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Academic Policies and Procedures


The Schedule of Classes, published before the beginning of each semester, contains a detailed outline of the registration procedure. Students are urged to study these schedules carefully and to keep them available for immediate reference during the registration period and throughout the semester. All students are expected to register on the dates indicated in the calendar. Although registration is permitted after these dates, a late registration fee is charged, and there is no reduction in other fees.

Credit is not allowed in any course for which the student is not duly registered. Registration is not complete until all fees for the semester have been paid.

Unit of Credit

The James Madison University academic calendar is based on the semester system. The unit of credit is the credit hour. A credit hour represents one 50-minute class period each week in the semester for lectures, or two 50-minute class periods for each week in the semester for laboratory or field work.

Credit/No-Credit Course Registration

The credit/no-credit option has been established to encourage students to explore academic areas with which they are unfamiliar. It is designed to allow students to select courses of interest to them which are outside their major and minor fields of concentration, especially those of exceptional challenge, without jeopardizing their academic record. It may also be used in some cases to reduce academic pressures and competition for grades.

Students electing to take courses under this option should be selective in choosing which courses to take credit/no-credit. Graduate and professional schools, as well as future employers, may view the use of non-traditional grading systems adversely. Students should consult their academic advisers for information concerning the inclusion of credit/no-credit course grades within their program.

Course Load

In all programs the normal load per semester is 16 or 17 credit hours. Any student in good standing may take a maximum of 19 credit hours without securing special permission. A student with a cumulative grade point average of 3.25 or better may register for as many as 21 credit hours. Permission to exceed these limits must be secured from the head of the department or director of the school in which the student is majoring.

It is strongly recommended that a student on academic warning not register for more than 16 credit hours. A student on probation may not take more than 12 credit hours.

An undergraduate course load of at least 12 credit hours a semester is required for a student to live in a residence hall.

Student teaching should be a full-time experience. Only in exceptional cases will additional course work be approved during the student teaching period. Moreover, student teachers cannot expect to work or participate in excessive extracurricular activities during the student teaching period as any interference with student teaching might lower the quality of the performance. Students with problems or special needs must contact the director of teacher education services for prior approval. All student teaching grades are on a credit/no-credit basis.

During summer session, a student may take four credit hours for each four-week term and seven credit hours for each six-week term. Overloads must be approved at the time of registration by the head of the department or director of the school in which the student is majoring.


Students may audit courses only with permission of their faculty advisers and the head of the department or director of the school offering the class. Audited courses will not affect a student's credit hours or grade point average.

Course Adjustments

A course adjustment is any change to a student's registered course schedule, including any of the following: changing a credit option, changing a section, adding a course, dropping a course or withdrawing from a course. Depending on the student's course load, adding a course may result in a tuition increase. The deadlines for processing specific course adjustments are stated in the Schedule of Classes. Freshmen (0-27 credit hours) must secure the prior approval of their faculty advisers for any course adjustments.

The end of the free period (approximately one week after the start of a regular semester's classes) is the deadline for:

The end of the course adjustment period (approximately one week after midterm grades are due for a regular semester) is the deadline for:

Dropping or Withdrawing from a Course

Dropping and withdrawing are different actions that have different results, although both result in the termination of a student's enrollment in the course. Dropping a course must be completed by the end of the free period. There is no fee to drop a course, and the dropped course will not appear on the student's transcript. Depending on the student's course load, dropping a course may result in a tuition reduction.

Withdrawing from a course occurs after the end of the free period, but prior to the end of the course adjustment period. A grade of "W" for the course will be recorded (and remain) on the student's transcript regardless of the status of the student in the course at the time of withdrawal. Withdrawing from a course will not result in a tuition reduction, and a $10 charge will be assessed for the day on which the withdrawal occurs. Withdrawal from a course after the end of the course adjustment period will not be permitted. Students are responsible for knowing their registered course schedules and for making any desired course adjustments prior to the published deadlines. Failure to attend class does not constitute a withdrawal. After the end of the course adjustment period, a grade other than "W" must be issued for all registered courses.

