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General Academic Policies and Information

Academic Adviser

For first-year students, the faculty member who teaches their first-year seminar serves as the student’s academic adviser for the first two years, although after the first semester, a student may change academic advisers. In the spring term of the second year, students choose an academic adviser in the academic department or program which they have chosen for their major. If an academic adviser is on leave or has left the university, the student should request another adviser through the same department or program.

The academic adviser, as the title implies, provides advice to students on the academic life of the college, and assists students in planning their academic programs and course schedules, selecting majors, and examining post-graduate plans. The academic adviser is also frequently called upon for letters of recommendation. For more information on the role of the academic adviser, see the Colgate University Catalogue.


Registration is the process by which students enroll in specific courses. Course registration is held in November for the spring term and March or April for the fall term. Prior to course registration it is each student’s responsibility to confirm his or her progress and plans for meeting general education and major/minor requirements with the academic adviser, and to obtain the required registration PIN. All active, matriculated students have access to online course registration and their course schedule via the Colgate portal. Course registration priority is assigned by class year, beginning with senior class. Within each class year, registration slots are determined by alphabetical groups, which rotate each term. Students are expected to participate in official course registration on the announced dates for each term of attendance. Late registration will jeopardize admission to courses that have filled and may result in academic hardship.

Students are allowed to adjust their schedules on an as-needed basis between terms via the Colgate portal or in the registrar’s office until the date established by the registrar's office (see the registration information on the registrar's web page). Additionally, students have the opportunity to add or drop courses during the eight-day drop/add period at the beginning of each term.

A student’s registration will be canceled if the student is not confirmed in residence on campus by the sixth day of classes in a semester. Similarly, a student will be unable to initiate on-campus course registration after that deadline.

Students failing to meet announced deadlines for financial obligations in any term will be placed on a “financial hold” status and normally will not be permitted to register or make schedule adjustments until the hold has been resolved.

Student Data Form

First-year students receive notification of current directory and demographic information at the start of the academic year and are asked to update information contained on the form. All subsequent changes in data recorded on this form should be made as soon as they are known by notifying the registrar’s office, which is the central recording place for each student’s administrative and academic record at Colgate.

Projected Attendance Pattern and Leaves of Absence

Colgate must have accurate information about enrollments for each term in order to provide adequate staff, operate in an economically efficient manner, and limit overcrowding in classes and housing.

Most students will follow a normal enrollment pattern, attending Colgate for eight consecutive terms, including participation in study groups and approved programs. There are, however, compelling reasons for students to alter this normal pattern. Students unsure about taking a leave or wanting to request a leave should consult with an administrative dean to identify all options to which they may be entitled by a leave. Transfer credit awarded for courses taken at another institution while on leave is dependent on the leave.

If unapproved leaves are taken, students are withdrawn from Colgate and must reapply for readmission through the admissions office. The college cannot guarantee a place for them in any particular term of return. Exceptions to these procedures will be made only if there are extenuating circumstances which are substantially beyond the student’s control and knowledge prior to the deadline to request a leave. Likewise, eligibility for student aid will be jeopardized, as will registration and housing priority when students return, if they are not granted an official leave.

Experience has shown that students who plan ahead tend to optimize their educational opportunities and experiences. Students will help themselves as well as Colgate if they carefully consider their attendance plans well in advance of the early registration periods each semester.

Personal Leave of Absence

Colgate University students may request a personal leave of absence from the university when they desire or need to be away from campus for a variety of reasons. There are two options available depending on when the student requests the leave:
  • Option 1: If a student knows before the start of a semester (but not later than the end of the drop/add period) that they desire to take a personal leave, the student simply advises their administrative dean, and the dean will place the student on a personal leave of absence. No grades of “W” will be entered on the student’s transcript. A pro rata refund will be processed if the effective date of the leave is within the drop/add period (see Catalogue policy on refunds). The student will be billed a separate $300 deposit to bind the student’s plan to return in a specified subsequent semester. Examples of this kind of leave include but are not limited to: extending a summer job into the following semester, working on a political campaign, travel or other similar plans

  • Option 2: Occasionally there are personal circumstances which necessitate that a student leaves campus for the balance of the semester or longer that do not fall under the Policy on Medical Leave of Absence or cannot be addressed by extensions, incompletes or other academic accommodations. This option covers a leave after the end of the drop/add period but before the end of the final exam period in a given semester. Examples include but are not limited to: a death or significant /terminal illness of a family member, significant personal or family legal problems, catastrophic family financial circumstances, mandated active duty military service, gender or sexual violence or other compelling circumstances beyond the student’s ability to predict or control. If approved, the student will leave campus (or off-campus study group) immediately and be granted grades of “W” in all courses (even if the deadline for course withdrawal without academic penalty has passed). Once approved, the action is irrevocable for that semester. Other than the “W” grades, no notation regarding the personal leave will be made on the student’s permanent academic transcript. A leave deposit will not be charged.
In these circumstances, the student may request a personal leave of absence through their administrative dean. In some cases, to ensure consistency, the student’s dean may require independent verification of the basis for the leave and/or consult with colleagues on the Dean of the College staff. The dean will review the student’s request and either approve or deny the request. To confirm the leave, the dean will prepare an internal Change of Student Status Notice to include the projected return semester. The student may extend the leave if necessary by contacting their dean prior to the start of the projected return semester. A student wishing to return from a personal leave of absence must initiate a request for consideration of return by writing a letter to the administrative dean to request a time to discuss their return.

