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Academic Progression/Promotion and Graduation

At Citizens School of Nursing, academic progress and eligibility for graduation are determined by the documented successful completion of required nursing and college courses with a minimum grade of “C” on a term-by-term basis.

Academic progress/probation

Academic progress is determined by the documented successful completion of the required Nursing and College courses with a minimum grade of "C" on a term-by-term basis.

Nursing courses

Academic progress in all nursing courses is evaluated at the end of each term. If a student earns a grade below “C”, the student is dismissed from the program. If the student is placed on clinical probation, the student may enroll in the next term with financial aid eligibility. Failure to be removed from probation will result in dismissal.

College courses

Academic progress for college course requirements will be evaluated at the end of each term. Anatomy, Physiology, Nutrition, and Human Growth and Development must be completed prior to entering year two.

To be eligible for graduation, all nursing and college courses must be completed with a minimum grade of "C."

No student may have more than one (1) term of probation during the entire program.

There are individualized guidelines for LPN students and Advance Placement students.

Appeals for academic progress issues may be handled through the Grievance Policy and Procedure.


Grading system/Quality Point System

Each student will be informally evaluated at midterm and formally evaluated at the completion of each term. Evaluation will be based on academic, professional, and clinical performance. The Director, School of Nursing, will be notified if a student is in academic, professional, or clinical difficulty.

In clinical nursing courses, progression is based on achievement of a minimum of 79% and a clinical performance evaluation of "Satisfactory" in all course objectives. A student with a grade of "D" may not be promoted and will be immediately dismissed.

Calculation of academic performance grades in clinical nursing courses will be by exams and quizzes.

Non-clinical course grade procedure is defined on the syllabus.

Classroom and clinical attendance is required.

College course Grading Scale and Quality Point System

The Grading Scale and Quality Point System for college courses taken at Penn State University and Westmoreland County Community College is determined by the college or university. The grades for college courses are not calculated into the nursing school QPA. Policy requires that students pass all college courses with a grade of "C" or better.

Nursing course Grading Scale and Quality Point System

The following table lists the letter grade and quality points for each percent grade in nursing courses:

% Grade... Letter Grade....Quality Points

100....A....4.5      92....B....3.6    84....C....2.6     76....D....1.0
99  ....A....4.4      91....B....3.5    83....C....2.5     75....D....1.0
98  ....A....4.3      90....B....3.4    82....C....2.4     74....D....1.0
97  ....A....4.2      89....B....3.2    81....C....2.2     73....D....1.0
96  ....A....4.1      88....B....3.1    80....C....2.1     72... .F....0.0
95  ....A....4.0      87....B....3.0    79....C....2.0     71.... F....0.0
94  ....B....3.9      86....C....2.9    78....D....1.0     70.... F....0.0
93  ....B....3.8      85....C....2.8    77....D....1.0     ≥69..F....0.0

Nursing credit hours

Nursing credit hour values are calculated according to the following formulas:

  • Theory - 15 hours = 1 nursing credit hour
  • Clinical - 45 hours = 1 nursing credit hour

Nursing credit hours do not constitute "college credits" or the equivalence of college credits. The term "credit" is used for calculating grade point average. Only an authorized degree-granting institution in which a student enrolls can determine whether the completed nursing courses may be accepted for college credit.

Clinical performance

Clinical performance is formally evaluated at the end of each term.

The clinical evaluation is rated as "Satisfactory" or "Unsatisfactory" based on achievement of course objectives. A student who is evaluated as unsatisfactory in one (1) clinical objective may be promoted on probation. If unsatisfactory in more than one (1) objective, the student will be dismissed.

Students will be permitted one (1) term of probationary status during their academic tenure.


Concurrent completion of college courses with nursing courses

All students must demonstrate documented evidence of completion of required college courses prior to graduation.

College courses may be completed prior to enrolling in the School of Nursing.

A student will be required to enroll in the concurrent college courses planned for every term in which the student has not provided the School of Nursing Registrar with official documentation of satisfactory course completion with a grade of "C" or better. These courses will be taken at Penn State University (PSU) and Westmoreland County Community College (WCCC). Official documentation can be an official transcript or student grade report. The student grade report shall be temporary proof pending final transcript receipt.

The student pays the School of Nursing for the college courses and the school in turn pays the college. The school will pay for a college course one time only and only when it is scheduled unless approved by the Assistant Director in writing. Course withdrawal may alter financial aid eligibility.

