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    May 22, 2024  
2022-2023 Catalog 
2022-2023 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

General Academic Regulations

Course Number Guide

The course offerings at Hope College can be classified into three main divisions: lower division (100-299); upper division (300-699); and graduate division (700-899).

Competency levels are reflected in the first digit and are established as follows:

000-099 - No credit courses

100-199 - Freshman competency level

200-299 - Sophomore competency level

300-399 - Junior competency level

400-699 - Senior competency level

700-899 - Graduate level

In most departments, the second digit is used as a subdiscipline grouping. In all departments, the middle digit “9” refers to honors, seminars or independent study courses.

Glossary of Terms

Composite Major

A combination of several major disciplines especially arranged for students possessing particular educational and vocational goals.


Hope College courses require a minimum combination of 45 hours of direct instruction and non-instructional time per credit hour per semester, as defined in our Credit Hour Policy. Different course types have different combinations of direct instruction and non-instructional student work time. 

This applies to all Hope credit-bearing courses no matter the schedule, term length, or modality. An hour of direct instruction is equal to 50 minutes: a standard course meeting time. While some programs may have different requirements for instructional hours, such as those with state licensure requirements, they will not be fewer than a combined 45 hours per credit hour.  

Students should consult their course syllabi for the instructional and non-instructional requirements for each course.

Minimum Hours of Direct Instruction and Non-instructional Activities

Course Credit Total Hours of Direct Instruction & Non-instructional Activities
0.5 22.5
1 45
2 90
3 135
4 180

Approved by Hope College Academic Affairs Board February 2, 2021.


An area of concentration in one particular subject in which the students earn a fairly large number of required credits.


The fulfillment of a specified number of credits in a particular subject not in the students’ major.


The course(s) students must have completed (in some cases, with a specific grade earned) before they may take the course in question.


A course the student must take concurrently with the course in question.


The college year is divided into two semesters: a fall semester beginning in August/September and a spring semester beginning in January.

Semester Hours

Semester hours are credits. A student must complete 126 credits with a minimum grade point average of 2.00 to be eligible for a degree and the credits must be in the required and elective courses.

Zero Credit Courses

Zero-credit courses are specifically listed as zero-credit courses. Courses not listed as zero-credit will not be offered for zero credits. Courses taken for zero credits will not be retroactively changed to credit-bearing courses at any time. All academic policies applicable to credit-bearing courses are also applicable to zero-credit courses. All zero-credit courses will be graded pass-fail. If a zero-credit course is required for a major (or minor), it is an exception to the rule that courses in the major (or minor) may not be taken pass-fail. Zero-credit course options are only available to full-time, degree-seeking students in fall and spring semesters. Zero-credit course options may be available in summer terms with approval from the Registrar.

System of Grading

Students receive grades in their courses at the middle and at the close of the semester. The mid‑semester grades, designed to give students an indication of their progress, do not appear on students’ transcripts.

The system of grades is as follows:

Grade Significance Quality Points
A Superior 4.0 per sem. credit
A- Superior 3.7 per sem. credit
B+ Good 3.3 per sem. credit
B Good 3.0 per sem. credit
B- Good 2.7 per sem. credit
C+ Adequate 2.3 per sem. credit
C Adequate 2.0 per sem. credit
C- Adequate 1.7 per sem. credit
D+ Weak but passing 1.3 per sem. credit
D Weak but passing 1.0 per sem. credit
D- Weak but passing 0.7 per sem. credit
F Failure 0.0 or nothing
P Pass (Pass/Fail Option) 0.0 or nothing
I Incomplete  
W Withdrawal  
IP In Progress  
NR No Report  

Quality points, the numerical equivalent of the letter grade, are used to determine academic honors, academic warning, probation, or suspension. For example, a student receiving an A, B, C, D, or F in a four-credit semester course earns 16, 12, 8, 4, or 0 quality points respectively. The number of earned quality points divided by the number of semester credits attempted (excluding “Pass” credits and “W” grades) establishes the quality point average (GPA) of a student. A quality (or grade) point average of 2.0 is required for graduation from Hope College.

Grade Reports

Grades are reported to students by the Registrar at midterm, and at the conclusion of the semester. Only final grades become part of the official student record. Midterm grades and final grades are available to students online in


An incomplete (I) is given only when unusual circumstances beyond the control of the student prevent giving a specific grade. The “I” grade must be removed within 6 weeks after the close of the session in which the incomplete was given. If not removed within this time, the incomplete (I) becomes a failure (F). No Report (NR) grades are given when the professor has not submitted a grade. Like incomplete grades, no report grades become a failure (F) after 6 weeks. Degrees are not awarded to those students who have incomplete (I) or NR grades. Degree candidates whose record shows an incomplete (I) grade(s) or no report (NR) grades at the time of their requested degree date must apply for the next degree date.

