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NOVA 2012-2013 College Catalog


Admission to the College
If you have a high school diploma or the equivalent, or you are at least 18 years of age, and you are able to benefit from enrollment, you are eligible for admission to Northern Virginia Community College.

High school and home schooled students may be eligible to enroll in certain dual enrollment courses.  See page 25.

The College welcomes transfer students from other colleges and, when you meet NOVA’s admission requirements, you may be admitted with no restrictions. 

All applicants must complete the Application for Admission. At this time, you are strongly advised to seek the assistance of counselors for academic, career, or transfer information. You are also strongly advised to take the English placement test as soon as you are admitted since demonstrated English ability is required for enrollment in most courses. Students are accepted on a first-come/first-served basis, except in restricted programs or when enrollment must be limited. In such cases, priority will be given in the following order: (1) legal residents domiciled in the cities and counties supporting the College, (2) other Virginia legal residents, (3) out-of-state applicants, and (4) international students requiring Form I-20. For certain health technology programs, “counties supporting the College” may include those in which clinical affiliates have contractual agreements with NOVA. It is even more important for you to apply early to the College if you are interested in being admitted to a particular curriculum. High school transcripts are not generally required, but are useful for academic advisement to better ensure your success in your chosen curriculum and to evaluate for college-level courses.  Transcripts may be required in some cases, i.e., prior to dual enrollment, or to verify prerequisites for college-level courses.

High school transcripts are required in order to be considered for admission to Veterinary Technology, Dental Hygiene, and Nursing. Transcripts are preferred for Emergency Medical Services Technology. Contact the appropriate campus Student Services Center regarding admission to these programs.

The Application for Admission is available online at www.nvcc.edu. Application for Admission forms may also be mailed to the Student Services Center of your choice. You are urged to submit your Application for Admission to the College at least 30 days prior to the first day of classes for the semester in which you plan to enroll. This should provide you with the opportunity to attend the new student orientation or meet with a counselor for academic assistance prior to enrollment, and give you time to take required placement tests. 

The College reserves the right to evaluate Applications for Admission, document special cases, and to refuse or revoke admission if the College determines that the applicant or student is a threat, is a potential danger, is significantly disruptive to the college community, or if such refusal is considered to be in the best interest of the College.  Students whose admission is revoked after enrollment must be given due process. Applicants that have been expelled or suspended from, or determined to be a threat, potential danger, or significantly disruptive by, another college will not be admitted to NOVA.

When you enroll as a student at NOVA, you accept the rules and regulations of the College. Any violation will be subject to appropriate action by the College.  All NOVA policies are superseded by VCCS policy.

Readmission to the College
Former NOVA students who have not been enrolled for three years (nine consecutive terms) and wish to reapply for admission must also complete an Application for Admission. 

Visiting (Transient) Students - Special Provisions for Students Currently Enrolled at Four-Year Colleges and Universities
Students currently enrolled at four-year colleges and universities may enroll in most NOVA courses without taking a placement test to determine readiness to do college-level work. Such “transient” or visiting students maintain their primary enrollment with the four-year college or university (home institution) and elect to enroll at NOVA for the limited purpose of taking one or more classes. To qualify for this special provision, students must provide specified documentation showing current enrollment or admission to a four-year college or university.  Full information and directions are available at http://www.nvcc.edu/future-students/admissions/visiting-college-students/.  

Admission to a Curriculum
Apart from the general admission requirements for acceptance by the College, some curricula have additional requirements for admission; these are listed in the "Instructional Programs" section of this catalog. Check the curriculum of your choice to see if you have met the required prerequisites for enrolling in that curriculum. If you do not meet these requirements, you may be able to make up deficiencies by taking developmental or other courses.

To change from one curriculum to another, you must contact a counselor.

Readmission to a Curriculum
If you wish to be readmitted to a restricted program after non-attendance for at least one year, please consult the specific program listing under Programs of Study for detailed readmission requirements.  If you were placed in a non-restricted program, you will not have to reapply for admission to your curriculum; however, you should check to see whether the program requirements have changed since your last attendance.

English Language Requirement
In order to enroll in most courses, students are required to achieve a satisfactory score on the college English placement test. Regardless of course selection, all students will be required to take the English placement test prior to registering for the 16th credit.

International Students
NOVA is authorized by federal law to enroll non-immigrant students. The College must comply fully with federal law and regulations regarding admission of non-immigrant students.. College policies apply equally to all students regardless of immigration status, except as restricted by federal law or regulation.