Students considering withdrawing from a course should be aware that graduate and professional schools, as well as future employers, may view withdrawal from courses adversely. Accordingly, a student should withdraw from a course only after serious consideration.

Withdrawal from the University

Students withdraw from the university when enrollment is terminated before completing the semester for which they registered. A degree-seeking student desiring to withdraw must have a conference with a staff member in the Office of the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs/Student Life and complete the withdrawal request form. Students who are unsure about withdrawing are encouraged to talk to a member of the Counseling and Student Development Center staff before initiating withdrawal procedures.

The Office of the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs/Student Life must approve such requests, set the official withdrawal date and notify other university offices of the action. Strict compliance with this requirement is mandatory. Students who withdraw without receiving official approval will receive a grade of "F" for all courses in which they are enrolled.

Grades of students withdrawing with official approval will be determined as follows:

Special students, non-degree seeking, enrolled in an off- or on-campus course must withdraw from the university by securing a request for withdrawal form from the Office of Continuing Education and External Programs. This form should be completed and returned to the Office of Continuing Education and External Programs where the official withdrawal will be processed .

An adjustment in charges will be figured from the official day of withdrawal. No adjustment in charges will be made unless the withdrawal form is received in the Office of the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs/Student Life or the Office of Continuing Education and External Programs (special students) within 30 days after the student leaves the campus. Adjustments will not include non-refundable fees or charges. Students whose connection with the university terminates because of disciplinary actions or enforced withdrawal will receive a prorated refund of all fees except room charges. (Further information on refunds may be found on page 27).

Non-Returning Students

All students who plan to complete their current semester but do not intend to return to JMU for the subsequent semester should notify the Office of the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs/Student Life in writing. This notification is necessary without regard to whether students have registered or paid. Questions concerning non-returning status should be directed to the Office of the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, Alumnae Hall, Room 106.


The classification of students depends on the number of credit hours they have received.

	Classification			Credit Hours
	Freshmen			Fewer than 28
	Sophomores			28-59
	Juniors				60-89
	Seniors				More than 89

Grading System

The university keeps a complete record of each student's work and sends a grade report to the student's permanent address at the end of each semester.

Mid-semester reports on courses in which a student is doing failing work are sent to students and their advisers. Mid-semester grades in all courses are sent to freshmen.

The academic achievement of a student in a specific course is expressed by letters as follows:

 	A 	- Superior
	B	- Good
	C 	- Average
	D 	- Passing
	F	- Failure
	I	- Incomplete
	CR 	- Credit for average or better work
	NC 	- No credit awarded
	W 	- Withdrawal
Plus or minus symbols may be added to "A," "B" and "C" grades. These will appear on the student's transcript but will have no effect on GPA.

A course in which a grade of "F" is received does not result in earned credit hours, but does count as credit hours attempted in grade point average computations.

In certain circumstances, a grade of "NP" (denoting that an irregularity has resulted in a "Not Processed" designation) will be given for a course. Since an "NP" grade will automatically be converted to a permanent "F" grade at the end of the next regular semester, it is imperative that a student receiving any "NP" grade contact the Office of Registration and Records as soon as possible to make sure that appropriate action is taken to remedy the problem.

Incomplete Grades

The "I" symbol is used to indicate incomplete work in a given course and is awarded only when a student is unable to complete the course work because of illness or some other equally compelling reason. Courses in which a student receives a grade of "I" must be completed by the end of the next regular semester, or the grade is recorded permanently as "F." See the University Calendar for the dates by which grade changes must be reported to the Office of Registration and Records. A student seeking a grade of "I" should speak to the faculty member.

Grade Appeal Procedure

A student who wishes to appeal a grade must do so by the last day of classes of the next regular session and must follow the steps of this procedure in the order listed: At each level of appeal there is the responsibility to confer with the faculty member who may be required to review the basis used in determining the grade which was awarded to the student.

Upon agreement to a grade change at any level of appeal, the faculty member initiates the change of grade.


