General Academic Policies

General Academic Policies


For detailed information any of the academic policies listed below, please refer to the Graduate or Undergraduate Student Handbook or contact the Student Services Office at for assistance.

Academic Advising

Each semester, using input from the student, students are matched with an academic advisor who will work with the student over the course of the semester. The academic advisor assists with the development of the student’s semester study plan, and approves it, during the residency; monitors the student’s progress over the course of the semester; and based on narrative evaluations of the work completed during the semester, determines if the semester was successfully completed. The advisor also assists students to problem solve, directing them to appropriate policies, resources, and/or staff members for assistance with academic, enrollment or community life needs.

The individual advisor/student relationship is the core of Goddard’s education. It ensures that our individualized education is, in fact, a process that fosters risk-taking, alleviates isolation, and renders the learning process dynamic, creative, engaging, holistic, and collaborative. Students learn to express their ideas clearly in writing, to think, to listen to another’s opinion, to look at themselves and their work from a different perspective; they are challenged to grow, to take risks, to stretch; and they are heard, supported and encouraged.

These goals are accomplished through a dialogic exchange between the advisor and the student.  On a regular, pre-determined basis over the course of the semester, the student sends a packet of material reflecting the work for that period. Evidence of the work completed can include essays, creative and critical writing, materials related to practica, documentation of art practice/works, book annotations, and a cover letter in which the student reflects on the learning process. The advisor responds promptly in writing to the student’s packet with a detailed letter addressing the various components of the packet and containing appraisal, feedback, and suggestions. Through the regular exchange of packets and responses, a sustained meaningful dialogue takes place, centered on the student’s learning.

In the Psychology & Counseling Program, which is course-based, the students work with course mentors, one of who is also their academic advisor.  The mentors evaluate the success of individual courses and the academic advisor uses the mentor evaluations and their own to determine if the semester was successfully completed. The academic advisor remains the same over the course of a student’s enrollment in Psychology & Counseling program, ensuring continuity and overarching oversight of the student’s progress through the program.

Academic Appeals

Students have the right to appeal academic decisions made by College administrators or faculty members concerning the student. The academic appeal process is detailed in the Student Handbooks. For assistance with this process, contact the Academic Affairs Office,

For information on how to appeal an non-academic decision, refer to the Student Grievance Process.

Academic Honesty

Taking responsibility for one’s own learning means doing one’s own work and giving others credit for their contributions. Students are expected to be rigorously honest in their studies. Violations of academic integrity are taken seriously and may result in a range of responses including loss of credit, academic probation, and academic withdrawal. Plagiarism is a deliberate violation of academic honesty. Please refer to the Student Handbook for further information. 

Academic Withdrawal

Students who do not satisfactorily complete two consecutive or a total of three semesters are academically withdrawn. Please refer to the Student Handbook  or contact the Registrar’s Office for further information. 

Duplicate Studies/Concurrent Enrollment

Goddard does not accept transfer credit that substantively duplicates prior work at another school, nor does the college permit credit-bearing studies at other institutions to be carried on concurrently with Goddard credit-granting study, except when approved by the advisor as a supplementary resource for part of a Goddard semester’s planned study. Concurrent enrollment at Goddard and study toward a certificate or degree in another program is not permitted. 


The work of a semester is defined as the work completed by the final day of that semester. Exceptions may be granted to provide work extension to students to complete a senior study or final product, to students with documented extenuating circumstances or to students with documented learning differences that qualify the student for additional time. Financial aid is not available for extensions.

Final Product Completion

If the faculty advisor and the second reader agree that a student’s undergraduate senior study or graduate final product has not been completed by the final day of the semester, they may authorize an extension to complete the study.

Students may contact the Student Accounts Office for the final product extension fee. The extension starts at the beginning of the packet/coursework portion of the following semester and is undertaken in four-week blocks. If, after two four-week extensions, the senior study or final product is not judged complete, the student can enroll for the balance of the semester (if eligible) or stop and return the following semester for a full semester (if eligible).

Extenuating Circumstances

A student who encounters a medical, psychological, or family problem (certified by an appropriate specialist) that makes completion of the semester’s work impossible may apply to the program director for an extenuating circumstances extension. To be eligible, a student must complete the equivalent of three packets (nine weeks) of work by the end of the semester. If granted, the extension is for six weeks. The extension takes place during the semester following the unfinished semester.

A student need not attend the residency at the beginning of the semester during which the extended study is completed. If the advisor or program director judges that the previous semester’s planned study has not been fully and satisfactorily completed during the weeks granted for extended study, the previous semester is recorded as unsuccessful and the student receives no credit for it.

Extended time, which allows for extra time to complete a semester, is available to students with a documented disability as an approved accommodation. Generally, the extended time begins on the first day of the packet/course work portion of the semester following the one being extended and generally runs for six weeks. At the completion of the extended time, the student is generally considered to be on leave of absence for the remainder of the semester.

To be eligible to undertake extended time, a student must be in possession of an educational profile (EP) that has been prepared by the academic and disability support coordinator,and the EP must list “reasonable extensions of time” as an accommodation. There is no fee for extended time.

Fees, Records, And Enrollment

To be enrolled for a semester, a student must have paid all fees for the semester or made arrangements for their payment acceptable to the college. Returning students must also be academically clear to enroll consistent with the academic progress and withdrawal policies of the College.

