Academic Policies

Students are required to satisfy all degree, major and other program requirements as published in the Bulletin and on the University College website at the date of admission to a University College program of study, with a 10-year statute of limitations. If any changes are made to degree, major or other program requirements prior to June 29, 2022, and noted on the University College website, students who have been admitted to a program of study prior to these changes being made may retain the requirements associated with the original program as printed in the Bulletin or, with University College authorization, may make appropriate changes to their original program of study in order to adapt to newer requirements. Students admitted to a program of study after program changes are made are required to meet the new requirements and not the original requirements as posted in the Bulletin.

If a student has been away from University College for 10 or more years and the original degree or major is no longer offered, the student must select a new, currently offered major and program of study. If a student has been away from University College for 10 or more years and the original degree or major is currently offered but has changed, University College will first review the requirements associated with the original program and, in consultation with the student and relevant academic departments, select degree and major requirements, including appropriate course substitutions from either the original or current program.

Courses and Credits

The number of units assigned to each course is noted in the semester Course Schedule. Courses numbered 100(0)-399(9) carry credit toward an undergraduate degree. Courses numbered 400(0)-499(9) normally carry undergraduate or graduate credit. Graduate-level courses numbered 500(0) and above are open only to students admitted to a graduate program or by permission of the instructor and the program director.

Grades

University College's grading system is based on a rated 4.0 scale. The scale and grade points per unit of academic credit for each letter grade are as follows:

Grade Points per Unit
A+ 4.0
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
CR Credit awarded, but work was not subjected to more precise evaluation
NCR No credit/student's work was not satisfactory
N No grade received by the Registrar's Office by the grading deadline
I Incomplete/semester's work not finished, including failure to complete final exam
W Withdrawal/student withdrew from course prior to completion
R Repeat/course has been retaken
S Satisfactory, used almost exclusively for semester hours earned for research
L Audit/student satisfactorily audited the course throughout the semester
Z Audit/student did not satisfactorily audit the course

These grading policies apply to all University College courses. Only courses taken for a letter grade may be applied toward a graduate program of study. Courses taken as Pass/Fail or Audit will not count toward a graduate program of study. Grades below C- will not count toward a graduate program of study. Students are responsible for knowing the specific grading criteria and course requirements set by individual instructors. Grades are posted online at the end of the semester. No grades are given by telephone or orally in the office.

Students usually may choose among four grading options at the time of registration: a letter grade, Credit/No Credit (also referred to as Pass/Fail), Audit, or Special Audit. Changes from one option to another must be made by the dates indicated on our online academic calendar. Students must select a grade option at the time of registration, and any changes must be made according to the dates published in the semester Course Schedule. Grade option changes are not permitted after a semester is over.

The Credit/No Credit option, which is available for certain courses, allows students to enroll in courses on a pass/fail basis. Under this option, students receive credit for courses satisfactorily completed, but a grade is not assigned or calculated in the student's cumulative grade-point average. The standards for receiving credit are at the discretion of each individual instructor. Undergraduate degree candidates may take no more than 10% of credits at Washington University under this option. Courses intended to satisfy the basic and advanced writing requirements for the Associate in Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees, courses in the major and minor, and courses specific to a graduate degree or any certificate are excluded from the Credit/No Credit option. Graduate schools and current employers may require specific letter grades rather than Credit/No Credit only. A specific grade may also be required as a prerequisite for more advanced course work in that subject area. A few courses particularly designated by departments may require enrollment on a Credit/No Credit basis, in which case the course would not be included in the 10% limit.

The Audit grade may be chosen if a student wishes to have the registration and grade for a course recorded on an official transcript but does not seek academic credit for the course. Students must meet the requirements established by the instructor to successfully audit a course. As an auditor, normally the student is required to attend and participate in the course but not required to complete all written assignments and examinations.

The Special Audit is offered only for a select number of University College courses. Courses taken as Special Audit will not appear on a Washington University transcript, and a grade report is not issued. Courses taken on a Special Audit basis do not carry academic credit and do not apply to degree requirements in a University College program of study. Special auditors attend lectures and discussions but are not required to complete written work.

