American University Standards
American universities and colleges provide four-year bachelor’s degree programs that prepare students to work in a specific field. After graduation, students may choose to continue their education for a master’s degree, doctorate, specialist degree and/or certificate. Students may also choose to enter the work force if they are not planning to pursue an additional degree.
In the United States, classes are expressed in the terms of credit hours or credits. Accumulated credits are used to determine a student’s progress. Many classes equal 3 credit hours. This means that if a student passes the class with a C or better, they have accumulated 3 more credit hours.
Undergraduate students generally register for 12 to 18 credit hours per semester. Often, students must accumulate a specific amount of credit hours or classes in a specific subject area before they are permitted to take a higher-level class. This is known as a prerequisite.
When coming to Ball State, you may not be able to take some classes due to prerequisites. However, if you feel that you have already had a class that substitutes for a prerequisite, you may submit this information to the department for consideration. All course work should be submitted in the form of syllabi or catalogs that have descriptions of the courses covered, the length of study, and the kind of examinations involved. Submit these materials in their original form, in addition to an English translation.
You may find that academic settings and practices may dramatically differ from those in your home country. Below are some brief descriptions of such differences:
American classrooms are often rather informal. Most faculty members encourage candid discussions and critical thinking. Professors also hold office hours, when students may schedule appointments or stop by for help or answers to questions.
Class attendance is critical. Participation and presence is often a determining factor in your grade. You should go to class and actively participate. If you know you will be unable to attend a class, you should inform the professor before the day of class.
Tests and Papers
Tests and papers are assigned frequently throughout the semester. You should study and prepare for all assignments. Professors will usually announce their grading system during the first few classes. Make sure you understand how your work will be graded.
Ball State students are advised to spend two to three hours a week studying for each hour spent in class.
American students often withdraw, or drop, courses they are not doing well in. They will then retake the course another semester. If your professor suggests you do this, make sure you will still have a full course load of at least 12 credit hours as an undergraduate or 6 to 9 credit hours as a graduate student (6 if you have an assistantship, 9 if you do not).
Grade Point Average
The Office of the Registrar keeps a record — called a transcript — on each student. Transcripts list a student’s courses taken, grades, grade point average (GPA) for each semester, and cumulative GPA for all work done. If you need a copy of your transcript, you may request it from the registrar’s office.
Request Your Transcript
With the GPA system, each grade is assigned a point value. Your GPA will be calculated with the following points:
A = 4.0
A- = 3.667
B+ = 3.33
B = 3.0 B- = 2.667
C+ = 2.33
C = 2.0
C- = 1.667
D = 1.0
D+ = 1.33
D- = .667
F = 0
To calculate your GPA, multiply your grade (or their points listed above) by the number of credits.
You receive B in a class, which equals 3.0 on the GPA scale. And the class was 3 credit hours.
3.0 x 3 credit hours = 9
You also receive an A and C in other classes. You will follow the same process as above for each class you have taken. Then add the totals together.
- Class 1 – 3 credit hours – Received B = 9
- Class 2 – 3 credit hours – Received A =12
- Class 3 – 3 credit hours – Received C = 6
9 + 12 + 6 = 27
Divide this total by the number of credits attempted.
27 / 9 hours attempted = 3
So your GPA would be a 3.0.
Ball State does not tolerate any type of academic dishonesty. Failure to comply with all academic rules can result in possible dismissal from the university.
The following are examples of academic dishonesty, but be aware that this list is not comprehensive. Violation of procedures that protect the integrity of a quiz or examination, include:
- referring to open textbooks, notes, or other devices not approved by the faculty member
- copying from another person’s paper
- communicating with or providing and receiving assistance from someone else in a manner not authorized by a faculty member
- changing material on a graded examination and then requesting a regrade
- plagiarism or violations of procedures prescribed to protect the integrity of the assignment
- submitting an assignment under your name when it has been created by another person.
- presenting ideas or words of another person without the proper acknowledgement of sources
- knowingly permitting your work to be submitted by another person as though it was his or her own
- cooperation with another person in academic dishonesty, directly or indirectly
- knowingly destroying another student’s work, whether in written form, computer files, art work, or other format
- aiding or attempting to commit an act or action that would constitute academic dishonesty
Read the Student Code for more information.