Academic Policies at NCNM
Who May Register for a Class
Each person who registers for a class at National College of Natural Medicine must be admitted into NCNM as a student in an approved program. The student may take only those courses in the program to which the student is admitted. Licensed physicians or other health care practitioners who have completed prerequisite coursework may, with the permission of the Department of Continuing Education (Office of Academic Affairs) and the instructor, attend those National College of Natural Medicine classes approved for continuing education credit. No college credit is granted for classes attended through the continuing education program.
New students register for the Fall quarter during Fall orientation. The Registrar’s Office will notify students of details regarding this procedure for the following quarters. All returning students register for Fall classes for the upcoming academic year by the end of summer quarter; however, the Registrar may announce an earlier registration time.
Students who wish to register for less than the full-time curriculum must receive written approval from the Dean of their program or the Chief Academic Officer (CAO). Students who have not been admitted to an NCNM program will not be allowed to register for or attend classes. No new student may register for or begin classes after the end of the second week of any term.
The academic program is administered under the Chief Academic Officer (CAO), and provided by the CAO, Deans and faculty advisors. Each incoming student is assigned a faculty advisor/mentor. Guidance is available to assist in creating a personal timetable for students on an extended program and in transferring of credit, as well as for academic and professional progress. Students pursuing the standard four-year ND or four-year CCM programs are not required to consult with their advisor but may choose to do so. However, students who are not making satisfactory academic progress must consult with the Dean of the appropriate program. Each program’s Associate Dean is responsible for advising on:
- Academic probation
Changing tracks (four to five year, etc.)
Leave of absence (regular or medical)
Questions regarding the dual degree program
Requests for permission to take exams early or late (in extraordinary circumstances only)
Commencing with entrance into the clinic program, students are also assigned a clinical mentor who is a member of the clinical faculty. This mentor is provided during the clinical portion of the curriculum to ensure maximum learning and guidance in completing clinical requirements. Students who are pursuing any program other than the standard four-year ND or four-year CCM must confer with the program Dean or CAO to ensure all requirements are met.
NCNM expects prompt and regular attendance at classes. Any faculty member may require students to attend up to 90% of scheduled classes as a condition of passing a course. In addition to possible academic consequences, habitual tardiness may be reported to the Student Affairs Office for disciplinary action under the Student Conduct Code.
Summer Term Tuition
The ND and CCM programs both include attendance of at least one required summer term. The Registrar’s Office determines when the summer tuition charge is to be applied to the student's account. Normally, this is the summer between the student’s third and fourth year if she/he is on the four-year program of study, or the summer between the student’s fourth and fifth year if the student is on the five-year ND track.
ND transfer students matriculating after the second year and second professional degree ND students will be charged an additional tuition fee above the regular summer program rate. Contact Office of Admissions for current charge.
Due to extenuating circumstances, the CAO occasionally approves a modification to a student’s standard curriculum track. If the modification results in a waiver of the requirement to take the summer courses during a summer term, the student is still responsible for the cost of these courses and the summer tuition will be applied to their account. The Registrar’s Office will determine when this charge is to be applied to the student’s account.
Grading and Promotion
NCNM maintains high standards of scholarship and at the same time recognizes its responsibility to provide each student the best opportunity to complete the program successfully. At the beginning of each course, the instructor is required to define clearly for the members of that class the objectives of the course and the standards and methods by which student achievement will be measured.
At the end of each course, each student’s performance is reported to the Registrar, using the following grading system:
• H (HONORS) superior performance
• P (PASS) satisfactory performance
• F (FAILURE) unsatisfactory performance
• I (INCOMPLETE) course requirements not yet completed due only to serious illness or bereavement
• W (WITHDRAWAL) student withdrew from course
• WF (WITHDRAWAL, FAILING) student withdrew from course while failing
• AU (AUDIT)
• NR (NOT RECORDED)
Promotion to each successive phase of the program is based on continued satisfactory academic performance and normal progress toward the degree. This is defined by a student’s completion of all courses as laid out on the designated track with a grade of Honors or Pass. Any student who is not making normal progress toward the degree will be referred to the Academic Appeals Committee, which is composed of faculty members and convened by the Dean of the program. When a student receives a failing grade in a required course, she/he subsequently must remediate by make-up exam, by another reevaluation tool, or by retaking the class the next time it is offered. Terms of remediation are at the discretion of the course instructor, and students must meet all designated completion deadlines.
Satisfactory Academic Progress
NCNM policies require that each student maintain satisfactory academic progress toward her/his degree in order to continue in the program. Moreover, federal regulations require that financial aid applicants and recipients maintain satisfactory academic progress toward their degrees. NCNM’s academic standards for continued enrollment meet or exceed the federal standards for financial aid recipients.
Satisfactory academic progress is defined in the following ways:
The student must achieve a grade of Pass or Honors in all required courses;
The student must pass a minimum of 33 credits in an academic year, including all required courses, for full-time ND, MSOM, MAc, or dual degree ND/MSOM/MAc students.
