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Academic Resources, Policies & FAQs

Higher education is different than high school in many ways. From new terminology and academic expectations to academic processes and policies, understanding it all can feel like a lot. Deep breaths—we've got you covered.

Academic Resources

Below are the most frequently used academic resources. For more student resources, visit myWidener.

text reads Academic Catalog on top of image of textbook and pencils

Academic Catalog, Policies & Expectations

The academic catalog shares important university information about degree requirements, policies, and expectations, including information about grading, attendance, and so much more. It's important to familiarize yourself with the catalog to ensure you're meeting all academic requirements and staying on track for graduation.

How to Find Your Academic Policies

  • Go to catalog.widener.edu and select your entry year's catalog. 
    • Undergraduate & Continuing Studies Students: Select Academic Policies & Procedures and/or Academic Regulations from the left-side navigation.
    • Graduate Students: Select General Information from the left-side navigation. 
    • Some colleges/schools and/or Centers/Institutes have their own individual policies. To review, select Academic Schools/Departments within your relevant catalog.
orange background text reads Student Planning with image of calendar, notepads, and pens

Student Planning

Student Planning is a self-service tool that provides a centralized place to plan your courses, evaluate your degree progress, work with your advisor, and register for courses.

notebook and pencils with the words Student Handbook

Student Handbook & Code of Conduct

The student handbook and code of conduct are essential resources for every Widener student. They outline the university's expectations for behavior, integrity, and more. By familiarizing yourself with these policies, you can ensure you're meeting Widener's standards and contributing to a respectful and responsible campus community. 

How to Access the Student Handbook

stacks of books with the words Academic Glossary

Glossary of Academic Terms

We've compiled a glossary of common university terms and definitions to help you navigate the world of higher ed lingo. Whether you're a first-year student or a seasoned pro, this resource is here to ensure you're navigating the language of academia with confidence.

How to Access the Academic Glossary

  • Go to your relevant undergraduate or graduate catalog at catalog.widener.edu.
  • Click Catalog Glossary.

AU = Audit (no course credit)
CAPS = Counseling and Psychological Services
CAS = College of Arts and Sciences
CDD = Career Design and Development
CGCS = Center for Graduate & Continuing Studies
CHHS = College of Health & Human Services
CLEP = College Level Examination Program
Co-Op = Cooperative Education Program
CS = Continuing Studies
CX = Client Experience (technology support)
DPT = Doctor of Physical Therapy
ES = Exploratory Studies
FAFSA = Free Application for Federal Student Aid
FSEOG = Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
FWS = Federal Work Study
GMAT = Graduate Management Admission Test
GPA = Grade Point Average
GPD = Graduate Program Director
GRAD = Graduate
GSE = Graduate Student Employee
I = Incomplete
IP = In Progress
IPTE = Institute for Physical Therapy Education
ITS = Information Technology Services
LDA = Last Day Attended
Lipka = Lipka Hall
LLC = Living Learning Community
MBA = Master of Business Administration
MC = Main Campus
MLA = Medical Leave Absence
MPA = Master of Public Administration
NP = Fail (In a pass/fail course)
OLLI = Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
OSS = Office of Student Success
OTD = Doctor of Occupational Therapy
P = Pass (In a pass/fail course)
ROTC = Reserve Officers’ Training Corps
SAP = Satisfactory Academic Progress
SAS = Student Accessibility Services
SBA = School of Business Administration
SHS = Student Health Services
SLP = Speech Language Pathology
SOE = School of Engineering
SON = School of Nursing
SQ3R = Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review
TLT = Teaching and Learning Technologies
TSC = Technology Support Center
UG = Undergraduate
VLAB = Virtual Lab Environment
W = Withdrawn
XF = Failure: Academic Fraud

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most frequently asked questions about academic planning. If you can't find the answer you are looking for below or in our other academic success pages, please contact your academic advisor for guidance or the Office of Student Success.

Academic Concerns & Changes in Status FAQs

Choosing to pivot on your academic journey by changing your major is perfectly normal. Your academic advisor is a great resource to begin these discussions. In addition, first-year and second-year students may participate in the Exploratory Studies program to work with expert mentors dedicated to helping you discover which major is right for you while connecting you to helpful resources to aid your decision-making.

If you are a current science major experiencing academic performance issues, you may consider participating in the Academic Transition program. This program will help you explore non-science majors that may be better aligned with your skills and interests while also providing support to improve your academic performance and put you on track for success.

The Academic Transition (AT) program is designed to assist first- and second-year students with transitioning to non-science majors and maintaining good academic standing. As an extension of the Exploratory Studies program, AT will support you with major exploration, academic recovery, and academic persistence.

