Note: For the current version of the American University Undergraduate Academic Regulations, including updates made after this catalog’s publication, go to: https://www.american.edu/provost/undergrad/undergrad-rules-and-regulations-toc.cfm.
This document summarizes the body of academic regulations in place at American University for the conduct of undergraduate education.
1. Credit Hours
American University uses the Carnegie Classification definition of a credit hour. A credit hour is defined as at least 12.5 hours of direct instruction (in class or remote sites) with at least 25 hours of student work outside of that direct instruction, usually spread over 15 weeks, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time. The definition covers all types of courses, disciplines, programs, degree levels, formats, and modalities of instruction (including hybrid and online).
Typically, courses are 3 credit hours each, meaning that students meet in class and/or online for 2.5 hours a week and complete academic work outside class at least five hours a week over a fifteen-week semester or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time. Courses that carry 4 or 5 credit hours require additional hours of direct instruction that meet the minimum standards as defined by the Carnegie Classification and, respectively, require at least 1.67 or 3.33 additional hours of academic work outside class each week over a 15-week semester or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time. Courses that meet fewer than 2.5 hours a week for 3 credit hours must require students in those classes to complete additional work outside of class in order to achieve the expected learning of a 2.5 hours per week class.
The curriculum committees for each academic unit and the AU Core Committee (as appropriate) are charged with following the Faculty Senate’s Undergraduate Curriculum Committee policies (see Faculty Senate by-laws) for approving such courses and certifying that the expected student learning for the course meets the curricular standard. Department Chairs and Deans are expected to periodically review courses to ensure that credit hour policies and procedures are applied consistently across the full range of offerings and that the credit hour policy is being met.
Research, internships, independent studies, labs, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of academic credit, at a minimum, should clearly state learning objectives, expected outcomes, and workload expectations that meet the standards set forth above.
2. Graduation Requirements
2.1. Minimum Requirements
2.1.1. Students must complete at least 120 credit hours with a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or better.
2.1.2. At least 45 of the last 60 credit hours must be completed in residence at American University.
2.1.3. Students may transfer a cumulative total of 60 credit hours from the following: 1) a maximum of 60 credit hours from approved four-year or two-year institutions; 2) a maximum of 30 credit hours from one or a combination of Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate, CLEP subject examinations, or other American University-approved test credit; or 3) a maximum of 30 credit hours for a combination of relevant work completed satisfactorily in college-level Armed Services School course, or US Armed Forces institute correspondence or extension courses, completed with a grade of 70 or better, as recommended at the baccalaureate level by the American Council on Education and which is appropriate for academic credit as determined by the Office of Admissions after consultation with the appropriate academic unit. Military Occupation Services (MOS) credit may be evaluated separately for academic credit.
2.1.4. All students must complete the minimum graduation requirement of 120 credit hours and must satisfy all requirements for a major. Students matriculating before Academic Year 2018-2019 must also satisfy the requirements for the General Education program, the College Writing requirement, and the University Mathematics requirement. Students matriculating during or after Academic Year 2018-2019 must satisfy the AU Core requirements.
3. Grading System
3.1. Grades Calculated in Grade Point Average
Understanding the Grading System
||Grade Point Average
|F (Academic Fail)*
|FX (Administrative Fail in Course for Grade)**
*Academic Fail: Academic fail indicates the student’s continued enrollment in the course and that the student did not satisfy the instructor’s summative requirements for passing the course.
**Administrative Fail: Administrative fail is assigned by the instructor in lieu of a grade of “F” when a student never attended or ceased attending the class, rendering an assessment of academic performance impossible. Instructors will be asked to provide the last date of attendance.
3.1.1. Students are responsible for identifying implications for their progress and status at the university, including effects on financial aid that result from any change in registration. Students are also responsible for verifying that all changes in registration are reflected in their official student record.
3.2. Additional Posting Symbols for Grades in Courses
R = Follows grade entry indicating course has been repeated.
N = No grade or invalid grade submitted (assigned by the academic unit or appropriate administrative officer when an expected final grade has not been received before the grade posting deadline. The academic unit and the Office of the University Registrar are expected to secure an appropriate final grade within one semester)
IP = Course in progress
3.3. Grades Not Calculated in Grade Point Average
I = Incomplete
L = Audit (no credit
P = Pass
ZL = Administrative withdrawal from audit
W = Withdrawal from course (Assigned when a student, under regulations governing changes in registration, withdraws, or is administratively withdrawn from a course after the final date for dropping a course.)
ZX = Administrative Fail in Pass/Fail Course
FZ = Academic Fail in Pass/Fail Course
3.4. Pass/Fail Grades
3.4.1. A grade of Pass indicates performance of no less than a 2.00 (“C”) on a conventional grading scale. Pass/Fail grades are not calculated in the GPA.
3.4.2. Students may select the Pass/Fail option for no more than four courses after admission to the university.
3.4.3. In any given semester, students may select the Pass/Fail option in only one course.
3.4.4. Courses taken with a selected Pass/Fail option may only be applied to elective (not major, minor, certificate, or university-wide) credit hours of the graduation requirement.
3.4.5. Those courses that can only be taken Pass/Fail are not included in the rules for 3.4.2, 3.4.3, and 3.4.4.
3.5.1. When possible, the student should initiate the request for an incomplete grade. In consultation with the student, instructors may, at their discretion, award an incomplete status for a grade when a student who is otherwise currently passing a course with a grade of “C” or better is prevented from completing it during the term due to extenuating circumstances.
3.5.1.a. Prior to posting an incomplete grade, the instructor must attempt to notify the student of the intent to post an “I” grade, and the conditions for satisfying the Incomplete. Those conditions must include a description of the work that needs to be completed, when the work must be completed, and what the course grade will be if the student fails to complete that work, which at
the latest must be before the end of the following term absent an agreement to the contrary. Students are responsible for verifying that the conditions were entered correctly.
3.5.1.b. Instructors will submit the grade of “I” and the aforementioned conditions to the Office of the University Registrar when submitting all other final grades for the course.
3.5.1.c. If students do not meet the conditions or if they are separated from the university, the Office of the University Registrar will assign the default grade automatically.
3.5.2. Students on academic probation may not receive an Incomplete; they are responsible for communicating with their instructor that they are not eligible for incomplete grades.
3.5.3. Students may not retroactively withdraw from incomplete courses.
3.5.4. An Incomplete may not stand as a permanent grade and must be resolved before a degree can be awarded.
3.6. In Progress
3.6.1. An In Progress (“IP”) grade is only available for designated courses (as designated by the academic unit) and is a temporary posting that indicates that the course, often spanning more than one term, is in progress.
3.6.2. An instructor may post an “IP” in lieu of a final grade for a designated course that has not been completed by the conclusion of the term of registration and for which a final grade is not yet due.
3.6.3. An “IP” grade may not stand as a permanent grade and must be resolved before a degree can be awarded.
4. Evaluation and Course Policies
4.1. Class Attendance
4.1.1. Individual instructors may have different attendance requirements; it is the student’s responsibility to review each course syllabus and communicate with instructors in advance regarding any reasonably anticipated absence. For unanticipated absences, students have a responsibility to communicate with instructors in a timely fashion.
4.1.1.a Excused absences include major religious holidays (posted annually by the Office of the Provost and Kay Spiritual Life Center or verified by the Kay Spiritual Life Center as an excused absence for religious observance), medical or mental health events, approved disability accommodation-related absences, and approved varsity athletic team events.
4.1.1.b Instructors should use reasonable discretion when determining whether to excuse other absences.
4.1.2. Subject to 4.1.2.a, students may not be penalized for excused absences, but are required to make up all work, or equivalent work as designated by the instructor, missed as a result of the excused absence by the deadline set by the instructor (which may not be after the end of the term). If the student cannot complete the work by the deadline, the student may receive an incomplete grade only at the instructor’s discretion.
