Please click the link below to view the 2021-2022 Pontifex University Program Catalog
Please use the Catalog link above for more detailed information. Please see the information below for relevant policy Information.
*The Mission of Pontifex University*
The Mission of Pontifex University is to provide high-quality online and blended-modality educational programs that have as their foundation the teachings and disciplines of the Roman Catholic Church.
Pontifex is a Roman Catholic institution, loyal to the Magisterium and grounded in the Catholic intellectual tradition. It offers faith-based, high quality courses at low cost; for credit or for personal enrichment.
Every Pontifex course in founded and delivered in strict conformity to the aims of a Christian education, as articulated by the Magisterium:
‘The proper and immediate end of Christian education is to cooperate with divine grace in forming the true and perfect Christian, that is, to form Christ Himself in the regenerated by Baptism…For precisely this reason, Christian education takes in the whole aggregate of the human life, physical and spiritual, intellectual and moral, individual, domestic and social, not with a view of reducing it in any way, but in order to elevate, regulate and perfect it.” (Pope Pius XI, Divini ilius magistri, 94).
All Pontifex programs are in accord with this supernatural aim and crafted to achieve a transformation of the person so that all that they do might be elevated, regulated, perfected and directed to the common good.
*Values Commitment and Plagiarism *
All students are expected to adhere to the Pontifex Honor Code: I pledge on my honor that I will not lie, steal, or cheat, nor condone others doing so. Plagiarism is a very serious form of academic dishonesty. Students plagiarize when they do not give credit to the sources of their writing – the words, information, ideas, or opinions of others. Pontifex takes plagiarism and all forms of academic dishonesty very seriously. Students of Pontifex are expected to avoid plagiarism of any sort. Students who plagiarize or otherwise cheat are subject to penalties up to and including dismissal from Pontifex.
Up-to-date and reliable technology is essential for all distance education courses (online, hybrid, video conferencing).
All Pontifex University Online courses require a reliable connection to the Internet. You are responsible for setting up your own connection to the Internet. If your device does not meet the minimum requirements listed below, our online educational software may not function or may run slowly.
Students need to have updated software that allows for proper use of the NEO LMS site as well as webcam/video conferencing.
Please follow the steps below:
- Internet capable computer, tablet or smartphone with speakers or headphones with audio
- Verify you have the appropriate Web browser installed (see list below)
- Verify you have the software and hardware necessary to participate in video and web conferencing courses with video recording capabilities
- Verify with your instructor if there are any additional technologies necessary to participate in the course
Supported Internet Browsers:
4. Android and Windows
5. On mobile browser, the latest 2 versions of iOS
6. Internet Explorer 11+
7. Microsoft EdgeInternet Speed of at least 15 Mbps
NEO LMS has IT support available 24/7. The Teaching Assistant will submit IT support requests via the LMS Help Desk. Replies usually occur within one day of submission and include detailed instructions on how to resolve the issue. The Teaching Assistant will then implement the changes as directed.
The LMS is updated regularly by Cypher Learning which notifies users via their monthly newsletter.
Technology issues for in-person course materials are addressed by a full-time IT support staff for the facility. IT needs are communicated through the registrar/program supervisor who contacts the IT department. Issues can be addressed in minutes.
(In person learning events)
Pontifex University: Holy Spirit College promotes the use of technology in class as a learning resource. Please note that such use should be limited to referring to websites as directed by the course instructor (for example, in theology class, review of Scripture online or documents which are available at the Vatican website). Cell phones or handheld devices with wireless or cellular data should not otherwise be employed by undergraduate students during classes. Students may leave their devices at home, in their vehicles, or in their bags. Devices should be silenced prior to class.
The purpose of our technology policy is to enable students to focus on the deep, slow work of college course discussions by providing them a break from constant connectivity. Developing the habits of concentration and attention to the moment takes practice, which so many devices are explicitly designed to hinder. The College also strives to facilitate respectful interpersonal conversation, which depends on attention being paid to those present. Despite these limits, the College also understands the value of technology and promotes its use – at the appropriate times and in the appropriate contexts.
