The regulations set forth in the catalog form the basis for all academic performance; however, the regulations are subject to change at the discretion of the faculty. Faculty members are available for conference and advice, but the individual student assumes full responsibility for compliance with all academic requirements. (Please see Changes in Catalog Information ).
The following regulations have been approved by the faculty. In certain circumstances, a student may wish to appeal for an exception to a regulation. The Committee on Courses and Degree handles petitions for mostly academic-policy exceptions; the Faculty Executive Committee handles petitions for mostly late submissions of registration or other declarations. The committees’ charges and memberships are described at www.wlu.edu/provosts-office/resources-for-faculty/committees. The procedures for petitioning a committee are described at www.wlu.edu/university-registrar/policies-and-procedures/petitioning-faculty-committees/.
International students note: Federal law requires that the procedures for certain academic and administrative policies differ for some international students. Failure to follow these different procedures and to report required information will subject both the student and the University to harsh penalties. All international students should discuss reporting obligations and questions regarding academic or administrative policies (e.g., change of address, reduced course load, withdrawals) initially with the International Student Adviser at the Center for International Education.
The academic year is divided into two 13-week terms (fall
winter) and one 4-week term (spring). (See the Academic Calendars .)
The work of each course of study has an assigned numerical credit value. The value of one credit is equivalent in total time and effort to the semester hour.
A course is the minimum amount of work in a given subject for which credit is granted. Each course is indivisible and has a separate number and separate grade for each term. A student may not, without permission of the department head, take any course for the first time which is a specific prerequisite for a course which has already been passed. After receiving a grade in the original course, a student may not repeat that course after having passed another course for which the original course is a specific prerequisite. Faculty members may require a previously registered student to drop a class if the student misses the first class meeting of the term without the prior approval of the instructor.
The freedom to explore unfamiliar and dissimilar fields of study is a hallmark of a liberal arts education. Washington and Lee University offers nearly 700 distinct undergraduate courses each year. Students should broaden their experience by exploring these courses, whether or not they contribute directly to a major or minor. For a liberally educated person, no opportunity to learn should be considered a waste.
Students should plan on using elective, foundation, and distribution coursework to explore the curriculum. Courses outside majors and minors contribute significantly to the formation of the liberally educated person. Students earn a degree from Washington and Lee that is made up of study in elective credits, FDR requirements, and a major.
Each student who has not completed graduation requirements must register as a full-time student for each term enrolled. A student taking an unauthorized underload may be required to withdraw from the University for the term in which the underload is being taken, forfeiting all academic credit, tuition and fees for that term. The student may apply for reinstatement for the next term. For continuing education students, part-time course loads are permitted.
Note: In order to accumulate the total academic credits required for graduation within four years, the student must register for a full-time course load in all terms or bring additional credits from other sources (transfer, overload, etc.).
Fall and Winter Terms
The minimum academic load for each student is 12 credits. Under exceptional circumstances, this requirement may be modified by the appropriate dean to a minimum of 11 credits for full-time status. Carrying fewer than 11 credits requires approval of the Faculty Executive Committee. Continuing education students are not eligible to take more than two courses at a time.
Permission to carry 15 to 17 credits of academic work must be secured in advance from the designated associate academic dean through the WebAdvisor process. A course load of greater than 17 credits requires approval of the Faculty Executive Committee. Permission is not ordinarily granted unless the student has both a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.000 and, during the last fall or winter term, a minimum grade-point average of 3.000. For fall term, first-year students may register for up to 14 credits in their first term. In exceptional cases, permission for 15 credits may be secured. No overload permissions are given for over 15 credits to first-term, first-year students. A denied application may be appealed to the Faculty Executive Committee by emailing FEC@wlu.edu. Appeals are granted only in the most exceptional of circumstances.
The minimum academic load during the four-week spring term for each student is four credits. Students may enroll in no more than one additional credit or one scheduled non-credit curricular activity (such as one PE skills course OR one applied music, dance or theater class OR directed study), with the provision that the additional credit not interfere with the schedule and obligations of the four-credit course. The maximum academic load for spring term is five credits, except for approved six-week courses. No other overloads or underloads are permitted. Students may also exercise the Spring Option. During the spring term, students dropping their four-credit course after the initial drop/add period must also request a Leave of Absence or withdraw from the University. Spring Option may not be declared at that point. Continuing education students who are employees may not register for spring-term courses.
NB: If you drop a spring term course that carries a course-related fee or cost after the deadline published in the academic calendar and registration materials, you will still be billed for 20% of those costs, or the actual costs incurred on your behalf, up to and including the full amount of the course costs, if those have already been expended.
The Spring Option
The Spring Option allows students to use the spring term of their sophomore, junior and/or senior years to engage in an internship, service program, employment, travel or educational program that will broaden and enhance their collegiate education. The faculty offer this opportunity to encourage students to seek creative outlets not provided in the normal academic setting.
Sophomores, juniors, and seniors who are not on probation may spend one or more of their spring terms off campus engaged in other activities, such as study at another institution (domestic or abroad), internships, employment, service opportunities, or travel. Seniors taking advantage of the Spring Option must have completed all requirements for graduation by the end of winter term - with the exception of a WIP in a thesis, honors thesis or senior capstone - and must return for commencement. Unlike a Leave of Absence for fall or winter terms, the Spring Option does not require petition to the Committee on the Automatic Rule and Reinstatement. Notification of a student’s intent to spend a spring term off campus under this option must be made on the required form and must be filed by the second day of spring classes. Students are responsible for checking their degree audits and maintaining progress toward degree requirements. Students exercising the Spring Option and returning must register for the subsequent term on the normal schedule. Any student on probation or with an active grade of Incomplete must register for a regular spring course or withdraw from the University.
Non-senior student-athletes participating in the Spring Term must be registered full time for spring-term courses. Senior student-athletes participating in the spring term and who have completed all degree requirements, including resolving all WIPs or Incompletes by the end of winter term, may exercise the Spring Option under an NCAA exception. Students must be approved to use this exception by the Associate Athletics Director and the University Registrar.
All students are expected to give thoughtful consideration to the selection of courses before consulting their faculty advisers. Further, individual students assume full responsibility for compliance with all academic requirements.
The faculty has set the following goals for academic advising.
“The academic advising system is fundamental to undergraduate education at Washington and Lee. It is, in fact, some of the most important work we do. The academic advising system should:
- Provide resources for students as they seek not only to meet graduation requirements, but also to become liberally educated human beings, well-developed in both intellect and character;
- Encourage students to take responsibility for their own educations and academic actions;
- Foster conversation among students and faculty beyond the classroom; and
- Help students to explore and serve a larger world through study abroad, community service, postgraduate education, and the commencement of productive careers.”
Questions or comments about academic advising at Washington and Lee should be directed to the Associate Provost.
Initial Faculty Adviser
From the time students enter as first-years until they have declared a major, they are served by an adviser whose role is to guide the selection of courses that satisfy Foundation and Distribution Requirements (FDR) and that permit exposure to elective courses that may help a student to choose a major. These liberal arts advisers come from all of the undergraduate academic departments.
When students declare a major (no later than the end of the winter term of sophomore year), they also select an adviser in the major. The role of the major adviser is to help students develop a plan for the timely completion of major requirements, along with any course work remaining for completion of Foundation and Distribution Requirements (FDR).
Adviser Authorization for Registration
Students may only register for courses after they have obtained authorization from their academic advisers. Advisers are not obligated to authorize registration for any advisee who has failed to meet with the adviser to discuss a plan for the upcoming academic term. Beyond the beginning of the first year, it is the student’s responsibility to schedule advising meetings prior to all registration periods to discuss class scheduling options for the upcoming term.
Changing an Adviser
When a student declares a program, major, or minor, the “Major, Minor, Program Declaration” form also requires a change to the adviser(s) of record for the student. Students can also request a simple change of adviser separate from a program, major, or minor declaration on the same form. The form is available from the University Registrar’s office or on the website at go.wlu.edu/forms.
Declaration and Change of Major and Minor
During the winter term, sophomores must declare an initial major, according to the schedule distributed by the University Registrar’s Office, by filing a “Major, Minor, Program Declaration” form. Failure to comply with the schedule results in a late fee of $100. When students decide upon a major, they work out a course of study with their academic adviser(s). Students who elect more than one major must work out a course of study with a faculty adviser in both of the departments involved. Each subsequent registration period students confer with their adviser(s) on progress toward the major(s) and make any appropriate revisions.