A grade of I (Incomplete) indicates that the instructor has agreed to withhold a final grade pending the completion of a small portion of required work normally due at the end of a semester. Students experiencing a medical or personal problem that makes the timely completion of course work difficult or unlikely may request a grade of Incomplete from the instructor prior to the end of the semester. If the instructor consents, an Incomplete Agreement form must be completed. Sixty days after the end of a semester, a grade of Incomplete without an Incomplete Agreement form will be converted to an F. For undergraduate students, if the work is not completed within a period of one calendar year, the grade of I will be changed to F. For graduate students, if the work is not completed within a period of one calendar year, the grade of I will remain a permanent grade. Future enrollment may be withheld for University College students who have accumulated more than 9 units of incomplete work within the previous two years.

A grade of N indicates that no grade has been received by the Registrar's Office by the grading deadline. Sixty days after the end of a semester, a grade of N will be converted to an F. Continuing master's research is the only exception to the above policy, in which case the permanent grade is N.

Transfer Credit

University College has a generous transfer credit policy for course work completed at other accredited institutions. Transfer credit is awarded toward all categories of course work in University College: General Education, Major, Advanced, and Elective.

A maximum of 84 units overall may be transferred for the Bachelor of Science degree; a maximum of 66 units will be accepted from a junior or community college. A maximum of 24 units may be transferred for the Associate in Arts degree. No more than 6 units may be transferred into a graduate degree program in University College. Transfer credit is not awarded for internships, independent study, courses associated with vocational and technical training, or study for trade certification. Courses with grades of C- or higher are eligible for transfer credit. (Courses equivalent to Principles of Writing I require a grade of B or higher in order to be eligible for transfer credit.)

To receive transfer credit, a student must be admitted to a University College degree or certificate program and submit official transcripts from all institutions previously attended. All records must be in English. International records must be evaluated for transfer credit by an accredited transcript evaluation agency. Advisors will evaluate transcripts to determine transfer credit and remaining course requirements toward a University College degree or certificate.

A maximum of 30 units may be awarded for College Level Examination Program (CLEP), DANTES Subject Standardization Tests (DSST), Advanced Placement, and International Baccalaureate examination scores.

Transfer credit for study abroad must be preapproved by University College and the Office for International Students and Scholars.

Students who have completed English composition courses at another college or university should be well prepared for the required writing courses at University College, and transfer credit will be awarded for this work according to our regular transfer credit policies. However, new students will begin with EComp 111 in University College. Students who feel they have a strong writing background may petition to take a placement test to demonstrate the skills needed to begin with EComp 203 instead. All students will complete EComp 203 and a 300-level writing course at University College. If a student has any questions about the writing evaluation process or requirements, they should contact their advisor.

Advanced Courses

In order to receive the Bachelor of Science degree, students must complete a minimum of 30 units of advanced courses (equivalent to 300- and 400-level course numbers at Washington University), and at least 18 units of advanced courses must be taken in the major. Transfer credit may be awarded for additional advanced courses.

Overlap Policy

If a student has two majors, each major's upper-level units of credit must be independent of the other's. Prerequisite courses at the 100 and 200 levels may count for both majors. Should the same upper-level course satisfy a requirement in more than one of a student's major programs, a departmentally sanctioned upper-level elective must be chosen to replace the course in one of the programs. If a student has a major and a minor, overlap is allowed provided there are at least 9 unique units in the minor. Major or minor course work may be applied to distribution requirements for general education. If a student is pursuing a minor and a certificate, no overlap is allowed between the minor and the certificate. If a student is pursuing two certificates, no overlap is allowed between the certificates. Should the same course satisfy a requirement in more than one of a student's certificates or minors, a departmentally sanctioned elective must be chosen to replace the course in one of the programs. If a student is pursuing a bachelor's degree and a certificate, overlap is allowed between the major and the certificate provided there are at least 9 unique units in the certificate. (The exception to this restriction on certificates applies to sequential programs of the same name, in which case all certificate courses may apply to the next-level program.)

Residency Requirement

The final 36 units of course work toward the Bachelor of Science degree must be completed at Washington University. At least half of the credits for the major and at least 18 units of advanced courses must be completed at Washington University. Students with a gap in their studies at University College of more than 10 years are required to meet the 36-unit residency requirement upon their return.

Retaking a Course

Students may retake a course, in which case only the highest grade will be included when calculating the student's GPA. All enrollments will appear on the student's transcript, but the symbol "R" will replace the grade for the enrollment with the lower grade. If the attempts result in the same grade, the grade for the original attempt will be replaced with an “R.” Unless a course is designated as repeatable, credit may only be earned once for a course.