4.1.2.a. If excessive absences (both excused and unexcused) fundamentally alter the course or draw into question the student’s ability to accomplish the course’s learning outcomes, as determined by the instructor, the student’s ability to earn credit for the course may be affected.
4.1.3. Unexcused absences may affect a student’s grade.
4.2. Final Exams
4.2.1. Students are expected to take final exams at the times scheduled by the Office of the University Registrar. Accommodations Arrangements are made for students with documented disabilities and approved for exam accommodations through the Academic Support and Access Center and for those with excused absences.
4.2.2. Unexcused absences at final exams may result in a failure for the course or other substantial penalty.
4.2.3. Students must follow any additional policies for final exams set by the university or procedures for final exams set by the university or individual academic units.
4.3. Repetition of Courses
4.3.1. Students have a maximum of three attempts to pass a course (with a grade of “C” or better). Withdrawal from a course counts as an attempt.
4.3.2. Once a student passes a course taken at American University, the student may repeat it one more time unless the repetition exceeds the maximum number of three attempts. Regardless of number of attempts, credit may only be earned once for a course, excluding any course appropriately designated as repeatable for credit.
4.3.3. The repetition policy applies to a maximum of five courses including those courses repeated under the Freshman Forgiveness policy during a student’s tenure at the university.
4.3.4. Students are responsible for determining any academic or financial implications for repeating courses. In the context of this policy, passing a course includes earning a grade of “C” or better and meeting any stipulations needed to satisfy a university-wide, major, minor, or certificate requirement. Grades for each attempt are computed in the overall cumulative GPA, but only the highest grade and the credit associated with that grade counts toward the major GPA requirements.
4.4. Freshman Forgiveness
4.4.1. Degree-seeking students, including Mentorship students, may request Freshman Forgiveness for two eligible courses taken during the first two terms of full-time undergraduate study in which they have earned a grade of “C-” or lower. In order to receive Freshman Forgiveness, a student must retake the same course within one academic year or at the first subsequent offering when the student is enrolled. Only the second grade is computed in American University’s cumulative average GPA, but both courses remain on the transcript and are considered in financial aid calculations (refer to regulation 5.2.1.).
4.4.2. Full-time, part-time, and Mentorship students are eligible to apply for Freshman Forgiveness.
4.4.3. American University students who have achieved degree-seeking status by completing the International Accelerator Program progression standards are eligible to apply for Freshman Forgiveness toward the first 30 attempted transferable credit hours.
4.4.4. Transfer and other non-degree students are not eligible to apply for Freshman Forgiveness.
4.4.5. Part-time degree-seeking students may request Freshman Forgiveness for courses taken during the first 30 credit hours of study at American University.
4.4.6. Academic units may designate certain classes as ineligible for Freshman Forgiveness. Courses and/or sections that are ineligible for Freshman Forgiveness will be indicated in the Eagle Service Course Catalog. Students are responsible for checking the course and section description to determine if the course is eligible for Freshman Forgiveness.
4.4.7. Students must request that Freshman Forgiveness be applied to their record no later than the last day of classes of their final undergraduate semester.
4.4.8 Students may not request Freshman Forgiveness for a course if they received a sanction for that course due to a violation of the Academic Integrity Code.
5. Evaluation of Academic Performance
5.1. Cumulative Grade Point Average
5.1.1. Computation of the cumulative grade point average includes only those in-residence courses (refer to regulation 3.1.) taken for conventional grades (“A”, “A-“, “B+”, “B”, “B-“, “C+”, “C”, “C-“, “D”, “F”, or “FX”).
5.1.2. The following in-residence courses are not included in the grade point average: courses taken on a Pass/Fail basis, courses numbered below the 100 level, and courses with an Incomplete (“I”) or In Progress (“IP”).
5.1.3. Credits accepted on transfer from other institutions are included in a student’s total number of credit hours, but the grades earned in such courses are not recorded on the permanent record at American University and are not used in computing the cumulative grade point average needed for graduation.
5.1.4. GPAs are truncated after two decimal places. GPAs will not be rounded (e.g., a cumulative or semester GPA of 1.999 is truncated at 1.99 and will not be rounded to 2.00).
5.1.5. A course with a grade of “C-” or “D” may be used as an elective toward graduation requirements and the “C-” or “D” grade is calculated in the cumulative average.
5.2. Good Academic Standing
Undergraduate students (degree and non-degree) are in Good Academic Standing if they are not on academic probation and are enrolled in semester classes, or are eligible to enroll in subsequent semester classes. There may be additional requirements for students receiving financial aid or other awards.
5.2.1. Students are responsible for identifying implications for their progress and status at the university, including impact on financial aid, which results from any change in registration, or application of Freshman Forgiveness.
5.2.2. Students are responsible for verifying that all changes in registration are reflected in their degree audit report and other official student records.
5.2.2. A Withdrawal (“W”) in a course constitutes an attempt but not a completion.
5.2.3. Students who are not achieving these requirements may be subject to a warning (refer to regulation 5.6.), probation (refer to regulation 5.7.), or dismissal (refer to regulation 5.8.).
5.3. Students’ Academic Grievances
5.3.1. In cases of complaint or disagreement over academic matters not resolved by consultation among the parties, the university provides the student the right to initiate a grievance procedure, as described in the Student Academic Grade Grievance Policy located on the University’s Policies webpage.
5.3.1.a. Students are responsible for reporting any grade calculation errors on assignments, tests, or other activities to their instructors before the day of the final examination as posted on the Office of the University Registrar’s Final Exam Schedule.
5.3.1.b. Students are responsible for reporting any grade calculation or posting errors to their instructors no later than one year from the day the course grades were posted by the Office of the University Registrar.
5.4. Dean’s List
5.4.1. Each academic unit issues a Dean’s List of its students who receive this honor and transcript notation at the end of each term.
5.4.2. The minimum standard for inclusion in the Dean’s list during the fall or spring term is a 3.67 GPA for the term, earned in a full-time undergraduate degree or non-degree program while enrolled in not fewer than 15 completed credit hours of which at least 12 hours must be completed for “A-F” grade credit with a passing grade.
5.4.3. During the summer term, the minimum standard for inclusion in the Dean’s List is a 3.67 GPA for the term, earned in a full-time undergraduate degree or non-degree program while enrolled in not fewer than 12 completed credit hours all of which must be completed for “A-F” grade credit with a passing grade.
5.5. Latin Honors
5.5.1. Latin Honors are calculated and recorded on the transcript and diploma by the Office of the University Registrar upon graduation.
5.5.2. To be eligible for Latin Honors, students must complete in-residence at least half of the required credit hours needed for a degree at American University (60 of the 120 earned credit hours) and must achieve the requisite cumulative GPA as indicated in the chart below.
Latin Honors Eligibility
||Required Grade Point Average
||3.67 - 3.80
|Magna Cum Laude
||3.81 - 3.90
|Summa Cum Laude
||3.91 or higher
5.5.2.a. GPAs will not be rounded (e.g., a cumulative or term GPA of 1.999 is truncated at 1.99 and will not be rounded to 2.00).
5.6. Academic Warning
5.6.1. When the academic unit determines that a student has failed to make academic progress toward degree completion, the academic unit may issue to the student, in writing, an academic warning.
5.6.2. An academic warning is not recorded on the transcript.
5.7. Academic Probation
5.7.1. The Office of the University Registrar will place students on academic probation when their cumulative GPA falls below 2.00, or when notified by the academic unit that the student has failed to meet other conditions for academic progress toward degree completion that may apply in some majors.
5.7.2. Once any part-time student has attempted 12 credit hours, the student will be required to follow all regulations regarding probation and dismissal.
5.7.3. The Office of the University Registrar will notify students in writing of their academic probation status and the academic unit will provide a description of any conditions associated with the academic probation.
5.7.4. Conditions that students must adhere to during the academic probationary period may include, but are not limited to, successful completion of specific courses, minimum grades in courses, or the overall GPA to be achieved in the academic probation period.
