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Course Changes, Withdrawals, Grades:
Course Changes After Classes Begin in the Fall and Spring Terms
During the Drop/Add period, changes may be made in course schedules through DukeHub. Students may
drop and add courses during the first week of classes in the fall and spring terms at their own discretion; during the
second week of the semester they may drop courses at their own discretion, but a permission number provided by
the appropriate instructor or department is required for adding a course. After the Drop/Add period, no course may
be added; also, a course may not be changed to or from the audit basis. Students have until one week after the Drop/
Add period ends to secure permission to take a course on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading basis. Students who
have elected to register for a course on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading basis may subsequently change to a
letter grade basis by filing a request with the university registrar up to the first day of the final four weeks of classes.
To withdraw from a course, students must obtain permission from their academic dean. After the Drop/Add period,
students permitted to withdraw receive a designation of W on their academic record. Coursework discontinued
without the dean’s permission will result in a grade of F.
When students note errors in their course schedules, they should immediately consult with their academic
deans during the schedule correction period that occurs immediately after Drop/Add ends.
Class Attendance and Missed Work
Responsibility for class attendance rests with individual students, and since regular and punctual class
attendance is expected, students must accept the consequences of failure to attend. Instructors may refer students to their academic dean when students accumulate excessive numbers of absences.
Missed work associated with absence from class is accommodated in three circumstances: 1) illness or
other extraordinary personal circumstance, 2) religious observance, and 3) varsity athletic participation. Detailed information about the policy and the notification procedure is available at https://trinity.duke.edu/undergraduate/ academic-policies/class-attendance-and-missed-work for students in Trinity College, or for students in the Pratt School of Engineering at https://pratt.duke.edu/undergrad/students/policies/3486.
Missed work associated with any other absence is not covered by this policy. In courses where a defined number of absences is permitted, students should make judicious use of them and save them for unavoidable circumstances. Students are encouraged to discuss any absence, planned or unexpected, with their instructor to determine whether accommodation is possible. The nature of the accommodation, if any, is to be determined by the faculty member in accordance with their attendance policy as outlined in the course syllabus.
Class times are officially scheduled at registration unless designated “to be arranged” (TBA). After registration begins, no class time may be changed without prior permission of the chair of the University Schedule Committee. Within-class tests (except for the final) are to be given at the regular class meeting times. Exceptions are made for block tests that have been approved by the chair of the University Schedule Committee.
If, because of illness, emergency, or reasonable cause, a student cannot complete work for a course, the student may request in writing to his or her academic dean the assignment of an I (incomplete) for the course. (Forms are available at http://trinity.duke.edu/academic-requirements; Pratt students must see their Academic Dean for a form.) If the request is approved by the instructor in the course and by the student’s academic dean, then the student must satisfactorily complete the work by the last class day of the fifth week of the subsequent regular semester except when an earlier deadline has been established by the instructor or the academic dean. An earlier deadline will be established when there is a question of the student’s ability to meet continuation requirements, or the professor decides an earlier deadline date is appropriate. An I assigned in the fall, spring, or summer terms must be resolved in the succeeding spring or fall term, respectively. If the I is not completed by the deadline, it will convert to a reversion grade that has been predetermined by the faculty and reported to the Registrar’s Office. If a student whose work is incomplete is also absent from the final examination, an X is assigned for the course (see below). A student not enrolled in the university or studying away during the semester following receipt of an I or X will have until the end of the fifth week of classes of the next semester (fall or spring) of matriculation to clear the I or X unless an earlier due date is established by the instructor and/or the academic dean. Students may not complete work in a course after graduation. Once recorded, a notation of the I or X will remain permanently on the student’s record, even after the final grade is assigned for the course. In addition, an I cancels eligibility for Dean’s List and Dean’s List with Distinction. Finally, students who receive an I or X during a semester in which they experience a voluntarily or involuntarily separation from Duke, may, at the discretion of their academic dean, be required to complete the outstanding work prior to returning to school.
Final Examinations and Excused Absences
The times and places of final examinations for the fall and spring terms are officially scheduled by the University Schedule Committee, generally according to the day and hour of the regular course meeting; changes may not be made in the schedule without the approval of the committee. If a final examination is to be given in a course, it will be given at the time scheduled by the University Schedule Committee. Take-home examinations are due at the regularly scheduled hour of an examination, based on the time period of the class. In courses in which final examinations are not scheduled, an exam that substitutes for a final examination may not be given in the last week of classes. Hourly tests may be given in the last week of classes, whether or not a final examination is administered during the exam period. In the summer session, final examinations are held on the last two days of each term and may not be scheduled within the last three days before the examination period. Final examinations for short courses are held on the last day of the course.
No later than the end of the first week of classes of the fall and spring term, the instructor is required to announce plans for the final examination exercise. Unless departmental policy stipulates otherwise, the form of the Grading and Grade Requirements 47 final exercise is determined by the instructor. However, a final written examination may not exceed three hours in length and a final take-home examination may not require more than three hours in the actual writing.
