Jul 24, 2024  
2018-2019 College Catalog 
2018-2019 College Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Procedures and Policies

Student Placement Testing

Northwest College is dedicated to helping students increase their levels of academic achievement. Faculty and staff want to be sure students start their college work in English and mathematics at the most appropriate level. Many students also need to build reading comprehension skills in order to be successful with college work.

Northwest College requires new students to arrive with an ACT/SAT score and/or to take the ACCUPLACER Placement Test, a computerized multiple-choice assessment instrument. A fee is charged for the ACCUPLACER test. ACT/SAT or  ACCUPLACER scores are used to place students in the correct level of English, mathematics, and reading courses. Students with an ACT/SAT score may take mathematics or English Placement Tests if they believe their ACT/SAT scores do not adequately reflect their abilities.

Visit the Registration and Records section of the NWC website for more information.

Registration Procedures

The Semester Class Schedule contains detailed information on course offerings, instructions about registration procedures, and timelines. Copies are available each semester at Enrollment Services prior to early registration.

Credit Hour

For NWC courses, one credit hour is equivalent to (1) one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester hour of credit; or (2) at least an equivalent amount of work as required in definition (1) for other activities as established by Northwest College, including laboratory work, internships, practice, studio work, and other academic work leading toward to the award of credit hours.  The NWC Curriculum Committee is charged with reviewing and implementing credit-hour standards and requirements for NWC courses.

Visit the Register for Classes section of the NWC website for more information.

Student Portal

Current students may view class schedules, register for classes, add classes, drop classes, view grades, check grade point average, update mailing address, review financial aid package, request an official copy of their transcript, or pay fees online at nwc.edu/MyNWC.

Auditing Classes

Students may audit any course. Tuition and fees are still charged. Auditing allows a student the freedom to participate and learn in a classroom setting without traditional academic requirements related to attendance, grading, and testing. No credit is given for audited classes, but they do appear on transcripts.

Class Load

The typical course load for full-time students is 14-18 credits.

Student Overload Policy. Students who want to take more than 20 hours must have a cumulative NWC grade point average of 3.0 or higher and approval of their advisor. First semester freshmen must have a cumulative high school GPA of 3.0 or higher and approval of their advisor. An overload fee is charged for each credit above 20. This fee is the per credit hour tuition in accordance with the student’s residency classification.

Course Changes and Withdrawals

Students wanting to change their original registration by adding, dropping, or withdrawing from courses, must obtain Change of Registration forms from Enrollment Services or online at nwc.edu/MyNWC. No change in registration is made until a student returns a completed form, with necessary signatures, to Enrollment Services. Forms must be returned on or before specified dates, or they will not be processed. See additional information in Refund Policy .

Students may add a class to their original enrollments for seven days from the first day of classes. Exceptions are - (1) courses worth one credit hour or less may be added upon the request of the instructor and with the approval of the division chairperson up to midterm of the course; and (2) instructors within a particular subject area are authorized to transfer students from one level to another within that particular subject area.

Students wanting to terminate enrollment must request, complete, and return an official Change of Status Form available at Enrollment Services. See the 2018-19 Academic Calendar  for dates to withdraw from college without penalty.


Final Examinations

Final examinations are scheduled at the end of each semester. Instructors have the option of giving an exam, evaluation, critique, or review, but classes will meet at the time scheduled. A student who has three or more exams falling on the same day may petition one of his or her instructors to change the day of the exam.

Repeating Courses

Students may repeat a course in an attempt to improve their grade. However, the grade earned the second (or most recent) time will be the grade of record. The most recent grade stands even if it is worse. The grade point average is adjusted accordingly, with only the latest attempt counted in the cumulative grade point average and total credits earned. The original grade remains on the transcript but is not applicable to degree requirements or computation of the grade point average.

Variable credit courses are not considered “repeats,” unless the instructor provides written certification that the course content was, in fact, repeated.

Credit by Examination

Northwest College accepts credits from testing programs such as the Advanced Placement Examination (AP), College Level Examination Program (CLEP), and credit by examination. Students may earn up to 15 hours of college credit by demonstrating competency in particular college courses. Only the academic division concerned may initiate an exception to the limit of 15 credit hours.

