Chatham University

Academic Guidelines

The following are general guidelines for all undergraduate and graduate programs. More specific academic regulations are available from the program director of the relevant graduate program.

+Academic Calendar

The 2018-2019 calendar for each school will consist of two primary 15-week semesters, as well as a 15-week summer semester. Each semester may also include multiple sessions of seven-week duration. A supplemental calendar may be produced for the Summer Semester or other. Click here for a complete calendar for this academic year.

+Academic Credit

A credit hour is the unit of academic credit for all courses. One credit hour is the equivalent of one semester hour. Credit hour graduation requirements are specified by each degree program.

Basic Formula for calculating Credit Hours

The Pennsylvania Department of Education State regulations indicate the following:

One college semester credit is defined as 14 hours of classroom instruction. A three-credit semester based course would need to meet for 42 hours or rigorous college classroom instruction over the semester. The academic requirements the hours of classroom instruction cannot be calculated to include exams (i.e., final exams). A typical semester course meets for 14 weeks of instruction, after which the final may be given in the 15th week.

In alignment with this regulation, Chatham University has adopted the Credit Hour as the unit measure of instruction for awarding credit. Therefore, a credit hour is equivalent to one hour of classroom instruction (50 minutes) with a normal expectation of two hours of outside study for each class session.

Chatham also adheres to the Federal standard of total expectation of total learning hours in a semester regardless of the time frame for delivery.

+Academic Overload


A schedule of more than 19 credit hours in any one semester is considered an academic overload. If a student with a GPA below a 3.0 enrolls in more than 19 credits, they will receive an academic review by their advisor and academic dean. As a result of the academic review, a credit load reduction may occur. Enrolling for more than 21 credits is considered financial overload. Students on financial overload will be charged additional tuition for every credit in excess of 21 credits at the University's current per credit rate for undergraduate students. Please see the tuition and fee schedule for the current academic year rates.


Unless otherwise specified, a student pursuing a graduate degree who is registered for more than 12 (19 for MPAS, MSBIO, MOT, and DPT) credits in any one semester is considered to be on academic overload. To qualify for such an overload, a student must be in good academic standing with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or above and have signed approval from the Program Director and appropriate academic dean. Academic overload is determined by the total number of credits for which a student is registered during one semester, irrespective of whether the student is enrolled in a master's program, integrated degree program, or dual master's degree program.

+Class Standing - Undergraduate

Class standing is determined by the number of credits earned at Chatham or transferred to Chatham.

0-14 credits First-Semester, First-Year Student
15 – 29 credits Second-Semester, First-Year Student
30 – 44 credits First-Semester Sophomore
45 – 59 credits Second-Semester Sophomore
60 – 74 credits First-Semester Junior
75 – 89 credits Second-Semester Junior
90 + credits Senior

+Course Substitutions

All students must fulfill the minimum program credit requirements. Substitutions for graduate courses can be considered via completion of a Course Substitution Form which is to be approved by the appropriate department chair or program director and academic dean. Substitutions for undergraduate courses can be considered via completion of a Course Substitution Form which is to be approved by the appropriate academic advisor and the department chair/program director.

+Dual Degrees/Integrated Degree Programs


Well-qualified students have the opportunity to earn a bachelor's degree in the major of their choice along with a master's degree at Chatham in as few as five years. Undergraduate students who expect to participate in an integrated degree program must complete all general education requirements for the baccalaureate degree as well as fulfill all prerequisites and/ or competencies. Students may not begin taking graduate level courses for the integrated degree until they have been fully admitted into a graduate program. Students will not be enrolled in their graduate program until they have completed a minimum of 108 undergraduate credits, keeping in mind their remaining 12 credits of undergraduate coursework will count towards both degrees.In order for some students in select programs to maintain adequate degree progression, students may be given permission to fulfill their remaining 12 credits of undergraduate coursework at the graduate level prior to their last semester.

It is the student's responsibility to apply for degree conferral for their undergraduate degree during the semester in which he/she is completing the final 12 undergraduate credits, and this conferral must occur prior to their graduate conferral. These degrees will not be simultaneously awarded.


Students may enroll concurrently in two master’s programs or consecutively in multiple programs or certifications by separate application to each program based on the following guidelines:

Some graduate courses are equally applicable to two or more graduate programs. Chatham graduate students can apply relevant courses to two masters' degrees under the following circumstances:

  • Credits must be approved by the Director of the program where credits are being sought;
  • Each student must complete at least 30 graduate credits that are unique to that program. In cases where a student is completing two master's degrees that each require 30 credits for completion, a maximum of six credits may be counted toward both degrees.
  • The program director accepting the credits must ensure that the program of study remains consistent with quality standards for that profession or discipline. In no circumstance will a program director permit acceptance of credits to compromise applicable licensure, certification, or accreditation standards.
  • Students who have already earned a master’s degree from Chatham may apply credits toward a second master's degree at Chatham according to the above guidelines only if they obtained the first degree within four years prior to the semester in which they begin their course of study for the second degree.
  • Students may not enroll in more than two master's degree programs simultaneously.
  • Credits from one course may not be applied to more than two degrees. (Credits applied to both an undergraduate degree and graduate degree may not be applied to a second undergraduate or graduate degree).

+Graduate Courses for Undergraduate Credit

Qualified, matriculated, undergraduate students with senior class standing not enrolled in an Integrated Degree Program may receive permission to take up to six credits of 500-level graduate courses relevant to their program of study. Students must receive permission from their undergraduate academic advisor, from the appropriate graduate program director, and from the appropriate academic dean. The student is expected to perform graduate-level work. These graduate credits count toward the undergraduate degree and may not be applied to a graduate degree or program.

Students enrolled in an Integrated Degree Program are permitted to take a maximum of 12 graduate level credits which may be counted towards both the undergraduate and graduate degrees simultaneously. A student will have to complete a Course Substitution Form to have these credits to count for a major requirement.

+Independent Study

A student may register for only one independent project per semester. Independent study options are available in all academic programs. Credit values for independent study are one, two, three, or four credits. An application for an independent study must include a correctly labeled current syllabus. Additionally, the nature, frequency, mode and documentation of contact with the supervising faculty member should be explicitly defined, and the number of credit hours associated with the study should be justified.


Up to 18 credits of independent study may count toward the 120 credits needed to graduate.


Graduate independent studies may only be available and approved after a consultation with appropriate Program Director.

+Statute of Limitations

Undergraduate students enrolled in the RN-BSN Program are required to successfully complete all degree requirements within eight years after the starting date of their first enrolled core required RN-BSN course. A student with extreme circumstances may submit a time-sensitive statute of limitations appeal to the Nursing Program Director and Nursing Academic Advisor. Extensions must be sought prior to the eight year limit expiration.

Graduate Students enrolled in a graduate program are required to complete all degree requirements within five years for a two year program and within eight years for a four year or longer program after the date of first enrollment in the program. Students are advised to review their program handbook for additional polices regarding the statute of limitations. A student with extreme circumstances may submit a time sensitive statute of limitations appeal to the appropriate Program Director and faculty advisor. Extensions must be sought prior to the five- or eight-year limit expiration.

+Summer Study

Many of the competency-based and prerequisite courses for graduate programs at Chatham are scheduled during summer semesters. Additionally most of the graduate programs at Chatham University are 12-month programs, with curricular progression designed to include summer studies.