Academic Policies


Regular class attendance and preparation are expected of all students. In addition, faculty members may (and often do) establish their own specific attendance and preparation requirements, the violation of which may result in the lowering of a grade or exclusion from class. Repeated unexcused absences may result in referral to the assistant dean of the program.  

Auditing Courses

The Brown School allows only authorized visiting scholars and field instructors to audit courses. Field instructors may request to audit a course and must work with the professor to define expectations; they may not audit Intensive Trainings.


Once a student has been admitted to the Brown School, they are considered "Prime" to the Brown School in the degree program to which they are admitted. Every admitted student is required to follow the policies as set by the Brown School. Following policies is especially important in situations regarding enrollment for courses at other schools within Washington University while a Brown School degree-seeking student.

A student pursuing an MSW/MPH, MSW/MSP or MPH/MSP degree is considered a dual-degree student, and they remain Prime to the Brown School. Typically, dual-degree students are Prime to the MSW program during the first year of study, Prime to the MPH program for the second year, and Prime to each program for one semester of the third year. Similarly, students in the MSP dual-degree program typically alternate their course work, with the MSP program being completed during the second year. Some students add the MSP on at the end of their MSW or MPH program of study.

Students who are seeking degrees in more than one program with one program outside of the Brown School (i.e., joint-degree students in, for example, the MPH/MBA or MSW/JD program) are considered Prime to the school or program depending on enrollment and the agreement of each school. Students may contact the registrar's office of either school for clarification.

Student IDs are coded to a student's Prime program. Being Prime to the Brown School affords a student evening and weekend access to Brown School buildings. Joint-degree students who are Prime to another Washington University program will have their IDs coded to allow access. Joint-degree students with building access concerns should contact the Office of the Brown School Registrar.


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
F 0.0
P/P# Pass
F/F# Fail
I Incomplete
W Withdrawal
R Repeat
N No Grade Submitted

Academic Standards/Probation/Suspension

The minimum GPA requirements needed to maintain eligibility for Satisfactory Academic Progress are dictated by the specific program of study. In each case, per the requirements of 34 C.F.R. 668.34(a)(4(ii), the federal student aid program requires a minimum of a C average to maintain eligibility for aid, but an individual degree or certificate program may have a higher minimum GPA for federal Satisfactory Academic Progress. 

The MSW, MPH and MSP programs at the Brown School require that students maintain a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale). Failing to meet the minimum 3.0 GPA places a student on academic probation for the subsequent semester. If a student is only enrolled in practicum for the subsequent semester (during which they are on academic probation), which is calculated on a pass/fail basis, then the student's grades will be reviewed after the following semester, when grades are earned.

Students will be notified by their assistant dean regarding academic probation.

  1. Students can monitor their semester and cumulative GPA in WebSTAC.
  2. A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required for graduation.
  3. If a student is placed on academic probation, there are financial aid implications. Students in this situation should discuss their options with the assistant director of financial aid.

A student on academic probation for more than one semester will have their case reviewed by the assistant dean of their program. The assistant dean may recommend continued academic probation or a remediation plan, or they may choose to refer the case to the Academic Progress Committee.

The Academic Progress Committee is responsible for reviewing students' academic progress and making decisions regarding appropriate actions, which may include continued academic probation, a required leave of absence, or termination from the program.  More specific and up-to-date information about the Academic Progress Committee for students can be found on Inside Brown, the Brown School's intranet. 

Professional Integrity

As local, national, and international leaders in social work, public health, and social policy, the faculty, administration, and staff of Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis are strongly committed to both academic and professional integrity. Academic integrity combines five fundamental values — honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility — for all academic work. Professional integrity involves behaviors that are consistent with the professional and ethical expectations of one’s field. Brown School students must understand the unconditional imperative for honesty and ethical behavior in all scholastic and professional endeavors as well as in everyday conduct within and beyond the Brown School community.

Social work, public health, and social policy are practice professions that involve the management of complex systems and interpersonal relationships with diverse individuals, many of whom are vulnerable in a variety of ways for myriad reasons. Brown School students entrusted with practicum responsibilities are expected to be cognizant and respectful of all agency personnel and clients with whom they become associated. We require that students entering our professions possess the skills to manage these relationships responsibly.

The Brown School faculty has developed a statement of expectations and procedures that help them address issues of conduct that raise serious concerns about a student’s capacity for responsible social work, public health, or public policy practice.

Professional Integrity Violations

Professional integrity violations consist of behavior that is inconsistent with the professional or ethical standards of the professional roles for which the student is being trained that are not necessarily covered by policies governing academic integrity. Behaviors inconsistent with the list below will be considered violations of professional integrity.