Code for Academic Integrity

As it seeks to fulfill its mission, the Hope College community assumes that each of its members will operate with integrity and honesty, with a sense of personal responsibility, and with mutual trust and respect toward others in all facets of the life of the college. In order to apply this principle to academic life in a fair and consistent manner, the following policy has been adopted to clarify the expectations regarding conduct, and to establish a set of procedures for dealing with situations that violate these expectations.


Academic Integrity is based on the principles of honesty and individual responsibility for actions. As these principles are applied to academic life at Hope College, it follows that a student will not:

  1. Give, offer, or receive aid on examination other than that specifically allowed by the professor.
  2. Do course work in a manner that is inconsistent with the standards of conduct set forth by the professor.
  3. Falsify or fabricate data. This has particular application to laboratory work and research.
  4. Engage in conduct that destroys another person’s work or hinders another in their academic endeavors. This has particular application to computer files, library resources, and laboratory or studio work.
  5. Knowingly represent the work of others as their own. This includes, but is not limited to, plagiarism.

Plagiarism is the dishonest presentation of the work of others as if it were one’s own. Writers, speakers, musicians, artists, or computer programmers - whether students or professionals - commit plagiarism when they present, without acknowledgment, all or part of another person’s work as if it were their own. Because plagiarism violates the expectations of trust and honesty necessary for academic work in an ethical community, it is a serious offense. In addition, plagiarism undercuts the basic purposes of higher education by short-circuiting the process of inquiry, reflection and communication that leads to learning.

Plagiarism can take several forms, including but not limited to:

  • Using the exact words of another writer in part of a paper without both citation and quotation marks (or block indentation in the case of longer quotations).
  • Cutting and pasting material from internet or other electronic resources without proper citation of sources.
  • Including the paraphrased or summarized idea of another writer without acknowledging its source.
  • Accepting excessive assistance from another person in writing a paper without informing readers of the nature and extent of that collaboration.
  • Submitting for credit a complete paper or portion of a paper written by another person, no matter whether the paper was purchased, shared freely, stolen, found, or acquired by other means.
  • Submitting music, drawings, paintings, sculptures, or photographs that copy or rely closely on the work of other artists, without explicitly citing the original source.
  • Writing a computer program that is the same or closely similar to existing sources.
  • Accepting credit for a project, multimedia presentation, poster, or other assignment that draws dishonestly on the work of others.

Duplicate submission is also a violation of academic integrity, because every assignment presumes that a new inquiry and effort will produce new learning, and submitting a paper already written for another occasion subverts this learning. Submitting the same original paper for credit in more than one class in the same semester, without the expressed permission of both instructors involved, is not acceptable. Using the same paper or closely similar material from one semester to fulfill a requirement in another semester is normally not allowed without specific permission from the instructor. If students receive the same or similar assignments in a different course, they should consult with the professor about alternate assignments.

Penalties for Plagiarism

  • Recognizing that students may sometimes commit plagiarism unintentionally because they do not know the conventions of quotation, citation and acknowledgment, professors may deal with cases of plagiarism in different ways.
  • When in the professor’s judgment the student intends to do honest work but does not yet understand the conventions of academic quotation and acknowledgment, the professor may require the student to rewrite the paper, may lower the grade on the paper, or may fail the paper.
  • However, when a case of plagiarism results not from ignorance of conventions but from actions by which the writer deceives the professor about sources of words or ideas, or by which the writer tries to fulfill an assignment without doing all the necessary work, the ordinary sanction will be failure in the course.
  • Cases of plagiarism that result in a failing grade for an assignment or for a course must be reported to the Provost in order to prevent any individual from plagiarizing repeatedly and each time professing ignorance. If a student plagiarizes repeatedly, the Provost may apply additional penalties, including dismissal from the college. Provost’s Office retains records associated with plagiarism until the affected student graduates.


With the aim of maintaining and promoting integrity in the community and in a spirit of helpful concern, every member of the community is encouraged to address any perceived violations of integrity directly by confronting the appropriate party. The following procedures have been defined to ensure that apparent violations are handled in a prompt and just manner.

