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Academic Standing

A student in good standing is defined as a student who is not on financial hold or carrying past due balances, who is continuously enrolled each semester or on an approved leave of absence, who maintains a minimum GPA of 2.0 and the proper course load (without incompletes), and who is not on probation.

Academic Warning
A student who has a cumulative GPA or a single semester term GPA between 1.5 and 2.0 at the end of any semester will be given a warning notice.
Academic Probation

A student will be placed on probation if s/he:

  • has a cumulative GPA of less than 1.5 at the end of any semester
  • has a cumulative GPA of less than 2.0 for two consecutive semesters
  • has a term GPA of less than 1.5 at the end of any semester
  • has a term GPA of less than 2.0 for two consecutive semesters
  • has a GPA of less than 2.0 in clinical nursing courses during the junior year
  • has failed a required clinical course
Dismissal from the School of Nursing

A student may only attempt to take a course two times. A student will be dismissed from the School of Nursing for reasons as outlined in the “course failure” and “course attempts” sections of the BSN Handbook.

Students may exceed no more than two consecutive semesters on probation. After the second consecutive semester on probation, students will be dismissed from the School of Nursing if their academic performance continues to fall within probation standards as outlined in this handbook.

A student may be dismissed from the School of Nursing for lack of academic progress, as outlined in “completion of program” section of the BSN Handbook.

Course Attempts

Students may only attempt to take a course two times. Students that withdraw from a course after initially failing the same course may be dismissed from the School of Nursing. Additionally, students who fail a course after initially withdrawing from the same course will be dismissed from the School of Nursing


Course Failure

If a required course is failed, it may be repeated one time.  Any courses for which the failed course is a prerequisite may not be taken until the failed course is successfully completed.  If an elective or sector course is failed, the same course or an equivalent course must be taken and successfully completed.  The F remains on the transcript and is always calculated into the grade point average, even after the course is retaken and passed.  Students will be dismissed from the program if they fail a required course a second time.

Failure in Non-Clinical Nursing Courses
Students who fail required, non-clinical Nursing courses will be reviewed by the Academic Standards and Progressions Committee.  Remedial actions may be required, at the discretion of the course director, before the student can re-take the course.  In addition, the student must meet with his or her advisor to revise the plan of study. 
Failure in Clinical Nursing Courses

Combined Theory and Clinical Courses: Students must pass the theory, clinical, and lab portions of the clinical course in order to pass the entire course and progress into the following clinical course.  Students who earn less than a C- in a required clinical course will receive an F and will be required to repeat the course.  Students who receive an F in a clinical course must repeat and successfully pass that course in order to progress into other clinical courses.  A remediation plan (including the Course Faculty and the Office of Student Services) must occur before any course is repeated.   A second F in any clinical course will result in dismissal from the program. 

Separate Theory and Clinical Courses: Students who earn less than a C- in either the theoretical or clinical component of a required clinical nursing course will receive an F and will be required to repeat the course.  A remediation plan (including the Course Faculty and the Office of Student Services) must occur before any course is repeated.  A second F in any clinical course will result in dismissal from the program.

Failure Due to Unsafe Clinical Practice

Students will receive an F in a clinical course if, at any point, they fail to meet objectives for the clinical portion of the course or if they are removed from the clinical setting for unsafe practice during the course. 

Practice is determined to be unsafe if, due to student knowledge deficits, lack of effective clinical decision making, failure to appropriately monitor patient’s condition and respond appropriately (clinician notification and direct care actions), or inappropriate communication, a patient is harmed or very likely to be at risk for harm. Unsafe practice is also related to the appropriate level of supervision that can be provided to support student learning and practice. Students in more advanced stages of their curriculum at both the undergraduate and master’s level are expected to be able to practice safely with decreasing levels of direct faculty and preceptor supervision. Other factors contributing to an assessment of unsafe practice include falsified documentation, failure to communicate truthfully and aggressive/ non-collaborative interpersonal communication patterns.

Students who receive an F for unsafe practice in a clinical course may not drop or withdraw from that clinical course.  The Academic Standards and Progressions Committee will also define the conditions under which the student may be allowed to progress to further clinical courses.  Please see the Grievance Policy for more information.  A second F in any clinical course will result in withdrawal from the program.


Science GPA

A minimum science grade point average of 2.0 is required for entrance into Nursing 215 – Nursing of Women and Infants and junior level clinicals. 

In the BSN Curriculum, courses calculated into the science grade point average for progression into Nursing 215 include:

Nursing 61             Biologically Based Chemistry

Nursing 62             Cellular Biology

Nursing 63             Microbiology

Nursing 65             Fundamentals of Nutrition

Nursing 68             Integrated Cell Biology and Microbiology

Nursing 163          Integrated Anatomy, Physiology, and Physical Assessment I

Nursing 164          Integrated Anatomy, Physiology, and Physical Assessment II

Students who fail a required science course will be reviewed by the Academic Standards and Progressions Committee and will be required to re-take the course and earn a passing grade in order to progress to subsequent courses.  In addition, they must meet with their faculty advisor and/or the Office of Student Services to plan a revised course of study.  Students who earn a D in a science course will also be reviewed by the Academic Standards and Progressions Committee for a plan of action.

At the end of the second semester of the sophomore year, science GPAs will be reviewed again.  Students with a science GPA below 2.0 will be reviewed by the Academic Standards and Progressions Committee to determine an appropriate course of action.  Students with a science GPA below 2.0 may be asked to withdraw from the School of Nursing.

