May 23, 2024  
2018-2020 Undergraduate Catalog 
2018-2020 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Resources

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Academic Advising

Peter J. Palumbo, M.A., Director of Academic Advising
Cynthia Spinola, M.S., Assistant Director of Academic Advising
Phone: 401.865.2107
Location: Harkins Hall 213

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

  • Office of the Dean of Undergraduate and Graduate 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 and Graduate Studies

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

The Office of the Dean of Undergraduate and Graduate 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 also provides academic assistance and monitoring oversight for students enrolled in the College’s graduate programs.

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

  • academic advising/monitoring
  • academic policies/procedures
  • academic status/probation/dismissals
  • AICU Rhode Island Language Consortium program course approvals
  • commencement/graduation
  • course approvals for summer/intersession/leave of absence
  • course registration adjustments
  • cross-enrollment
  • degree audit adjustments
  • extra course approvals
  • individualized program approvals
  • international students & scholars
  • membership on the Graduate Council
  • merit-based scholar program coordination
  • multicultural scholarship program
  • referrals to other departments
  • voluntary withdrawals

The Office of the Dean of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies provides input to the Committee on Studies, which considers the introduction of new courses, new programs of study (majors, minors, etc.), as well as with the overall evaluation of academic matters, such as the academic standing of incoming transfer students. 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.

The Office of the Dean of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies assists international and exchange students at Providence College to make their transition to American education, and (along with their class dean and major academic advisors) helps to monitor their progress toward their degree.

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

Peter J. Palumbo, M.A., Director of Academic Advising
Cynthia Spinola, M.S., Assistant Director of Academic Advising
Phone: 401.865.2107
Location: Harkins Hall 213

For additional information, please see the Undeclared Advising Program  section of this Catalog.

International Student Success

Janet V. Ray, Ed.D., Assistant Dean/Director of International Student Success
Phone: 401.865.2495
Location: Harkins Hall 213

The Office of the Dean of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies assists international and exchange students at Providence College to make their transition to American education, and (along with their class dean and major academic advisors) helps to monitor their progress toward their degree.

Parent Program

Jacqueline K. MacKay, M.A., Director
Phone: 401.865.1550
Location: Harkins Hall 213

The Providence College Parent Program is another unit of the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies. Family support is an integral part of a student’s success. The program provides comprehensive resources and programs for parents that are designed to enhance their understanding of the college experience and promote that success. The Web site includes links to important campus offices, services, and policies.

Multicultural Student Success

Phone: 401.865.2495
Location: Harkins Hall 213

The Office of the Dean of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies provides an infrastructure of support for students of color, first-generation college students, low-income students, and Multicultural Scholarship recipients at Providence College. The program provides academic support by working with the Director of Multicultural Student Success, class dean, and major academic advisors.

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 Career Education Center 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

Lynne M. Lawson, Ph.D.
Phone: 401.865.1989
Location: Sowa 235

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, advanced 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 Program .

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

Paul E. Herron, J.D., Ph.D., Program Director
Phone: 401.865.1968
Location: Howley 310

The Pre-Law Program provides students with the information they need to decide if they want to attend law school and resources for the application process. This is not a set curriculum or minor. Students with all levels of interest (from those who are just curious about the law school option to students who are already sure they want to be an attorney) are invited to take advantage of the program. One of the main goals is to organize a community of undergraduates interested in pursuing a career in the law. We do not associate with any particular academic department, and our events and workshops are open to all. The program seeks to help students make the decision that is best for them; we do not push anyone to attend law school, and we do not discourage those who have decided to apply. 

Generally, pre-law advising services include the following:

  • Undergraduate advising regarding the class selection and internship opportunities; career counseling through one on one discussions of possible paths after graduation, including, but not limited to, the practice of law; and law school application guidance with all phases of the process.