5.7.4.a. A student on academic probation may be subject to course-load restrictions during any term for which the student may subsequently register.
5.7.4.b. Students on academic probation are ineligible to hold office in student organizations or participate in intercollegiate competitions.
5.7.4.c. A student may, with permission of the student’s academic unit, complete the season of any collegiate sport in which the student is participating at the time the student’s GPA falls below a 2.00 cumulative average.
5.7.5. Students are responsible for contacting the Office of Financial Aid to determine if any additional criteria are required in order to retain their financial aid.
5.7.6. Students can be placed on academic probation for no more than two terms in total, or three terms in total if summer sessions are included. After that threshold is reached, students will be dismissed from the university.
5.7.6.a. Once placed on academic probation, students must maintain a minimum term GPA of 2.33 and show academic progress toward degree completion.
5.7.6.b. If, at any point while a student is on academic probation, it becomes mathematically impossible to raise the student’s cumulative GPA to 2.00 within the allotted credits given, the student will be academically dismissed.
5.7.7. Academic probation is permanently recorded on the transcript.
5.8. Academic Dismissal
5.8.1. A student who fails to meet the conditions of probation may be dismissed.
5.8.2. Students who have been on academic probation for two terms in total, or three terms in total if summer sessions are included, and do not achieve a 2.00 cumulative GPA will be dismissed.
5.8.3. The university will dismiss immediately students whose cumulative GPA, after attempting or completing 24 credits (excluding courses in which the recorded grade is “W”, “I”, or “IP”), falls below 1.00 (“D”).
5.8.4. The Office of the University Registrar will issue the letter of dismissal.
5.8.4.a. When dismissing students from the university, the university may give students the option of applying for re-admission after one calendar year has passed from the final day of the term during which the dismissal was implemented.
5.8.4.b. Dismissed students are not allowed to enroll in American University courses on a non-degree basis at any time after being dismissed from American University.
5.8.4.c. Students who are dismissed with a GPA lower than 1.00, or whose cumulative GPA makes it mathematically impossible to satisfy the conditions of probation within one term, will not be considered for re-admission.
5.8.4.d. Re-admission applications are evaluated based on the total record of the student and consistent with the admission practices in effect at the time of application.
5.8.4.e. A readmitted student is governed by the academic requirements in effect at the time of readmission.
5.8.5. Academic dismissal is permanently recorded on the transcript.
6. Student Status
6.1. Designation of Full-time, Half-time, and Less-than-Half-time Students
6.1.1. Students are considered full-time if registered for at least 12 credit hours, half-time if registered for at least 6 to 11.99 credit hours, and less-than-half-time if registered for less than 6 credit hours.
6.1.1.a. This designation applies to fall, spring, and summer, with summer status determined by total credits enrolled across all summer sessions.
6.1.1.b. For fall and spring, a typical course load for a full-time student is 15 credit hours; however, the full-time undergraduate tuition rate applies to a total of 17.5 credit hours.
6.1.2. To register for 18 or more credit hours, students must receive permission from their academic unit. Students enrolled in more than 18 credit hours are subject to additional charges as determined by the Office of Finance and Treasurer.
6.2. Non-degree Students
6.2.1. Applicants who have been denied admission to American University for a specific academic year may not take non-degree courses at the university during that academic year unless they are enrolled in an authorized non-degree program. Such students may reapply for admission or enroll in non-degree course(s) for the following academic year.
6.2.2. Enrollment as a non-degree student does not guarantee acceptance into a degree program.
6.2.3. If admitted into an American University degree program, non-degree students may apply no more than 60 non-degree American University credits toward university graduation requirements.
6.3. Student Class Standing
6.3.1. Class standing is determined by the total number of credits that the student has earned, with adherence to the policies for repetition of courses, including graded courses at American University, IB/AP/CLEP/A- level credits, or transferred courses.
6.3.2. Credits that are not included in calculating class standing are credits not completed (“N”, “I”, “IP”), or credits not accepted through transfer, examination, or experiential learning.
6.3.3. Range of Hours for Class Standing:
Understanding Class Standing
|Credit Hours Range
6.4. Course Levels
Understanding Course Number Ranges
||Undergraduate Introductory or Undergraduate Foundation Courses
||Undergraduate Upper-Level or Undergraduate Advanced Courses
||Graduate courses that are not core graduate courses, but courses of general importance in the discipline. These courses are open to qualified undergraduate students
||Graduate courses that are core graduate courses for the master’s degree in the field of study. No undergraduate students may take 600-level courses unless a) they are seeking a combined master’s/bachelor’s degree or b) by special permission of the Associate Dean of the academic unit. These classes may meet jointly with 400-level classes, but not with 100-, 200-, or 300-level classes
||Graduate courses that are customarily advanced content courses for the master’s degree or for the Ph.D. in the field of study. Undergraduate students are not allowed in these courses, and they may not meet jointly with undergraduate classes
6.4.1. Undergraduate students must follow the Graduate Academic Regulations as they pertain to taking graduate level courses.
7. Credit Requirements
7.1. In-Residence Courses
7.1.1. Courses are in-residence when they are taken through American University, through any member of the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area (including ROTC), through AU Abroad, or are coordinated by American University academic units in any instructional modality.
7.1.2. Courses not in-residence include those transferred into American University, those taken through a Permit to Study at Another Institution, or credit hours accepted through exams including CLEP, IB, AP, FB, A-levels, or other approved exams for transfer credit. Credit earned during an approved Permit to Study may count toward a student’s total credits needed for graduation but will not be computed into a student’s American University GPA.
7.1.3. Some American University courses and programs are offered at physical sites other than the university’s campus and are considered in-residence courses. With some exceptions, students receive in-residence credit for such courses.
7.2. Study at Another Institution
7.2.1 General Information
7.2.1.a. There are multiple types of Permits to Study. This regulation applies only to domestic Permits to Study. Per the residency requirement (refer to regulation 2.1.2.), students must complete 45 of the last 60 credit hours in-residence.
7.2.1.b. Grades for courses taken during a Permit to Study at another institution are not recorded on the American University transcript and are not computed in the American University GPA. Such courses will not count in the total number of credits needed for graduation if the grade received is below a 2.00 on a 4.00 point scale. However, students must meet GPA requirements for individual courses taken at other institutions as required for electives or major or minor courses.
7.2.1.c. Students who are issued a Permit to Study during the fall or spring term will be placed on Temporary Leave. When students present their transcripts to the Office of the University Registrar for the Permit to Study, the Temporary Leave will be removed from the record. Students must satisfy any additional requirements provided on the Permit to Study form.
7.2.1.d. Students are not permitted to enroll in classes at American University during the term in which they have an approved permit to study at another institution.
7.2.2. Permit to Study at Another U.S. Institution
7.2.2.a. Students in good academic standing who wish to take courses that would not be considered in-residence courses must receive prior approval by their academic unit through a Permit to Study at another institution.
7.2.2.b. Permits to Study will only be authorized for college-level courses at regionally accredited two-year or four-year institutions. Prior to seeking a Permit to Study, all courses must be reviewed and articulated by American University faculty.
7.2.2.c. Students may transfer up to a total of 10 credit hours or three courses, whichever is greater, from approved study at another U.S. institution.
7.2.2.d. Students who want to apply a course to their major or minor must receive prior approval from their teaching unit or equivalent, even if the course has been previously articulated.
7.2.3. Medical Permit to Study
7.2.3.a. Only students who receive a Medical Temporary Leave from the Office of the Dean of Students may request a Medical Permit to Study from their academic unit. Students should provide medical documentation only to the Office of the Dean of Students.
7.2.3.b. With a Medical Permit to Study, students may take two courses per term at another institution, with a maximum of four courses or 17.5 credit hours, whichever is greater. Individual academic units may have additional restrictions. Students on a Medical Permit to Study may transfer a maximum of 17.5 credit hours or four courses, whichever is greater (inclusive of all Permit to Study credits). The university residency requirement may be waived for a Medical Permit to Study.
