Jun 18, 2024  
Catalog 2024-2025 
Catalog 2024-2025

Glossary of Academic Policies, Procedures, & Terms

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

Academic Dismissal

Students that have been academically dismissed may request permission to return by submitting a Petition for Readmission with the Academic Affairs Office. Dismissal is a serious predicament and warrants a careful examination of the causes and a plan of action to eliminate the possibility of a recurrence. If the student has been away from the college for three or more years, they may be eligible for a Fresh Start. Contact the Academic Affairs Office at 413.552.2770.

Academic Integrity

Holyoke Community College is committed to academic integrity-the honest, authentic and independent pursuit of knowledge. As members of the academic community, students are expected to be responsible for all of their own academic work without dishonesty or deception; joint work is legitimate only when assigned or approved by the instructor. HCC faculty members will take reasonable precautions to eliminate opportunities for academic dishonesty

Violations of academic integrity include, but are not limited to, the following general categories:

Using or obtaining unauthorized assistance in any academic work:

• Copying from another student’s examination
• Communicating with another student or using electronic communications devices during an examination
• Using notes, books or aids of any kind during an examination when prohibited by the instructor. (Students with disabilities should discuss educational accommodations with the Office for Students with Disabilities and Deaf Services)
• Obtaining prior knowledge of examination questions or obtaining or possessing a stolen copy of an examination
• Using another student to take an examination for oneself
• Submitting another student’s class assignment as one’s own

Providing fraudulent assistance to another student:

• Completing an academic assignment, paper or project or taking an examination for another student
• Giving answers to or sharing answers with another student during an examination
• Sharing answers during an examination by using a system of signals

Submitting the work of others as one’s own (plagiarism) or representing previously completed work
as current:

• Submitting a paper, lab report or other academic work for credit, which includes words, sentences, ideas, data or creative work of others without enclosing them in quotation marks, without paraphrasing them or without acknowledging the source

• Submitting work copied in any medium from another individual or from the Internet
• Submitting the same paper or academic assignment to other classes without the permission of the instructors

Furnishing false information to any official or faculty member or fabricating data in support of an
academic assignment:

• Forging a signature or falsifying or altering an academic or college record or document in any way
• Falsifying bibliographic entries
• Submitting academic materials, reports or projects containing falsified or fabricated facts, data or results

Avoiding Academic Dishonesty

Academic dishonesty is a serious offense. Careful attention to academic responsibilities is the best way to avoid allegations of academic dishonesty. Students are reminded that material obtained from the Internet is subject to the same principles of submission as materials obtained from any other media. HCC faculty members will provide students with specific expectations about academic integrity in the course syllabi. Students are referred to their course instructor for clarification of these expectations and can also seek assistance from the college library or CAPS Writing Center.
Discipline for Academic Dishonesty will be carried out as per the Student Disciplinary Process as outlined in the Student Code of Conduct.

Add/Drop Period

Add/drop is the four-day period at the beginning of each semester (full-term/15 week) when course changes may be made without a formal withdrawal. Courses dropped during add/drop do not appear on the student’s HCC transcript. Please visit the Student Records webpage for a full listing of add/drop dates. After add/drop, students wishing to leave a course must officially withdraw. The course and the withdrawal (“W”) grade are recorded on the transcript.

Students registered in a full-semester class that begins after the add/drop period has ended may drop the class and add another if they meet the following conditions: they must obtain a signed authorization from the instructor of the class they wish to add, and they must submit this in writing to the Student Records Office for processing no later than the end of the second week of classes.

Section changes within the same course do not require approval. Both course and section changes are subject to availability of seats in the desired course. Note that classes missed during add/drop are subject to the attendance policy of the individual instructor.

Advisors, Academic

Every enrolled student at the college is assigned to either a faculty or a staff member for the purpose of academic advising. An advisor is the student’s designated point of contact and will support a student throughout their academic journey. The advisor can assist students with the following: choosing and registering for classes, changing majors and exploring career options, creating a graduation timeline, implementing strategies for improving GPA, discussing basic transfer information, and connecting students with support services such as tutoring and mental health counseling. The final responsibility for selecting courses to fulfill graduation requirements rests solely with the student. Students can find out who their advisor is in Navigate, Online Services or DegreeWorks.

Articulation Agreements

The college has numerous articulation agreements with four-year institutions that make transfer and acceptance of HCC credits by these institutions both simple and convenient. Prospective transfer students should familiarize themselves with any agreements of interest as early as possible at HCC to ensure that requirements are met (see “MassTransfer Block” and “Perkins Secondary to Post-Secondary Initiatives ”).

Some of the four-year institutions that Holyoke Community College currently has articulation agreements with are: American International College, Arizona State University On-line, Bay Path University, Bryant College, Cambridge College, Clark University, Colby Sawyer College , Curry College, Eastern International College, Elms College, Emerson College, Emmanuel College, Excelsior College, Fitchburg State, Goddard College, Grantham University, Hampshire College, Howard University Johnson & Wales University, Northeastern University, Palmer College, Post University, Quincy College, Salve Regina University, Savannah College of Art and Design, Smith College, Springfield College, Southern New Hampshire University, SUNY Canton, The College of Saint Rose, The Sage Colleges, University of Bridgeport, University of Maine, University of Massachusetts Amherst, University of Phoenix, Western Governors University, Western New England University, and Westfield State University.

