Portland-State-University 2023-2024 Bulletin

Academic Records, Credit, and Appeals

Student Records

The University Student Records Policy, in accordance with the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as Amended, governs the collection, use, and disclosure of student records with the goal of ensuring their privacy. Generally it provides the right to non-release of confidential information except as directed by the student, or as provided by law; the right to inspect educational records maintained by the University; the right to correction of errors, a hearing if necessary, and the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education. Learn more about student records privacy online at www.pdx.edu/registration/student-records-privacy-policy.

Documents Submitted to the University

All documents, including transcripts, submitted to PSU become the property of the University and are not intended for duplication or return to the student. 

Academic Record Sealed After Degree Earned

Portland State University academic records are sealed thirty days after the conferral of a degree. After this date, changes to majors and minors, addition of departmental honors, removal of incomplete grades, grade changes, changes to degree posting, or other changes to an academic record cannot be made except by decision of the Scholastic Standards Committee or the Graduate Council.

Academic Credit


Academic Credit Hour Policy

This credit hour definition is based on the traditional Carnegie unit and aligns with the Federal financial aid definition mandated by the United States Department of Education’s (USDE) regulations [34 CFR 600.02 and 668.8, effective July 1, 2020] and the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) standards and policies.

As the basic unit of measurement of educational accomplishment the credit hour is used to measure student progress toward a degree, which in turn enables PSU’s programs to be eligible for Title IV Financial Aid programs under the Higher Education Act.

These definitions rely on the ‘50-minute’ credit hour when considering in-class meeting times. The PSU standard class scheduling time grid provides sufficient in-class time for both 3 and 4 credit classes.

PSU Definition:

The credit hour is conceptually framed as an amount of student work (i.e. a reasonable approximation of the total time commitment required of the typical student) associated with achieving intended learning outcomes. Under PSU’s quarter system, one academic credit is given for a minimum of 30 hours of student work over the term (i.e. a 1:30 ratio over the term). If the course meets regularly for 10 weeks, then 1 credit would require a minimum of 3 hours of student time per week for the 10 week term (i.e. a 1:3 ratio per week for 10 weeks).

  • For a standard lecture/seminar class section with synchronous meetings, a minimum of 1 hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of 2 hours of out-of-class student work is required per week for a 10 week instructional term (1:3), or an equivalent amount of work distributed over a different time period (1:30).
  • For other credit-bearing activities - such as labs, internships, practica, studio work, projects, mentor sessions - 1 credit requires at least an equivalent amount of student work spread out over the term (i.e. 1:30 ratio).

    Important Note: The policy sets the minimum level of student work/time required per credit, not an upper limit. The standards for the amount of student work per credit can vary greatly by academic unit. Each academic unit determines the structure of such courses and the credit hour ratio, based on variations in commonly accepted disciplinary and accreditation standards/practice within postsecondary education.

Student work includes time spent in:

  • Direct Instruction, where the core/primary course content is delivered, typically by faculty during synchronous class meetings, but also includes guided learning through core material via asynchronous online delivery,
  • Outside of Class study time, reading assignments, homework, papers, group work, exam preparation, etc., and
    Other Academic Activities which include credit and non-credit bearing course sections designed to review, discuss, practice or apply the course (and program) concepts delivered via direct instruction. Other Academic Activities include the following course types: laboratory, internships, practica, studio, projects, and other supplemental support sections like mentored inquiry.

Alternative Delivery Formats - Hybrid, Online - No Scheduled Meetings, Partial Term

Classes that do not use synchronous meeting/contact times (for example, hybrid or asynchronous online courses) - or only meet for a partial term (i.e. for fewer than the standard 10 weeks) - will meet the credit hour standard if the course content and outcomes cover the same material in the same depth as a standard 10-week synchronous version of the same course, and the amount of student work is the same. Regardless of the length of the course or the amount of time spent in synchronous learning, the course learning outcomes, subject matter/content covered, and amount of student work must be equivalent to the amount of work/learning associated with the standard 10-week course.

Transferring Credit Hours

PSU is on the quarter-system calendar and all credit hours listed in the PSU Bulletin and schedule of classes refer to quarter credits. Semester credits transferred to PSU from other accredited United States schools may be converted to PSU’s credits by multiplying by 1.5 (e.g., 3 semester hours x 1.5 = 4.5 quarter credits). The 1.5 multiplication rule applies only to semester credits transferred from regionally accredited U.S. schools. Credits transferred from accredited schools outside the United States will be converted according to established international transfer credit guidelines and policies. PSU credits transferred out to a semester system institution may be converted by multiplying the number of quarter credits by .67 to determine the semester hour equivalent (e.g., 4 quarter credits x .67 = 2.68 semester credits).