To qualify for these options, students must register as certificate or degree candidates at Northwest College during the semester in which they apply for the credit.

Students may not earn credit by examination in a course if they have earned credit previously in a higher level course in the subject area. Students may not challenge a course to remove a failure or to raise a passing grade they received when taking the course earlier.

Students must earn all credit by examination before midterm. For challenge examinations, the college assesses an administrative fee for each credit earned. See Alternative Credit Charges  in Costs. The Registrar notes successfully earned credit on the student’s transcript by listing the course, the credit earned, and a grade of “S” (satisfactory).

Transferability of Courses

Transfer of Credits from Regionally Accredited Postsecondary Institutions

Northwest College accepts transfer credit from all accredited institutions. Credit is accepted from all regionally accredited institutions and for some other specialized accrediting agencies. International credit may be accepted upon review by a credential evaluator.

Northwest will accept earned credit (in semester hours) from other accredited two-year and four-year colleges in the United States. Academic status at the time of admission and credits acceptable toward an Associate of Arts Degree, Associate of Science Degree, Associate of Nursing Degree, and Associate of Applied Science, or a certificate program, will be determined by Registration & Records. A maximum 49 semester hours of transfer credit is accepted toward NWC degrees.

In addition to the requirements for degree or certificate students, policies relating to transfer admissions are as follows:

  • Students must submit official copies of transcripts from each institution attended.
  • Credit is accepted from accredited institutions as listed in the American Council on Education’s Accredited Institutions of Post‐Secondary Education.
  • Transcript evaluations are completed for students who are accepted for admission. (Walk‐ins or late applicants will not be evaluated until after the add period is over.) The transcript evaluation indicates which coursework is equivalent to NWC courses as well as courses accepted under general divisions (i.e. History of Germany would be accepted as a history course even though the College doesn’t have a direct equivalent). Questions about equivalency are referred to the appropriate department for determination.
  • Only courses transferred in are listed on the evaluation and on the NWC transcript. Fifteen hours of the degree program must be completed through NWC.
  • All grades of ‘D’ or better may transfer to NWC. GPA does not transfer or add into the NWC cumulative (CUM). For those graduates who complete less than half of their credit at NWC, the previous CUM’s will be added into the CUM GPA to determine that a 2.00 GPA has been maintained.
  • NWC does not accept religion courses
  • Students may be required to submit course descriptions to prove equivalency if the content of any course is not readily apparent or a catalog is not on file with Registration & Records.
  • Credit from an institution on the quarter system is converted to semester hours (a quarter hour is two‐thirds of a semester hour). Fractions of hours are not rounded up
  • Coursework completed more than ten years ago is subject to review. All credit will transfer and will fulfill general education requirements. Prerequisite courses and courses requiring current knowledge for specialized and technical certificates or degrees will not be accepted. Students may challenge or retake these courses.
  • Students transferring U.S. Government courses from out‐of‐state will still be required to complete the Wyoming Government requirements for graduation.
  • Once a student submits an official transcript to NWC, it becomes the property of the College and will not be released to a third party. If the student wants a copy of his/her record from another institution, he/she must request it directly from the college attended. This protects the student’s rights as well as the credibility and integrity of the other institution and its transcripts.

Transfer Credits From Approved Secondary Institutions

Northwest College will award credit for various Advanced Placement (AP) subjects as indicated in the table below.

Advanced Placement Examinations (AP)

Northwest College grants college credit to students who have successfully completed Advanced Placement Examinations (AP) of the college Entrance Examination Board. To receive AP credit, students must earn the equivalent of a “C” or better (AP scores of 3, 4, or 5).