Attendance and Tardiness

All students are required to report to all classes on time. Persistent absence or tardiness may result in grading penalties, the student’s dismissal from class, and a grade of AW (Administrative Withdrawal). Students will be informed in writing of each instructor’s attendance policy at the start of classes in their course syllabus and are required to adhere to them. It is the prerogative of the instructor in cases of extended illness or serious accident to determine whether or not the student will be allowed to continue in the course.

Religious Belief Absences Policy

Chapter 151C, Section 2B, of the Massachusetts General Laws, allows students who cannot attend classes, take examinations, study, or fulfill work requirements on a particular day due to their religious beliefs to be excused from such obligations. Students must be provided with opportunities to make up exams and study or work requirements, provided that this does not create an unreasonable burden upon the instructor. Students may not be charged for such makeup opportunities or be adversely or prejudicially affected for taking advantage of these provisions. Students should notify instructors in advance so that accommodations can be made if necessary.

Auditing a Course

Students auditing a course for no credit are expected to comply with the attendance regulations of the instructor or attend 80% of the classes, whichever is greater, but are relieved of completing written work (assignments, tests, and examinations). Laboratory classes may be excluded from this requirement at the discretion of the instructor. Permission to audit a course will be granted only when students are able to show that doing so is consistent with their educational objectives. If a course requires a prerequisite(s), students must provide evidence of meeting the prerequisite(s).  An “Audit” grade cannot be used to satisfy a graduation requirement. A student registering for a course as an audit must complete a Petition to Audit a Class form available on the Student Records Office website page under Student Forms. An email notification will be sent to the instructor and student when the audit has been processed in the system. Copies of the form will be given to the student and to the instructor. Students have the responsibility to inform the instructor in writing that they are auditing the course and to request the instructor’s attendance policy and all requirements (excluding written work) that must be completed to receive a grade of “AU”. Students are not allowed to audit courses in selective programs. Students registering to audit a course may not change their status after the close of the add/drop period.

Students who do not complete the requirements for an “AU” in a course will have a grade of “W” recorded for that course, which indicates a withdrawal.

Career Programs and Options

Career Programs and Options are designed for students who desire to enter one of the many careers for which an associate’s degree is sufficient preparation. Career programs serve a two-fold purpose: they offer a general education that provides an understanding of the world as well as preparation for a particular occupation. Because these programs are not designed for ease of transfer but for career preparation, not all of the coursework may be transferable to four-year institutions. Students should discuss transfer options with the Transfer Counselor mbroadbent@hcc.edu.


- See “Degrees and Certificates ” Section

Changes of Curriculum and Enrollment Restrictions

Any curriculum change, such as a change of program or department, should be undertaken only after seeking the advice of the program coordinator, academic advisor, or a career counselor. A Change of Major Form must then be filled out in the Advising Center. In some cases, graduation may be delayed due to different program requirements. Certain day programs have enrollment limitations and can be entered only by submitting an application and fulfilling specific prerequisites or with the Program Coordinator’s approval. In some cases, applicants may be placed on a waiting list. These programs are:

Cooperating Colleges of Greater Springfield (CCGS)

Holyoke Community College has joined seven other area colleges, both public and private, to develop cooperative programs and services designed to enhance the educational experience. Student and faculty inter-college library privileges, joint student activities, and academic cooperation are included. Known as the Cooperating Colleges of Greater Springfield (CCGS), the association was formed in 1970 by the presidents of each of the member institutions: American International College, Bay Path University, Elms College, Holyoke Community College, Springfield College, Springfield Technical Community College, Western New England University, and Westfield State University.

Probably the most important cooperative endeavor is academic exchange. Each fall and spring term, any HCC student carrying at least six credits may enroll at another CCGS college at no additional cost for any course not offered at his or her own institution, excluding evening, online, and winter session and summer offerings, on a space-available basis. The course is scheduled as part of the student’s normal scheduled credit load, and all records of the registration and grade are kept by the Registrar of the home college.

This cross-registration includes Army and Air Force ROTC Programs, which will be offered at Western New England University (WNEU).

The three public colleges in the area, Holyoke Community College, Springfield Technical Community College, and Westfield State University, have formed the public college collaborative in which sharing of resources and faculty, and student cross-registration, are encouraged.

Students interested in taking courses through CCGS are encouraged to contact the Student Records Office at 413.552.2319 or studentrecords@hcc.edu.


A requirement that must be fulfilled at the same time as another requirement. All course corequisites are listed in the COURSE DESCRIPTIONS  section of this catalog. If none is listed by a course, none exists for it. (See Prerequisite)

Students may petition to be excused from corequisites. To do so, they must present a written argument, using the prerequisite waiver form designed for this purpose, justifying their request and secure the agreement and signatures of both the course instructor and Division Dean or designee. These forms are available on the Student Records webpage under the “Student Forms” section.

Course Designations

(A) English Composition (D) Mathematics  
(B) Behavioral and Social Science (E) Natural or Physical Science  
(C) Humanities and Fine Arts    

Course Load

A full-time course load is twelve to eighteen credits; a part-time load is eleven or fewer credits. Students who wish to carry more than eighteen credits to accelerate their progress must have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 and obtain permission from the Director of Advising Services. When registering for classes, students should remember that one credit normally requires at least three hours of study per week.

