General Course Information

Numbering of Courses

A course number has four digits. The first digit identifies the level of the course: “0” indicates a developmental level, “1” indicates freshman level, and “2” indicates sophomore level. The second digit indicates the semester credit hour (SCH)  value of the course. The third and fourth digits distinguish the courses within a program area. For example: English 1301 is a freshman level (01), three semester-hour course (3), part one (1). HCC numbering course coincides, with the Texas Common Course Numbering System (TCCNS) for academic transfer courses. All public colleges and universities in Texas either use the TCCNS or crosswalk courses to the TCCNS. For workforce education courses, higher education institutions in Texas utilize the Workforce Education Course Manual (WECM). These common numbering systems help colleges articulate courses and provide students with greater ease of course credit transfer.

Course Load

A semester credit hour (SCH) student is full-time if the student is enrolled in 12 or more semester hours and part time if enrolled in fewer than 12 hours. Half-time is six hours. To be considered full-time during the summer, a student must enroll in both summer terms or the ten-week session for a total of nine or more semester hours. A student is considered part-time if enrolled in only one summer session or for less than nine hours. During the fall and spring terms, students wishing to enroll in more than 18 credit hours must have special approval by a counselor. During each short summer session, students may schedule a maximum of seven semester hours or two academic courses. Students taking a long summer session only (10 or 11 weeks) or a combined long session and a six- or five-week session may schedule no more than 13 semester hours or four academic courses for the summer. During mini sessions, students are limited to one course. The Physical Education (PHED) Department limits enrollment in the number of physical activity classes per semester to two classes. Generally, a student in academic courses needs two hours of preparation outside of class for each hour of classroom instruction. Consequently, a student who is employed while attending college should consider the total demands on time from work, classes, and activities when deciding on a course load. Students who overload themselves may have scholastic difficulties.

Instructional Formats (Modes)at HCC

Traditional

All instruction is carried out in the classroom or lab as appropriate, via face-to-face instruction.

Learning Communities

Research has demonstrated that students learn more and persist at greater rates when they participate in Learning Communities.  A Learning Community is one in which two or more classes are offered in combination, with the same students enrolling in the same courses and the faculty working together to align learning outcomes and activities.  For a current list of Learning Communities at your campus, please ask at the Counseling/Advising Office or consult the HCC Class Schedule.

Service Learning

Service learning combines community service with academic instruction to provide students an opportunity to apply what they have learned while positively impacting the community. Students participate in a service learning experience within a participating community agency. Following completion of the service learning component of the course, students reflect upon their experience. There will be a service learning notation on the transcript for the course in which a student has completed a minimum of fifteen (15) hours of service.

Hybrid

Hybrid courses meet half the time in a traditional face-to-face classroom environment and deliver the remainder of the course presentation, interaction, activities, and exercises through various electronic means (online, Eagle Online, podcasts, online video and audio formats, and new technologies as they become available). Instructors and students should be prepared to spend as much time engaged in course activities as in a traditional class, even though they will not be physically present in the classroom for all of it. In addition, the electronic and face-to-face portions of hybrid classes will be apportioned weekly so that every week during the semester the students will have 50% face-to-face instruction and 50% electronic instruction.

Online

Houston Community College offers a variety of courses, degrees and certificates online via the Internet. An online course has at least 85% of instruction online.  Some exams or labs may be required to be completed in person and/or proctored. Instructors and students should be prepared to spend as much time engaged in the online activities as in a traditional class.

Flex - Entry Courses

Flex-entry courses are semester hour courses offered at dates other than the regular term. They begin after the Official Date of Record for the term and may be held for varying numbers of weeks, but total instructional hours are the same as those in regular terms. Grades earned in flex-entry courses become part of the cumulative GPA.

