Sep 24, 2020  
2008-2010 Undergraduate Catalog 
2008-2010 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Resources

Return to: Academic Information 

Academic Advising

Providence College provides its students with a variety of opportunities for academic advising and support through:

  • Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies
  • major academic departments and programs
  • individual faculty advisors
  • the Office of Academic Services

Providence College also provides assistance for students interested in a variety of pre-professional programs: premedical sciences and health professions, pre-law, and secondary education. Students should consult advisors in these specific programs for appropriate advisory information.

As part of their responsibility for meeting all academic requirements, students are expected to understand the scope of the resources available at Providence College and should be prepared to use them wisely.

Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies

Rev. Mark D. Nowel, O.P., Ph.D., Dean of Undergraduate Studies
Phone: 401.865.2495
Location: Harkins Hall 213

The Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies has the overall responsibility for the academic monitoring of students and provides general academic advising to students in all majors. The office includes deans specifically assigned to work with individual classes and other cohorts of students.

The Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies is involved in a variety of areas, including:

  • academic advising/monitoring
  • academic grievances
  • academic policies/procedures
  • academic status/probation/dismissals
  • commencement/graduation
  • course registration adjustments
  • cross-enrollment
  • degree audits
  • enrichment course approvals
  • individualized program approvals
  • merit-based scholar program coordination
  • referrals to other departments
  • study abroad course approvals
  • transfer/summer/intersession/evening course approvals
  • voluntary withdrawals/leaves of absence

The Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies provides input to the Committee on Studies, which is concerned with the introduction of new courses, new programs of study (majors, minors, etc.), as well as with the overall evaluation of academic matters. The office also assists the Committee on Academic Status, which is charged with the responsibility to hear student appeals for readmission following academic dismissal. This committee also reviews requests by students seeking a change to their current graduation class status and appeals for extensions of the deadline for Incomplete grades.

Faculty Advisors and Academic Departments

Students are assigned faculty advisors as they enter the College by their major department chairperson or program director or by the Undeclared Advising Program director.

Faculty serve as the primary academic advisors for students and are available to meet with and to assist students with:

  • information about academic policies, procedures, and programs;
  • development of educational and career goals;
  • exploration of short- and long-range consequences of their academic decisions;
  • selection of and registration for courses to meet curricular and graduation requirements; and
  • monitoring of academic progress toward completion of their degree programs through access to mid-term advisory grades, as well as computer-generated degree audit reports that match individual student records with their expected degree requirements.

Undeclared Advising Program

Carol B. Crafts, Ph.D., Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies
Phone: 401.865.2177
Location: Harkins Hall 210

The Undeclared Advising Program at Providence College is a division of the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies. This program provides assistance to students who prefer to explore various academic options before committing to specific majors. The director for the Undeclared Advising Program is responsible for selecting and assisting faculty advisors who are prepared to advise undeclared freshmen and sophomores in their orientation to the College, course selection, exploration of academic goals and major program options, as well as the transition process into their declared majors.

The Undeclared Advising Program seeks to help students identify majors consistent with their academic strengths and goals and to foster their academic growth and development. While students are ultimately responsible for their own choices and for conducting their own major search processes, undeclared advisors are encouraged to guide them toward prudent exploratory course selections as they test various major options.

Meetings and workshops sponsored by the Undeclared Advising Program and the Career Planning and Internship Service seek to help students recognize and develop their academic abilities, intellectual interests, and career aspirations to better enable them to make informed course selection and academic planning decisions. Normally, students are expected to declare a major by early March of the sophomore year. Students may not enter their junior year without having declared a major.

Advising for Professional or Graduate Studies

Students interested in pursuing discipline-specific graduate study should seek advice from faculty advisors in their academic departments. In some departments, a specific faculty member is assigned to provide assistance with preparation for graduate study. The Office of Career Services provides additional resources such as Peterson’s Guide to Graduate & Professional School Programs to assist students seeking information about graduate programs, admissions exams, and more.

Advisor for the Health Professions

Carol B. Crafts, Ph.D., Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies
Phone: 401.865.1989
Location: Harkins Hall 210

The advisor for the health professions assists students in pre-professional preparation for careers in the medical sciences including medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, optometry, physician assistant, physical therapy, advance practice nursing, pharmacy, public health, and other health professions. Because each of the medical sciences professions requires specific preparation, students must work closely with the advisor for the health professions to plan a suitable program of study. This generally involves selection of an appropriate major, required courses, and internships and volunteer service opportunities in the health professions. For additional information about premedical sciences and health professions programs, see Premedical Sciences and Health Professions Programs .

Admission to most health professions schools is extremely competitive, requiring strong academic performance, satisfactory scores on standardized admissions tests (e.g., MCAT, DAT, GRE, PCAT, OAT), and evidence of leadership, service, and a working knowledge of the health professions. Both the advisor for the health professions and the Health Professions Advisory Committee work closely to support students during the process of application to health professions schools.