Student Visas (F-1 Status)
NOVA is one of the most internationally diverse colleges in the United States, with thousands of students from more than 150 countries enrolled in our programs. The rich cultural diversity and experiences that international students bring to the College make for a truly unique learning environment.  For complete details on how to apply and request an I–20, go to http://www.nvcc.edu/future-students/admissions/international-students/index.html or contact the Office of International Student Services at oiss@nvcc.edu or 703–323–3423.

Other Immigrant Status. It is the policy of Northern Virginia Community College to admit to the College those applicants who are immigrants residing in Virginia who have graduated from a Virginia high school with a high school diploma or equivalent, even if they are not able to document their legal presence. Those who are undocumented will pay tuition at the out-of-state rate.

Dual Enrollment of High School Students and Home Schooled Students

Dual Enrollment Student Admissions
Dual enrollment allows students to earn college credit while still in high school.  If you are a high school junior or senior, or the home school equivalent, you may be able to take NOVA courses under certain conditions.  You may be able to use some dual enrollment courses to meet high school graduation requirements, but you may also be eligible to take courses that you do not intend to apply toward high school graduation.  Dual enrollment courses are college courses, so they have college-level content and include college-level discussions. When you take a dual enrollment course, you will have a NOVA transcript that documents the course you take and the grade you receive in it.

High School Students
High school juniors or seniors may be eligible for admission to NOVA.  You may be able to take some dual enrollment courses at a NOVA campus or you may be able to take NOVA courses taught at your high school.  Exceptions may be considered for freshman and sophomore students who are able to demonstrate readiness for college-level coursework through the colleges’ established institutional policies. It is required that all freshman and sophomore students meet established institutional placement criteria prior to enrolling in dual enrollment coursework. Because enrolling freshman and sophomore students is considered exceptional, each freshman and sophomore student will be treated on a case-by-case basis and require formal approval by the college president.

High school students who wish to take classes on a NOVA campus must submit a completed and signed 125-207 dual enrollment recommendation form, which the campus dean of students or his/her designee will review. This form includes a place to list any NOVA courses you wish to use to fulfill Virginia high school graduation requirements.  Your high school principal and high school counselor must sign the form, both to indicate that they believe you are ready for college-level work and to show that they will allow you to use the NOVA course to meet graduation requirements. Your parent or guardian must also sign the form to indicate that they believe you are ready for college courses.

The College also has dual enrollment agreements with local public school systems and private schools whereby some dual enrollment classes are taught at some high schools during the school day.  These contract classes are arranged each semester with the high school administration.  Contact your high school counselor for more information about dual enrollment courses that may be offered at your high school. 

Home Schooled Students
If you are a home schooled student the equivalent of a high school junior or senior you may be eligible to take courses at NOVA.  Dual enrollment is considered enrichment to the home school program and cannot substitute for the home school experience.  Home schooled students must submit a completed and signed 125-208 Dual Enrollment recommendation form and either a copy of a current signed home school agreement between the appropriate school system and the authorizing parent or guardian or a letter from the parent or guardian declaring home school for religious exemption.

Other Policies and Procedures Regarding Dual Enrollment
The following policies and procedures will apply to the dual enrollment of high school and home schooled students:

  • The College reserves the right to evaluate applications for admission and to refuse admission to applicants when it is considered to be in the best interest of the College.  Factors in a student’s academic or personal record may be considered as a part of approving or denying a dual enrollment request. 
  • Dual enrollment students must be high school juniors or seniors.
  • Applicants for dual enrollment should complete the online application at least two weeks prior to the start of classes. The application can be found at www.nvcc.edu. The entire enrollment process, including registration, must be completed before the first day of class.  Payment must comply with the payment due date for the semester as established by the College.
  • Dual enrollment students must take the College placement test (or score 500 or higher on both the critical reading and writing sections of the SAT, or a minimum combined score of 21 on both the English and Writing tests of the ACT) and place into ENG 111/9 or higher to take any NOVA class on campus.  Dual enrollment students who wish to take a NOVA class offered at their high school must take the College placement test and place at the level required for the course. In addition, students who intend to take a math course must also take the math placement test or provide official evidence of a mathematics score of at least 520 on the SAT or a mathematics score of at least 22 on the ACT taken in the last two years.
  • Dual enrollment students must also meet all course prerequisites. 
  • Dual enrollment students who take classes on campus must complete the 125-207 form (for individual high school students) or the 125-208 form (for home schooled students).  These forms can be found online at www.nvcc.edu/forms/
  • Before final approval of a dual enrollment request is granted, dual enrollment students who take classes on campus must meet with a NOVA counselor and/or Dean of Students at the campus they plan to attend.  First-time dual enrollment students must bring a sealed official high school transcript to the meeting.  Returning dual enrollment students will have their NOVA transcript or course progress reviewed prior to approving or denying future re-enrollments at the College
  • Dual enrollment students who take classes on campus must register for college classes in person.
  • Dual enrollment students cannot declare a major.
  • Dual enrollment students are not eligible for college–based financial aid.
  • Dual enrollment students are restricted to part-time enrollment (fewer than 12 credits per semester).
  • Dual enrollment students are not permitted to enroll in developmental courses.
  • Requests by dual enrollment students to enroll in Extended Learning Institute (ELI) online courses are handled on a case-by-case basis.  Students who wish to request a Dual Enrollment course offered through the Extended Learning Institute, the distance learning division at NOVA, should submit the necessary documentation to the Associate Vice President for e-Learning, and follow the instructions outlined on the ELI web page: http://eli.nvcc.edu/doc/Dual_Enrollment_ELI_Checklist.pdf.
  • All NOVA students, regardless of age, are subject to all of the rules, policies, and procedures of the College pertaining to attendance, confidentiality of records, conduct, etc., as found in the College Catalog and the College Student Handbook.
  • Dual enrollment students are not allowed to audit courses.