The Pre-Law Program also organizes and sponsors events and workshops: 

  • Alumni panel of law students and lawyers who graduated from PC and can offer insight into law school and a variety of legal practices; lawyer panels with speakers from different practice areas discussing their career paths; law school admissions panel, where representatives from four to six schools give students an insider’s view of the application process and students can have one on one conversations with admissions officers (held in the fall and spring); law and current events sessions on contemporary controversies, such as confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justices, ongoing legal debates, and major cases.
  • Personal statement workshop, in which juniors and seniors working on law school applications gather in the fall; resume workshop on putting together a strong resume for applications; practice LSAT, test prep companies administer a full-length practice LSAT to help those preparing for the real thing and for those who just want to get an idea of how the test works.

The Pre-Law Program organizes through Sakai. If you are interested in getting resources and updates on events and workshops, please contact the Program Director. The program is actively engaged with the student-run Pre-Law Society - information is available on the student clubs and organizations website. 

Professional School Affiliation

Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law will provide direct admission Providence College seniors who have earned a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.60 by the end of their junior year a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.50 by the end of their senior year; scored above the 66th percentile on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT); remained in good academic and disciplinary standing; and met all of the fitness, character, and other criteria for admission required by the Office of Admission of Columbus School of Law. The application fee will be waived for those who satisfy the eligibility requirements, and students will be considered for financial aid and competitive scholarships (though not guaranteed).

Secondary Education Program

Kevin J. O’Connor, Ph.D., Director
Phone: 401.865.2123
Location: Harkins Hall 328B

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, French, history, Italian, mathematics, physics, and Spanish. 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 a secondary education program faculty member.

Because a declaration of a major in education, either elementary or secondary, is a two-step process, students may declare their intent to major in education and, after completion of two education courses, their performance is evaluated for eligibility for full admission.

Although Providence College is a test-optional institution, completion of the secondary education program requires passing a variety of basic skills, teaching skills, and content knowledge tests needed for eligibility for certification as a secondary education teacher in Rhode Island and states with reciprocal agreements.

Academic Support Services

Office of Academic Services

Bryan D. Marinelli, Ph.D., Director
Phone: 401.865.2494
Location: Phillips Memorial Library 250

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. Services offered by the OAS include:

Tutorial Services

Individual and group tutoring sessions are available in most subject areas, including the Development of Western Civilization. OAS peer tutors assess individual student needs, develop strategies to address academic challenges, 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. 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, helping students avoid similar problems 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 attentive 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 test preparation. Students may contact the assistant director for student success and retention to schedule group workshops or individual mentoring sessions.

Coordination/Provision of Reasonable Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Students with documented disabilities (learning, physical, medical, temporary) may qualify for reasonable academic accommodations, coordinated by the OAS. The assistant director for disability services is available to discuss each student’s unique needs and arrange individualized services. Academic accommodations may include the following: extended-time tests, note-taking services, texts in an alternate format, adaptive technology, interpreters, and pre-registration for courses. Students who require disability-related accommodations pertaining to residential life or dining services should refer to the Student Life and Development  section of this catalog.

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, the NCAA’s Student Athlete Affairs Program, pre-registration assistance, and space for quiet study.

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  in Admission section.)

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 concurrent enrollment in a specific course (or courses).

Credit Hours (or Credits)

The value of each course is stated in terms of credit hours. A credit hour requires the equivalent of one classroom period of 50 minutes or a laboratory period of one to four hours per week throughout the term, as well as at least two hours of out-of-class student work. Every 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.

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, NG, NC, 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.

Free Electives: courses with limited or no restriction.

Full-time Student

A student enrolled for a minimum of 12 credits per semester. Students have the ability to take five courses beginning with the second semester of their first-year. Students also have the ability to take an extra course (i.e., a sixth course), free of charge and for credit, on a space available basis. In order to complete a minimum of 120 credits to earn a bachelor’s degree, students generally will need to take five courses during seven of their eight semesters in order to complete their degree program in eight semesters. 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 the 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 .)

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