Pre-Law Advising

The pre-law program at Providence College is an advisory program for any student, regardless of major and graduation year, who is considering the law as a possible career, preparing to apply to law school, or applying to law school in the current application cycle. Each year, a substantial number of Providence College students and alumni consider pursuing the study of law. Because the process of applying to American Bar Association-approved law schools nationwide is competitive, students interested in exploring a career in law are encouraged to register and meet with the pre-law advisor well in advance of the senior year.

Generally, pre-law advising services include the following:

  • career counseling, with a focus on learning about the actual study and practice of law;
  • advice regarding undergraduate preparation, with significant emphasis placed on the major criteria considered by competitive law schools in order to maximize the potential of each candidate; and
  • guidance during all phases of the application and matriculation processes.

Law schools assess a number of factors during the admission process. There is no established pre-law curriculum and there are no specific educational requirements for entrance to law school. Rather, law schools place a premium on the application that demonstrates rigorous undergraduate preparation in a major area or areas of study chosen by the applicant.

An applicant’s undergraduate grade point average (GPA) and the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score are key objective criteria evaluated by law schools, mainly because they provide a numerical basis for comparison to other applicants. Once an applicant’s GPA and LSAT score qualify him/her for closer scrutiny, schools also consider subjective criteria during the decision-making process. These subjective criteria include the personal statements and letters of recommendation, especially those letters submitted by faculty members. An applicant’s experience is another subjective factor that may encompass a broad range of activities, including curricular and extracurricular activities, internships, employment, and community volunteer work. Experience can be a valuable assessment tool because it serves as evidence that the applicant has relevant skills and motives, and is likely to contribute to the overall strength and diversity of the incoming class.

Secondary Education Program

Sally J. Thibodeau, Ph.D., Director
Phone: 401.865.2121
Location: Harkins Hall 322

Preparation for a secondary school teaching career requires specialization in a subject area and study in the field of education. Subject areas in which students may be certified include biology, chemistry, English, history, mathematics, modern languages, and social studies. Program requirements are outlined in the departmental catalog entries for these subject areas.

Since students preparing for the teaching profession must complete a subject area major in addition to the teacher preparation program, secondary education students are advised by both a faculty member in their major department and by the Secondary Education Program director.

Academic Support Services

Office of Academic Services

Bryan D. Marinelli, Director
Phone: 401.865.2494
Location: Phillips Memorial Library

The Office of Academic Services (OAS) supports all Providence College students through a combination of academic and personal development programming, including individualized and group academic assistance, tutoring, and specialized workshops and outreach. The OAS offers unique attention and support to students with documented disabilities by providing reasonable accommodations and by advocating for equal access to all services and programs offered to members of the campus at large. The OAS also provides specialized support to student-athletes in light of the unique time demands, responsibilities, and rules governing participation in intercollegiate athletics. Examples of services offered by the OAS include:

Tutorial Services

Individual and group tutoring sessions are available in most subject areas, including Development of Western Civilization. OAS peer tutors assess individual student needs, develop strategies to address academic problem areas, and help supplement classroom/textbook instruction. Tutors stress the learning process itself and place an emphasis on the acquisition of independent study skills. The Tutorial Center is nationally certified by the College Reading & Learning Association (CRLA).

Writing Center

The Providence College Writing Center is available to assist students at any stage of the writing process—from brainstorming a topic to polishing a final draft before submission. This means that the center is not merely an editorial or remedial service. Through an approach to writing instruction that is student-centered, peer tutors work collaboratively with their tutees to identify and rectify chronic structural or mechanical problems, thereby helping students avoid similar difficulties in future writing tasks. In short, the Writing Center’s purpose is to make better writers, not just better papers. Moreover, the center operates under the assumption that all writers, regardless of their respective ability, can benefit from the feedback of an interested, experienced reader.

Special Programs and Workshops: Group and Individual

The OAS offers several workshops devoted to academic topics including: study skills, time management, curriculum-specific success strategies, test taking, reading skills, and GRE/GMAT Test Preparation. Students may contact the OAS to schedule group workshops or visit the assistant director for academic skills/programs for individual academic mentoring and consultation.

Coordination/Provision of Reasonable Accommodations for Students With Disabilities

Services for students with documented disabilities (learning, physical, medical, temporary) are provided through the OAS. The assistant director for disability services is available to discuss each student’s unique needs and coordinate individualized services. Reasonable accommodations may include the following: alternate-setting/extended-time tests, note-taking services, readers/scribes, texts in alternate format, adaptive lab equipment/computers, Recordings for the Blind & Dyslexic, interpreters, and pre-registration for courses. Services are also available for students with specific physical disabilities. (See section on Student Life and Development  for more.)

To protect the interests of students who are entitled to reasonable accommodations based on their disability, the College has established Student Procedures for ADA/504 Grievance Resolution. These procedures are outlined in the Student Life and Development  section of this catalog. They are also available on the Office of Academic Services’ Web site (

Services for Student-Athletes

Providence College student-athletes can take advantage of all services offered through the OAS as well as the following: academic monitoring, NCAA CHAMPS/Life Skills Program, pre-registration assistance, and monitored study hall.