Course Requirements

Course requirements are determined by each instructor, based upon College-approved course syllabi. These requirements will be presented to students, in writing, at the beginning of the semester, in the course syllabus and must be adhered to. They cover such things as attendance policy, course requirements and expectations, reading assignments, examination procedures, make-up procedures, grading policy, and the academic content of courses.


Successful completion of most courses results in the awarding of a specific number of credits. Degrees or Certificates are awarded when enough credits are accumulated to meet specified requirements.

Credit Hour

HCC uses the industry-standard Carnegie Unit to define credit hours for both traditional and distance courses. Each credit hour corresponds to a minimum of 3 hours of student engagement per week for a traditional 14-week course or 6 hours per week for a 7-week course.

Credit by Examination

Holyoke Community College grants transfer credit for sufficient scores on certain Advanced Placement1 (AP), College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), and challenge exams for selected courses. These exams are administered by the Testing Center. An official score report must be sent directly from the testing agency to the Office of Student Records (Frost 223).

1The College accepts credits in many subject areas for Advanced Placement scores of three or higher. The Registrar can provide more specific information upon request.

Challenge Examinations

The College grants transfer credit for satisfactory performance on challenge examinations produced and administered by the College. Challenge examinations are not offered for courses already tested by a CLEP Subject Exam or for courses that duplicate work offered by secondary schools (e.g., Algebra I and II, remedial English, or General Studies courses); or for studio art or music performance courses, which seek to improve skills rather than impart a body of knowledge.

Challenge examinations are administered by the Testing Center.

Dean’s List

- See Honors

Degree and Certificate Requirements - (Graduation Requirements)

Candidates may be awarded the degree of Associate in Arts (A.A.), Associate in Science (A.S.), or Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.), as well as certificates. Candidates for degrees must fulfill the following requirements:

  1. Complete the requirements of the Program or Option in which enrolled
  2. Present at least sixty credits, of which at least fifteen must be earned at the College.
  3. Achieve a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0
  4. Satisfy all financial obligations to the College
  5. For Perkins Loan, Guaranteed Student Loan, and Nursing Student Loan recipients, complete an exit interview with the Student Aid Officer or representative
  6. All students who begin their studies at Holyoke Community College in fall 2020 or later and are seeking an A.A., A.S., or A.A.S. degree are required to demonstrate knowledge of diversity before earning their degree.  This requirement may be met by completing a course designated as “Knowledge of Diversity” (KOD)  

Candidates for certificates must fulfill the following requirements:

  1. Complete the requirements of the Certificate Program in which enrolled
  2. Achieve a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0
  3. Satisfy all financial obligations to the College

Requirements for each Program and Option are established by the academic divisions of the college and approved by the faculty. All students should examine their Program and Option descriptions and course sequences carefully. Each course listed must be successfully completed. Some Programs require more than the minimum 60 credits for the degree, and certain programs set minimum grades to be achieved in specific courses. Only six semester hours or two non-Arts and Science courses may be taken as general electives in any A.A. Arts and Science option, unless otherwise specified. Students may be excused from any requirement only by the Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs and only for very compelling reasons, upon recommendation of the department chair and the division dean.

Students matriculating in Associate of Arts (A.A.) Degree Programs at Holyoke Community College are required to complete the following core of 35 general education credits:

  • English 101-102: Language & Literature
6 credits
8 credits
  • Nine credits from any of the following: anthropology, economics, geography, government, history, psychology, social science or sociology. (B)
9 credits
  • Math (100 level) (D)
3 credits
  • Nine credits from any of the following: art, communications, English, French, German, history, honors, humanities, music, philosophy, Spanish, theater (C)
9 credits

Students matriculating in the Associate of Science (A.S.) or Associate of Arts in Music Degree Programs at Holyoke Community College are required to complete the following core of 20 general education credits:

  • English 101-102: Language & Literature
6 credits
  • Six credits from any of the following: anthropology, economics, geography, government, history, psychology, social science or sociology (B)
6 credits
  • Two natural science laboratory courses (See Laboratory Science Requirement) (E)
8 credit

Students seeking an additional Associate Degree are required to complete at least 15 additional credits in the newly declared discipline. Note that credits earned in any “0”-level course taken after August 1990 will not count toward graduation.

General Degree Requirements

The following five general education outcomes are incorporated into the student learning outcomes of every degree program at the College.

  • Critical Thinking
  • Information Literacy
  • Effective Communication
  • Knowledge of Diversity
  • Quantitative Reasoning

The Knowledge of Diversity outcome must be fulfilled by completing a course designated as meeting this requirement. The college will regularly maintain and update courses that carry this designation in our online catalog.

Developmental Courses

To determine whether students are adequately prepared to succeed in college-level English and Math courses, they are required to take a placement assessment upon admission to the College (See “Course Placement” in the GENERAL INFORMATION  section). Students who do not successfully place into college-level (“100-level”) courses are required to take developmental or remedial courses. These courses are designed to develop and enhance students’ competence in English and Math.

Credits earned in developmental courses are used for the purposes of determining students’ status as full or part-time and their eligibility for financial aid; however, these credits do not count toward the total credits required for graduation in any area of study offered at Holyoke Community College. Effective with the 1998-1999 academic year, developmental course credits (courses numbered below 100), which do not currently count toward graduation, shall not be included in a student’s Earned Hours, Quality Hours, or overall Grade Point Average. Developmental course credits shall be included in Attempted Hours for Financial Aid purposes.