Financial aid recipients must maintain close contact with the Office of Financial Aid and meet established deadlines for applying for financial aid. An approved Option 2 personal leave will not count as one of a student’s eight semesters of financial aid eligibility.

While on any personal leave, the student will continue to be seen as a matriculated student, not currently enrolled. Students on an Option 2 leave may take courses at another domestic college or university while on a personal leave; students on an Option 1 leave may not. All courses taken at another college must be approved in advance by the Office of the Registrar to be eligible to receive transfer credit.

A student who does not return from a personal leave of absence within four semesters will be withdrawn from the university and must apply for readmission through the Office of Admission.

Refund Policy
The official effective date of a personal leave is determined by the student’s administrative dean. A pro rata refund will be computed based on this effective date (see Catalogue).

Pending Discipline
A leave of absence does not in and of itself absolve a student from disciplinary responsibility for their actions (such as engaging in threats of violence, property damage, etc.). If a student’s conduct subjects them to the disciplinary process, Colgate may do any of the following: (i) require the disciplinary process to conclude before approving the leave; (ii) hold the disciplinary process (or decisions about pursuing disciplinary action) in abeyance until a later point in time; or (iii) allow the leave of absence to serve as an alternative to a disciplinary consequence by allowing the student to address their behavior as a matter of self-help and self-improvement. The Associate Dean for Conduct will determine how pending disciplinary matters will be handled.

Academic Leave of Absence

Students wishing to directly enroll for a semester at another U.S. college or university should request an academic leave of absence. All questions regarding academic leave of absence should be directed to the administrative dean. A semester of academic leave does not count towards the seven-semester residency requirement, nor is Colgate financial aid available. These students will be charged a $500 administrative fee. This fee defrays costs incurred by Colgate for maintaining records and providing advising and other services to students while studying away from the university. Students who plan to be away in a fall term will receive a bill for the administrative fee in July. Students who intend to be away in a spring term will receive the administrative fee bill in November. Failure to pay this fee will void the leave of absence and result in loss of the privileges granted with it. Again, students are urged to discuss their academic and enrollment plans with the faculty adviser and administrative dean well before the deadline to request a leave. Students going on an approved program do not need to request an academic leave of absence.

Drop/Add Period

During the drop/add period, which is usually the first week and a half of classes, students may change their course selection by dropping and/or adding courses. The drop/add period for a course that meets less than or outside of the regular academic term is through the eighth day of the session. (Students should consult the published academic calendar for exact dates.) Registration changes made during the drop/add period must be processed via the Colgate portal or made in person to the registrar’s office by the announced deadline of the drop/add period for a term. In certain instances, students may need to secure the instructor's signature to add a course.

Failure to process schedule changes officially by the announced deadline may result in inaccurate course information being recorded on a student’s transcript. For example, students may find that a failing grade has been recorded on their transcript for a course they thought they had “dropped” or that no entry has been made for a course they thought they had “added.” Students are not permitted to modify their course schedule after the end of the drop/add period, except with special permission granted by the Committee on Standards and Academic Standing (CSAS). Approved changes may be subject to a $50 late registration fee.

Students who have consulted with an administrative dean during or prior to the drop/add period and who for compelling circumstances request the opportunity to withdraw from college prior to the end of that period, may receive a tuition refund upon the recommendation of an administrative dean. The section entitled “Refunds” in the catalogue should be consulted.

Withdrawing from a Course

Students are permitted to withdraw from a course without academic penalty until the mid-term date listed in the academic calendar. For fractional credit courses that meet for the first- or second-half of term students are permitted to withdraw without academic penalty prior to the appropriate date listed in the academic calendar. The required course withdrawal form is available in the registrar’s office. Withdrawing from a course after the end of the drop/add period places a W on the transcript for the course. Students are cautioned to avoid a pattern of regularly accumulating W grades on their academic record.

First-year students normally may withdraw from courses only for reasons beyond their ability to predict or control and only after consultation with the course instructor, faculty adviser, and administrative dean.

Upperclass students may withdraw from courses only after consultation with the course instructor and faculty adviser.

Withdrawals after the deadline are not permitted unless there are extraordinary circumstances (such as severe illness) that merit an exception. In those cases, a petition must be submitted to the administrative dean and approved by the Committee on Standards and Academic Standing (CSAS).

