General Academic Information
Letter grades are assigned at McCormick as follows: A, outstanding; B, good; C, satisfactory. Each grade may be given with a plus or minus added. Grade point averages are calculated on a three-point scale as follows:
A+ 4.00 B- 2.75
A 4.00 C+ 2.25
A- 3.75 C 2.00
B+ 3.25 C- 1.75
B 3.00 F 0.00
The D.Min. degree requires a 3.00 average. A student with a grade point average below 3.00 is not making satisfactory progress. Doctoral level courses completed at other institutions may be accepted by transfer if the course work undertaken relates directly to the learning objectives of the student’s D.Min. program at McCormick.
Full Academic Load
A full course load for students in the D.Min program is three courses, including work on the thesis, during an academic year.
An Independent Study may be negotiated with a member of the Seminary faculty. Except in extraordinary circumstances, an Independent Study may not be substituted for a course that is included in the Doctor of Ministry course offerings. The Dean of Doctor of Ministry Programs must approve an Independent Study in advance; the contract must be filled out fully by the student and the faculty member, signed by both, and sent to the D.Min. Dean for approval. Independent Studies at the D.Min. level must taken for letter grade and are subject to the same standards as regularly-offered courses.
Students and graduates who wish to receive unofficial copies of their transcripts or who wish to have official transcripts sent to other institutions or agencies may apply in writing to the Registrar. Telephone and e-mail requests will not be honored. Transcript request forms are available through the Registrar’s office. The first transcript is provided at no charge. Each additional transcript is provided at a charge of $5. Transcripts on demand or walk-ins will be charged $10. Official transcripts will not be issued until the student has met all financial obligations to the Seminary.
Degree candidates are expected to maintain an adequate qualitative level of work and to make progress sufficient to complete the degree in the statutory time allowed unless special permission for a slower rate of progress is given. The Seminary will honor the academic requirements in force at the time of matriculation for a particular degree program for the length of these time limits, after which any new requirements must be fulfilled.
The time limit for the Doctor of Ministry degree is five years. Students who do not complete the D.Min. program within the five-year time limit may petition the Dean of Doctor of Ministry Programs in writing for a one-year extension. A D.Min. student requesting an extension must present an intentional plan to move toward completion of the Doctor of Ministry program within an established time frame. The plan must show evidence of active work on the Thesis in the Practice of Ministry and registration for any courses needed to complete the nine other units of credit required for the degree. An annual continuation fee of $400 is charged to all D.Min. students who are granted a program extension. All course work must be completed within 10 years of matriculation into the program. The D.Min. degree requires a 2.00 average on a three-point scale. A student with a grade point average below 2.00 is not making satisfactory progress.
Leave of Absence Policy
Students who find it necessary to take time away from studies should submit a request for a leave of absence to the Dean of Doctor of Ministry Programs, stating the reason and expected duration of the leave. A leave of absence may be granted for no more than one year at a time. At the end of the leave of absence, students must resubmit their statement of learning goals. Time while on a leave of absence is not included in calculation of the five-year program limit nor in calculation of the continuation fee. If a student needs additional time away from the program, he or she may voluntarily withdraw from the program and reapply for admission when ready to resume studies.
Voluntary Withdrawal from the Program
A student who, for any reason, wishes to withdraw from the Doctor of Ministry program may do so by petitioning the dean of Doctor of Ministry Programs. All fees must be current before a withdrawal request will be granted. In the case of a voluntary withdrawal, a student may reapply in the future and be considered without prejudice.
All degrees are voted by the Board of Trustees on the recommendation of the faculty. The faculty explicitly reserves the right to determine whom it will recommend for any degree, taking into account not only the candidate’s fulfillment of minimum course requirements but also the quality, coherence, and integrity of the student’s program as a whole as indicated by the reports of the assessments.
Students expecting to graduate will fill out an application for graduation and pay the established graduation fee prior to the spring semester of the year of graduation. To be eligible to graduate, degree candidates are required to submit all academic work to instructors no later than April 1, unless specific arrangements have been made with the instructor and with the dean of D.Min. programs. All students must meet all financial obligations to the Seminary by April 15, including payment of rent in housing owned by other ACTS seminaries, settlement of all debts and obligations to JKM Library, other ACTS libraries, and the Regenstein Library. Diplomas will be withheld until all the graduate’s accounts are reconciled and financial obligations have been satisfied. Additional details related to the procedures for completion of D.Min. degree requirements are found in the Thesis Handbook <link>.
