SCCO Academic Policies

Mentoring and Advising Students at Academic Risk

The SCCO Student Success Program has been implemented to support our students’ academic progress. Through this program the Student Advising and Programming Specialist will work closely with students who receive a substandard grade on any examination. These students will be strongly encouraged to meet with the instructor of record in the course to review the examination and course material. The purpose of this meeting will be to discuss the student’s performance and establish a plan to promote understanding of the course material and develop an effective study plan. The student will also be encouraged to meet with the Student Advising and Programming Specialist to reinforce or establish an individualized plan and review the resources available for student success.  For example, resources might include no cost tutoring for the course or meeting with their faculty advisor. Faculty Advisors are prepared to discuss general study habits. These include time management, study skills, test taking strategies and note-taking. The Student Advising and Programming Specialist or the faculty member may also initiate a referral to the Director of University Student Counseling Services if necessary or the University CARE Team through Enrollment and Student Services.

In the event of any subsequent poor performance students will be asked to meet with both the Student Advising and Programming Specialist and the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs to discuss overall academic performance.
Monitoring grades, sending notices to the students, and following up with the students will be coordinated by both the Student Advising and Programming Specialist and the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs.

Academic Standing

A student must complete all courses in the program with a cumulative grade point average of 2.50 or better to be eligible for graduation. All students are registered in an identical cohort curriculum and must complete all coursework to maintain satisfactory academic progress toward graduation. Each term the academic record of all registered students are reviewed in accordance with the defined process listed under Academic Review for Advancement.

The Academic Standing Committee (ASC) meets at the conclusion of each quarter to review students' academic performance. When a student's performance is less than satisfactory for normal advancement to the next quarter, the committee may recommend probation, retention, retention with condition, dismissal, or a formal indication of concern to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. The intent of the committee is to make recommendations for future student success or to make recommendations for dismissal if success appears improbable based on performance and circumstances.

1. Academic Probation

The ASC at SCCO may place a student on academic probation if the student’s current level of achievement is deemed sub-standard. Students will be placed on academic probation if any of the following occur:

1. Cumulative grade point average is below 2.50 (with the exception of the first quarter of the first professional year)

2. Quarterly grade point average is below 2.00

3. When the student receives one failure grade in a quarter

4. In situations not covered by the above rules, if at any time the Academic Standing Committee determines that the student’s academic progress is unsatisfactory.

Students on academic probation will be placed on a learning contract that will stipulate the necessary steps the student must undertake in order to provide the best opportunity for academic success. Failure to meet all of the terms of the learning contract will put the student in breach of the learning contract and may result in academic dismissal. A student on probation:

  • May not participate in work-study
  • May not be enrolled in the MS in Vision Science degree program
  • May not hold office in a class, Student Association, fraternal, or any other student organization
  • May not participate in off-campus professional meetings
  • Must regularly attend all didactic and clinical assignments to which the student is assigned
  • Must meet regularly with either the Faculty Advisor, Student Advising and Programming Specialist, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs

The student is no longer on academic probation when academic standards are met and/or conditions of the learning contract are met.

Note: Students who are not making satisfactory academic progress will not be eligible to receive Federal financial aid. Students are considered to be making satisfactory academic progress if they have completed each year’s coursework within a maximum of two academic years. Please reference the University Catalog Financial Aid section.

2. Academic Dismissal

Students are subject to academic dismissal when any of the following conditions occur:

1. During the first professional year:

  • Cumulative grade point average at the end of the first quarter is less than or equal to 1.50
  • Cumulative grade point average at the end of the second quarter is less than or equal to 1.75
  • Cumulative grade point average at the end of the third quarter is less than 2.00

2. When the student receives more than one failure grade in a quarter

3. When a student is eligible for probation for the third time.

4. If the student has failed to remediate a grade of “F” by the Friday of the 8th week of instruction of the subsequent quarter, or a time designated by the instructor of record. In the case of fourth-year optometry students, remediation must occur prior to the end of the subsequent rotation or within a time specified by the Instructor of Record.

5. In situations not covered by the above rules, if at any time the ASC determines that the student’s academic progress is unsatisfactory.

Refer to individual course syllabi for detailed grading information.

