Academic Policies

Alma College academic policies apply during off-campus study.

Academic Credit - Grades

Credit earned in Alma-approved Off-Campus Study programs counts as residence credit. Unless you elect the S/F option (above) grades will be counted in the calculation of your Alma College GPA.

Academic Credit - Overload

It is Alma College policy that students registering for more than the normal allowable credit hours per term (18 Alma Credits) are charged an overload fee. Students participating in off-campus programs will be billed for any overload fees once the final transcript is received from the program attended and number of credits earned can be confirmed.

When working with faculty to have your off-campus courses approved, please take note of the number of Alma credits for which courses are approved. You must take at least 13 Alma credits to be considered a full time student and overload fees will be assessed when students exceed 18 credits.

Satisfactory/Fail Option

While attending an off-campus study program, you may elect to take a course as a Satisfactory Grade Option (S/F) by following the guidelines below from the Alma College Academic Catalog. If you elect this option, evaluation of the course work is recorded as “S” (equivalent to a “C” or better) or as “F” (failing, no credit). Neither grade is computed in the CPA.

How to Elect the S/F Option:

  • The deadline to elect a course satisfactory/fail is nine weeks from the start of the class.
  • You must discuss this option with the class instructor. 
  • Download the pdf attachment at the bottom of the page. The instructor must sign at the bottom of the downloaded form, authorizing his/her awareness of your decision.  In order for the form to be valid, you must also sign, date, and return the form to Off-Campus Study at the Center for Student Opportunity (CSO) by email to within nine weeks from the start of the class.

It is your responsibility to ensure that all requirements have been met.

Limitations on the S/F Option:

  1. It is available only to students of sophomore, junior or senior standing
  2. No more than 16 S/F credits may apply to the 136-156 required for the degree
  3. No more than six credits per term may be elected under this option
  4. No course counting for a Teaching Major or Minor and no education course presented for teacher certification may be graded using this option
  5. No more than four credits of the 36 required for the major (or six credits of the 56 required for an interdepartmental major or POE) may be graded under this option

Some classes are graded only “S” or “F” and the student has no option. Credits earned for these courses are not subject to the limitations described above.

To begin the process of requesting pass-fail, download the form here:  Pass-Fail Option

Spring Term and “S” Requirement

Summer, Fall or Winter Term

Off-campus study during the Fall or Winter term, or during the summer (June, July, and/or August) at an Alma College Center for Student Opportunity approved off-campus study program meets the College’s “S” requirement.

Spring Term

Off-Campus study in session during an Alma College Spring Term at an Alma College Center for Student Opportunity approved off-campus study program may meet one Spring Term requirement. You must present program enrollment dates to the Registrar’s Office to verify if the program meets a Spring Term requirement.

Studio Art Requirement

Because studio art courses taught in the overseas programs vary so much in quality and content, students wishing to receive Alma College credit for studio art courses taken off-campus should submit the studio art work produced while off-campus for review by the Alma art faculty, who can then determine whether the work meets criteria for art courses offered by the College.

Whenever possible, students are advised to consult with the Chair of the Art & Design Department before enrolling in an overseas art course, to ensure that the content of the course will correspond to courses actually offered by Alma College.

For approval by the Alma College Art & Design Department, students will need to provide the following for each studio course to be considered:

  • A current syllabus showing the schedule, objectives, grading policies and textbooks, if applicable.
  • A profile or vita of the course instructor (electronic versions are fine).
  • A portfolio of the student’s works completed in the course. These pieces should be finished works, not works in progress. To reflect the process of idea development, students may also wish to include supporting materials, such as sketchbooks, journals, or preparatory models.

These portfolios may be formatted in any way appropriate to the work, e.g., slides, photographs, digital-electronic media, or original work.

*If you have questions, please contact the Chair of the Department of Art & Design (989) 463-7220.

Language Majors

Language majors should see a faculty advisor in their department prior to selecting an Off-Campus Study program. A maximum of 16 credits in language studies per term will count toward a language major or minor.