Statement of Minimal Expectations

​The Brown School minimally expects that students will do the following inside and outside the classroom, including online, when engaged with colleagues, including faculty, staff, fellow students, practicum supervisors, clients and other constituents in University-sponsored or related programs and/or activities:

  1. Conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the Code of Ethics adopted by the National Association of Social Workers and the Public Health Code of Ethics adopted by the Public Health Leadership Society.
  2. Conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the University’s Code of Conduct.
  3. Demonstrate an ability to speak, listen, and engage in a manner that is respectful, professional and not harmful.
  4. Demonstrate clarity of thinking, including an ability to process information, conceptualize, and integrate knowledge.
  5. Demonstrate honesty in interactions with students, staff, and faculty and at the practicum agency as well as an ability to be responsible, including such things as accurately recording and reporting practicum hours, keeping appointments, and attending class regularly and punctually in accordance with instructors’ policies.
  6. Demonstrate an ability to suspend personal biases in professional interactions, including not imposing personal, religious, or cultural values on others.
  7. Represent their backgrounds, experiences, and qualifications honestly.
  8. Seek and use help for medical and emotional problems that interfere with scholastic and professional performance, including engaging in treatment for substance abuse and mental disorders when needed.
  9. Respond to communication and outreach from Brown School and Washington University faculty and staff in a timely manner.
  10. Respect and maintain the appearance and functionality of all buildings, classrooms, and other facilities.

Evidence that a student is meeting or failing to meet these expectations may come from a variety of sources, including observation of student behavior in the classroom; the field practicum; interactions with fellow students, faculty, and staff; personal statements; self-assessments; recorded interview situations; and feedback from students, staff, community members, or other sources.

Leave of Absence (LOA)

The Brown School accepts two types of leaves: Personal and Medical.

For either a Personal or Medical LOA from the Brown School, the student must complete the appropriate LOA form on the Brown School Hub prior to leaving. The Brown School does not approve LOA paperwork submitted after the last day of classes of the semester.

  • Personal leave* is used for any nonmedical emergency (e.g., pregnancy, death in the family).
  • Medical leaves must also be authorized by Habif Health and Wellness Center. Policies and procedures are listed on the Habif Health and Wellness Center website.

An LOA can be approved for up to one academic year. If a student anticipates being on leave for longer than one academic year, they must request an extension of their leave for up to one additional academic year, and they must complete a new LOA form with the new anticipated date of return.

A student who anticipates being on leave during any semester should discuss their situation with their academic advisor to consider all options and to assess the potential effects on their academic record. The timing of an LOA may have an impact on both academic credits and tuition charges. Prior to a student taking an LOA, a student should meet with the registrar and the assistant director of financial aid to discuss how taking an LOA may affect their record.

A student who takes a Medical or Personal LOA after the twelfth week of classes may have to take the subsequent semester off, which can include summer.

Depending on the length of the LOA and the structure of the current curriculum, previous credits may not count toward the degree. If, due to an extended LOA, a student cannot complete their degree within four years of the initial matriculation date of their program, the student must reapply for admission and may be required to retake courses and/or practicum hours.


International students requesting a personal LOA must leave the country within 15 days after submitting their request and are responsible for their visas. They must also meet with a staff member in the Office for International Students and Scholars (OISS).

Voluntary Withdrawal

A student may request a voluntary withdrawal if they no longer wish to pursue their degree at the Brown School.

Before considering a voluntary withdrawal from the Brown School, the student should consult with their academic advisor to consider all options and to assess the possible consequences to their academic record. The timing of a withdrawal may have an impact on both academic credits and tuition charges. If a student then wishes to voluntarily withdraw from the Brown School, the following formal procedure is required:

  1. Complete the Request to Withdraw form on the Brown School Hub. The effective date of withdrawal will determine the student's grades and any tuition refund.
  2. Meet with the assistant director of financial aid, who will advise the student regarding tuition and financial aid implications.
  3. Meet with the registrar, who will advise the student on implications resulting from a voluntary withdrawal.

Administrative Withdrawal

During any semester, a student who has not enrolled for fall or spring courses, who has not attended the classes for which they are enrolled, and who has not initiated a leave of absence or a voluntary withdrawal will be administratively withdrawn from the Brown School by the fourth week of the current semester.

Repeating a Course

Students who have done poorly in a course have the opportunity to repeat it, in accordance with these guidelines:

  • There must be space in the course.
  • Courses taken at the Brown School may only be repeated at the Brown School.
  • This option may only be applied a maximum of two times for the same course.
  • Students must register for the same course number, although the instructor may be different. If the course is no longer offered, students may not substitute an alternative course.
  • Tuition will be assessed.
  • The original course will remain on the transcript and be designated with an "R" next to the original grade to indicate that the course was repeated.
  • All courses designated with an "R" (i.e., a repeat note) will not be included in GPA calculations and are not applicable toward graduation requirements.
  • The letter grade earned in the most recent attempt at the course will be included in cumulative credit totals, and a new GPA will be calculated.
  • All subsequently repeated courses and grades will be recorded on the transcript with an "R" notation to indicate that the course has been repeated.
  • A course taken for undergraduate credit may not later be changed to graduate credit. (This applies to Washington University undergraduate students only.)
  • Courses taken for credit toward an undergraduate degree may not be taken for graduate credit. (This applies to Washington University undergraduate students only.)
  • If a student repeats a course after their degree has been awarded, the original course grade will not be excluded from the degree GPA nor will the new grade be included in the degree GPA.
  • Students who have been dropped from a degree program may not use the course repeat process to gain readmission to that degree program.