- See Academic Integrity


- See Probation and Dismissal, Academic

Dropping a Course

- See Student Handbook


Electives are courses that support general education objectives or round out curricular requirements. The choice of electives is based on the following:

  • Program/Option Elective - Students choose from a restricted group of courses specified in the description of the Degree Program or Option.
  • General/Suggested Elective - Students elect any course found in the HCC Catalog or accepted in transfer from another college. A general elective, when included in a Program or Option, permits students to explore areas outside of their declared area of study.

Enrollment Restrictions

- See Changes of Curriculum and Enrollment Restrictions

Examinations/Make-ups (Credit Classes)

At least three one-hour examinations, or their equivalent in other written exercises, are scheduled in each course each semester. Two-hour final examinations, or their equivalent, are also scheduled in each course and must be given during the final examination period. At the discretion of the instructor, students of superior achievement may be excused from taking the final examination.

Students who wish to make up an examination must consult with and receive permission from their instructor before the scheduled examination date. It is the student’s responsibility to make the necessary arrangements with an instructor regarding all make-up examinations.

Foreign Language Placement

Students without foreign language experience will be placed into the first elementary course. Those who have studied a foreign language previously will be placed according to the following chart:

High School Study of Foreign Language Course at HCC

0-1 year SPA 101  or FRH 101  (C)  
2 years, grades C or D SPA 101  or FRH 101  (C)  
2 years, grades A or B SPA 102  or FRH 102  (C)  
3 years, grades C or D SPA 102  or FRH 102  (C)  
3 years, grades A or B SPA 201  (C) or FRH 201  (C)  
4 years, grades C or D SPA 201  (C) or FRH 201  (C)  
4 years, grades A or B SPA 202  (C) or FRH 201  (C)  
4+ years, grades A or B SPA 202  (C) or SPA 214  (C)   
Heritage Spanish Speaker/Fluency in Spanish SPA 203  (C)  

EXCEPTION - If more than three years have passed from the time the student took the foreign language course; it is then recommended that he or she be placed in 101.

Foreign Language Requirements

Because of the differences in techniques of language instruction among colleges, students should plan to complete all of the language requirements for the bachelor’s degree either at HCC or at a transfer institution, rather than attempting to divide them between the two.

At the University of Massachusetts Amherst College of Arts and Science, the foreign language requirement is satisfied by any of the following:

  • Completion of a foreign language course at the intermediate level (i.e. SPA 202 )
  • Satisfactory performance on the placement test
  • Four high school units in one foreign language or three units in one and two units in another foreign language
  • A year in a high school in which English is not the basic language

Fresh Start Policy

Once in a lifetime, students returning to Holyoke Community College, after being away at least three consecutive years and who had a cumulative grade point average (G.P.A.) of less than 2.0 when they were previously at the College, may elect a “Fresh Start” option. The option works as follows:

  1. Former work will remain on the student’s transcript as a matter of record, but will not be used in calculating the student’s G.P.A. If a student requesting financial aid is judged ineligible due to the Standards of Satisfactory Progress for Federal Financial Aid, he/she may appeal.
  2. Former work meeting the requirements of the College’s regular transfer policy (see Transfer Credit) will continue to count in earned hours, but will not be calculated in the G.P.A. The course work may be applied to the student’s declared program of study if applicable. A minimum of 15 credits must be completed after electing the Fresh Start Option in order to earn a degree or certificate.
  3. Students earning fewer than 30 credits in the Fresh Start Option cannot be graduated with honors.
  4. Students must select “Fresh Start” no later than 4:30 p.m. on the last scheduled day of classes of the semester in which they return to the College.
  5. Transcripts of “Fresh Start” students will include a statement explaining the “Fresh Start” Option.

Grading System

Grade Explanation Numerical Score Grade Points
A work of superior and outstanding quality 93-100 4.00
A-   90-92 3.65
B+   87-89 3.35
B work decidedly above average 83-86 3.00
B-   80-82 2.65
C+   77-79 2.35
C work of average quality 73-76 2.00
C-   70-72 1.65
D+   67-69 1.35
D work decidedly below average, but passing 63-66 1.00
D- work decidedly below average, but passing 60-62 0.65
F work not passing, no credit earned 0-59 0.00
S Satisfactory 70-100
U Unsatisfactory 0-69
AU Audit
I Incomplete (see below)
WX Administratively withdrawn from class; never attended. Not calculated into the G.P.A.
AW Dismissed from class by instructor for excessive absences. Not calculated into the G.P.A.
W Student withdrew from class. Not calculated into the G.P.A.

Incomplete Grade

An Incomplete (I) is a temporary grade assigned to a student who, due to extenuating circumstances such as illness, cannot complete the requirements of a course within the semester. The student must have completed at least 75% of the course to be eligible, and an Incomplete form should be submitted only after consultation between student and the instructor. All remaining course work must be outlined and deadlines for completion listed by the instructor. The form must be signed by the student, the faculty member, and the dean by the last day of the class in order for the student to receive the Incomplete (I) grade. If the required work is completed, the faculty member will submit a grade change form to replace the Incomplete (I) grade with a final grade. If the student does not complete the work by the deadline and the faculty member does not change the grade, at midterm of the following semester the Incomplete grade will convert to the earned grade listed on the form.