NWCCU Considerations

In accordance with the NWCCU policy, PSU faculty will determine the amount of work associated with a credit hour, by considering learning outcomes and by accounting for a variety of delivery methods, measurements of student work, academic calendars, disciplines, degree levels, and commonly established standards/practices within postsecondary education.

PSU periodically reviews the application of its policy on credit hours across the institution to assure that credit hour assignments are accurate, fair, equitable and reliable across degree levels, academic disciplines, delivery modes, and types of academic activities.

Academic Credit Overload

Undergraduate Academic Credit Overload

Undergraduate students who enroll in more than 21 credits per term are considered to be in academic overload. PSU audit credits and transfer credit taken at other institutions while concurrently enrolled at PSU are counted in determining overload status. Transfer credits that result in an overload for a given term will not be accepted in transfer unless prior approval has been granted.


Academic overload must be approved on a term-by-term basis as follows:

  •  22-25 credits: Students must obtain prior approval from their academic program adviser using the Overload Approval Form, to be submitted to the Office of the Registrar in advance of the overload term.

  •  26 or more credits: Students must obtain prior permission from the Academic Requirements Committee (ARC) by submitting an ARC petition in advance of the overload term. Students must provide justification for the overload and obtain written support from their academic program adviser. Petitions must be submitted using the Academic Requirements Committee petition prior to the first day of the overload term.

Graduate Academic Credit Overload

Graduate students must obtain approval for registration in excess of 16 credits (graduate and undergraduate credits combined) via the Overload Approval form. A student registering for 17 to 19 credits must obtain the approval from their department chair or faculty adviser. A student registering for 20 credits or more must obtain the approval of their department chair and the Graduate School. A graduate assistant registering for more than 16 credits must obtain approval from their department chair and the Graduate School.

Computer Science and Electrical & Computer Engineering graduate students have a lower maximum registration limit of 10 credits. These students must obtain approval to register for 11 or more credits via the Overload Approval form.

Class standing

Class standing is based on the number of credits a student has completed, according to the following schedule:

Class Standing Credits Completed
Freshman 1-44
Sophomore 45-89
Upper-division standing 90 or more
Junior 90-134
Senior 135 or more
Postbaccalaureate Hold an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university

Appeals and Grievances

Grievances and requests for exceptions to University policies and requirements may be filed with specific committees authorized to deal with specific student concerns.

Academic Appeals Board

This board hears appeals from students who claim to have received prejudiced or capricious academic evaluation and makes recommendations on cases to the Provost. In such cases the student should first consult with the instructor. If the grievance is not resolved, the student should then contact the department chair, then the dean of the college or school. If the grievance is still not resolved, the student may then appeal by writing a letter to the Academic Appeals Board. Appeals may be filed in the Office of Dean of Student Life, 433 Smith Memorial Student Union.

Academic Requirements Committee (ARC)

The ARC is a subcommittee of the PSU Faculty Senate and is responsible for developing policies and adjudicating petitions regarding academic regulations related to credit loads, transfer credit, degree and certificate requirements for all undergraduate programs. It also develops and recommends policies and adjudicates student petitions regarding initial undergraduate admissions, including entering freshmen. The ARC Petition process is managed by an online process accessed at www.pdx.edu.registration/academic-requirements-committee-petitions.

Deadline Appeals Committee (DAC)

A student may petition this committee to be exempted from published registration deadlines for the current term when mitigating circumstances prevent deadline compliance. Petitions must include documentation of the reason for missing the deadline.

The petition may be accessed at www.pdx.edu/registration/dac.

For further information students may call 503-725-3220.

Scholastic Standards Committee (SSC)

The SSC is a Faculty Senate committee charged with developing and recommending academic standards to maintain the integrity of the undergraduate program and academic transcripts of the University; developing, maintaining and implementing protocols regarding academic changes to the undergraduate transcript; reviewing and ruling on petitions for any retroactive change to the academic record such as a grade option change, drop, add, and extension of an incomplete beyond the one year deadline; and adjudicating student petitions for academic reinstatement to the University. Conferral of an accredited transferable Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree constitutes automatic reinstatement to the University once an official copy of a transcript with degree posted is presented to the Office of the Registrar. Petition forms to make retroactive changes to undergraduate academic record, or to seek reinstatement to the University may be obtained at www.pdx.edu/registration/petitions. Forms may also be obtained at the Registrar's Office, FMH Lobby. For further information call 503-725-3220.