Chatham University

Frequently Asked Questions

+ What is CCPS?

CCPS is the frequently-used acronym for Chatham University's College for Continuing and Professional Studies. CCPS is the division of Chatham University focused on advancement-based online programs. Degrees and certifications earned through the CCPS are accredited under Chatham University's Middle States accreditation. A student need not live near Chatham University in Pittsburgh, PA, or even within the United States to enroll in, participate in, and earn a degree at Chatham University. All that is needed is ambition, rewarding work, and a computer.

+ What kind of equipment do I need to take a Chatham online course?

Access to a computer (Windows or Mac) and the Internet is required for all Chatham online courses. The general minimum requirements are:

  • Internet access: We recommend a broadband (ISDN or DSL) connection speed.
  • Web browser: Course components are available via Chatham University’s Moodle learning management system. You will need a web browser to view the course components. We recommend all users utilize Mozilla Firefox for full functionality of Moodle. Google Chrome or Apple Safari web browsers are not recommended. (Download a free copy of Mozilla Firefox for Windows or Mac.)
  • Portable Document Files (PDFs): Some course documents may be presented in a PDF format. To open these documents you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader or other pdf document reader. (Download a free copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader.)
  • Office Suite: For Windows users - Microsoft Office 2007 Professional, Office 2010 (or higher.) For Mac users - Microsoft Office 2008, 2011 (or higher) for Mac

Specifications can vary by course, so please check individual course details.

Upon your acceptance into your Chatham CCPS program you receive a list of program requirements, course descriptions, and prerequisites. Although these resources are an excellent guide by which to complete your program satisfactorily, personal assistance is also available. Many questions about scheduling, direction, and efficiency may be addressed by your assigned academic student advisors.

Upon enrollment in any program, you are assigned to the applicable student advisor for that program. The CCPS Office also will be able to assist you. Most advisors are available by phone and e-mail during the business week, Monday - Friday from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Set up a phone appointment to map out your next semester's classes or e-mail a quick question to your advisor. Most questions can be addressed within 24 hours.

+ How much time will online courses take each week?

The number of credits for each course is related to the amount of study required each week. For example: A seven-week 3-credit course requires about 3 to 6 hours of online study per week for 7 weeks, plus time for reading and completing assignments. However, the decision when, where, and how to fit that study into your schedule is made at your discretion.

+ How many credits can I take each semester?

You may register for a maximum of 12 credits per semester, or 4 courses. However, it is advised to take 6 credits per semester, or 2 courses, if you are employed full-time. It is mandatory for first-semester students to enroll for a maximum of 6 credits per semester, or 2 courses.

+ What happens if I can't complete a course?

There are a number of options. With the instructor's written permission you may request a grade of Incomplete ("I"). With an Incomplete you will be required to finish and submit the coursework so that a grade may be assigned within four calendar weeks from the end of the course.

You may also choose to withdraw from a course and receive the grade of "W" on your records. With a Withdrawal you are not immediately responsible for completing the coursework but must retake the course in order for it to be applied to your degree.

+ Is there technical support available? How do I access it?

If you are having technical problems accessing or using Moodle, please contact the Information Technology Services Help Desk immediately by phone or internet. They may be reached through the internet at http://services.chatham.edu, or by phone at (412) 365-1112. Help Desk hours may be viewed here (my.chatham login credentials required).

*Note: We do not provide technical support for your personal computer or internet connection.

+ I am new to this. How do I figure out how to learn in an online setting?

Every new Chatham CCPS student enrolled in online courses has a three-day online Student Orientation before classes officially start.

Orientation gives all new students the opportunity to meet one another and to participate in "assignments" to become comfortable with their online environment. You will learn how the online classroom works, what it means to learn asynchronously, how to access and submit assignments, how to track class success, and how to access many student services. After orientation, our students are prepared to begin their academic courses.

+ How do I know which classes to take? Am I doing this the right way?

Upon your acceptance into your Chatham CCPS program you receive a list of program requirements, course descriptions, and prerequisites. Although these resources are an excellent guide by which to complete your program satisfactorily, personal assistance is also available. Many questions about scheduling, direction, and efficiency may be addressed by your assigned academic student advisors.

Upon enrollment in any program, you are assigned to the applicable student advisor for that program. Other advisors are also available through the Student Success Center in the CCPS Office and will be able to assist you. Most advisors are available by phone and e-mail during the business week, Monday - Friday from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Set up a phone appointment to map out your next semester's classes or e-mail a quick question to your advisor. Most questions can be addressed within 24 hours.

+ What technology accounts do I receive as a Chatham online student?

A student username is created for you after you register for your first classes. This username is applied to your Chatham e-mail account, your Student Portal account, and your myChatham account.