Remediation of a Course

When a student fails an academic course, the University may offer the student the option to complete a remediation program designed by the course instructor of record during the following academic quarter in lieu of withdrawing until the course can be repeated the next time it is offered. If the laboratory portion of the course is failed, only the laboratory portion must be remediated. If the didactic portion is failed, then the didactic portion must be remediated. Students receiving an F grade in a clinic course must repeat the course in the subsequent quarter which will result in a delay in advancement to the Outreach Clinical Program and graduation. Fourth-year students receiving an F grade in a clinical course must satisfactorily pass the course prior to the awarding of a diploma. A fee to remediate deficiencies and for make-up examinations may be charged.  Students required to complete clinical courses following the date of graduation will be responsible for tuition charges.

The remediation program must be completed by the Friday of week 8 in the subsequent quarter. Students may not begin final exams in any quarter unless the remediation of a class from the previous quarter has been successfully completed. In the event that a student is unsuccessful in remediating the course, they will be eligible for dismissal per Academic Dismissal Rule 4.

If this is a first dismissal, they may appeal to the Academic Standing Committee for reinstatement to repeat the course during the subsequent academic year. They will not be eligible for final exams during the current quarter. If this is a second dismissal, the student does not have the right of appeal to the Academic Standing Committee. It will be at the committee's discretion as to whether the student's record and performance warrant a readmission to retake the course in the subsequent year. Under no circumstances will the student be allowed to take final exams for the current quarter with an unresolved grade of F in an academic course on their record.

Protocol for Appealing Academic Dismissal

If a student is found to be eligible for academic dismissal, the student must follow this protocol for appeal:

  1. Upon notification of dismissal from the Office of Academic Affairs, the student must submit, in written form, an intent for appeal addressed to the Office of Academic Affairs. A student can appeal to the ASC the first notice of academic dismissal. Should a student dismissed for academic reasons be readmitted, he/she will be placed on academic probation and may be required to meet other performance criteria as specified by the ASC. A dismissed student may not continue in any degree program of the University as an audit student, observer or participant, unless an appeal of dismissal is under consideration. A student who is dismissed is generally presumed to be dismissed indefinitely
  2. The student may be asked to meet with the ASC at the Southern California College of Optometry where the student may have an opportunity to appeal, including documentation supporting the basis for the appeal. The ASC will forward their recommendation to the Office of Academic Affairs. The outcome of the appeal will be issued from the Office of Academic Affairs.
  3. Appealing ASC Decisions to the Dean: The student can appeal the decisions of the ASC to the Dean of Optometry. All requests for appeals of rulings by the ASC shall be submitted in writing to the Dean within five (5) University working days after the ruling is received by the student.

    The Dean will determine if one or more of the following criteria are met, will only accept the appeal if one or more has, and will not retry the case:
  1. Evidence of substantial, material error in procedure by the ASC. The error must be of sufficient gravity to constitute:
    1. a total departure from procedure; or
    2. a defect that prevented the giving or receiving of necessary and relevant information, or
    3. a lack of neutrality on the part of the hearing authority.
  2. New evidence that is
    1. unavailable at the time of the original hearing and
    2.  that is sufficient to alter the decision.  
      Both of these conditions must be met to invoke this basis for appeal.
  3. Evidence that the sanction(s) imposed was disproportionate to the severity of the violation, or that a sanction is unnecessarily extreme in light of the standard being upheld.  The appellant bears the burden of demonstrating the disproportionate relationship between the sanction and the offense committed. A description of the impact of the sanction upon his/her personal circumstance without anything more is insufficient as a basis for appeal.

The Dean’s review will commence in a timely fashion but not exceed twenty (20) University working days following the receipt of the initial request for appeal.

During consideration of an appeal, the Dean may consult with the ASC.  Appealed decisions may include: returning the case to the ASC for rehearing or can render a sanction equal to or less severe than that imposed by the committee. If the Dean returns the case or modifies the decision of the ASC they will explain the reason for this return or modification to the committee.

During the appeal process, students may continue attending lecture and laboratory sessions. Students will not continue attending clinic sessions once the ASC has rendered a dismissal and the student is notified by the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs.