AP Examination AP Required Score NWC Equivalent Credit
Biology 3,4, or 5 BIOL 1010 General Biology I   4
Calculus AB 3,4, or 5 MATH 2200 Calculus I   5
Chemistry 3,4, or 5 CHEM 1020 General Chemistry I   5
Macroeconomics 3,4, or 5 ECON 1010 Macroeconomics   3
Microeconomics 3,4, or 5 ECON 1020 Microeconomics   3
English, Lang and Comp 3,4, or 5 ENGL 1010 English I: Introduction to Composition   3
Literature, Comp 3,4, or 5 ENGL 1010 English I: Introduction to Composition   3
Government & Politics 3,4, or 5 POLS Elective Credit 3
History/European 3,4, or 5 HIST Elective Credit 3
History/US 3,4, or 5 HIST 1210 United States History I   3
Physics B 3,4, or 5 PHYS 1110 General Physics I   4
Psychology 3,4, or 5 PSYC 1000 General Psychology   3
Spanish Language 3,4, or 5 SPAN 1010 First Year Spanish I   4

Contact the Registrar for more information.


Northwest College accepts the Subject Examinations of the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) of the College Entrance Examination Board. The college awards credit for CLEP scores at or above the minimum scores established by the college. Contact the Registrar for more information.

Challenge Examinations

Challenge Examinations-In General. Students may petition for examination in any lower division course not carrying prerequisites, except for wellness education activity courses. The college allows credit based on the testing procedure acceptable to the academic division concerned, subject to review by the Vice President for Academic Affairs. For more information, students should consult their academic advisors.

Challenge Examinations-Foreign Languages. To obtain credit in foreign languages for previous study, a student should enroll in the highest level course appropriate to the student’s skill. The student determines this by consulting with the instructor or by self-placing according to the prerequisite guidelines for each course. The college will grant credit for a lower level course automatically to a student who achieves a “B” or above in the course in which the student enrolls, provided the student has filed a petition and paid the applicable fees by midterm. A student may not earn more than 12 hours of petitioned credit in any foreign language.

Students who have previous foreign language experience but do not want to enroll in a language course at Northwest College may petition for foreign language credit through alternate means, such as a challenge examination.


Self-Acquired Competency Credit

Students may apply up to 15 hours of credit based upon self-acquired competencies toward a Northwest College associate’s degree. The college may award this credit either as

  • equivalent NWC courses; or
  • general credit in an academic area.

To earn credit for self-acquired competencies, a student petitions for credit in a particular course and submits a portfolio supporting the petition. A team of faculty reviews the portfolio, interviews the student (if necessary), and assigns appropriate credit.

The college assesses an administrative fee for each credit earned by self-acquired competency examination. See Alternative Credit Charges  in Costs. The Registrar notes successfully earned credit on the student’s transcript by listing the course, the credit earned, and a grade of “S” (satisfactory).

Contact the Academic Affairs Office for specific information.

Grading Policies

Grades for transcripts are recorded by letters and computed to grade averages by points.

A Excellent 4.0 points  
A -   3.7 points  
B +   3.3 points  
B Above Average 3.0 points  
B -   2.7 points  
C +   2.3 points  
C Average 2.0 points  
C -   1.7 points  
D +   1.3 points  
D Below Average 1.0 points  
D -   0.7 points  
F Failure 0.0 points  
UF Unassessed Failure 0.0 points  
U Unsatisfactory 0.0 points  
S Satisfactory 0.0 points  
W Withdrawn    
WI Administrative Withdraw    
I Incomplete    
N No Grade Reported      
AU Audit      

See course syllabi for the grading system used in each class.

Attendance Policy

Northwest College has an attendance policy: one clock hour of unexcused absence for each credit offered (for example, a three credit course = three clock hours of unexcused absences allowed). After the allowed absences have been taken, the instructor has the prerogative to reduce the student’s grade by one grade per absence beyond the number allowed.

Students who miss class while officially representing the college must notify the faculty member before the absence. Students are directly responsible for promptly making up all assignments, written lessons, labs, quizzes, tests, and exams. Such authorized absences merely give the individual who missed the class an opportunity to make up the work and in no manner excuse the student from work required by the instructor.

Administrative Withdrawal

Faculty may, at their discretion, request that students be withdrawn from a specific course for non-attendance or academic performance, by submitting an Administrative Withdrawal request through the HELP (Early Alert) system. The request is submitted to the Registrar who notifies the student. Students may choose to remain in the course. A grade of “WI” or “Withdrawal/Involuntary” will be placed on the student’s academic transcript if the Administrative Withdrawal is processed. There will be no refund of tuition or fees for Administrative Withdrawals received after published refund dates.