Typically, students not in good academic standing with the university (less than a 2.0 GPA) and those who have completed three or fewer semesters are candidates for this program.

AT is not an option for juniors or seniorshowever, we invite you to schedule a meeting with one of our academic advisors to discuss your options.

We're committed to helping you find the right major and complete your degree as soon as possible. That said, because the timeline for degree completion has multiple variables unique to each student, this answer will depend on your situation.

Hitting a few bumps along your academic journey is completely normal, and there is a world of personalized support available to you. From academic advising with faculty and academic coaching with a trained professional to tutoring with a qualified student mentor and guidance at our writing center and math center, we've got your back. 
Learn more about academic advising, tutoring, and coaching

In addition to Widener's academic support services, your professors are also invaluable resources at-the-ready to provide mentorship. Make sure to attend their open office hours or make an appointment for extra help. 
Access faculty directory

Sometimes academic performance can be related to mental health or you may benefit from academic accessibility accommodations.

If you are unsure who to turn to, please contact the Office of Student Success for individual guidance and support.

There are many caring faculty and staff you can turn to for guidance on your situation, from your academic advisor to the Office of Student Success and the Office of Career Design & Development. Email studentsuccess@widener.edu to start the conversation.

Absolutely. At Widener, we understand that your health and wellbeing plays a vital role in your academic and personal success which is why we offer many helpful resources free of charge to support you. Learn more about mental health, physical health, and spiritual wellness resources, such as our Student Health Services, Counseling & Psychological Services, as well as helpful Widener partnerships like TELUS Health, a confidential, 24/7 virtual counseling services for Chester campus students with immediate and short-term mental health and wellbeing needs.

There are quiet spots in all the academic buildings, the University Center, Wolfgram Library, and even in the Office of Student Success, where you'll find sofas, comfortable chairs, standing desks, and desktop computers.

If you've received an academic warning, this means that your GPA does not meet the minimum requirement for the number of semester hours you've completed. Being on academic warning can be stressful, but it's important to stay positive, focus on your goals, and remember that you're not alone. Every student’s learning curve and academic experience is different, but with hard work and dedication, you can improve your academic performance and get back on track.

The first step is to seek academic advising, coaching, and tutoring support available to you. Our support networks can help you with specific coursework areas as well as topics like study habits, time management, and other factors that may be impacting your academics. Connect with your academic advisor and associate dean to discuss specific strategies and academic plans. This may include reducing your course load, withdrawing from extracurricular activities, and/or evaluating your program of study and whether a different path may better suit your academic strengths. First- and second-year science majors can consider seeking information about Widener's Academic Transition program to aid in transitioning into a non-science program.

For specific information about academic standing, review your entry year's academic catalog and select "Academic Policies and Procedures" from the left-side navigation.

Every student has one opportunity to appeal a dismissal. Contact your academic advisor, associate dean, or the executive director of student success to learn more about this process.

If you are unable to attend class due to illness, contact your professor. If you need to miss class for an extended period of time or are experiencing a situation that requires extra support please contact the Office of Student Success at studentsuccess@widener.edu for help navigating your challenge with you.

Your wellbeing is essential to your academic success, so seeking a quick resolution is important. You can talk with your classmate or instructor directly and try to resolve the issue. If you feel uncomfortable having these conversations, contact the Office of Student Success for help and guidance. We'll review university policies regarding conflict, harassment, and student conduct, and help you navigate what steps can be taken within the institution.

Widener is dedicated to cultivating a campus community of equal learning opportunities free of harassment and discrimination. You are encouraged to report any instances of harassment and/or discrimination by reaching out to the Title IX Office at titleix@widener.edu or completing the confidential Report It form. You can also contact the Office of Student Success for guidance at studentsuccess@widener.edu.

Academic Support FAQs

All Widener students have access to personalized support at no extra cost. 

Support includes academic advising, academic coaching with a trained professional, tutoring with a qualified student mentor, as well as access to Widener's Math Center and Writing Center. First-year students also have the option to participate in the PRIDE Mentors Program

Learn more about academic advising, tutoring, and coaching

Trained student tutors are available to provide personalized, one-on-one support and walk-in sessions to help you excel in your course material. Sessions can either be scheduled ahead with as assigned tutor or you may participate in walk-in tutoring hours.

With scheduled peer-to-peer tutoring sessions, students are assigned an individual tutor and they are free to work with the tutor as needed and at mutually agreed upon times. With walk-in hours, tutors are available weekly at designated days/times and appointments are not required.