All course failures in required coursework must be successfully remediated or repeated according to the student’s Program policy for program progression.

  • Remediation
    Students receiving an F grade must satisfactorily repeat the course or a remediation program. Successful completion of a remediation program will result in a grade change of FP, FC, or FD, depending on the Program (see Program Student Handbook).

  • Repeated Courses
    The initial grade of F remains on the student’s record and the repeated course grade earned will also be on transcript. Both credit hours and grades are computed in the grade point average.

Final course grades must be submitted to the Registration and Records Office by the course instructor no later than one week (7 calendar days) after the end of the quarter. All changes of a final grade after this time must be submitted by the course instructor within thirty (30) days of posting of grades by the Registration and Records Office. The exception to this rule is in the case of course remediation completion (see Program Student Handbook for details on course remediation, if offered). Change of Grade Request Forms must be filed by the course instructor.

Academic Standing for the Master of Vision Science Program

For the MS in Vision Science program, a minimum passing grade in a course is a B and an overall minimum grade point average of 3.0 is required for graduation. A student will be dismissed if their cumulative grade point average for Master’s degree courses is below 3.0 after having been on Academic Probation. The Graduate Committee is responsible for determining a MS student’s academic status.



It is the expectation of all faculty and students to start examinations on time. To assure this, faculty members and students are expected to arrive in the designated examination room at least 10 minutes prior to the start of testing. This allows for a smooth and uniform start to the examination as well as assuring that all participants are present to receive any additional information or announcements pertinent to the examination. Therefore, students arriving later than 15 minutes after the start of any examination may not be allowed to sit for that exam at the discretion of the faculty member. This time element also establishes that no student may leave the examination room prior to 15 minutes after the announced start time of the exam.

The consequence of arriving later than 15 minutes after the start of an examination, in addition to being ineligible to take the exam, could include, but is not limited to, the following:

  1. grade of “F” for that exam
  2. grade of “E” or Incomplete for the course
  3. taking the same format test at a later date
  4. taking an essay test over the same material

Habitual late arrival to examinations is disruptive to both students and faculty members and is unacceptable. Repeated late arrival to exams by students may result in disciplinary action.

Answers to each question are not to be written in a large font size (i.e., larger than the font size of the test) next to the test question; doing so can and may result in a loss of points for each question, at the discretion of the instructor of record.

Under special circumstances, the faculty member may use their discretion to appropriately modify this policy.

Assigned Seating

Each examination will have assigned randomized seating. After entering the exam room and leaving non-essential belongings at the front of the room, each student will receive a seat ticket. This seating ticket will indicate the student's row and seat. A new, randomized seat assignment will be given at each examination. At the end of the exam, the seat tickets should be thrown away. The row and seat number must be recorded in the Honor Code question in each exam.

The following list of Items Permitted and Not Permitted during examinations are also on the cover page of each examination:

Items Permitted and Not Permitted During Examinations

The items that students are permitted and not permitted to have during examinations are the following:

Permitted – Students may have only the following items at their examination desk:

  • Testing device
  • SCCO-issued whiteboard
  • SCCO-issued dry-erase markers
  • A jacket or sweater (no hood)
  • Non-mechanical, non-electronic ear plugs (for example, foam ear plugs)
  • Approved clear bottle of water (no labels)

Not Permitted – Items not permitted at examination desks include:

  • Communication devices, including cell phones, watches, FitBits, etc.
  • Any watches (analog or otherwise)
  • ID Badges
  • Keys
  • Books or notes
  • Electronic and mechanical devices, such as watches, radios, recording/filming devices, and electronic earplugs or earbuds, FitBits
  • Calculators and/or calculator covers
  • Highlighters, pens, or other writing instruments
  • Stylus/Apple Pencil/etc.
  • Brimmed hats or caps, including baseball caps, hoods
  • Purses
  • Food
  • “Good luck” pieces, including photographs
  • Backpacks

Note: Prohibited items must be stored in the front of or outside the examination room.

Possession of unauthorized items during an exam is a violation of the MBKU/SCCO Code of Conduct. Additionally, restroom breaks will not be permitted during examinations.