A student’s academic standing at Pontifex is measured by the Quality Grade Point Average (QGPA). To calculate the number of quality points received for a course, multiply the number of credit hours designated for the course by the numeric value assigned for the kind of grade received (for example, A = 4, B = 3, etc.). The numeric value assigned for each grade is found in the grading system section of the Catalog.
Grade Point Term Average
The sum of quality points received for all courses in an academic term indicates the student’s quality point term total. To calculate the quality grade point average for the term, divide the quality point term total by the number of credit hours completed that term. The resulting figure indicates the quality grade point term average.
Cumulative Grade Point Average
The sum of quality points received for all courses indicates the student’s quality point cumulative total. To calculate the quality grade point cumulative average, divide the quality point cumulative total by the number of credit hours completed. The resulting figure indicates the quality grade point term cumulative average.
The grading system of Pontifex is based on the 4.0 scale. The faculty member will determine the final grade for each student in his or her course. The grades used by Pontifex are found below along with the numeric values assigned for each kind of grade.
A - 3.7
B + 3.3
B - 2.7
C + 2.3
C - 1.7
D + 1.3
D - 0.7
P n/a A “P” denotes passing a course, but a grade is not factored into GPA calculation.
W n/a A “W” is assigned when a student withdraws from a course prior to the midpoint.
WF 0 A “WF” is assigned when a student withdraws from a course after the midpoint.
NR n/a Appears on a student’s transcript in the event a course grade has not been submitted.
TR n/a Denotes transfer credit received but a grade is not factored into GPA calculation.
General Disclosures Concerning Student Refunds
- All refunds will be issued within thirty (30) calendar days of a student completing a course withdrawal form. If the student has a balance owed to Pontifex, refunds will be applied to that balance.
- Application fees are non-refundable unless a written request is made by the student prior to the beginning of the classes and within three (3) business days after making payment. Students withdrawing from the University are not eligible for any refund of the application fee. Application fees are refunded if an applicant is denied admission by reason of non-availability of capacity.
- Graduation fees are ordinarily not refunded upon being paid by an enrolled student. If graduation is unexpectedly deferred until a later academic term after paying the fee, the fee will be retained and recorded as paid.
- Institutional fees include any program fee charged to students such as activity fees or technology fees. Institutional fee refunds are to be calculated as follows: If a student has paid institutional fees for an academic term and elects to withdraw from all courses that term, Pontifex will issue a 100% refund for all institutional fees as long as the student submits a course withdrawal form prior to completing 50% of the class meeting clock hours stipulated for each course. Pontifex will at its discretion seek a reasonable settlement regarding tuition refunds with any student or their legal representative in the event that more than 50% of the course is completed yet all course requirements are not satisfied by the student due to severe injury, illness, or death.
- Tuition refunds are to be calculated in accordance with the Pontifex tuition refund calculation policy or prevailing Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission (GNPEC) policies if more favorable to the student (please see Section II below).
- Tuition refunds may be requested for any course in which a student is registered as long as a course withdrawal form is submitted. For in-person courses, it is also required that the student has not attended more than 50% of the course’s required clock hours. Course withdrawal forms should be submitted to the Provost for review.
- There is no administrative fee for withdrawing from a course.
- If a student would obtain a different tuition refund amount by utilizing a method of refund calculation mandated by the State of Georgia, then the student will receive whichever refund amount is higher.
- If a student withdraws from a course after the drop/add period stipulated for the academic term under consideration, the course will remain recorded on the student transcript and a grade of W or F will be stipulated for that course. For more information, please see the annual Degree Programs Catalog, “Grading System” section.
- If a student has paid Pontifex for supplies or special fees associated with a particular course and the student elects to withdraw from that course, Pontifex will refund any unused portion of the supplies or special fee if the student submits a course withdrawal form prior to the course reaching 50% of its completion, excluding the following: (a) items which were special ordered for the course and which cannot be used by or re-sold to another student, (b) items which were returned in a condition which prevents them from being used by or re-sold to another student, or (c) special fees paid by the student for goods or services provided by third party vendors and which were publicized as non-refundable.
