At Fitchburg State University, each curriculum or course of study has been constructed to help students develop the intellectual skills needed to analyze, interpret and learn. The purpose of every curriculum is to assist students in recognizing the possibilities as well as the problems of their changing world, to instill within them a moral awareness of their responsibilities toward improving the quality of human life and to prepare them for careers which will enrich their lives as they contribute to the lives of others.
Each curriculum includes a General Education Program and courses in a major field of study. The purpose of the General Education requirements is to develop, through a variety of academic disciplines, a set of well-rounded skills that are analytic and quantitative as well as verbal and aesthetic. By concentrating in a major field of interest, students acquire knowledge of both the theoretical and the practical aspects of their subject.
Incoming Students: The Readiness Program
All first-year students will be tested or otherwise evaluated upon entrance to Fitchburg State University to determine their proficiencies in reading, writing and mathematics. Exams are scheduled both days and evenings throughout the academic year. Test results may indicate skill areas which will be strengthened by a readiness program to provide new students with a solid and equal start to their university careers.
The Admissions office will provide your SAT scores to the Placement Test Center. Students who have a critical reading SAT score between 500 and 599 (or English ACT between 21 and 26) are exempt from taking the Reading placement test. Also, students who have a critical reading SAT score of 600 (or ACT of 27) or above are exempt from the Reading and Writing placement tests. Students who have earned a score of 3.0 or better on the Advanced Placement (AP) English Examination are exempt from the reading and writing placement exams.
Readiness Program/Comprehensive Courses and Requirements
In order to register for Math courses at the 1000 level or above, students must have met the Mathematics Readiness Requirement (MRR). Note: Non-degree students are exempt from this readiness requirement and are therefore not required to take a placement exam, but must have satisfied the required prerequisite courses or equivalent.
Mathematics Placement Policy:
Meeting the College Level Mathematics Readiness Standard is required to determine your level of preparation for success in university-level mathematics courses.
The standard can be met in one of the following ways:
• Earn an adjusted high school GPA of 2.7 or higher (and have graduated no more than two years prior to matriculation at the University).
• Successfully complete a credit-bearing math class.
• Earn a passing score on either the Quantitative and Analytical Skills (QAS) or Advanced Algebra and Functions (AAF) Accuplacer.
• Successfully complete MATH 0300 (Quantitative Preparation) or MATH 0500 (Algebraic Preparation)
Mathematics Progress Requirement:
All undergraduate day students not exempt from taking a mathematics placement test must take the test before registering for any classes at Fitchburg State. It is required that students needing MATH 0300 (Quantitative Preparation) and/or MATH 0500 (Algebraic Preparation) begin taking these courses in their first year and continue to take them until they have met the prerequisites for a credit-bearing mathematics course. Once the prerequisite has been met, students are required to take their first college-level mathematics course within a year. All students who have not yet transferred a credit-bearing math course must take a math class within their first year at Fitchburg State.
ENGL 0100 - Basic College Writing —required for first year students who score 3 or lower on essay and if they have no transfer credit equivalent to Writing I and/or Writing II.
Students who score 8 on the essay will be exempted from Writing I and should enroll in ENGL 1200 - Writing II .
Credit for ENGL 0100 ,MATH 0100 and MATH 0200 is considered institutional credit only; that is, the credit will not count toward graduation, but will count toward fulltime status for purposes of financial aid and athletic eligibility. Additionally, the grades received in these courses will be counted in each student’s grade point average.
The Writing test is an essay of spontaneous writing ability. Students are expected to write, using the computer, a multiple paragraph 300 to 600 word essay. The test is not timed. A score of 4 or above, allows a student to enroll in Writing I. Students who score a 3 or below must enroll in the three-credit prerequisite course, Basic College Writing.
Foreign Language Placement Exam Requirement
This required assessment is designed to assist students to achieve their foreign language education goals. French and Spanish tests are administered through the Internet. Immediately after the test, you will receive your results and be advised as to the proper Fitchburg State University foreign language course in which you should enroll based on your placement score.
For Italian and Latin, there is a pencil and paper exam. Scores that place the student higher than intermediate level 2 satisfy the foreign language graduation requirement for the bachelor of arts degree or The Honors program.
Students planning to take French, Italian, Spanish or Latin are required to take a placement test if they meet one of the following conditions:
- Completed a high school level French, Italian, Spanish or Latin course
- One of these languages is their native language or they have had experience with the language
Students who have not had any formal or informal experience with a foreign language do not need to take the placement test, but may register for French for Beginners (FREN 1000 ), Latin for Beginners I (LATN 1000 ), Spanish for Beginners (SPAN 1000 ), or Italian for Beginners (ITAL 1000 ).
Common Graduation Requirements
In order to be eligible to graduate with a baccalaureate degree from Fitchburg State University, the following general requirements must be met:
- Successful completion of an appropriate discipline-based evaluation chosen by the department and approved by the Dean
- Successful completion of at least 120 semester hours of course work*; 30 of these must be attained in residence (normally including the senior year)
- A cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher
- A minimum of 2.0 average in major course of study**
- An Application for Degree or Certificate must be filed with the Registrar’s Office no later than September 15 for May graduation or March 1 for December graduation
* Double degree candidates must complete 150 semesters of course work to earn both baccalaureate degrees.
