chair, students with at least 60 credits toward graduation may have the option of registering for a course as a Teaching Assistant.
  2. Students may register as a Teaching Assistant for 0 credit, pay no tuition and receive a final grade of Pass/Fail. Alternatively, students may register as a Teaching Assistant for up to 3 credits per section, pay tuition for those credits, earn a letter grade and receive elective credit for the same.
  3. No Teaching Assistant credits may substitute for a program course requirement. The only exception to this will be if a student with Junior or Senior level class standing is taking a 100 or 200 level course as both a Teaching Assistant and as a program requirement. In this case, the Teaching Assistant class may substitute as a program course requirement.
  4. Students registering as a Teaching Assistant must complete FERPA training.  Failure to complete FERPA training by the deadline to add classes for each semester will result in the loss of the Teaching Assistant appointment.

For further information see the appropriate department chair.

Schedule Changes

Once the term has begun, all adjustments of academic schedules must be made in the Registrar’s Office. Changes can be made online prior to the first day of class, with a $10 fee for each schedule change once the Late Registration Period has begun, 5 weeks prior to the first day of class for each term.  

 Only students who have properly dropped a class within the tuition refund period are entitled to a refund, if eligible. (See Tuition Refund Schedule in the Financial Registration section.) Proper withdrawal from a course also ensures the appropriate grade notation on the student’s record. An individual course dropped during the four-week tuition refund period will not appear on the student’s final transcript (See Withdrawal section for transcript policies if a student drops all courses, i.e. withdrawing completely from NCU for the semester). A grade of “W” will be assigned for a class dropped during the fifth through ninth weeks of the semester. Any course which is dropped during or after the 10th week of classes for any reason will receive a letter grade of ‘WF’. Classes may not be changed from credit to audit or from audit to credit after the first full week of classes.


Official transcripts are issued only upon the written authorization by the student to the Registrar’s Office, in accordance with the Family Educatinal Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). A fee for each transcript is charged and should accompany a request for transcript(s). The fee is charged for research of a student’s financial records and is not refundable when the transcript is withheld. The time frame for processing official transcript requests is five to seven business days. 
    A transcript will not be issued to or on behalf of any individual who has a past-due financial obligation (including federal loan programs) to the University. Remittances on past due balances should be made in cash, by certified check or money order to the Student Accounts Office.

Transfer credits 

The official NCU policy regarding transfer students and transfer credits can be found in the Transfer Credit Information section.


Voluntary: A student who finds it necessary to withdraw from the University after they have started attending classes should consult the Student Liason in the Student Development office in person to complete a Withdrawal Form & Exit Survey. The date on which a student notifies the University of intent to withdraw will be the date used to calculate any available refund. Refunds of tuition, general fee, technology fee and room charges will be calculated according to the University’s Refund Policy
    The student will receive a grade of ‘WF’ on his or her transcript for each class if a complete withdrawal is made during or after the tenth week of the semester. Prior to the tenth week, a grade of ‘W’ will be listed on the transcript.

Disciplinary: If a student is dismissed for disciplinary reasons, a grade of ‘W’ or ‘WF’ will be listed on the transcript based on the date of withdrawal. The regular refund policy applies for a student who is dismissed for disciplinary reasons.

Reinstatement Policy

Late registration is not permitted after the first full week of classes during the fall and spring semesters or after the first full day of classes during the summer semester. However, if circumstances justify it, a student may file a petition with the Registrar to receive special permission to register after the enrollment period is closed. A reinstatement fee of $100 per course will be charged to a student who contacts the Registrar’s Office after the enrollment period to register and pay for a course he or she is currently attending, or has completed one semester prior to the current semester. This fee will be charged in addition to the current tuition and any other applicable fees in effect at the time of registration, and is due at the time of reinstatement. All reinstated courses will be recorded on the transcript during the semester in which the student registers and pays.

Senior Project

Senior Project is a requirement for most majors, but the type of project differs. For example, for music majors, it is a recital, education students complete their student teaching, psychology students do a research paper which has an oral defense. Many majors require synthesizing papers, and those majors with a global focus emphasize particular countries. 
    This challenging capstone course is a wonderful opportunity to utilize the many skills students have gained during their college career to produce a culminating project.