A. D.Min. student is placed on academic probation and suspended from the program for the following reasons:
• inability to function in an educational context and as a member of the learning community or D.Min. group of which she or he is a part;
• failure to pay tuition and fees on a timely basis;
• two Incompletes on the transcript.
When these conditions exist, the dean of Doctor of Ministry Programs will notify the student of the academic probation. Students on probation may not take additional courses or continue working with their advisor on their Thesis in the Practice of Ministry until the required financial payments have been made, or the incomplete work has been submitted.
D.Min. students may be dismissed by action of the Student Standing Committee for any of the following reasons:
• failure to make academic progress in a timely manner;
• three or more Incompletes (Is), permanent incompletes (PIs) or Fs on the transcript;
• breach of integrity or other disciplinary actions.
Policy for Readmission to the Program
If a student leaves the program by voluntary or administrative withdrawal and then wishes to continue studies at McCormick, she or he must apply for readmission. Students applying for readmission will submit a complete and current admissions application. (An exception may be the request for transcripts, which are already on file unless there are additional transcripts to be presented.) The following guidelines and procedures will be in responding to the request for readmission:
• Students applying for readmission must present evidence that the reasons for previous difficulties have been identified and resolved.
• Previous indebtedness to the Seminary, including tuition for courses taken but not completed satisfactorily, must be satisfied.
Students who are readmitted will:
• ordinarily be required to take or retake I-648 Thesis Residency and pay the full course and thesis fees;
• pay full tuition for all courses needed to meet degree requirements at the prevailing rate at the time of readmission;
• required to maintain a 2.00 average in all courses after readmission and must complete all courses in accordance with the Seminary’s rules or be again subject to action by the Student Standing Committee. After readmission, previous Fs and PIs will not be considered in computing the average.
The Student Standing Committee
The Student Standing Committee (SSC) of the faculty is responsible for taking appropriate action with students in academic or other difficulty that is affecting the student’s ability to make satisfactory academic progress. When the SSC receives a referral concerning a student or a recommendation in writing for remedial action from a degree level dean, explaining the reasons for the referral/recommendation, SSC will come to a decision on the issue concerned, after which the appropriate dean will communicate with the student in writing, explaining the reasons for the referral/recommendation and for the SSC decision. The student may appeal the decision of the SSC by following the procedure set out in the Appeals section below.
All students have the right to appeal any action of the Student Standing Committee. Notice of such appeal must be filed with the dean of the Doctor of Ministry program within in 10 days of the date of the written notice of the decision of the committee. If no appeal is filed in writing within this period, the decision of the committee is final. If an appeal is duly filed with the dean within the appropriate time period, the dean will communicate with the chairperson of the SSC and the matter of appeal will be taken up at the next scheduled meeting of the SSC or within 30 days of receipt of the appeal. The Student Standing Committee will take up the issues presented in the appeal and decide its merits. The decision of the SSC will be communicated in writing to the student in a timely manner by the chairperson. All matters of a student’s standing which involve the Student Standing Committee will be recorded in writing and become a part of the student’s file on record in the offices of the Registrar and the dean.
Academic and Personal Integrity
The Seminary maintains high standards for integrity in academic work and in community relationships. Evidence of a lack of integrity in either of these areas which comes to the attention of faculty members or students may be dealt with on a personal basis, or, in the case of flagrant breaches of academic honesty such as plagiarism, may be referred by the dean to the Student Standing Committee. The Seminary is committed to fairness, due process, and proper compassion. At the same time, given its objectives, McCormick cannot overlook failures of personal integrity in members of the Seminary community and will deal with them in an effort to seek the best interests of all concerned.
Plagiarism is the unattributed use of another's words or ideas in material submitted by a student for a class, and for the purpose of academic integrity will not be tolerated at McCormick Theological Seminary. Studetns will be provided with a full plagiarism policy prior to their first class at McCormick, and will be expected to adhere to the definitiona and conditions of the policy throughout their enrollment in the D.Min. program.
Confidentiality of Student Records
The Seminary recognizes the necessity of confidentiality of student records and endorses and will comply with the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Only school officials of the Seminary and the student may have access to the student’s records, and no copy of a transcript, test score, or other evaluation will be supplied to any other person or agency without the expressed written permission of the student. Registered students may inspect their records by application to the Registrar. Students have the right to request that no personal information such as name, address, and telephone number be disclosed.