Students' participation in the work of a course is clearly a precondition of their receiving credit in that course. Because of the wide variety of courses and teaching methods at JMU, the university recognizes that the nature of a student's participation in the work of a course cannot be prescribed on a university-wide basis. For this reason classroom attendance is not a matter subject to regulation by the university. Attendance in class and laboratory is a matter between the student and the faculty member in that class or laboratory.

Final Examinations

Students are expected to attend final examinations at their scheduled periods. With extenuating circumstances, however, faculty members may approve a student's request for an exception. Students whose request for an exception is disapproved by a faculty member have the right to appeal to the department head or school director, academic dean or vice president for academic affairs, respectively. No appeal will be favorably considered without prior consultation with the faculty member.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

A student's grade point average for any period is computed by dividing the number of quality points earned during that period by the number of credit hours attempted during the same period. For instance, for a period in which a student attempts 16 credit hours and earns 40 quality points, the student's GPA is 2.5.

A student's cumulative GPA is computed by dividing the total number of quality points earned at JMU by the total number of credit hours attempted at JMU.

				Quality Points
	Grade			Earned Per Credit Hour
	A			Four
	B			Three
	C			Two
	D			One
	F			None

Quality Points

For example, a grade of "B" in a three credit-hour course would earn nine quality points; a grade of "C" in the same course would earn six quality points.

The following do not affect quality points earned, credit hours attempted or GPA:

Repeating Courses

A student may repeat any course. All grades will be included in calculating the student's GPA with the following exception. Each student may elect to repeat up to two courses during enrollment at JMU on a "repeat forgiveness" basis, which will result in the previous grade in the repeated course being excluded from the calculation of the student's GPA. The student must either declare the "repeat forgiveness" option at registration or complete the appropriate adjustment prior to the end of the course adjustment period. A course for which a grade was assigned due to a violation of the Honor System may not be taken on a "repeat forgiveness" basis.

All grades will appear on the student's transcript, but a course that has been repeated will only be counted once toward satisfying graduation requirements.

Semester Honors Lists

To qualify for the honor of being placed on the President's List, a student must earn a grade point average of 3.75 and carry a course load of at least 14 hours, 12 of which must be in addition to any courses taken on credit/no-credit or in school or departmental honors.

To qualify for the Dean's List, a student must meet the above requirement for course load and earn a grade point average of 3.25.

Academic Standing

The retention policy defines the minimum scholarship requirement for good standing and permission to enroll in a subsequent semester.

	Credit			Quality Point Deficiency
	Hours		Academic	Academic	Academic
	Attempted	Warning		Probation	Suspension
	0-34		1-12		13-23		24 or more
	35-68		1-9		10-17		18 or more
	69-102		1-6		7-11		12 or more
	103				1-5		6 or more
Quality point deficiency is twice the number of credit hours attempted at JMU minus the number of quality points earned at the university.

Retention standards are the same for transfer students and students who have earned JMU credits without quality points as any other students, except all credit hours earned are added to the credit hours attempted to determine the classification of the student (0-34, 35-68, 69-102, or 103 and above).

Academic Good Standing

A student is in good standing if a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or above is maintained.

Academic Warning

The status of academic warning indicates that a student has a cumulative grade point average of less than 2.0, but that the quality point deficiency is not sufficient to warrant being placed on academic probation.

Academic Probation

Students placed on academic probation may not take more than 12 credit hours of course work. Students on academic probation are expected to confer regularly with their academic advisers and are encouraged to participate in the Educational Skills Development Laboratory.

Academic Suspension

A student who is academically suspended is ineligible to attend the following two regular semesters but may attend summer school.

If there are extenuating circumstances associated with an academic deficiency, students may appeal, in writing, to the dean of the college in which they are enrolled for reinstatement the following semester.

Students will not receive credit for work taken at other institutions during a period of academic suspension from the university.

An academically suspended student may apply for readmission after the end of the suspension. The decision regarding readmission will be made by the Office of Admissions.