7.2.3.c. Courses must be preapproved by a student’s academic unit prior to enrollment.
7.2.3.d. Grades for courses taken during a medical permit to study are not recorded on the American University transcript and are not computed in the American University GPA, although they will count toward the total number of credit hours needed for graduation.
7.3. Permit to Study at an International Institution
Undergraduate students in good academic standing who wish to study abroad on any non-AU Abroad program or at any international university not partnered with American University must receive prior approval of their academic unit and of AU Abroad.
7.3.1. The number of credit hours approved for transfer from an international institution requires advanced approval from the academic unit.
7.3.2. Students will be allowed to transfer a maximum of 36 credit hours from studying abroad in a non-AU Abroad program via the permit process. This must be done in compliance with the university’s residency requirement (refer to regulation 2.1.2.).
7.3.3. Permission for such study is granted only when the student can demonstrate that the academic opportunity offered by the program or international university cannot be met through study at any one of American University’s existing partner universities or study abroad programs.
7.3.4. Grades for courses taken during a Permit to Study Abroad are not recorded on the American University transcript and are not computed in the GPA, though they will count toward the total number of credit hours needed for graduation. Such courses will not count in the total number of credits needed for graduation if the grade received is below a 2.00 on a 4.00 point scale. However, students must meet GPA requirements for individual courses taken at international institutions as required for electives or major or minor courses.
7.3.5. Complete Permit to Study applications must be submitted before the end of the term prior to the anticipated study abroad program.
8. University-Wide Requirements
8.1. General Information
8.1.1. Students must satisfy appropriate university-wide requirements before a degree can be awarded.
8.1.2. University-wide requirements are dependent on year of matriculation and subsequent continuous enrollment at American University.
8.1.2.a. Students matriculating during or after Academic Year 2018-2019 must complete the requirements in Regulations 8.2-8.11, collectively referred to as AU Core.
8.1.2.b. Students matriculating during or prior to Academic Year 2017-2018 and subsequently maintaining continuous enrollment at American University must complete the College Writing requirement, the University Mathematics requirement, and all General Education requirements (refer to regulations 8.12-8.14).
8.1.3. Students may not use Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), CLEP subject examinations, or other American University-approved exam credits to satisfy university-wide requirements. Exam credit may be used to determine which Written Communication and Information Literacy I and Quantitative Literacy I course(s) the student must complete.
8.1.4. After students have matriculated at American University, no credit toward university-wide requirements may be earned through transfer credit or Permits to Study.
8.1.5. Students may apply up to two courses on an approved AU Abroad program towards Habits of Mind, Quantitative Reasoning II, Written Communication and Information Literacy II, and Diversity and Equity requirements.
8.1.6. Only courses appropriately designated by the Office of the University Registrar may be used to satisfy university-wide requirements.
8.1.7. Specific courses or sets of courses that satisfy the university-wide requirements of Written Communication and Information Literacy II, Quantitative Literacy II, Diversity and Equity, and/or Capstone may be required for a major or minor; however, any Written Communication and Information Literacy II, Quantitative Literacy II, Diversity and Equity, and/or Capstone course may satisfy university-wide requirements.
8.1.8. Independent studies may not be used to satisfy university-wide requirements with the exception of appropriately designated AU Core Capstone requirements.
8.1.9. Community service learning cannot be used to satisfy university-wide requirements. Students may, with permission of the instructor, attach a community service-learning project to a course satisfying a university-wide requirement, but the credit does not fulfill the requirement.
8.1.10. Internships may not be used to satisfy university-wide requirements with the exception of appropriately designated AU Core Capstone requirements.
8.2. American University Experience I
8.2.1 Degree-seeking students must satisfy the American University Experience I requirement by completing one of the following courses with a grade of “C” or better within the first 30 credit hours in-residence after matriculation:
8.2.2. Degree-seeking students who do not satisfy the American University Experience I requirement within the first 30 credit hours in-residence after matriculation will be blocked from registering for subsequent terms. The student must meet with an academic advisor to develop a plan for satisfying the requirement before being allowed to register for subsequent terms.
8.3. American University Experience II
8.3.1. Degree-seeking students must satisfy the American University Experience II requirement by completing one of the following courses with a grade of “C” or better within the first 30 credit hours in-residence after matriculation:
8.3.2. Degree-seeking students who do not satisfy the American University Experience II requirement within the first 30 credit hours in-residence after matriculation will be blocked from registering for subsequent terms. The student must meet with an academic advisor to develop a plan for satisfying the requirement before being allowed to register for subsequent terms.
8.4. Complex Problems
8.4.1. Degree-seeking students must satisfy the Complex Problems requirement by completing one of the following courses with a grade of “C” or better within the first 30 credit hours in-residence after matriculation:
8.4.2. Degree-seeking students who do not satisfy the Complex Problems requirement within the first 30 credit hours in-residence after matriculation will be blocked from registering for subsequent terms. The student must meet with an academic advisor to develop a plan for satisfying the requirement before being allowed to register for subsequent terms.
8.5. Written Communication and Information Literacy I
8.5.1. Students must satisfy the Written Communication and Information Literacy I requirement through one of the following:
8.5.1.a. Completing the 6 credit hour Written Communication and Information Literacy I sequence of classes: WRTG-100 and WRTG-101 , or WRTG-102 and WRTG-103 with a grade of “C” or better.
8.5.1.b. Receiving advanced credit for specific exams (published annually by the Office of Admissions) and earning a grade of “C” or better in the 3-credit hour WRTG-106 .
8.5.1.c. Students with transfer credit may also satisfy the Written Communication and Literacy I requirement by presenting 6 credit hours of articulated composition credit from another institution or presenting 3 credit hours of coursework articulated as composition credit from another regionally accredited two or four year institution and completing WRTG-101 or WRTG-103 with a grade of “C” or better.
8.5.2. Degree-seeking students who do not satisfy this requirement within the first 30 credit hours in-residence after matriculating will be blocked from registering for subsequent terms. The student must meet with an academic advisor to develop a plan for satisfying the requirement before being allowed to register for subsequent terms.
8.6. Quantitative Literacy I
8.6.1. Students may satisfy the Quantitative Literacy I (Q1) requirement through one of the following:
8.6.1.a. Completing an appropriately designated Quantitative Literacy I course with a grade of “C” or better.
8.6.1.b. Students with transfer credit may also satisfy the Quantitative Literacy I requirement by presenting 3 credit hours articulated as equivalent to a Quantitative Literacy I course from a regionally accredited two or four year institution.
8.6.2. Degree-seeking students must satisfy the Quantitative Literacy I requirement within the first 30 credit hours earned in-residence after matriculating unless the associate dean responsible for the student’s intended major approves satisfaction of the Quantitative Literacy I requirements within the first 45 credit hours earned in-residence.
8.6.3. Degree-seeking students who do not satisfy the Quantitative Literacy I requirement within the parameters specified in regulation 8.6.2 will be blocked from registering for subsequent terms. The student must meet with an academic advisor to develop a plan for satisfying the requirement before being allowed to register for subsequent terms.
8.7. Habits of Mind
8.7.1. Habits of Mind courses (as designated by the Office of the University Registrar) span five areas:
- Creative-Aesthetic Inquiry
- Cultural Inquiry
- Ethical Reasoning
- Natural-Scientific Inquiry
- Socio-Historical Inquiry
8.7.2. Students may satisfy the Habits of Mind requirement through one of the following:
8.7.2.a. Completing an appropriately designated, in-residence course from each of the five Habits of Mind areas with grades of “C” or better.
8.7.2.b. Transferring 15-29 credit hours from other regionally accredited two or four year institutions and completing one course each from four of the Habits of Mind areas with grades of “C” or better.
8.7.2.c. Transferring 30-44 credit hours from other regionally accredited two or four year institutions and completing one course each from three of the Habits of Mind areas with grades of “C” or better.
