Academic Regulations

 

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is central to the mission of Brandeis University. As stated in "Rights and Responsibilities," "Every member of the university community is expected to maintain the highest standards of academic honesty. A student shall not receive credit for work that is not the product of the student's own effort."

Examples of penalties for a student found responsible for an infringement of academic honesty are: no credit for the work in question, failure in the course and the traditional range of conduct sanctions from disciplinary warning through permanent dismissal from the university.

It is one of the chief obligations of each member of Brandeis' academic community to understand the university's policies regarding academic honesty and to uphold those standards.

Allegations of academic dishonesty by undergraduate or graduate students are reported to the Student Rights and Community Standards for adjudication within the Student Judicial System.

Course Load

The normal rate of work is defined as 16 credits per semester, counting toward the 128 credits required as the graduation standard.

Some courses — notably, physical education courses — do not carry credits and to not contribute toward the calculation of a legal course load or progress toward the graduation standard. Students enrolling in them do so as a supplement to an otherwise legal program of study.

The minimum rate of work is three semester courses per term and seven per academic year.

The maximum rate of work is 5.5 semester courses per term and 11 per academic year.

Rate of Work Limits

  Number
of courses
Equivalent
number of credits
Minimum per semester  three  12
Maximum per semester  5.5  22
Minimum per year  seven  28
Maximum per year  11  44

Exceptions to Course Load Provisions
Students may petition the Committee on Academic Standing for exceptions to the rate of work provisions.

Students may petition to take up to 6.5 classes in a single semester. Typically students must demonstrate a legitimate academic reason for taking the additional courses, have a minimum grade point average of 3.000 or above, and have successfully completed five courses in a previous semester. Starting fall 2013, students enrolled in more than 23 credits will be assessed an additional tuition charge per credit: $1,387 for students who first entered after spring 2012 and $1,375 for students who first entered prior to summer 2012.

Students may not petition to exceed the maximum rate of work during their first year at Brandeis.

Exceptions are rarely made to the minimum rate of work limits. Students working below the minimum rate of work without permission will be placed on probation and may be subject to withdrawal.

The minimum course load for students in the Brandeis Adult Student Option is one course per semester. Students in this program pay tuition at the per-course rate.

Students in their final year may work at the rate of 12 credits each term, as long as all degree requirements will be met by the end of their final semester.

With the permission of the University Registrar, a student may repeat a course previously completed with a passing grade; however, the repeated effort will not count toward the graduation standard of 128 credits or contribute toward the grade point average.

Senior Reduced-Rate Status
Senior reduced-rate status enables seniors who have completed all requirements and who wish to take additional courses in their eighth and final term to take one or more semester courses and to pay at the per-course rate. Reduced-rate is only for one semester. To qualify for this status seniors must have:

  1. Completed all general university requirements.
  2. Completed 128 credits and the number of semesters required for graduation.
  3. Completed the requirements in at least one major.

The following categories of students are not eligible for Senior Reduced Status:

  1. Students who have studied abroad for a full year.
  2. Students who are in BA/MA or BS/MS programs.
  3. Transfer students who transfer in 64 credits from another institution.

Exceptions to the above qualifications:

  1. Students completing a two-semester honors thesis can qualify if all that remains for completing their major is the second semester of their thesis. They must have completed 124 credits at the end of the 7th semester and all general university requirements must be met.
  2. Studio Art Majors can qualify if all that remains for completing their major is taking FA 110b in their 8th semester. 124 credits must have been completed by the end of the 7th semester and all general university requirements must be met.
  3. HSSP Majors can qualify if all that remains for completing their major is taking HSSP 110a in their 8th semester. 124 credits must have been completed by the end of the 7th semester and all general university requirements must be met.
  4. MATH Majors can qualify if all that remains for completing their major is taking the final honors course in their 8th semester. All non-honors requirements for the MATH major must be completed. 124 credits must have been completed by the end of the 7th semester and all general university requirements must be met.