  1. If a faculty member observes an apparent violation of academic integrity, the faculty member should arrange an informal, private meeting with the student within one week. At that meeting, the faculty member will discuss their suspicion with the student and inform the student of the options below and of the student’s right to appeal any action taken by the faculty member.
    1. If the student has an explanation which is acceptable to the faculty member, the case may be closed with no written record or further action.
    2. If the matter is not resolved, the instructor may impose a sanction. The penalty imposed should reflect the seriousness of the violation. In the case of major violations, the faculty member may assign a failing grade in the event (test, paper, performance, etc.) or for the course. Sanctions for minor violations may include downgrading the work or assigning additional work to replace the work in question. The faculty member may also recommend to the Provost that additional on‑grade sanctions be imposed. In the event that any sanction is imposed by the faculty member, the incident and action taken must be reported in writing to the Provost (with a copy to the student) within one week of the informal meeting.
    3. If a sanction has been imposed, the student has the right to file a written appeal to the Provost, with a copy to the instructor. This appeal must be filed within one week after the student receives notification of the sanction. The Provost will then review the incident, resolve it to the satisfaction of both parties, or refer it to the Student Standing and Appeals Committee (SSAC).
    4. If the incident is referred to the SSAC, the SSAC may act on the basis of the written record, or may invite the parties to submit additional information. If the student is found to be innocent, the faculty member will be notified and any academic sanction imposed against the student will be nullified.
    5. If the student is found responsible, the Provost will decide whether to impose a non‑grade sanction. The Provost will take into account the faculty’s recommendations, any related record in the Provost’s office, and recommendations from the SSAC or the Dean of Students.
    6. If additional non‑grade sanctions are imposed by the Provost, the student may appeal these sanctions to the SSAC.
  2. All proceedings will be conducted with strict confidentiality by all those involved in the matter. Records of alleged violations resulting in innocent findings will be promptly destroyed. In cases where responsibility is established, reports from the faculty member and the SSAC will be retained by the Office of the Provost for the duration of the student’s academic career at Hope College. The record will also allow the recording of the student’s defense. All related reports shall be destroyed upon graduation. The records of a student suspended or expelled for a violation will be retained for three years before being destroyed. All provisions of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act shall apply regarding release of information from these records.
  3. These procedures shall be presented in full in the Student Handbook and the Faculty Handbook. Course syllabi should contain a reference to these procedures and detail their applications for that particular course.
  4. Faculty are encouraged to create environments conducive to fostering integrity by all. This means that proctoring examinations may be necessary in some instances, but it also calls for positive action on the part of the instructor to remove undue temptation.
  5. The Administrative Affairs Board will maintain its charged oversight of the conduct of the SSAC and will also take overall responsibility for encouraging and maintaining an atmosphere supporting academic and social integrity.

Questions about this policy may be directed to the Provost’s Office.

Hope College Classroom Recording Policy

The classroom recording policy applies to audio, still photo, and video recording of classroom lecture, discussion, laboratory, studio, and other activities by analog, digital, or future recording technology. This policy strives to recognize current norms and practice, promote student learning, differentiate between public and private space, create a safe classroom environment, respect individual privacy, provide for informed consent, consider potential consequences from distribution of such materials, and be consistent with the institutional values of Hope College. In brief, (i) students must ask for and obtain permission to record from the instructor, (ii) students may not distribute such recordings, and (iii) instructors will inform the class if recording has been permitted. Violations of this policy will be subject to appropriate grade and/or non-grade sanctions. The full policy is contained in the Student Handbook.

Academic Standing

Dean’s List: Full‑time, degree‑seeking students who have earned a semester grade point average of 3.5 or higher are placed on the Dean’s List. This list is compiled at the end of each semester. All courses must be graded before a student can be placed on the Dean’s List. No report (NR) and Incomplete (I) grades prevent inclusion in the Dean’s List. Once per semester, shortly after final grades are due, notice of the award is sent to students via email. The names of the students are published on the Hope website. The designation is indicated on the student’s transcript.

Academic Probation: A 2.0 cumulative grade point average (GPA) is required for earning a Hope College degree. A student whose cumulative GPA falls below this requirement is placed on academic probation according to the following schedule:

0-24 credits attempted - below 1.7 cumulative GPA

25-57 credits attempted - below 1.9 cumulative GPA

58-89 credits attempted - below 1.95 cumulative GPA

90+ credits attempted - below 2.0 cumulative GPA

Students may be placed on academic probation for successive semesters if there is evidence that they are making progress toward the 2.0 cumulative GPA degree requirement. Failure to make substantial progress toward the 2.0 cumulative GPA requirement may result in academic dismissal.

