Academic Regulations

Credit Hours

Credit for curriculum courses is measured in semester credit hours. WCC follows the credit hour definitions provided by the NC State Board of Community Colleges Code. SBCCC 400.1(C) defines credit hours as:

  1. Class: Credit of one semester hour is awarded for each 16 hours of lecture and other instruction provided in a class under the supervision of an instructor.
  2. Clinical Practice: Credit of one semester hour is awarded for each 48 hours of clinical practice. Clinical practice provides an opportunity for health science students to apply knowledge and skills in their delivery of care in a health care setting. A qualified faculty member, clinical instructor, or preceptor, as defined by the program related approving or accrediting body, shall supervise clinical practice to provide the student with learning experiences related to the program and to monitor and assess the student’s application of skills. Clinical practice may utilize experiences that simulate realistic clinical experiences to meet the curriculum and course objectives. The percentage of simulation experiences substituting for traditional clinical practice and the qualifications of faculty providing the simulation experience must comply with the guidelines of the applicable health science accrediting and approving bodies.
  3. Experiential Laboratory: Credit of one semester hour is awarded for each 32 hours of “experiential laboratory work.” Experiential laboratory work means instruction given to a student by an instructor to increase the student’s knowledge and skills without immediate student application.
  4. Faculty Directed Laboratory: Credit of one semester hour is awarded for each 48 hours of “faculty directed laboratory.” Faculty directed laboratory means instructional activities are demonstrated or conducted by an instructor with immediate student application.
  5. Work-Based Learning: Credit of one semester hour is awarded for each 160 hours of work-based learning (WBL curriculum prefix courses). Work-based learning is the development of job skills by providing the student with employment that is directly related to the educational program and coordinated by a college representative.

Course Load

Students enrolled for 12 or more semester hours of credit will be classified as full-time students. The average course load is 16 to 18 semester hours of credit, depending on the program of study. Students planning to carry more than 21 credit hours must obtain permission from their advisor and the division dean.

Student Classification

  • Freshmen: students who have earned fewer than 30 semester hours.
  • Sophomores: students who have earned 30 or more semester hours.
  • Students enrolled in a diploma or certificate program are classified as freshmen.

Contact Information

For questions about academic regulations and policies, contact:

Image of Michael Ward
Michael Ward, MBA
Phone: 336-838-6489


Class attendance is an important part of students’ educational experiences. Absences from the classroom negatively affect student success and learning outcomes. Students are responsible for attendance and are expected to be punctual and to attend every class session. Regardless of reasons for absences, students will be held accountable for all academic activities. Students are expected to take personal responsibility for their attendance and use discretion when making schedule choices to meet the demands of work, family, and other responsibilities.


Students who know of upcoming absences should notify their instructors in advance; if advance notice is not possible, students should contact instructors immediately upon their return to class.

Absences will be counted from the first meeting of the class. State regulations require that all students must enter and participate in class prior to the census date (10% point) for each course in order to remain enrolled in the course. Instructors are required to mark students who fails to attend a course prior to the census date as a “No Show”.

Under extenuating circumstances, a student who has never attended by the ten percent (10%) date may petition for reinstatement in the class and earn course credit. The student and/or faculty should notify the Dean of Student Services, in writing, of the extenuating circumstances that occurred prior to the ten percent (10%) date of the class and provide compelling documentation to support the request for reinstatement. The Dean’s decision regarding reinstatement may be appealed to the Vice President of Instructional Support and Student Services within two (2) business days. The Vice President’s decision is final.

Faculty members who choose, or are required by outside agencies to include class attendance as a factor in determining students’ final grades, will include this requirement in their course syllabi. For example, students enrolled in Basic Law Enforcement Training must attend 100% of the total contact hours for the course as mandated by the NC Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission.

Instructors are required to withdraw a student when two consecutive weeks are missed in any term before the published withdrawal date (75% point of the term). Students will receive a W grade up to the published withdrawal date (75% point of the term). After the published withdrawal date (75% point of the term), students will not be withdrawn from the course, but will be awarded the grade they have earned.

Co-Requisite Courses

If a student is withdrawn from a course due to attendance that has a required co-requisite course, the student shall be removed from the corequisite course, unless a waiver has been granted by the division dean or Vice President of Instruction for the student to take the course without being enrolled in the required local co-requisite course.

If a student is required to take a Reinforced Instruction for Student Excellence (RISE) co-requisite course and is withdrawn from the required RISE co-requisite course due to attendance, the student will be withdrawn from the gateway course. Example: If a student is withdrawn from ENG-011 Writing and Inquiry Support due to attendance, the student will be withdrawn from ENG-111 Writing and Inquiry.

If a student is required to take a Reinforced Instruction for Student Excellence (RISE) co-requisite course and is withdrawn from the required gateway course due to attendance, the student will be withdrawn from the RISE co-requisite course. Example: If a student is withdrawn from ENG-111 Writing and Inquiry due to attendance, the student will be withdrawn from ENG-011 Writing and Inquiry Support.

Extenuating Circumstances

If a student has been withdrawn from a course due to any of the absence policies above and has an extenuating circumstance (court orders, natural disasters, medical issues, or other extreme circumstances) for missing the class(es), the student may submit an appeal to the instructor to be reinstated in the course. If the instructor, division dean, and the Vice President of Instruction approve, then the student will be reinstated.