Course Load Requirement:
There is no minimum course load requirement. Students can take as few as one class or as many as 3 classes under Senior Reduced Status. If 4 classes are taken, regular full-time semester tuition is charged.

Completing Additional Majors or Minors:
While on Senior Reduced Status, students may complete additional majors, minors and/or a thesis.

Transfer students who transfer in less than 64 credits may qualify for reduced rate in their final semester.

To qualify, seniors petition through the Office of the University Registrar for this status. The deadline to submit a petition is October 10. Final eligibility for reduced rate status must be determined before the first day of instruction in the spring term. Completing and submitting the reduced rate petition does not guarantee approval will be granted.

Otherwise, permission to carry fewer courses than outlined above may be granted only by the Committee on Academic Standing and only on grounds of illness or personal hardship. Permission to work at the six-course-per-semester rate may be granted by the committee and will incur additional tuition charges.

Registration and Course Enrollment

Registration and course enrollment occur prior to the beginning of each semester. During the first two weeks of each term, students finalize their course selections in consultation with their faculty advisers. Final course enrollment materials are filed at the end of that period.

Late Enrollment
Requests for program changes after the second week must be submitted to the Committee on Academic Standing. Petitions to add courses after the second week must be initiated in the Office of Academic Services; such requests are granted only in exceptional circumstances.

Dropping Courses
Students who wish to drop a course, providing they adhere to the constraints of rate of work, may do so on or before the deadline announced in the university calendar, normally the Friday closest to the 50th day of instruction.

Students who drop courses before the 30th day of instruction may drop without record. Students who drop courses between the 31st day of instruction and the 50th day of instruction will have the course appear on their permanent record with a "W" ("dropped") notation.

Petitions to drop a course after the deadline must be initiated in the Office of Academic Services; such requests are granted only in exceptional circumstances. If granted permission, the Committee on Academic Standing will normally instruct the University Registrar to record a grade of "W" ("dropped") on the student's permanent record.

Auditing

While there is no formal audit status for undergraduates, students wishing to audit a class informally may contact the instructor directly to obtain permission to attend the class.

Permission to audit a course is at the discretion of the instructor, who may impose requirements for auditors such as regular attendance and course readings.

In general, auditors do not participate in group work, examinations or writing assignments.

In all cases auditors must reach an agreement with the instructor as to the level and type of participation the auditor will have in the class.

Class Standing

The minimum number of credits required for advancement to each class is as follows: sophomore: 24; junior: 56; senior: 88. The minimum number of credits required for graduation is 128.

Attendance

All students are expected to attend classes regularly. Students on probation are compelled by university policy to attend every class meeting. In addition, an individual faculty member may establish attendance requirements for all students in the course, and may insist on the completion of all assignments even if a student was not in attendance for the period.

In rare circumstances, a student may have to miss more than a week of class due to serious illness or to family emergencies. In these cases, a student should be in immediate contact with his or her class adviser to discuss what options may be available. Should a student have to miss more than two weeks of class, it may be in the student's best interest to withdraw from the semester.

Classes begin on the hour and end at 10 minutes before the hour. Tardy students may be marked absent at the discretion of the instructor.

Grades

Grades are reported to the Office of the University Registrar four times a year. In arriving at these grades, faculty members are obliged to utilize the same criteria for all students in a course, and are at liberty to consider any and all components of the student's work in a course: attendance, written work, classroom participation, recitations, laboratory technique and reports, special reports or research and all examinations. Grading in full-year courses is cumulative so that spring grades take into account the fall semester work and replace the midyear grades. The following grades will be used with plus or minus where appropriate:

A High Distinction
B Distinction
C Satisfactory
D Passing, but Unsatisfactory
E Failure

The letters "S" (Satisfactory) or "U" (Unsatisfactory) may be used as the midsemester grades for undergraduates. At midyear there must be a regular letter grade, even in full-year courses. The only exception is that "S" or "U" may be used in a full-year reading course (usually numbered 99).