Student Tuition Refund Calculation Policy
- Full refund policy:
A 100% tuition refund will be issued for any student who withdraws from a course during the drop/add period stipulated on the institutional calendar for the academic term (in such cases, the class is entirely deleted from the student transcript).
- General instructions for calculating partial tuition refunds:
Pontifex University refunds based on tuition paid for courses. Refunds are based on the proration and percentage of the program completed at withdrawal up until 50% of the program. If a student withdraws from a course after the drop/add period stipulated for an academic term, the student may be eligible to receive a partial tuition refund. The amount of the partial refund is to be based upon the percentage of class meeting clock hours which have been completed by the course in progress.
- Calculating the class meeting clock hour completion percentage:
The class meeting clock hour completion percentage may be obtained by dividing the number of class meeting clock hours which have already been completed by a course in progress by the overall number of class meeting clock hours stipulated for that course, then subtracting this amount (formulated as a percentage) from 100%. For example, if a course is stipulated to meet for 60 clock hours during an academic term, and the class has met for 16 clock hours when the student requests to withdraw, then that course has completed 27.1% of its total class meeting clock hours. The calculated percentage should then be correlated with a partial tuition refund percentage range category (see subsection 5 below).
- Class meeting clock hour requirements:
Given the nature of online study designed to permit students to move at their own pace and/or study asynchronously, the calculation of clock hours differs from classroom-based courses. Clock hours are measured by the time engaged with an instructor via live interaction or the use of pre-recorded materials, supplemented by reading, research and assignments (independent work). A clock hour of engagement comprises 50-minutes of instruction. When calculating the class meeting clock hour completion percentage, please refer to the following stipulations:
A 4-credit hour course requires 60 total clock hours of engagement and 120 hours of independent work.
A 3-credit hour course requires 45 total clock hours of engagement and 90 hours of independent work.
A 2-credit hour course requires 30 total clock hours of engagement and 60 hours of independent work.
A 1 credit hour course requires 15 total clock hours of engagement and 30 hours of independent work.
In-person classes have the following requirements:
- A 4 credit hour course will meet at least for 59 total clock hours per semester.
- A 3 credit hour course will meet at least for 45 total clock hours per semester.
- A 2 credit hour course will meet at least for 31 total clock hours per semester.
- A 1.5 credit hour course will meet at least for 24 total clock hours per semester.
For more information about class meeting requirements, please request a copy of the Holy Spirit College Class Meeting Policy.
Class meeting clock hour requirements (studio classes that teach practical skills):
Classes that teach practical skills in, for example, art or sculpture can be online study or conventional workshop run by institutional partners in a ‘bricks-and-mortar’ classroom. In these the balance of engagement and independent work is:
A 4-credit hour course requires a total of 180 clock hours of study including a minimum of 90 hours of engagement
A 3-credit hour course requires a total of 135 clock hours of study including a minimum of 67.5 hours of engagement.
A 2-credit hour course requires a total of 90 clock hours of study including a minimum of 45 hours of engagement.
A 1 credit hour course requires 45 total clock hours of study including a minimum of 22.5 hours of engagement.
- Calculating the partial tuition refund amount:
Partial tuition refund amounts will be issued in accordance with tiered categories correlated with class meeting clock hour percentage ranges unless the prevailing refund policies of Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission (GNPEC) would grant a higher refund in which case such GNPEC policy will prevail. The percentage ranges and their associated partial tuition refund amount are as follows:
- A 95% tuition refund will be issued for any student who withdraws from a course when the student has completed 0-5% of its total class meeting clock hours.
- A 90% tuition refund will be issued for any student who withdraws from a course when the student has completed 5-10% of its total class meeting clock hours.
- A 75% tuition refund will be issued for any student who withdraws from a course when the student has completed 10-25% of its total class meeting clock hours.