A student’s probation status is entered on their academic record and the student is informed by email.

Any student whose semester GPA falls below 1.3, regardless of overall GPA, will be placed on academic probation and will be required to meet with a staff person in the Academic Advising Office to discuss their academic performance for that semester.

Academic Suspension/Dismissal

A student may be dismissed from the college for academic reasons if, in the judgment of the college, the student’s cumulative and/or semester GPA is below the standards for academic probation listed above and, therefore, jeopardizes the student’s ability to earn a degree from Hope College.

Conditions which may invoke academic dismissal:

  • For first-year students: any semester GPA below a 1.3 and/or a cumulative first-year GPA of less than 1.7.
  • For second-year students and beyond: a cumulative GPA below a 1.9 and/or an academic record which does not show progress toward reaching the college’s degree requirement of a 2.0 cumulative GPA.

An email is sent to the student informing them of academic dismissal and the advisor is notified of the probation status.

A student may appeal the decision regarding academic dismissal to the Student Standing and Appeals Committee. This appeal must be made within 10 calendar days of the receipt of the notification from the Registrar.

Readmission After Academic Dismissal

A student may apply for readmission to the degree program after one semester of absence. The application for readmission must demonstrate that the student has convincing evidence (usually through course work at another academic institution) that they are ready and able to return to Hope College.

Questions regarding academic standing may be addressed to the Registrar.

Certification of Veterans

Students receiving benefits from the Veterans Administration should be aware of the following:

  1. Benefits are discontinued if a student is on academic probation for more than two successive semesters.
  2. Benefits are paid only for courses which directly apply to the student’s authorized program and for the degree requirements for that program.
  3. Benefits are paid only for courses for which credit is earned. Withdrawing from a course may affect the student’s benefits. Courses taken on an audit basis do not count toward benefit credits. Incomplete grades must be resolved within 6 weeks.
  4. Any changes in a student’s program must be authorized by the Veterans Administration.
  5. Veterans need to follow standards of progress toward the degree for which they are enrolled.

A student who is on academic probation as defined above for two consecutive semesters and/or summer terms either as a full‑time or part‑time student will not be certified by the college for continuation of VA benefits. The Veterans Administration will be notified of such action. In order to be once again eligible for certification for VA benefits, a student must raise their grade point average to an acceptable level.

Students who receive veterans benefits should keep in close touch with the Office of the Financial Aid to make sure that all requirements are met so that benefits can continue without interruption.

Hope College will not prevent individuals who have submitted a certificate of eligibility of entitlement to education assistance under chapter 31 or 33, from class participation beginning on the day they submit the certification of eligibility to the Office of Financial Aid and ending on the date payment from VA is received or 90 days after the date the institution certified tuition and fees, whichever is earlier.

Hope College will not impose any penalty, including the assessment of late fees, the denial of access to classes, libraries or other institutional facilities or require individuals to borrow additional funds because of the individual’s inability to meet their financial obligations to the college due to the delayed disbursement of funding from VA under chapter 31 or 33.

Withdrawal From College

Because of difficult situations, a student may find it necessary to withdraw from the college. They must obtain a Withdrawal Form (paper forms are available in the Registrar’s Office) and have it signed by the Dean of Students, Financial Aid, Business Services, and the Registrar. Staff in these offices will help the student navigate the withdrawal process and plan for the future. Refunds will be granted when the form is completed and submitted to the Registrar’s Office. Refund percentages by date are listed on the Student Expenses  page.

Full withdrawals from college must be completed before the full-semester course withdrawal deadline, posted on the Academic Calendar. There is no refund after the 5th week of the semester. If it is determined by college officials that a withdrawal is necessary because of extenuating circumstances (i.e. health issues, family death), a withdrawal maybe initiated through 85% of the term.

Non-Returning Students

Students who withdraw from the college after completing the semester in which they are currently enrolled must submit a Non‑Return Form to the Registrar’s Office. The form must be submitted by the drop/add deadline of the succeeding semester. Refunds will be granted when the form is completed and submitted to the Registrar’s Office.

Repeating a Course

No grade may be removed from the student’s permanent record, but if a student wishes to raise their mark in a course, they may repeat any course at Hope except the First Year Seminar. The student’s most recent grade will be factored into the grade point average calculation. The old grade will still appear on the transcript for informational purposes, but will not factor into the GPA. Grades in classes taken at other colleges do not transfer or affect students’ GPA. For this reason, students may not take a class at another college to improve their GPA.