The full Incomplete Policy can be found in the student handbook and the form to complete is listed on the Student Records web page under Student Forms.

Mid-Semester Progress Report

Mid-semester grades are made available to students online at www.hcc.edu/myhcc, Online Services. These grades provide some guidance in the selection of the next semester’s courses. All grades, especially those representing below average achievement, should be discussed with course instructors and academic advisors.

Mid-semester grades do not become part of permanent records, but are an important indicator of academic progress to date.

Grade Point Average (G.P.A.)

The G.P.A. is computed by multiplying the grade point value of each grade earned by the number of credits in the corresponding course, adding all course grade points together, and then dividing the total by the number of grade point hours. Effective with the 1998-1999 academic year, developmental courses (courses numbered below 100) are not included.


ENG 101 - 3 credits

Grade in ENG 101 = A (4.00 grade points) 3 credits x 4 grade points = 12.00 grade points

SOC 110 - 3 credits

Grade in SOC 110 = C (2.00 grade points) 3 credits x 2 grade points = 6.00 grade points

6 credits 18.00 grade points

18 grade points ÷ 6 credits = 3.00 grade point average

The grades of AW, W, I, Audit, and S/U grades are not included. Effective fall 1999, FX grades are not included.

Repeating Courses

Students may repeat courses at HCC in an attempt to earn credit or improve their G.P.A. Credit may not be earned twice for a repeated course. All grades, including those in repeated courses, will appear on transcripts. The most recent grade will be included in the student’s G.P.A. calculation. The previously recorded grade will be excluded from the G.P.A., but will still appear on the student transcript. Financial aid can only pay for one repeat of a previously passed course. This repeat policy applies even if the student did not receive financial aid when enrolled in the course in the past.

Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) Option

Students may elect to be graded on a satisfactory-unsatisfactory basis in one elective course per semester. This policy does not apply to courses designed with an S/U grade structure. This option should not be used in courses required in a student’s intended concentration in a four-year institution. If the student passes the class, a grade of S is recorded; otherwise, a grade of U is recorded. Neither grade affects the G.P.A.

The S/U Grade Option Petition form in Student Records must be completed by the end of the add/drop period in order to elect the S/U option.

Electing the S/U option may affect the transferability of a course.

Graduation Requirements

- See Degree and Certificate Requirements

Green Key Honor Society

The Green Key Honor Society is a leadership and service organization dedicated to representing HCC at community and college events. Members serve the entire college community as tour guides, hosts, and ushers at special events such as orientation, Honors Convocation, college fairs, and information sessions. To support other HCC students, Green Key members are committed to providing scholarships through fundraising events. Faculty members, professional staff members, members of the present Green Key, or the Presidents of recognized student organizations, are given an opportunity to nominate students who demonstrate excellence in the HCC community. Nominees must also have a 3.0 G.P.A. and have earned at least twenty credits. Appointment to Green Key occurs once a year and is a great way for students to enhance their academic career and develop leadership skills while serving the college community.

Honors, Academic

Dean’s List (Full-time and Part-time)

The Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs recognizes superior scholarship through the Dean’s List each semester. Each time a student attempts twelve credits, that student is evaluated for the Dean’s list and is placed on the Dean’s List if his/her G.P.A. is 3.2 or higher for that group of twelve credits. Each group of twelve credits is evaluated sequentially; no carryover of credits is allowed.

Honors at Graduation

Graduating students who have earned a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.2 through 3.699 will be awarded the Associate degree with honors. Those who have earned a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.7 or better will be awarded the Associate degree with high honors.

Phi Theta Kappa

Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) is an international honor society for community and junior colleges. The purpose of Phi Theta Kappa is to recognize academic achievement and provide leadership and service opportunities for associate degree students. Students do not need faculty nominations in order to join.

Students must meet the following criteria at least one full semester prior to graduation in order to qualify for Phi Theta Kappa membership:

  • Have successfully completed 15 semester hours at HCC (transfer hours and credits from 0-level classes are not included)
  • Have achieved a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.50
  • Have never graduated from HCC

Students who sign up are invited to attend the PTK Induction ceremony in their prospective semester. Students will ONLY be offered membership during the regular fall and spring semester cycles.

Students are responsible for paying a one-time membership fee to Phi Theta Kappa’s national headquarters. PTK eligible students can apply for a $75 scholarship to pay this fee through the HCC Honors Program. PTK members are eligible to wear the Phi Theta Kappa gold stole and tassel at commencement. PTK also offers transfer scholarship opportunities and resumé building resources.

For further information, please review the Phi Theta Kappa website (www.ptk.org). After reviewing the website, feel free to contact Alexis Roach, Student Engagement Coordinator. NOTE: Phi Theta Kappa is NOT the same as the HCC Honors Program.

Psi Beta

Psi Beta is a national honors society in psychology for community colleges. Psi Beta is affiliated with the American Psychological Association (APA) and the American Psychological Society (APS). It is also a member of the Association of College Honor Societies. Membership is offered to students who are Psychology majors meeting the following criteria:

  • they have completed at least 3 psychology courses at HCC
  • they have an overall G.P.A. of 3.5 or higher
  • they have achieved grades of B or better in all Psychology courses

Additionally, students must demonstrate a genuine interest in psychology and high standards in personal behaviors, and they must be endorsed by at least one member of the HCC psychology faculty.

