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Academic Standing and Promotion Policy

Academic Standing and Promotion Policy Information

Date Approved: June 11, 2021
Effective Date: September 1, 2021
Date Reviewed: Spring 2021
Replaces: Version 2019


To provide a consistent, equitable, and transparent process that facilitates Cambrian College (‘the College’) student progression through their chosen program of studies to graduation.


Academic Administrator: For the purposes of this policy, an Academic Administrator is a Dean or Chair.

Academic Standing: A measure of a student’s academic achievement relative to their program requirements that determines their eligibility to be admitted to and/or proceed in their academic program and to qualify for graduation.

Advanced Standing: A procedure for granting credit to a student for previous educational courses completed at Cambrian or at another institution.

GPA: Grade Point Average

Learning Contract: A formal agreement between the College and a student outlining specific requirements of achievement for the student. Learning Contracts are required when students are on probation for a second time. They may also be used when students are readmitted to a program after having been exited.

Learning Plan: A document used to plan learning, usually over a defined period. The faculty in discussions with the student develops the Learning Plan.

Program GPA: Calculated by multiplying the number of credit hours assigned to a course by the value of the grade earned for each completed course included in the Program of Study.

Program of Study: A set of courses defined by the College – in compliance with standards established by the Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU) – for a particular area of study. These courses provide students with an integrated continuum of learning from basic to complex. A Program of Study includes one to eight Semesters of study depending on the credential to be awarded. For example, a certificate program contains two Semesters of study; a diploma contains four Semesters.

Semester: Refers to an established cluster of courses identified in the Program of Study.

Term: the period of delivery for a particular level of a program

Term GPA: is calculated by multiplying the number of credit hours assigned to a course by the value of the grade earned for each course taken in that Term. All courses taken during the Term are included in the Term GPA, regardless of whether they relate to the Program of Study.


This policy applies to all students enrolled in Cambrian College programs governed by the Ministry of Colleges and Universities’ Ontario Qualifications Framework (OQF).