Satisfactory Academic Progress, Academic Probation and 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. To remain in good academic standing, an undergraduate student must maintain a 2.0 GPA and not be placed on academic probation or suspension; a graduate student must maintain a 3.0 GPA and not be placed on academic probation or suspension. A student whose previous semester's work is unsatisfactory (below a 2.0 for undergraduate students or below a 3.0 for graduate students), whose cumulative record is unsatisfactory (below 2.0 for undergraduate students or below 3.0 for graduate students), or who has a history of failure to complete course work without adequate reason may be placed on academic probation. Probationary status serves to warn a student who is not making satisfactory progress. Unless the quality of work improves during the next semester, a student may be suspended or dismissed from the program, and future enrollment may not be allowed. University College reserves the right to cancel the registration of students who have been placed on academic suspension or dismissed. Subsequent readmission will be determined on an individual basis.

Grade Appeal Policy

Course instructors are responsible for establishing grading criteria and for fairly evaluating students' academic performance. Students are responsible for meeting academic standards established by course instructors.

There may be an occasion when a University College student has a grievance with a faculty member over what the student may consider unfair grading of an assignment or an exam. Unfair grading occurs when a student's work is graded by a different standard than was applied to equivalent students in the course. Different grading criteria may be expected of graduate students enrolled in 400-level courses, and those differing grading standards should be announced or stated in the course syllabus. Unfair grading may also exist if it is demonstrated that the instructor assigned a grade using standards that were substantially different from those previously announced or stated in the course syllabus.

When this happens, a student may request that a grade be reevaluated by the instructor who assigned the grade. Listed below is an appeal procedure that allows for the review of allegedly unfair grading. It is not intended as a review of the instructor's evaluation of the student's academic performance. Disagreement or dissatisfaction with an instructor’s professional evaluation of course work is not the basis for a grade appeal.

Normally, the best way to proceed informally is to follow the steps below:

  1. Individual Instructors
    The student should make an earnest attempt to resolve the situation with the instructor. It may be best to set up an appointment to meet with the instructor outside of class time. The student should prepare a logical justification as to why their work should be reevaluated.
  2. Department Coordinator
    If the instructor was unwilling to discuss the situation with the student or refused to consider the student's arguments after a meeting and if the student still believes their situation merits consideration from a higher authority, the next step is for the student to meet with the department coordinator. Serious complaints alleging breaches of a faculty member's responsibilities should be brought directly to the department coordinator.
  3. University or University College Facilitator
    If the student has met with both the instructor and the department coordinator and feels that their situation still needs attention, the next step is for the student to make an appointment to meet with a facilitator. Graduate students should contact the graduate student ombuds. Undergraduate students should contact the facilitator for University College, Senior Director for Student Engagement and Communication. The facilitator is designated to consider student grievances from a neutral perspective and is responsible to both the faculty and to the student body. The facilitator will attempt to help resolve the issue.

    If the student's grievance involves a faculty member from another school, the facilitator will advise the facilitator for that school of the complaint. In the process of addressing a grievance, the facilitator will make a brief written record of the grievance, including the names of the parties, the nature of the accusation, the responsive explanation of the faculty member, and the resolution of the case.

    In processing any type of grievance, the facilitator will strive to protect, to the greatest extent possible, the confidentiality of the complaint, but complete confidentiality cannot be guaranteed in every instance. The facilitator may be contacted at any time during the grievance resolution process for advice, direction, referrals to other sources of information or help, and mediation.
  4. Grievance Committee
    Depending on the situation, the facilitator may recommend moving the complaint to the Grievance Committee. The Grievance Committee consists of representatives from advising, faculty, and the registrar’s office. The Grievance Committee will advise the dean of University College, who will make a final determination.

Note: Depending on the specific nature of the allegations, the complaint may be referred to another university office for resolution.

Intent to Graduate and Commencement

All degree and certificate candidates must complete the Intent to Graduate form before their last semester. Candidates may file online or on paper. Forms and instructions with deadline dates are available on the University College Website or in the University College office. Students are responsible for meeting the deadline for filing the Intent to Graduate. All graduates are invited to Commencement and recognition ceremonies in May, when degrees are conferred and certificates presented.

Independent Study, Directed Research and Internships

Through independent study or directed research, students may pursue topics of special interest under the supervision of a member of the faculty. Internships offer opportunities to apply classroom theory and concepts to practical work situations and to explore possible career directions. Students must submit a completed Independent Study form or Internship Learning Agreement to the University College office before registering. A maximum of 6 units of credit in independent work, including internships and study abroad, may count toward the Associate in Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees for students who complete 60 units or less at Washington University; students who earn more than 60 units at Washington University may do up to 9 units of independent work. No more than 6 units of independent study, including internships and study abroad, may be applied toward the major, and no more than 6 units of independent study may be attempted in a single semester.