Honors Program

Could you be an Honors student? YES YOU CAN. Here we believe Honors is for everyone who is up for a challenge and has a desire to learn in community. The HCC Honors Program offers opportunities for the intellectual challenge to students in every discipline. The program believes that motivated students benefit from small class sizes, accessible faculty, seminar-style courses, and being surrounded by other talented, hard-working students. We provide our students with the skills necessary for success in college and beyond. Honors students also qualify for unique scholarships not offered to traditional students. Skills learned in honors courses also provide students with job readiness skills, including problem-posing and problem-solving, critical reading and writing skills, creative thinking, and more.

Currently, the Honors Program offers interdisciplinary Honors Learning Communities (LCs), Honors colloquia, as well as stand-alone Honors courses in English, History, Latinx Studies, Biology, and an interdisciplinary course titled Ideas that Change the World. Interested students may also use the program’s resources to design individualized Honors projects as add-ons to almost any HCC course.

When eligible students begin at Holyoke Community College, they can register for more information on the www.hcc.edu/honors website and review information about honors courses, and the Commonwealth Honors Program Scholar.

Eligibility Requirements:

For incoming students:

  • English placement test score of 100 or better on both reading comprehension and sentence skills; OR
  • A “B+” or better in a discipline (ex.: a B+ in high school science course to take an honors science course at HCC) AND a letter of recommendation from academic faculty; OR
  • Honors or AP high school course in appropriate discipline with a grade of “B” or better; OR
  • A score of 3 or higher on the AP exam

For established HCC students:

  • After 12 earned credits with a 3.2 G.P.A. or better; OR letter of recommendation from an HCC faculty member or the Pathways Program Coordinator

Students who complete 9 credits of Honors work with a grade of B or better and who achieve a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.5 or above may graduate as Commonwealth Honors Scholars. This designation will appear on their transcripts and will be noted in the Commencement Program.

All Honors credits completed at HCC will be accepted as Honors credits at all Massachusetts colleges and universities. For further information, review the Honors website (www.hcc.edu/honors). After reviewing the website, please feel free to email Dr. Jessica Hill (honorsprogram@hcc.edu), Honors Program Coordinator (DON 245).

Honors Learning Communities

Honors Learning Communities are interdisciplinary courses organized around a specific theme and taught by faculty members from different disciplines. Honors LCs may be worth 6 or 7 credits, depending on the courses they combine.

Honors Colloquia

Honors Colloquia are designed to bring together students from many academic disciplines to consider a theme or issue of current concern from a variety of perspectives. Colloquia are 6-credit multidisciplinary courses that are competitively enrolled and limited to 15 students. Credits earned in this course may be designated as “B or “C” credits, depending on the nature of the student’s final course project. Colloquia generally offer field trips and a series of guest speakers. The Honors Program provides Colloquium students with many of the course’s required texts.

Honors Projects

An Honors Project consists of independent work undertaken by the student. Such work may consist of an extra paper, a paper of greater length or complexity, a research project, creative work, service learning, and lab work/field study. Students interested in proposing an Honors Project should review the student and faculty guidelines sheets available online with their faculty mentor and then fill out the online proposal form (available on the Honors website). When the committee has reviewed a student’s proposal and their project is complete, the student may then register for HON 201, 1-3 credits of honors, which will bear the project’s title on the student’s transcript.

Learning Communities

What is a Learning Community?

A Learning Community (LC) is usually a combination of two courses organized around a common theme. Learning Communities provide an alternative to traditional college offerings by connecting courses often perceived as unrelated. Connections between course topics are emphasized so that content and skills learned in one course can be applied to the other course in the LC. The same students enroll in both courses and the instructors team teach. Students learn collaboratively and assignments are integrated across both courses. At the end of the semester, each student gets a grade and credit for each of the courses that are part of the Learning Community.

Benefits of a Learning Community:

  • Students receive academic support from two professors
  • Students can complete two or more requirements for a degree at one time
  • Integrated courses connect learning in collaborative and active ways
  • Supportive learning environments build confidence and skills
  • Creates a community of learners through a supportive network of students and faculty


MassTransfer is a collaboration between the Commonwealth’s community colleges, state universities, and the University of Massachusetts. System-wide resources and policies allow for students to transfer seamlessly, stay on track, and minimize the time it takes to earn a bachelors degree.

Participating Colleges and Universities

  • Bridgewater State University
  • Fitchburg State University
  • Framingham State University
  • Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
  • Massachusetts College of Art & Design
  • Massachusetts Maritime Academy
  • Salem State University
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • University of Massachusetts Boston
  • University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
  • University of Massachusetts Lowell
  • Westfield State University
  • Worcester State University

General Education Foundation

MassTransfer provides any student in the Massachusetts public higher education system who completes the General Education Foundation with the benefit of satisfying the general education, distribution, and core requirements at any other public higher education institution (with the receiving institution able to add no more than six additional credits or two courses).

  1. Complete the 34 credits before transferring and save an average of 11% on your bachelor’s degree!
  2. Transfer with a GPA 2.0+ and have guaranteed transfer of credits

A student completing an associate’s degree program under MassTransfer will have graduated with a minimum of 60 credit hours and will have completed the following 34-credit general education transfer block, exclusive of developmental coursework.

