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 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 nontraditional grading systems adversely. Students should consult their academic advisers for information concerning the inclusion of credit/no-credit course grades within their program.

Students are eligible to take a course on a credit/no-credit basis if they have completed at least 28 credit hours at JMU and have attained a 2.25 cumulative grade point average. Transfer students may take courses on the credit/no-credit option if they have completed 28 credit hours with at least 14 hours at JMU.

Students are permitted to register for kinesiology activity courses on a credit/no-credit basis at any time without regard to minimum hours completed or grade point average. The grade for student teaching is assigned on a credit/no-credit basis.

Course Load

In all programs the normal load per semester is 15 or 16 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.

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.

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.

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 six credit hours for each four-week term and nine 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 add period (approximately one week after the start of a regular semester's classes) is the deadline for adding a course or changing a section without prior approval of the instructor and the head of the department offering the course.

The end of the free drop period (approximately the last day in the first week of a regular semester's classes) is the deadline for dropping a course.

A fee of $10 will be charged for each day on which any course adjustment is made after the end of the free add and drop periods.

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 drop 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. Any student desiring to withdraw must have a conference with a staff member in the Office of the Registrar 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 Registrar 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:

Readmission to the university is contingent on receipt of a letter from the attending physician indicating that the student is able to attend classes.

Medical withdrawals for psychological reasons must include a 90-day absence from the university. Supporting documentation for the student's return to the university must be received at least 30 days before readmission.

Nondegree-seeking special students enrolled in an off- or on-campus course must also withdraw from the university by securing a request for withdrawal form from the Office of the Registrar. This form should be completed and returned to the Office of the Registrar 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 Registrar within 30 days after the student leaves the campus or does not attend classes. Adjustments will not include nonrefundable 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).

Nonreturning 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 Registrar in writing. This notification is necessary without regard to whether students have registered or paid. Questions concerning nonreturning status should be directed to the Office of the Registrar, Wilson Hall, Room 107.


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 grades in all courses are sent to new 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 the Registrar 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 the Registrar. 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

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.

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

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.

Except as set forth under Graduation with Honors below, all references to grade point average denote the grade point average derived from course work taken at JMU.

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 in residence at JMU. 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 and credit hours in the repeated course being excluded from the calculation of the student's GPA and earned credit hour total. 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 3.90 and above 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 3.50-3.89.

Continue Academic Policies and Procedures

Introduction and General Information Directory

Undergraduate Catalog Contents

1996-97 Undergraduate Catalog
Last reviewed: 30 November 1996
Information Publisher: Division of Academic Affairs
James Madison University