For more information, consult the Dual Enrollment website:  go to www.nvcc.edu, click on “Future Students,” and then select “High School and Home School Students” under Checklists.

NOVAConnect Student Information System (SIS)
NOVAConnect is the name for the College’s Student Information System (SIS). To access NOVAConnect you will need an Internet connection, a Web browser, and a student ID number. NOVAConnect allows you to complete online many of your business transactions with the College. You will be able to do the following by clicking on the NOVAConnect icon located on the front page of NOVA’s website and following the directions:

  • Obtain your student ID number.
  • Apply for admission.
  • Register, add, drop, and swap classes.
  • Search for classes by availability, day, instructor, and location.
  • View and print your class schedule.
  • Check your degree progress report.
  • Review grades and print unofficial transcripts.
  • Request an official NOVA transcript.
  • View transfer credit.
  • View advisor information and e-mail advisor from NOVAConnect.
  • View course/grade history.
  • View account summary, including tuition and fees.
  • Check Financial Aid eligibility status.
  • Review Financial Aid award.
  • View Financial Aid history.
  • Apply for Financial Aid.
  • Update personal information, such as addresses and phone numbers.
  • Submit your application for graduation.

Student ID Number
Your Student ID will be used throughout your college career to identify you in NOVAConnect and your college records. NOVAConnect assigns a seven digit Student ID number at the time you apply for admission.

Social Security Number
Your Social Security number is not required as part of your student record, so it will not be used as a student ID number. If you are receiving financial aid, however, your Social Security number will be used in connection with Federal Financial Aid applications such as Pell Grants, and deferments for previous student loans

Identification Cards (NOVACard)
Student photo identification cards, NOVACard IDs, are provided to credit students through the student activities fee. The cards are distributed through campus NOVACard Offices. You should wait 24 hours after first registering for classes before going to a campus NOVACard Office to obtain your ID card. ID cards may be required for library material use, admissions to special student activities, and so forth. Lost cards will be replaced at a fee of $10.00. Contact a campus NOVACard Office for more information.

Student Records Access
The College enforces Public Law 93-380 in providing for the privacy of official student records and the rights of students to review these records. You may review your official records by making a request to the Student Services Center. NOVA will not release any personally identifiable information about you without your permission, except to certain school and governmental officials as provided by the law.

As required by state law (SB559/HB984, §23-2.2:1), the VCCS provides the Virginia State Police with the following information about all students within seven days of their acceptance to the College:  the student’s full name, Social Security number, date of birth, and gender.  The State Police compare this information to the Virginia Criminal Information Network, as well as the National Crime Information Center Convicted Sexual Offender Registry File.

Requests by individuals and agencies for release of student information must be presented in writing. Your permission for the College to release any information must also be in writing. Information that is considered public information is described in the current issue of the College Student Handbook.

Campus of Record
Once admitted to the College you may take courses at any campus, though some majors and some courses are offered only at selected campuses. Most students identify with one campus as the place where they obtain services, such as counseling, faculty advising, participation in activities, testing, etc.  Faculty advising should be sought at a campus that offers your major. This is especially true of restricted majors, such as allied health, nursing, and veterinary technology. If you have questions about where or how to use the services of the College, contact the Student Services Center at any campus.

Assessment and Placement Testing
Basic skills assessment and placement testing are intended to assist you in selecting courses and designing an academic program in which you will most likely be successful. These tests are not admissions tests. However, you are required to demonstrate a specified level of English proficiency in order to enroll in most college credit courses.