If a student is absent from a final examination, an X is given instead of a final grade unless the student’s grade in the class is failing, in which case the instructor may submit an F. The student must present an acceptable explanation for the absence to the appropriate academic dean within forty-eight hours after the scheduled time of the examination. Because end-of-the-semester travel arrangements are not the basis for changing a final examination, students are advised to consult the final examination schedule when making such arrangements. Deferral of a final examination will not be authorized by the academic dean if it is ascertained that the student has a history of excessive absences or failure to complete coursework in a timely fashion in the course in question. The X is converted to an F if the academic dean does not approve the absence. If the absence is excused by an academic dean, the student arranges with the dean and the instructor for a make-up examination to be given at the earliest possible time. It should be noted that uncleared grades of X may have significant ramifications regarding continuation in the university. (See Grading and Grade Requirements below.) An excused X not cleared by the end of the fifth week of the following semester is converted to an F. Once recorded, a notation of the X will remain permanently on the student’s record, even after the final grade is assigned for the course. A student not enrolled in the university or studying away during that following semester has until the end of the fifth week of the next semester of enrollment to clear the X unless an earlier deadline has been established by the instructor and/or the academic dean.
Grading and Grade Requirements
Final grades on academic work are provided to students via DukeHub after the examinations at the end of each term. Midterm advisory grades for first-year students are issued in the fall and spring, and are provided to students via DukeHub.
Passing grades are A, exceptional; B, superior; C, satisfactory; S, satisfactory (see Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory option below); and D, low pass. These grades (except S) may be modified by a plus or minus. A Z grade may be assigned for the satisfactory completion of the first term of a two-course sequence, and the final grade for both courses is assigned at the end of the second course of the sequence.
Although the D grade represents low pass, not more than two courses passed with D grades may be counted among those required for year-to-year continuation or among the thirty-four course credits required for graduation. Courses for which a D grade is earned, however, satisfy other requirements. For information on repeating a course with a D grade, see the section on course load and eligibility for courses on page 46.
Failing and Unsatisfactory Grades
A grade of F or U (see Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading system below) indicates that the student has failed to meet the requirements for the course. The grade is recorded on the student’s record. If the student registers for the course again, a second entry of the course and the new grade earned are made on the record, but the first entry is not removed. All grades that appear on the record, with the exception of S and U, are included in the calculation of the cumulative grade point average.
Grade Point Average
The grade point average is based on grades earned in courses offering credit at Duke and may be calculated based on the following numerical equivalencies to the grading system:
With Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory courses, neither S nor U are calculated into the grade point average. The semester and cumulative grade point averages are determined at the end of each semester and displayed for students on the academic history reports made available to them via DukeHub.
Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Grading System
With the consent of the instructor and academic dean a student may register for grading on a Satisfactory/ Unsatisfactory (S/U) basis in one course each semester and summer session, although only four courses taken on this basis may be counted toward the thirty-four courses required for graduation. The limit of four does not apply to courses that are only offered on the S/U basis. A grade of S will be awarded if the student has earned the equivalent of a letter grade of C- or better, while a U will be awarded for the equivalent of a D+ or worse grade. Neither an S nor a U will be factored into the grade point average. Students who receive a U will receive no credit for the course and will be ineligible for Dean’s List in that semester. Courses taken on an S/U basis (whether offered only on this basis or elected by the student) do not count toward general education requirements, except the requirement for thirty-four course credits and continuation requirements. Additionally, no other degree requirements (major, minor, certificate, including prerequisites) may be met by a course passed under the S/U option, unless by special permission from the director of undergraduate studies of the department or program. Taking a course on the S/U basis may make one ineligible for the Dean’s List (see the section on academic honors in this chapter). Students studying abroad or on domestic study away programs may not receive credit for courses taken on an S/U or Pass/Fail basis.
Students who wish to take a course on an S/U basis must obtain permission from the instructor and their academic dean. Students have until one week after the Drop/Add period ends in the fall or spring semester to secure permission to take a course on the S/U basis. (Summer term students must do so by the end of the Drop/Add period.) Students who have elected to register for a course on an S/U basis may subsequently change to a letter grade basis by filing a request with the Office of the University Registrar up to the first day of the final four weeks of classes. An S grade earned in a course may not be converted subsequently to a letter grade, and the course may not be retaken.
Students who, via accommodation by the Student Disabilities Access Office (SDAO), register for three credits per semester may take a maximum of one S/U course per semester.
Effects of Incomplete Work
For purposes of determining satisfactory progress each term and toward graduation, incomplete work in a course indicated by a grade of I or X is not presumed to be satisfactory performance in that course. Furthermore, an incomplete (I grade) during the academic year cancels eligibility for semester honors in the term the I or X grade was issued; i.e., Dean’s List and Dean’s List with Distinction.
The W and WA Designations
The designation W is recorded when a student officially withdraws from a course after the Drop/Add period. (See the sections on course changes in this chapter.) WA indicates withdrawal from an audited course.