** Some majors require a major GPA higher than 2.0 for graduation.
Petition for Review
Students must request a review of their degree requirements prior to the semester in which they plan to graduate. An application for degree or certificate must be completed no later than the fall semester for May graduation, and no later than the spring semester for December graduation. The Registrar also awards degrees in August for students who finish during the summer. Students must apply by the end of the spring semester in order to have their degree conferred in August. Students can apply online at http://www.fitchburgstate.edu/offices/student-services/registrar/
Degrees are conferred by Fitchburg State University in May, August, and December of each year.
Students may petition the Registrar to participate in a graduation ceremony if they have a maximum of two courses, up to 12 credits to complete.
General Education Program Requirements
The University has approved General Education Program requirements which become effective for all entering students starting in fall 2021.
Through the General Education Curriculum, Fitchburg State students will be critical and creative thinkers who integrate and communicate their learning from a variety of disciplines and experiences in ways that enhance their civic, personal and professional lives. The curriculum is progressively designed in three parts, with a foundational beginning, breadth of learning in the middle, and an integrative conclusion. The curriculum provides foundational coursework for students early in their academic programs of study that supports fundamental skills for academic work across a broad range of disciplines (Foundations for Lifelong Learning), followed by broad preparation across many disciplines in the different creative and critical approaches these disciplines use to explore issues, answer questions, solve problems, express ideas, and build knowledge (Critical and Creative Thinking across the Disciplines), and concluding with more advanced coursework that requires students to integrate and apply skills they have developed through their studies across disciplines to inform their ongoing learning within these disciplines or to address real-world issues and experiences in their civic, personal or professional lives (Advancing and Applying Liberal Arts and Sciences Learning).
Of the 120 semester hours needed to graduate, candidates must complete a minimum of 42 hours to satisfy the requirements of the General Education Program, including the following components:
Foundation: Foundations for Lifelong Learning
In order to develop foundational skills in Information Literacy, Quantitative Reasoning, Reading, Speaking and Listening and Writing all incoming students must complete the following 5 requirements (at least 15 credits). Definitions of the specific learning outcome follow each requirement:
First Year Experience Seminar (3 credits) prepares students for a successful college career by developing a range of planning, help-seeking and communications skills with a special focus on college-level reading
Reading: Students will read to extract and construct meaning through interaction and involvement with written language and other media.
First Year Writing Requirement - Writing I (3 credits) cultivates academic and professional writing
Writing: Students will draft original texts to develop and express ideas working with different media including words, data and images.
First Year Writing and Information Literacy Requirement - Writing II (3 credits) fosters research-based composition by expanding on the writing emphasis of Writing I to incorporate Information Literacy.
Information Literacy: Students will recognize what information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use that information effectively and ethically.
First Year Quantitative Reasoning Requirement (QR – at least 3 credits of college level MATH and Basic Math if required) Provides course options for students to develop quantitative reasoning.
Quantitative Reasoning: Students will analyze and interpret mathematical information as a means to evaluate arguments and make informed choices.
World Languages, Speaking and Listening (WS – at least 3 credits, can be met a course from any department that has been given the World Languages, Speaking and Listening designation) Provide course options for students that foster speaking and listening.
World Languages, Speaking and Listening: Students will develop and apply skills for communicating effectively in a spoken or signed world language, in order to disseminate knowledge, reach a broader audience, and foster understanding across people and cultures.
Exploration: Critical and Creative Thinking across the Disciplines
Critical thinking is a habit of mind characterized by the comprehensive exploration of issues, ideas, artifacts, and events before accepting or formulating an opinion or conclusion, while creative thinking is both the capacity to combine or synthesize existing ideas, images, or expertise in original ways and the experience of thinking, reacting, and working in an imaginative way (AAC&U LEAP VALUE rubrics).
Fitchburg State students will engage in Critical and Creative thinking in a variety of ways across the General Education disciplines. Students must complete at least one course addressing each of the following nine learning outcomes. Courses may be designated to count for up to two different learning outcomes, but students may only count a given course towards one of the learning outcomes.
Civic Learning (CV – at least 3 credits) Students will articulate the values associated with democratic and public institutions in the context of local, national, and global perspectives, and begin to develop practical skills and knowledge required for engaged citizenship to address issues such as social justice and inequality.
Diverse Perspectives (DP – at least 3 credits) Students will describe and critically examine how different cultural and intellectual frameworks shape our social reality through comparative study of diverse socio-cultural institutions and practices in local or global contexts.
Ethical Reasoning (ER – at least 3 credits) Students will develop their ability to think critically about right and wrong human conduct, assess their own ethical values, recognize ethical issues across
a variety of contexts, think about how different ethical values and perspectives might be applied to ethical dilemmas, and consider the ethically relevant ramifications of alternative actions or policies.
Fine Arts Expression and Analysis (FA – at least 3 credits) Students will articulate, by engaging
with art, music, or theater, an understanding of the expressive languages and the technical craft they employ, and interpret their meaning and value, either through the creation or performance of works in art, music, or theater, or through an analysis of their relation to specific cultural, historical, and theoretical contexts.
Historical Inquiry and Analysis (HI – at least 3 credits) Students will engage with and answer questions about the past by evaluating historiographical interpretations; identifying, contextualizing, and critically reading historical evidence; and considering the relevance of chronology, causation, and perspective.
Literary Inquiry and Analysis (LI – at least 3 credits) Students will engage with and answer questions associated with diverse literary texts in relation to historical periods, themes, genres, and/or critical theories using literary analysis, critical evaluation, and theoretical interpretations.