Repeated Courses Policy for Financial Aid Eligibility - Federal regulations may limit the number of times a student may repeat a course and receive federal financial aid for that course. More information is available on the Financial Aid for Students  page.

Change of Courses

Students are urged to study the course offerings carefully before registration so that their course program for a given semester need not be changed. The following limitations are placed on changing courses:

Adding And Dropping Of Courses - Students may add and drop courses without academic penalty through the drop/add deadline, posted on the Academic Calendar. Procedures for making schedule changes are listed on the Registrar’s Office website.

Withdrawal From Courses - After the course’s drop/add deadline, courses can only be withdrawn from for a “W” grade. Students may withdraw from a course after consultation with their instructor and advisor before the course withdrawal deadline. Courses may not be withdrawn from after the deadline and will ordinarily be recorded as failures.

Pass/Fail Option

Sophomore, junior and senior students are permitted to request one course per semester to be graded as a Pass (P) or a Failure (F). Once the course has been changed to pass/fail, it may not be reversed back to a standard, graded course. Some graduate and professional schools accept only a certain number of pass/fail courses, it is recommended that a student determine that number before making this choice.

The requirements for pass/fail are:

  1. A student must be enrolled as a full‑time student (12 credits or more).
  2. A student must be at least sophomore standing (24 earned credits or more).
  3. The course designated must lie outside the student’s major or minor field and may not be a course required to meet general education components. It may not be a required course, either by the department of the student’s major or minor or by the college. Because of this requirement, students should have declared their major or minor prior to requesting that a course be designated pass/fail.
  4. Students seeking teacher certification may not take professional education courses on a pass/fail basis.
  5. The student should perform the work, and otherwise fulfill all the regular requirements of the course to the satisfaction of the instructor. The student will receive a standard letter grade for work in the course (including a midterm grade). But at the end of the semester, a “P” or “F” grade will be placed on their record. Credit is earned for P grades, but P grades do not get computed into the cumulative GPA; Failures result in no credit earned and are computed into the GPA as zero quality points.
  6. Students wishing to elect a course as pass/fail should complete the normal course registration procedures. Within the first 10 weeks of the semester, students will get permission from their advisor to pass/fail. The advisor is responsible for seeing that the course is not a degree requirement and emailing their approval to the student. It is not necessary for the course instructor to know a student is taking their class on a pass/fail basis. The student will complete the pass/fail request form before the pass/fail deadline, posted on the Academic Calendar. A pass/fail course designation may not be changed either to or from pass/fail at any time other than the period allowed for electing the pass/fail option.
  7. Students seeking admission to some graduate schools and some professional schools should ascertain the maximum number of pass/fail courses which schools will accept.

Auditing a Course

Students may register to take most Hope courses on an audit, non‑credit basis. Exceptions to this rule are courses requiring activity or performance in the Arts and Kinesiology departments. Students who desire to audit a course must contact the Registrar’s Office requesting to do so before the course drop/add deadline. Changes from credit to audit and vice versa will not be allowed after the course drop/add deadline. The fee for courses taken on an audit basis is the same as for those taken on a credit basis. Guidelines and recommendations for auditing are listed on the Registrar’s Office website.

Transfer of Credit

The standard for the acceptance of credit toward a Hope College degree from institutions of higher learning will be the accreditation of that college by its regional accrediting association. A maximum of 65 credits may be transferred from community or junior colleges. The credits for pre-approved courses with grades of “C” or better will automatically transfer. Credit in courses with grades of “C-” or below will transfer only if the student’s cumulative grade point average at the institution issuing the credit is 2.0 or above. Credits awarded are posted on the student’s permanent record. Only the credit is transferred; grades do not transfer. Students may not earn transfer credit for a course completed at Hope College.

Responsibility for submitting official transcripts to the Hope College Registrar’s Office lies solely with the student and procedures are listed on the transfer credits page.

Currently enrolled Hope students who wish to transfer credit from another accredited institution must confirm that the course is transferable prior to taking the course. The Transfer Equivalency System (TES) lists courses that have already been evaluated for transfer. Courses that are not already included in TES must be submitted for review using the online Transfer Credit Request Form. These courses are then forwarded by the Registrar’s Office to the appropriate department for review. If prior approval for courses taken at other institutions is not obtained, the college reserves the right to deny credit for any course taken at another institution.