Prior to testing, you must have submitted an Application for Admission to the College. A Government-issued photograph identification, such as a driver’s license, is required when you come to the Testing Center to take the tests. You will not be permitted to take backpacks, coats, or other personal effects into the Testing Center and you will be required to turn off your cell phone.

For information about testing or testing accommodations, contact a campus Student Services Center or Testing Center.

1.   Basic Skills Assessment
Assessment of your strengths and weaknesses in reading, writing, and mathematics will help you determine the appropriate courses to select. This assessment is accomplished through a group of basic skills assessment tests administered through the Testing Center at each campus.

You are encouraged to take basic skills tests in reading, writing, and mathematics before you enroll in classes. If you have not taken the basic skills tests and have a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of less than 2.00 after the completion of 9 semester hours at NOVA, or if you are transferring to NOVA with a cumulative GPA of less than 2.00 (regardless of the number of hours completed), you must take the basic skills test in reading and writing. A counselor will determine if it is appropriate for you to take basic skills tests in mathematics as well. Students who entered NOVA in the fall 2002 semester or later, regardless of the GPA, must take the English placement test prior to registering for the 16th credit.

The following courses are exempt from the placement test requirement:

  • ADJ     100
  • ART     121, 122, 131, 132, 153, 154, 221, 222, 223, 231, 232, 235, 236, 237, 241, 242, 243, 244, 253, 254, 258, 271, 272, 277, 299
  • CHD    205
  • CIV      171, 172
  • EDU    235
  • MUS   101, 102, 131, 132, 136, 138, 141, 142, 145, 148, 149, 155, 159, 163, 164, 165, 175, 185, 198, 199, 231, 232, 236, 237, 238, 241, 242, 245, 248, 249, 255, 259, 265, 275, 285
  • PED     all courses except 116 and 220.
  • SDV     100, 107, 109 (other SDV courses are not exemptd)

Students who scored 500 or better on both the Critical Reading  and writing portions of the SAT exam within the past two years may register for ENG 111 without further testing.  Students scoring 95 or higher on the TOEFL iBT within the past two years may take ENG 111 without further testing.

2.   Course Placement Testing
Most courses require that you obtain a minimum score on one or more placement tests before you may enroll in those courses. If your scores on the required placement test(s) are below the prescribed minimums, you must complete prescribed developmental studies courses. The developmental studies course(s) required will be determined by your scores. These requirements apply to all campuses and ELI, unless specifically waived by the responsible division dean.

Testing Centers:

Alexandria Campus:

AA 332

Arlington Center:

AA 332

Annandale Campus:

CA 115

Loudoun Campus:

LR 251

Manassas Campus:

MH 112

Medical Education Campus

HE 344

Reston Center:

RES 329

Woodbridge Campus:

WC 436

Extended Learning Institute:

Any NOVA campus Testing Center.

Duration of Test Score Validity

Placement test scores are valid for a limited time period according to the following:


English test scores are valid for two years after the date of the test. Students who take the English placement test and who do not enroll in developmental English are allowed to take one (1) retest within 12 months. Students who attempt a developmental English course will be ineligible for a retest. Exceptions to this retest policy may be made on a case-by-case basis in accordance with established college procedures. A student who provides official evidence of a minimum score of 500 on both the critical reading and writing sections of the SAT, or a minimum combined score of 21 on both the English and Writing tests of the ACT, taken within the last two years, is exempt from taking the College English placement test.


Math test scores are valid for two years after the date of the test. Students who take the placement test and who do not enroll in developmental math are allowed to take one retest within 12 months. Students who attempt developmental mathematics will be ineligible for a retest. Division deans may grant exceptions to this policy on a case-by-case basis. A student who provides official evidence of a mathematics score of 520 on the SAT or a mathematics score of 22 on the ACT taken within the last two years is exempt from taking the College mathematics placement test for most 100-level math courses.


English as a Second Language (ESL) scores are valid for 12 months; tests may be repeated after six months if you score below Level 2 and after 12 months if you score Level 2 or higher.

3.   Course Prerequisites
Some courses have prerequisites or co-requisites.  These requirements, which were established to foster your success in the course, are identified in the Description of Courses section of this catalog. You may not enroll in a course for which you do not meet the prerequisites by the time the course begins. (The authorization for a waiver of any prerequisite may be made only by the dean of the instructional division offering the course.) You may be administratively dropped from any course for which you have not met the prerequisite.

In a course that requires placement tests, if you do not obtain the required minimum scores to enter a course, you must complete prescribed developmental studies courses before enrolling in the desired course.

Although there is no test for computer competency, most courses do require students to use the computer for research, papers, and other assignments.  If you are not experienced using a computer, there are introductory courses available to help you increase your proficiency.