A student enrolled in the Education Program’s Licensure degree option (only available at Goddard’s main campus in Plainfield, VT) who is doing supervised practice teaching as all or part of a semester’s planned study is charged a fee to help pay the cooperating teacher and supervisor who evaluate and document the practice teaching. (This does not apply to Master of Fine Arts in Writing or Master of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts students doing their required practicum. The MFA practicum is a community-based project that may or may not involve teaching in a classroom setting.

The MA in Psychology and Counseling charges an internship fee, which is not a licensure fee.

A detailed list of fees and tuition is available on the Tuition and Fees page or upon request at

Grades / Evaluation Process

Goddard does not make use of letter or number grades and cannot compute “grade point averages.” At the end of each semester, students and faculty advisors write evaluative reports. On the basis of these reports and, when necessary, in consultation with their program director, faculty advisors judge whether their students have completed the semester in such a way as to warrant credit or, in the case of graduate students, are making creditable progress toward meeting degree requirements.

Graduating Student Presentations

Every graduating student (undergraduate or graduate) is required to make a presentation of a completed study to fellow students and others. The presentation is made during the commencement residency. MFA in Creative Writing graduates are required to offer a reading of their work. If students are unable to attend their commencement residency, they can petition their program director for permission to miss. If permission is granted, students must make a presentation of their work in their home community and send documentation to the program director before their degree will be awarded. 

Graduation and the Commencement Residency

Graduating students are awarded their degrees during commencement ceremonies held at the residency following their final semester. Students may not postpone their graduation by seeking a leave of absence subsequent to their final enrolled semester but prior to the awarding of the degree at the commencement residency. Students are expected to be on campus for the three-day commencement residency (typically over a weekend) during the regular program residency following their final semester. During this time, graduates meet with their advisors, turn in final paperwork to the Registrar’s Office, offer a graduating presentation/reading and attend commencement. Unless other arrangements have been made, they present their senior studies or final products during these days, through talks, discussions, exhibits, performances, and so on. Generally, commencement is on a Sunday, when graduates and their advisors speak briefly.

To receive a diploma students must have met all degree criteria, including completing and submitting a final draft of the senior study or final product report in Goddard’s required format, signed by the advisor and second reader, to the Office of the Registrar; submitting any outstanding academic reports or forms via SIS; and paying all bills or making arrangements approved by the college for their payment. A student whose academic work is done but whose account is not clear and/or has not submitted all the required paperwork may participate in commencement but will not receive a diploma or transcripts until all obligations have been met.

Jobs As Resources For Learners

Study cannot consist solely of the student’s usual daily work and/or community activities. The job or job site may, however, serve as an important resource for designing learning experiences and conducting research. Community involvement may furnish similar opportunities for study.

Internet and Email Access

The College’s primary method of communicating with students, as well as distributing information, materials, and forms, is electronic. All students are required to have web access sufficient for operations such as completing on-line forms and downloading documents from the college’s Intranet, as well as opening file attachments and receiving electronic mail. The College provides all students with a Goddard email address and College Intranet account (GoddardNet) upon registering for the first semester. Though there are few circumstances that would preclude Internet access, students who cannot comply with this policy may petition for special accommodation.

Planned, Independent Study

Intensive residency study is defined as independent study, with the faculty advisor serving as study supervisor. The goals, resources, and anticipated outcomes for the study are detailed in the study plan. Goddard studies are planned one semester at a time, within the framework of an evolving long-range plan. The faculty advisor must approve the semester’s study plan in the Student Information System. Study plans may be amended, with the approval of the advisor. Completion of the work laid out in the semester study plan is one basic criterion for advancement and awarding of credit. 

Registration, Records, And Transcripts

Much of registration can be done ahead of time, through filling out and returning forms sent by financial aid, student accounts, and the Registrar’s Office, and getting financial questions (especially financial aid) settled beforehand. There are substantial fees for late registration and late payment of fees.

Students academic records (which are maintained by the Registrar’s Office and available to students via the Student Information System) document their Goddard history: admission papers, transcripts of high school and college study prior to entering Goddard, student and faculty evaluations for each semester of Goddard study, and copies of correspondence with, or about, the student. In accordance with the law, students’ college records are open only to them, college officials, those who are granted permission by student to access them, and a few others, for example, U.S. Department of Education representatives, as the law requires. Transcripts are released only when accounts are paid in full.

The Residency

A semester begins with required attendance at the program-specific eight-day residency that begins each semester. A student who misses a residency without permission is withdrawn and must reapply to continue studies the following semester. Following a student’s final semester of enrollment, graduates are also required to attend a three-day commencement residency. 

Second Readers

Students preparing their undergraduate senior study or their graduate final products are assigned a faculty second reader, as well as a faculty advisor to assist with and evaluate their work. Granting of the degree requires the recommendation of both the advisor and the second reader. 

Student Work Deadlines

Students are expected to submit their work to their advisor or course mentor in a timely manner on the program’s established schedule of due dates.  Failure to meet the packet and/or course schedule in a timely manner may result in withdrawal for non-participation and loss of credit for the semester. Electronic mail with attachments may be substituted for some or all of a packet, when appropriate and with the faculty member’s permission.