Each professor in the School of Engineering & Applied Science decides how many absences a student may have and still pass the course. Professors are expected to give reasonable consideration to unavoidable absences and to the feasibility of making up work that has been missed. Students are expected to explain to their professors the reasons for any absences and to discuss with them the possibility of making up missed assignments.

Units and Grades

A credit unit is the equivalent of one recitation or lecture hour a week for one semester, or one laboratory of two and one-half hours a week for one semester. A student's work is rated in terms of the following system of grades and grade points:

Grade Points per Unit
A 4.0
A- 3.7
B+ 3.3
B 3.0
B- 2.7
C+ 2.3
C 2.0
C- 1.7
D+ 1.3
D 1.0
D- 0.7
F 0.0
P# Pass
F# Failing
I Course work incomplete
X No final exam taken
W Withdrawal
R Repeat
L Successful audit
Z Unsuccessful audit
N No grade submitted

Auditing a Course

A student may register for a specific course as an auditor. The criteria for a successful audit are determined by the course instructor, and a student should work with the instructor to ensure that these criteria are understood. Generally speaking, completion of homework and the taking of exams are not required. The grade L signifies a successful audit and the grade Z signifies an unsuccessful audit. Neither grade affects a student's grade point average, nor do the course's units contribute to the student's total cumulative degree-seeking units. Audit courses do not count toward any degree; however, audit units do count toward full-time status determination and tuition. Class attendance is required to earn the grade L; unsatisfactory attendance will result in a grade of Z. Computer science courses do not allow students with auditor status.

Incomplete Grades

The grade I (incomplete) indicates that the work of a student has been generally acceptable but that extenuating circumstances led to certain requirements not having been met. The grade of X is recorded when a student is absent from a midterm or final examination because of illness or other unavoidable reason, provided the work has been otherwise satisfactory.

Grades of X and I must be removed no later than the close of the next full semester a student is in residence. On failure to make up an X or I, the student will not receive credit for the course, and the grade will be changed to F unless the student has been explicitly excused by the associate dean.

A student should initiate the request for an incomplete grade, and such request should be made by the last class meeting. Incomplete grades should be issued only when there is an agreement in place with the student as to the nature of the outstanding work and timeline for completion. It is the student's responsibility to be in communication with the instructor regarding these details.

A student should not re-enroll in a class to complete an "I" grade. Enrolling in the class a second time invokes the Retake Policy.

Pass/Fail Option

All undergraduate engineering students are eligible to register each semester for up to 6 units on the pass/fail option, up to a maximum of 18 units attempted. Some departments require students to take certain courses pass/fail; credits in these courses do not count toward either the semester limit of 6 units or the cumulative limit of 18 units. Other than these courses, only elective courses may be taken on this option, including courses in other divisions of the university, but still contingent upon and subject to departmental requirements. Humanities, social sciences and some technical electives specifically allowed by individual engineering programs, as well as some engineering courses, both undergraduate and graduate that are not specifically required for the student's major program, may be taken with the pass/fail option. Some programs do not allow courses, required or elective, to be taken with the pass/fail option. Graduate courses taken on the pass/fail basis cannot be transferred later for credit toward a graduate degree.

Changes from the regular grade basis to pass/fail or vice versa may not be made after the last dates specified in the current Course Listings. The normal regulations for withdrawal or change to auditor status also apply to pass/fail courses.

It is the student's responsibility to discuss with the faculty member what constitutes a pass in a particular course. Although the general pass mark is a C-, instructors have the discretion to set the pass mark higher in their course(s).

A final grade of P# (pass) will earn degree credit where applicable. A final grade of F# (fail) will not earn degree credit. Neither P# nor F# will affect the grade point average.

Minimum and Maximum Course Loads

Undergraduate engineering students must take a minimum of 12 units of credit to be considered full-time. Students may not enroll in more than 21 units without special permission. An additional per-unit tuition charge will be assessed for any units over the 21-unit limit.

Course Retake Policy

If an Engineering student repeats a course at Washington University, only the second grade is included in the calculation of the grade point average. Both enrollments and grades are shown on the student's official transcript. The symbol R next to the first enrollment's grade indicates that the course was later retaken. Credit toward the degree is allowed for the latest enrollment only.

If an Engineering student repeats a course elsewhere (i.e., preapproved transfer course from another university), the student must take the course for credit and earn a C- or better for the units to transfer to Washington University. After an official transcript showing the final grade for the repeated course is received, the symbol R next to the first enrollment's grade indicates that the course was later retaken. The original grade will no longer figure into the student's grade point average, nor will the transfer course grade figure into the grade point average. The grade for the transfer course does not display on the student's Washington University record, but the units for the transfer course will count toward the degree program.