One of the many requirements for receiving a degree is to complete a major which leads to that degree. Any additional majors completed are a “bonus” added to that same degree. For example, a student may earn a Bachelor of Science degree, with majors in chemistry and art, or a Bachelor of Arts degree, with majors in music and business administration. The University Registrar must be informed of the student’s preference as to school and major for official listings.
Students may choose up to three declarations, from the following array of options:
• one major
• one major, one minor
• one major, two minors
• two majors
• two majors, one minor
Rarely, exceptions to these options may be granted by the faculty.
Degree of study, majors, and minors are declared or removed using the “Major, Minor, Program Declaration” form from the University Registrar’s office or the website at go.wlu.edu/forms. After the end of the second week of winter term of the senior year, students may not change their declared degree(s), major(s), or minor(s), except with permission of the Faculty Executive Committee. An approved revision after the end of the second week of winter term in the senior year incurs a $100 fee. An approved revision after the first week of spring term in the senior year incurs a $250 fee, in addition to any required diploma replacement charge. For December graduates, the deadlines are the end of the second week of fall term and the end of the week prior to Thanksgiving, respectively.
Once a major or minor is declared, it must be completed or officially removed prior to graduation.
Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in the catalog, the faculty may change the requirements to satisfy any major after a student has commenced studies at the University. In this case, the student, upon declaring a major, may be required to satisfy the major requirements as revised.
Upon matriculation, students are assigned to a class year corresponding to their anticipated graduation date (e.g., Class of 2019). Although independent from one another, this class year and student’s class standing as defined below are normally the same, unless there is a change in the anticipated graduation date.
For purposes of registration, selection of courses, and listing in the catalog, the following definitions are given of undergraduate class standing. As a general guideline, students should have completed at least the number of credits noted in parentheses. The definitions apply for the purposes specified only, and do not signify full standing or the completion of University requirements.
- A student has first year standing until completion of a full year of college study.
- A student obtains sophomore standing upon completion of a full year of college study (28 credits).
- A student obtains junior standing upon completion of two full years of college study (56 credits).
- A student obtains senior standing upon completion of three full years of college study (84 credits or more).
All students are expected to give thoughtful consideration to the selection of courses before consulting their faculty adviser. Further, individual students assume full responsibility for compliance with all academic deadlines and requirements.
Students in The College and in the Williams School are subject to the following rules and procedures concerning matriculating, checking in, and registering for courses.
Students going on approved study abroad may not register for courses taught at W&L during their time away. As part of the study abroad approval process, they will be registered for two placeholder courses, INTR 998: Approved Study Abroad and INTR 298: Study Abroad Reflections and Assessment.
Matriculation and Term Check-in
All students are required to matriculate at their initial entry at Washington and Lee or to check-in after any absence of a term or more from campus. The schedule of registration and matriculation for the opening of the academic year is indicated in the Academic Calendars . A student is subject to a fee of at least $100 for failure to comply with the stated matriculation or check-in schedule. This is in addition to any other fee; each failure to comply shall subject the student to a separate fee.
Current students who plan to return in September are required to register for the fall term during late March at times to be announced. Registration for the winter and spring terms will be accomplished at times specified during October and February. A student is subject to a fee of at least $50 for failure to comply with the stated registration schedule. This is in addition to any other fee; each failure to comply shall subject the student to a separate fee. After the drop/add period, the late registration fee is increased to at least $100. Degree-seeking students who are not registered for a full-time load by the end of the second week of any long term and within the first two days of the spring term, regardless of reason, will be automatically withdrawn from W&L. If they subsequently can demonstrate extenuating circumstances, they may apply for reinstatement and may petition the Faculty Executive Committee for permission to submit a late registration with a $200 fee. Any corrections to registration after the last day of final examinations for any term also incur a $200 fee.
Changes to the student’s course registration without record or charge are limited to the regular drop/add period held at the beginning of each term and noted in the academic calendar approved by the faculty. Courses dropped after the regular drop/ add period will be shown in the permanent record with a grade of “W”, “WP”, or “WF”, depending on the date of the change. Students should submit changes on time to avoid having withdrawal grades appear on the transcript.
No change in registration is official until the proper form, bearing the required signatures, has been received and recorded by the University Registrar’s office. Changes involving only a switching of class sections (except in spring term) must have departmental approval but need not have the academic adviser’s signature. When a course with an associated non-credit laboratory or tutorial has been dropped, the corequisite section may be dropped by the student, without record or penalty, within the first two weeks of a term, without any special permissions or fees.
Faculty members may require a previously registered student to drop a class if the student misses the first class meeting of the term without the prior approval of the instructor. In such cases the student is responsible for submitting the appropriate forms and fees. Upon recommendation of a student’s academic adviser, discretionary adjustments during the fall for a first-year student may be permitted by the appropriate dean before the end of the second week of a term and without charge or record.
Fall and Winter terms: The regular drop/add period is limited to the first five days of the term. During the second week of the term, students may alter their schedules, with the 1) permissions of the instructor, the adviser, and an academic dean, and 2) payment of a $100 fee. After the second week, any changes to the class schedule must also be approved by the Faculty Executive Committee, incurring a fee of $100, and in the case of dropped courses, a grade of W is assigned. After midterm, all dropped courses will receive a grade of WP or WF as assigned by the instructor of record, regardless of the reason for the drop. After the second week of a term, students dropping a course which is being repeated will receive an F (see “Repeating a Course”). Note below the additional policies related to reducing an overload or dropping for medical reasons.
Spring term: The regular drop/add period is limited to the first two days of the term. During the remainder of the first week of classes for the term, students may alter their schedules for 1-credit and physical education courses only, with the 1) permissions of all instructors, the adviser, and an academic dean (or the Director of Physical Education for 100- and 200-level physical education course changes), and 2) payment of a $100 fee. After the first week, any changes to the class schedule must also be approved by the Faculty Executive Committee, incurring a fee of $100 and, in the case of dropped courses, assignment of a grade of W. After midterm, any dropped course will receive a grade of WP or WF as assigned by the instructor of record, regardless of the reason for the drop. After the first week of the term, students dropping a course which is being repeated will receive an F (see “Repeating a Course”).
Change of Course Load for Medical Reasons or Overload Reduction
- If students drop a course, one which is not a repeat, on the recommendation of a University physician or a member of the University’s counseling staff and with the approval of the appropriate dean, a grade of W is assigned after the second week through midterm. A grade of WP or WF is assigned by the instructor of record after midterm. Students dropping a repeated course under these circumstances will have the original grade and credit, if any, reinstated.
- For the fall or winter terms, if students are enrolled in courses totaling 16 or more credits in the fall or winter term and if their success is endangered by the extra work, the overload may be reduced or eliminated upon the recommendation of the adviser and approval of the instructor and the appropriate dean without a recorded grade, provided the reduction is made by the end of the second week of the term. The course load for spring term may not exceed five credits nor fall below four credits and no overloads or underloads are permitted.
- The course load for spring term may not exceed five credits nor fall below four credits and no overloads or underloads are permitted. Students dropping their four-credit course after the initial drop/add period must also request a Leave of Absence or withdraw from the University. Spring Option may not be declared at that point.
Holds on Registration
Students with unpaid financial obligations to the University or other administrative holds will not be permitted to register or matriculate for any term of any academic year. They are still responsible for paying appropriate fees and penalties outlined above.
Exceptions to the above policies may only be granted by the Faculty Executive Committee upon student petition and payment of appropriate fees.
Undergraduates taking a course at the Law School
Seniors may approach the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the School of Law for permission to take one course in both the fall and winter terms (law fall and spring semesters). Only certain courses will be available, and approval must be granted by the instructor, the undergraduate faculty adviser, and the law and undergraduate deans. Attendance in the class is required on the same schedule as law students, so seniors must be aware of calendar differences (e.g., course start and end dates, different holiday and examination schedules) and workload. If approved, the course will count toward a term’s required full-time course load, will be graded only on a Pass/Fail basis, and will not count as credits toward either a law or undergraduate degree. See the form available on the University Registrar’s website at go.wlu.edu/forms.