The numerical equivalents of the grades as determined by the faculty are:

A+ or A 4.00
A- 3.67
B+ 3.33
B 3.00
B- 2.67
C+ 2.33
C 2.00
C- 1.67
D+ 1.33
D 1.00
D- 0.67
E 0.00

Final grades are available to students through the registration system upon posting by the University Registrar after the end of each semester.

Credit/No Credit Grading

Certain courses specifically, ENG 19a, ENG 79a and b, ENG 109a and b, ENG 119a and b, ENG 139a and b, MUS 80a through 87b, MUS 111a and b, MUS 112a and b, MUS 116a and b, and PEER 94a do not utilize letter grades. For pedagogical reasons, the grades assigned in these courses are either Credit ("CR") or No Credit ("NC"), accompanied by written evaluations that are not included in the student's transcript. These grades are the equivalent of "pass" and "fail" for purposes of computing grade point averages.

A student may take an unlimited number of semester courses graded CR/NC. However, a course utilizing this grading pattern may not be undertaken in a semester in which the student has fewer than two courses (eight credits) enrolled on a regular letter-graded basis.

Degrees with Honors

Students whose grade point average at the end of the junior year is 3.00 or above in their major may petition the department concerned for permission to work for honors in their major.

Please consult the individual department listings, as the GPA required to petition may vary. Department distinction is awarded by each department or interdepartmental committee. The levels of distinction are "honors," "high honors" or "highest honors."

The awards of cum laude and magna cum laude require a cumulative GPA of 3.500 and 3.700, respectively.

The award of summa cum laude requires a cumulative GPA of 3.800 and the award of distinction in the major.

The university has a policy of depositing honors theses with the library and making them available to future students and scholars for research purposes.

Phi Beta Kappa
The university is host to a chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. Each year, a highly select group of seniors and an even more limited group of juniors are elected to this national honor society. An extremely high level of academic achievement is necessary. Membership in this society is by invitation only.

Pass/Fail Option

Undergraduate students may enroll in up to four semester courses pass/fail. Letter grades covered by "pass" ("P" for performance at the "C-" level or above) will not be used in computing grade point averages. Grades of "D"and "E" will remain letter grades, to be used in computing grade point averages, and will be considered by Committee on Academic Standing when determining academic standing.

The following constraints apply to the use of the P/F grading option:

A. No more than one course may be taken pass/fail during a single term.

B. One course may be used to fulfill a general university requirement, excepting University Writing Seminars, writing-intensive and oral communication courses, with the pass/fail grading. No more than one course (and never the final one) in the foreign language sequence may be taken pass/fail if the language is being offered in satisfaction of the foreign language requirement.

C. Normally, courses taken pass/fail will not satisfy major or minor requirements. (Consult with the appropriate Undergraduate Advising Head for department/program-specific practices.)

D. In full-year courses, the elected grading option (pass/fail or letter grade) applies to both semesters and may not be changed at midyear. (Such a course taken pass/fail would expend two of the allowable four pass/fail semesters.)

E. Selection of the pass/fail grading option for a course must be made on or before the deadline announced in the university calendar normally, the 15th day of instruction. A course attempted on the pass/fail basis, in which the student received a grade of C- or higher, may be converted to a P grade after the end of the semester and before the announced deadline in the following semester, normally the 15th day of instruction. Students who wish to use the pass/fail grading option for an allowable general education requirement must indicate this when converting the received grade of C- or higher to the P.

F. In an undergraduate's final semester, conversion of a course attempted on the pass/fail basis, in which the student received a grade of C- or higher, must be converted to a P grade before the deadline announced in the university calendar for the receipt of senior grades, normally three days after the last day of final examinations.

Students must make all pass/fail option requests within the published deadlines — no exceptions will be made for a student missing the deadline to make an initial pass/fail option request nor to make a request to cover a grade for a course which had been elected on the pass/fail option earlier in the semester.

