Undergraduate Academic Policies and Procedures
Academic regulations governing undergraduates are administered by the Office of Undergraduate Studies. Academic regulations are subject to change by action of the Faculty Senate, its Committee on Undergraduate Education, and the various committees responsible for the oversight of curriculum and academic standing.
When circumstances so warrant, a student may meet with a dean in the Office of Undergraduate Studies, 447 Sears Bldg., and submit a petition requesting an exception to a specific regulation.
Academic Grievance Policy
A student who wants to register a complaint about course instruction or evaluation should first bring the matter to the direct attention of the professor or instructor involved. If the matter is not satisfactorily resolved, the student should go to the chair of the academic department in question and seek departmental review. If neither step resolves the complaint, the student may take the matter to the faculty member's college or school dean for final review and decision.
Academic Integrity Policy
See section on Academic Integrity Policy.
See section on Academic Standing Regulations.
Students are expected to attend classes regularly. Each instructor is free to determine the extent to which absences affect the final grades of students but should make the policy regarding attendance known at the start of the course. Instructors should report excessive absences to the student's navigator in the Office of Student Advancement. Instructors who judge a student’s absences from class to be excessive may drop the student from the course with a grade of F. Instructors taking such action must notify the Dean of Undergraduate Studies in writing.
Absence due to Illness
Students unable to attend classes because of illness should seek appropriate medical care and collect documentation from their health care provider. In most cases, students will notify their instructors and make the appropriate arrangements directly with the instructor. When needed, the student's navigator in the Office of Student Advancement will collect documentation of the illness from the student and report on that documentation to the student's instructors.
Absence due to Religious Observance
Any student who is unable to attend classes or participate in any examination, study, or work requirement on a particular day because of their religious beliefs is excused from any such activity. The student will be given the opportunity to make up the examination or work that is missed, provided the make-up work does not create any unreasonable burden upon the University. When possible, students should give notice to instructors early in the semester about missing classes because of religious observance.
Extracurricular Life and Class Attendance
As a university, we value students' total educational experience, including its curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular components. All departments, academic and other, are encouraged to minimize the scheduling during established class meeting hours of events at which student participation is required or desired, including but not limited to extra class meetings, athletics, arts programs, and other organized activities. When conflicts exist, all parties (students, faculty, and staff) should work together so that the student can meet his or her academic obligations and participate in extracurricular events. If agreement about an appropriate accommodation cannot be reached, the student's obligations to classes meeting on their posted schedules will take priority.
To facilitate planning, all courses (including ROTC, varsity sports, and music ensembles) should post, to the extent possible, the full set of meeting times in the Student Information System (SIS) before students register for their courses. This will allow students to work with their faculty to resolve conflicts before the start of the semester. Should it be impossible or impractical to record specific obligations in SIS before students register, a student should alert each of his or her instructors before the end of the drop/add period of conflicts that will occur during the semester in order to develop a plan to resolve the conflicts, including the possibility of making adjustments to course enrollments.
The Office of Undergraduate Studies and the Department of Physical Education and Athletics have developed guidelines for coaches, who are themselves members of the faculty, to administer exams for other courses to their team members while the team is traveling to participate in a competition.
Credit by Examination
Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate/French Baccalaureate/A-Level Examinations
Students may earn degree credit on the basis of advanced examinations taken while in secondary school. Examinations eligible for credit and/or advanced placement include, but are not limited to, College Board Advanced Placement Examinations, International Baccalaureate Higher Level Examinations, French Baccalaureate, and A-Levels. Determination of the criteria for granting credit and/or placement is made by the appropriate department.
Departments within each academic unit offering undergraduate programs may choose to offer students the opportunity to earn course credit in specific courses by proficiency examination. To qualify for proficiency examination credit for a course, the student’s examination performance must demonstrate knowledge and skills at a level no lower than that of an average student who successfully completes the course. Upon notification from the academic department, the Office of Undergraduate Studies will post credit for the course on the transcript. The grade will be recorded as PR, and will not be included in a student’s grade point average.
Declaring a Major or Minor
Students matriculating at Case Western Reserve University as first-year students may begin declaring their majors, though are not required to do so, on November 1 of the fall semester. Transfer students may begin declaring their majors at the start of their first semester at Case Western Reserve. A choice or change of major or minor is not recorded for any student until the major or minor declaration form, bearing the signature of the student, the name of the advisor, and the signature of the academic representative for the major or minor, has been completed and submitted to the Office of Student Advancement, 340 Sears Bldg., and recorded in the Student Information System (SIS) by the Office of Undergraduate Studies.