Participation in the work of a course is clearly a precondition for a student receiving credit in that course. Because of the wide variety of courses and teaching methods at Washington and Lee, the University recognizes that the nature of a student’s participation in the work of a course cannot be prescribed on a University-wide basis. For this reason classroom attendance is not a matter subject to regulation by the University. Attendance in class and laboratory is rather a matter between the student and the professor in that class or laboratory. Faculty members may require a previously registered student to drop a class if the student misses the first meeting of the term without the prior approval of the instructor. In such cases, the student is responsible for submitting the appropriate forms and fees. A student taking an unauthorized underload or maintaining an unapproved extended absence from classes (two weeks or more without contacting the appropriate Dean’s office) may be required to withdraw from the University
Class Absence Policy and Procedure for Athletes
Intercollegiate athletic competition provides young men and women with opportunities for character development and learning that are not necessarily available in the classroom context. This is particularly true at the Division III level, where athletics remain unsullied by the pressures imposed by scholarships, high exposure, and the need to promote revenue-generating events. As a consequence, Washington and Lee University encourages students to take maximum advantage of opportunities at the University to engage in intercollegiate athletics. This is part of their education. At the same time the University and the Department of Physical Education, Athletics, and Recreation recognize that the primary goal of a university education is intellectual development. As a consequence, student-athletes are fully expected to devote themselves to their courses and to their intellectual development in no less a fashion than they would were they not engaged in intercollegiate competition.
To accommodate these twin goals of intellectual development and athletic participation, the Department of Physical Education, Athletics, and Recreation makes every effort to schedule “the time, place, and duration of team practices and contests” in a manner that avoids conflicts with students’ class schedules (Mission Statement of the Department of Physical Education, Athletics, and Recreation). With respect to practices and team meetings, the faculty and coaching staff understand that class attendance takes precedence over participation in athletics. Furthermore, full class participation in courses that may cause students to miss occasional practices will not, in itself, prejudice the coaches in the selection of team participants.
On occasion, University-sanctioned athletic events may unavoidably conflict with academic schedules. In those situations, student-athletes are not automatically entitled to exemptions from class attendance. However, given the department’s commitment to the academic mission of the University, professors are encouraged to accommodate those conflicts whenever doing so will not damage the individual student-athlete’s academic performance. In this regard, students who participate in intercollegiate athletics should review their calendars to see which athletic contests, if any, conflict with their academic schedules. Each student is responsible for discussing any scheduling conflict with his or her professors at the beginning of the term or as soon as possible after the student learns of the conflict. The ultimate goal is a reasonable accommodation of academic and athletic pursuits.
- Final examinations are given at the end of each term in a period approved in advance by the faculty. End-of-term examinations that cover a substantial portion of the term’s work and that count as a significant percentage of the term grade shall be given only during the final examination period. For fall and winter terms, examinations are given on each scheduled Monday through Thursday weekday from 9:00 a.m. to noon and from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., on Friday of exam week from 9:00 a.m. to noon, and on a scheduled Saturday from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Spring term examinations are given only on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to noon and from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (See the Academic Calendars .)
- Distribution of the examinations will be the responsibility of, and under the control of, each department. Examinations will be placed in envelopes labeled with the names of the students in the course and put in an appropriate departmental depository. At each examination offering, the individual administering the examinations of a department will distribute and collect the examinations at some previously specified point.
- Students will schedule their examinations by the following procedure:
- They will obtain from the University Registrar’s office a special examination envelope for each of their classes and a schedule form.
- They will prepare a schedule of their examinations (on the form provided), supply the information requested at the top of each envelope, and turn the examination envelope in to the appropriate instructor at the first class meeting of the last week of scheduled classes.
- Failure to register prior to the first day of the examination period may prevent a student from taking an examination.
- Any student may change the time scheduled for a final examination with the advance approval of the professor concerned. To schedule a final examination outside of the examination period approved by the faculty, a student must have secured permission of the professor concerned and must petition the Faculty Executive Committee.
- Each examination will be taken in a room or rooms designated by the department concerned. (Assignment of rooms will be cleared in advance with the University Registrar.) At the end of the period the student will return both the examination and answers to the departmental representative.
- Any student late for an examination may not expect time beyond the announced termination of the scheduled period.
- No student should expect to have an examination graded if it is turned in late, if it is turned in without the examination questions, or if it is taken in other than the assigned room.
- If special physical arrangements require the entire class to be present at the same time, an instructor may request to the University Registrar, at least a month in advance of the beginning of the examination period, to schedule an examination for a specific period.
- Students who fail to take any final examination shall receive a grade of F in the course, unless they are excused for reasons deemed sufficient by the appropriate dean and the instructor concerned. If they are excused they shall receive grade I (Incomplete).
- No instructor is at liberty to announce the result of any final examination until the end of the examination period, except in the case of seniors in their final term; they may be given their grades when they have completed their last examination.
- No athletic contests shall be scheduled for two days prior to the beginning of or during examinations. Contests scheduled away from Lexington during the first three days of the week prior to the beginning of examinations shall be held within a one-hour drive of campus. Athletic practices may be scheduled for not more than 90 minutes on the two days prior to the examination period. In addition, during the winter examination period, practices may be scheduled on Wednesday and Thursday from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. Student-athletes who have an academic concern will be excused, and this absence will not prejudice the coaches in the selection of team participants for competition.
- Special examinations are: (1) those given for seniors (see “Deficiencies in the Senior Year”); (2) September examinations; (3) any examinations to remove conditional failures, whether taken in September, May, or with the next class; and (4) any other examinations allowed by special action of the faculty.
- September examinations are given at a specified time during the opening week in September. These September examinations are for removal of deficiencies by students with a grade of E assigned at the end of spring term. A student wishing to take a September examination is required to notify the University Registrar in writing prior to September 1.
- May examinations are given at a specified time during the second week of May for the removal of a grade of E incurred in the fall or winter term of that year. This examination will not be given if the course is being taught in the spring term. A student wishing to take a May examination is required to notify the University Registrar in writing prior to May 1.
- For a special examination, a fee of $50 is charged. If the exam is necessitated by reasons beyond the control of the student, the appropriate dean may waive this fee. The fee is payable at the time the University Registrar receives notification of the student’s intention to take the examination. In the event the student does not report for the examination or does not take the examination after reporting for it, the fee is not refundable.
- Students who have signified their intention to the University Registrar to take a makeup examination in September or in May to remove an E, and have paid the $50 fee, will receive an F for the course if they fail to take the examination when scheduled, unless they have a medical excuse from a University physician or have notified the University Registrar at least one week in advance that they will not take the examination.
- Instructors are not free to give a special examination until they receive notification from the University Registrar’s office.
A comprehensive examination is given to all seniors majoring in classics, geology (leading to a Bachelor of Science degree), German language, and German literature. The examination is given on a date in the winter or spring term set in advance by the department concerned.
Grades given on the examination will be Excellent, Pass, or Fail. A student receiving a failing grade must retake and pass the comprehensive examination before being permitted to complete the major.
Washington and Lee uses a four-point grading scale with plus/minus letter grades.
A+, A, A- Superior
B+, B, B- Good
C +, C, C- Fair
D +, D, D- (Marginal) in a course indicates that the recipient would be seriously handicapped in further study requiring a knowledge of the material covered in this course.
E (Conditional Failure) represents a failure that may be made up in accordance with regulations stated in the catalog. This grade may be assigned only when the student’s class average during the term is passing, but the grade on the student’s final examination is below passing. The E grade is not applicable to courses taken on the Pass/Fail basis. (See Conditional Failure.)
F (Failure) on a term report indicates unconditional failure necessitating a repetition of the course in order to secure credit. No course may be repeated on a Pass/Fail basis.
F + on a first-year student’s midterm report indicates that while the average is below passing, there is a reasonable chance that it may be raised to passing by the end of the term.
I (Incomplete) signifies that, due to some cause beyond the student’s reasonable control (e.g., illness, injury, incapacitation), the work of the course has not been completed or the final examination has been deferred. The decision to grant an Incomplete should be made no sooner than the last three weeks of the term when it is clear the work of the course cannot be completed. When the deficiency is subsequently removed, the grade then attained is substituted for I in the permanent record. (See “Incomplete Grade”.)
WIP (Work-in-Progress) indicates that the work of this course is ongoing as part of 400-level work or a capstone course only. When the work is completed, the grade then attained is substituted for all related WIPs in the permanent record.
P (Passed) is assigned in courses which are taken on a Pass/Fail basis. It indicates satisfactory completion of the course (grade of D-minus or better) but is not used in computing grade-point averages.
S (Satisfactory) is assigned in courses which are taken on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis. S (Satisfactory) indicates completion of the work of the course equivalent to a grade of C (2.0) or higher with all course requirements met. Not used in computing grade-point averages.