  • E-mail: Your Chatham University e-mail account is your username@chatham.edu. You can access your e-mail from any computer that has Internet. We encourage our students to use their Chatham e-mail accounts for classes and recommend that they check it at least once every day for updates during the semester.
  • Student Portal: The Student Portal is a web-based program for Chatham University and is tied to the campus-wide student information system. The purpose of the Student Portal is to allow students access to their student information including their student accounts and financial aid information. All returning students register themselves for classes through the Student Portal.
  • myChatham: This site is dedicated to Chatham University student affairs. It is home to all necessary student forms, the campus directory, and a student news and events calendar; here you can find course schedules, grades, and unofficial transcripts. It is also where you remotely connect into the Jennie King Mellon Library's catalogs, databases, and journal archives. myChatham also displays access links to Webmail and Portal.

+ Will I have access to the library as an online student? How can I use the library?

Yes, as an online student you will have full access to the resources and services that the library has to offer. The Jennie King Mellon Library is located on the Chatham University campus in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The JKM Library was established in 1869 and serves as the research and informational hub to all Chatham students. There are many online tools available for our students to access from anywhere in the world. Some of the many useful tools which can be accessed through the JKM library website are Research How To's, full text e-journals, and an Ask a Reference Question site in which you can access a Chatham librarian via e-mail and instant messenger when you need help. Library reference workshops are given by the Student Success Center in which you can learn things from how to access online databases to good research techniques. The workshop is typically held during the second week of classes each term.

+ Do online students have access to career development services?

Yes, CCPS students have career resources available online, and the CCPS office is working to expand our offerings in the future. These resources are accessed through the Programs for Academic Confidence and Excellence (PACE) Center. The University's PACE Center offers students a comprehensive approach to academic and career planning as well as an academic support network designed to maximize each students' academic success at Chatham.

+ Will I be able to work toward an online degree despite my disability?

Chatham University is committed to providing an environment that ensures that no individual is discriminated against on the basis of her/his disability. Students with disabilities, as defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), who need special academic accommodations should notify the Director of the PACE Center as soon as possible. The PACE staff will work with the student and their course instructors to coordinate and monitor the provision of reasonable academic accommodations.

+ What is a typical online class like?

Most of the online courses offered through CCPS at Chatham University are intensive, 7-week long classes. Some online programs meet during 14-week sessions. Two 7-week sessions are offered back-to-back during the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Interactive class discussions are held asynchronously via a discussion board forum, where students may post responses to readings, course ideas, and each other. As with many on-ground courses, assignments and papers are submitted electronically by uploading them to the Moodle course site. Although few courses set examinations, these are also accessed and taken through Moodle. Grades and instructor feedback are available continuously through the class's Moodle grade book and final grades are accessed on myChatham. Instructors often hold office hours in which phone calls or e-mails from students may be immediately addressed.

+ Do I have to come on campus at all?

Although a few of the programs we offer require a short residency on campus, most of our programs do not. By not requiring students to come to campus, our online learning programs impose very little interruption to your daily life; you may travel, work full-time, change jobs, or move and still be able to maintain access to your online courses. Please view the information about your program specifically to determine if there is a required residency.

+ Where do I get my books? How much do they cost?

Chatham University has an online bookstore, available at www.chatham.bkstr.com. Course booklists are usually published about a month before classes begin. To access the lists you may click the links for textbooks and enter your course, term, and section information. The average cost of books per class is $100.

+ How do I add or drop a course after I've already registered?

To drop a course, add another course, or switch between courses after your registration has been submitted, you may contact your student services advisor in the CCPS by phone or by e-mail. They will send you an Add/Drop Request Form upon which you note the courses you wish to add or drop. You then return the form to the CCPS office by e-mail or by fax.

The first week of classes, Monday - Friday, is designated as the Add/Drop Period. Within this period, you may add or drop courses without any financial obligations. That Friday at 2:00 p.m. EST is the deadline for Add/Drop Request Forms to be processed. After the Add/Drop Period expires, students are financially responsible for any further courses from which they withdraw.

+ How do I get a copy of my transcripts?

You may obtain a copy of your transcripts through the Online Transcript Order form. If you are a current student login to myChatham and click on the Transcript on Demand button. For graduated students, please visit the transcript order page.

+ When will classes be listed for the upcoming semester? Where can I find the list?

Class schedules are typically available two months before the semester begins. You may find the class lists on the CCPS website under "Course Schedule" and use the dropdown menu to select your desired term. If you have questions about which courses to take and how to arrange your schedule, please contact your student advisor in your academic program or in the CCPS office.

+ Can I use the Chatham campus facilities as an online student? May I get an ID?

Yes, any local or visiting online student may utilize the extensive campus facilities on the beautiful Chatham University grounds. In order to access the library or the athletic center, however, you must present your Chatham University student ID. You may acquire the ID at the Student Affairs Office, which is operational during normal business hours Monday - Friday and is located in the Carriage House, prepared with your student ID number. We are sorry that we cannot yet make Chatham University IDs available through the mail to non-local or non-visiting students as we are working through authentication concerns.