Students intending to take a course at a school located outside of the United States (not including courses taken as part of an organized study abroad program) need to submit the international transcript to a foreign credential evaluation service. There are various organizations that provide this service. Contact the Registrar’s Office for further information.

Transfer students seeking a Hope College diploma must complete their last 30 credits on Hope College’s campus.

Student Load

The normal student load is 16 credits per semester. Students must carry a minimum of 12 semester credits of course work each semester to maintain full‑time status. Veteran students under the G.I. Bill must carry a minimum of 12 credits to be considered full‑time students and to receive maximum benefits. In order to maintain their visa status, foreign students need to maintain a minimum load of 12 semester credits.

Permission to take a heavier load of credits is based on the student’s academic record. Contact the Registrar’s Office to request permission to take:

  • More than 18 credits in a fall or spring semester
  • More than 6 credits in a summer term

Class Standing

FRESHMAN: Fewer than 24 credits earned

SOPHOMORE: 24‑57 credits earned

JUNIOR: 58‑89 credits earned

SENIOR: 90 or more credits earned

Class Attendance

Since class attendance is regarded as an essential part of the educational process at Hope College, students are expected to benefit by classroom discussions as well as by their daily text assignments. It is the student’s responsibility to present an excuse to their instructor and request make‑up privileges.

Classwork missed while students are ill or away on faculty‑approved business should be made up to the satisfaction of the instructor. Although make‑up work will not in all cases remove the full adverse effect of the absence, faculty members will cooperate with the students in their attempt to make up their loss when such absence is unavoidable. The degree of effect upon grades will vary with the nature and the amount of the work missed and must be measured according to the instructor’s best judgment. In case of excessive absences, instructors may refuse all credit for the course.

Appeals and Request for Academic Waivers

Students may seek exemption from an academic regulation by appealing in writing to the Registrar. The student must secure the approval of their faculty advisor to waive an academic regulation. If the student’s request is denied, they may further appeal the decision to the Student Standing and Appeals Committee for final disposition. Appeals must be submitted to the Chairperson of the Student Standing and Appeals Committee within 10 days after notification of the decision.

Appeal of Final Grade

If students dispute a final course grade given by an instructor, the following procedure should be followed:

  1. If the instructor is not a department chairperson, students may appeal to the department chairperson, who will act as mediator.
  2. If a chairperson’s final grade is in dispute, the senior member of their department shall act as the mediator.

The instructor whose grade has been questioned has the final decision in the matter. The grade appeal process must be initiated within 30 days of posting of the grade.

College Credit by Examination

The Hope College faculty believes that students should pursue their studies at their established level of competence. Tests are available to determine this level and Hope encourages its prospective students to investigate their use.

Credit earned by means of any credit‑bearing examination approved by the college may be used to satisfy specific general education or major requirements. If there is a Hope equivalent course indicated and if that course meets a requirement, so, too will the credit earned through an examination for credit. More information is available on the Registrar’s Office website.

The following tests are available to Hope students:

Advanced Placement (AP)

A program sponsored by The College Board. Generally credit is granted to students who received grades of 4 or 5.

International Baccalaureate (IB)

A high school degree program sponsored by the International Baccalaureate Office in Geneva, Switzerland. Generally college credit is granted for higher-level examinations where students score from 5 to 7. Credit is not awarded for subsidiary-level examinations.

College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

Credit is awarded for most CLEP Subject Examinations; no credit is granted for the CLEP General Examinations. Credit is awarded for scores which meet the guidelines established by the College Entrance Examination Board in its national norming procedures. Where possible, the CLEP Subject Examinations are equated to existing Hope courses and the examinations can be used to partially fulfill general college requirements.

Hope Departmental Examinations

Where CLEP or other nationally normed tests are not available, departmentally prepared and administered examinations may be arranged. These are not to be confused with placement exams that some departments offer. Contact the Registrar to make such arrangements.

Credit by examination has the following limitations:

  1. Examination credit will be awarded only if the student has not previously registered for the course in question at Hope or at another institution.
  2. None of the credit by examination programs approved by Hope may be used to make up failures or replace grades already earned.
  3. Credits earned by examination will be listed on the student’s record with the note that the credit was earned by examination. Grades and honor points will not be recorded. The credits, while counting toward graduation, will not be used in the computation of cumulative grade point averages.
  4. The maximum amount of credit by examination which can be applied toward the 126 credits required for graduation is 32 credits, 8 of which can be in the major area of concentration.

For further information about the testing programs, contact the Registrar.