Students who enroll at Case Western Reserve University as first-year students are expected to declare a major before registering for classes for their fifth semester of enrollment. Transfer students are expected to declare a major before registering for their third semester at Case Western Reserve. Beyond that point, students who have not declared a major will have a registration hold placed on their accounts until they have done so. Those who will have earned fewer than 60 credit-hours (including transfer, AP, IB, and proficiency credit) by the end of the fourth semester for students who started as first-year students, or by the end of their second semester for transfer students, may request that their navigator in the Office of Student Advancement allow them to register for the next semester by lifting the registration hold. Students may later change their majors should their academic interests change.
Enrollment and Registration
For continuing students, registration for the fall semester begins in April, and registration for the spring semester begins in November. Complete registration instructions and regulations appear on-line on the web site of the University Registrar.
Course Loads and Overloads
In order to be classified as a full-time student, a student must enroll for a minimum of 12 credit-hours by the end of the drop/add period. Eligibility for many forms of financial aid, participation on intercollegiate varsity sports teams, and maintaining certain visa statuses for international students require full-time status. Students registering for fewer than 12 credit-hours are classified as part-time and charged tuition on the basis of the number of credit-hours being taken.
The normal full-time load is 14-17 credit-hours during the fall or spring semester. Students ordinarily may not enroll in more than 19 credit-hours in a semester. Continuing students may enroll for 20-21 hours in a semester if they have a cumulative grade point average of 3.200 or better. To register for 22 or 23 hours, a minimum grade point average of 3.500 is required. Any schedule of more than 19 credit-hours that meets these grade point average standards requires approval by the student's navigator in the Office of Student Advancement. Graduating seniors may submit a petition to the Office of Undergraduate Studies for overloads within reason if they need such a schedule in order to graduate at the end of the semester in question but do not meet the grade point average standard.
The maximum number of credit-hours in which a student may enroll in the summer session is 12.
No credit will be allowed to count towards degree requirements for foreign language or mathematics courses which duplicate work taken earlier in high school or in another institution. First-year undergraduates who have questions regarding their eligibility to receive credit for foreign language or mathematics courses should see their navigator in the Office of Student Advancement, 340 Sears Bldg.
Students have the opportunity to repeat a course in order to improve their mastery of the course material. When a course is repeated, the student will earn credit for the course only once, but both the original grade and the grade for the repeated course will be included in the semester and cumulative grade point averages, each weighted by the credit-hours for the course. The student’s transcript will show the comment “REPEATED: NO CREDIT AWARDED” directly below the original grade. Similarly, if a student repeats a course for which he or she has already received either test (AP, IB, etc.) or transfer credit, the original credit will be removed and the transcript will show the comment "REPEATED: NO CREDIT AWARDED;" credit will instead be awarded for the course taken at Case Western Reserve University. However, if the first attempt of the course resulted in a passing grade but the second attempt results in a failing grade, the student will continue to earn credit for the first attempt, but both grades will be included in the semester and cumulative grade point averages.
The course repeat option may not be exercised after a degree has been awarded.
A student may audit a course with the consent of the instructor of the course and the approval of their navigator in the Office of Student Advancement. An auditor receives no credit for the course. At the beginning of the course, the student and instructor should reach agreement regarding the requirements to be met for a grade of AD. The grade of AD is entered on the student’s transcript if approved by the instructor of the course. If the instructor does not approve the grade AD, the enrollment is not posted on the transcript.
Registration in a course cannot be changed from audit to credit or the reverse after the end of the drop/add period. However, a student may take for credit a course they audited in an earlier semester.
Changes in course schedules must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office using the Student Information System or a drop/add form before the end of the second week of classes during the fall and spring semesters. However, for courses that run for half of the semester, students are allowed only a one-week drop/add period at the start of those courses. Deadlines for dynamically-dated courses (i.e. those that meet on some alternative schedule) are set in a proportional manner. Similarly, the drop/add deadline for summer courses are set in a proportional manner, with the deadline ordinarily being the second day of classes.
Students who add a course after the start of the semester are responsible for any work missed and are expected to speak with the instructor to learn the consequences of any work missed and whether there are opportunities for making up missed work. In some cases, the instructor of a course may require their consent before a student may add a course during the second week of the drop/add period.
Withdrawal from a Course
The First Undergraduate Year:
For the first two semesters of enrollment, matriculated students who are beginning their college studies may withdraw from a course at any time during the semester, but no later than the last day of classes. Any course for which a grade of W is assigned will be deleted from the transcript at the end of the semester. This policy is not available for transfer students and does not apply to the summer session.
After the First Undergraduate Year:
A student may withdraw from a course no later than the end of the 11th week of the semester and receive a grade of W. In extenuating circumstances, a student may submit a petition to the Office of Undergraduate Studies, 447 Sears Bldg., for permission to withdraw from a course after the deadline and receive a W. The grade of W will be posted on the student’s transcript.