Students on academic warning may withdraw from a course only for well-documented reasons and only after consulting with the administrative dean.

Repeating a Course Previously Taken

During either the course registration period or drop/add period, a student who wishes to register for a course previously taken, in which a grade of “D+”,”D”, “D-” or “F” was received, may do so. A student who receives a grade of “C-“, “C”, or “C+” and wishes to repeat a course must, before the end of the drop/add period, secure the permission of the instructor in writing and submit it to the registrar. Students are not permitted to repeat courses in which a grade of “B-” or higher is received.

The repeated course must be the same course as was previously taken, and it must be repeated on the same basis as the original course. For example, a course originally taken for a grade cannot be repeated on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory (S/U) basis and vice versa; a course originally taken as a conventional course cannot be repeated on an independent basis; a course in which credit was earned at Colgate may be repeated only at Colgate, not at another institution. A course may not be repeated after the successful completion of a course for which the former is a prerequisite.

A student repeating a course previously taken and passed will receive no further credit towards graduation. If a course is successfully repeated, the new grade is substituted for the original grade in the academic average. The original grade and course remain on the transcript but the lower grade is not used in computing the cumulative grade point average.

Final course grades of “F” received as a result of University Student Conduct Board action because of academic dishonesty will always be retained in the calculation of the cumulative grade point average, regardless of subsequent course repetitions. When a course is repeated after a grade of “F” has been assigned through University Student Conduct Board action, both the original grade of “F” and the subsequent grade will be calculated into the cumulative grade point average.

Auditing a Course

Auditing a course is an informal matter between the student and the instructor. No record of an audit is made on official class lists, and no record of an audit is made by the registrar on a transcript.

Extra Courses

For a number of reasons, students sometimes elect to carry a fifth course during a term. In order to ensure that other students have access to at least a regular four-course load, no fifth courses may be added until the first day of classes. Fifth courses may be added at the appropriate time using the drop/add course schedule. Students who are on academic warning are not permitted to add an extra course unless permission is granted by their administrative dean. During the fall and spring terms a student may carry a maximum of 5.50 course credits. May-June courses are considered part of the spring course schedule, see catalogue.

Daily Class Schedule

Classes and seminars meet according to the course offerings schedule for each term. Laboratory meetings are for two or three periods, depending upon the nature of laboratory procedure. Seminars may meet less frequently than other classes, but for longer periods of time.

The standard meeting times for classes are 7:55-9:10, 8:20-9:10, 8:30-9:45, 9:20-10:10, 9:55-11:10, 10:20-11:10, 11:20-12:10, 12:20-1:10, 1:20-2:10, 1:20-2:35, and 2:45-4:00. Morning and afternoon classes usually meet three or four times a week or for double periods twice a week. Seminars and laboratories usually run for three class periods. Evening classes require the approval in advance of the division director and the associate dean of the faculty. A scheduled mid-morning break or “free period” occurs from 11:30-1:10 on Tuesday. Classes may not be scheduled or conducted during this time. The free period may be used for examinations in multi-section courses or, infrequently, for an extra class in a course. Many departments use the free period to schedule colloquia or department meetings. On occasion, the university may schedule campus-wide meetings during the free period.

Completion of Student Work in Courses

The work in all courses, including independent study courses, must be completed by the last day of classes. The final day of examinations is officially the end of the term. The time between the final examination and the submission of grades is for faculty members to complete their evaluations, not for students to complete a course.

Attention Seniors

Before the beginning of the final fall term, seniors are urged to do the following:
  1. Consult your academic record in Degree Works accessed via the portal. Questions regarding your academic record should be directed to your academic adviser, the chair/director of your major department(s)/program(s), or the registrar’s office.
  2. Consult with the chair of the physical education department if you have any questions about physical education requirements for graduation.
It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that all graduation requirements are met.

Exemption from Policies and Regulations

The diversity of experiences brought to the campus by some of our students occasionally provides an opportunity for considering exemption from a particular requirement or regulation based upon the unique circumstances of a student. Students who wish to consider petitioning for an exemption from a university requirement or regulation should first consult an administrative dean who can advise them of the procedures to follow in their particular case.

The Petitions Committee receives petitions from students seeking exemption from the graduation requirements of the university including the transfer credit limit, the residency requirement, and the Liberal Arts Core Curriculum program. The committee does not exist to hear “petitions in general” from students, nor does it exist to hear appeals from administrative decisions. Students should consult an administrative dean and their faculty adviser before developing a petition for the Petitions Committee. Exceptions are normally granted on the merits of the alternative academic plan that is proposed or requested.