No more than 6 units of independent study may be applied toward a Master of Arts or Master of Science. No more than 6 credits of independent study may be applied toward a certificate program that requires 19 units of credit or more. No more than 3 credits of independent study may be applied toward a certificate program that requires 18 units of credit or less.

ACTRAC Accelerated Option

ACTRAC, the accelerated study option in University College, is available in most undergraduate majors and selected other courses for qualified students. Students choosing ACTRAC may receive 1 additional credit unit in a designated 300- or 400-level course by arranging with the instructor to do additional reading, research and writing. ACTRAC requirements include admission to a University College undergraduate degree program, successful completion of at least 12 units of credit in University College, completion of a University College English composition course with a grade of B or better, a 3.0 minimum GPA, and written approval from a University College advisor. Students are charged tuition for 4 credits for an ACTRAC course.

Minor

A minor in University College consists of a minimum of 15 units of authorized course work in select academic disciplines or interdisciplinary programs in University College. The course requirements for a minor are determined by each department or program. At least 9 units must be advanced course work (300 level or above), and at least 6 of the 9 units in advanced course work must be completed at University College. A maximum of 3 units of transfer credit may be applied to the minor. A minor is available only to students admitted to a University College Bachelor of Science degree program. Course work taken as part of the minor may fulfill distribution requirements, but at least 9 units must be distinct from the major. Only courses receiving a grade of C- or higher will be applied to the minor. In order to be awarded the minor, students must earn a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher in all courses taken toward the minor. To declare a minor, students must submit a completed Minor Application form to an academic advisor in University College before beginning the final semester.

College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)

University College will grant credit to students for the successful completion of select College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests. University College does not award academic credit for experiential learning or community and business activities other than through CLEP examinations. For more detailed information about eligibility, selected exams, exam administration, minimum scores and all other CLEP matters, contact University College at 314-935-6700 or visit the University College website.

Advanced Placement Credit

Students may receive a total of 15 units of advanced placement credit from standardized placement tests that were completed prior to being admitted to a University College undergraduate degree program. Units earned through advanced placement may apply toward University College distribution requirements. In order to receive advanced placement credit, students should submit official score reports from Advanced Placement Examinations, College Board Achievement and Aptitude Tests, the International Baccalaureate (higher levels), and British A-level examinations. The combined total number of units accepted in transfer credit for the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), Advanced Placement courses, DANTES Subject Standardization Tests (DSST), and International Baccalaureate courses may not exceed 30.

Student Academic Records

A permanent record of courses, grades and credit for each student is maintained in the Office of Student Records, which will issue official transcripts upon written authorization by the student. Transcript requests must include the student's name, student number, date of birth and approximate dates of attendance. Student records may be reviewed online on WebSTAC. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) provides current and former students of the university with specific rights of access to and control over their student record information. A copy of the university policies and procedures regarding educational records and the release of student record information may be obtained from the Office of Student Records.

Academic Integrity

All University College students are governed by the University Student Conduct Code to “foster an environment conducive to learning and inquiry.” Among the forms of misconduct covered in the University Student Conduct Code is academic misconduct "including, but not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, fabrication of data or records, impermissible collaboration on assignments, misrepresentation of student status or identity, resume or credential falsification, unauthorized use of prescription medication to enhance academic performance, unauthorized use of electronic resources, violation of test-taking conditions or rules, or otherwise violating the applicable Academic and/or Professional Integrity Policy. Knowingly making false allegations of academic misconduct against any student will itself be considered a form of academic misconduct." In addition to the University Student Conduct Code, all University College students are expected to follow principles and practices of academic integrity as defined by the applicable Academic and Professional Integrity Policy, which is based upon student status and further described below.

All University College undergraduate students — part-time, full-time, degree-seeking and non-degree — are governed by the Undergraduate Student Academic Integrity Policy and the University College Undergraduate Student Academic Integrity Policy. If a student subject to the Washington University Undergraduate Student Academic Integrity Policy is alleged to have committed a violation of academic integrity, the case will generally be reviewed by the school or college in which the course is listed and taught and not by the school in which the student is enrolled, although all violations and sanctions will also be reported to the student's college of enrollment.