Academic Probation and Suspension

A student whose work is of unsatisfactory quality is placed on academic probation and is classified as not being in good academic standing. If a student on probation doesn't improve their academic record after a reasonable time, probation is followed by suspension.

Academic probation represents a warning that things are not going well academically. Students placed on academic probation may continue to stay enrolled in their degree programs, but they are required to meet with their advisers to discuss what they might do to improve their grades.

Academic suspension represents being dismissed from the school. Students placed on academic suspension are not eligible to enroll or continue their degree programs.

The regulations governing probation and suspension are as follows:

  1. At the close of each semester, each student's semester grade point average is computed as the total grade points earned during the semester divided by the total credit units attempted. At the same time, the cumulative grade point average is computed as the quotient of the cumulative total of grade points over the cumulative total of credit units attempted. The computations are made on the basis of the grade point scale indicated in the section on grades. Courses taken on a pass/fail basis are not included in these calculations.
  2. At the close of each semester, each student's semester and cumulative grade point averages are reviewed. If either is below 2.0, the probation rules stated below apply and the student is notified of any academic probation or suspension action.
  3. At the end of a semester, any student who in the judgment of the associate dean is not making adequate academic progress is required to meet with their adviser before enrollment is allowed for the following semester.
  4. A student who is suspended may, if they desire to continue, present a written statement setting forth reasons why they believe the situation should be reconsidered. This statement should be addressed to the Undergraduate Academic Standards Committee and forwarded via the associate dean (Lopata Hall, Room 303).

Probation and Suspension Rules

Probation follows any semester during which either the semester or cumulative grade point average is less than 2.0, or a student has three I (incomplete) grades at the end of a semester, or a student drops below full-time student status and is not achieving adequate progress toward the degree.

A student placed on academic probation may have a "hold" placed on their record and must complete the steps below in order to have the hold removed:

  1. Within two weeks of receiving a probation notification the student must contact their Engineering Undergraduate Student Services (Lopata Hall, Room 303) four-year adviser and schedule a meeting. The scheduled meeting must take place before the end of first week of classes for the upcoming semester.
  2. Prepare a written statement with two sections. In the first section, provide a clear explanation of the circumstances that caused the grades received the previous semester. In the second section, describe the student's plan to improve grades in the future. The written statement should be sent to the four-year adviser before the scheduled meeting takes place so that the four-year adviser has an opportunity to review it before the meeting.
  3. Meet with the four-year adviser at the scheduled date and time. The meeting is designed for the student to answer the question: "Are you getting appropriate help?" The four-year adviser may recommend that routine meetings take place throughout the semester.

If applicable, the hold will be removed after the student meets with the four-year adviser.

If a student has been on academic probation twice previously, suspension may follow the next time the student is eligible for probation.

Suspension may result if a student becomes eligible for probation in two sequential semesters.

Suspension may result if any course is failed twice.

Suspension may result if a student was enrolled in credit courses and earns no degree credit at the end of a semester.

First Academic Probation

The first time a student qualifies for probation, they are placed on "First Academic Probation." Students placed on First Academic Probation status are sent a letter informing them of this action.

Second Academic Probation

The second time a student qualifies for probation, they are placed on "Second Academic Probation." Students placed on Second Academic Probation status are sent a letter informing them of this action.

Special Academic Probation

Special Academic Probation means that a student was eligible for suspension but was not suspended. Students placed on Special Academic Probation status are sent a letter informing them of this action.

Academic Suspension

The third time a student qualifies for probation, or becomes eligible for probation the second semester in a row, or fails the same course twice, or was enrolled in credit courses and earns no degree credit at the end of a semester, they are suspended from the university. Students placed on academic suspension status are sent a letter informing them of the suspension action and will have a notation placed on their record. Students who wish to appeal are instructed to prepare a written statement that informs the Academic Standards Committee of the decision to appeal and respond to two questions: explain why the unsatisfactory academic performance occurred and, if allowed to return, what would be done differently by the student. The student must then attend an appeal hearing. The student's academic record, written appeal and any other factors the student may wish to discuss are considered by the committee. When the discussion ends, the student leaves the hearing room, and the committee immediately makes a decision regarding the student's appeal. Engineering Undergraduate Student Services then informs the student of the committee's decision. The committee's decision is final (no other appeals are possible). If the appeal is successful, the student is placed on Special Academic Probation and the student is allowed to enroll in classes. If the appeal is unsuccessful, the student's program will be closed and the student will be dropped from any course registrations for the next semester. 