Class Attendance

Students are expected to attend classes regularly. Students are responsible for material covered during their absences, and it is the student’s responsibility to consult with instructors for makeup assignments. Class attendance is checked daily by instructors. Although it is the responsibility of the student to drop a course for non-attendance, the instructor has the authority to drop a student for excessive absences. A student may be dropped from a course for absenteeism after the student has accumulated absences in excess of 12.5 percent of the hours of instruction (including lecture and laboratory time). For example:

  • For a three credit-hour lecture class meeting three hours per week (48 hours of instruction), a student may be dropped after six hours of absences.
  • For a four credit-hour lecture/lab course meeting six hours per week (96 hours of instruction), a student may be dropped after 12 hours of absences. Certain departments or programs may be governed by accrediting or certification standards that require more stringent attendance policies.

NOTE: IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE STUDENT TO WITHDRAW OFFICIALLY FROM A COURSE.

Administrative drops are at the discretion of the instructor. Failure of a student to withdraw officially could result in the student receiving a grade of "F" in the course. For the deadline for course withdrawal, check the current course Schedule.

Religious Holidays

A student who is absent from classes for the observance of a religious holiday may take an examination or complete an assignment scheduled for that day within a reasonable amount of time after the absence. The student must notify the instructor in writing at least two weeks prior to the anticipated absence. A "religious holiday" is a holiday observed by a religion whose place of worship is exempt from property taxation under Section 11.20, Tax Code.

Requirement of English Competence

Any student who, in the determination of the instructor and counselor/advisor, cannot be expected to benefit from a class because of the student’s limited command of the English language will be advised to withdraw from the class. The student will be advised to enroll in Intensive English (ESOL 0349-0356), non-intensive academic ESL (ESOL 0351, 0354, ENGL 0349), Continuing Education (COMG 1004, 1005, 1007, 1008 1015, 1091 or the free Adult Basic Education program

Semester Credit Hours (SCH)

Academic credit is expressed in semester credit hours (SCH). Generally, one class lecture hour per week for the semester earns one SCH. A class meeting three lecture hours a week, therefore, has three SCH. Two to four hours of laboratory work per week for a 16-week semester are equivalent to one SCH.

Continuing Education Unit Credit (CEU)

Continuing Education Units (CEU) measure completion of segments in non-credit programs. One CEU represents10 contact hours of participation. These units are not substitutes for college credits but a means of reporting continuing education activities. HCC, as an institution accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, will award and note on a students transcript CEUs for all workforce-related Continuing Education courses. Many professional associations and industries require and recognize CEUs as an indication of an individual’s professional growth and development. CEU courses completed at HCC may be eligible to have those courses applied as semester hour credit upon approval of the Career and Technical Education Dean. The student must complete at least 12 semester hours at HCC and must be currently enrolled in the workforce program for which the courses are applicable. Applied credit will become a part of the student’s permanent record only after the student meets all other institutional and program requirements. The fee for CEU conversion is $25.

HCC Grading System

HCC uses the following grading system:

A (90-100/Excellent) - 4 points per semester hour

B (80-89/Good) - 3 points per semester hour

C (70-79/Fair) - 2 points per semester hour

D (60-69/Passing*) - 1 point   per semester hour

F (Failing) - 0 points per semester hour

FX (Failure due to non-attendance) - 0 points per semester hour

IP (In Progress) - 0 points per semester hour

W (Withdrawn) - 0 points per semester hour

I (Incomplete) - 0 points per semester hour

<p">AUD (Audit) - 0 points per semester hour

IP (In Progress) is given only in certain developmental courses. The student must re-enroll to receive credit. COM (Completed) is given in non-credit and continuing education courses.

To compute grade point average (GPA), divide the total grade points by the total number of semester hours attempted. The grades  The grades "IP", "W", "AUD", "COM", and "I" do not affect the GPA.

*A grade of “D” is not a passing grade in developmental courses.

Incompletes

The grade of "I" (Incomplete) is conditional. A student receiving an "I" must arrange with the instructor to complete the course work within six months of the end of the incomplete term. After the deadline, the "I" becomes an "F." Upon completion of the coursework, the grade will be entered as I/grade on the student transcript. All "I"s must be changed to grades prior to graduation.

