Academic Policies and Regulations

Please also consult the applicable Undergraduate Course Catalog.


For a period after the beginning of classes a student may add or drop courses. Deadlines and procedures for adding and dropping courses are available on the University Registrar's web site.  Students who wish to add or drop classes must do so on or before the published deadlines. Unless correct procedures are followed, course changes have no official standing and will not be recognized as valid by W&M. Courses dropped during the add/drop period are not displayed on the student's academic transcript. A student may not add or drop a course after the last day of add/drop except in unusual circumstances. In these cases, the student must submit a petition to the Committee on Academic Status. Petition forms are available through the Office of the Dean of Students. Petitions to add or drop a course must have the consent of the instructor. The faculty advisor's recommendation may be solicited as well.

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Auditing Classes

Degree seeking students may audit a course after obtaining permission of the instructor on the form, Permission to Audit (pdf) form. Students may not select a course for audit via web registration. Audited coursed receive grades. If the student meets the requirements for auditors prescribed by the instructor, the course will be included on the transcripts with the symbol 'O' (satisfactory audit). Where those requirements have not been met, the course will be included on the transcript with the symbol 'U' (unsatisfactory audit). No credit or quality points are earned.

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Class Attendance

An education system centered upon classroom instruction is obviously predicated on the concept of regular class attendance. Regular attendance is especially important in the summer sessions, when classes are in session for five weeks and class meeting times are of longer duration. The following principles are to be observed:

  1. Except for reasonable cause, students are expected to be present at all regularly scheduled class meetings. Students should be aware that most instructors have attendance policies. Irregular attendance might result in a lower course grade or failure of the course.
  2. Students whose attendance becomes unsatisfactory to the extent that their course performance is affected adversely should be so informed by their instructor and reported to the Dean of Students.
  3. Each student is responsible for notifying professors of absences, and faculty may call the Office of the Dean of Students to ask for verification of student illnesses. In view of the Honor Code, a student's explanation of class absence should be sufficient in most instances. If required by a professor, documentation of medical absence may be obtained from the Student Health Center.
  4. Students who will miss classes due to personal difficulties or family emergencies should contact the Dean of Students Office as soon as possible.

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Course Load

Students may not take more than eight hours per session. Requests for overloads must be approved by the Committee on Academic Status. Students taking college courses for the first time should consider enrolling in only one course.

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Grade Review Procedures

A student who believes that a final course grade has been unfairly assigned must first discuss the grade with the instructor. If, after the discussion, the issue has not been resolved, the student must file a formal written statement requesting a grade review and give a full explanation of the reasons for the request. The student must file this request with the appropriate office by the end of the sixth week of the fall semester following the summer session course in which the grade was received. Procedures for filing a grade review request differ by School. For Arts & Sciences courses, students should consult the Dean of Undergraduate Studies; for Business courses, students should consult the BBA program director; for Education courses, students should consult the Dean of the School of Education.

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Grading System
Letter Grade Quality Points Per Credit Hour Meaning Credit Earned Used to Calculate GPA?
A 4.00 Excellent Yes Yes
A- 3.70   Yes Yes
B+ 3.30   Yes Yes
B 3.00 Good Yes Yes
B- 2.70   Yes Yes
C+ 2.30   Yes Yes
C 2.00 Satisfactory Yes Yes
C- 1.70   Yes Yes
D+ 1.30   Yes Yes
D 1.0 Minimal Pass Yes Yes
D- 0.70   Yes Yes
F 0.00 Failure No Yes
P 0.00 Pass Yes No
W 0.00 Withdraw No No
WM 0.00 Medical Withdraw No No
G 0.00 Deferred Grade No No
NG 0.00 Grade Not Reported by Instructor No No
I 0.00 Incomplete No No
R 0.00 Indicates that a course must be repeated No No
O 0.00 Satisfactory Audit No No
U 0.00 Unsatisfactory Audit No No

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Honor System

Among the most significant traditions of William & Mary is the student-administered honor system. The honor system is based upon the premise that a person's honor is his or her most cherished attribute. The Honor Code outlines the conduct that cannot be tolerated within a community of trust. Prohibited conduct is limited to three specific areas – lying, cheating and stealing. The Honor Code is an agreement among all students taking classes at the school or participating in the educational programs of the College (e.g., study abroad or internship activities) not to lie, cheat or steal. This agreement is made effective upon matriculation at W&M and through the student's enrollment, even though that enrollment may not be continuous. A complete description of rights and responsibilities can be found in the Student Handbook.

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Incomplete Grades

An incomplete grade indicates that an individual student has not completed essential course work because of illness or other extenuating circumstances. This includes absence from the final examination and postponement of required work with approval of the instructor. It is the student's responsibility to make arrangements with the instructor to complete the work by a specified date. "I" automatically becomes "F" if the work is not completed by the last day of classes of the fall semester following the summer session course, or if the postponed work has not been completed satisfactorily.

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Summer session courses may not be taken on a Pass/Fail basis. The only exceptions to this policy are courses that have been specifically designated by the College as Pass/Fail courses, such as physical activity courses in the Department of Kinesiology.

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Transfer of Credits to Other Institutions

Most colleges and universities allow credit hours earned from successful completion of coursework taken at William & Mary to be transferred. Specific practices and policies, however, vary greatly by institution. Students wishing to transfer credits should obtain in advance the approval of an appropriate officer at their home institution.

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Transcripts of academic records for William & Mary are issued by the Office of the University Registrar upon the student's request. A fee of five dollars is charged for each official transcript. Payment may be made by cash, check or money order when ordering in person. Orders sent by mail must include payment in the form of a check or money order ( U.S. funds). Official transcripts issued to students will be placed in a signed, sealed envelope and will bear the stamp "Official Transcript Issued to Student." Official transcripts usually are prepared and released within 5-7 business days. Additional time should be allowed for requests made at the end of the semester or during registration periods. Official transcripts are usually required for admission to a college or university and frequently for employment purposes.

Official transcripts must be requested in writing with the student's signature. Request forms are available online with the University Registrar. Requests may be mailed to: William & Mary, Office of the University Registrar, Attention: TRANSCRIPTS, P.O. Box 8795, Williamsburg, Virginia 23187-8795. Faxed requests for transcripts are not accepted.

There is no charge for a copy of an unofficial transcript. Currently enrolled students may view their transcript on line via and Banner Web. Currently enrolled students may also request an unofficial transcript in person and generally pick it up the next day. Unofficial transcripts will only be issued to the student or to a William & Mary office. Official transcripts must be requested in all other cases.

In accordance with the 1988 Virginia Debt Collection Act, Section 2.1-735, no official or unofficial transcript will be released for students who have outstanding fines or fees, nor are they viewable over the web.

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Withdrawal from Courses

After the add/drop period, students may withdraw from a course with a grade of "W" through the third week of classes. 

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