The transcript of a student's permanent academic course record is released by the registration and records office only upon the written request of the student or former student and for authorized research purposes. The transcript is the official record of grades earned to date and includes the date of graduation, degree received, and date of withdrawal or dismissal. Official transcripts and other documents with the university seal attached are not released to the student, but are mailed directly to another college or authorized agency.

Reserve Graduate Credit

(Admission to Graduate Courses by Undergraduates Seeking Graduate Credit)

Undergraduate students nearing completion of their undergraduate degrees may take up to three graduate courses for reserve graduate credit during their senior year upon being accepted to the Graduate School in the usual manner. This graduate credit, earned prior to completion of an undergraduate degree, is held in reserve to apply later toward a graduate degree.

Written permission to seek reserve graduate credit must be obtained in writing from the dean of the Graduate School prior to enrollment in these courses. Forms are available in the Graduate School office. It is the student's responsibility to obtain all required signatures.

Students enrolled in five-year programs must abide by the policies stated above governing reserve graduate credit.

Approval for reserve graduate credit does not imply approval that credit so earned will be accepted at another graduate school. Credit for the same course is not given toward both graduate and undergraduate degrees.

Transfer of Credit from Other Institutions

A student wishing to earn credits at another institution, either in the summer or during a regular session, must obtain permission in advance from the registration and records office. The registration and records office will make the determination concerning the course and its application toward a JMU degree following consultation with the head of the department or director of the school, if necessary. The student is responsible for having an official transcript mailed to the registration and records office when the work has been completed.

Transfer Equivalent Policy for Readmitted Students

Students who return to JMU after a separation of two calendar years and who maintain a 2.0 GPA for 12 credit hours may be given the option of requesting a quality point status equivalent to that of transfer students admitted to the university.

The following regulations govern this option:

Choice of Catalog

The particular catalog under which a student meets degree requirements is determined by the following policies:

Change in Catalog

Students who wish to change catalogs may elect the current catalog or, in the case of transfer or re-entry, the one used by most of the members of their graduating class. There is no limit to the number of catalog changes students may make as long as they have the approval of the major department or school and adviser.

James Madison University is a progressive educational institution. Curricular changes occur periodically and are reflected in subsequent issues of the undergraduate catalog. These changes may affect all currently enrolled students. Every effort is made to alert students to these changes through the academic advising process, individual reports of academic progress and various campus publications. Responsibility for meeting all graduation requirements rests with the student.

Graduation Requirements

The faculty adviser and the department head or school director make the official check on major and minor course requirements for graduation. The registration and records office makes the final check on courses required for the final term, total credits earned, the liberal studies program, degree requirements and the cumulative GPA earned at the university, as well as other university-wide requirements.

To receive a degree from James Madison University, a student must:

A student expecting to graduate at the end of any semester must file an Application for a Degree with the university registrar as specified in the University Calendar.

Responsibility for meeting the requirements for graduation rests with the student.

Attendance at commencement exercises is expected. If a student is unable to attend commencement, the university registrar must be notified at least 21 days prior to commencement.

Graduation with Honors

In order to be eligible for graduation with honors, the student must have been enrolled at JMU a minimum of four regular semesters and have completed a minimum of 60 credit hours at JMU during that period of enrollment. The student must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of at least 3.25 at James Madison University and have a cumulative average as given below in all course work, including that taken at other colleges. All grades received in all courses attempted will be used in calculating a student's grade point average in consideration for graduation with honors. Credits completed at other colleges will be converted to the JMU grading scale.

The average for determining honors is computed at the end of the semester preceding the semester in which final graduation requirements are met.

Cumulative Averages Required for Honors

	Honors			Average
	Cum laude		3.25-3.499
	Magna cum laude		3.50-3.749
	Summa cum laude		3.75 and above

Earning a Second Baccalaureate Degree

JMU does not confer two degrees concurrently. A student who has already received a baccalaureate degree (or graduate degree) may, however, earn a second but different baccalaureate degree by meeting the following requirements:

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Last reviewed: Sept. 10, 1994
Information Publisher: Academic Services