Non - Credit Audit

During the first week of classes, an individual may register to audit most academic courses in the Humanities, Mathematics/Natural Sciences or Social Sciences program areas. The audit provides the usual learning opportunities without the course requirements such as attendance, written work, and tests. An audit cannot be changed to credit or credit to audit after the close of the Add/Drop period. Audit courses will be noted on the student’s permanent record as "Audit". Students receiving financial aid, Social Security, or veterans benefits may not be eligible for benefits for audit courses. Computer Science Technology courses, Commercial Music, Physical Education, private instruction, and all other workforce courses may not be audited.

Grade Changes/Student Appeals

Appeals regarding final grades must follow the Course Grade Appeal Process.

General Instructional Complaints

Instructional Complaints

Whenever a student has a complaint about an instructor or instructional issues, the students should first seek to resolve the issue by making an appointment with the instructor.  If the student feels that the issue has still not be addressed, the student should make an appointment to talk with the Department Chair who serves as the Instructor’s direct supervisor. For more information, please consult the HCC Student Handbook, available online at: www.hccs.edu.

General Continuing Education Complaints

When a student wishes to file a complaint related to a continuing education matter, the student should first discuss concerns with the faculty member. If the student is still dissatisfied he/she may appeal to the Program Director of the content area.

General Student Services Complaints

When a student wishes to file a complaint related to a student services matter, the student should bring the issue to the attention of the department manager. If after having spoken with the department manager a resolution is not reached to the student’s satisfaction, the student may present the issue to the dean of student services. The dean’s decision is final. Complaints must be made within the semester in which the issue arose.

Repetition of Courses

If a student repeats a course in which a grade (A-F) has been received, the highest grade received is the permanent grade for the course and will be used in computing the grade point average. All grades earned in a given course will be entered on the transcript. Other colleges may compute the GPA differently than HCC.

Honors

Each fall and spring semester, full-time students who complete 12 or more semester hours with a grade point average of 3.5 or better are named to the Dean’s List. Students with 12 or more semester hours with a grade point average of 3.0 to 3.49 will be included on the Honor List. A student eligible for a Dean’s List certificate should contact the Dean of Student Development Office. 

Students who complete 12 or more semester hours with a GPA of 3.5 or better are eligible to join Phi Theta Kappa, the national honor society of American two-year colleges. Initiation into the society is held each October and March. Further information regarding Phi Theta Kappa may be obtained through the office of the Dean of Student Development. 

HCC also operates an Honors Program at each of the HCC colleges. Students may choose to join the HCC Honors Program or may elect to take individual course sections for Honors credit. For more information, see your college Honors Director listed in the HCC Course Schedule or refer to the Honors Program Web site.

The HCC Honors College is located at Central College. It offers high-achieving students the opportunity for enriched instruction, leadership development, and the opportunity for study/travel abroad. The program is designed for full-time students beginning their college experience or with limited HCC credit hours (under 15). Qualified students can receive scholarships and textbook assistance. Students must have a 3.7 high school GPA or 3.5 HCC GPA and college-ready scores on TAKS, SAT or COMPASS. For more information, contact the Honors College Dean at 713.718.6081

Requirements for Academic Progress

A student’s academic progress will be evaluated for the first time after a minimum of nine attempted semester hours. Each status is defined with the required action.

Status - Good Standing
Definition - Cumulative GPA of 2.0 or above
Action Required - None

Status - Probation
Definition - Cumulative GPA below 2.0
Action Required - Must register for SLIP and work with a counselor prior to enrolling in classes.

Status - Continued Probation
Definition - Cumulative GPA below 2.0 and Term GPA 2.0 or above
Action Required - Continue to work with the counselor from a previous semester.

Status - Suspension
Definition - Previous term status of probation or continued probation and Term GPA below 2.0
Action Required - Must register for SLIP and work with a counselor prior to enrolling in classes.