Personal Wellness (PW – at least 3 credits) Students will develop effective strategies to enhance personal wellness by applying physical, nutritional and behavioral strategies to improve the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind.
Procedural and Logical Thinking (PL - at least 3 credits) Students will use a rational, systematic procedure to arrive at conclusions, examine or build underlying patterns and structures, or deduce further information.
Scientific Inquiry and Analysis (SI – at least 3 credits) Students will engage with and answer questions about the natural, and physical world using scientific practices including collecting, analyzing and interpreting data.
In addition to developing the learning outcomes indicated, each course will also provide additional support for skills in at least one of the following: Creativity, Critical Thinking, Digital Literacy, Information Literacy, Quantitative Reasoning, Reading, World Languages, Speaking and Listening, or Writing.
Integration: Advancing and Applying Liberal Arts and Sciences Learning
Fitchburg State students will integrate and apply what they learn in the General Education curriculum through additional intermediate advanced coursework. To fulfill this minimum 9 credit portion of the General Education curriculum students complete either a minor or second major, or advanced and integrative coursework.
Integrative Learning: Students will Integrate and apply knowledge from different disciplines and experiences to solve problems.
1. Students complete a minor or second major to satisfy the 9 credits for the Integrating and Applying General Education requirement. Professional majors completing a minor or second professional major must include at least 9 credits in General Education disciplines for that minor.
2. Students take at least 3 courses of integrative and advanced General Education coursework (at least 9 credits). At least 1 of these courses must have the Integrative High Impact Practice (IHIP-see below) designation. Courses at this level of the curriculum are either advanced courses or integrative learning courses (AIA):
• Advanced courses are 2000 level or higher that have at least one General Education course as a prerequisite.
• Integrative learning courses require students to integrate disciplinary knowledge and/or apply theoretical problems to practical applications.
Students fulfilling the second option must complete an Integrative High Impact Practice (IHIP) course because Fitchburg State University recognizes that certain kinds of course experiences (High Impact Practices) have been shown to improve student engagement and success while fostering students’ abilities to integrate learning across courses, over time, and between campus and community life. All Fitchburg State University students are encouraged to complete at least one of the following types of courses as part of their Integrating and Applying General Education Learning requirement:
• Experiential learning/Internship in a setting that provides insight into another culture and community beyond the student’s own personal experiences and/or direct experience in a work setting with the benefit of supervision and coaching from professionals in the field.
• A Study Abroad experience in another country that provides the student with first-hand experience engaging with language, culture, and history beyond what they have experienced in their own native country.
• A Civic Engagement activity designed to provide reciprocal benefits for to both the students and a broader community or communities beyond the classroom (that broader community could be the campus community or a community beyond the campus).
• Team Teaching/ Learning Community of two or more faculty members with differing disciplinary expertise and/or two or more linked courses that provide opportunities for students taking courses in two or more different disciplines to meet together either during or outside of class time to address a shared question, problem or topic.
• A Student-faculty research project in which students individually or collaboratively help shape the research question, refine the research techniques, collect novel information, data or observations, and produce a research paper, poster, and/or presentation.
• A Student-faculty creative project in which students individually or collaboratively develop one or more substantive, independent creative products such as a technological design, performance, portfolio, or exhibit.
• Writing Intensive research projects that include multiple graded writing assignments including feedback with revisions, along with additional informal writing assignments and required library research sessions through which students locate, evaluate, summarize and apply resources related to their written work.
Candidates should be aware that the following restrictions apply with respect to fulfilling their General Education requirements:
• Credits earned in one course cannot be divided
• Credits earned toward graduation can only be counted twice for a maximum of 3 courses that satisfy both the General Education Critical and Creative Thinking across the Disciplines and/or Integrating General Education Learning requirements and the requirements within one’s major course of study (MAJ). Students completing double majors may count credits twice for each of their majors.
• Certain majors specify which courses must be taken to satisfy General Education requirements. Students should read the section pertaining to their selected major carefully before registering for classes.
Fitchburg State University Honors Program
Objectives for the Honors Program
The Honors Program provides an enriched, stimulating set of courses for the best-prepared and most qualified students. Students will be admitted to the program in the freshman year. Students may also apply for admission into an Honors minor in the freshman or sophomore years.
The Honors Program emphasizes the following skills and areas of expertise: conceptual and applied knowledge; communication, collaboration, and organization; problem solving and synthesizing; initiative and creativity; ethical reasoning, and citizenship and service. Students are expected to apply their learning in both the college and the larger community. A GPA of 3.3 must be maintained to continue in the program.
Criteria of Invitation to the Honors Program
Freshmen students are invited to join the Honors Program based on their high school preparation, SAT scores, or documented evidence of leadership potential.
Students may also apply for entrance into the Honors Minor. Students applying for the minor must have completed at least one semester at Fitchburg State University with a GPA of at least 3.3 and must apply for admission to the Honors Director.
Curriculum for the Honors Program
Students in the Honors Program satisfy a portion of their General Education curriculum by taking at least six Honors courses (non-thesis courses), two semesters of a language, and two semesters of an Honors Thesis for a total of 30-31 credits.
Students must take at least six courses from the list below to satisfy a portion of the general education requirements.
Additonally, Honors students take two semesters of a world language and complete a two-semester Honors Thesis.
- World Language 1 3 cr.
- World Language 2 3 cr.
- HON 4990 - Honors Thesis/Project I 3 cr. and
- HON 4991 - Honors Thesis/Project II 3 cr.