U (Unsatisfactory) is assigned in courses which are taken on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis; U (Unsatisfactory) indicates completion of the work of the course equivalent to a grade of C-minus (below 2.0) or lower or a failure to meet all course requirements. Not used in computing grade-point averages.
W (Withdrew), WP (Withdrew Passing), and WF (Withdrew Failing) are assigned to courses dropped following the drop/add period early in each term or following a student’s withdrawal from the University. These grades are not used in computing grade-point averages.
On work taken at Washington and Lee, no grade below D-minus (the lowest passing grade) will fulfill any academic requirement. And, unless a non-passing grade is removed according to the procedure and within the limits specifically provided, the course credits represented by a non-passing grade will be counted as work attempted in calculating the cumulative grade-point average.
A student’s average grade is expressed in terms of a grade-point average and is based on a four-point scale. For this computation, there are assigned, respectively, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0, 0 grade points for each credit of work on which the grades A, B, C, D, E, and F are recorded. For every unit of plus, with the exception of A+, .33 is added; for every unit of minus, .33 is subtracted from the grade points. F+, I, and WIP are not used in the grade-point average computation, since they are only provisional grades. (The grade of F+ is used to record a provisional failure on first-year midterm reports.) The grade-point average is the quotient obtained by dividing the sum of the grade points by the total number of credits on work attempted. Work attempted includes all courses for which the student was registered, except those from which the student was permitted to withdraw with no grade or for which the grade of P, S, or U were assigned.
All students are informed of their grade-point averages and may share this information with anyone they choose. In addition, students can determine their approximate percentile rank within the class by consulting the cumulative grade-point-average cutoffs posted on the University Registrar’s website. These vary from year to year and from class to class. Exact class standings are not released, with the exception of naming the valedictorian in each graduating class. Those students receiving their degrees in October or December will have their rank determined by the cutoffs of the previous spring’s graduating class.
After attaining sophomore standing a student is permitted each fall or winter term to take one elective course (not a course used for the student’s major or minor, or a course used to meet an FDR requirement, or a three- or four-credit spring term course) in which the grade of Pass or Fail is given, to which no grade points are assigned. However, only 18 credits of such work may be offered toward satisfying graduation requirements. A student receiving an F will receive no credit toward the degree, but the F will be used in computing the term and cumulative grade-point averages. Except for those courses graded Pass/Fail only, no course may be repeated on a Pass/Fail basis. A course for which the grade of P has been received may not be repeated. The student must complete a Pass/Fail form and must obtain permission of the instructor in order to take a course on a Pass/Fail basis. Changes to or from this category are limited to the first week of a term during which the class is scheduled to meet. Exceptions to this last policy may only be granted by the Faculty Executive Committee upon student petition and payment of the appropriate fee.
Continuing education students, prior to their admission as degree-seeking, are not eligible to exercise the above Pass/Fail option.
During the fall term (no later than midterm), first-year students will be given the opportunity to elect that the composite grade for one credit which they will receive in physical education will be recorded as a letter grade or as Pass/Fail. If Pass/Fail is elected, it will in no way be regarded as a normal Pass/Fail grade nor be subject to Pass/Fail rules, except that the decision in this regard is binding and no subsequent change is permitted.
Students taking certain courses will receive a grade of either Satisfactory (S) or Unsatisfactory (U). No other letter grades are assigned in these particular courses. A grade of Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory can only be earned in specific courses designated in advance by the Committee on Courses and Degrees. Satisfactory (S) indicates completion of the work of the course equivalent to a grade of C (2.0) or higher with all course requirements met. Unsatisfactory (U) indicates completion of work of the course equivalent to a grade of C-minus (below 2.0) or lower or a failure to meet all course requirements. Neither grade is used in computing grade-point averages. A student receiving a U will receive no credit toward the degree. A course for which the grade of S has been received may not be repeated, except as already approved for additional credit. No more than 18 credits of Satisfactory-graded courses may be used toward degree requirements.
During any term, students may withdraw voluntarily from the University only after receiving the approval of the appropriate dean. Grades for these students will be assigned according to the following guidelines:
- No record of the grades shall be made if a student withdraws from the University within two weeks after classes begin in the summer, fall, and winter terms or within one week in the spring term. Withdrew (W) grades are assigned for dropped courses after the second week of classes through midterm during the long terms, during the second week of classes for spring term, and for any withdrawal after the second week of the summer term. Withdrew Passing (WP) and Withdrew Failing (WF) are assigned by the instructors concerned, regardless of the reason, after midterm.
- Medical withdrawal from the University for any term will entitle students to receive grades of W, WP or WF (Withdrew, Withdrew Passing or Withdrew Failing), as assigned by the instructors concerned and depending on the date of the change. Medical withdrawals must be attested to by a physician and have the approval of the appropriate dean and either the University physician or a member of the University’s counseling staff.
- Medical withdrawal during the last two weeks of class for any term will entitle students, upon obtaining the appropriate approvals, to choose to receive a grade of Incomplete in one or more classes, and WP or WF in the remaining classes, as assigned by the instructors concerned.
- Withdrawal for reasons other than medical will result in students receiving either W, WP or WF grades (Withdrew, Withdrew Passing, or Withdrew Failing) as assigned by the instructors concerned and depending on the date of the change. Students withdrawing with a cumulative grade-point average of 2.000 or lower shall fall under the Automatic Rule and sever their connection with the University. (See “Automatic Rule”.)
- Withdrawal while repeating a course will entitle students to receive grades of W, WP or WF and to have the original grade and credit, if any, reinstated.
- The following notation will appear on all transcripts: “W (Withdrew), WP (Withdrew Passing) and WF (Withdrew Failing) indicate the student’s work up to the time of withdrawal and are not term grades.”
Repeating a Course
Repetition of courses taken at Washington and Lee in order to change the grade received is governed by the following rules:
- Except for those courses graded Pass/Fail only, no course may be repeated Pass/Fail and no passing grade or grade of F may be raised by re-examination, except as provided for under “Deficiencies in the Senior Year”.
- After receiving a grade in the original course, a student may not repeat that course after having passed another course for which the original course is a specific prerequisite.
- A student may re-enroll in a course at Washington and Lee for which a grade has already been received. However, if the student remains enrolled in the course beyond the end of the second week of the term, the former grade and degree credit (if any) is forfeited, and the former credit is removed from the category of “work calculated.” The grade received on repetition becomes the grade of record (i.e., used in the calculation of all cumulative grade-point averages), although the original grade remains on the student’s transcript prefixed by R (e.g., “RD-“) and in calculation of the term grade-point average. After the second week of a term, if the student drops the course before its completion, the grade of record will be F and will be treated as any other grade received in that term. Withdrawal from the University while repeating a course reinstates the original grade and credit, if any. Degree credit is awarded only once for any course.
- Only the first 12 credits of courses repeated will result in a new grade replacing the original grade as grade of record. If the student attempts the repetition of more than 12 credits, all grades beyond 12 credits will be grades of record and computed in the grade-point average.
- If a student repeats a course at another institution in order to receive transfer credit, the previous Washington and Lee grade will not change and will remain in the student’s Washington and Lee grade-point average.
Grade E means a conditional failure. This grade may be assigned only when the student’s class average during the term is passing, but the grade on the final examination is below passing. Conditional failure indicated by grade E may be made up by repetition of the course or by passing a May or September examination (see “Special Examinations”) during the following academic year or passing the next regular examination with the class. If then successful, the student is allowed credit for the work of the term. If the student fails or is absent from the examination without sufficient excuse, the grade becomes F. Except after repetition of the course, no student who has received on a course the grade E shall by subsequent examination receive a grade higher than D (1.0). Such grades will appear on the transcript prefixed by E (e.g., “ED-“).
A grade of Incomplete signifies that, due to some cause beyond the student’s reasonable control (e.g., illness, injury, incapacitation), the work of the course has not been completed or the final examination has been deferred. The decision to grant an Incomplete should be made no sooner than the last three weeks of the term when it is clear the work of the course cannot be completed. When the deficiency is subsequently removed, the grade then attained is substituted for I in the permanent record.