If a student is placed on academic suspension status and chooses not to appeal, or appeals and the appeal is denied, the student is not allowed to enroll in any classes in any division at Washington University. A student placed on academic suspension is classified as not being in good academic standing. If a suspended student would like to return to the university at a future time, the student must apply for reinstatement to the School of Engineering & Applied Science.

Satisfactory Academic Progress and Title IV Financial Aid

Federal regulations require that students receiving federal Title IV financial aid maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP). SAP is evaluated annually at the end of the spring semester. In order to be considered to be maintaining SAP, and thus be eligible for federal financial aid, a student must maintain minimum requirements for cumulative grade point average (2.0) and pace (credit earned for at least 67 percent of the credits attempted). The degree must also be completed within the maximum time frame allowed for the program (no more than 180 credits). Students who are not maintaining progress will be notified by Engineering Undergraduate Student Services and — barring an approved appeal — are ineligible for aid for future semesters.

Additional information about Satisfactory Academic Progress is available from Student Financial Services.

Full-Time and Part-Time Enrollment

Undergraduate degree programs are full-time programs. All students designated with full-time status will automatically be charged the full-time tuition. Part-time enrollment is not allowed unless serious documented health problems prevent a student from being enrolled full-time.

Part-time enrollment and partial tuition charges are allowed for seniors who must enroll for an extra semester. For students who enroll as first-year students, this status is allowed after their eighth semester. For dual degree students, part-time status is allowed after their fourth semester. (Note: Summer semesters are not counted as an academic semester.) Part-time students take 1 to 11 units and are charged for part-time tuition, along with the standard undergraduate fees. Scholarship support is not normally available for part-time students.

Special Note to senior-level undergraduate students: Senior-level students (those in their eighth semester) will automatically be designated as having full-time enrollment status if taking 6 or more units; students are charged full tuition if enrolled in 1 to 21 units.

Leaves of Absence

Engineering students may petition to take a leave of absence. On a leave of absence, students in good standing are assured re-enrollment within the next two years. Before returning, the student is to notify the School of Engineering & Applied Science and submit a Reinstatement Form at least six weeks prior to the beginning of the appropriate term. A student wishing to take a medical leave of absence must have a recommendation for the medical leave of absence from Habif Health and Wellness Center submitted to the appropriate dean in the School of Engineering & Applied Science prior to leaving and prior to re-enrollment. The dean will decide whether or not to grant the request for the medical leave of absence and re-enrollment upon reviewing the recommendations from the Habif Health and Wellness Center and the student's file.

Transfer Credit

A student must get prior approval before taking a course at another university. After completing the course, the student must have an official copy of the transcript sent to the School of Engineering & Applied Science for evaluation. If the credit is accepted, the course will show on the transcript with the units, but not the grade. Only units of credit for courses with a grade of C- or better will transfer. No transfer credit will be accepted for courses taken while a student is suspended from Washington University for violations of the University Student Judicial Code or Academic Integrity policy. The transfer course approval process is outlined on the School of Engineering website.

University College Courses

Engineering students may only enroll in a limited number of University College courses that have been preapproved by the Engineering Undergraduate Studies Committee. The approved courses listed below will display on official transcripts, and the course units will count toward engineering degree requirements, but the grade will not be calculated in grade point averages. Approved courses must be taken for letter grade, and students must earn a minimum grade of C- for the course units to count toward engineering degree requirements.

Current approved courses, which may be needed by students seeking admission into medical school, include:

Students who are required to do so may enroll in the courses listed below; these courses will display on official transcripts but the course units will not count toward engineering degree requirements:

  • U15 ELP 1511 Critical Reading and Analytical Writing
  • U15 ELP 199 Language Support for English Composition

Undergraduate engineering students in their final year of study may enroll in one University College course (not listed above) each semester. These course units will not count toward graduation requirements.

Military Training

Army and Air Force ROTC programs are available at Washington University.

A student in the School of Engineering & Applied Science who takes an ROTC course will have the course name, number, credit units and grade entered on the official transcript. If the course is numbered 100-299, the course's units and grade will not apply toward the student's degree requirements; if the course is numbered 300-499 and the grade is D- or better, the course's units will apply toward the student's degree requirements (as a free elective) and the grade will be counted in the student's cumulative and semester grade point average. Credit may be awarded for no more than one course per semester for a maximum of 16 units.

Course descriptions for Air Force ROTC and Army ROTC can be found in the appropriate sections of this Bulletin.

Physical Education

Students in the School of Engineering & Applied Science may enroll in physical education courses, and the units will count toward the 120 units needed for graduation.