Petitions will not be entertained for exceptions to the above constraints and deadlines.

Please note: Arrangements between students and instructors do not constitute official pass/fail enrollment. Instructors are not informed of the grading option that a student has chosen. Students taking courses pass/fail must complete all assignments and examinations.

Undergraduate students elect the Pass/Fail option by completing, in person, an Undergraduate Pass/Fail Form at the Office of the University Registrar, 121 Kutz Hall, prior to the published deadline.

Final Exams

A detailed final examination schedule of all final examinations administered by the Office of the University Registrar is published each semester around the mid-term period.

Final examinations administered by the Office of the University Registrar must be given during the scheduled final examination period and may not be given prior to the scheduled time.

Students and faculty should confirm the date and time of final examinations, once the detailed schedule is published, prior to making any travel arrangements.

Incompletes and Excused Absences from Final Exams

Students who are unable to take their final examinations for legitimate reasons and wish to request a make-up exam must obtain advance authorization from the Office of Academic Services.

Make-up exams may be scheduled for conflict resolution or the make-up exam period in the following semester with permission of the instructor. Arrangements cannot be made to take a final exam prior to the scheduled exam time. Students who have three exams in a row may, with permission of the instructor, reschedule one exam either during the conflict resolution or the make-up exam period in the following semester.

If a student is absent without excuse from a term-end examination and does not obtain authorization for a make-up examination, the student will be given a grade of zero on the exam. The instructor will be asked to supply a grade for the course. If the instructor fails to do so on or before the institutional deadline, the registrar will enter a failing grade on the student's record.

A student is expected to complete the work in each course before the beginning of the examination period. Students unable to complete the work in a course by this time for legitimate reasons may request an Incomplete. Application forms must be obtained from and returned to the Office of Academic Services by the last day of instruction.

Approval of the instructor is required; students on probation will not be granted incompletes. The work must be completed by a date stipulated by the instructor and in no case later than two weeks after the beginning of the next semester. The grade for the course must be filed by the instructor no later than the third week of the next semester.

The record of a student will display an incomplete or absence until a permanent grade has been provided or until these designations expire. Upon expiration, if a permanent final grade has not been submitted to replace the temporary grade, the University Registrar is instructed to record an "E" for the course. Such a grade may be altered only by special petition to the Committee on Academic Standing.

When other required academic exercises, such as laboratory assignments, minor papers or quizzes are not completed, and when such noncompliance is excused, instructors may, at their discretion, require the work to be made up or not count the assignment in determining a grade. When there is no satisfactory excuse for the incomplete work, instructors may record a failing grade.

Incompletes are not automatically granted for students who have to miss large amounts of class due to illness or personal family circumstances. To be eligible for an incomplete, the student has to have consistently demonstrated strong academic work prior to the request for an incomplete. Instructors may decline to give an incomplete because of a lack of class attendance and/or a lack of completed work.

The Committee on Academic Standing

The Committee on Academic Standing (COAS) serves as the academic review board for undergraduate students in the College of Arts and Sciences. The committee evaluates student records at the end of each semester to determine academic standing. Academic standing refers to whether a student has a satisfactory or unsatisfactory academic record (see the Academic Status section below for further details).

The committee also hears all cases of required withdrawal from and readmission to the university, and recommends to the faculty degrees and honors for undergraduates. The committee meets monthly to evaluate student requests (petitions) for exceptions to university academic regulations and other cases that warrant special consideration. To ensure timely attention to requests, COAS has delegated the authority to address routine matters to the Executive Council (EXCO), which meets on a weekly basis.

The committee consists of the dean of arts and sciences, or his/her designee, who serves as chair; eight members of the faculty selected by the dean in consultation with the Council of the Faculty Senate; the dean of student life; and the University Registrar. Also in attendance as nonvoting members are the class advisers, associate registrar, director of the International Students and Scholars Office, and director of SSSP.