The Committee on Standards and Academic Standing (CSAS) hears petitions from students seeking exceptions from routine deadlines or policies (late course drop and adds, withdrawal from a course after the announced deadline, etc.) that are not catalogue-mandated graduation requirements. This committee meets regularly during the academic year, and students may file a petition through an administrative dean. This committee, with expanded faculty membership, also meets at the end of each semester in academic review mode to hear petitions from students who are subject to academic dismissal.

Transfer Credit

Matriculated students may receive transfer credit for a maximum of six Colgate course credits. (Maximum credits for transfer students are outlined in “Transfer Student Program,” in the catalogue) This limit includes all courses taken on an approved program, at other institutions during the summer or intersession, during a leave of absence from Colgate, Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate credits, and college credits earned prior to entering Colgate as a first-year student. (See “Advanced Placement and Pre-matriculation Credit” in the following section.) Students must secure approval from the Colgate registrar for the transfer of credit in advance, using a transfer of credit application, in order to insure that all courses taken are transferable. Courses that are intended to count toward major or minor requirements must be approved in advance by the appropriate department chair or program director. Students must earn at least a “C” grade in a course in order to transfer the course credit to Colgate. The credit earned for the course(s) will be recorded on the Colgate transcript. However, grades for courses taken at another institution do not transfer to Colgate and will not appear on a student’s Colgate transcript. (See the sections on "Transfer Credit Policy and Procedures" and “Residency Requirement” in the catalogue).

Advanced Placement and Pre-matriculation Credit

College liberal arts courses completed satisfactorily while a student is in secondary school may be considered for Colgate credit by the university registrar and the appropriate Colgate academic department upon receipt of an official college transcript certifying letter grades of C or better in courses bearing three semester or five quarter hours as a minimum of credit. (Courses taken on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory, Pass/Fail, or other un-graded basis are not acceptable.) These courses must be taken on a regionally accredited college or university campus, in conjunction with degree candidates of that institution, and taught by a regular member of the faculty. It is further expected that the courses would be comparable to Colgate courses in terms of classroom hours. Transfer credit is not granted for college courses taken on high school campuses.

Students seeking such credit should be prepared to submit official course descriptions and syllabi in order to permit proper evaluation of the non-Colgate course work. Laboratory materials for courses in the laboratory sciences may also by requested. Final determination of the type and amount of credit awarded, if any, will rest with the registrar and appropriate Colgate academic department or program. College courses completed prior to matriculation may not be used to fulfill the university areas of inquiry or Global Engagement requirement.

Colgate credit is normally granted only to first-year students who achieve a 4 or 5 on the CEEB Advanced Placement tests and when a department certifies that the exam score indicates a level of competence equivalent to the completion of a specific Colgate course. Credit is also granted for scores of 6 or 7 on the International Baccalaureate examinations (Higher Level only). The amount of credit, the conditions under which credit is granted, and/or placement appropriate to the academic development of the student is determined by the appropriate Colgate academic department, following the university registrar’s review of the tests and records submitted for advanced placement.

Each department will determine whether Advanced Placement credit will count toward exemption from a course and/or fulfillment of the requirements for the major or minor in that department. Such determinations will be certified to the university registrar by the appropriate department chair. Detailed descriptions of advanced placement policies that apply to an entering class may be found on the registrar's web page. Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses may not be used to fulfill the university areas of inquiry requirement or Global Engagement.

All requests for credit for academic work completed prior to entering Colgate must be filed with the Registrar’s Office by the deadline for declaration of concentration, prior to registration during the fourth semester. Supporting documentation, such as the official transcript(s), official test scores, and/or course syllabi, must be submitted with the pre-matriculation credit request.

Advanced course placement without academic credit may be granted by departments to first-year students whose performance on the College Level Examination Program (CLEP subject examinations only), CEEB Achievement Tests, or the New York State Education Department’s College Proficiency Examinations gives clear evidence of competence in the courses tested.

Off-Campus Study Group Programs

Colgate believes that acquiring an intercultural perspective is one important goal of a liberal arts education. The university offers a wide variety of off-campus programs, both international and domestic. For complete information regarding off-campus study such as application processes, housing, policies, etc. visit the Office of Off-Campus Study/International Programs in person or visit the web page ( All academic regulations, registration changes, and drop/add deadlines for a term are applicable to students enrolled in a Colgate study group, Colgate extended study, or approved program.

Refund and Withdrawal Policy

Written notification of withdrawal must be dated and delivered to the director of international programs. Notification from a Colgate e-mail address is acceptable. The postmark or date of e-mail will serve as the basis for any refund. A student who withdraws from a Colgate study group, extended study or approved program after confirming their participation with the Office of Off-Campus Study/International Programs will be charged a $1000 withdrawal fee to defray the administrative costs incurred by the university. Refunds of Colgate tuition charged for off-campus study are governed by the university’s refund policy. Students will also be charged for any non-recoverable expenses including, but not limited to, non-refundable deposits, approved program charges, housing, transportation, visas, and/or shared group expenses. The extent of non-recoverable expenses varies by program and the date of withdrawal.