The minor consists of the following courses:
Honors Transfer Students
Honors students at Massachusetts public community colleges, colleges, or universities may substitute honors courses that they have taken when joining the Honors Minor.
Major Course of Study
Candidates must choose a major course of study, either at the time of enrollment or before the end of their sophomore year. The requirements of the major vary from 33 to 63 semester hours. Students must formally apply to their major by filling out a form available from the Academic Advising Center, the Registrar’s Office or from the chair of the department.
Changing a Major or Degree Program
Students may change their major or degree program as long as they can meet the requirements for their new major. Frequently changing one’s major increases the amount of time required to complete the baccalaureate program, and not all programs (such as nursing) can accept applicants who wish to transfer to that field.
Programs having requirements for internal transfer are communications media, human services, clinical laboratory science, nursing and education.
Students who pursue a double major, or a double degree, will be allowed to use courses required within one major to satisfy general education requirements in the other major. All students receiving a Bachelor of Science in Education must also complete a major in an arts and sciences discipline.
Double major candidates
- Enroll for the second major as they did for the first
- Are assigned an advisor in each major
- Select which degree is to be granted—the bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, or bachelor of science in education—since only one degree is permissible
The academic minor is an ideal way to explore a field other than that of one’s major. Students must apply for a minor and can find the form to do this online at the registrar’s website. Students must have a 2.0 minor GPA to be awarded a minor. Some minors may require higher GPAs.
Minors are offered in American studies, African-American studies, art, art history, Asian studies, biology, business administration, chemistry, communications studies, computer science, criminal justice, early childhood education, earth systems science, economics, elementary education, English studies, French (inactive), geography, graphics, history, industrial/organizational psychology, industrial technology, international studies, Italian studies, mathematics, middle childhood educations, music, peace studies, philosophy, political science, psychology, romance languages, social sciences, sociology, Spanish, special education, studio art, theater, and women’s studies. Not all minors are available in the evening.
Although the minimum number of credits required for a minor is 15, the amounts vary significantly from discipline to discipline, as do the prerequisites. See the Undergraduate Programs section of the catalog for further information.
Fitchburg State University offers three undergraduate degrees:
- Bachelor of arts
- Bachelor of science
- Bachelor of science in education
Each degree has its own specific requirements for graduation. Students may be awarded only one degree unless they have fulfilled the provisions for a double degree.
Students wishing to earn two bachelor’s degrees may do so by satisfying the degree requirements for the two programs prior to receiving the second degree. They must earn 30 semester hours credit beyond the 120 hours required for the first degree.
Students may take advantage of a number of program options designed to help degree candidates tailor their course of studies to best suit their individual needs.
Prior Learning through Portfolio Assessment
Credit for Prior Learning through Portfolio Assessment (PLA) recognizes that some students may have acquired knowledge and skills through life experiences as well as through formal credit courses. PLA allows students the opportunity to demonstrate that their life experiences are equal to undergraduate college credit.
Students will be required to complete a noncredit course that will lead them through the process of creating a portfolio which documents the students prior learning experience as it relates to the learning outcomes for the course/s for which they are seeking credit. Credit may be awarded for academically verifiable college-level learning.
Students can earn a total of 30 credits through the PLA process.
Students must complete the PLA process within two semesters after receiving approval to complete a PLA.
If a submitted portfolio is not approved, students have one opportunity to resubmit for credit.
Note for Occupational Vocational Program Students Only:
Students enrolled in the Occupational Vocational program can also seek credit through a PLA process for verified industry-based learning from vocational institutions or related work. Students enrolled in the Occupational Vocational program can earn up to 12 credits for their vocational experiences and students can apply for these credits after completing 80 credits in the program. The 12 credits will be applied as a block if approved, and students do not have to be linked to specific courses.
Life Experience Credit Award Program
Credit for Prior Learning through Portfolio Assessment (PLA) recognizes that some students may have acquired knowledge and skills through life experiences as well as through formal credit courses. PLA allows students the opportunity to demonstrate that their life experiences are equal to undergraduate college credit. Students will be required to complete a noncredit course that will lead them through the process of creating a portfolio which documents the students prior learning experience as it relates to the learning outcomes for the course/s for which they are seeking credit. Credit may be awarded for academically verifiable college-level learning.
Students can earn a total of 30 credits through the PLA process.
Students must complete the PLA process within two semesters after receiving approval to complete a PLA.
If a submitted portfolio is not approved, students have one opportunity to resubmit for credit.
Independent study allows students to step outside of course offerings and explore a specialized area of study in a challenging and new environment. Students are encouraged to seek out independent study opportunities under the guidance and supervision of a professor in whose specialization they wish to study. A regularly offered course cannot be given as independent study. Independent study programs and the amount of credit earned from them must meet the approval of the professor, the advisor, and department chair involved, with final approval coming from the appropriate dean of the student’s major (for day students) or the associate dean of Graduate and Continuing Education (for evening students). A GPA of 2.5 is required for application. Only three credits of independent study per semester may be attempted.
Directed study can be used to offer an existing course to an individual student when the requested course is not presently being offered. A directed studies requires a 2.5 cumulative GPA, written application from student, and approval of faculty sponsor, advisor, department chair and the appropriate dean.