For all course withdrawals:
Students in good academic standing (i.e., not on probation, probation incomplete, or continued on probation) may withdraw from courses through the Student Information System, provided that they remain actively enrolled in at least 12 credit-hours. All other course withdrawals (those by students who are not in good standing and those that take a student below 12 credit-hours of active enrollments) must be transmitted by the student to the Registrar's Office on the appropriate form, signed by the student's navigator in the Office of Student Advancement, 340 Sears Bldg. Failure to attend class or providing notice only to the instructor does not constitute an official withdrawal from a course. Such an unofficial withdrawal normally will result in the student’s being assigned the grade of F.
Students are ordinarily not permitted to withdraw from a course after taking the final exam or completing any other final assignment in the course, or after a grade has been posted.
Withdrawal from the University
To withdraw from the University during a semester or session, a student must complete the on-line withdrawal form in the Student Information System (SIS) or an official withdrawal form in the Office of Undergraduate Studies, 447 Sears Bldg., by the last day of classes for that semester or session. Grades of WD will be assigned in all courses in which a student is registered at the time of withdrawal, provided that the student follows the procedures stated above. Failure to attend classes or notification of instructors only does not constitute withdrawal from the University. A student who ceases to attend or otherwise participate in courses without officially withdrawing will be assigned the grade of F for each course in which they are enrolled.
If the withdrawal is necessary for reasons of health, a statement from the student’s physician to the University Health and Counseling Services may be required as a condition of re-enrollment.
Students who withdraw from the University after the end of the 11th week of the semester may not enroll for the next two academic sessions, including the summer session. Exceptions may be granted by the Academic Standing Board.
Students who complete a semester but do not plan to return for the following semester must similarly complete the on-line withdrawal form in the Student Information System (SIS) or an official withdrawal form in the Office of Undergraduate Studies, 447 Sears Bldg.
Final Examinations and Reading Days
Final examinations normally are required in all courses and must be given during the final examination period at the time assigned by the Registrar. They may not be given during the final week of classes or on Reading Days. Any exception must be approved by the dean of undergraduate studies.
No student will be required to take more than two final examinations on a single calendar day, nor will a student be required to take a final exam in the evening exam period (7:30-10:30 PM) and another final exam in the morning exam period the next day (8:00-11:00 AM). A student who has two final exams at the same time, more than two final examinations scheduled for the same calendar day, or a morning exam following an evening exam will be contacted by the Office of Undergraduate Studies after the course withdrawal deadline for upperclass students about alternative arrangements; a student should contact the Office of Undergraduate Studies to obtain the assistance of the dean if the student does not receive notification within a week of the course withdrawal deadline for upperclass students.
A student must explain immediately and in writing to the dean of undergraduate studies an absence from a final examination. If the explanation is acceptable, the dean will authorize the assignment of the grade Incomplete and the administration of a make-up examination by the instructor. In the event of an unexcused absence from a final examination, the instructor should assign the student a final grade that assumes a grade of zero on the final examination and is consistent with the grading policy established for the course.
Prior to and/or during the final examination period two weekdays are set aside as Reading Days to be used by students for completing assignments and preparing for final examinations. In the fall semester there will be one reading day on Monday of the first exam week and one reading day on Friday of the first exam week. In the spring semester, the two days prior to the beginning of the final exam period are set aside as reading days. These days are not to be used by faculty for scheduling examinations or other course activities that require the attendance of students. They may be used by faculty to schedule review sessions for which attendance is optional.
Graduation and Commencement
Application for Graduation
A student who has completed all graduation requirements in fewer than four years has the choice of graduating early or deferring graduation in order to graduate with his or her class. A student who completes all graduation requirements in four years or more must graduate at that time. The student must file an on-line application for the degree through the Student Information System by October 1 for January graduation, by February 1 for May graduation, and by June 1 for August graduation.
A student must discharge all financial obligations to Case Western Reserve University to receive a diploma and for the Registrar's Office to release final transcripts.
Students must ensure that their Academic Requirement reports reflect accurately their progress toward their degrees. All requested corrections and exceptions must be submitted to the Office of Undergraduate Studies, 447 Sears Bldg., at least one semester prior to graduation. Academic Requirement reports are available on-line through the Student Information System.
Participation in Commencement
Students are eligible to participate in May commencement activities if they have completed all degree requirements during that spring semester or the immediately preceding fall semester or summer session, or if they have an appropriate plan to complete their degree requirements in the upcoming summer session or fall semester. A student may participate in Commencement only once as a bachelor’s degree candidate, though exceptions are sometimes made for students receiving a second bachelor’s degree at least one year after the first.
See section on Grades.
See section on Grades.
The standards for promotion are:
- To the sophomore class, 27 credit-hours completed
- To the junior class, 60 credit-hours completed
- To the senior class, 90 credit-hours completed
Re-enrollment after an Absence from the University
All re-enrollments after a student has been separated from the University or withdrawn from the University for part or all of a fall or spring semester or longer are reviewed and processed by the Office of Undergraduate Studies, 447 Sears Bldg.