8.7.2.d. Transferring 45-59 credit hours from other regionally accredited two or four year institutions and completing one course each from two of the Habits of Mind areas with grades of “C” or better.
8.7.2.e. Transferring 60 credit hours from other regionally accredited two or four year institutions and completing a single course from one Habit of Mind with a grade of “C” or better.
8.7.2.f. Holding an Associate’s Degree from a regionally accredited institution.
8.7.3. Students with transfer credit may select, in consultation with an academic advisor, which Habits of Mind to complete within the parameters specified by regulation 8.7.2.
8.7.4. Students may count, with permission of the relevant teaching unit, one Habit of Mind course toward each major or minor they pursue.
8.8. Written Communication and Information Literacy II
8.8.1. Students satisfy the Written Communication and Information Literacy II requirement by completing an appropriately designated, in-residence course with a grade of “C” or better.
8.8.2. A Written Communication and Information Literacy II course may concurrently satisfy major, minor, or certificate requirements.
8.9. Quantitative Literacy II
8.9.1 Students satisfy the Quantitative Literacy II requirement by completing an appropriately designated, in-residence course with a grade of “C” or better.
8.9.2. A Quantitative Literacy II course may concurrently satisfy major, minor, or certificate requirements.
8.10. Diversity and Equity
8.10.1. Students satisfy the Diversity and Equity requirement by completing an appropriately designated, in-residence course with a grade of “C” or better.
8.10.2 A Diversity and Equity course may concurrently satisfy other appropriately designated AU Core, major, minor, or certificate requirements.
8.11.1 Students satisfy the Capstone requirement by completing an appropriately designated, in-residence course with a grade of “C” or better.
8.11.2. A Capstone course may have prerequisites which students must complete prior to registering.
8.11.3 A Capstone course may concurrently satisfy major, minor, or certificate requirements.
8.12. College Writing Requirement
8.12.1 The College Writing requirement applies only to students matriculating during or prior to Academic Year 2017-2018 and subsequently maintaining continuous enrollment at American University.
8.12.2. Students must satisfy the College Writing requirement within the first 30 credit hours earned in residence.
8.12.2.a. Students who do not satisfy the College Writing requirement within the first 30 credit hours will be blocked from registering for subsequent terms until the requirement is met.
8.12.3. Students must receive a grade of “C” or better in any course taken to satisfy the College Writing requirement.
8.12.4. Students are allowed at most three attempts, per the academic regulations concerning Freshman Forgiveness (refer to regulation 4.4.) and repetition of courses (refer to regulation 4.3.), to complete the College Writing requirement.
8.12.5. Incoming freshmen or transfer students may satisfy the College Writing requirement in one of the following ways:
8.12.5.a. Earning a grade of “C” or better in WRTG-100 and WRTG-101 , or in WRTG-102 and WRTG-103 ;
8.12.5.b. Scoring 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement English Language and Composition Test or scoring 5 or higher on the Higher Level International Baccalaureate Examination, and also earning a grade of “C” or better in WRTG-106 ;
8.12.5.c. Presenting 6 credit hours of articulated composition credit from another regionally accredited two or four year institution, or presenting 3 credit hours of coursework articulated as composition credit from another regionally accredited two or four year institution and completing WRTG-101 or WRTG-103 with a grade of “C” or better.
8.13. University Mathematics Requirement
8.13.1. The University Mathematics requirement applies only to students matriculating during or prior to Academic Year 2017-2018 and subsequently maintaining continuous enrollment at American University.
8.13.2. Students must satisfy the University Mathematics requirement within the first 30 credit hours earned in-residence.
8.13.2.a. Students who do not satisfy the University Mathematics requirement within the first 30 credit hours will be blocked from registering for subsequent terms until the requirement is met.
8.13.3. After students have matriculated at American University, no credit toward the University Mathematics requirement may be earned through transfer credit or Permits to Study.
8.13.4. Students must receive a grade of “C” or better in any course taken to satisfy the University Mathematics requirement.
8.13.5. Students are allowed at most three attempts, per the academic regulations concerning Freshman Forgiveness (refer to regulation 4.4.) and repetition of courses (refer to regulation 4.3.), to complete this requirement.
8.13.6. Incoming freshmen and transfer students may satisfy the University Mathematics requirement in one of the following ways:
8.13.6.a. Earning a grade of “C” or better in one approved American University mathematics courses at the level of MATH-150 or above, or one American University statistics course offered in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics;
8.13.6.b. Earning a score of 4 or 5 on the Calculus AB or AP Calculus BC exam;
8.13.6.c. Earning a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Statistics exam;
8.13.6.d. Earning a SAT II Mathematics Level II Achievement test score of 650; or CLEP Calculus examination score of 75;
8.13.6.e. Passing the British A-level mathematics examination with a grade of “A” or “B”;
8.13.6.f. Passing the International Baccalaureate higher-level mathematics examination scores of 6 or above.
8.13.7. Transfer students and graduates of secondary schools outside the United States may also satisfy this requirement by:
8.13.7.a. Passing one of the examinations given by the Department of Mathematics and Statistics which demonstrate competence equivalent to having successfully completed one of the following courses: MATH-15x Finite Mathematics, MATH-211 Applied Calculus I , or STAT-202 Basic Statistics . Only one of these examinations may be taken and that examination may be taken only once, during the first term for which the student is enrolled in degree status. Eligible students should contact the Department of Mathematics and Statistics for more information about the Mathematics and Statistics Equivalency Examination, or
8.13.7.b. Transferring a course equivalent to MATH-221 or higher with a grade of “B” or better from a regionally accredited two or four year institution.
8.13.8. The Department of Mathematics and Statistics will specify the appropriate placement of students in Math 100 and 200 level courses or statistics courses.
8.14. General Education
8.14.1. The General Education requirement applies only to students matriculating during or prior to Academic Year 2017-2018 and subsequently maintaining continuous enrollment at American University.
8.14.1.a. Students matriculating during or after Academic Year 2014-2015 and subsequently maintaining continuous enrollment at American University must complete courses fulfilling the General Education requirement with grades of “C” or better.
8.14.1.b. Students matriculating during or prior to Academic Year 2013-2014 and subsequently maintaining continuous enrollment at American University must complete courses fulfilling the General Education requirement with grades of “D” or better, or a grade of “P”.
8.14.2 Students will be expected to satisfy their General Education requirements during the first 60 earned credit hours.
8.14.3. There may be cases in which courses in the General Education curriculum also meet requirements of the major; however, students will not be able to substitute courses in their major field for General Education requirements.
8.14.4. Students presenting a 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement examination, a score of 75 on the CLEP examination, or grades for which they have received credit from the British A-Levels, CEGEP, International Baccalaureate, German Abitur, or other international credential for which they have been granted credit by American University may apply the credit for up to four courses to meet the General Education Requirements in any of the five curricular areas.
8.14.4.a. Credit toward General Education may be awarded only for examinations taken prior to matriculating at American University.
8.14.5. Transfer students may satisfy some or all of their General Education requirements through transfer credit.
8.14.5.a. Because of the special nature of the General Education Program, after students have matriculated at American University, no credit toward the General Education Requirements may be earned through transfer credit unless the course is taken on an approved AU Abroad program. Students can take up to 6 credit hours of General Education courses abroad.
9. Major Requirements, Minor Requirements, and Dual Degrees
9.1. Minimum Requirements for Majors
9.1.1. A major requires a minimum of 36 credit hours.
9.1.1.a. At least 18 of the 36 credit hours toward a major must be earned in-residence at American University.
9.1.1.b. At least 18 credit hours must be earned in upper-level courses in the major.
9.1.1.c. At least 15 credit hours of the upper-level courses in the major must be earned in-residence.
9.1.1.d. Students who wish to take an upper-level course at another institution in the first 18 credit hours of major course work must receive permission from their teaching unit chair or equivalent.