Grade Point Average

The grade point average is found by weighing the grades of A through F, by the points assigned to each grade, and multiplying the number of credit hours by the weighted grade of each course. To determine the average, the sum of all of these courses is divided by the total number of hours attempted by the student. Satisfactory grades, marked “S,” are not used in computing grade point averages. A student may repeat a course to raise a grade. Only the repeat course counts in the cumulative grade point average. The original grade remains on the transcript but is not averaged. See Repeating Courses. 

Grade Reports

NWC does not mail grade reports. Students may view and print their grades (final or midterm) online through at nwc.edu/MyNWC.

Midterm progress reports give students an opportunity to check their progress and enrollment as listed by the Registrar. Grades of “S” and “U” are usually reported at this time, although instructors have the option of giving letter grades. These grades are temporary and are not posted to any records.

Honor Rolls

Students who achieve high scholastic grades in college-level coursework are honored by being placed on one of three honor rolls.

President’s Honor Roll - students who have earned a minimum of 12 credit hours (in college-level coursework) with a 4.0 semester grade point average.

Vice President’s Honor Roll - students who have earned a minimum of 12 credit hours (in college-level coursework) with at least a 3.5 semester grade point average.

Dean’s Honor Roll - students who have earned a minimum of 6 credit hours (in college-level coursework) with at least a 3.5 semester grade point average.

Graduating With Honors

Students who meet the following criteria will graduate from Northwest College “with honors.”

  • Complete a minimum of 30 hours at Northwest College.
  • Have a minimum, cumulative NWC grade point average of 3.5 (college-level credits only).

Identification of students graduating “with honors” at spring commencement is based upon meeting the qualifications the previous fall semester. “With honors” notation on students’ permanent records is based upon final transcripts.

Incomplete Policy

The “I” notation is used only when the student, for a reason beyond the student’s control, is unable to finish the work of the course, and in such instances only when the student would otherwise have had a passing grade. An “I” must be accompanied by an “Incomplete Request Form” prepared and signed by the instructor and the student.

A student who has received an incomplete must arrange with the instructor for completion. The course must be completed by a date mutually agreed upon by the instructor and the student, but no later than one year from the date received. A student making up an incomplete grade should not reregister for the course. If the course is not completed by the deadline, it will default to an “F” grade. An incomplete cannot be changed to an audit or withdrawal.

The “Change of Grade” form will be submitted to the Registrar by the instructor when the course is completed.


General Code of Student Conduct

Northwest College faculty and students have adopted rules regarding behavior. Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the General Code of Student Conduct which is included in the Student Handbook. Get a copy of this and other student conduct codes online or visit the offices of the Vice President for Student Affairs or Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Visit the Codes of Conduct page of the NWC website for more information.

Academic Code of Conduct

Northwest College faculty and students have developed statements that clarify responsibilities for each group to ensure academic integrity and adherence to high standards of academic behavior. Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the Academic Code of Conduct which is included in the Student Handbook. Get a copy of this and other student conduct codes online or visit the offices of the Vice President for Student Affairs or Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Visit the Student Handbook section of the NWC website for more information.

Student Appeals

The Student Appeals Board hears students’ appeals on actions by the Vice President for Student Affairs (or designee) in student conduct matters and by the Vice President for Academic Affairs in academic conduct matters. The Appeals Board will also hear appeals regarding residency reclassification, exceptions to academic policy, decisions on academic dismissal, suspension, and other such matters.

Only after the student has pursued appropriate channels in disciplinary matters (see the Vice President for Student Affairs or designee) or academic matters (see faculty first, then the division chairs, then the Vice President for Academic Affairs) and remains dissatisfied with the results, may the process of appealing to the Student Appeals Board be initiated.

Visit the Student Handbook section of the NWC website for more information.

Academic Probation, Suspension, and Dismissal Policy

(Applies to degree-seeking students only)
A student in good standing maintains a cumulative GPA (CumGPA) of at least 2.0.  
Academic probation occurs when  
  • a student’s Northwest College CumGPA falls below 2.0.
Continued probation occurs when  
  •  a student on academic probation fails to raise the CumGPA to at least 2.0 but maintains a semester GPA of 2.0 or better.
Academic suspension occurs when  
  • a student on academic probation or continued probation fails to maintain a semester GPA of at least 2.0.