All repeated and out-of-sequence courses as well as courses taken at other colleges will be the sole financial responsibility of the student.

If a student withdraws from the School of Nursing, the nursing program will assume no financial responsibility for courses for which it has not received tuition payment.


Promotion policies

Scholastic performance, clinical performance, conduct, professional behavior, and health status are criteria utilized in evaluating students for promotion.

The progress of the student is evaluated at the completion of each term or as deemed necessary by the course faculty. Clinical nursing students are evaluated at the end of the term in both academic and clinical achievement.

In order to be promoted into the next term, a student must have demonstrated satisfactory clinical performance in meeting the course objectives and have maintained a 2.0 Quality Point Average (QPA) academically.


Qualifications for licensure

The following information from "The Professional Nursing Law" in Pennsylvania, which became effective January 1, 1986, clearly identifies the impact on licensure of felonies related to drugs and alcohol:

Section 6. The Board shall not issue a license or certificate to an applicant who has been convicted of a felonious act prohibited by the act of April 14, 1972 (P.L. 233, No. 64), known as “The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act,” or convicted of a felony relating to a controlled substance in a court of law of the United States or any other state, territory or country unless:

  • At least ten (10) years have elapsed from the date of conviction;
  • The applicant satisfactorily demonstrates to the Board that he has made significant progress in personal rehabilitation since the conviction, such that licensure of the applicant should not be expected to create a substantial risk of harm to the health and safety of patients or the public, or a substantial risk of further criminal violations; and
  • The applicant otherwise satisfies the qualifications contained in or authorized by this act. As used in this subsection the term “convicted” shall include a judgment, an admission of guilt or a plea of nolo contendere. An applicant’s statement on the application of declaring the absence of a conviction shall be deemed satisfactory evidence of the absence of a conviction, unless the Board has some evidence to the contrary.

Felonies and misdemeanors, which do not fall under the provision above, may be a finding of impaired moral character. The determination of whether such conduct constitutes poor moral character is a discretionary matter for the Board of Nursing. Any felony may impact the licensure process.


Leave of absence

A leave of absence is granted for illness, pregnancy, or personal reasons, provided the student is in good standing.

No leave of absence will be granted to a student who is performing at an unsatisfactory level academically or clinically; this student must withdraw and apply for readmission.



A student will be terminated from the school for the following reasons:

  • Failure to receive a "C" or better in required college courses by graduation.
  • Violation of student conduct policies.
  • Inability to be removed from probationary status at the end of the probationary term.
  • Clinical performance that would necessitate a second probationary period.
  • Unsatisfactory clinical performance in two (2) or more course objectives.
  • A final theory grade of "D" or lower in any nursing course.


Dismissal policy

The School of Nursing faculty and administration make every effort to help students who experience difficulty in adjusting to the school and its requirements. However, the faculty may dismiss a student whose health, conduct, or level of achievement does not meet the standards essential to the individual’s performance as a student and as a nurse.

The Director or Assistant Director, School of Nursing, will hold a final conference with the student to explain the decision of the faculty.

A letter specifying the nature and conditions of the dismissal will be placed in the student’s file.

An exit interview will be conducted with the student to resolve any questions about financial aid obligations.

The librarian will contact the student regarding return of borrowed books.



A student may be considered for readmission to the educational program only one time after academic/clinical failure or leave of absence. Students dismissed for conduct policy violations will not be readmitted. Students requesting readmission will apply in writing along with the application for readmission to the Registrar.

Students who experience an academic failure in the following situations may not be considered for readmission unless a life-altering event occurred:

  • Students who fail in the first semester.
  • Students who fail both theory and clinical in any other term.
  • Students who leave the program failing theory and clinical.
  • Students who fail clinically in any term.

The Admission Committee will evaluate the candidate's appropriateness for readmission based upon the application.

Readmission after more than 1 year after withdrawal will be treated as a new application for Term 1.

All returning students must submit official transcripts of completed college courses. A student may be required to audit a course prior to re-entry.



A student is eligible for graduation at the completion of the required courses of study, thus having demonstrated satisfactory achievement in both academic and clinical performance while meeting the objectives of the School of Nursing. A student must have a 2.0 QPA at the completion of the program. All outstanding bills must be paid prior to graduation. All college course transcripts must be on file and all library resources must be returned or replaced prior to graduation. All community service hours must have been completed prior to graduation.