9.1.1.e. A grade of “C” or better is required for each course used to satisfy the major. Students may not elect to take a course as Pass/Fail to satisfy major requirements. This does not apply to courses that are only offered as Pass/Fail.
9.2. Minimum Requirements for Minors
9.2.1. A minor requires a minimum of 18 credit hours.
9.2.2.a. At least 9 of the 18 credit hours toward a minor must be earned in-residence at American University.
9.2.2.b. At least 9 credit hours must be earned in upper-level courses in the minor.
9.2.2.c. At least 12 credit hours of the minor must be outside of the course requirements for any major or other minor the student is pursuing.
9.2.2.d. A grade of “C” or better is required for each course used to satisfy the minor. Students may not elect to take a course as Pass/Fail to satisfy minor requirements; this does not apply to courses that are only offered as Pass/Fail.
9.3. Declaration of Majors and Minors
Students are expected to declare a major before completing 60 earned credit hours. The declaration must be approved by the academic unit or teaching unit designee in charge of the proposed major. The academic units or teaching units may require higher than minimal performance in major and related courses as a condition for acceptance as a major. Students who decide to declare a minor field of study are expected to declare their minor no later than one year prior to the intended date of graduation, usually 90 credit hours earned at American University or the end of the junior year.
9.4. Changes in Major, Academic Unit Affiliation
To change from one academic unit to another or to change majors within an academic unit within American University, students must be in good academic standing and receive the permission of the academic unit or teaching unit designee in charge of the program to which they wish to transfer. The various academic units and teaching units may establish additional requirements which must be met by each of their candidates for a degree.
9.5. Individualized Majors and Minors
9.5.1. Students may design their own majors and minors by applying to a review committee overseen by the Dean of Undergraduate Education. Individualized programs must meet the minima described above in the section on Minimum Requirements for Majors and Minors. Students are awarded a degree from an individual academic unit. A maximum of 18 credit hours completed prior to the term in which the application is being submitted may be included in an individualized major. No such restriction applies to an individualized minor.
9.5.2. Students intending to pursue an individualized major must submit their proposal at least a year before their intended graduation date.
9.5.3. Students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.50 in order to submit proposals for individualized majors and for individualized minors.
9.6. Double Majors
9.6.1. Students can declare more than one major if they have a minimum 2.50 cumulative GPA and if at least 18 credit hours are unique to each major. Individual academic units or teaching units may require a higher GPA and have other requirements that exceed the regulations. If the majors are offered by more than one academic unit within the university, then students will designate at the time of declaration of the majors the single academic unit in which they will be registered and from which they will be graduated. Students will need to satisfy the general academic unit requirements of that single academic unit. When majors lead to different degrees (e.g., B.A. and B.S.), students will specify which degree they wish to be awarded. Electives may be used to satisfy double major requirements.
9.6.2. In order to be awarded a double major, 18 credit hours must be unique to each major.
9.7. Dual Degrees
9.7.1. Students who intend to declare a second degree in a major field of study are expected to declare their second degree one year prior to the intended date of graduation, usually 90 credit hours earned at American University or by the end of the junior year.
9.7.2. Students must have a 3.00 cumulative GPA at the time of declaration of the second degree. Students who fulfill all the requirements for two bachelor’s programs (including major, major-related, and residence requirements) and who have earned a total of 150 credit hours may be awarded two bachelor’s degrees. At least 24 credit hours must be unique to each degree.
9.7.3. Dual degree students can apply a maximum of thirty credit hours for approved exams. Students with financial aid or other awards are responsible for working with the Office for Financial Aid to determine the extent of aid or award coverage for the additional credits needed for the dual degree.
10. Special Programs and Degrees
10.1. Honors Programs
American University has two honors programs: The American University Honors Program and the Honors in the Major program.
10.1.1. In order to receive the American University Honors Program notation on the final transcript, students in the American University Honors Program must graduate with a cumulative GPA of 3.67, earn a “C” or better in each University Honors course, and have an average of a GPA of 3.00 or better in all courses required by the University Honors Program. To remain enrolled in and in good standing in the American University Honors Program, students must maintain a cumulative 3.20 GPA. American University Honors students may also apply for Honors in the Major.
10.1.2. In order to receive an Honors in the Major notation on the final transcript, students must be admitted by the teaching unit into the Honors in the Major, earn a minimum final GPA of 3.67 in the major (unless the academic unit and the Provost have approved a lower minimum major GPA for a unit’s or department’s Honors in the Major Program), and satisfy all requirements for the Honors in the Major. Individual teaching units may set a higher GPA or impose additional criteria for Honors in the Major. American University Honors students can apply to Honors in the Major. All students can apply to more than one Honors in the Major.
10.2. Combined Bachelors and Masters Degrees
Students pursuing a combined Bachelor/Master’s program are subject to the Graduate regulations on combined degrees (refer to regulation 8.7. ). Students should consult with their academic advisor for details.
10.3. Certificate Programs
10.3.1. All credit certificate programs must include a minimum of 12 credit hours.
10.3.2. Admission to credit certificate programs is open only to those students who meet university minimum non-degree enrollment requirements. Admission requirements in excess of university minimums must be stated explicitly in the credit certificate program proposals.
10.3.3. Equivalent transfer credit earned at a regionally accredited two or four year institution may be applied toward a certificate at the following rate: 3 credit hours for certificates from 12 to 18 credit hours in length, and 6 credit hours for certificates over 18 credit hours in length.
10.3.4. Students enrolled in undergraduate certificate programs must maintain a 2.00 grade point average to remain in good academic standing. Non-degree certificate students may be placed on academic probation, dismissed, or readmitted to certificate study.
10.3.4.a. Certificate students who are also enrolled in undergraduate programs may be placed on academic probation, dismissed, or readmitted to certificate study.
10.3.5. A grade of “C” or better is required to fulfill certificate program requirements. All grades will be included in the calculation of the cumulative grade point average. Students in other graduate certificate programs must have at least a 2.00 grade point average in certificate courses in order to be awarded a certificate.
10.3.6. Students in certificate programs must take a minimum of 6 credit hours during each 12-month period after they are admitted. All certificate programs must be completed within four years.
11. Special Course Types
11.1. Courses Taken for Audit
Although tuition fees apply, students do not receive credit or grades for audited courses. Faculty may establish standards of class participation and/or attendance for auditing students. When auditors fail to meet those standards, the instructor will assign the grade of “ZL” (administrative withdrawal from audit).
11.2. Independent Studies
11.2.1. Students must be in good academic standing to register for independent study. Individual academic units may have restrictions on this policy.
11.2.2. Before registration, the student and the supervising instructor must agree upon and document the title, objective, scope, grade type (letter grade or Pass/Fail), credit value (1-6), and method of evaluation for the independent study. The teaching unit chair or equivalent must approve the independent study and the instructor’s involvement, ensuring that the independent study does not duplicate a course already in the term’s curriculum.
11.2.3. Independent studies may not be used as credit toward the College Writing or University Mathematics requirements, General Education, or AU Core requirements. Independent studies that substitute for a major requirement must be approved by the teaching unit chair or equivalent.
11.2.4. A temporary grade of “IP” (course in progress) may be assigned, at the discretion of the instructor, at the conclusion of the term of registration.
11.3. Community Service-Learning
11.3.1. Students in good academic standing may be able to earn degree credit toward degree requirements for community service-learning projects in conjunction with some in-residence courses offered at American University. A community service-learning project consists of at least 40 hours of approved field work. To qualify for academic credit, the project must also have an academic component related to the course with which the project is associated.
11.3.2. Students earn one hour of credit for each project they complete satisfactorily. A maximum of 3 credit hours of community service-learning credit may be applied toward degree requirements. Credit cannot be used to fulfill requirements for General Education, AU Core, or for university-wide College Writing or University Mathematics requirements. Credits are offered only as Pass/Fail grades. Students may attach a community service-learning project to a General Education or AU Core course, but the credit does not fulfill a General Education or AU Core credit requirement.