Colgate Study Group

Colgate study groups provide students the opportunity to study off campus for a semester under the guidance and mentorship of a Colgate faculty member. Each study group has a unique academic focus and immerses students in new cultures, perspectives and experiences. Study groups normally enroll 15–18 students and are subject to minimum enrollment numbers to run. Students are advised to speak to the staff of the off-campus study office, the chair of the academic department in which a study group is located, or the director of the study group in which they may be interested. Permission of the study group director is required for participation in all study groups.

Students who withdraw from a study group after it has begun will, in general, not be allowed to return to campus, and if allowed to return may have difficulty obtaining desired courses or housing. Students are not allowed to register for courses after the drop/add period has ended.

Graduating seniors may not enroll in study groups that extend beyond the end of the spring semester at Colgate, as all requirements for graduation must be satisfied prior to commencement.

Colgate Extended Study A number of Colgate courses offer short-term study components that extend the course beyond the campus and beyond the regular term. These programs offer opportunities for students to gain access to institutions and individuals relevant to their coursework that are not available on campus. Extended study is particularly attractive to students whose schedules do not permit them to participate in semester-long programs.

Prerequisites may exist for extended study courses. Extended study courses extending beyond the end of the spring semester are not normally available to seniors since all requirements for graduation must be satisfied prior to commencement.

Approved Programs

Colgate allows students to study off campus on a select list of approved programs offered by third-party educational providers or other U.S. universities, or to enroll directly in approved foreign universities throughout the world and transfer course credit toward degree requirements. Approved programs have been carefully vetted by the Off-Campus Study Committee and academic departments for compatibility with Colgate’s curriculum. Colgate’s approved programs list is available on the Off-Campus study website ( Students are advised to speak with the staff of the off-campus study office and their academic advisor or faculty in the department in which they plan to major to discuss choosing an approved program.

Credit from approved programs counts toward the six-course limit for transfer credit. Credit and grades for approved programs appear on the Colgate transcript but are not counted toward the GPA. Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) or other ungraded options are not permitted. Courses must be pre-approved by the registrar's office using the transfer of credit application.

A student is considered in residence while on an approved program, with the proviso that only one such semester may count toward the seven-semester residency requirement for graduation.

Declaration of Major

All students must declare an official major by the beginning of the registration period in the spring (or second) semester of the sophomore year. An official Declaration of Major/Minor form must be completed and returned to the Office of the Registrar. This means that sophomores will declare their official majors prior to course registration for the fall term, which is held in March or April. The timing of this decision is to provide better advising opportunities for students in their majors and to improve academic planning by departments. Students may, at any time, change their majors by filing a new, signed Declaration of Major/Minor form with the registrar.

The following procedures have been designed to implement this policy:
  1. Many departments and programs hold group meetings for prospective sophomore majors prior to the course registration period in March or April. These group meetings will serve a dual purpose: to acquaint prospective majors with the department/program course of study, and to provide new department/program advisers for those sophomores who elect to declare their majors.
  2. After the student decides on a major, the student selects an academic adviser who will advise the student on course selections for the next term. 
  3. Sophomores will not be permitted to register for the junior fall term unless they have presented a signed Declaration of Major/Minor form to the registrar.
  4. Sophomores who plan to be off campus in the spring term, either because of attendance on a study group or approved program, are required to declare a major in the fall term. No student may participate in a study group who has not declared a major.
  5. Students entering with advanced standing are to indicate their most likely or definite department or program when submitting course registration materials to the registrar’s office prior to their first term. A faculty adviser from the indicated department or program will be assigned and the student will be notified of this assignment. The assigned faculty adviser will remain the student’s adviser until the student declares an official major, during the sophomore year.
  6. Students entering with junior standing are expected to declare an official major not later than the end of the drop/add period of their second term. The academic adviser will be a faculty member from the student’s major department or program.
  7. Students who elect to fulfill the requirements for a second major or minor must officially register with the appropriate department or program and file a second Declaration of Major/Minor form with the registrar before the end of the full-term course withdrawal period of the first term of the senior year. No more than two majors can be recorded on the transcript, or one major and one minor.

Optional Minors

Every department at Colgate offers an optional minor consisting of a minimum of four to six designated courses. No more than two introductory level courses may be included in a minor. The minor should normally be declared by the end of a student’s sophomore year. No student may take a minor in the same field as his or her major but may take a minor in that department if the department offers more than one major. Only one minor can be recorded on the transcript.

Specific requirements of each department and program for the optional minor are found in the catalogue.