Study Abroad Opportunities
Through the Office of International Education, Fitchburg State University students have the exciting opportunity to study in another country. Affordable semester and summer programs are offered in several locations throughout the world, including the U.K., Australia, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Finland and Quebec, Canada. Several types of financial aid can be applied to most of these programs. Students work with the director of international education, their advisor and the Registrar’s Office to have their coursework from an overseas university approved before they leave the U.S. For further information, please contact the Office of International Education at (978) 665-3089.
CAPS: College Academic Program Sharing
CAPS allows students the opportunity to enroll in up to 30 semester hours of courses at another state college without going through formal registration procedures, thus giving them a chance to enjoy a more varied educational experience. To participate in this program, degree candidates must:
- Have attained sophomore status
- Have spent at least one semester enrolled in classes at Fitchburg State University
- Be in good academic standing
- Attain approval to enroll in CAPS from the chair of their major department prior to registering for the semester
- Contact the Registrar’s Office for approval if their major is undeclared
- File a CAPS request with the Registrar’s Office
Distance Education at Fitchburg State University provides students the opportunity to complete university coursework at a distance from the university. Distance education courses are offered either as fully online courses or as hybrid courses. Online courses are those in which 100% of the course’s instructions are conducted in distance mode. Hybrid (blended) courses are those that combine face-to-face classroom instruction and online methods, and deliver 15% of the course’s content online. Both online and hybrid courses must go through the university’s approval process. Distance education courses are offered on both the bachelor’s and master’s levels.
Indian Hill Music Center
Fitchburg State University and the Indian Hill Music Center have a collaborative agreement by which students may take private lesson instruction at Indian Hill for university credit. See department chair, Humanities, for more information.
Center for Professional Studies
The Center for Professional Studies (CPS) has offered professional development to working professionals for over a decade, collaborating with school districts, businesses and other professional groups on continuing educational needs. Fitchburg State University believes that excellence in education practice must be supported beyond the conferring of degrees or professional licensure. As such, the CPS is a key element of the university’s total strategy, providing educational opportunities to working professionals during the critical years of induction into their profession and throughout their career.
To help address this goal, the CPS offers an extensive array of high-quality professional development opportunities for educators, business people, healthcare and other working professionals. The activities of the center include graduate courses, workshops and conferences, as well as collaboration with agencies and work force groups to provide consulting and to develop custom programs as needed.
The Center is located at 150B Main Street in Fitchburg providing convenient access to the community.
Fitchburg State University Extended Campus Programs
Extended Campus Programs provide quality educational opportunities to constituents seeking professional development and/or formal study in academic degree programs offered through Fitchburg State University. Working within Graduate and Continuing Education, and collaboratively with faculty, school administrators, industry leaders, and various educational enterprises, Extended Campus Programs coordinate the delivery of undergraduate and graduate courses at off-campus locations.
Currently, Extended Campus Programs has well established collaborative relationships providing degree, certificate and professional development programs with Adult and Community Education of Martha’s Vineyard, Catherine Leahy-Brine Educational Consultants, Collaborative for Educational Services (CES), Lowell Public Schools, Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators (MAVA), NYPRO, Research for Better Teaching (RBT) and Teachers21. Additionally, professional development courses and institutes are offered through partnerships with school districts, museum schools, educational collaboratives and private entities.
Biology & Chemistry Department
- Biology majors must earn a minimum grade of 2.0 in General Biology I and General Chemistry I. If a grade below 2.0 is earned in either course, that course must be repeated before enrolling in any subsequent BIOL or CHEM classes.
- Biology majors are limited to two attempts for each of General Biology I and General Chemistry I. If Biology majors earn less than 2.0 or a W in a second attempt, they must find another major that more closely matches their skills and interests.
- Chemistry majors must earn a minimum grade of 2.0 in General Chemistry I. If a grade below 2.0 is earned, General Chemistry I must be repeated before enrolling in General Chemistry II. Chemistry majors are limited to two attempts for this course.
Behavioral Sciences Department
Behavioral Sciences, Human Services Program: Policies Governing Student Admission, Review, Retention and Dismissal, and Internship Eligibility (minimum requirements for Internships can be found in the Undergraduate Academic Policies and Procedures section of this catalog)
Admission to the Human Services Program
Students may enter the Human Services Program either by declaring it as a major upon admission to the university (as a freshman or an external transfer) or by transferring into Human Services from another major at Fitchburg State University (internal transfer, including re-admission from another major at Fitchburg State University).
Transfer into the Human Services Program necessitates a determination of suitability for a career in the human services field, which will be assessed in an interview with one or more Human Services Program faculty, and meeting the following academic standards:
- At least a 2.5 cumulative grade point average overall;
- A minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5 in all required General Education information courses taken prior to applying for the transfer: (i.e., Abnormal Psychology, Lifespan Development, and Introduction to Sociology);
- A minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5 in all Human Services core courses taken prior to applying for the transfer (i.e., Introduction to Human Services, Social and Cultural Diversity in Human Services, Research Methods in Human Service Practice, Interviewing Techniques, Group Work, Managing the Non-Profit Agency, Assessment & Intervention, Professional Issues in Human Services, Case Management); and
- Individual grades of at least 2.5 in all of the Human Services skill component courses taken prior to applying for the transfer (i.e., Social and Cultural Diversity in Human Services, Interviewing Techniques, Group Work, Assessment & Intervention, Professional Issues, and Case Management).
Students who do not meet overall GPA requirements and are still interested in transferring to the Human Services Program may still meet with HMSV internal transfer advisor to discuss methods for increasing GPA in order to meet the eligibility criteria.