11.3.3. Students must obtain the approval of the instructor before adding a community service- learning project to their registration for the term.
11.4.1. To enroll in a credit-bearing internship, students must be in good academic standing, making academic progress toward completion of university-wide and major requirements, and must have completed 30 earned credit hours at the university; or, as a transfer student, completed at least one term at American University (with a minimum of 12 earned credit hours). Academic units or teaching units may specify additional requirements before enrolling students in internships. Credit cannot be used to fulfill requirements for General Education, AU Core, or for university-wide College Writing or University Mathematics requirements.
11.4.1.a. Students enrolled in the Washington Mentorship Program are permitted to complete their Mentored Field Practicum in the first 30 credit hours.
11.4.2. Qualified, degree-seeking students, and students in approved non-degree programs, may enroll in credit-bearing, paid, or unpaid internship work assignments with a significant academic component under the guidance of an American University instructor. Instructor and teaching unit approvals are required for internships. An important component of any internship is the availability of an internship placement opportunity that will provide sufficient substantive work to merit academic credit. The work for the internship must meet the requirements defined below.
11.4.3. The table below illustrates the earned credits associated with the required minimum interned hours by the end of the term. While the table includes the average weekly interned hours associated with earned credits, students, with the permission of their instructors, may vary their scheduled hours as long as they meet the total minimum requirement by the end of the term. Students who elect to work in excess of the minimum for fewer academic credit hours should consult their academic advisor.
Minimum Hours & Average Hours Needed to Earn Credit
||Minimum Total Hours Interned Required by End of Term
||Average Number of Hours Interned Weekly Over 14 Weeks
11.4.4. The maximum number of internship credit hours that may count toward a major is six credit hours.
11.4.5. Academic units may require fewer than 6credit hours to count toward the major.
11.4.6. Students may take up to a maximum of 12 internship credit hours that count toward the 120 credit hours of their degree program.
11.4.7. To receive academic credit, non-administrative work must comprise at least 85% of the work performed. The instructor must provide the student an academic syllabus with clear learning outcomes for the internship, communicate regularly with the student, and require academic assignments designed to provide an academic foundation and support for the internship. The instructor is responsible for the assessment of the student’s performance which may include an assessment by the workplace supervisor. If the workplace supervisor provides an assessment of the student’s performance, that assessment can count for no more than half the final course grade. The academic component of the course must be valued as at least half of the final course grade.
12.1. Initial Course Registration
12.1.1. Students are responsible for identifying implications for their satisfactory academic progress and enrollment status at the University, including impact on financial aid, that results from any change in registration.
12.1.2. Students are also responsible for verifying that all changes in registration are reflected in their official student record.
12.1.3. Students must be registered for a class or be on the waitlist during the add/drop period, in order to participate in that class.
12.1.4. Students must initially register or be on a waitlist for the courses in which they wish to enroll prior to the beginning of each session or they will incur a late registration fee. Before registration, students should plan their program with their academic advisor.
12.1.5. Students must meet all requisites, permissions, and restrictions in order to register for a class. If a student fails to successfully satisfy the requisites for a registered course, the student is may be removed from that course, unless the requisite, permission, or restriction has been waived by the academic unit.
12.1.6. International students in F-1 or J-1 status must obtain approval from International Student and Scholar Services when registering for the first time or for a new program, when registering below a full-course load or equivalent (Reduced Course Load), when registering for an internship, when taking an approved Temporary Leave, or when withdrawing from the university. This approval is in addition to the normal requirements and may not be waived.
12.2. Add-Drop Period
The add/drop period is the first 10 business days of the semester or the equivalent for summer and other non-standard sessions. During the add/drop period, students may add or drop courses or change course sections, except when academic unit or teaching unit explicitly prohibits it, without penalty or notice on their transcript. The add/drop date is published on the university’s academic calendar.
12.3. Waitlist Rules
At an instructor’s discretion, a student on the Waitlist may participate through the end of the add/drop period. If, by the end of the add/drop period, the student is not able to register for the course, the student must stop attending. This does not apply to students who audit the course.
12.4. Change in Grade Type
Students may change grade type (letter grade or Pass/Fail) up until the end of the tenth week of the semester or the equivalent for summer and other non-standard sessions. Students are responsible for verifying that such changes are reflected in their official student record. The last day to change a grade type is published on the university’s academic calendar.
12.5. Drop or Withdraw from a Course or from All Courses
12.5.1. Dropping a course results in no record of the course on the student’s academic transcript. Withdrawing from a course results in a “W” recorded on the student’s academic transcript. In both cases, the cumulative GPA is not affected.
12.5.1.a. Students may drop a course or all but the last course on the student portal before the tenth day of classes.
12.5.1.b. In order to drop from all courses or from the last course, students must work with their academic advisor and file a Drop or Withdraw from All Classes Form. The date of the drop from each class will be based on the last date of attendance which must be provided by the instructors and included with the submission of the Drop or Withdraw from All Classes Form. If a student’s last date of attendance is after the last day to drop a class and before the end of the tenth week of class, the student will receive a “W” for each course per the regulation on withdrawing from a course or from all courses.
12.5.1.c. If a student drops all courses before the tenth day of classes and does not enroll in any other courses, the student will be separated from the university. Discontinuation of attendance at a class or notification to the instructor is not sufficient to constitute an official drop from a course. Occupied university housing must be vacated promptly by students who drop all classes.
12.5.1.d. A student who drops all courses should consult with an advisor to obtain a Temporary Leave if they wish to return the following term.
12.5.2. After the tenth day of classes or the equivalent for the summer and other non-standard sessions, students may withdraw from all but the last course on the student portal, up until the end of the tenth week of the semester or the equivalent for summer and other non-standard sessions. Deadlines for course withdrawals are published on the university’s academic calendar. Additional restrictions on course withdrawals may apply to particular academic programs, international students, athletes, and cooperative education students. When students withdraw before the end of the tenth week of the semester or the equivalent for summer and other non-standard sessions, a grade of “W” is entered for each course. Discontinuation of attendance at a class or notification to the instructor is not sufficient to constitute an official Withdrawal.
12.5.2.a. In order to withdraw from all courses or from the last course, students must work with their academic advisor and file a Drop or Withdraw from All Classes Form. The date of the withdrawal from each class will be based on the last date of attendance which must be provided by the instructors and included with the submission of the Drop or Withdraw from All Classes Form. Occupied university housing must be vacated promptly by a student who withdraws from all classes.
12.5.2.b. The withdrawal policy may not apply if students have been charged with a violation of the Academic Integrity Code or Student Conduct Code.
12.5.2.c. If a student leaves for non-medical reasons after the last day to withdraw from classes, the student will receive no reimbursement and should expect to receive failing grades for that term, unless the student has made arrangements for Incompletes.
12.5.2.d. If a student’s last date of attendance is after the 10th week of classes, the student may not withdraw from that course.
12.6. Withdraw from All Courses Due to Medical or Catastrophic Events
In the event a student encounters medical difficulties or a catastrophic event after the tenth week of the semester or the equivalent for summer and other non-standard sessions and wishes to withdraw from all courses, the student must arrange with the Office of the Dean of Students to initiate the process for leaving the university.
All affected instructors will be consulted during this process. If a student is passing a class as of the date of last attendance, the student may request an Incomplete grade per the regulation on Incomplete Grades (refer to regulation 3.5.), rather than withdraw.
Students are responsible for providing the Office of the Dean of Students with documentation supporting the receipt of Incompletes and/or Withdrawals. Upon receiving and approving the documentation, the Dean of Students will initiate a petition to have the Incompletes and/or Withdrawals recorded on the student’s transcript. The Dean of Undergraduate Education makes the final decision for such Incompletes and/or Withdrawals from all courses.
