Policies in the English Department

If you have additional questions on our policies below, please contact us. 

Advanced Placement Exam Credit Policy

If a high school student scores a 3 or higher on the English Language Advanced Placement Exam, the student can receive credit for ENG1050 Introduction to College Writing. 

If a high school student scores a 3 or higher on the English Literature Advanced Placement Exam, the student can receive credit for ENG1500 Major British and World Authors or, as second choice, ENG1550 Major American Authors.

Audit Policy

Sophomores, juniors, and seniors with cumulative grade point averages of 2.50 or better may register for one, but only one, additional course as auditors. They must obtain authorization from the professor teaching the course, and the chair of the department offering the course. Auditors are subject to any attendance regulations that may be in effect, but are not required to complete assignments or take examinations. Auditors do not earn academic credit for the course, but will have a record of having audited it on their transcript. Students taking a course as an audit must indicate their intention when they register for the course. No change to or from auditing will be permitted after the drop/add period.

The English department has decided that, because of their workshop format, auditing is inappropriate and will not be permitted in the following courses:

ENG1050 Introduction to College Writing

ENG2055 Sophomore Seminar

ENG2150 Introduction to Creative Writing

ENG3900 Creative Writing: Fiction

ENG3902 Creative Writing: Non Fiction

ENG3920 Creative Writing: Poetry

ENG4000 Advanced Creative Writing

ENG4950W Senior Seminar

CLEP Exam Policy

The English Department has reviewed its CLEP policy and has decided to accept only the Freshman College Composition Exam with Essay as the equivalent of our ENG1050.

To receive credit a student must earn a minimum score of 50.

This policy replaces our previous acceptance of the English composition Exam with Essay.

We have made the change because the Freshman Composition Exam with Essay requires demonstration of knowledge more consistent with our ENG1050 outcome statement.

CLEP exams can only be taken in the student’s first year of college.

Complaint Policy

A student who has an issue with a particular instructor or course should first arrange a meeting with the instructor to discuss the problem. If the issue remains unresolved, the student may then seek a second meeting that will include the department chair, the instructor and the student. In the event that the student is reluctant to schedule an initial meeting with his/her instructor and goes instead to the department chair, the chair will communicate the substance of that meeting with the student’s instructor. 

Course Overload Policy

A student may take an overload if he or she had a 3.0 in the preceding semester as a fulltime student i.e. earned a minimum of 12 credits. Any load beyond 17 credits will be charged an overload fee.

Course Substitution Policy

Students must petition in writing to the department chair any request for a course substitution in the major or minor program. The chair will then bring the request to the department for a vote. No individual faculty members, including the chair, can ad hoc substitutions. A written record will be kept of all requests for substitutions along with the decision rendered by the department. The chair will determine when a standard request meets previously approved criteria and will inform the department as such. 

Discussion of Student Grades with Parents

An instructor can only discuss student performance and/or grades with a parent if the student signs a release granting permission to do so. Release forms are available in the Dean’s office, though a written and signed note from the student would suffice.

ENG1050 Introduction to College Writing Policy

Students may take an upper level English course with a prerequisite of ENG1050 as long as they take FYW1050 either before or simultaneously with the upper level course. 

English Education Majors Not Student Teaching in the Final Semester

English Education majors who do not plan to student teach will be considered English majors with an Education minor and, therefore, must fulfill all requirements of the standard English major during their final semester at Merrimack College. Students should be advised accordingly.

Over-Enrollment Policy

The English Department does not overload courses. Courses that have reached their enrollment caps may not be overenrolled by the individual instructor or by the Department Chair. Students who wish to enroll in a course that is currently at its cap may do so only through the normal drop/add process.

Final Exam Policy

All English courses are required to meet during the final examination period, whether to give an exam, have students submit final take-home tests or final papers or to conduct any other appropriate business. Final exams, take-home exams, final papers should not be due the last day of classes but on the appointed time for the final exam period.

Directed Study Policy

Directed Study (ENG 4900) is designed to allow a student to go more in depth in an area of interest than is possible in a classroom situation. A directed study cannot be used to fulfill requirements that haven’t otherwise been met, either in the major or one of the concentrations in the major. A Directed Study is limited to one student.


  1. The student must have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 in the major.
  2. The student must have previously taken a course with the professor in the general area of the topic for which a Directed Study is being requested. The Directed Study must build on a prior knowledge base that can be developed in ways that differ significantly from the department course offerings.

  3. The student must not have previously done a Directed Study within the department.


  1. The student must have a preliminary discussion with the professor being asked to direct the Directed Study regarding the feasibility of such a request. The decision to proceed with the Directed Study rests with the professor. Professors are not under an obligation to agree to a Directed Study.
  2. After that preliminary discussion, the student must make a formal written request submitted to both the department chair and to the professor being asked to conduct the Directed Study. The request should include a detailed rationale prepared by the student that states his or her specific qualifications for pursuing a Directed Study on that particular topic. If the professor agrees to the project, he or she can assist in preparing a week-by-week list of readings and/or other pertinent scholarly or creative activities.
  3. The department chair will evaluate the proposed Directed Study in consultation with the professor chosen to act as director. The chair will notify the student concerning the status of his/her request. If the request is accepted by the department chair and chosen professor, each will sign the request form, as will the student.
  4. No later than the last week of classes of the semester preceding the semester in which the Directed Study would be done, the student must submit a concrete proposal and bibliography to the professor directing the Directed Study.


  1. As part of the Directed Study, the student must complete a major scholarly or creative project.
  2. A copy of the project will be placed on file in the departmental office. 

Informing Students Who Lack Requisite Credits to Graduate

  1. Registrar is responsible for sending a list of potential graduates to the English Department.
  2. The Department secretary will identify issues in the student’s profile that might affect graduation eligibility, i.e. insufficient courses or GPA below 2.0 overall and in English major.
  3. The Department secretary will inform the student’s academic advisor.
  4. The student’s advisor will inform the student of the issue. 

Majors with Disabilities

All students who choose English as their major must fulfill all of the major requirements, regardless of disability.

Online Transfer Course Policy

The English department cannot refuse to grant transfer credit to a course because it is an on-line course. Doing so would violate both college and federal regulations regarding transfer credit

Pass/Fail Policy

The English Department does not allow English majors to take English courses on a pass/fail basis.  Given that it is not their primary area of study, English minors are allowed to take one English course pass/fail, which cannot count toward the minor.

Senior Capstone Policy

Students pursuing a major in English must take the Senior Capstone Seminar (ENG 4950W) at Merrimack College. Similar senior capstone courses offered at other institutions will not be allowed as substitutes.

Study Abroad Program Courses

Students must take eight of their final ten courses at Merrimack College. Furthermore, during the student’s final semester course every course needs to be taken here. Study Abroad Program courses might be an exception here.

Students who need to take one final course at Merrimack College during the summer but the course is not offered, may petition the Academic Board for approval. The requisite department chair needs to approve the course before student registers for it, as well.

If students object to any of the above policies, they will need to petition the Academic Board for approval of their requests. 

Transfer/Study Abroad Courses of English Minors

All English minors must take three of the required five courses at Merrimack College.