Academic Policies and Definitions

The academic policies and definitions listed below constitute some of the most frequently referenced University and school policies and guidelines, which are outlined in-depth in the University Bulletin under University Regulations or the Elliott School Regulations sections.

Academic Integrity – You must know, and make use of, all proper procedures for doing research, writing papers, and taking examinations. Acts of academic dishonesty will be processed through the proper University channels. You can review the University Code of Academic Integrity.

Academic Standing – You must maintain good academic standing with the University. You are in good standing if your semester and cumulative GPA is above 2.0. Consult the Bulletin for information on probation and suspension.

Audit – Auditing a course enables you to regularly attend a course without completing coursework or examinations. No credit is awarded, however, and standard tuition rates apply. You may not retake an audited course for credit. You may not change from credit to audit status, or vice versa, after the end of the eighth week of classes during the academic year.

Continuous Enrollment – You must register for continuous enrollment for a semester in which you plan to pursue an off-campus academic opportunity (such as an internship, study at another institution, or the completion of incomplete coursework). Continuous enrollment status is generally limited to one academic year. Contact your advisor if you wish to register for continuous enrollment, or have questions about this status. You can find additional information regarding continuous enrollment in the Bulletin.

Dean's Honor List – You are eligible to be placed on the Dean's Honor List for a given semester if you meet the following requirements:

  • You attain a 3.75 semester GPA in letter-graded coursework.
  • You earn at least 12 credit hours.
  • You pass all non-graded credit courses.
  • You do not have any incompletes or unauthorized withdrawals.

Drop/Withdrawal – You can drop a class during the designated registration period for a given semester. During the academic year, courses may be dropped through the end of the fourth week of classes. You may drop a class online using GWeb through the second week of classes. After that, you must use an RTF-EZ form (PDF).

You may withdraw from a class, and receive a grade of "W," during the designated withdrawal period during a given semester. During the academic year, the withdrawal period begins when the add/drop period end and runs through the tenth week of classes. You must use an RTF-EZ form (PDF) to withdraw from a class; you may not withdraw in GWeb.

All drops and withdraws are subject to the refund schedule listed in the Bulletin.

Electives – Electives are courses that do not satisfy Elliott School requirements, but which count toward the credit hour requirement for graduation. You will complete a number of electives in addition to your Elliott School requirements to reach 120 earned credits.

Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) – FERPA is federal law prohibiting the distribution of certain student information to parties outside the University without a student's expressed written consent (this includes parents and spouses). More information is available from The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities.

Grades & Grade Point Average (GPA) – The University grading system and grade point average calculation formula are listed in the Bulletin. The Elliott School does not calculate a "major GPA."

Holds – Holds are placed on student records by different University offices for different reasons (outstanding bills, incomplete immunization records, academic probation, etc.). A hold will prevent you from registering for classes, so you should check GWeb for holds well before registration begins. If you have a hold, contact the office that placed your hold to determine how to remove it. (GWeb lists contact information for the office that placed the hold.)

Incomplete Grade – At the option of the instructor, you may be awarded an incomplete grade if you are unable to complete the work of a course for reasons beyond your control. The instructor must be informed of, and approve of, your reasons before the date when final grades are due. You must complete the Incomplete Grade Contract (PDF) in conjunction with your instructor to receive an incomplete grade.

The entire incomplete grade policy can be found in the Bulletin.

Internal Transfer Policy – GW undergraduates wishing to transfer into the Elliott School must satisfy the following prerequisite requirements before submitting an Internal Transfer Request (PDF) to the Registrar's Office.

  • Complete 24 semester hours in residence at GW with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.
  • Complete four of the following five courses: ECON 1011, ECON 1012, HIST 1011, PSC 1001, and PSC 1003 (in lieu of IAFF 1005)
  • Complete or waive the first year of a modern foreign language.

If you are interested in transferring into the Elliott School, attend an Internal Transfer Workshop. Workshops are offered weekly during the fall and spring semesters.

Leave of Absence – You must register for a Leave of Absence if you need to interrupt active pursuit of your degree for a semester. Leave of absence status is generally limited to one academic year. Contact your advisor if you wish to register for leave of absence or have questions about this status. You can find additional information regarding a Leave of Absence in the Bulletin.

Minimum Grade Policy – Students must earn a minimum grade of C- in each course taken to satisfy major and third-year language requirements. (Major requirements do not include the Introduction to the Major, Supporting Courses in the Liberal Arts, or Electives categories.) Contact your advisor if you earn a grade lower than C- in a course taken for your major.

Pass/No-Pass – The pass/no pass grading option is an alternative to the letter grade option in which you may earn academic credit for a course simply by passing the course. Only electives may be taken under this grading option. Grades of P or NP are recorded on your transcript, but not reflected in your GPA. You must have a 2.5 cumulative GPA and obtain your advisor's permission to take a course pass/no pass. Up to six electives (a maximum one class per semester) may be taken under this grading option. You may not change from the letter grade option to the pass/no pass option, or vice versa, after the end of the eighth week of classes during the academic year.

Repeating a Course – Except for courses that specifically state that repetition for credit is permitted, you may not repeat a course in which you earned a grade of D- or better, unless the Elliott School or the department concerned requires you to do so (see Miminum Grade Policy).  Please see the bulletin for information regarding the First-Year Academic Forgiveness Policy.

Residence Requirement – Except in special circumstances, you must complete 9 of your final 15 credits in residence. Courses taken through the Consortium and approved study abroad programs count as courses in residence.

Transfer Credit – You may transfer up to 9 credit hours or three courses from other U.S. colleges or universities after matriculating at GW.

To transfer credit from another institution and apply the credit toward your degree, you must obtain GW departmental approval, as well as approval from Academic Advising, using the Transfer Credit Approval form (PDF). To transfer credit earned through study abroad, contact the Office for Study Abroad.

Unauthorized Withdrawal ("Z" grade) – A "Z" is an administrative notation on your transcript indicating that you were registered for, but did not attend (or attended only briefly) or complete any graded work for a course. You would likely receive this grade if you stopped attending a course without dropping or withdrawing from the course in GWeb or via an RTF-EZ form.

Waiving Requirements – Some Elliott School requirements may be waived by standardized tests (most commonly the SAT II) or through a departmental examination (most commonly for the foreign language requirement). Waived requirements are considered complete, but no academic credit is awarded.


Commencement 2018

The Elliott School Graduation Celebration will be held in the Charles E. Smith Center at 11:30 AM, Friday, May 18, 2018.


Contact Undergraduate Academic Advising

Undergraduate Academic Advising
1957 E Street, NW, Suite 302
Washington, DC 20052
Phone: 202-994-3002
Fax: 202-994-9537
Email: [email protected]

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Office Hours
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