Independent Study

Although academic work consists primarily of courses taught in the classroom, laboratory, and field, there are a number of opportunities for independent study. Students may register for independent study during each term of the regular academic year. The essential features of the independent study program are as follows:
  1. Students may apply for independent study, for which they receive course credit (0.50 or 1.00) and a grade. The credit weight must be decided at the time of application and may not be changed without administrative approval.
  2. First-year students normally do not enroll in independent study courses.
  3. Independent study courses must be approved by the faculty supervisor and the appropriate department chair or program director no later than the last day of the drop/add period in any term.
  4. Independent study courses are not offered to students free of charge. These courses are made available according to the established tuition schedule whether taken as part of a full-time or part-time course load.
  5. A student who wishes to take an independent study course when not in residence at Colgate must secure the approval of the faculty supervisor and the appropriate department chair before the beginning of the term. Students must also make appropriate arrangements for billing and payment of the independent study courses well in advance of the beginning of the term.
For additional Information regarding independent study policies and procedures, please refer to the registrar’s office website at

Grading Policies and Academic Rules and Regulations

Grading System

The grades used to indicate the quality of a student’s performance in a completed course are as follows: A/Excellent, B/Good, C/Satisfactory, D/Poor but passing, F/Failing. The Grade Point Average (GPA) is obtained by dividing the number of quality points by the number of course credits attempted for grades. Colgate grades are assigned the following quality points to full (1.00) credit courses:

Grade Quality Points
A+ 4.33
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
F 0.00

The following grades are not calculated into the GPA and carry no quality points
  • Credit for Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or other international examinations
  • Credit for course work transferred from another institution
  • Satisfactory for one-course-per-term grade option (Juniors or Seniors only, effective September 1985) or January project
  • Unsatisfactory for one-course-per-term grade option (Juniors or Seniors only, effective September 1985) or January project
  • Credit for Physical Education unit
  • No credit/No course value for Physical Education unit
  • Satisfactory progress in two-term course (converted to standard letter grade at end of second semester)
  • Credit Grade Recording Option (effective Spring 1981-1986)
  • Pass in Pass/Fail Option
  • Failure in Pass/Fail Option
  • Grades in courses taken on approved or affiliated off-campus programFailure in Pass/Fail OptionHonors for January term project
W’s (withdrawal), I’s (incomplete) and NG’s (no grade submitted by instructor) are not included in the calculation of the GPA, as these are administrative notations rather than grades.

Course Warnings

Any student experiencing academic difficulties in a course should be identified and counseled well in advance of the end of the course. At the midpoint of the term, the vice president and dean of the college and the dean of the faculty request information from faculty members for students having academic difficulties. Responses from faculty concerning individual student progress are voluntary. Information received from faculty is reported to the administrative dean who informs the student and the faculty adviser.

Reporting Final Grades

Final grades for all students are to be submitted online via Banner Self-Service for faculty. Final grades for seniors who expect to graduate at the end of a term must be reported to the registrar within 48 hours after the final examination in a course or, if no final examination is scheduled, 24 hours after the final day of the examination period (or sooner). Final grades for all other students are due in the registrar’s office by the date specified. Late grades create undue problems for students, the Committee on Standards and Academic Standing, and numerous offices that rely on academic results.

Final grades are reported to students online (via Banner self-service) by the registrar only after all grades in a term have been submitted by the faculty. Faculty members may, if they wish, unofficially notify students of their grades, but such notification should be in writing and should be made only after the grades have been reported by the instructor to the registrar.


The university’s policy on “Incompletes” is contained in the section on “Academic Regulations” in the Colgate catalogue.

An administrative dean will grant an incomplete for a specific period of time, but in all cases the incomplete work must be completed and submitted to the faculty member not later than 20 days from the last day of a term’s final examination period. Extensions beyond the 20-day period will be granted by the student’s administrative dean only for highly unusual circumstances. The instructor will submit the appropriate grade to the Registrar within 10 days after the conclusion of the deadline for completion of work, whether or not the make-up work has been completed. If no grade is submitted, the registrar, after consultation with the instructor and administrative dean, will assign a grade of F.

The temporary status of “incomplete” in a course is given only when the student has not finished the work in the course. It is used rarely and only for sufficient cause, such as illness or absence necessitated by emergency. A student’s request for an incomplete, which should be made in advance, must be directed to his or her administrative dean, who will consult with the instructor in the course before approving the request. If an incomplete grade is granted by the administrative dean, he or she then informs the registrar, student, and faculty member in writing. It is the student’s responsibility to make arrangements with the instructor to complete the work in the course by the established deadline.

An incomplete must be made up within 20 days of the end of the term in which it was granted, unless an extension has been granted by the student’s administrative dean as a consequence of extenuating circumstances beyond the student’s ability to predict or control. The instructor will submit a grade to the Registrar within 10 days of the date the make-up is completed, or, if the make-up is not completed, submit the appropriate grade to the Registrar within 10 days of the final day granted by the student’s administrative dean; otherwise the incomplete is converted to an F.