To receive credit for a course in which an I (Incomplete) grade has been received, a student must remove the deficiency by the due date set by the instructor and no later than the end of the 15th class day (three weeks) into the next fall, winter, or spring term, as appropriate, whether or not they are still enrolled at Washington and Lee. If unchanged by the instructor, the I grade becomes an F. For any extension, the student must obtain approval from the responsible faculty member on an Incomplete Grade Extension form and submit the form to the University Registrar’s Office before the current deadline. All I grades remaining at the end of the subsequent term will automatically become F grades, whether or not the students are still enrolled.
Students may not register if they have four or more Incompletes on their record. Students may not graduate with an Incomplete remaining on their record, unless there are extraordinary circumstances satisfactory to the Committee on Courses and Degrees.
To receive credit for a course in which a WIP has been received, a student must complete the work during the next two fall, winter, or spring terms, as appropriate. Additional time may be granted by the instructor on written request of the student. If a WIP grade is not so removed, the grade automatically becomes an F. Students may not graduate with a WIP grade remaining on their record, unless there are extraordinary circumstances satisfactory to the Committee on Courses and Degrees.
Changing a Grade
Grades may be changed after the end of a term at the written request of an instructor only if the instructor discovers an error in the original assignment, but in no case may a grade be changed after the end of the 15th class day (three weeks) into the next fall, winter, or spring term, as appropriate, or after graduation without the approval of the Faculty through the Committee on Courses and Degrees.
Auditing a Course
Washington and Lee University does not offer audit as a grading option; therefore, students may not formally audit a course. The informal audit practice is a “no record, no charge” activity, whereby students obtain permission from the instructor to attend a class and participate at a level deemed appropriate by the faculty member. Students who informally audit a course under these circumstances may not be registered for the course nor receive academic credit for the course for that particular term.
Term grades are recorded on the permanent record at the end of each term, and a report is made electronically to each student. During the fall and winter terms, midterm grades are collected for all new and reinstated students and students on academic probation and sent in print only to faculty advisers. Midterm grades are for advising purposes only and are not recorded on the official transcript.
The President’s List consists of those full-time, undergraduate, degree-seeking students who, as of July 1 each year,
- have completed at least 24 W&L-graded credits toward the GPA during the preceding academic year. For the fall, winter, and spring terms combined, the following will not be considered: transfer credit and grades of Incomplete, Pass, Satisfactory, Unsatisfactory, Work-in-Progress. Also, credits associated with original attempts of courses repeated in the same year are not included in the calculation.
- have received only grades of C (2.0) or higher in graded courses of at least one credit in that period; and
- were among the top 30 percent of the students so eligible in their respective class year.
Honors in the Major
See the catalog section Honors in the Major.
Graduation with Distinction
The candidate for a degree with distinction must earn a grade-point average, on all work attempted at Washington and Lee, sufficient to place the student in the top 30 percent of the class, with the honors awarded at the following more specific percentages:
summa cum laude top 5%
magna cum laude next 10%
cum laude next 15%
The valedictorian of a class shall be the candidate(s) for a degree conferred in either May or, if graduating earlier than the majority of the class, the previous December, with the highest cumulative grade-point average at the time final grades are due for graduating seniors, calculated to four decimal places and including the work of the final term prior to graduation.
Deficiencies in the Senior Year
At the discretion of the professor concerned, students who received one, and only one, failing grade during the fall and winter terms of their senior year and who, as a result of that failure, are unable to graduate, may take a re-examination in that course prior to end of the third week of the spring term. The resultant course grade may be no higher than D (1.0). Students who originally took the course in question on a pass/fail basis will be given a letter grade no higher than D (1.0) upon re-examination (see “Special Examinations”).
Students who fail a course in the spring term of their graduating year are not permitted a reexamination during that term. Such a student is entitled to a special examination during the subsequent academic year on not more than two courses. Unless enrolled as a student during the subsequent academic year, the student taking such a re-examination is required to pay a special fee of $50. The course grade upon re-examination cannot exceed D (1.0). Students who originally took the course in question on a pass/fail basis will be given a letter grade no higher than D (1.0) upon re-examination (see “Special Examinations”).
Degree Credit for Off-Campus Study
Only work comparable to that at Washington and Lee in level, nature, and field may be accepted for degree credit. Up to two courses (6-8 credits) taken online after matriculation to W&L may be used for degree requirements only with the permission of the department or program head in the appropriate discipline or, if the discipline is not represented at Washington and Lee, from the appropriate Associate Dean of The College. Courses taken at community (or other similar) colleges or programs after original matriculation at Washington and Lee may not be used for degree requirements. In order to receive Washington and Lee credit, all documentation (official transcripts, official score reports, required W&L forms, etc.) must be received by the University Registrar before the end of the first term in which the student is enrolled at W&L.
No more than 56 of the 113 credits required for the W&L degree may be earned elsewhere or by any other means than through courses offered at W&L or through formal exchanges (e.g., VMI, Mary Baldwin, Spelman). In other words, first-year incoming credits, transfer credits, courses taken abroad, etc., will not count in the 57 credits to be taken at W&L.
First-year students may receive a maximum of 28 credits from any and all non-W&L sources (e.g., AP, IB, college courses while in high school). Of the 28, no more than nine credits can be counted toward the requirements for a particular major with departmental approval; individual departments may set a limit of less than nine credits counted toward the major.
Students admitted as transfer students (after the first year) may transfer up to 56 credits from all sources. Continuing education students, at the point of their admission as degree-seeking students, also have this privilege.
For students obtaining credit for off-campus study, it is the student’s responsibility to have an official transcript or score report sent to the University Registrar, Washington and Lee University. Approvals must be obtained and official transcripts or reports received by the University Registrar before the conclusion (last day of classes) of the first 13-week term completed by the student upon his or her return to W&L. Late submissions will be charged an initial fee of $100 and $50 per term beyond the deadline. Exceptions to this rule may be granted by the Faculty Executive Committee only for extenuating circumstances.
Advanced Placement Credit
Incoming students who have performed well on the College Board Advanced Placement Program examinations may be considered for advanced placement in college courses and for credit toward graduation, at the discretion of the department heads involved. Some disciplines require a minimum score of “4” or, in the case of biology, chemistry, economics, English, environmental science, French language or literatures, German language, history, Latin, music, physics, politics, psychology, Spanish language or literature, statistics and studio art (2-D or 3-D design), a “5” is required before granting credit is considered. Each examination meeting these minimal criteria is reviewed carefully, and credit is awarded only when deemed appropriate. First-year students who wish to have their Advanced Placement examination(s) considered for credit must have their official Advanced Placement score reports sent directly to Washington and Lee. Current departmental policies appear on the University Registrar’s Web page go.wlu.edu/AP.
International Baccalaureate Credit
Washington and Lee University recognizes successful achievement of students in the curriculum of the International Baccalaureate Organization. Students who have earned certificates or diplomas in this program may present their official credentials for consideration for the awarding of advanced placement credit. First-year students who wish to have their IB scores considered for credit must have their official IB score reports sent directly to Washington and Lee. Credit will be considered only in cases where a course has been studied at the “higher level” and the student has been given an IB grade of 5 or higher, depending on departmental standards. The decisions for or against awarding college credit will be made by the department concerned on an individual basis. Current departmental policies appear on the University Registrar’s Web page at go.wlu.edu/IB.
Transfer of Credit
Credits for courses completed at another college or university accredited by one of the six regional accrediting agencies of the United States, with a grade of C (2.0) or higher, may be transferred to Washington and Lee and used as degree credit. Grades for these courses, however, may not be transferred, and a student’s cumulative grade-point average will include only work attempted at Washington and Lee.
A student admitted as a transfer may receive no more than 56 credits for work transferred. Such credits are assigned by the appropriate department head and the University Registrar at the discretion of the appropriate dean. Only work comparable to that at Washington and Lee in level, nature, and field may be accepted for degree credit. Up to two courses (6-8 credits) taken online after matriculation may be used for degree requirements only with the permission of the department or program head in the appropriate discipline or, if the discipline is not represented at Washington and Lee, from the appropriate Associate Dean of The College. Courses taken at community (or other similar) colleges or programs after original matriculation at Washington and Lee may not be used for degree credit. Transfer students must complete at least six terms of full-time study at Washington and Lee prior to receiving a degree.
