Academic Policies

Degree Requirements

To be approved for graduation, candidates for an Associate in Arts degree, an Associate in Science degree, an Associate in Fine Arts, or an Associate in Applied Science degree must fulfill the following requirements.

Appropriate placement in college courses is vital to student success.  To ensure appropriate placement, all entering students are required to  take the College's Placement Test and/or be evaluated through the use of multiple measures such as high school grade point average and rigor of previous academic work.  Non-native speakers of English entering the English Language Studies program must take the ELS Placement Test to determine their level of English language proficiency.

Students may take certain college-level courses along with basic courses as long as all identified deficiencies are also being addressed. Such a program should be worked out with a faculty advisor or counselor.

The College Success Course
The College Success Course (COL103) is a required college-level course that all students must take during the first semester they enroll at the college.  The course prepares students for college life by offering crucial information and skills necessary for success in college, including time management, note taking, critical thinking, financial literacy and information literacy.  Students also explore academic and career goals.  In addition, students become familiar with the full range of academic programs offered at the College as well as the institution’s regulations, policies and procedures.

*Part-time students who are taking a single course and have no intention of pursuing a degree at Passaic County Community College are not required to take COL 103.

Students transferring to Passaic County Community College from other colleges who have successfully completed a minimum of twelve (12) credits of college-level work, with a 2.0 grade point average or better, do not have to take COL 103.  Students who have successfully completed a minimum of twelve (12) credits of college-level work at Passaic County Community College with a 2.0 grade point average or better, may have the COL 103 requirement waived after advisement.

Developmental Mathematics Requirement
Students who enter college with inadequate academic preparation (as measured by placement exams) must take developmental mathematics. All developmental mathematics courses (except MA 025, Accelerated Algebra) have a laboratory component. Tutoring is provided in the mathematics laboratories.

Students who place into developmental mathematics are required to register for that course in their first semester. Once started, the developmental math sequence must be completed in consecutive semesters.  Students enrolled solely in Developmental Education, Developmental Education-paired, ELS, ELS-paired, COL 103, career certificates or short term certificate of achievement programs that do not have mathematics courses in their curriculum, are not required but are encouraged to begin their developmental math courses in conjunctions with these classes.  Further exemptions can be granted by the chairperson of students’ degree program.

Writing-Intensive (WI) Course Requirements

  • All students who enroll at PCCC, intending to obtain an A.A. or A.S. degree, are required to take, and pass with a “C” or better, two Writing-Intensive courses prior to graduation.
  • All students who enroll at PCCC, intending to obtain an A.A.S. degree, are required to take, and pass with a “C” or better, one Writing-Intensive course prior to graduation.

Definition:  A Writing-Intensive course incorporates discipline-specific writing extensively into the course, and the writing contributes significantly to each student’s grade. The instructor uses writing assignments to promote the learning of the course content, as well as to increase the student’s critical thinking and information literacy skills. Instructors use both formal and informal writing assignments

Criteria:  A Writing-Intensive course should:

  • Incorporate frequent, informal, writing assignments to help students generate ideas and better engage with their learning;
  • Require students to do formal writing assignments, totaling up to no less than 2,500 words for the semester;
  • Require students to visit the Writing Center or eTutoring.org for assistance on particular assignments;
  • Incorporate research requirements that exercise information literacy competencies in at least one of the writing assignments;
  • Have a prerequisite of EN 101;
  • Not be taken concurrently (i.e., only one WI course may be taken by a student in any given semester);
  • Have enrollment limited to twenty-five (25) students; and
  • Be approved by the Office for Academic Affairs.

Objectives:  Upon completion of a Writing-Intensive course, students should be able to:

  • Use the process of writing, including pre-writing and revision strategies;
  • Support their ideas in writing with specific details and evidence;
  • Structure their ideas in an organized format;
  • Edit their writing according to the rules of standard academic English;
  • Evaluate their sources for credibility and academic appropriateness;
  • Employ techniques for integrating information, such as paraphrasing, summarizing, and quoting;
  • Exhibit the ability to think critically;
  • Demonstrate, through their writing, familiarity with a standard, evaluative writing rubric; and
  • Cite sources using an appropriate documentation style.

Transfer students may have waived one of the two PCCC WI courses required for graduation.

College Writing Exam (CWE) Requirement
To graduate from the College, students must successfully pass the College Writing Exam (CWE). Students are eligible to take this exam after completing EN 101 and at least one (1) writing-intensive course required for their degree. Students who do not meet these requirements may still be admitted to the exam with approval of the department chair.  

Students may attempt the examination more than once if necessary. For more information, contact the Testing Office at 973-684-5582 or academictesting@pccc.edu.

A student with a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college in the United States, or a former PCCC graduate returning for another degree, is exempt from taking the College Writing Exam (CWE). Students with a bachelor’s degree or higher, earned outside the United States, are required to take the College Writing Exam (CWE).

Former Passaic County Community College students approved for Reverse Transfer may be exempt from taking the College Writing Examination (CWE), but must fulfill approved equivalent requirements at the partner college or university.

Students are not awarded their degrees from Passaic County Community College until they successfully pass the CWE.

Information Literacy Requirements
Prior to graduation, all students should be able to demonstrate the following information literacy competencies as described by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL):

  1. Determine the nature and extent of information needed;
  2. Access the needed information;
  3. Evaluate information and its sources critically;
  4. Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose; and
  5. Access and use information ethically and legally.

Credit Requirements
To be eligible for graduation with an associate degree, students must complete a minimum of sixty (60) credits at the college level towards their academic program. Students who have completed forty (40) credits should contact department chair or designee for advisement. Students should apply for graduation before registering for their final twelve to fifteen (12-15) credits.

Grade Point Average (GPA)
To be eligible for graduation, students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or higher. Credits transferred from other colleges are calculated in the total number of credits completed. The cumulative grade point average (GPA), however, includes only grades earned at Passaic County Community College.