A student may petition the committee through his/her class adviser, who will present the student's written petition to the committee. COAS may ask the class adviser for clarification or additional information as necessary. COAS determines by majority vote whether to approve or deny the petition.

COAS may, at its discretion, defer its decision and require additional information in support of the petition. The decision that COAS reaches is communicated to the student by the class adviser.

A student may appeal a decision by COAS under certain circumstances. In cases of required withdrawal from the university, the student may appeal the committee's decision to the dean of arts and sciences. The decision of the dean is final and no further appeals are possible.

In all other cases, students may request reconsideration by COAS only under the following circumstances: where the student has new evidence, not previously available, which could have materially affected the decision of COAS; or evidence of procedural error. Once COAS has ruled on the petition for reconsideration, a student may submit a written appeal to the dean of arts and sciences. The decision of the dean will be final.

For additional information about COAS and the process of petitioning COAS, please contact the Office of Academic Services.

Academic Standing

Students are placed on the Dean's List when they have earned a GPA in the preceding semester of 3.50 or higher and have not received a D, E, U, F or NC (labs and physical education included) or more than one C; and have received a regular letter grade in at least three regular, four-credit courses.

Seniors doing honors work (a course numbered 99) in the fall term may receive an "S" in that course and still be eligible (if enrolled in three other regularly graded four-credit courses). Students are not eligible for consideration until all permanent grades have been recorded by the Office of the University Registrar. Deans Lists students receive formal acknowledgement of this achievement from the Office of Academic Services.

Students are in good academic standing when they earn a semester grade point average of at least 2.000, have not received a grade of E, F or NC, and no more than one grade in the range (D+, D or D-).

Advising alert is considered good academic standing, but serves as an indicator to the student that they are not performing at the academic level expected by the university. Students who receive a single grade of D with a semester GPA of at least 2.000 will be placed on Advising Alert. Students with cumulative grade point averages of 2.200 or below will also be placed on Advising Alert.

Probation is an official notation that satisfactory academic progress is not being achieved. Students whose semester record contains one or more grades of E, F or NC or two or more grades in the range (D+, D, D-) will be placed on probation. Students whose semester record contains a single grade in the range (D+, D, D-) will be placed on probation if the semester GPA is below 2.000. Students placed on probation will normally be returned to good academic standing following a semester of satisfactory grades (grades of C- and above).

Degree eligibility normally requires a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.000.

The following chart defines academic standing:

Semester Record Semester GPA
Less Than 2.000
Semester GPA
2.000 or Greater
No grade below C- Good Standing, unless cum.
GPA is below 2.2, in which case Advising Alert
Good Standing, unless cum.
GPA is below 2.2, in which case Advising Alert
1 D Probation Advising Alert
2 Ds, 1 E, 1 F or 1 NC Probation Probation

If a student receives more than one D, E, U, F or NC in a single semester or if a student has had multiple semesters with unsatisfactory grades, the student may be required to withdraw from the university because of a lack of academic progress.

A student may be required to withdraw from the university even if the student has not been on advising alert or probation in a prior semester. The university may require a student to withdraw at any time, should the university determine that the student's academic performance is so profoundly deficient as to suggest an inability to meet academic requirements. Students are informed in writing of any change in academic status.

Students in special admission programs who earn unsatisfactory grades in courses associated with those programs may be required to leave the University.

The academic standing of students who earn unsatisfactory grades will be reviewed at the end of each semester by the Committee on Academic Standing according to the above stated definitions. Letter grades covered by "pass" ("P" for performance at the C- level or above) will not be used in computing grade point averages but will be considered by COAS when determining academic standing.

A student with one unsatisfactory grade will have the choice of meeting with his or her class adviser or having his or her parent(s) and/or guardian(s) notified of their academic standing. A student with two or more unsatisfactory grades who are placed on probation will have their parent(s) and/or guardian(s) notified.

Parents will also be notified when a student changes their status at the university either by voluntarily withdrawing or by being required to withdraw by COAS. The student's academic adviser will also be notified of a student's academic standing.