Requests for Transfer Credit by First-Year Students
First-year students who wish to be awarded credit at Washington and Lee for courses previously taken at another college or university accredited by one of the six regional accrediting agencies of the United States should obtain a Credit Transfer Form from the University Registrar or online at go.wlu.edu/forms and return it with the requested information (course description and syllabus, official college transcript, information on instructor, location and texts). Credits for courses completed at another institution with a grade of C (2.0) or higher may be transferred to Washington and Lee and used as degree credit. Grades for these courses will not be transferred, and a student’s cumulative grade-point average will include only work attempted at Washington and Lee. Requests and transcripts received by August 15 will be processed in time for new students’ registration for fall term. These courses are often prerequisites for work new students plan to undertake in their first term, so it is important to have the records sent as soon as possible. No college credit will be awarded if it has been used to meet one of Washington and Lee’s entrance requirements.
Credit for Service in the Military
Students who have had two years of active service in the armed forces are, upon completion of all other credits required for a degree, given credit for the physical education requirement for a degree; students who have had six months of active service are given credit for one term toward the physical education requirement for a degree.
Under the Reserve Officers Candidate program of the U.S. Navy, a student who completes the ROC-TWO summer course with grade C (2.0) or better may be granted two elective credits. A student who completes the summer programs for Platoon Leaders of the U.S. Marine Corps may be granted four elective credits.
Washington and Lee awards degree credit “for education, not experience.” Credits will be awarded only for internships that contribute toward learning, as specified by departments listing all internship experiences as a 450-level course. Departments are responsible for approving each internship in advance, designating faculty supervisors, requiring interim and final reports, securing evaluations from work supervisors, ascertaining that the student worked full-time for the period, assigning a grade for the course and retaining records on each individual’s performance for evaluation purposes. Where credit is appropriate for an internship, it should be available whether or not there is a salary or stipend.
Credits may be awarded to students for internships as follows: up to nine credits for winter or fall term; up to six credits for spring term; and up to three credits for summer/fall combined experiences. A maximum of nine credits of internship may be used to meet degree requirements.
Many summer work experiences do not qualify for degree credit. The value of summer work lies in experience and networking. The requirement of some employers that students must receive academic credit in order to be considered for employment has absolutely no bearing on the academic department’s decision regarding degree-credit approval. The decision to award degree credit will be based on the educational merits of the internship experience as determined by university faculty.
Washington and Lee University recognizes the educational value of summer internships from organizations that offer high quality summer internship programs. The University will award a student one non-degree credit per summer for qualified summer internships. The summer internship will be transcribed as a non-academic course without a grade. It will appear on the transcript as a summer entry in the year the internship is completed. Up to three non-degree credits will be transcribed. They will have no effect on the transcript totals of degree credit.
To be awarded one non-degree credit for a summer internship, students must fill out an application form and meet the following standards:
• Students must be currently enrolled, receive final grades for the winter term immediately preceding the internship, and have no outstanding winter term Incompletes on their transcripts at the end of the spring term preceding the internship.
• In advance of starting the internship, students must apply to have the internship approved for possible non-degree credit. When the application is submitted, students must supply sufficient documentation regarding the internship so that it may be vetted by the Career and Professional Development staff to insure that the internship is sufficiently rigorous and will provide educational value.
• The Career and Professional Development staff will use advice from faculty familiar with various types of internships and will approve or disapprove the application. If necessary, once the application is approved, the University Registrar will confirm with the employer that the student will receive credit for the internship.
• Students must supply to the Career and Professional Development staff a statement from the employer that the internship has been completed successfully, including that they had worked a minimum of 280 hours.
There are clearly some instances where a summer experience may qualify for degree credit based on subsequent work in a fall term. Faculty should be involved in the planning, execution and evaluation of the internship. Summer transcripting – only of off-campus C&D-approved summer courses – is permitted, beginning Summer 2017 In order for these summer/fall internships to qualify for degree credit, the following standards must be met:
• The summer/fall internship will be the responsibility of an academic department, listed as a 450-level course (e.g., 451 for one credit, 453 for three credits) in the catalog, and intended primarily for majors.
• Faculty will determine if the internship merits the opportunity for a follow-up fall term project and degree credit. Credit will be based on the work during an academic term with the summer work as a prerequisite.
• The student, faculty and sponsor of the internship must agree in writing on the conditions of the summer portion of the internship during the spring term prior to the internship.
• The student will register for the internship in the summer term. The degree credit awarded and conditions of the summer-term academic work, and any additional work required during subsequent terms at W&L, will be determined by the sponsoring department and faculty member.
W&L Summer Credit
Summer transcripting – only of off-campus C&D-approved summer courses – is permitted. Students’ eligibility for these summer experiences will be determined by the departments or programs sponsoring the opportunities, typically to include graded academic activities into the fall term. Students will not be reinstated merely for summer study at W&L.
Transfer Summer Credit
Students who have attempted academic work at Washington and Lee, and who wish to count toward degree credit summer work taken subsequently at another institution, must meet certain conditions:
- Verification that the college or university is a four-year institution accredited by one of the six regional accrediting agencies of the United States must be secured from the appropriate dean. Courses taken at community colleges may not be used for degree credit at Washington and Lee. Approval of courses in accounting, business administration, economics, and politics is secured from the Dean or Associate Dean of the Williams School as soon as possible but not later than June 1 (June 15, if summer work is necessitated by spring term grades). Approval of other courses is secured from heads of departments offering the corresponding work at Washington and Lee University. Approval of courses taken for credit at scientific research laboratories and field stations may be granted at the discretion of the department concerned.
In order to assure that students receive credit for summer school courses, it is recommended that they seek the advice and approval of the appropriate department head and dean before enrolling for the courses. However, if students apply for credit during the course or after it has been completed, they will be given or denied credit on the basis of the criteria which would have been applied to their request prior to taking the course. No matter when approval is requested, students must submit applications for approval on the Application for Degree Credit for Off-Campus Study form, obtainable from the University Registrar’s office or website at go.wlu.edu/forms.
- A maximum of four courses, not to exceed 14 credits, of summer school work may be offered toward all major, minor, degree requirements.
- If a course is repeated in summer school at another institution in order to receive transfer credit, the previous Washington and Lee grade will not change and will remain in the student’s Washington and Lee grade-point average, since only credits transfer. Grades for summer work do not have any effect on a student’s grade-point averages.
- Permission will not be granted to take any course which is a specific prerequisite for a course which has already been passed.
- It is the responsibility of the student to see that the official transcript is sent to the University Registrar, Washington and Lee University. Approvals must be obtained and official transcript received by the University Registrar before the conclusion (last day of classes) of the first 13-week term completed by students upon their return to W&L. Late submissions will be charged an initial fee of $100 and $50 per term beyond the deadline. Exceptions to this rule may be granted by the Faculty Executive Committee.
- If students wish to receive credit for courses taken in a summer program abroad, they should consult with the Center for International Education as early as possible in order to identify and apply to an appropriate program or school. The institution and the program must be approved by the International Education Committee and the applicant by the appropriate dean. A student must have a cumulative grade-point average of at least 2.500. Except in unusual circumstances, approval by the International Education Committee must be given before the student undertakes summer study abroad in order to receive credit.
The transcript is a complete record of all academic work taken at Washington and Lee, regardless of whether the student was enrolled in law or undergraduate courses, as degree- or non-degree-seeking. Only the name at entrance and the last name used while enrolled at W&L appear on the transcript. After your last enrollment at Washington and Lee, no subsequent name change will be reflected on the academic record, with the exception of a name change associated with a gender change.
Official Washington and Lee University transcripts, whether electronic or print, bear the University seal and the University Registrar’s signature and are provided free of charge as a service to students and alumni. For information about ordering and delivery, see go.wlu.edu/transcripts. The University Registrar does not provide unofficial transcript or other unofficial documents.
Grades are recorded on transcripts at the end of each academic term. During the posting of end-of-term grades, no official transcripts for current students will be created once the grading window has opened until all grades for all students have been submitted, in order to avoid sending partial grade information. No transcript will be provided for students with overdue accounts or other holds at the University.
Leave of Absence
Students who wish to leave the University temporarily for academic, medical, religious or military-service reasons may request a Leave of Absence for a specified period of time by petitioning the Committee on Automatic Rule and Reinstatement. Students on academic or conduct probation are not eligible for leaves, except for medical leaves. Leaves are normally approved for up to one academic year. The application (go.wlu.edu/ugr-leave-form) must be submitted to the designated Associate Dean of The College, who is the chair of the Committee on the Automatic Rule and Reinstatement. International students should also contact the Center for International Education to discuss eligibility and potential visa issues.
Leaves planned in advance must be requested at least three weeks before the beginning of the term during which the student wants to be absent from W&L. Requests for unexpected (e.g., health-related) leaves must be made immediately and are not considered retroactively.