Glossary of Academic Terms

Academic Status

Refers to both the official expected graduation year and semester as well as the categories of academic standing (good standing, academic probation, dismissal) in the College. See Academic Policies .

Adjustment Period

The period of time designated by the College in which students may adjust their course schedules (e.g., add/drop courses) without approval or penalty.

Advanced Placement Credits

Credits earned in Advanced Placement (AP) courses during high school. Several conditions apply. See Advanced Placement (AP) Equivalency Chart .

Attempted Credit Hours

The total number of credit hours for which a student registers. This number will include all those hours at the conclusion of a given semester for which any grade is received, including a grade of “WD.”

Certificate Program

A secondary field of study, similar to a “minor,” which leads to receipt of a specific certificate (e.g., Business Studies, Public Administration).

Concentration (or Program)

In general, refers to a student’s major course of study. “Concentration” and/or “program” are often used interchangeably with “major” to identify the baccalaureate degree program in which a student is enrolled.


Courses that require the concurrent enrollment in a specific course (or courses).

Credit Hours (or Credits)

Each 50 minutes of scheduled class time per week is normally assigned a value of one credit hour; most classes are three credit hours. Classes are typically scheduled for the equivalent of three 50-minute sessions, two 75-minute sessions, or one 150-minute session each week. There are exceptions to this formula, for example, science courses with laboratories and art courses with studios.

Curriculum (or Degree Program)

In general, refers to the specific courses a student must complete in order to earn a baccalaureate degree.

Deficiency (Courses or Credits)

In general, refers to situations when students fall behind in either courses or credit hours. For example, a freshman who has completed only seven (7) courses during the first year is said to have a deficiency of one (1) course and is likely to be behind in earned credits as well.

Degree Audit

Computerized system that electronically matches specific program requirements with completed and enrolled courses of individual students. Audit reports are intended to serve as a tool for both students and advisors in the academic advisement and course registration processes.

Dual Enrollment Credits

Courses completed in high school that may be considered for possible transfer credits. See Admission .

Earned Credit Hours

Those credit hours for which passing grades are earned. Students do not earn credits for the following grades: AU, F, I, NF, NM, and non-averaged courses (e.g., courses preceded with an “X” or notated with an “E” to exclude from the GPA).

Elective Courses

Courses which allow students greater freedom in choosing from alternatives. Electives may take several forms:

Major/Minor Electives: courses which must be selected as specified within a student’s major or minor program.

Core Curriculum Electives: courses which must be selected from the approved lists of Core Curriculum requirements as indicated in each semester’s Course Registration List.

Non-Departmental Electives: courses which must be outside a student’s major department/program.

Free Electives: courses with limited or no restriction.

Enrichment Option

Courses taken beyond those required for the undergraduate degree and meant for the exclusive purpose of enriching the student’s educational experience. Courses taken under this option are free of charge (excluding specific course fees). Students may enroll in enrichment courses with permission of the dean of undergraduate studies. See Enrollment Services  for more information.

Full-time Student

A student enrolled for a minimum of 12 credits per semester. Providence College students are normally expected to enroll in a minimum of 14 credits and four courses that are three credits or more per semester during the freshman and sophomore years, and a minimum of 15 credits and five courses that are three credits or more per semester during the junior and senior years. For official financial aid, NCAA, or other certification purposes, students who are enrolled in a minimum of 12 credit hours during a semester are considered in “full-time attendance.” Exceptions may apply.

Grade Point Average

The total number of quality points earned divided by the total number of averaged credit hours. (See Academic Policies .)


Refers to the term which begins and ends between the traditional fall and spring semesters (i.e., “winter” session). The School of Continuing Education offers Intersession courses. (See “Schools and Divisions .”)


The baccalaureate degree program in which the student is enrolled. (See “Academic Programs .”) Sometimes used interchangeably with “concentration” and/or “program.”


A secondary field of study requiring fewer courses than a “major.” (See “Academic Programs .”)


Courses that require the prior completion of a specific course (or courses) or have other conditions of enrollment (e.g., permission of instructor, limited to specific majors or class years).

Quality Points (or Quality Grade Points)

The numeric equivalent assigned to each course grade multiplied by the number of course credits. (See Academic Policies .)

Schedule Adjustment Period

The period of time designated by the College in which students may adjust their course schedules (e.g., add/drop courses) without approval or penalty.


The official outline and/or summary of a specific course as provided by the course instructor. The syllabus (or “course syllabus”) often includes the following: course objectives, list of required texts and other materials, description of responsibilities per class period, class attendance policies, academic integrity standards, assignments, and summary of grading procedures.

Transfer Credit

Academic credits accepted for transfer to the College from another institution. Several conditions apply. (See “Transfer Admission .”)

Return to: Academic Information