Review of a Grade

Although the individual faculty member is the sole judge of students’ academic performance in a course, students have a right to be informed of the basis for the evaluation of their academic performance in courses of instruction.

The dean of the faculty and the Dean’s Advisory Council have established the following procedure for students who desire a review of an instructor’s evaluation of their academic performance in a course: The student should first discuss the matter with the instructor in the course, who should endeavor to explain the basis for his or her evaluation of the student’s academic performance. If the student finds this to be unsatisfactory, he or she may request that the division director (or department chair/program director) convene a meeting of the instructor, student, and division director (and/or chair/director), at which the instructor will explain the standards and criteria used in evaluating the student’s academic performance in the course in question. At this meeting, the student may present reasons why he or she feels that the evaluation was incorrect or improperly made. The final responsibility for evaluating students’ academic performance in a course, however, rests with the instructor.

If the division director (or department chair) finds that there is reason to believe that the instructor’s evaluation of the student’s academic performance was prejudiced or capricious, the division director (or chair) should immediately bring the matter to the attention of the associate dean of the faculty for such action as the associate dean finds appropriate. The associate dean of the faculty will inform the division director (or chair) of a decision within two weeks of receiving the request, and the division director (or chair) will share the outcome with the faculty member and the student. 
Grades appearing on a student’s academic record may normally not be changed after one semester from the end of the term in which the grade was awarded. Grade changes initiated by the course instructor(s) must follow the “Changes of Grade” policy laid out in the Colgate University Faculty Handbook. Under extraordinary circumstances, grade changes beyond one semester but before graduation may be approved by the associate dean of the faculty.

Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) Option

  1. Students with junior and senior standing may elect to take one 1.00-credit course (plus any required fractional credit add-on components) or two .5-credit courses per semester, which are evaluated “satisfactory” (S) or “unsatisfactory” (U) instead of by the conventional letter grades.

  2. It is expected that students will take a course and any required fractional add-on component with the same grade option (conventional grade or S/U). In these cases, the total credit value of S/U courses may exceed the usual 1.00 credit limit per semester.

  3. In certain instances, faculty members may require that a stand-alone course or add-on fractional credit course be offered only on a graded or S/U basis. These courses will not count against the 1.00-credit-per-semester limit.

  4. Except in item #3 above, the decision to choose the S/U option rests solely with the student.

  5. A student on academic warning may not take a course S/U.

  6. Courses taken to fulfill the Common Core, Global Engagements, areas of inquiry, language, writing and major or minor requirements may not be taken S/U.

  7. The choice to take a particular course with the S/U option must be made prior to the end of the withdrawal period as published on the academic calendar.

  8. No course will be officially recorded as using the S/U grading option unless the student has submitted the completed Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Option form to the registrar's office by the deadline.

  9. After the end of the withdrawal period, no changes in the grading mode (conventional grade to S/U, or S/U to conventional grade) may be made.

  10. In the event of a course’s limited enrollment, a student’s desire to take the course on the S/U basis shall not be a criterion in determining his or her eligibility for the course or course section.

  11. To achieve the grade of S, the student must perform at a level that would warrant a grade of C– or better.

  12. Satisfactory completion of a course is entered on the student’s permanent transcript as S, but does not enter into the computation of the GPA. The unsatisfactory completion of a course is entered on the student’s transcript as U, but does not enter into the computation of the GPA. No course credit is awarded for a grade of U.

  13. Seniors, during their final semester, are discouraged from taking a course using the S/U option unless they will have a total of 32 course credits without the S/U course.

For additional information regarding the S/U grade option, please refer to the registrar’s office website at

Academic Honors

A description of the academic honors awarded at Colgate may be found in the “Undergraduate Program” chapter in the Colgate University Catalogue.

Reporting honors and high honors to the registrar is the responsibility of the department chair or program director. Because of the increasing number of students completing graduation requirements at times other than May, the Dean’s Advisory Council has issued the following ruling regarding the dates for reporting of honors and high honors to the registrar: Departments must report honors and high honors to the registrar no later than five calendar days after the end of the fall semester final examination period if the student completes his or her graduation requirements in the fall term; or no later than the end of the regularly scheduled period for final examinations in the spring term if the student completes his or her graduation requirements in that term.

Departments should publicize this information to all majors. It is particularly important that students who plan on finishing their graduation requirements in the fall term be aware of this ruling.

Other Academic Rules and Regulations

Additional academic rules and regulations — including those pertaining requirements for credit, graduation, withdrawal from a course, repeating a course, class standing, warning and dismissal, Advanced Placement and transfer of credit, physical education, class attendance, and independent study — may be found in the “Academic Regulations” chapter in the Colgate University Catalogue or in other sections of the catalogue.

Absence of the Instructor from Class

Faculty members are expected to meet their classes promptly at the scheduled times. In case of illness or other emergency that requires a class be cancelled, the department secretary will post a notice of the cancellation in the classroom and also notify WRCU radio, which will announce the cancellation to its listeners.