To begin working with a tutor, please complete the tutor request form

Learn more about tutoring services

Academic coaching conversations empower you to further enrich your Widener experience. When you meet with an academic coach, you’ll partner to develop a plan that establishes a path to achieving your academic goal. Along the way, we’ll help you identify personal barriers that may be impacting your success and work with you navigate these challenges.  

The time you spend with an academic coach is personalized—it can be as long or as short as you need! With that said, an initial academic coaching conversation typically lasts between 30-60 minutes, depending on the academic support you need. Follow-up coaching conversations generally last 30 minutes. You can also meet with various coaches throughout the semester.

Request academic coaching

Academic advising plays a key role in helping you make informed decisions to meet their educational and career goals, such as helping you determine which courses to take and when to ensure you're on track to graduate on time, navigating the complexities of university policies such as program requirements, graduation criteria, adding and dropping courses, change of majors, and much more. 

Undergraduate students can find their personal academic advisor by going to Student Planning > Advising or by searching for "PSST" on My Widener.

Yes. Student Accessibility Services is committed to ensuring you can equally access everything Widener has to offer to make the most of your college experience. Academic accommodations include, but are not limited to:

  • Test taking support
  • Note taking assistance
  • Accessible text requests

Learn more about requesting accessibility accommodations

It is highly recommended to make appointments at the Writing Center and with your Librarian Liaison.

The Writing Center has faculty members that can help you brainstorm ideas, get organized, and edit your papers—including lab reports. 

A dedicated librarian is assigned to support every degree program. They can help you navigate how to find the most up-to-date and relevant information for your research your topic. Your personal librarian can also teach you how to correctly reference your work, so you don't lose unnecessary points on your paper!

Course Registration & Student Planning FAQs

Canvas is a website and/or mobile app you’ll use to access course assignments, grades, and other course information.

Student Planning allows you to search and register for courses, find your annual tax and financial information, and petition to graduate. Here, your future courses are also mapped out to match your curriculum ladder. Following this course sequence will help you graduate on time! As always, consult with your academic advisor to make any changes to ensure timely degree completion.

You can reference myWidener for all things Widener, and find helpful links under the WU Links drop-down at the top of our main widener.edu website. Here are also direct links for quick access:

Registration opens every April for summer and fall semesters and November for the spring semester. You’ll receive an email from the Registrar’s Office that notifies you of the date and time you can begin registration.  

Undergraduate students should meet with their advisor in advance of registration so that your advisor can work with you to pre-plan which courses to take and approve your selections. You will not be able to register until your advisor approves your courses. 

Once it's your turn to register, go to Student Planning. Here, you'll see a blue banner that highlights your registration date and time. Then select the Section of your courses, then click Register. If you miss this step, your registration will be incomplete!

For additional support with course registration, view the additional FAQs below or contact the Office of Student Success.

Every degree program includes a unique curriculum of required courses, and many include specific curriculum sequences that help you determine which courses to take semester-to-semester. 

  1. To find your program's curriculum, consult the academic catalog. You can access the catalog by searching on myWidener or by going to widener.edu, hovering over Academics and selecting Catalogs.
  2. Navigate to your appropriate catalog and select Areas of Study A-Z. Here, you'll find a list of all programs. Select your program from the list. After selecting your program, you'll be taken to the program overview page where you'll find required courses and/or curriculum sequences. 
  3. Find your semester within the sequence to see the suggested number of credits and recommended coursework
  4. In addition to your program-specific course requirements, undergraduate students are also required to complete Foundation & Transformation general education coursework.

As always, if you're unsure, contact your academic advisor or the Office of Student Success for guidance.

Foundations & Transformations General Education Requirements:

  • ASC 101: Thinking Through
  • 4 Writing Enriched courses
  • 9 credits in each of the following areas: humanities, social science, and math/science; example include:
    • Humanities: arts, art history, English (102 and higher), creative writing, history, modern languages, music, philosophy, theatre 
    • Math/Science: astronomy, biology, biochemistry, chemistry, computer science/information systems, environmental science and sustainability, environmental health and sustainability management, green chemistry, math, physics
    • Social Science: anthropology, communication studies, criminal justice, digital media informatics, international relations, political science, psychology, sociology

View the Arts & Sciences Fall 2024 Advising Guide 

Here, you'll find information regarding:

  • Course descriptions for humanities, math/science, and social science courses, including 200-level courses open to all majors without pre-requisites
  • A list of writing enriched, service learning, and honor's program courses
  • Guidance for English 102 & English 103 requirements
  • ASC 101 retake information and capstone courses

What are the benefits of studying Widener's Foundations & Transformations liberal arts courses?

College is about exploration. At Widener, you'll complete a general education curriculum that supports just that. You'll have the flexibility and freedom to dive deep into the topics that spark curiosity, challenge your mind, and power your personal and academic growth. 