Medical leaves must be supported by Student Health and Counseling. Students must submit medical documentation in support of the leave with their application and/or in support of readiness to return, as feasible under the circumstances. Students must also submit with their application consent for the Director of the Student Health Center to communicate with the health-care provider in order to make an informed, individualized, objective recommendation to the applicable University administrators on the appropriateness of the leave of absence, readiness to return, and follow up treatment needs.
Academic leaves of absence are normally granted only for the purpose of academic enrichment. Students taking courses elsewhere while on leave of absence must request departmental approval in advance for any course to be used for degree credit, particularly major or FDR requirements.
Other types of leaves will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
For the purpose of federally subsidized financial aid only, students on Spring Option will be reported as being on Leave of Absence.
Return is contingent upon approval of a Return from Leave of Absence application and good conduct in the interim. Return is also contingent on an acceptable academic record during an academic leave and/or on readiness to resume full-time academic and campus life after a medical leave, with or without reasonable accommodation, as determined by the University. The University reserves the right to request appropriate documentation, determined on a case-by-case basis, to confirm that the student is qualified and/or ready for return. Students found to be not ready or academically qualified to return in the judgment of the University, after an individualized assessment based on best available current information, will be considered to have voluntarily withdrawn. Such students may apply for reinstatement (see go.wlu.edu/ugr-reinstate).
Students who do not return for the specified term will be withdrawn retroactive to their leave date and may face financial consequences. Leaves of longer than 180 days may also have financial consequences.
Student conduct issues arising during a leave of absence may result in referral for discipline prior to or upon return to the University, which could lead to suspension or required withdrawal from the University.
Law students wishing to request a leave of absence should contact the Associate Dean for Administration and Student Affairs.
Note: The University applies this policy and associated procedures in a nondiscriminatory manner, in consultation with qualified professionals, as appropriate, and will make each reinstatement or readmission determination based on an individualized assessment of that student’s situation and what is in the best interests of the student, the campus community, and the University.
Call to Active Duty
Students called to active duty in the armed forces of the United States will be allowed to withdraw from the university without penalty upon presenting an official copy of their military orders to the University Registrar. This must be done at the time a student is required to stop attending classes.
The University will credit 100% of tuition for the term that the student departs to the term when the student returns to the University. Should the student not return, a refund of the tuition will be issued based upon the University’s refund policy at the time of withdrawal. For students who have room and/or board contracts in force, the cost of room and/or board will be reimbursed on a pro-rated basis.
Students who withdraw before midterm will receive normal withdrawal notations (e.g., W, Withdrew grades) on the transcript. After midterm, students may, with the permission of the appropriate instructor, exercise one of two additional options: 1) receive final grades earned as of the date of withdrawal, if work of sufficient quantity and quality has been completed to warrant a passing grade for the term; or 2) receive an Incomplete grade for one or more courses. Students who exercise one of these two additional options are subject to all other faculty policies regarding those grades and will not receive a tuition refund for those courses in which a final grade or Incomplete is assigned.
Reinstatement after Serving on Active Duty
Students whose absence from the University results from being called to active duty for more than 30 days will be reinstated at the University with their same academic status if: 1) they provide notice of such service, and other documentation required by law, to either the designated Associate Dean of The College or the Associate Dean of the School of Law for Academic Affairs, as appropriate; 2) within three years of their completion of service (or within two years after any period necessary to recover from an injury incurred or aggravated during such service) they notify the appropriate dean in writing of their intent to return; and 3) the cumulative length of all absences from the University for service in the armed forces of the United States does not exceed five years. (NB: American Bar Association rules require that the Juris Doctor must be completed within 84 months after the beginning of law study.)
Progress Toward Degree
All students at Washington and Lee are expected to make steady progress toward completing their degree requirements. Their progress is judged by the quality of their academic work as measured by their grade-point averages. Withdrawal from courses, repetition of courses, incomplete courses, and transfer courses may have an effect on a student’s grade-point average, total credits attempted, or number of terms completed toward degree requirements. Eligibility for federal Title IV aid is determined by the Satisfactory Academic Progress guidelines listed in the financial aid section .
Failure to make the minimum progress as defined below for undergraduate students will result in academic probation or in the students being suspended under the Automatic Rule.
The Committee on the Automatic Rule and Reinstatement places students on academic probation for the following term for failing to meet one or both of the following standards:
1. the term grade-point average for any term falls below 2.000
2. the cumulative grade-point average falls below 2.000
Students placed on academic probation are warned of their precarious position and advised to limit their participation in extracurricular activities during the period of their probation. Students who do not resolve their probationary status within the time frames described below receive academic suspension under the Automatic Rule. Term specific information follows.
A. At the end of the fall term, a student is put on probation if:
1. the fall-term grade-point average is below 2.000 and/or
2. the cumulative grade-point average is below 2.000.
These students will be on probation during the following winter term, at the end of which they must have term and cumulative grade-point averages of at least 2.000 to avoid academic suspension under the Automatic Rule.
B. At the end of the winter term, a student is put on probation if:
1. the winter-term grade-point average is below 2.000 and/or
2. the cumulative grade-point average is below 2.000.
These students will be on probation during the following spring and fall terms. A spring-term grade-point average at or above 2.000 will not remove the student from academic probation, even if the cumulative grade-point average is over 2.000 at the end of the spring term. Rather, probation extends into the following 13-week fall term when the probation is either removed (via term and cumulative grade-point averages at or above 2.000) or converted to academic suspension.
C. At the end of the spring term, a student is put on probation if:
1. the spring-term grade-point average is below 2.000 and/or
2. the cumulative grade-point average is below 2.000.
These students will be on probation during the following fall term, at the end of which they must have term and cumulative grade-point averages of at least 2.000 to avoid academic suspension under the Automatic Rule.
Automatic Rule (Academic Suspension)
At the end of any academic term, the Committee on the Automatic Rule and Reinstatement suspends students who are on probation if they fail to meet either the term grade-point average or cumulative grade-point average standards described above. Suspension from the university severs all connections and privileges associated with being a student at Washington and Lee.
The following also fall under the Automatic Rule:
- First-year students whose first-term grade-point average falls below 1.000; or
- Those students who have been reinstated on probation and who have failed to meet the grade-point standard required by the Committee on the Automatic Rule and Reinstatement; or
- Those students withdrawing from the university during any term for reasons other than medical and having a cumulative grade-point average below 2.000; or
- At the end of the winter term, those students unable to remove their probationary status by attempting no more than four credits during the spring term; or
- Continuing education students with a failing grade in two concurrent or consecutive courses.
A student who has been suspended from the university under the Automatic Rule may apply for reinstatement after a minimum absence of one year (see “Reinstatement”). Such students are placed on academic probation if reinstated. Though rarely granted, a student may appeal for immediate reinstatement. Students petitioning for immediate reinstatement may appeal in writing (see the application at go.wlu.edu/immediate-reinstate-app) to the designated Associate Dean of The College, Chair of the Committee on the Automatic Rule and Reinstatement by 5:00 p.m. US Eastern time on the following dates:
- for winter term, December 30;
- for spring term, Thursday after winter-term grades are released; or
- for fall term, May 30.
Students who withdraw voluntarily sever their connection with the University. Students must accomplish withdrawal during a term through the appropriate Dean (designated Associate Dean of The College or Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students or designee for either). Those students withdrawing from the university during any term for reasons other than medical and having a cumulative grade-point average below 2.000 will fall under the Automatic Rule (see Automatic Rule). A voluntary withdrawal will have an effect on academic grades and/or credits, refund of applicable fees, and access to University housing or other facilities. The University will consider students not returning for a subsequent term to have withdrawn voluntarily. Students who withdraw voluntarily may apply for reinstatement; see the details and requirements for this process below at Reinstatement .
Required Administrative Withdrawal for Academic Reasons
A student taking an unauthorized underload or maintaining an unapproved extended absence from classes (two weeks or more without contacting the appropriate Dean’s office) may be required to withdraw from the University for the term in which that conduct occurs, forfeiting all academic credit, tuition and fees for that term. The appropriate Dean will inform the student of the withdrawal, along with the steps that the student must take to apply for reinstatement.
The University expects students themselves to notify family members when they withdraw from the University. However, the University retains the discretion to notify parents, guardians or spouses of student withdrawals, which constitute a change in a student’s official enrollment status, with student consent or when the University deems it appropriate to do so and in accordance with the University’s student records policy.
