Updated: November 18, 2020 at 3:32PM

Academic Policies

During the spring 2020 semester, in regular consultation with deans, department chairs, and faculty committees, the University made more than 20 temporary academic policy adjustments, many made rapidly as we adjusted to our new circumstances. For the 2020-2021 academic year, we hope to have the set of required academic adjustments approved before the start of the year—while still acknowledging that circumstances may once again require us to make changes on the fly.


Leaves of Absence

Any undergraduate who withdrew from classes during the Spring 2020 semester due to a specific COVID-19-related concern was granted a leave of absence and allowed to automatically re-enroll in the fall.

The Academic Reopening Committee also approved an extension of the COVID-19 Related Leave of Absence (CRLOA) policy through Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020, the last day of class. Students who elect this option on or before Friday, Oct. 9 will have courses removed from their transcripts. Students who elect the option after Oct. 9 will receive withdrawals (W’s) on their transcripts in connection with their courses. All students returning from a CRLOA must receive a health clearance from University Health Services (UHS) or the University Counseling Center (UCC) and an academic clearance from the dean (or dean’s designee) in their college to resume full-time study.

Students who take a leave of absence must contact the Office of the Registrar to register and enroll in the Spring 2021 semester. A student who fails to register and enroll in the Spring 2021 semester will be considered as having taken a voluntary withdrawal between semesters and must apply for readmission.

Fall Grading

There are no plans to shift to pass/no-credit grading this fall.

Graduate Student Policies

All students who have eligibility deadlines in May (e.g., 8th year and 8th semester deadlines) will automatically be extended through August without the need to submit an eligibility extension form to the Graduate School. This will delay any probationary actions until fall 2020 semester. 

If a student has successfully completed all the degree requirements but misses the May or August graduation deadlines, the Graduate School can issue the student a letter certifying degree completion for any employers requiring the degree to begin employment.

Extension of August Thesis/Dissertation Defense and Submission Deadlines

As was done with the defense and submission deadlines for May graduation, we will formally extend these deadlines by two weeks for August graduation.  Specifically, the deadline for defenses will move from June 29 to July 13 and the deadline for submissions will move from July 6 to July 20. 

Extension of incomplete deadline

The Graduate School Academic Code allows extensions past the 30-day deadline for "extraordinary circumstances” which can be taken to cover COVID-19 disruptions. If a student needs to extend an incomplete deadline past 30 days for a spring semester class, the student should notify the DGS to request the extension, who will then reach out to Assoc. Dean John Lubker. The Grad Continuity Group will be making a recommendation for a formal accommodation of this deadline, but while that works its way through the process, John can work individually with students and DGSs. For this special circumstance, health-related issues (that are not permanent) do not need to go through Sara Bea to receive this extension.

Pass/NC grading scheme and its application to students on academic probation. 

There are only a few students across the university who are on academic probation. The attached policy recently passed by the Executive Committee of the Academic Council articulates how the pass/no-credit grading scheme in place for Spring 2020 interacts with academic probation.  Both the original pass/no-credit policy and this application are attached.

Please see also the disclosure statement related to this grading option.

A summary of the new academic policy changes for Academic Year 2020-2021 is as follows. A full description of the policy changes is also available. 

  • The deadline for incomplete (I) grades has been extended to 60 (rather than 30) days.
  • Students in good standing may request a maximum of 3 (rather than 2) consecutive semesters.
  • The eligibility for the medical separation policy is extended to a serious medical condition for the student, spouse or dependents.
  • The deadline for completing the candidacy exam is extended to 9 (rather than 8) semesters.
  • The deadline to complete their doctoral degree is extended to 9 (rather than 8) years.
  • Current students in their 8th or 9th year can enroll as full-time students with a full-tuition scholarship in AY 20-21 (rather than enroll in dissertation completion status).
  • Doctoral students are eligible for assistantships and fellowships funded by the University during their first 8 (rather than 7) years of study.  For masters students, eligibility is for 4 (rather than 3) years of study.

More guidance on policies pertaining to graduate students can be found in Dean Carlson's letter.