- A 50% tuition refund will be issued for any student who withdraws from a course when the student has completed 25-50% of its total class meeting clock hours
- No refund will usually be issued to a student who has completed more than 50% of the total class meeting clock hours stipulated for a course, however, Pontifex will consider requests for partial refund in the event that course requirements are not satisfied by the student due to severe injury, illness, or death.
Pontifex reserves the right to cancel any course due to insufficient student registration in that course. Course cancellations will be announced prior to the beginning of the academic term. If a course proceeds on the basis of a minimum enrollment (of at least three registered students) and one student drops the course or withdraws from the course, the faculty member in consultation with the Provost may elect to convert the pedagogical format of the course to a seminar or directed reading.
If Pontifex discerns that a degree program must be canceled due to low student enrollment in the program, Pontifex guarantees that existing enrolled students will be able to complete the program if students meet all remaining degree requirements within four academic terms.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to disclosure of their educational records. In light of FERPA, Holy Spirit College has established the following policies:
Pontifex University understands the importance of maintaining strict confidentiality and privacy for each individual student. We have policies in place for students to follow when he or she needs to request transcripts and or view records. Personal information will not be disclosed to any unauthorized third party without proper consent. By law, we are required to protect and keep confidential any personal and academic information and abide by this notice. We are in accordance with federal and state laws according to the FERPA Act (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act).
Student Access to Educational Records:
Students have the right to inspect and review their educational records within 45 days of the day when a request for access is made. Students should submit written requests to the College registrar which clearly identify which records they wish to inspect. The registrar will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. The College reserves the right to keep letters of recommendation confidential out of respect for the privacy of the recommenders. The College also does not provide copies of academic documents which originate from other institutions since the College is not authorized to act as an agent for such institutions.
Student Request for Record Modification:
Upon inspection of their educational records, students have the right to request amendment of any educational record the student believes is inaccurate or misleading. Students must request such amendments in writing. Students must clearly identify in writing the portion of their record which they want modified and explain why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the College decides not to amend the record after evaluating the request, the registrar will notify the student of the administrative decision and his or her right to appeal the decision by requesting a meeting with the College administration and/or President.
Student Consent to Disclosure of Educational Records and Exceptions:
Students have the right to require consent to any disclosure of their educational records (or any portion therein), except to the extent that FERPA authorizes certain aspects of student records to be disclosed without student consent (for example, disclosure to College personnel who have a legitimate interest). Further, effective October 26th, 2001, educational institutions are not required to obtain student consent in order to disclose student educational records (or portions therein) to representatives of the office of the Attorney General of the United States if receiving a court order for such records in connection with a terrorist investigation.
Student Grievances regarding Educational Records:
Students have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning any alleged failures of Holy Spirit College to comply with FERPA requirements. Students should write to:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Ave., SW
Washington D.C. 20202-4605
*Transfer Students and Transfer Credit*
a) Pontifex College MTS and DTF: Pontifex accepts transfer students and credit from accredited Catholic institutions for academic work for up to 50% of the total required credits. All transfer credit is at the discretion of the academic staff of Pontifex University.
b) Pontifex College MSA/MSA ToB/NE: Pontifex accepts transfer students and credit from accredited Catholic institutions for academic work and also accepts credits for studio work conducted under the supervision of pre-approved institutions and practicing artists with incoming transfer credit being limited to 50% of the total required credits for the MSA degree (i.e. maximum 15 credit hours) or the MSA ToB.NE (i.e. a maximum of 18 credit hours). Given the very defined and faith-based nature of both programs, all transfer credit is at the discretion of the Provost.
c) Pontifex College M.Ed: Pontifex accepts transfer students and credit from accredited Catholic institutions for academic work up to 50% of the total required credits. All transfer credit is at the discretion of the academic staff of Pontifex University.
d) Holy Spirit College MTS, MRE and MTh Degree programs accept transfer students from accredited or approved institutions. Up to 50% of degree credit can be transferred from other institutions.
Given the very defined and faith-based nature of our programs, all transfer credit is at the discretion of the academic staff and the Provost of Pontifex University.