English Composition/Writing (A) 6 credit hours  
Behavioral and Social Sciences (B) 9 credit hours  
Humanities and Fine Arts (C) 9 credit hours  
Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning (D) 3 credit hours  
Natural or Physical Science (E) 7 credit hours  

A2B (Associate-to-Bachelors) Mapped and Linked Programs

Beginning your college career at a community college is a smart choice. MassTransfer seeks to reward community college students who complete associate degrees at Massachusetts community colleges before they enroll in linked bachelors programs at Massachusetts state universities or University of Massachusetts campuses. Not only does MassTransfer guarantee full transfer of a minimum of 60 credits but, depending on their final GPA and/or prerequisite coursework, students who complete A2B Degrees (Associate-to-Bachelors) may also receive guaranteed admission and tuition discounts.


Complete 60 credits before transferring and save an average of 28% on your bachelors degree!

Students will receive the following benefits based upon their final GPA.

  • Transfer with a GPA 2.0+ and have a guaranteed transfer of credits, no application fee or application essay
  • Transfer with a GPA 2.5+ and have a guaranteed university admissions, (check your four-year institution for specific GPA requirements for program of interest)
  • Transfer with 3.0+ and have MassTransfer 100% tuition credit

A2B plus Commonwealth Commitment

A2B Degree students who attend full-time and earn a GPA of 3.0 or higher also have the opportunity to participate in the Commonwealth Commitment (view the participation form). The Commonwealth Commitment (available in “A2B Mapped” majors only) further rewards students with a freeze on tuition & fees for all four years, and 10% end-of-semester rebates.

Complete the 60 credits before transferring and save an average of 40% on your bachelors degree.

  • Transfer with GPA 2.0+ and have guaranteed transfer of credits, no application fee, no application essay
  • Transfer with GPA 2.5+ and have guaranteed university admission
  • Transfer with GPA 3.0+ and have MassTransfer 100% Tuition Credit
  • Transfer with GPA 3.0+ & Full-Time Attendance (not available for all majors) and have freeze on tuition & mandatory fees on program entry, 10% end-of-semester rebate checks


Students should meet with an academic counselor or their assigned advisor and use DegreeWorks to review the proper program and course selection for transfer to a four-year state college/university.

Online Accounts

The Information Technology Division of Holyoke Community College is pleased to announce that all students registered for credit and non-credit classes at the college are provided with an “HCC Campus Account” which gives the student access to campus computers, Google Mail, Canvas, Rave, and Campus Wireless. Students are also issued an Online Services account, all of which can be found in the “MyHCC” menu on the college website.

The College will use the email account or the messaging system to send communications to the student body. Student email addresses will be recorded in the College’s electronic directories and records. Students are responsible for reading official College email and messages in a timely fashion. Please review the “Acceptable Use Policy” in the Student Handbook.

HCC campus accounts are generated 15 minutes after registration occurs. Email accounts are ready 15 minutes later. The MyHCC menu on the HCC homepage (http://www.hcc.edu) will bring you to all the services available for login.

It is extremely important that students log into email on a regular basis, as it is an important communication tool between the student, professor, and administration. Also, urgent College-wide information and announcements concerning closings and events are transmitted through this medium and the Emergency Notification System (Rave) - https://www.getrave.com/login/hcc.

HCC Online Services contain personal, academic information and access to the following:

  • View and Print:
    • Mid-term and final grades
    • Class schedule
    • Unofficial transcripts (course history)
  • Check course availability
  • Review your financial aid information
  • Check account balances/pay online and more

Login instructions, including information on IDs and passwords for these services, can be found on the Help page: www.hcc.edu/help.

For help accessing any of these accounts, contact the HCC Help Desk: helpdesk@hcc.edu or 413.552.2075.


A requirement that must be completed before some other steps can be taken; for example, a course that must be completed before one can enroll in another course. All course prerequisites are listed in the COURSE DESCRIPTIONS  section of this catalog. If none is listed by a course, none exists for it. (See also Corequisite) Students may petition to be excused from course pre-requisites. To do so, they must present an argument justifying their request in writing, and secure the agreement and signature of both the course instructor and the Division Dean or his/her designee. These forms are available on the Student Records webpage under the “Student Forms” section.

Probation and Dismissal, Academic

The Academic Standing GPA includes developmental level coursework. It is used to determine a student’s academic standing: Good Standing; Probation I; Probation II; or Dismissal. The College Grade Point Average, on the other hand, only calculates college-level coursework (100-level and greater). Knowing a student’s academic standing early on will enable the student and their advisor to plan for improving the academic standing and the student’s long-term success at HCC.

Example Calculations:

Academic Standing Grade Point Average

College Grade Point Average

ENG 095 - 3 credits

Grade in ENG 095 = D (1.0 grade point)

3 credits X 1 grade point = 3 grade points


ENG 095 - 3 credits

Grade in ENG 095 = D (1.0 grade point)

3 credits X 1 grade point = 3 grade points

BUS 115 - 3 credits

Grade in BUS 115 = A (4.0 grade points)

3 credits X 4 grade points = 12 grade points


BUS 115 - 3 credits

Grade in BUS 115 = A (4.0 grade points)

3 credits X 4 grade points = 12 grade points

TOTAL: 6 credits and 15 grade points

TOTAL: 3 credits and 12 grade points

CALCULATE: 15 grade points divided by 6 credits = 2.5 grade point average

CALCULATE: 12 grade points divided by 3 credits = 4.0 grade point average

The grades of AW, W, I, Audit, and Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory are not included. Effective Fall 1999, FX grades are not included.