A student with an unsatisfactory record who either voluntarily withdraws from the university or who is required to withdraw from the university may petition to return to the university. COAS will consider petitions for readmission. The student is expected to spend a minimum of one year away from the university.

Primary considerations in making readmission decisions are evidence of sustained and productive activity during the period of absence from the campus, evidence of serious academic purpose and pertinent letters of recommendation attesting to the candidate's readiness to resume formal study.

Courses taken for academic credit while on voluntary or involuntary withdrawal from the university are not eligible for transfer toward the Brandeis degree. Petitions for readmission for a fall semester must be received no later than May 1 and petitions for readmission for a spring semester must be received no later than Nov. 1.

Leave of Absence

Any degree-seeking undergraduate student who has been in residence for two semesters, and who has a complete and satisfactory record from the preceding semester, is eligible for a leave of absence. A leave of absence is granted for one or two semesters and may be extended once only. Normally, leaves are arranged in advance through the Office of Academic Services.

On an exceptional basis, personal leave may be granted for a semester in progress, in which case permission must be secured from the Office of Academic Services no later than the 20th day of instruction.

Students are required to submit a written petition to the Executive Council of the Committee on Academic Standing (through the Office of Academic Services) requesting to return. Requests must be submitted at least 30 days prior to the first day of instruction of the term in which they wish to register.

Credit will not be granted for academic work taken at other institutions during a leave of absence.

Leave of Absence for Medical Reasons

A student may petition to take a Leave of Absence for Medical Reasons for up to one year for personal health or family health reasons. Petitions and supporting documentation are submitted to the Office of Academic Services. During a leave of absence for medical reasons, students may take two courses (eight credits) per semester for a maximum of four courses (16 credits). Courses must be approved by the Office of the University Registrar prior to enrollment. Course credits may count toward the 128 credits needed for graduation as defined in the academic residency requirement.

Students requesting to return from a Leave of Absence for Medical Reasons must petition the Committee on Academic Standing for their approval. The Committee will evaluate the student's overall academic record, their academic progress for the semester in which the student withdrew, and the documentation that the medical condition has been alleviated. If a student was experiencing academic difficulty at the time of withdrawal, the Committee may require additional time away from the University even if the medical condition has improved.

Voluntary Withdrawal from the University

A student wishing to withdraw from the university may do so at any time up to and inclusive of the last day of instruction. Withdrawals requested after the last day of instruction must be approved by the Committee on Academic Standing. When a student withdraws during or at the end of a semester course, enrollments are not expunged from his/her record; rather, a grade of "W" ("dropped") is entered for each course. From students who withdraw in good standing, the Committee on Academic Standing will consider applications for readmission after one full semester of absence from the campus. Other students may apply for readmission after one calendar year has elapsed. Courses taken at other institutions while on withdrawal from the university are not eligible for transfer toward the Brandeis degree.

Extended Credit

A student who has completed eight semesters of study at Brandeis (or the equivalent in the case of transfer students) and who has earned a minimum of 120 semester-course credits (equivalent to 30 four-credit courses) is eligible for extended credit status.

This status allows completion of required course work only.

Extended credit courses may be taken over the summer (at Brandeis or elsewhere) or during the academic year either at Brandeis with tuition being charged on a per-course basis, or at another university (if the student has not already transferred in the maximum number of courses allowed).

Students who complete their course work on extended credit status are awarded their degrees at the end of the first term following the evaluation and posting of the extended credit to their academic records.

The award and posting of extended credit is dependent upon the following:

  1. Prior approval by the Office of the University Registrar of the courses to be taken.
  2. Meet the minimum grade requirement for courses taken while on extended credit (B- for summer courses, C- for courses during the academic year).
  3. The receipt by the Office of the University Registrar of an official transcript from the school where any extended credit courses were completed.

Students who do not meet the above criteria (eight semesters and 120 course credits) are not eligible for this option and must petition for a ninth semester in residence through the Office of Academic Services.