Post-Examination Review Policy

Post-examination review is the process of reviewing examination items with students. The primary purpose is to provide an opportunity for students to review the concepts/questions that the student missed on the examination. Students should adhere to the post-examination policy outlined in the course syllabus. The post-examination review session is not for students to challenge the validity of test items and is not an adversarial setting. Any student who violates the collegial setting of the review will be asked to leave the session.

All examination items are sequestered; therefore, students may not attempt to duplicate or distribute test items by copying questions, taking notes, taking photographs, saving to a personal device, or any other related activities. Students are expected to present without their personal belongings or to sequester their belongings before checking in for the session. The following materials are specifically prohibited from the post-examination review session:

  • Mechanical or electronic devices such as cellular telephones, iPads, calculators, digital watches, watches with computer communication and/or memory capability, electronic paging devices, recording or filming devices, radios;
  • Hats, hoods, visors, sunglasses; or
  • Book bags, backpacks, briefcases, purses.

Any items identified by the instructor as having the potential to undermine examination security will be seized, or the student will be instructed to secure the item in another location.

Students who wish to review their exams are expected to attend the post-examination review sessions as scheduled by the course instructor. Any student unable to attend the scheduled post-examination review session should contact the course instructor promptly and arrange an alternative date to review their examination(s). Students may only have access to review their examinations during the course administration up until when final course grades are due, as per the Academic Calendar. Multiple reviews of the same examination will not be permitted. Students who are in remediation will follow the exam review policy in the remediation syllabus.


Marshall B. Ketchum University expects regular attendance at all lectures, laboratory, and clinic sessions to which the student is assigned. Each program determines the specific attendance policy and procedures (see Program Student Handbook). The record of attendance is the responsibility of each individual instructor. Permission to be absent must be obtained from the Dean/Director of the program or the Program designee. Instructors are not obligated to provide special consideration in the case of unexcused absences. Repeated unexcused absences may result in a student being placed on professional probation. In addition, students wishing to participate in off-campus meetings during the academic year must receive academic approval from the Dean/Director and may not be on academic probation.

The academic credits at MBKU are described in terms of quarter credit hours. One credit hour represents one hour per week in the classroom during a 10-week quarter, two hours per week devoted to the laboratory, or four hours per week of clinical work or equivalent contact hours.

Examinations are held in each course and are required of all students taking the course. All students must take all examinations, including final examinations, at the assigned time, unless prior arrangements have been approved by the Instructor of Record. Each Program determines the procedures for reporting if a student must miss an exam because of an emergency (see Program Student Handbook). All missed exams must be made up as specified by the Program. Course grades are assigned by the instructor of record.

Occasionally students may need to miss scheduled assignments due to special circumstances or minor illnesses. This type of time off request is reported to the student's Program through their procedures, which may be found in the respective Program Student Handbook/course syllabus. Specific request procedures/forms vary by Program. Make up for time-missed assignments/examinations will be at the discretion of the course Instructor.

The amount of time away from both the didactic and clinic portions of the curriculum varies by Program. The Dean/Director, in consultation with the appropriate faculty, will evaluate student absences on an individual basis. Decisions regarding the necessity for an extended absence will depend upon the quantity and quality of material missed during the absence.

Anticipated Absence Policy

  1. Laboratory
  • Prior to the absence you must email the faculty (and email/ copy: for the classes that will be missed and obtain approval.
  • Once the absence is approved, obtain signatures of each faculty whose class will be missed on the SCCO Absence/Switch Form, this form can also be found on the portal under “Students” tab > “SCCO Calendars & Other Information” (left side bar) > Resources (right side bar) > Forms > Excused Absence/ Switch Request Form.
  • Return the signed form to the Student Advising and Progamming Specialist, a minimum of one week prior to the absence.
  • Faculty are not obligated to provide special consideration in the case of absences.
  • Faculty have the right to deny a request based on their concerns for an individual student's performance in their class even if the student has been certified by the Registrar.
  • The responsibility for making up missed assignments lies completely with the student.
  1. Midterms, Finals, and Proficiencies
    • All students are required to attend mid-quarter, final examinations, and proficiencies at their scheduled times.
    • Faculty have the discretion to approve anticipated absences with sufficient notice.
    • The responsibility for making up missed examinations lies completely with the student.
  2. Clinical Assignments- See Manual of Clinical Education