  • Students on probation, continued probation and/or suspension are required to attend a Successful Learning Intervention Program (SLIP) session prior to re-enrollment in order to meet with their designated counselor. The counselor will stipulate conditions of enrollment, including but not limited to, maximum hours and/or specific courses. It is important to note that a student on an Academic Suspension may be unable to enroll in classes for one semester. An Academic Suspension may be appealed by completing the necessary paperwork in the counseling office.
  • Students enrolled in multiple summer sessions will have their entire summer’s work evaluated for determination of their academic status.
  • Students in certain Health Sciences programs are required to maintain a grade of  "C" in all courses in order to continue in the program. Students not meeting these standards may continue to enroll at HCC in other programs as long as they maintain minimum HCC requirements.
  • Students are responsible for knowing whether they have passed the minimum standards for continuation in college. Ineligible students who register will be subject to dismissal with forfeiture of all tuition and fees.

Requirements of Satisfactory Progress For Veterans

In order to be eligible for continued veterans benefits, a veteran who is placed on academic probation/ suspension must attain a cumulative GPA of 2.0. If a veteran falls below a 2.0 GPA, the veteran should visit the Veterans Affairs Office or contact the Veterans Call Center at 713.718.8522 to schedule an appointment.

Requirements of Satisfactory Progress for Financial Aid Students

Financial aid students must meet the following satisfactory progress requirements:

  • Must maintain a term GPA of 2.0
  • Must complete at least 67% percent of attempted courses for the academic year
  • Must enroll in courses leading to an HCC degree or certificate

Students who do not maintain the standards listed above will be ineligible to receive financial aid. A student may appeal a suspension of financial aid by submitting a written request to the college Financial Aid Office. A detailed description of the financial aid standards of progress requirement is available in the college Financial Aid Office.

Grade Reports

Grades are available online within one week of the end of the course.

Graduation Information

Prior to graduation, students must have official transcripts of credits transferred from other institutions sent to the Office of Admissions and Records. A candidate for any degree or certificate must meet the graduation requirements in the catalog for the year of initial enrollment unless the student elects to graduate under the requirements of a more recent catalog. The candidate must indicate the catalog of choice when filing for graduation. A student who does not enroll at HCC for a period of more than one calendar year is required to graduate under the catalog requirement for the year of readmission.

To be considered as a candidate for the AA degree, AS degree, AAT degree, AAS degree, or Certificate of Completion, a student must submit a formal application for graduation  at the time of registration for the final semester or not later than the graduation application deadline. There is a $10 fee for those students requesting a printed diploma. If the student is not approved for graduation during the semester or instructional period in which the application is filed, HCC will retain the diploma fee for one year and apply it when approval for graduation is granted.

Students who are unable to complete their degree plan on file at HCC may transfer up to 42 semester hours of equivalent courses from an accredited institution. These courses must be completed within three years of their last semester of enrollment at HCC. However, all other graduation requirements must be satisfied, including the residency requirement that 18 semester hours of a student’s degree must be completed at HCC

Priority Application Deadlines:

  • Fall - October 15
  • Spring - February 15
  • Summer - June 15
  • A candidate for a degree or certificate is not required to purchase a diploma. A student may request their records be reviewed at the conclusion of their course work so the appropriate degree or certificate will be recorded on the student’s transcript.

    Graduation Honors

    Graduation honors will be awarded to students pursuing an associates with superior cumulative GPAs. The following classifications of honors will be recognized on the student’s transcript and diploma: 

    • Highest Honors -  GPA 3.80 or above 
    • High Honors -  GPA 3.60 to 3.79 
    • Honors -  GPA 3.35 to 3.59

    HCC will use the following guidelines to compute honors eligibility:

    • The student must complete at least 18 semester credit hours at HCC.
    • The student must complete requirements for the AA, AS, AAT or AAS degree.
    • The grades in all HCC courses will figure in the cumulative GPA (developmental courses are excluded from the degree GPA).
    • Courses taken through the preceding fall semester will be used in computing the GPA for the ceremony. The student must have completed 75 percent of the course work for the degree at that time.

    Participation in the Graduation Exercises

    HCC holds one student graduation ceremony each year in May. Candidates for degrees and certificates are encouraged to attend the graduation ceremonies. Students who completed course requirements the previous December, or who plan to complete course requirements the following August, may participate in the May ceremony.