The student must complete all coursework and meet graduation requirements within seven years of matriculation into the ND program. The maximum length of study is six calendar years for the student pursuing the MSOM or MAc degree only, and seven calendar years for the concurrent completion of both the MSOM or MAc, and ND degrees.
A student will be placed on Academic Probation I for failing any required course during an academic term. The coursework must be satisfactorily completed as outlined in the section above on Grading. The student is removed from Academic Probation I when all outstanding grades of Failure in required courses have been changed to passing grades.
If the student receives another grade of Failure in a required course in a subsequent term, before all prior Failures are changed to a passing grade, she/he is placed on Academic Probation II, and must sign an agreement with the Dean of their program or the Chief Academic Officer. This agreement will delineate a timetable for changing failing grades to passing grades and will indicate that the student will not fail any other required courses during this defined time. If the terms of the agreement are met, the student will be removed from Academic Probation II. This agreement will allow the student to maintain eligibility for financial aid.
Any student on Probation II will not be allowed to register in any subsequent term for clinic teaching shifts until removed from Probation II. In the event that the student does not meet the terms of the agreement, her/his performance will be reviewed by the Academic- Institutional Appeals Committee composed of three faculty members. Please refer to the Student Handbook for the details of this process. The Appeals Committee will recommend a course of action to the Dean of their program.
The possible recommendations are:
Suspension from NCNM or from a specific program for up to one year;
Termination of education at NCNM or from a specific program;
A revised agreement (contract) outlining a timetable for converting the failing grades to passing grades that may include restrictions on new coursework undertaken by the student until the failing grades are changed.
Note: If recommendation #3 is given and the student does not meet the terms of the revised agreement, termination of education will result unless significant extenuating circumstances can be documented (e.g., severe illness or prolonged family emergencies).
Any determination that results in a “suspension” or “termination” of education may be appealed by the student to the Chief Academic Officer of NCNM. This must be done within two weeks of notification of the suspension or termination. The policies and procedures for appealing decisions of the Academic/Institutional Appeals Committee are outlined in the Student Handbook. Veterans who are on probation for more than one term may be disqualified for benefits by the Veterans Administration.
Make-up examinations may be offered to any student who has a valid reason for missing an exam (e.g., illness, bereavement, family emergency, unanticipated last minute transportation difficulty) or for remediation of a failing grade. Make-up exams are offered at the discretion of the instructor. Make-up and remediation examinations offered must be completed by the stipulated deadline or will be recorded automatically as a failing mark. No fee will be charged to the student for the makeup exam if the exam is administered for one of the reasons listed above. A fee will be charged if the instructor is willing to give a makeup exam for an unapproved reason or as remediation for a failing grade. Additional information can be found in the Student Handbook.
Graduation dates, based upon the student’s approved track (i.e. four-year, five-year), are determined by the Chief Academic Officer in consultation with the Registrar. See the Financial Policies section for information on fees.
Candidates for graduation must:
Satisfy all courses in the prescribed curriculum;
Satisfy clinic requirements;
If a transfer student, complete at least the final year of professional training enrolled as a student at National College of Natural Medicine; and
Satisfy all financial obligations to NCNM.
Leave of Absence
A student may apply for a leave of absence of up to one year, which entitles the student to reenter NCNM provided there is space in her/his class during the next calendar year. The student must advise the Registrar of the intention to return to NCNM at least one month before the beginning of the academic term for which she/he plans to register. If the student does not return within one year, she/he will be considered to have withdrawn from NCNM. A leave of absence normally will be granted to any student who is in good standing (i.e., has no outstanding grades of Incomplete or Failure for required courses and is not on academic or disciplinary probation) and who has satisfied all financial obligations to NCNM.
In the case of a medical leave of absence, which may be granted to a student on academic probation, appropriate documentation is required from the attending physician to indicate the necessity of granting the leave and, subsequently, the student’s fitness for returning to the program.
Federal regulations require that any student who has received a federal loan while attending NCNM and who leaves for any reason, including official leaves of absence, must participate in a loan exit interview. Exit interviews are conducted by the Financial Aid Office.
If a student on leave does not return within one year, she/he will be required to submit a new application for admission. The student will need to satisfy admission requirements in effect at the time of reapplication, but may request that the application fee be waived.
Failure to register for any term will be considered a withdrawal, and the student will need to submit a new application for admission in order to enroll again. In this case, the application fee will not be waived.
A required course may be completed as an independent study only in exceptional circumstances. This may be an option for students who have a scheduling conflict for required courses when it is not academically beneficial to delay taking the class until the following year. This will not occur for students on the standard plans for the degree programs, but may occur for transfer or second professional degree students admitted with advanced standing or for students who have had their normal progress through the program interrupted (e.g., medical leave of absence). Independent studies for required courses are possible only with the approval of the Dean of the program in which the student is enrolled or the Chief Academic Officer.
NCNM policy allows an individual to challenge by examination the content of a required course. This option is available to students who have appropriate prior coursework as outlined in the Transfer Credit Policy section, and it is intended to ensure that this coursework is equivalent to that offered at NCNM. Such determination shall be based on course content, length of the course or whether an extended period of time has passed since the course was taken.
