Professor helps student during office hours

Academic Information

Academic Advisor

Each student is assigned an academic advisor. During the freshman-sophomore years, the advisor assists the student in understanding and integrating the liberal arts core curriculum, assimilating the College experience, course scheduling, and general academic counseling. Once a student has declared a major field of concentration, he or she will typically change to an advisor within that discipline. The major advisor offers guidance related to the upper-level curriculum in the discipline, as well as graduate school and vocational planning. To change his/her academic advisor, a student completes the process as directed by the Registrar’s office.

Academic Load

A minimum of twelve hours of credit is required for full-time enrollment. Normally, a student registers for five academic courses each semester, plus co-curricular courses, for a schedule of fifteen to seventeen credit hours of study; however, a student may register for more than seventeen credit hours if he has demonstrated an above-average academic record. Most freshmen will take four academic courses each semester, plus co-curricular courses, in a typical schedule of twelve to sixteen hours of credit.

Credit hours associated with an audited course do not count toward the twelve credit-hour minimum for full-time status.

Summer College

Hillsdale College offers two consecutive three-week summer sessions. The first three-week session extends from the middle of May through the first week of June. The second three-week session begins immediately following the first session and continues through the month of June. Pre-registration for summer college takes place at the same time as the pre-registration period for the fall semester. Students will be expected to have paid their summer-school tuition in full prior to the first day of summer classes.

Students may earn a maximum of four semester hours in each three-week session. Thus a student may earn half of a full semester’s credit toward the baccalaureate degree through attendance at the summer sessions. Summer college is designed as an all-purpose program but is particularly helpful to those who wish to accelerate progress toward graduation and those who need to make up specific courses.

Applications for summer college are accepted any time during the preceding school year. Registration takes place on the published dates.


Grade-point averages required for satisfactory academic standing are as follows:

1–34 Credit Hours

1.750 GPA

35–64 Credit Hours

1.900 GPA

65–124 Credit Hours

2.000 GPA


Any student who, at the end of any given semester, fails to reach the required accumulative average is placed on academic probation. Students placed on academic probation, or admitted on academic probation, will automatically be suspended unless they achieve the required average within one semester. A suspended student may, on the basis of significant improvement or other extenuating circumstances, appeal to the Academic Status Committee for reinstatement. If a student twice fails any course, that student will be subject to the probation-suspension process regardless of the accumulative grade-point average.

The normal duration of suspension is one year (twelve months), after which a student is eligible to apply for readmission. Such readmission is not automatic and will be dependent upon demonstration of significant productive activity during the period of suspension. In unusual circumstances, supported by exceptional achievement, a student may appeal to the Academic Status Committee for readmission after a suspension of less than one year.

The suspension encompasses all terms during the 12-month duration, including the summer sessions. Eligibility to enroll in any summer session is granted just as it is for any regular semester.

Any suspension or dismissal during the regular semester will result in the recording of “WF” grades for all enrolled courses. The “WF” involves a grade-point penalty.

Students admitted to Hillsdale College as special non-degree-seeking students who have not reached a 1.750 at the end of 12 hours will not be allowed to continue.

Calculating GPA

Hillsdale uses the standard “4.0” grading system:

























Honor Points

Honor Points are calculated by multiplying the credit hours for a given course by the grade in that course (on a 4.0 scale). Example: A “B” in a four-credit-hour class = 12 Honor Points (3.0 × 4 = 12.0).

Calculate GPA For Semester

Honor Points ÷ Semester Hours = Semester Grade-Point Average

Calculate Accumulative GPA

Total Honor Points ÷ Total Hours Attempted = Accumulative GPA

Calculate Required Semester GPA for Desired Accumulative GPA

  1. Cumulative Credit Hours Attempted + Credit Hours to be Completed = Total Credit Hours After Completion of Current or Upcoming Semester
  2. Total Credit Hours (including current semester) × Desired Cumulative GPA = Total Honor Points Necessary to Earn Desired GPA
  3. Total Honor Points Necessary to Earn Desired GPA – Current Cumulative Honor Points = Honor Points Necessary in Current or Upcoming Semester to Achieve Desired GPA
  4. Honor Points Necessary ÷ Credit Hours Currently Enrolled In (to be completed) = Semester GPA Needed to Achieve Desired Cumulative GPA

Repeating Courses

If your GPA is not satisfactory, you may wish to repeat an unsatisfactory grade to improve your accumulative average. The following are things to remember when repeating a course:

  1. You may only repeat courses in which you received below a “C”. Depending on the difference between the second and first grade and the total hours attempted, the accumulative GPA could increase significantly. The change in GPA will be more dramatic with fewer credit hours attempted.
  2. Courses can only be repeated for a better grade through Hillsdale.
  3. All “Fs” should be repeated as quickly as possible.
  4. “Ds” can, and often should, be repeated in an effort to salvage an ailing GPA.
  5. If you repeat a course, the first grade will still remain on your transcript, but an “R” is placed by it to indicate the course has been repeated. The new grade is calculated into your accumulative GPA and also into the semester GPA in which it was retaken.

The old grade is taken out of the accumulative GPA but will remain in the semester GPA in which the course was originally taken.

Academic Honors

The Dean’s List

Soon after the close of each semester, the College publishes the names of those full-time students who earned a semester average of 3.400 or better.

Senior Honors

Candidates for scholastic honors at the end of the senior year are recognized at Commencement. To be eligible for graduation with scholastic honors, a student must have completed at least 60 semester hours of work at Hillsdale College.

  • A student obtaining a grade-point average of 3.800 in at least 124 hours of work is eligible to receive a diploma summa cum laude.
  • A student obtaining a grade-point average of 3.600 in at least 124 hours of work is eligible to receive a diploma magna cum laude.
  • A student obtaining a grade-point average of 3.400 in at least 124 hours of work is eligible to receive a diploma cum laude.


Commencement ceremonies are held at the conclusion of the spring semester, and students completing requirements at that time are eligible and encouraged to participate. Students completing degree requirements at the close of a fall semester are eligible to participate in the commencement ceremony held at the conclusion of the following spring semester.

To be eligible to participate in commencement ceremonies, a student must have no more than six credit hours of work left to complete their degree and a plan to complete those remaining hours during the summer immediately following Commencement, although a degree will not be conferred until all work is completed.