The college awards degrees in December (at the conclusion of the fall semester), in May (at the conclusion of the spring semester) and in July (at the conclusion of the final summer term). Degree candidates must inform the Registrar of their intention to graduate in the fall prior to their graduation. Students completing degree requirements in any summer term will be considered to be July graduates. All degree candidates for degree dates above are encouraged to participate in the May commencement. Degrees are not awarded to students who have incomplete (I) or no record (NR) grades. Diplomas will be withheld for students who have past due accounts. More information about degrees and diplomas is available on the Registrar’s Office website.

Graduation Honors

Graduation honors for Hope’s Bachelor’s degrees, conferred upon those who have met all the requirements for the degree, will be conferred as follows:

SUMMA CUM LAUDE: Cumulative grade point average of 3.90 or higher

MAGNA CUM LAUDE: Cumulative grade point average between 3.70 and 3.89

CUM LAUDE: Cumulative grade point average between 3.50 and 3.69.

Student Records: Statement of Policy

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA, also known as the Buckley Amendment) was passed by Congress in 1974 to protect the confidentiality of students’ records and information.

Hope College’s policy on student records incorporates the rights guaranteed by FERPA. Students are notified of their FERPA rights annually through publication of the rights in this College Catalog and the Student Handbook. Questions about the policy should be directed to the Registrar’s Office.

What rights do students have through FERPA?

  • The right to inspect and review their education records.
  • The right to request to amend their education records.
  • The right to limit disclosure of personally identifiable information (information that would directly identify the student or make the student’s identity easily traceable) known as directory information.
  • The right to file a complaint with the Department of Education concerning an alleged failure by the institution to comply with FERPA.

When do FERPA rights begin?

Students’ FERPA rights begin at Hope College when admittance is accepted by payment of enrollment deposit.

What are “education records”?

Education records include any information directly related to the student whether stored on paper or in an electronic file, on a computer or other media (microfilm, CD, etc.).

What is “Directory Information”?

Public, or Directory Information, is information contained in students’ educational records which would not be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if the information were disclosed. Public or directory information includes:

  • Name
  • Addresses: local, permanent, e-mail
  • Name of parent or guardian
  • Previous school(s) attended
  • Dates of attendance
  • Awards and honors received
  • Degree(s) awarded and dates of degree(s)
  • Majors and minors
  • (for athletes) Statistics (weight, height, etc.) included on team activity sheets
  • Photograph (official Hope College ID photo)
  • Class standing (freshman, sophomore, junior, senior)
  • Enrollment status (full-time or part-time)

Unless students request in writing that this public (directory) information be withheld, directory information is available to others. Hope College exercises restraint in the release of this information and keeps students’ welfare in the forefront as it determines whether to release directory information.

Can students withhold the release of Directory Information?

Yes. To withhold the release of directory information students must submit a request in writing; forms are available in the Registrar’s Office.

Hope College is required by law (the Solomon Amendment) to provide the name, address and other demographic information of all students to any legitimate military recruiter who makes such a request in writing to the Registrar’s Office. According to the Solomon Amendment, this release must be honored even if a student has submitted a request to withhold directory information.

What information is considered confidential?

Except for directory information, other information collected and stored about students is considered confidential. The confidentiality of this information is guaranteed to students.

Under what circumstances can confidential information be released to others?

  • Confidential information can be disclosed to Hope College faculty and staff who have a legitimate educational interest.
  • Confidential information can be disclosed pursuant to a court order or subpoena.
  • Confidential information is disclosed to the National Student Clearinghouse (for financial aid purposes only).
  • Confidential information can be disclosed to protect the safety of the student or the safety of others.

In other circumstances, confidential information can be released to others only with the written consent of the student.

Students have the right to file complaints concerning alleged failures by the College to comply with the requirements of the Act. Such complaints should be addressed to:

Family Policy Compliance Office
Department of Education
400 Maryland Ave. SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-5901

Name Changes on Academic Records

Name changes are processed only for currently registered students.

In order to process a name change, proof of the name change must be submitted before the request will be processed. Valid sources of proof are: marriage license, court papers, or a driver’s license with the new name appearing.

This documentation should be brought to the Registrar’s Office to request a name change.

Transcript of Academic Records

Transcripts are available from the Registrar’s Office. There is no charge for official paper transcripts or unofficial transcripts. Official electronic transcripts incur an online convenience fee from the vendor who delivers the transcript.