Requirements for Clinical Courses

In order to enter the first clinical nursing course, Nursing 215, students must have completed the following pre‑requisites:

Nursing 61, Nursing 62, Nursing 63, Nursing 65, Nursing 101, Nursing 102, Nursing 103, Nursing 163, and Nursing 164

Students must also have a minimum of a 2.0 GPA in order to enter Nursing 215 and in order to progress into junior level clinical courses.

Course Incompletes

Incomplete in Non-Clinical Courses

A student who fails to complete a course within the prescribed period and does not withdraw from the course or change his or her status to auditor will receive, at the instructor’s discretion, either a grade of I (incomplete) or F (failure).

A grade of incomplete is assigned by the instructor only under the following conditions:

  • The student has academic good standing in the course with a passing grade average.
  • The student has no more than two outstanding course requirements unmet in the course.
  • The student and instructor have completed a Learning Plan to Achieve Complete Course Work (see appendix).
  • The student and instructor have an agreed date of submission for all outstanding course requirements. This date is no later than the end of the academic term that follows the term in which the grade of incomplete is assigned.

These conditions must be conveyed to the Office of Student Information via email and approved by the Assistant Dean or her/his designee before the grade of incomplete is assigned. Except in unusual and extreme situations, the “I” must be removed within the following academic term. Only with the approval of the Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs or the Associate Dean for Academic Programs, the instructor may permit an extension of time up to one year for the completion of the course. Incomplete extensions must be accompanied by a written faculty approval on file with the Office of Student Information. Any grade of incomplete which remains after one calendar year from date of assignment becomes a grade of F.

Incomplete in Clinical (Theory and Practice) Courses

A student who fails to complete a clinical (theory or practice) course within the prescribed period and does not withdraw from the course, will receive at the instructor’s discretion either a grade of I (incomplete) or F (failure).

A grade of incomplete is assigned by the instructor only under the following conditions:

  • The student has academic good standing in the course with a passing grade average.
  • The student has clinical good standing in the course with no record of clinical practice errors risking patient safety in the course.
  • The student has no more than two outstanding course requirements unmet in the course.
  • The student has completed the majority of any required clinical hours (e.g. more than 50% of clinical hours are completed) in the course.
  • The student and instructor have completed a Learning Plan to Achieve Complete Course Work (see appendix).
  • The student and instructor have an agreed date of submission for all outstanding course requirements and

completion of any outstanding clinical hours. This date is no later than the end of the academic term that follows the term in which the grade of incomplete is assigned.  These conditions must be conveyed to the Office of Student Information via email and approved by the Assistant Dean or her/his designee before the grade of incomplete is assigned.

The grade of incomplete may be carried on the student’s transcript only until the end of the following term. Carrying this grade beyond that time holds severe implications of failure to progress to next term with delay in the student’s academic and clinical progression of an academic term or full academic year. Any extensions of work toward an incomplete past the end of the following academic term must be reviewed and approved by the Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs or the Associate Dean for Academic Programs.

Any grade of incomplete for a clinical course which remains after the end of the academic term following the one in which it was assigned becomes a permanent incomplete grade designated by the mark F* on the student’s record. A permanent incomplete requires registering and retaking the entire clinical (theory or practice) course in its entirety to complete the degree for which the clinical course is required. The permanent grade of incomplete is not counted toward any other degree should the student elect a change or major or track.


Completion of Program

All degree requirements must be completed within a five-year period after admission to BSN degree standing.  Candidates who are unable to meet this requirement must petition for an extension.  Any additional requirements in effect at the time of re-evaluation must be completed.

Residency Requirement

At least four semesters of full-time study must be completed in Philadelphia while enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania. The value of the Penn experience lies not only in courses taken but also in participation in the life of the University community both in and outside the classroom. Students must also be registered for their last two semesters at the University, including registration through its approved programs for study abroad.

No student may graduate with a BSN from the University of Pennsylvania unless he or she has completed at Penn at least one-half of the total number of required credit units.

Academic Standards and Progressions Committee

All matters of academic discipline are acted upon through the Academic Standards and Progressions Committee of the School of Nursing. The Academic Standards and Progressions Committee meets three times a year at the close of the fall, spring, and summer semesters, and as needed, to rule on specific academic problems. The cases of students with academic concerns are presented to the Academic Standards and Progressions Committee for action. Committee deliberations may result in issuing a warning, placing the student on probation, or withdrawing the student from the School of Nursing. Students will receive a letter informing them of the Committee’s decision and outlining the required course of action.  A copy will be sent to the student’s faculty advisor.

Other academic problems may be brought to the Academic Standards and Progressions Committee for action. A student must petition the Committee in writing, describing the situation, and may be asked to present his or her case at the Committee meeting. The petition should be submitted to the Assistant Dean for Academic & Student Affairs.

The Academic Standards and Progressions Committee is the highest ruling body in the School of Nursing. The Academic Standards and Progressions Committee reserves the right to make decisions in the best interest of the student and the School of Nursing.

Curricular Petitions

Students in single-degree programs should address their petitions to their home schools.  Dual-degree students should address their petitions for degree requirements to the school(s) whose degree requirements are affected; in some cases, a petition to both schools will be required.  All other petitions for exceptions (e.g. late drop, late add, late withdrawal) should be submitted to the home school.

Athletes

Athletes must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 and complete the necessary number of course units and percentage of degree required each academic year, as outlined by NCAA and University of Pennsylvania regulations, to be able to compete in intercollegiate sports.  Questions should be directed to the School of Nursing athletic eligibility officer at 215-898-6687.