Academic Standing

A student’s academic standing is set at the end of each grading period (including each regular academic semester, after interterms, and when pending grades resolve). Academic standing categories are good standing, probation, and suspension. Academic standing is determined by two measures: (1) Academic Achievement and (2) Academic Progress.

Academic Achievement requires that a student achieve a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) (as outlined below in the first chart). A student’s Expected Academic Progress requires 15 SH per term/30 SH per year (on average) in order to graduate in 4 years. However, a student may remain in good academic standing by making Satisfactory Academic Progress, earning a minimum number of semester hours (as shown in the second chart).

In order to allow evaluation of academic standing before a new semester begins, incomplete (I) grades for students whose academic standing could be affected by the resolution of the incomplete must be resolved by one week before the first day of the following term rather than at the following midterm, when incompletes normally resolve. Notification of suspension and other academic standing changes is sent to students in writing after final grades are processed.

The total semester hours earned in the Academic Achievement chart include Principia College courses only. In the Academic Progress chart, the total semester hours earned include Principia College courses, transfer courses, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and CLEP.

1) Academic Achievement

The first measure of academic standing is based on grades achieved. To be in or return to good standing, a student’s cumulative GPA must meet these requirements:

Total Semester Hours Earned Minimum GPA Required
0-15 1.600
>15-30 1.700
>30-45 1.800
>45-59 1.900
>59 2.000

2) Academic Progress

Good academic standing also requires that a student is on track to graduate. While students are expected to average 15 SH per term (or 30 SH per year) to satisfy the 120 SH needed to graduate in four years, to be in good standing, a student must make Satisfactory Academic Progress by earning the following minimum number of cumulative semester hours by the end of the indicated number of terms:

At end of 1st term—9 semester hours earned

At end of 2nd term—a total of 21 semester hours earned

At end of 3rd term and each term thereafter— an average of 12 semester hours (or more) earned per term.


Residential students must be registered for a full load of 12-18 hours each term (exceptions may be granted by petition). Day students, and employees/spouses do not need to meet the required number of semester hours earned.

Academic Probation

A student will be placed on academic probation if his or her cumulative GPA is below the minimum required, and/or if the student is not making Satisfactory Academic Progress.

At the end of a semester, a student on academic probation whose cumulative GPA remains below the minimum on the GPA requirements scale will be continued on academic probation provided the student’s term GPA for the semester just completed meets the minimum GPA requirement.

A student on probation for failure to make Satisfactory Academic Progress is required to submit a plan for graduating in no more than ten terms. An approved extended study petition is required for study beyond eight terms. At the end of a semester, a student on academic probation whose earned hours remain below the minimum requirement, will continue on academic probation until the requirement is met.

Academic Suspension

A student on academic probation whose cumulative GPA remains below the minimum required and who does not qualify for an additional term of academic probation will be placed on academic suspension for one year. Occasionally, a student may be suspended directly from good standing for extremely poor performance (for example, a term GPA below 1.0).

A student is not considered suspended until the deadline has passed for an appeal. In the case of an international student on a student visa the SEVIS principal designated school official (PDSO) will then assist the student in making travel arrangements. Once the arrangements have been secured, the PDSO will notify the dean of academics and the registrar. The student will then have 24 hours to leave campus and the PDSO will change the student’s status in SEVIS according to immigration timelines.

Upon re-admittance after suspension, a student will return as a conditional admit. See About Academics. The student will be in good standing for the returning semester, at the end of which academic standing will be set according to the normal rules for academic standing.

Any student who has been withdrawn from Principia College for two semesters or more for any reason must re-apply through the Office of Admissions. A student on academic suspension becomes eligible to re-apply to Principia upon completion of a full year of satisfactory coursework at another accredited college or a full year of combined academic work and employment (including at least 9 semester hours of college-level work). It is expected that a student who has been academically suspended will work with The Center for Teaching and Learning to develop a success plan for the student to follow during suspension, following our process for transfer credit.

A student may appeal an academic suspension in writing to the academic dean. Appeals are rarely granted, but may be considered in cases where there were extreme circumstances outside the student’s control that interfered with successful academic work. Appeals must be submitted no later than two weeks before the beginning of the following semester.