It is essential that some substantial component of the work in every class be cumulative and/or integrative in nature. One way this expectation may be fulfilled is by one or more in-class examinations (midterm or midterms) and a two-hour final examination. Alternatives to this model may take many forms, including (but not limited to) take-home exams, reflective essays,  individual or group projects, research papers, oral presentations, or multiple, small, in-class examinations. 

It is expected that every class, with the exception of senior seminars, will have one and only one major assignment due or exam take place at the time set by the Registrar for the final exam. All other coursework must be submitted by 5 pm on the last day of classes. The Office of the Associate Dean of the Faculty provides administrative support for self-scheduled exams.

As faculty design their final assignments, they should be mindful of students' final-exam week workload.

Observance of Religious Holidays

Colgate is committed to providing a welcoming and supportive environment for students from all cultural and religious backgrounds. All members of the community should ensure that students not suffer adverse consequences for practicing their religions. Colgate's policy regarding the observance of religious holidays during which a class or academic event may conflict is available in the Religious Life section of the Colgate website.

Academic Suspension and Readmission

The Committee on Standards and Academic Standing (CSAS) review the academic performance of all students at the end of each term. Failure to meet the academic standards in a term, as described in the Catalogue, will result in academic suspension. Students who have been academically suspended are not eligible to return until two semesters have elapsed.

Students who have been academically suspended may appeal this decision by filing a written appeal to the CSAS in accordance with the procedures outlined in their dismissal notification letter. If a student's appeal is granted, the student's status is changed from "academically suspended" to "retained on academic warning."  A second academic dismissal is permanent.

Following an academic suspension, the student must leave campus and abide by the Policy for Student Presence on Campus While a Student is Separated from the University contained elsewhere in the handbook.

Colgate’s academic standards are contained in the university Catalogue in the “Academic Regulations” chapter under the headings of “Minimum Academic Progress” and “Academic Warning and Dismissal” and are worthy of careful review.


Readmission:  One fall and one spring term must elapse before an academically suspended student is eligible to return to Colgate. Students must apply for readmission through their administrative dean, according to the following timetable:

           Return                                                                                       Completed application due by**

            Fall term                                                                                     March 15

            Spring term                                                                                October 1

Note: If transcripts of academic work cannot be submitted by the due date, they may be submitted at the end of the term. This may result in a delay of the readmission decision. Please note that all other materials must be received by the indicated due dates.                                                                                                                     
Failure to apply by the above deadlines may result in a denial of the petition or delay readmission until a subsequent semester.  Students returning from academic suspension are automatically placed on academic warning for the first term back. The administrative dean will outline the terms of academic warning in the readmission letter.  

Requirements for Readmission

Requirements for Readmission:  Students who have been academically dismissed must demonstrate that they have the capacity to succeed in a structured environment before they are able to resume their studies at Colgate.

Students who have been academically dismissed must be employed in a full-time job for at least six consecutive months or successfully complete at least two full-time courses (grades of "B" or higher) at an approved four-year college or university in the student’s home country. Dismissed students must consult the Colgate registrar in advance for approval to take courses at another institution for subsequent transfer to Colgate.  Note also that no more than six course equivalents may be transferred to Colgate from all sources (i.e. pre-college, Advance Placement, and other colleges).  Credit for courses taken elsewhere will not be granted until the readmitted student successfully completes one full term at Colgate and is removed from academic warning.

 Students should consult their administrative dean in planning their time away from Colgate.  Administrative deans need to approve a student’s plans to demonstrate their capacity to succeed in a structured environment.  

Readmission Application

Readmission Application:  The application for readmission should address the issues that led to the academic dismissal and present evidence supporting the student's success upon returning to Colgate.  The student's petition, which will be evaluated by the CSAS, must include the following:

The application for readmission should address the issues that led to the academic suspension and present evidence supporting the student's success upon returning to Colgate.  The student's petition, which will be evaluated by the CSAS, must include the following:

1. The student's written statement describing how the time away has been spent, addressing the issues that led to suspension and persuasively arguing why those problems will not reoccur if the student returns to Colgate.

2. If the student's plan to work full-time for six consecutive months has been approved by the administrative dean, the student must document the employment and provide two letters of recommendation, at least one of which is from the employer who supervised the student's work.

3. If the student's plan to enroll in at least two full courses at a four-year college or university has been approved, the student must provide a transcript showing that grades of "B" or better were earned in the courses.  Two letters of recommendation are also required. Preferably, at least one letter should be from the professor who taught one of the two courses.

4. Other materials that may be relevant and/or may have been required at the time of suspension (a letter from a health care professional confirming the student's readiness to return if psychological and/or medical problems contributed to the suspension.

5. An interview with the student's administrative dean.

6. Optional: additional letters of recommendation.