Former Human Services majors who wish to be readmitted to the Program upon readmission to the university must meet the same academic standards as transfer students and may need to be interviewed by a Human Services faculty member.
Review, Retention and Dismissal
Human Services Review Committee (HSRC)
Members of the committee are full-time faculty who teach and/or advise students in the Human Services Program. The HSRC is responsible for implementing all student-related policies of the program.
All students will be subject to retention review by the Human Services Review Committee following completion of each of the skill component courses. Retention will be based upon suitability for a career in the human services field, specifically:
- A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.5 in required LA&S information courses: (Abnormal Psychology, Human Growth & Development, Introduction to Sociology);
- Skills in written and oral communication, and computer literacy, as exhibited by a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.5 in appropriate courses or by demonstration;
- A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.5 in required Human Services core courses: Introduction to Human Services, Social and Cultural Diversity in Human Services, Research Methods in Human Service Practice, Interviewing Techniques, Group Work, Managing the Not-for-Profit Agency, Assessment & Intervention, Professional Issues in Human Services, and Case Management;
- Individual grades of 2.5 or higher in the skill component courses: Social and Cultural Diversity in Human Services, Interviewing Techniques, Group Work (if taken), Assessment & Intervention, Professional Issues, and Case Management; and
- Appropriate emotional stability and interpersonal behavior, as demonstrated in classroom deportment and a minimum grade equivalent of 2.5 in supervisors’ evaluations of each of the student’s field practice (practicum) experiences (120 hours minimum).
Students whose cumulative grade point average in Human Services core courses falls between 2.0 and 2.49, and whose grade in each skill component course is at least a 2.5, will be reviewed for retention in the program, and a written remedial plan may be developed by the Human Services Review Committee in conjunction with the student.
Students whose cumulative grade point average in Human Services core courses is 2.0 or less, and students who receive a grade of less than 2.5 in a skill component course (Social and Cultural Diversity in Human Services, Interviewing Techniques, Group Work, Assessment & Intervention, Professional Issues, or Case Management) will automatically be reviewed, and a remedial plan will be developed if advisable. A student who receives less than a 2.5 in any two of these six skill component courses would be deemed inappropriate for the program and would typically be dismissed. In addition, students who fail to complete a remedial plan developed by the committee and students who fail to demonstrate appropriate emotional stability and interpersonal behaviors will be reviewed for dismissal from the program.
If a student’s dismissal from the program is warranted after review by the committee, the student will be informed in writing as to: (a) the reason for dismissal, and (b) the procedure for appeal. The Human Services Review Committee will notify the chairperson of the Behavioral Sciences Department, who will then recommend to the Dean of Arts and Sciences that said student not be retained in the Human Services Program.
Successful completion of an internship is required for graduation from the Human Services Program. Admission to the major does not guarantee a student entry into an internship. Eligibility for an internship is based upon the following requirements and criteria:
- Students must attends the scheduled meetings for internship planning and registration, and required preparatory workshop on practical interviewing and resume writing during the semester before Internship is undertaken.
- Students must complete the internship application process within the scheduled deadlines. Failure to adhere to deadlines may result in a student being denied admission to internship.
- A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.5 in: (Abnormal Psychology, Human Growth & Development, and Introduction to Sociology);
- Skills in written and oral communication, and computer literacy, as exhibited by a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.5 in appropriate courses or by demonstration;
- A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.5 in required Human Services core courses: (Introduction to Human Services, Social and Cultural Diversity in Human Services, Research Methods in Human Service Practice, Interviewing Techniques, Group Work, Managing the Not-for-Profit Agency, Assessment & Intervention, Professional Issues in Human Services, and Case Management);
- Individual grades of 2.5 or higher in the skill component courses: (Social and Cultural Diversity in Human ServicesInterviewing Techniques, Group Work, Assessment & Intervention, Professional Issues, and Case Management);
- Appropriate emotional stability and interpersonal behavior, as demonstrated in classroom deportment and a minimum equivalent grade of 2.5 in evaluations of each of the student’s field practice (practicum) experiences (120 hours minimum);
- Positive recommendations from a majority of Human Services faculty;
- No incomplete grades or unresolved failures in any Human Services core courses or electives, and no probationary status in the Human Services major;
- A minimum of 120 hours of supervised practice in field experiences (course related practica).
Students who do not meet these specific eligibility criteria for internship may request, in writing, that the Human Services Review Committee consider waiving the policy(ies) in question. Applications for waivers of criteria must be submitted at the same time as the application for internship.
Eligibility for Graduation
Students must demonstrate proficiency as human service workers by achieving a satifactory rating on the Field Supervisor’s Evaluation of Internship and a minimum grade of 2.5 in Internship in Human Services (HMSV 4780-4880 or HMSV 4890) based on the criteria established in the syllabus. Any student whose average on the Field Supervisor’s evaluation is below 2.5 and/or whose grade in Internship is within the passing range but below 2.5 will be required to meet with the Human Services Review Committee to establish a remedial plan. A remedial plan may include (but not be limited to) repeating Internship once in a future semester to receive a satisfactory evaluation and grade. In the event that a remedial plan is not appropriate, or the student does not agree to such, the student will be dismissed from the Program immediately. A student who, upon repeating the internship, again fails to attain a satisfactory evaluation and grade will be dismissed from the program.
Progress Review Policy: Communications Media Program
- It is the responsibility of all Communications Media students to meet with their advisors each semester for preregistration advisement and progress review. During that review, the student’s progress through the curriculum is discussed, with particular attention paid to whether or not the student is maintaining the 2.5 GPA or higher required to participate in the capstone internship experience.