In order to insure the confidentiality of our students’ records, transcripts will be released only upon the written request of the student. The transcript will normally be sent within two business days of the written request.

Official transcripts will be withheld if the student has a past due account with the college.


Hope College is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, 230 S. LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500, Chicago, IL 60604 (800-621-7440). Hope has program accreditation or approval from the following accrediting organizations:

Hope College’s teacher education programs are approved by the Michigan Department of Education. The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) recognizes the Education Department at Hope College as a nationally accredited program. CAEP, 114019th Street NW, Suite 400, Washington DC 20036. This accreditation covers all preparation programs. The college maintains membership in the Michigan Association of Colleges of Teacher Education.

Complaint Policy

As stated in our Virtues of Public Discourse, “Hope is an educational community whose mission is vitally informed by the historic Christian faith, and in which all individuals are, as a matter of deeply held principle, treated with the respect due them as God’s creatures.” Students are encouraged to engage in the Virtues at all times and particularly when they find themselves in situations that may involve conflict. The virtues encourage direct communication and informal resolution whenever possible. Many issues may be resolved when one makes an appointment with a faculty or staff member and communicates their concerns. For matters where a resolution cannot be reached, an individual may file a complaint.

For purposes of the complaint process, Hope College considers an individual to be a student when an enrollment deposit has been paid and thereafter until any of the following occur: Conferral of degree, Non-Return/Withdrawal Form submitted, or, for non-degree seeking students, 30 days following posting of final grades.

  • A complaint (defined as a statement of dissatisfaction or discontent with a Hope College employee, office, or department) shall be in writing (preferably using the Complaint Form)
  • Other stakeholders (e.g., parents, community members, alumni) may use the Complaint Form to submit a complaint, providing their contact information in the student information section.
  • Please be assured that no adverse action will be taken against a complainant.
  • This process is not to be used for the following:
  • Code for Academic Integrity appeals (please contact the Provost’s Office)
  • Grade appeals (please contact the Department Chair)
  • Appealing a Student Conduct decision
  • Appealing an Equal Opportunity, Harassment and Nondiscrimination Policy decision (please contact the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Coordinator)
  • Providing a general Suggestion for Improvement
  • Individuals should report complaints promptly and include a short and concise statement of all the relevant facts and the remedy you are requesting so that an inquiry may be completed and resolution achieved.
  • The Associate Dean of Students is available to provide support and guidance as necessary when composing the Complaint Form.
  • The complainant will receive a confirmation email upon successful submission.
  • The Associate Dean of Students reviews each Complaint Report to determine appropriate referral. This will be done in conjunction with the Ombudsperson. Referrals will be made within appropriate areas of concern (e.g., Academic to Provost’s Office and staff to Human Resources).
  • Every effort will be made to assign the Complaint Report with attention to fairness, discretion, and lack of bias.
  • Within ten (10) business days of the receipt of the Complaint Report, the Associate Dean of Students will advise the complainant in writing either that: a) the complaint has been referred for an inquiry and resolution and to whom the complaint was referred, or b) that the complaint has been dismissed and the rationale for dismissal).
  • The person to whom the inquiry has been referred has twenty (20) business days from the date of referral to address the complaint.
  • During the inquiry and response process, the administrator will communicate directly with the complainant to gain their perspective on the situation and/or provide updates.
  • If the subject of the Complaint Report is a specific person, the administrator will also contact the person to gain their perspective on the situation.
  • If the subject of the Complaint Report is a department or organization, the administrator will contact the appropriate representative (e.g., department head) to gain their perspective on the situation.
  • At the conclusion of the inquiry, the administrator will notify the complainant and the Associate Dean of Students in writing of the inquiry and response.
  • The Associate Dean of Students may extend the inquiry period beyond twenty (20) business days by notifying, in writing, the complainant and the subject of the Complaint Form.
  • A complaint may be dismissed without further action if the complainant fails to cooperate in the inquiry.
  • Outcomes of the inquiry may include, but not be limited to:
  • Modification of process(es)
  • Additional training
  • Recommendation of independent investigation
  • A flowchart of the Complaint Process is available here.

The Associate Dean of Students will prepare an annual complaint report for the President and members of the Administrative Council that depicts trends. All data will be anonymized prior to reporting.

*NOTE: Dr. Sonja Trent-Brown, Chief Officer for Culture and Inclusion, serves as the college’s Ombudsperson and provides space for students to express concerns or ask questions about institutional policies and practices. Dr. Trent-Brown serves as an impartial representative for Hope College with regard to the student complaint procedure.