To be considered for a challenge exam, the student must:
Complete transfer credit review during the admissions process to identify which courses may be eligible for challenge.
Complete a challenge exam form, which may be obtained from the Registrar.
Have the challenge exam application approved by the faculty member and Dean of the program in which the course is offered.
Pay the challenge exam fee.
Take and pass the exam developed by the instructor and administered by the Academic Office.
See the Financial Policies for information on fees.
Conduct and Professional Standards
NCNM expects all students to maintain professional standards of conduct and appearance. These standards are found in the academic and nonacademic policies and procedures section of the Student Handbook and in the material designed to guide student clinicians. The Naturopathic oath, the classical Chinese Medicine oath, state laws and regulations, and documents of professional organizations such as the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians and the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine provide further insight concerning professional standards of conduct. The Student Conduct Code in the Student Handbook specifies procedures for investigating violations of College policies and the sanctions that may be imposed.
The Registrar maintains permanent records of each student enrolled at NCNM. A student’s record contains an application file, personal information necessary for the business of NCNM, grade reports, and records of any official action by NCNM concerning that student. The Business Office, Financial Aid Office, Office of Student Affairs, and Academic Office also maintain student files as required by their respective functions. These records may be examined by the individual student upon written request.
National College of Natural Medicine adheres to the intent of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (the Buckley Amendment) and to that end will observe the following guidelines:
College officers may review student records.
National College of Natural Medicine holds the following information as directory information, which may be disclosed in response to legitimate requests: name, address, telephone number, email address, dates of attendance, class schedule, enrollment status (Full-time, Part-time, Leave of Absence), academic program, graduation date and awards received.
Personal information about students will not be shared with third parties on or off campus except as directed in writing by the student, the courts, or governmental authorities. A student who believes information contained in official records is inaccurate, misleading, or a violation of privacy may request that the records be amended.
A student has the right to file complaints with the appropriate agencies concerning alleged failures by NCNM to comply with applicable laws and rules and/or their implementing regulations. In the event of a disagreement between student and administration as to the disposition of an issue, the student has the right to have placed in her/his academic file a statement reflecting her/his position.
Each student is responsible for furnishing, completely and accurately, all information required by National College of Natural Medicine so that it may perform its proper function as an educational institution. If a student’s circumstances change (e.g., name, address, financial situation, etc.) she/he is responsible for seeing that appropriate College officials are informed of the changed circumstance as soon as possible.
No part of a student’s file, except directory information, as noted above, will be released to any person outside of NCNM without written consent of the student, except as required by law.
Records for students attending NCNM under the provisions of the Veterans Administration will be accessible to certain authorized state and federal personnel without prior consent in accordance with 45 CFR, part 99.31 and part 99.35. The Buckley Amendment does not apply to employment situations nor does it apply to candidates for matriculation to NCNM. However, Human Resources and the Office of Admissions adhere strictly to guidelines of professional conduct. All student, admission applicant, and employee applicant records are the property of NCNM and will not be released or returned except as outlined above.
It is the policy of National College of Natural Medicine to maintain academic freedom of inquiry, teaching, and research activities in accordance with the standards and principles of healing that are stated within the naturopathic and classical Chinese medicine programs. National College of Natural Medicine faculty and students are free to question, discover, and test all knowledge appropriate to their discipline as judged by the academic community in general.
Change of Track
Any change of track must have the prior approval of the Dean of the program(s) or the Chief Academic Officer. The following offices must sign off on all change of track forms: Academic Office, Dean of the program, Business Office, Financial Aid Office, and Registrar’s Office. All change of track requests must be completed by the end of week eight of the term prior to the term in which the change is to take effect. For example, the form must be completed by week eight of fall term for winter term. Charges and refunds will be based on the fee structure of the new track. See the Financial Policies section for information on fees.
Adding and Dropping Courses
To add or drop a course the student must submit an add/drop form to the Registrar. An advisor's signature is required for all required courses. In addition, students who are on federal financial aid and whose reduced course loads change their status from full-time to part-time must meet with the Director of Financial Aid. Classes may be added, dropped, changed to audit (electives only), or the section changed during the first two weeks of the term. Courses may be dropped after the second week of the term only with instructor's signature. For more information download NCNM's Add/Drop policy.
After the end of week four a student who withdraws from a course will receive a grade of “W” recorded on her/his transcript.
Clinic shifts can be added/dropped during a 3-5 day period during negotiation week. Specific dates are posted at the top of the clinic schedule each term. After the posted deadline for adding/dropping a clinic shift, a $50 fee is assessed.
Full- and Half-Time Status
A full-time student is one who is enrolled for at least 11 credits per term. Students who are on financial aid who reduce their course loads from full-time to part-time status must meet with the Director of Financial Aid. A half-time student is one who is enrolled for more than 5.5 but fewer than 11 credits per term.
Students may initiate formal withdrawal by meeting with the Dean of their program(s). The student who withdraws at any time during the school year must complete the Status change form available from the Registrar’s Office. NCNM reserves the right to withhold or terminate the privilege of attending the College when such official action is deemed advisable or necessary in the interest of the student or NCNM or both.