- Any student with a GPA below 2.5 in the major who has completed the two introductory theory courses—Message Design, and Introduction to Communication and Media Studies—and the first three required courses in their concentration will be referred to the chair with the recommendation that the student be dropped from the Communications Media concentration.
- Any transfer student who has transferred nine or more credits toward the major must earn a GPA of 2.5 or higher in the first two required courses in their Communications Media concentration or be referred to the chair with a recommendation that they be dropped from that concentration.
- Students who are recommended to be dropped from a concentration may petition the chair in writing to a) switch to another Communications Media concentration (capacity permitting at the time of the petition); or b) appeal the advisor’s drop recommendation. If, with respect to (b), the chair decides to uphold the advisor’s drop recommendation, the student may appeal that decision to the Dean of Arts and Sciences.
- Students must maintain at least a 2.5 GPA in Communications Media coursework to qualify for the capstone internship experience.
- The internships are described in detail in the Communications Media Internship Handbook.
Game Design - Progress Review Policy
- It is the responsibility of all Game Design students to meet with their advisors each semester for preregistration advisement and progress review. During that review, the student’s progress through the curriculum is discussed, with particular attention paid to whether or not the student is maintaining the 2.5 or higher GPA IN GAME DESIGN COURSEWORK required to participate in the capstone experience.
- Any student with a GPA below 2.5 in the major who has completed the first five Game Design Core Requirements (COMM 1105, GAME 2000, GAME 2200, GAME 3000, and GAME 3030) will be referred to the chair with the recommendation that the student be dropped from the Game Design Major.
- Any transfer student who has transferred nine or more credits toward the major must earn a GPA of 2.5 or higher in the first two required courses in the Game Design major or be referred to the chair with a recommendation that they be dropped from the major.
- Students who are recommended to be dropped from the major may petition the chair in writing to a) switch to a Communications Media concentration (capacity permitting at the time of the petition); or b) appeal the drop recommendation. If, with respect to (b), the chair decides to uphold the drop recommendation, the student may appeal that decision to the Dean of Arts and Sciences.
- Students must maintain at least a 2.5 GPA in Game Design coursework to qualify for the Professional Capstone Requirement.
Communications Media—Theatre Performance Review Policy
- In order to be eligible to perform in Communications Media Theater Main Stage productions and/or participate in The Kennedy College Theater Festival, students must hold a minimum GPA of 2.5 and have no incompletes or grades of 0.0 from the previous semester.
- The chair of the Communications Media Department will work with appropriate offices in Academic Affairs to ascertain students’ academic records based on the above guidelines.
Stage 1 – Formal Admission to Undergraduate Teacher Preparation Programs
Students interested in teaching in all fields and levels (Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle School, Secondary, and Special Education) are admitted to a teacher preparation program only after they have completed the following requirements:
• 45-60 credits of specified content and subject area courses,
• a minimum overall GPA of 2.5,
• successful completion of the designated “core courses” for their program,
• successful completion of pre-practicum experience(s) designated for their program,
• a passing score on the Communication and Literacy Massachusetts Test for Educator
• successful completion of at least two Candidate Dispositions Assessments
(one from a faculty member and one from a supervising practitioner in a
• completion of the University’s math and reading readiness requirements,
• recognition of a list of requirements to be completed prior to student teaching,
including a criminal background check
• recommendation for admittance to the teacher preparation program by the teacher candidate’s
advisor with approval from the Dean of Education. Students denied formal admission to a
teacher preparation program can appeal to the appropriate department chair and the Dean of
Additional course work required for graduation from individual programs (Early Childhood, Elementary, Special Education and Middle Level 5-8) and certificates.
Initial teacher licensure requires knowledge of the Federal Constitution and that of the Commonwealth. Candidates may fulfill it by successfully completing one of the following courses:
• HIST 1400 United States History I
• HIST 1500 United States History II
• POLS 1000 United States Government
Stage 2 – Admission to the Practicum
Students seeking to enroll in student teaching must successfully complete the following:
• a minimum overall GPA of 2.75 and a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the major,
• successful completion of at least two Candidate Dispositions Assessments (one from a faculty
member and one from a supervising practitioner in pre-practicum course) in addition to those
completed in Stage 1,
• a passing score on the appropriate content tests of the Massachusetts Tests for Educator
• positive evaluations from all pre-practicum experiences and completion of the required field
experiences with positive evaluations by course instructors and supervising practitioners,
• positive recommendation by the faculty of the department or program.
Stage 3 – Recommendation for Licensure
Students who have successfully completed the following requirements will be recommended for licensure by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts:
• successful final review of Candidate Dispositions Assessments (at least two that have been
completed in the practicum, one by the university supervisor and one by a supervising
• successful completion of the practicum and recommendation for licensure by the university
supervisor and the supervising practitioner,
• completion and review of licensure packet,
• final review of the evidence binder,
• completion of exit survey by candidate,
• endorsement for licensure by the Dean of Education.
To apply for licensure, the candidate follows the procedure outlined on the Fitchburg State University Web site, www.fitchburgstate.edu/edunit which includes:
• submission of a Candidate Assessment of Performance (CAP) for each license and other required documents,
• print out of a completed online application form with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
• request for an official transcript from the Registrar’s office, which will verify completion of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) approved program.