Excused Absences

An excused absence is defined as a planned absence with prior notification to the instructor or an unplanned extenuating circumstance. In addition to court orders, natural disasters, medical issues, a pandemic, or other extreme circumstances, the following will also be considered excused absences:

College-Related Activities

Student must submit appropriate documentation to the instructor a minimum of five business days prior to the events. If documentation is not submitted at least five business days prior to an event, permission for the absence will be at the discretion of the instructor. In addition, if a student has an excessive number of absences or has unsatisfactory academic performance in the course at the time of the absence, the instructor will inform the student whether he or she will be permitted to miss class. Students missing a class due to official college activities and events bear the responsibility of contacting the instructor regarding advanced submission or make up of work. Once the absence has been approved, the student will be allowed a reasonable opportunity to complete all work missed as a result of the missed class. Official college activities and events include participation in the following: field trips in connection with courses; intercollegiate athletic contests; statewide, regional, and/or national organization events; scholarship events; and student academic competitions and award ceremonies. High school-related activities of Career and College Promise (CCP) and Early College High School (ECHS) students will be considered the same as college-related activities.

Religious Observances

Pursuant to G.S. 115D-5, students may request two excused absences per academic year for religious observances. Curriculum students may obtain a form from the office of the Vice President of Instruction. Continuing education students may obtain a form from the office of the Vice President for Continuing Education. Students attending classes at the Ashe Campus or Alleghany Center may obtain a form from the chief administrator at those locations. The student must provide a written request to each instructor five business days prior to an absence for religious observance(s). (If the day(s) of observance fall within the first four days of class, such request shall be made to the senior administrative officer for curriculum or continuing education courses.) Instructors will forward the request to the office of either the senior administrative officer for curriculum or continuing education as appropriate for filing. Students requesting absences as required by their faith shall be given the opportunity to make up any tests or other work missed. The instructor, in consultation with the student, will identify a deadline for submission of the work that is appropriate to the requirements of the course.

Military Absences

The College shall allow any enrolled student who is in the United States Armed Forces, who has received temporary or permanent re-assignment as a result of military operations, and any National Guard service member placed onto State active duty status during an academic term, to be given an excused absence for the period of time the student is on active duty.

Courses and Programs

National and community college studies indicate that students are more successful if they complete a student success course. Therefore, in the fall of 1997, Wilkes Community College implemented a policy that requires all degree/diploma-seeking students to successfully complete a student success course.

Students in Associate in Applied Science (AAS) programs are required to complete ACA 115 within their first 13 semester hours of enrollment at WCC.

All Associate in Arts (AA), Associate in Science (AS), and Associate in Engineering (AE) students are encouraged to take ACA 122 during their first semester of enrollment at WCC.

ACA 115: Success and Study Skills

ACA 115 is organized according to three major concepts: extended orientation, academic success strategies, and applied critical thinking. The extended orientation concept involves connecting students to WCC technology, services, and expectations. Students practice reading, note taking, and test taking strategies to enhance their college academic success skills. Finally, information literacy, financial literacy, and career awareness make up the applied critical thinking approach in ACA 115.

ACA 122: College Transfer Success

Students enrolling in the Associate in Arts (AA), Associate in Engineering (AE) and Associate in Science (AS) programs are required to take ACA 122 as their student success course. Students are involved in activities that support six outcomes: developing a plan to complete community college goals, creating a transfer plan, understanding North Carolina transfer guidelines, enhancing learning strategies, connecting to college resources, and working with college policies and procedures. Students are expected to compare resources, policies, and procedures between the community college and university levels.

An “AU” grade will be recorded when students audit a course, unless the student is a senior (65+ on or before the first day of class being audited), then a grade of “SR” will be recorded. Students who wish to audit a course must register by completing the audit course form. Regular student audits will be charged full tuition and fees for the course. Senior audit students must provide proof of age and will have tuition waived, but will incur all applicable fees. Senior audit students may only have tuition waived for up to six hours of undergraduate level classes per semester. Auditing students must meet all course prerequisites and corequisites. Students must declare audit status in the Registrar’s Office by the end of the drop/add period for the semester of enrollment.

Students desiring to change their program of study should contact the Admissions Office or their advisor. Students will be reassigned to a new advisor, if appropriate, and course credits will be reevaluated. Students certified for VA benefits must notify a VA representative when changing their program of study.

Courses may be repeated as deemed necessary by students. When a course is repeated, an “R” notation is made on the transcript. The highest grade earned will be used to calculate the cumulative grade point average to meet graduation requirements. A student who receives a passing grade of A, B, or C in a course and re-enrolls for a third time must submit a written statement of the reason for re-enrolling. This written statement will be maintained in the Student Services Office. Career & College Promise students may only repeat courses where they earned a grade of D, F, or W. Auditing students may repeat courses without written permission.

Only under exceptional circumstances will students be permitted to substitute or deviate from the established requirements of a program of study. The division Dean and Vice President of Instruction must approve substitutions prior to registration. Documentation will be submitted to the registrar prior to taking the course and will become part of the student’s official record.