Academic suspension is not appealable. Available options are: a full-time student (12 or more credits) may either enroll in not more than six (6) credit hours until restoring the CumGPA to at least 2.0 or sit out one academic semester. A part-time student (less than 12 credits) may either enroll in three (3) credit hours (or one course that may exceed three credits) or sit out one academic semester.

If the student chooses to sit out one academic semester he/she would enroll the subsequent semester as “returned on probation.”

Returned on probation occurs when  
  • a student enrolls after sitting out a semester due to academic suspension.
Academic dismissal occurs when  
  • a student “returned on probation” after being placed on academic suspension fails to maintain a semester GPA of at least 2.0.

Academic dismissal permanently ends a student’s enrollment at NWC. Students on academic dismissal may appeal their status by petitioning the Student Appeals Board. See the Student Handbook for “Appeals Board Process and Procedures.”

Visit the Student Handbook section of the NWC website for more information.

Academic Amnesty

Academic amnesty is Northwest College’s policy of forgiveness for a student’s prior unsuccessful academic record at NWC. Academic amnesty permits students to initiate a new grade point average at NWC that is not affected by the previous unsuccessful record.

Students must successfully complete at least 24 additional credit hours at Northwest College before applying for academic amnesty and be currently enrolled at Northwest at the time of application. “Successfully complete” means a minimum grade point average of 2.5 GPA, with no course grade lower than “C” for 24 credit hours. Once the 24 credit-hour requirement has been successfully completed, students seeking academic amnesty may then petition in writing for academic amnesty to the Registrar. The petition shall specify the semester(s) for which amnesty is requested and such other relevant data as the student deems necessary. The student and other appropriate individuals will be notified of the decision.

If amnesty is granted, the entire previous NWC academic record will remain intact on the student’s permanent record or transcript, but that previous unsuccessful record period will not be considered for grade point average computations or for satisfying NWC graduation requirements. Students granted amnesty will have an annotation listed on their NWC transcript including an indication of exactly which portion of the record or transcript is being forgiven; and the date that amnesty was granted by NWC. Students may petition for academic amnesty only once.

Academic Exception Policy

Certain problems encountered by students may result in a request to have an exception made to an academic policy, regulation, or requirement of the college. Division chairpersons may sign for a course waiver or substitution. A student may request such an exception by writing a letter of explanation and outlining the reasons for the request. The completed letter should be delivered to the Registrar, who will then route it to the proper committee or office for consideration. The student has the opportunity to appear before the committee to answer questions relative to the request. When a decision has been reached, the student will be notified.

Graduation/Persistence Data

The following student data is provided in compliance with federal regulations. For more information contact the Vice President for Student Affairs.

Fall semester of 2013, 372 students entered Northwest College as first-time full-time degree-seeking students with 37 percent of them completing their degrees in three years.

Transferring from Northwest

Most students seeking an Associate of Arts or an Associate of Science degree plan to transfer to a college or university. Students are strongly encouraged to work closely with their academic advisor and Career & Transfer Coordinator in the Advising Center to select NWC courses that will meet requirements at the transfer institution. Students are also encouraged to contact the Registrar or Transfer Counselor/Advisor at the transfer institution to confirm requirements and determine if pre-approval of transfer courses is permitted and/or if dual enrollment is an option. Typically, all college-level courses at NWC in which a student receives a grade of “C” or better will transfer to an accredited institution.  Depending upon the student’s program of study and the transfer institutions own requirements, however, credits may transfer as electives. Transfer institutions require an official copy of your transcript. See Admission to the College  and Transfer Agreements  for information about transferring, transfer agreements and dual admissions.

Visit the Transcript Request page of the NWC website for more information.
Visit the Transfer Information section of the NWC website for more information.

Transfer Assistance

If you have any difficulties getting a course or courses transferred, call your Northwest College academic advisor or the Career & Transfer Coordinator in the Advising Center for assistance. Many problems can be resolved by submission of supporting materials. The online directory can help you locate college personnel.

Visit the Directory section of the NWC website for more information.