Student Discipline Procedures
Should concerns regarding a candidate’s disposition, performance, or professional conduct arise, a unit review may be requested. A review can be initiated either during the stage review process or at any point between stage reviews should a candidate be deemed at-risk with regard to his or her progress toward meeting any of the stage review or program criteria. Such a review can be requested by an advisor, instructor, university supervisor, or supervising practitioner. Requests for a unit review must be made in writing to the Dean of Education. The Dean will determine the members of the convening review team on a case-by-case basis. During the review, the convening members will consider the evidence and generate options and a timeline for assisting the candidate in meeting all program requirements. Once the team has reached a decision, the candidate must be informed of the recommendations. At the end of the established timeline, the team will reconvene to examine the candidate’s progress toward his or her goal(s). A unit review could result in dismissal from a program. Program-specific criteria for dismissal for a program are set by the respective departments.
Academic Integrity Policy
Every member of the University community is expected to maintain the highest standards of academic integrity. The Department of Education follows the Academic Integrity Policy and the Code of Conduct and Disciplinary Process which is published through the Office of Student and Academic Life. For more information please read the Academic Integrity Policy on the Undergraduate Academic Policies and Procedures of this catalog.
Exercise and Sports Science Program
These policies and procedures are specific to the Exercise and Sports Science Department. Exercise and Sports Science majors are also expected to adhere to all University policies, including the Code of Conduct. Students should consult the Fitchburg State University Student Handbook for details on university wide policies.
Good Academic Standing for EXSS majors
To achieve good academic standing, students must:
- Maintain an overall cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher in all college courses;
- Maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher in EXSS courses
Minimum Grade Requirement for EXSS Courses
In addition to the departmental 2.50 GPA requirement, the following courses carry a prerequisite minimum grade of 2.0 in EXSS 1011 (Introduction to Exercise Science) and BIOL 1200 (Anatomy and Physiology I) in order to move forward in the major and register for the courses listed below:
- EXSS 2050 Functional Anatomy
- EXSS 2065 Introduction to Research in Exercise Science
- EXSS 2071 Exercise Physiology I
- EXSS 2300 Sports Nutrition
- EXSS 2400 Health Promotion
- EXSS 3000 Applied Nutrition
- EXSS 4040 Fitness Management
- EXSS 4200 Professional and Career Development
Students who do not meet the 2.0 minimum grade requirement in EXSS 1011 and/or BIOL 1200 will only be allowed to re-take these courses once in order to achieve the minimum grade requirement. Failure to do so will result in the student being unable to remain in the EXSS major.
Departmental Probation & Appeal Process
- Once 9 credits of EXSS classes have been completed, any student with a g.p.a. below a 2.5 will be put on departmental probation and will have one semester to improve their g.p.a..
- If a student on probation does not improve their g.p.a. to 2.5 or greater in the following semester they will be removed from the major. If a student does not take an EXSS class the semester after going on probation, they have one more semester to take an EXSS course and improve their g.p.a.
- A student may appeal their removal from the major one time.
- The student will be allowed to present, in writing, evidence of significant extenuating circumstances. The Student Affairs Committee will take this information into consideration and issue a recommendation to the Chair of the EXSS Department. The Student Affairs Committee may also make recommendations to the Chair regarding plans of action for students on academic probation. The EXSS Department Chair will notify the student within 3 days of the departmental ruling.
- Students who return to good academic standing after being on probation must maintain an EXSS GPA of 2.5 or higher; falling below a GPA of 2.5 in any subsequent semester will result in automatic removal from the major.
Students on probation must:
- Meet with their academic advisor before the start of the second week of each semester to review current course load and arrange periodic meetings throughout the semester.
- Utilize the many resources the university offers, including faculty, Counseling Services, Academic Coaching and Tutoring Center, TRIO Student Support Services, Career Services, and other support systems, as needed.
For information regarding University Probation please read the Undergraduate Academic Policies and Procedures of this catalog.
Inappropriate Use of Technology in the Classroom
The Exercise and Sports Science Department has established the following policy regarding inappropriate use of technology in the classroom.
- Technology includes cell phones, laptop computers, computer tablets, iPads, portable recording or listening devices.
- Inappropriate use includes the use of devices for personal entertainment, communication with people outside the classroom, or for use other than class related purposes.
It is at the discretion of the course instructor to ask a student to leave the classroom for any suspected or obvious inappropriate use of technology. If a student is a repeat offender then a formal complaint may be filed with the Dean of Student and Academic Life.
To be in good standing in the major, nursing students must achieve a minimum grade of 2.5 or better in each NURS course. A student may either fail one nursing course once or withdraw from one nursing course once throughout the entire nursing program. Sophomores who fail or withdraw from one nursing course are required to participate in 30 hours of tutoring at the Fitchburg State University Tutoring Center, as well as complete 15 hours of skills in the Nursing Lab during the following semester. Failure to comply will result in dismissal from the program. Juniors or seniors who fail or withdraw from one nursing course will be allowed to repeat that course the following semester. Failure to achieve a grade of 2.5 or better when the course is repeated will result in dismissal from the major. Any subsequent grade of less than 2.5 in any other nursing course will result in dismissal from the major.
Students will be required to take nationally normed tests throughout the curriculum and to make a satisfactory score on such tests. These tests may also count for a portion of course grades. In the last semester of the curriculum, students will be required to take a comprehensive exam and to make a satisfactory score on such an exam in order to pass the clinical component of their final nursing course. The student is responsible for testing fees associated with these exams.