Along the way, you'll cultivate critical, meaningful skills employers seek, including:

  • How to make a difference in a diverse world with an inclusive mindset
  • How to write and edit for clear, compelling communication
  • How to analyze data and make decisions using critical thinking

It all starts with ASC 101: Thinking Through — a selection of around 40 course topics that will encourage you to go deeper and examine complex issues that shape our world and our ways of relating to one another. When you dive into the possibilities, you're sure to find multiple courses that inspire and intrigue you, regardless of whether they align with your major! Think of it as an opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone and truly learn something new. Then, in your senior year, you'll come full circle with a capstone course that takes your Thinking Through topic to new heights strengthened by everything you've cultivated along your college journey.

Once you know which courses to register for, it's time to add them into your personal Student Planning portal. This will help make reviewing your academic plan with your advisor and taking the next steps for course registration a breeze. 

  1. Log into Student Planning. You can access Student Planning by searching for Student Planning on myWidener
  2. Click "Plan Your Degree & Register for Classes"
  3. Search for classes by typing the course name or number in the search bar. 
    • For a list of all classes offered by subject, click the graduate cap icon on the left-side navigation and select Course Catalog. Here, you can browse by course subject. 
    • Click "Advanced Search", to filter by semester (term), location, academic level, and more.
  4. Add classes to Student Planning by clicking the white "Add Course to Plan" bar, selecting the term, and then clicking the "Add Course to Plan" bar once again when it has turned green.
  5. Select your preferred class section by tabbing through the "View Other Sections" option. This will help you find a class time that works best for your schedule. When finished, click the green "Register
    • If red, the course section conflicts with another class on your schedule.
    • If yellow, the course is available and does not conflict with other classes.
    • If green, this designates you have already confirmed this class for your schedule.
  6. When finished, click the "Register Now" button. If you do not click this button, your classes have not been submitted for official registration.

As always, if you're unsure, contact your academic advisor or the Office of Student Success for guidance.

There are a few reasons Student Planning may not be approving your registration requests. Read the message explaining why your registration could not be processed. If one course is impacting registration, remove the course that flagged an issue and register for the remaining courses.

Course registration may be blocked because:

  • A course is closed/full
  • Course pre-requisites have not been met
  • Repeating a course previously taken
  • Timing conflicts with your schedule
  • Holds on your account (Bursar, Registrar, Student Health Services, Advisor, or Judiciary)

For holds, contact the related office/department for support addressing the hold. For assistance, please contact the Office of Student Success.

A financial hold is often placed on a student’s account if there is a balance or a need for a supportive financial conversation. If there is a hold on your account, you’ll be alerted when you log into Student Planning.

Contact the Bursar’s Office at 610-499-4161, email busoffmc@widener.edu, or visit Lipka Hall for an in-person conversation. The Bursar’s Office will work with you to release the hold so registration can occur.

Your first step is to talk with your academic advisor, who may be able to share information on how to get into the class. You can also go to your professor or department chair and ask if it’s possible to be added into a closed section—but, be sure to keep your advisor in the loop. If it’s doable, the department will send the registration, giving special permission to the Registrar’s Office to place you into the section.

If you are unable to get the section you want, speak with your advisor to see what other options you have to make sure another course will count toward graduation.

You can add or drop a course during the first week of each semester. After this add/drop period, withdrawals are most often processed during a supportive conversation with your academic advisor, whom you must meet with before modifying your course schedule.

Some instructors may “publish” the course a week or two before the semester begins, so you have time to purchase books and review the syllabus.  View required textbooks—even if the course is not yet published—through the Widener bookstore

Your academic advisor will provide approval to add a minor or certificate. Widener hosts minor and certificate fairs in the University Center each fall and spring, during which you can explore all our academic areas and the many opportunities available to enrich your educational experience.

You can also explore minor and certificate offerings on widener.edu:

Grading FAQs

Grading policies and procedures differ depending if you are an undergraduate, graduate, or adult and continuing studies student. Information about grading systems can be found in your relevant academic catalog

Information on grading policies for a particular course will be listed on the syllabus, and any questions about a specific assignment should go directly to your professor. 

You can also talk to your academic advisor about how your grades impact your plan of study.

You can access your grades via the Student Planning portal or in your active Canvas course.

Widener faculty are here to support your learning. We encourage you to first speak directly with your course instructor for questions related to grades, assignments and assessments, and overall course progress. You can then connect with your assistant/associate dean for additional support if the situation remains unresolved.

If you feel uncomfortable having these conversations, email studentsuccess@widener.edu to have a confidential conversation on navigating difficult conversations and identifying next steps.

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