All University College graduate students are subject to the Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences, Academic and Professional Integrity Policy for Graduate Students and the University College Graduate Student Academic and Professional Integrity Policy. If a student enrolled in a graduate program administered through University College takes a course through University College and is accused of an academic integrity violation in that course, the student will be subject to the University College Graduate Student Academic and Professional Integrity Policy. Note that those students enrolled in another graduate or professional school at Washington University will be subject to the academic and professional integrity policies and procedures applicable to the respective school. For example, if a student enrolled in a graduate program in Arts & Sciences also takes a course through University College and is accused of an academic integrity violation in that course, the student will be subject to the Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences, Academic and Professional Integrity Policy for Graduate Students. Violations of the Graduate Student Academic and Professional Integrity Policy include plagiarism and other misappropriation of the work of another, cheating, copying or collaborating on assignments without permission, fabrication or falsification of data or records, research misconduct, obstruction of the academic activities of another, abuse of confidentiality, and other forms of deceit, dishonesty, and inappropriate conduct. Professional integrity violations consist of behavior that is inconsistent with ethical standards in the professional roles for which the student is being trained that are not covered by policies governing academic integrity. Please refer to the detailed Academic and Professional Integrity Policy for Graduate Students of the Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences, for definitions and examples of each of these categories.

All violations of academic integrity will be reported to and investigated by the academic integrity officer in University College. If it is determined that a student has acted dishonestly or if a student has admitted the charges prior to a formal investigation or hearing, an appropriate sanction will be imposed; this may include but is not limited to automatic failure of the assignment or course or, in the case of serious or repeat violations, suspension or expulsion from the university. Withdrawing from a course will not prevent the dean from imposing or recommending sanctions.

Academic Advising and Academic Support Services

University College recognizes the rich array of backgrounds and experiences adult learners bring to the classroom, and it is aware that adults entering or returning to higher education may need academic counseling, guidance and special services. Information about University College degree and certificate programs and courses is available on the University College website. Students are encouraged to meet with an academic advisor to discuss academic goals and interests prior to submitting an application for admission. Advisors are available to provide guidance and information about admissions, transfer and registration procedures, academic and degree requirements, course selection, special programs, student services and other facets of Washington University. After being admitted to a degree or certificate program, students should consult with the advisor on a regular basis to discuss course sequences, degree requirements, policies and other important information related to the particular program of study. It is the responsibility of the student to arrange for these periodic conferences. For information about advising and all student services, call the University College Office of Admissions and Student Services at 314-935-6777 or visit the University College website.

Honors & Awards

Undergraduate Honors Program

The University College Honors program provides students with multiple opportunities to deepen and extend their knowledge, earn scholarships and academic awards, and join a community of intellectually and socially engaged adults. The most prestigious distinction is Latin Honors, which allows students do research in their field of study and graduate summa cum laude, magna cum laude or cum laude. Students should speak with an academic advisor about tailoring an honors experience that meets their learning goals.

Alpha Sigma Lambda

Alpha Sigma Lambda, the national honorary society for part-time evening students, is available to qualified University College students. To be eligible for membership, a student must have earned a GPA of at least 3.5 in a minimum of 24 units of course work in residence toward a degree in University College, with at least 12 units in liberal arts and sciences.

Phi Beta Kappa

For more than 200 years, election to Phi Beta Kappa has been a distinctive recognition of intellectual accomplishment in the liberal arts and sciences. Candidates for Phi Beta Kappa should have demonstrated superior scholarship as well as breadth and depth of interest in the liberal arts. Study of a foreign language and of mathematics, while not required, strongly enhance candidacy. In addition, at least 112 credits must be completed by the end of the fall semester, at least 45 of which must be earned at Washington University.

Dean's List

Recognition on the Dean's List is given to students who are undergraduate degree or certificate candidates in University College who have completed a minimum of 6 units of course work at Washington University during the preceding fall or spring semester with a GPA of at least 3.6.

Final Honors

Undergraduate degree recipients with superior records will be recognized with Final Honors at the time of graduation. Final Honors are calculated by a formula based on the number of credits and grades earned in University College.

Dean's Award for Academic Excellence

The Dean's Award for Academic Excellence is given to one or more graduating undergraduate students with outstanding academic records as measured by (but not limited to) the GPA.

Dean's Award for University Service

The Dean's Award for University Service is awarded to one or more graduating students who have made a significant contribution to University College and Washington University in areas beyond academic performance.

Dean's Faculty Award

The Dean's Faculty Award is normally given to a University College instructor with many years of service to recognize excellence in teaching and dedication to University College students.