Academic probation or dismissal for students is determined by the cumulative Grade Point Average and Quality Hours, as follows (See Grading System):

Cumulative Grade Point Hours Cumulative G.P.A. Required:  
Below 9 No minimum  
9-30 1.75  
Above 30 2.0  


Registration and Schedule Changes using Online Services:

HCC provides academic advising to all students. Students are encouraged to meet with their assigned advisor prior to registering for classes in order to verify the accuracy of course selection. The final responsibility for selecting courses to fulfill graduation requirements rests solely with the student. Students can look up their advisor’s name and contact information online at www.hcc.edu, in Online Services, Navigate or DegreeWorks.

Community Based Learning

Community Based Learning, formerly the Service Learning Program, is a method of instruction in which community organizations and faculty enter into a mutually beneficial relationship to provide students with a hands-on and/or action-oriented learning experience that meets a community need. The work the students engage in is directly related to the objectives of their class and supports the established needs of the community organization. It is a great way for students to gain work experience in their field of study, and to strengthen their resumé and/or transfer application.

The Community-Based Learning (CBL) coordinator can advise students about courses that offer CBL as a requirement and share contact information for different community agencies and organizations in the local area. 

Student Engagement club members seeking to fulfill their service requirement may contact the Student Engagement office for suggestions on how to meet that obligation. 

Contact the Community-Based Learning Coordinator at cbl@hcc.edu for more information. Let’s make community connections together. 


Transfer Programs

One of Holyoke Community College’s primary missions is to provide the first two years of college-level study for students who wish to transfer to a four-year institution to complete a baccalaureate degree. Many HCC programs are designed for this specific purpose, and most HCC courses are transferable whether or not they are part of such a program.

If the courses to be transferred correlate with Holyoke Community College courses, credit will be granted for a limited number of courses taken in any branch of the military or through non-collegiate-sponsored instruction accredited by the American Council on Education in the lower Division Bachelor/Associate Degree category.

Arrangements have been made with a number of four-year institutions for automatic transfer of all of the coursework done to earn an associate degree at HCC (see “MassTransfer”). In other cases, students must apply to the college of their choice and arrange for the transfer of specific courses.

UMASS Amherst General Education Requirements

The University of Massachusetts at Amherst requires all students to complete a set of general education courses to graduate. These requirements will be waived for students who transfer to the University with an associate degree that includes the MassTransfer Block. However, all students will be required to complete all courses for their major and students accepted into the College of Arts & Science will be required to complete the foreign language requirement (see “Foreign Language Requirement”).


Students are withdrawn from a course in the following ways:


A student may drop a course during the Add/Drop Period (first 4 days of a full term, 15-week semester) without being recorded as having been enrolled in that course. Refunds for dropped courses are made in accordance with the College’s refund policy. Please visit the Student Records webpage for a full listing of add/drop dates.

Administrative Withdrawal from a course for Non-Attendance

Instructors will notify the Registrar of any student on their class list who does not attend the course during the first two weeks. The student will be issued a “WX” grade and will be considered withdrawn from the course. A student who is issued a “WX” grade is not eligible for a refund of any part of the cost of the course concerned.

Administrative Withdrawal from a course for Excessive Absences

Instructors may dismiss a student from a class due to excessive absences, issuing an “AW” grade. “AW” is not calculated into the G.P.A. and may not be removed by a student’s later attempt to withdraw from the course.

Course Withdrawal by a Student

Students must complete a Course/College Withdrawal form in order to be withdrawn from a course. This form is located on the Student Records webpage under “Student Forms” or through Online Services. Students can withdraw up until the last day of classes for that particular part of term within the semester. Please visit the Student Records webpage for a full listing of withdrawal dates.

Withdrawal from the College

College withdrawals can be submitted up until the last day of classes. The date the Student Records Office receives the completed Course/ College Withdrawal form becomes the official withdrawal date. Students must complete a Course/College Withdrawal form in order to be withdrawn from the college. The form is located on the Student Records webpage under Student Forms or through Online Services. A withdrawal grade for each course is determined in accordance with the policy for course withdrawals. “AW” and “WX” grades that were previously issued in a course remain on record, even when a student withdraws from the College.

Withdrawal for Medical Reasons

A medical withdrawal is a withdrawal from all classes due to a severe, unforeseen medical condition, either physical or emotional. It is intended for use only in extraordinary circumstances in which unanticipated serious illness or injury prevents a student from continuing to attend or participate in classes. A student must complete and submit an Administrative Action Appeal form, available on the Student tab of the HCC website. The college’s refund policy will apply to all medical withdrawals. There may be no refund for medical withdrawals after the refund period has expired. A student may request an exception to the refund policy by including this in the written request as part of the Administrative Action Appeal. Exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis. An Administrative Action Appeal must contain enough information and supporting documentation to inform the college of the reasons behind the medical withdrawal. Students who submit a request are granting permissions for relevant college officials to review all information provided in support of the appeal. In cases involving pregnancy, a student should consult with the Title IX Coordinator to assure appropriate consideration of her case under the protections of Title IX.