Policy Statements

  1. Credentials
    1. The College assigns credentials for all certificate, diploma and degree programs consistent with the OQF issued by MCU, September 2003. See Appendix A for more information.
  2. Posthumous Award of Credentials
    1. A Cambrian College credential is awarded posthumously (after death), on the recommendation of the Dean, to students in good Academic Standing who successfully completed at least 75% of their program requirements within a timeframe established by the College.
  3. Program of Study
    1. For each program, the College defines a Program of Study that lists the courses, organized by Semester.
    2. Programs of Study are regularly reviewed and changes are made where necessary as part of the annual curriculum review cycle.
    3. Each new intake of students is associated with the most current version of the program.
    4. Students are required to complete the program version assigned when admitted to their program.
  4. Passing Grades
    1. A minimum passing grade of 50% is required in all courses offered at the College.
    2. Some courses may require a higher minimum standard. In such cases, the Academic Administrator (Dean) responsible for those courses approves the higher minimum passing grade.
  5. Repeated Courses
    1. A student may attempt a course 2 times.
    2. A student wishing to register in a course for a third time must have approval from the Academic Administrator with academic responsibility for the program in which the student is registered.
    3. Should a student not be able to complete a course because they have exhausted the number of available attempts, they will not be able to graduate from that program.
    4. In situations where there is limited capacity in a placement or clinical course, a student repeating a course cannot displace another student who has progressed through their program unrestricted.
    5. In the case of repeated courses, the calculation of the Program GPA includes only the best result. However, the student’s transcript records all grades.
  6. Interruption of Studies
    1. In cases where a student’s studies are interrupted for more than one academic year, the College may require the student to repeat courses.
    2. While courses completed in the last 5 years are generally considered current, programs may impose stricter standards. The Dean’s decision, with respect to suitability of an older version of a course, is final.
  7. Advancement from One Semester to the Next
    1. Promotion with Good Academic Standing
      1. Students progress from one Semester to the next upon achievement of a minimum Term GPA of 2.0 (60%) with no failures.
    2. Promotion on Probation
      1. Certificates and Diplomas
        • Promotion on probation refers to students who achieve a Term GPA between 1.50 and 1.99 and/or who have one or more failing grades.
      2. Degrees
        • Promotion on probation refers to students who do not achieve the minimum overall acceptable achievement for progression (across all degree course requirements, including the breadth and discipline-related course requirements) of the Term typically designated by a Term GPA of 2.0 (60%).
      3. All Programs
        • Students who progress on probation can register in the next Term, but course registration is subject to course prerequisites.
        • First Probation (P1)
          • Students on probation for the first time are encouraged to meet with their program coordinator to map out a Learning Plan as well as review success strategies.
        • Second Probation (P2)
          • Students on probation for a second consecutive Semester must meet with their program coordinator to develop a Learning Contract.
          • The Learning Contract specifies the student’s responsibilities and College’s expectations.
  8. Program Withdrawal
    1. Students who officially withdraw from a course or from the College within the first ten days of Term have all courses removed from their transcript.
    2. Students who withdraw from a course or from the College after the first ten days but before the last day to withdraw in a Term without academic penalty, receive a “W” (withdrawn) for all courses on their transcript.
      “W” grades do not affect the student’s Program GPA.
    3. Students who withdraw from a course or from the College after the last day to withdraw in a semester without academic penalty, receive an “F” (failure) for all courses on their transcript.
    4. Those who do not officially withdraw receive grades earned on their transcript.
  9. Program Exit
    1. Annually, the College publishes academic dates and deadlines on the College website as well as in the College’s intranet portal.
    2. The College exits students who have a GPA of 1.49 (54%) or less, or who have failed to clear probation status after two consecutive Terms.
    3. Certificates and Diplomas
      1. For only students of any form of certificate and diploma, the College provides exited students an opportunity to register in General Arts and Science and develop an individualized Learning Plan.
    4. All Programs
      1. Exited students are ineligible to register in their original Program of Studies for a minimum period of one Term.
      2. At the conclusion of that Term, students who wish to return must apply for re- admission.
      3. Exited students may apply to another College program. However, the College strongly recommends that exited students who wish to begin another program seek academic advice before applying.
      4. Students who register for courses before final grades are submitted will have their registration cancelled if they have been exited from their program.
  10. Promotion Meetings
    1. Promotion meetings occur at the end of each term for each program.
    2. At these meetings, program faculty members and the Dean/Chair review grades and promotion statuses before the College releases this information to students.
  11. Graduation Requirements
    1. Certificates and Diplomas
      1. Completion of the Program of Study with an overall minimum Program GPA of 2.0 (60%).
      2. Students must earn a minimum of 25% of the credits for their program at the College.
    2. Degrees
      1. Completion of the Program of Study with an overall Program GPA of 2.5 (65%).
      2. Students must earn a minimum of 50% of the total number of credits of the Program of Study at the College.
    3. All Programs
      1. For students completing a second credential at Cambrian, a minimum of 25% of courses used towards the second credential must be completed at Cambrian.
      2. In addition, at least 25% of courses must consist of courses not included towards a previous Cambrian credential.
      3. Residency does not include credits obtained through Advanced Standing, transfer credits, exemptions and credits earned through the Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) process.
    4. Timelines for Graduation
      1. The College expects students to complete their Program of Study within the following time limits based upon the original program or course start date:
        CredentialLengthTimelines for Graduation
        Certificate and Graduate
        One-year programUp to 200% of program length
        DiplomaTwo-year program
        Advanced DiplomaThree-year program
        DegreeFour-year programUp to 175% of program
        Board Level CertificatesVariesUp to 200% of program
      2. These timelines align with Ministry guidelines.
      3. Approval of the Dean, with academic responsibility for the program, is normally required to extend these time limits. However, extensions may be granted for students with a documented accommodation for extended time limits with the Glenn Crombie Centre for Accessibility and Wellness.
    5. Provisional Graduation
      1. The College allows students registered in programs whose end-date extends beyond the regular end-date of the academic year, or programs whose final semester takes place over the summer term, to participate in the annual spring convocation ceremonies as provisional graduates.
      2. Students making up deficiencies in the May/June period or over the summer term are not eligible to graduate provisionally. Provisional status is determined at the program level and not at the student level.
    6. Graduation Clearance
      1. The Registrar approves students for graduation, on the advice of the Dean as based on a student’s completion of the program.
  12. Graduate Standing
    1. The College awards to students (on their transcript) a designation for programs governed by the Ontario Qualifications Framework of –
      1. Graduated Cambrian Scholar
        • The student has completed all program requirements with a Program GPA between 3.50 and 4.00.
      2. Graduated with Honours
        • The student has completed all program requirements with a Program GPA between 3.00 and 3.49.

Responsibilities and Accountability

Vice President, Academic is responsible for

  • Ensuring that this policy and associated procedures are reviewed, communicated and fully implemented.

Deans/Chairs are responsible for

  • Setting academic criteria, program requirements, and performance outcomes for students.
  • Overseeing application and administration of these criteria/requirements.
  • Leading promotion meetings.

Registrar is responsible for

  • Producing and distributing grade reports and transcripts.
  • Administering the processes of grade collection and transcript production.
  • Informing students of their grades, promotion status, and eligibility for graduation.
  • Producing and granting diplomas and certificates.
  • Maintaining the official convocation and graduation records.
  • Monitoring and interpreting this policy.

Faculty Members are responsible for

  • Evaluating students and submitting course grades, program promotion status, or standing to the Registrar in a timely manner.
  • Communicating academic requirements to students and document these requirements in course outlines and other official College materials.
  • Participating in promotion meetings.