Students who withdraw voluntarily or who are withdrawn administratively from or suspended by the University may apply for reinstatement.
Undergraduate information and applications for reinstatement are available online at go.wlu.edu/ugr-reinstatement. Undergraduate students must return the completed application, along with all required materials, so that the designated Associate Dean of The College receives it by 5:00 p.m. US Eastern time November 15 for winter term, March 1 for spring term, and May 15 or August 1 for fall term.
The University will not reinstate an undergraduate student for a spring term unless that student has both 1) satisfactorily completed at least one fall or winter term at Washington and Lee University, and 2) was registered for a full-time course load through midterm during at least one of the two preceding 13-week terms at Washington and Lee. This means that first-year and new transfer students who withdraw during the Winter Term are not eligible to apply for reinstatement for Spring Term unless they have completed the Fall Term in the same academic year. Undergraduate applications for reinstatement are reviewed and acted upon at the discretion of the Committee on the Automatic Rule and Reinstatement (“the Committee”).
Law student applications for readmission are available from the Director of Law School Records. Law students must return the completed application, along with all required materials, so that the Director of Law School Records receives it by November 15 for spring term or July 1 for fall term. The Law School will not readmit a law student unless the student can complete his or her degree within six (6) years of beginning it (see the Law School catalog for exception for readmission after active military service). The Dean of the Law School (or designee) will review and act upon applications for law students.
In all reinstatement cases (whether the withdrawal was voluntary or involuntary, including suspensions), the University reserves the right to require sufficient documentation, determined on a case-by-case basis, that the student is qualified and ready to return to full-time academic work and campus life. Depending on the particular circumstances and reasons for the individual student’s withdrawal, this may involve an on-campus interview with one or more appropriate university officials and/or submission of a written progress assessment from a treating health professional indicating that the student is qualified and ready to resume the particular rigors and essential requirements of full-time academic work and campus life at Washington and Lee, with or without reasonable accommodation, and that his/her treatment and care needs, if applicable, can be supported at Washington and Lee.
In cases where the University requires a written progress assessment from a treating health professional, the Director of Student Health and Counseling Services and/or a University Counselor will require a release from the student to discuss current treatment and follow-up needs with the treating health professional, in order to assess whether the student is qualified and ready to return to the particular rigors and essential requirements of full-time academic work and campus life at Washington and Lee, with or without reasonable accommodation, and whether the University can provide the follow-up care needed to maintain the student’s enrollment. The Director of Student Health and Counseling Services and/or a University Counselor will review this information and recommend to the Committee or Dean of the Law School or designee approval (with or without conditions of treatment, education, counseling, or other) or denial of the reinstatement/ readmission. Members of the Committee or Dean of the Law School may review the health professional’s written progress assessment and/or relevant health care records when needed to inform their decision-making.
After consulting with University health professionals and/or other appropriate university officials as necessary to facilitate an informed decision, the Committee or Dean of the Law School or designee will act on the application. Decisions regarding reinstatement or readmission are made at the sole discretion of the Committee on the Automatic Rule and Reinstatement (for undergraduates) or the Dean of the Law School or designee (for law students).
For more information about reinstatement procedures, consult the University Web page at go.wlu.edu/ugr-reinstatement.
Note: The University applies this policy and associated procedures in a nondiscriminatory manner, in consultation with qualified professionals, as appropriate, and will make each reinstatement or readmission determination based on an individualized assessment of that student’s situation and what is in the best interests of the student, the campus community, and the University.
Students who have achieved a bachelor’s degree and wish to take additional work may, with the approval of the Committee on Courses and Degrees, apply for admission to individual courses and pursue work on an independent basis.
From time to time, when appointed by the president, a general meeting of the University body, including officers as well as students, is held on the campus. The president, or someone invited by the president, delivers an address relating to a topic of general interest.
Because such an assembly is a regular University function, each student, whether an undergraduate or a student in the Law School, is expected to attend.
Only those students receiving degrees participate in Commencement. Attendance is required of all graduating seniors at the official exercises of Commencement Day. Students who, without excuse, willfully absent themselves from the Commencement exercises will not be awarded their diploma until the next date upon which degrees are awarded. Under extraordinary circumstances the Faculty Executive Committee is empowered to give approval to written requests, presented in advance, for exemption from these regulations.
Board of Trustees Policy on Withholding of Degrees
The Board of Trustees reserves the right to withhold the degree of any student who has been convicted of a felony by a court in any jurisdiction. Upon the satisfactory completion of that student’s court-imposed sentence, including any period of supervised probation, the Board may approve the awarding of such degree.
The Board may postpone approval of a degree for any student who has been charged with a felony in any jurisdiction when such charge is pending at the time the degree is to be awarded.
Students’ Rights with Respect to Education Records
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, (often referred to as the “Buckley Amendment” or “FERPA”) is designed to protect the confidentiality of the records that educational institutions maintain on their students and to give students access to their records to assure the accuracy of their contents. The Act affords you certain rights with respect to your education records, as follows:
To inspect and review your education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a written request for access, any time after your matriculation. To request amendment of your education records if you believe they are inaccurate or misleading. To consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information in your education records, except to the extent that the Act or any superseding law authorizes disclosure without your consent. To contact the Family Policy Compliance Office with a complaint concerning the University’s compliance with the requirements of the Buckley Amendment.
A more thorough explanation of a student’s rights and privileges under this law, including the directory information policy and the student’s right to withhold the release of directory information, is contained in the Student Handbook, a copy of which is made available to each student upon matriculation. Further information may be obtained from the University Registrar or on the web at go.wlu.edu/FERPA.
Although FERPA allows post-secondary schools the discretion to release education record information to parents of tax dependent students upon presentation of tax returns to confirm dependency, W&L’s general practice is to require written consent of the student, except where release of education record information is otherwise authorized by law.
Any student participating in Washington and Lee University’s athletic programs must adhere to NCAA, Old Dominion Athletic Conference, and University policies. Listed below are several key University policies pertaining to eligibility for W&L student-athletes:
Students may engage in intercollegiate athletic contests only with yearly updated medical history and updated insurance information, to be obtained prior to the start of each school year. Undergraduate students may participate in, and must complete, their intercollegiate athletics experience anytime during their first 15 terms of enrollment, beginning with their initial intercollegiate athletics participation. Law students with remaining eligibility may participate for a maximum of 10 semesters.
It is the faculty’s policy that all degree-seeking students must normally carry a full-time load. No student shall represent this University in any branch of intercollegiate athletics who is not regularly matriculated, taking a minimum of 12 credits of class work during the fall and winter terms or four credits during the spring term in The College or the Williams School, or taking a minimum of 12 semester hours of class work in the School of Law. In the spring term spring-sport student-athletes may declare Spring Option and continue to participate provided they have fulfilled all graduation requirements. Note that students who carry a WIP or Incomplete are not deemed to have fulfilled all graduation requirements.
In some cases, when student-athletes have already been granted an approved course load of fewer than 12 credits in a fall or winter term, official NCAA waivers may be granted to student-athletes to allow participation in intercollegiate athletics. (Students enrolled in spring term must be enrolled for a single, four-credit course; athletes must be enrolled in order to compete in the spring term.) In order to remain athletically eligible, student-athletes in this situation must (1) complete the documents that the NCAA requires for this type of waiver, and (2) present documentation to the Athletic Director, and, if necessary, to the Americans with Disabilities Act representative in the Office of the Dean of The College. Depending upon the nature of the waiver request, the Athletic Director or her designee may refer the student-athlete to the Director of Student Health and Counseling. Approval and renewal of waivers will be approved on a case-by-case basis by the Athletic Director or designee. Upon approval of a waiver at W&L, the student-athlete will work with Athletics staff to complete the NCAA waiver process.
No athletic contests shall be scheduled for two days prior to the beginning of, or during, examinations, and contests scheduled away from Lexington during the first three days of the week prior to the beginning of examinations shall be held within a one-hour drive of campus. Athletic practices may be scheduled for not more than 90 minutes on the two days prior to the examination period. In addition, during the winter examination period, practices may be scheduled on Wednesday and Thursday from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. Student athletes who have an academic concern will be excused, and this absence will not prejudice the coaches in the selection of team participants for competition.
No student shall be a member of more than one intercollegiate athletic organization at the same time. Any exceptions made to Rules 3 or 4 must have prior approval of the University Athletics Committee and then the Faculty Executive Committee.