Re-enrollment after Academic Separation
See section on Academic Standing.
Re-enrollment after Voluntary Withdrawal
Students who have voluntarily withdrawn from the University and have not taken courses elsewhere following their withdrawal may petition to re-enroll in any semester. However, students who withdraw after the end of the 11th week of the semester may not enroll for the next two academic sessions, including the summer session, unless an exception is granted by the Academic Standing Board. If a voluntary withdrawal was necessary for reasons of health, a statement from the student’s physician to the University Health and Counseling Services may be required as a condition of re-enrollment. Students who have taken courses elsewhere following withdrawal must provide official transcripts of their work with their request for re-enrollment.
Upon re-enrollment following a voluntary withdrawal, students retain the credit-hours earned and quality points for courses completed prior to withdrawal. In the first semester of re-enrollment, their academic status is the status in effect at the time of withdrawal, unless that status is changed by action of the Academic Standing Board.
See section on Criteria for Scholarship Retention.
Student Access to Records
The academic records of all students are kept in the Office of Undergraduate Studies, 447 Sears Bldg. Students may review their files in that office by appointment. A student must sign a request and present his/her ID card at the time of the appointment.
Study at Other Colleges and Transfer Credit
Students may receive transfer credit for work completed at another accredited college, university, or technological institute in the United States or from institutions of higher education outside the United States. Credit is not awarded for work done at an unaccredited institution in the United States except by proficiency examination in those departments of Case Western Reserve University offering that opportunity. Students may transfer credit only for courses in which a semester's work is completed in a minimum of three weeks.
Courses Taken Before Matriculation at CWRU
At the time of admission to Case Western Reserve University and upon presentation of an official transcript from each institution previously attended, credit will be awarded for courses equivalent or comparable to those offered by the University and completed with a grade of C or better. Any such courses taken prior to the student’s graduation from high school must be listed in the college’s catalog among courses offered for degree credit to the college’s undergraduates, taken in the company of matriculated college students, and organized and taught by college faculty. In addition, to be considered for transfer credit, such courses must not have been used to fulfill high school graduation requirements. The awarding of transfer credit is determined by the Office of Undergraduate Studies in consultation with the appropriate department.
Courses Taken After Matriculation at CWRU
After matriculation at Case Western Reserve University, students are permitted to earn at other accredited colleges or universities or through an approved program of study abroad no more than 38 credit-hours toward the totals required for the degree, including courses taken through the cross-registration program, with no more than 15 credit-hours taken as part of domestic programs or as summer study in a student's home country; any off-campus study credits beyond 15 may only be taken through approved programs of study abroad. Any additional credit earned at other institutions after matriculation at Case Western Reserve beyond 15 domestically or as summer study in a student's home country and beyond a total of 38 including study abroad will raise the total number of credit-hours required for the degree by a corresponding number.
Permission of a dean in the Office of Undergraduate Studies must be obtained in advance if the student wishes to enroll elsewhere. The awarding of transfer credit is determined by the Office of Undergraduate Studies in consultation with the appropriate department. Further, if a student wishes to take elsewhere a course to satisfy a major or minor requirement, it must also be approved by the department chair or academic representative. Upon presentation of an official transcript from each institution attended, transfer credit will be awarded for courses equivalent or comparable to those offered by Case Western Reserve University and completed with a grade of C or better. Credit earned elsewhere after matriculation at Case Western Reserve University is not applied toward the residence requirement of a minimum of 60 credit-hours earned at Case Western Reserve, including at least 15 after a student has earned a total of 105 credit-hours. The Off-Campus Study Request Form is available on the Undergraduate Studies web site.
Students must be in good standing in order to receive transfer credit for work done at another institution. If a student is placed on probation between receiving permission and the start of off-campus enrollment, the student is no longer eligible to enroll for and receive transfer credit for this work. Students on probation require special approval and should contact a dean in the Office of Undergraduate Studies. A student separated for poor scholarship may not earn transfer credit for courses taken in the first two sessions after that separation.
Students ordinarily will not be permitted to take elsewhere in Cuyahoga County summer courses that are also offered at Case Western Reserve University that summer. Exceptions to this policy will be permitted only in the event of significant extenuating circumstances. Students who desire the opportunity to take elsewhere in Cuyahoga County a course that is being offered at Case Western Reserve must petition the Office of Undergraduate Studies in advance for permission to do so. For enrollment in courses during the fall or spring semester elsewhere in Cuyahoga County, see the section on Cross-Registration in Northeast Ohio.
Grades for courses taken at other institutions will not be entered on the student’s record nor will they be computed in the student’s grade point average.