Unanticipated Absence Policy

  1. The student will contact SCCO at this email ( before 8:00 am if they will be absent from a lecture, lab, or clinic that day. This office will notify your course and lab instructors or clinical preceptors. When you email, please clearly state the following:
    1. Your first and last name
    2. Your class (ex: CO 2020)
    3. Reason for absence
    4. Course name and course # that will be missed, type of class, and time that will be missed (ex: CLS 560 Clinical Methods – lab, Tues. 9am-11am 3/17/2020)
    5. Relevant course instructor(s), lab instructors, or clinical preceptors.
  2. Laboratory:
    1. Faculty are not obligated to provide special consideration in the case of absences. Each Faculty member will determine if making up the missed work will be allowed or required. Each faculty member will determine the details relating to any make-up, and you should address this immediately upon your return to campus. Failure to meet with the faculty immediately upon return to campus may forfeit the opportunity for a makeup with a subsequent assigning of zero points for the missed examination/assignment.
  3. Midterms, Finals, and Proficiencies
    1. Faculty have the discretion to approve unanticipated absences.
    2. The responsibility for making up missed examinations lies completely with the student.
  4. If you will be missing clinic, you should still submit for time off within Meditrek in addition to emailing
    1. Clinical Assignments- See Manual of Clinical Education
  5. Failure to inform SCCO of an absence prior to the beginning of the day is considered an unexcused absence, and may result in a failure on any missed assessment activities or referral to the conduct board. Advanced notification does not guarantee the absence will be excused and will be at the discretion of the program. However, during this time of increased sensitivity to personal health, the programs will exercise flexibility in making up work in the interest of community health.  
  6. If significant illness is identified, a medical clearance submitted to Enrollment and Student Services from the treating physician will be required prior to re-entry into the program. You can submit any medical clearance to Dr. Carmen Barnhardt at If temporary accommodations are required when you return, Student Disability Services via Enrollment and Student Services will assist you with that process.
  7. If any questions about procedures for absences are needed, please contact Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Dr. Ray Chu at or 714-992-7876. If you have medical questions, please contact our Family Medicine clinic at Ketchum Health, or 714-463-7505.

Extended Absence Policy

For the complete Extended Absence Policy, including medical leave, personal leave of absence, unapproved withdraw, and withdraw with intent to return, please refer to the University Catalog.

Note: Leaves longer than 2 weeks need to be approved by the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and the Associate Dean of Student Affairs. SCCO reserves the right to require students missing more than 2 weeks of class to Withdraw with Intent to Return (WIR) and join the class below. This evaluation will be made through consultation with the faculty and student to determine the amount of work that will need to be made up once the student is released from medical care and returns to school.

During academic/clinical careers, a student may need to take a leave from studies for a variety of reasons. There are two types of extended absences: 1) Withdraw with Intent to Return (WIR) and 2) Leave of Absence (LOA). A WIR or LOA must be requested in writing to the Program Dean/Director. Notification is required at least one month prior to a planned absence and must include the reason for the time away and the dates involved. In the case of unforeseen circumstances, for example, a personal or family emergency, the student must submit a request in writing as soon as they are able to do so (See the “Application for Leave, Withdraw or Withdraw with Intent to Return” form on the portal).

Depending on the Program curriculum, extended absences during the didactic portion may result in a student sitting out the entire year until the time when those courses are taught again. Extended absences during the clinical portion may occur for a minimum of one clinical rotation. Requirements for graduation differ by Program including examination policies, remediation and deceleration policies, and training time requirements. Therefore, the allowable time away from school must meet the appropriate time requirement set by each Program. Please consult your Program Student Handbook and/or Student Affairs professional.

Tuition will be prorated according to the Tuition Refund Policy. Unless expressly prohibited by the University in writing, students on extended absences generally may retain their Student ID/Access Card, University email, and access to online resources and the library. There will be a notation on their transcript of the beginning and end date of absences. Copies of the completed application will be sent to Financial Aid, Student Accounts, the Library, Campus Safety, and to other critical offices as appropriate. International students (F‐1 Visa holders) planning on extended absences must speak with a Designated School Official regarding their visa status.