13. Interruptions of Studies due to Temporary Leaves
A Temporary Leave is an interruption in studies from the university for a specified period of time after which the student is expected to return. A Temporary Leave is initiated by the student in consultation with the student’s academic unit. A student’s financial aid, merit awards, university housing, and immigration status may be affected by any leave or separation from the university. Students should consult with their academic unit or the appropriate university office (Financial Aid, Office of the Dean of Students, International Student and Scholar Services, etc.) for help in determining the effects of the separation in their case.
There are three kinds of Temporary Leaves: general, medical, and military. Medical leave covers only personal health reasons. Family health reasons are covered under a general temporary leave. Students who are issued a Permit to Study will be placed on Temporary Leave until the completed transcript from the Permit to Study is provided to the Office of the University Registrar.
General Conditions for All Temporary Leaves:
- The leave period is counted as part of the time allowed for completion of degree requirements.
- Students on temporary leave are not registered with the university; their use of American University facilities, such as the library or the fitness center, will be limited to general public privileges. Students are responsible for understanding the implications of a temporary leave for housing, financial aid, health insurance, and progress toward the degree.
- This policy will not be used in lieu of disciplinary actions to address violations of American University’s rules, regulations or policies. A student who has engaged in behavior that may violate rules, regulations, or policies of the university community may be subject to the Student Conduct Code. A student may be required to participate in the disciplinary process coincident with the request for a temporary leave. A student permitted to take a temporary leave while on academic or disciplinary status will return on that same status.
- International students are advised that taking a temporary leave may affect their student visa status and should consult with the International Students and Scholars Service in the Office of Campus Life.
- Students who do not return to the university at the end of the leave will be automatically separated. Separated students must apply for readmission and must meet the then-current admission criteria and program requirements.
13.1. All Temporary Leaves
Students may not take more than two semesters of General Temporary Leave. Military Temporary Leaves do not count against the total number of leaves available to a student.
13.2. General Temporary Leave
13.2.1. Students desiring a Temporary Leave for reasons other than study at another collegiate institution should meet with their academic advisor. At the academic unit’s discretion, based on whether or not it seems desirable to guarantee the student an automatic readmission, the academic unit will notify the Office of the University Registrar to issue a Temporary Leave. The Temporary Leave will specify the duration of the leave (one or two semesters) as well as a limitation of one-year maximum automatic continuance in the same undergraduate program. Students must request the leave no later than within the first two weeks in the term in which the leave will begin. The academic unit may extend the leave only once and must notify the Office of the University Registrar accordingly.
13.2.2. The Temporary Leave becomes void if the student attends any domestic or foreign collegiate institution during the period of leave, unless the student obtains a Permit to Study at Another Institution or a Medical Permit to Study from the academic unit.
13.3. Medical Temporary Leave
13.3.1. Students must request a medical leave of absence through the Office of the Dean of Students. Only students who receive a medical temporary leave are eligible to receive a medical permit to study.
13.3.2. A student may request from the Office of the Dean of Students to take a Medical Temporary Leave for up to one year for personal health reasons. The student should provide medical documentation that supports the requested action only to the Office of the Dean of Students. The Office of the Dean of Students will notify the academic unit when a student is taking Medical Temporary Leave and will forward the verification to the Office of the Registrar. If the Dean of Students approves the Medical Temporary Leave, students may request from the academic unit a Medical Permit to Study.
13.3.3. Students must request documentation from the Office of the Dean of Students to return from a Medical Temporary Leave or to return from a semester (or the equivalent for summer and other non-standard sessions) during which they withdrew from all courses or received a reduced load that was approved for medical reasons. The Office of the Dean of Students will provide the academic unit with verification when the student is ready to resume studies at the university.
13.4. National Service or Military Temporary Leave
13.4.1. Students may be required to leave the university to fulfill short-term or long-term national service or military obligations that are unrelated to war or ongoing hostilities. In the instance of shorter term absences (e.g., fulfilling periodic training obligations to serve in the U.S. National Guard) students must inform their instructors in advance of their absence(s) during a term and a plan to complete course requirements should be agreed upon by the instructor and the student.
13.4.2. Students who require short term leaves for military reasons must provide a copy of their military orders to their instructor.
13.4.3. In the event of a longer-term absence (e.g., an international student being required to leave the U.S. to serve in their home country to fulfill national service or military service obligations for a period of time during their college studies) the student may alert the academic advisor to notify the Office of the University Registrar for a General Temporary Leave for national service or military reasons or for an extension of an existing Temporary Leave. Students applying for leave for this reason must provide documentation for the leave.
13.5. Interruption of Studies Caused by Emergencies, Hostilities, or War
13.5.1. Students whose work toward a degree is disrupted as a direct result of pandemic, hostilities, war, or some similar emergency shall be given every possible consideration. Included in the categories of students affected are those who cannot travel, are called to active duty, enlist in the armed forces, or are assigned to nonmilitary duties.
13.5.2. Students called to active military duty while enrolled at American University must provide the Office of the University Registrar with a copy of their military orders. The orders should confirm the begin date and the end date of service. This policy is in addition to that described in the Military Temporary Leave policy elsewhere for events unrelated to hostilities or war.
13.5.3. Students should consult their academic unit and instructors on how best to complete their studies through alternative methods such as online learning and may be eligible for refund of tuition in some cases.
13.5.4. Students may resume their studies at the university if arrangements are made for their return within the six months following the end of their enforced absence and if their degree program is still offered by the university. They may continue to work for the same degrees in which they were enrolled at the interruption of their studies in accordance with the regulations in effect at the time they left.
13.6. Trauma and Bereavement Policy
13.6.1. In the event of a personal tragedy or trauma, students may need to coordinate alternative arrangements to complete coursework. Students or their authorized representative may contact the academic unit.
13.6.2. If students think it is not in their best interest to complete the term or to return to campus the next term, they may elect to take a Temporary Leave or separate from the university.
14. Suspension or Separation from the University
14.1. Voluntary Separation
14.1.1. Students in good academic standing wishing to separate from the university the following term must notify the Office of the University Registrar and may do so at any time up to and inclusive of the last day of classes, provided their academic progress during the term does not result in academic dismissal.
14.1.1.a. A Separation can be initiated by the student or a representative of the university.
14.1.1.b. Separations requested after the last day of instruction or by students on academic probation will only be approved by the academic unit if the student’s academic progress does not result in academic dismissal.
14.1.1.c. If students are considering separating from the university, they should consult with their academic unit as soon as possible to determine whether there are other more viable alternatives.
14.1.1.d. There are certain circumstances in which a student may not be permitted to voluntarily separate from the university.
14.1.2. A Separation from the university results in the loss of active student status.
14.1.3. Students who are eligible to enroll in courses for a fall or spring semester, but who do not enroll, will be separated from the university.
14.1.4. Students whose grades would have led to academic dismissal may not voluntarily separate from the university.
14.1.5. Following a Separation, students in good academic standing can apply to the university admissions office for readmission in the following term and regain active student status.
14.1.5.a. Students on academic probation at the time of separation may apply for readmission after two full terms (fall, spring, or summer).
14.1.5.b. Students who separate from the university without notifying the Office of the University Registrar will only be considered for readmission under exceptional circumstances.
14.1.5.c. Students who separate from the university and are subsequently readmitted will not be readmitted again after they separate from the university a second time for any reason.
14.2. Involuntary Suspension
14.2.1. The university may suspend a student from the university for an interim period as a result of an Academic Integrity Code violation or any pending disciplinary or criminal proceedings or medical evaluation regarding behavior relevant to such proceedings.
14.2.1.a. The interim suspension will be effective immediately without prior notice whenever there is evidence that the continued presence of the student at the university poses a substantial and immediate threat to him or herself, to others, or to the stability and continuance of normal university functions. Interim suspension excludes students from university premises and other privileges or activities.
15. Petitioning an Academic Regulation
Based on a compelling rationale, a petition for an exception to a specific undergraduate academic regulation may be initiated by an undergraduate student. Such a petition should be directed in writing to the student’s academic advisor and filed through American University’s online petition system.